François Barbé-Marbois papers 1784-1790
François Barbé-Marbois is perhaps best known for negotiating the Louisiana Purchase as Minister of Finance under Napoleon. However, this was but one segment of a long and varied career during which the marquis showed a remarkable talent for adapting to changing political winds. Barbé-Marbois had a long diplomatic career in America, serving as secretary of the French legation to the newly-formed United States under Luzerne, and later as Consul-General and representative.
In 1784, Barbé-Marbois was allegedly assaulted in Philadelphia by the chevalier Charles Julian de Longchamps, and a public controversy arose as to whether the defendant was to be tried in Pennsylvania or in France, as that nation's courts demanded. Longchamps was married to an American and had supposedly taken the oath of citizenship, but had been in this country less than a year and was a French military officer. These documents show that Longchamps was eventually tried and sentenced in the Pennsylvania courts. It is unknown whether he remained in this country.