Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/63

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Ch. 2.

Besides this sum of eleven and a quarter million dollars, the United States government was to assume and pay the debts due by France to American citizens, estimated at twenty million francs, or, at the same rate of exchange, $3,750,000,—making fifteen million dollars in all as the price to be paid. Livingston himself drew the claims convention with what he supposed to be particular attention; but it was modified by Monroe, and still further altered by Marbois. "The moment was critical; the question of peace or war was in the balance; and it was important to come to a conclusion before either scale preponderated. I considered the convention as a trifle compared with the other great object," avowed Livingston; "and as it had already delayed us many days, I was ready to take it under any form."[1] The claims convention was not signed till nearly a week after the signature of the treaty of cession. The form in which Livingston took it showed that neither he nor Monroe could have given careful attention to the subject; for not only did the preamble declare that the parties were acting in compliance with Article II. of the treaty of Morfontaine,—an Article which had been formally struck out by the Senate, cancelled by Bonaparte, and the omission ratified by the Senate and President since Livingston’s residence at Paris; not only did the claims specified fail to embrace all the cases provided for by the treaty of 1800, which

  1. Livingston to Madison, May 3, 1804; View of the Claims, etc., by a Citizen of Baltimore, p. 75.