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MEMBER OF THE MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
AUTHOR OF A SHORT HISTORY OF ANGLO-SAXON FREEDOM
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, ETC.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAP
This book undertakes to describe a transaction—the sale by the French Government to the United States of the western half of the Mississippi Valley, known at the time as Louisiana. At the fortunes of this vast region, known now as the Louisiana Purchase, before and since that sale this book does nothing more than glance; in a cursory way it gives only so much as is needed to make plain the character and importance of the incident.
Now that we are about to celebrate, at St. Louis, one hundred
of possession on a scale commensurate with the grandeur of the acquisition, a book devoted closely to the crisis, written for the people, viewing affairs through the long perspective of a most eventful century, and recounting the European as well as the American phases of the tory, seems certainly to be in place.
While holding his predecessors in great respect, and acknowledging a great obligation to them, as the foot-notes will testify, the present writer ventures upon a new presentation. He believes that the transaction was a piece of Napoleonic statesmanship, Jefferson and his negotiators playing only a secondary part. Excepting by Mr. Henry Adams (History of the United States during the Administration of Thomas Jefferson), too little attention perhaps has been paid heretofore in America to the French side of the matter. Mr. Adams's account, intended for scholarly readers, enlarges upon diplomatic details, and abbreviates certain picturesque points; and is besides so embedded with much other history, in a work of nine vol. umes, as to be not easily accessible.
The present writer has approached his topic from the French side, making large use of French authorities, and giving at length some important secret history not heretofore fully set forth in English. Having in mind as readers, youths on the verge of maturity, and men and women too busy for deep study of the matter, he has felt that state-paper