#FromtheArchives - The Louisiana Purchase

This time on From the Archives we're exploring an important set of papers preserved in the archive that relate to one of the largest real estate deals in history - the Louisiana Purchase. 

The papers are preserved in the Northbrook Business Papers and throw light on the negotiations to finance the United States Government's purchase of Louisiana from France in 1803. The firms of Sir Francis Baring & Co based in London and Hope & Co of Amsterdam acted as advisors to the French and US governments on the transaction and handled the subsequent issue of US Government Stock to raise part of the payment due to France.

Prior to digitisation the papers were used by Professor Larry Neal, of the University of Illinois for his research on the financing of the Louisiana Purchase. In the EABH's Finance and History podcast Professor Neal discusses his research with Carmen Hofmann and sheds light on the factors that led to the involvement of Henry Hope and Francis Baring in American securities and ultimately the financing of the Louisiana Purchase. Some of the personalities Professor Neal mentions include Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Hope, Francis Baring, Alexander Baring and Pierre Cesar Labouchere.

The Louisiana Purchase papers at the Baring Archive cover the period 1803 to 1804. They were first arranged and listed by Francis George Baring, 2nd Lord Northbrook in 1903 at the time of the centenary of the Purchase. Now, nearly 220 years after the original transaction, the papers have been digitised and are accessible to a global audience.

Discover more:

Prospectus for American Louisiana Stock issued by Barings in London.
Prospectus for American Louisiana Stock issued by Barings in London.

Posted on Tuesday, 14th June 2022

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