BARBE-MARBOIS, Francois, Marquis de (1735-1847). Histoire de la Louisiane et de la Cession de cette Colonie par la France aux Etats-Unis de l'Amerique Septentrionale. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1829.
8vo., (7 4/8 x 5 inches). Half-title. Fine folding engraved map of the United States with original hand colour in full. 19th-century calf backed marbled paper boards, black morocco lettering-pieces on the spine (extremities a little scuffed).
First edition. Streeter reports: " Barbe - Marbois represented France in the preliminary negotiations with the United States on the Louisiana purchase and his book is one of the main sources on that subject. . . . The important map in the first edition indicated the 110th meridian as the western extent of Louisiana".
The Louisiana Purchase, was the monumentally significant agreement by which the United States bought from France that part of France's North American empire roughly defined by the Missouri and Mississippi River watersheds. The "deal doubled the size of the nation, creating what Thomas Jefferson termed an "empire for liberty."
French control of the region dated from 1682, when the explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed on behalf of King Louis IX a vaguely defined area he named "Louisiana." Rather than lose the colony to Britain as a result of its defeat in the Seven Years' War, France ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1763. Rising tensions between the United States and Spain led to Pinckney's Treaty (1795), which guaranteed American navigation rights on the Mississippi River and the right to deposit goods for export at New Orleans, through which most of the trade of the western states passed.
"In 1801, rumors that Spain had transferred Louisiana back to France alarmed many Americans. Fearing that access to the Gulf of Mexico might be interrupted, some Americans, mostly from the West, called for the territory to be taken by force. To head off this sentiment, President Thomas Jefferson dispatched Robert Livingston of New York and, later, James Monroe to Paris to negotiate the purchase from France of New Orleans and the province of Florida west of the Perdido River.
"Meanwhile, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, faced with defeat in the French sugar colony of Santo Domingo, decided to sell all of Louisiana in order to consolidate his forces in Europe. Although their instructions empowered them only to acquire New Orleans and West Florida, Livingston and Monroe jumped at the French offer. Understanding the territorial ambitions of many Americans, they recognized this acquisition as a unique opportunity. On 30 April 1803, American and French negotiators initialed agreements transferring the Louisiana territory to the United States in exchange for $11,250,000. In addition, the United States assumed $3,750,000 in claims of its citizens against France.
"The Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806 brought back the first scientific and economic knowledge of a land purchased sight unseen by the United States. The expedition also helped undergird a U.S. claim extending the limits of the Louisiana territory as far west as the Columbia River region and as far south as West Florida and Texas. Spanish objections, first to the legality of France's sale of the territory, and then over its boundaries, resulted in a diplomatic dispute with the United States that lasted until the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty in 1819" (