The Deal

Page 11 of 13

April 1803

April 11

Secretary of State James Madison has authorized Livingston to pay up to 50 million francs ($9,375,000) for New Orleans. When Talleyrand asks how much the U.S. would pay for the entire territory of Louisiana, Livingston offers 20 million francs.


Marquis Francois de Barbé-Marbois's counter: 100 million francs plus the liquidation of claims against France for American citizens' property seized by French ships during the naval "war" of 1798-99.

Livingston declines.

Barbé-Marbois: 60 million francs, plus assumption of claims.

Livingston and Monroe: 40 million francs.

Barbé-Marbois: no sale.

Livingston and Monroe: 50 million francs.

Barbé-Marbois: 60 million francs.


April 27

Agreed: The price is 60 million francs ($11,250,000), plus 20 million francs ($3,750,000) to cover American citizens' claims.


April 30

Signed and sealed. Barbé-Marbois has gotten a better price than Napoleon had expected.