Marquess De Barbé-Marbois Offers Livingston All Of Louisiana
The failure of his plans for the re-enslaving of the freed population of Haiti led Bonaparte to abandon his plans to rebuild France's New World empire. Without the large profits that could accrue from sugar plantations in the Caribbean, Louisiana had little value to him. Napoleon gave notice to his minister of the treasury, François de Barbé-Marbois, on April 10, 1803, that he was considering surrendering the Louisiana Territory to the United States. On April 11, 1803, just days before Monroe's arrival, Marquess de Barbé-Marbois offered Livingston all of Louisiana instead of just New Orleans. President Jefferson had instructed Livingston to only purchase New Orleans. However, he was certain that the United States would accept such a large offer.
Born in Metz, where his father was director of the local mint, Barbé-Marbois tutored the children of the Marquis de Castries. In 1779 he was made secretary of the French legation to the United States. When the minister Chevalier de la Luzerne returned to France in 1783, Barbé-Marbois remained in America as chargé d'affaires. That year he married Elizabeth Moore, the daughter of William Moore, former governor of Pennsylvania.
In 1785 he became intendant of the colony of Saint-Domingue under the Ancien Régime.