Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/47

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Ch. 2.

the evening. The two American ministers passed the next day together,[1] examining papers and preparing to act whenever Monroe could be officially presented. They entertained a party at dinner that afternoon in Livingston’s apartments, and while sitting at table Livingston saw Barbé Marbois strolling in the garden outside. Livingston sent to invite Marbois to join the party at table. While coffee was served, Marbois came in and entered into conversation with Livingston, who began at once to tell him of Talleyrand’s "extraordinary conduct." Marbois hinted that he knew something of the matter, and that Livingston had better come to his house as soon as the dinner company departed. The moment Monroe took leave, Livingston acted on Marbois’s hint, and in a midnight conversation the bargain was practically made. Marbois told a story, largely of his own invention, in regard to the First Consul’s conduct on Easter Sunday, three days before. Bonaparte mentioned fifty million francs as his price for Louisiana; but as Marbois reported the offer to Livingston, Bonaparte said: "Well! you have charge of the Treasury. Let them give you one hundred millions of francs, and pay their own claims, and take the whole country." The American claims were estimated at about twenty-five millions, and therefore Marbois’s price amounted to at least one hundred and twenty-five million francs.

  1. Livingston to Madison, April 13, 1803; State Papers, ii. 552, 544.