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observations of his own. It has, therefore, excited the at-
tention of the Emperor as well as of his Minister of Foreign
Affairs. I have no reason to believe that it has affected me
disadvantageously in their minds, but there may be facts
stated there, which they as well as I know to be true, but
which they are not pleased to see publicly stated under
the authority of my name. There are enemies and allies and
subjects, whose interests and passions and politics are deeply
involved In the subjects touched upon in that extract. The
human body is sometimes in such a state of nervous irrita-
bility, that the slightest whisper is sufficient to throw it
into a convulsion. The body politic of the civilized world
Is now in almost as diseased a state. If I were to write
letters for the express purpose of having them published In
America, I could not pen a line of them without calculating
Its probable operation in France, In England, and In Russia,
as well as upon the public opinion In America. Besides
the restraint under which everything thus composed must
be produced, there are such great, sudden and violent
changes In the complicated machine of European and Ameri-
can politics, that I doubt whether It would be possible to
make up for publication anything which, in the interval
between the time of writing and that of producing its effects,
might not entirely lose Its beneficial operation, and turn from
an antidote into a bane. The favor extended to the Ameri-
can commerce In Russia since my arrival here Is, I believe,
now well known in every part of Europe and of the United
States. Of the share of credit which I might claim in ob-
taining it I am not a competent judge, and however I may
be tempted to overrate it, I have at least no pretension to
any other merit than that of having done my duty. The


course of events, or rather as I ought to consider it, the smile
of Providence, has propitiated my endeavors, and to Provi-
dence I hope I am duly grateful for it. But I am and have
been fully aware that this favorable state of things Is liable
to change, and that events might occur from day to day
as inauspicious to the success of any exertions in my power
as hitherto they have been promotive to it. Above all I
have been convinced, that for what I could attribute only
to the personal kindness and good will of the sovereign, the
most useful gratitude and that which would be most pleasing
to him would be, to conceal rather than to ostentatiously
divulge his favor. And one of the reasons which occasions
my regret that I cannot now return home is, that there are
changes here to which I must look forward as more than
probable, and under which the motives for favoring America
will be far less urgent than they have been hitherto.

Your disposition to draw from everything that you read,
whether poetry, romance or history, speculations upon gov-
ernment, with your own description of this state of mind,
delighted me exceedingly; not only as I could see In It the
likeness of the picture, but as It struck me with the accuracy
of self observation In the painter. I rejoice that meditation
upon government, as resulting from and combined with
the nature of man, has been throughout your life the most
strongly marked feature In your character, because I am
convinced that your country has already derived great
benefit from this cause and Its effects, and because I am
equally confident that posterity will derive still more ad-
vantage from them. Though you will expect no thanks from
your country, perhaps none from posterity, for any good
they may enjoy In consequence of your labors. It Is my
deliberate opinion that this very propensity of your mind is
the principal cause, If not the exclusive one, of the balance


established as the great and fundamental principle of the
American Constitution. Other men may claim details, many
of them very ill suited to the system. Some are useful,
some injurious and some absurd, but the balance is yours
and yours alone. How long it will last I shall not undertake
to say; but there it is in the general Constitution, and in
most of the particular ones. Let the powers of earth and
the other place be conjured as they have been against it,
they can devise nothing to take the place of this balance
without falling into anarchy or despotism. In your own
country mankind have, therefore, to a certain extent and to
a very great extent, listened to you and to nature. So far
as they have listened to you, their systems of government
have hitherto proved highly prosperous. But whatever
our future history is destined to be, the principle of the bal-
ance is now so deeply rooted in our institutions, that it can
no more be eradicated from them than your agency In in-
troducing it can be contested.

You have in one or two of your letters reported to me the
opinion of certain of your correspondents upon the review
of Ames, not without a little friendly sarcasm upon my dis-
trust of the talents of Americans at panegyric. I do not
dislike praise, but I am certainly much more covetous of
approbation. Racine, the poet, once said that all the praise
he had ever received had not given him so much pleasure as
any one instance of censure however slight, however unjust,
and however contemptible, had given him pain. My feelings
are not tuned to such exquisite sensibility as those of Racine,
but censure gives me more pain than any applause but yours
and my mother's can give me of enjoyment. It Is much
sweeter to my soul to see my friends, my country, and even
my enemies, made wiser, better or happier by any act of
mine, than it would be to hear the loudest concert of ap-


plause that the united voices of the whole human race could
produce. There is so much of this thing called praise which
springs from friendship, from prejudice, from party spirit,
from flattery, from interest, and even from the bad passions,
that I consider very little of it as genuine, and set but a low
value upon it. I value your applause, because I consider it
as evidence of a duty, one of the greatest duties discharged.


No. 56. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 29 June, 181 1.


On Monday last I received a note from Mr. GouriefF, the
Minister of the Finances, informing me that in consequence
of my conversation with him (Mr. Gourleff) the preceding
Saturday, which I mentioned to you in my letter of that day,
his Majesty the Emperor had been pleased to order that
permission for the re-exportation by sea should be granted for
the prohibited articles which had been brought by the two
ships Horace and Superior, and that this re-exportation
might be either in the same vessels, or in any others at the
option of the parties interested.

The Ellen Maria, Captain Adams, had sailed in April,
1 8 10, from Lisbon for Riga. She was taken by a Danish
privateer and detained nearly twelve months, before her
final acquittal in the prize courts of Denmark. She then
completed her voyage, although an ordinance of May, 18 10,
confirmed by the commercial regulations of the present year
prohibited the entry of vessels in Russia, from the European


ports of Portugal. But all the vessels which had sailed from
Lisbon before notice of the prohibition, and which had ar-
rived in the course of the last year, had been admitted. On
her arrival at Riga, the Ellen Maria was denied admission.
Captain Adams wrote me a letter, and I wrote a note to
Count Romanzoff, claiming in favor of this vessel the appli-
cation of the principle upon which those that arrived last
year had been admitted. Mr. Gourieff informed me that he
had dispatched his orders to Riga to that effect.

In my letter of 26 March, number 43, I mentioned the
case of the Eliza, a vessel which had arrived last year
from the Island of Teneriffe at Archangel, and a part of
whose cargo had been condemned for a supposed irregularity
of her papers. This part of the sentence is now reversed by
a decision of the Imperial Council, and the wines are to be
restored on the production of the regular documents.

Several vessels which on their passage from the United
States have been taken, or driven by stress of weather into
English ports, where some of them had been detained the
whole winter, have also by special permission been admitted.
Upwards of forty American vessels with cargoes have ar-
rived already at Cronstadt, and a proportionable number at
Riga and at Archangel. American vessels are, with very
few exceptions, the only ones that arrive loaded. In con-
sequence of the seizures and confiscations of vessels which
come here, and to Swedish and Prussian ports last year,
with licenses, it has been found impossible this year to effect
insurance upon such adventures in London for the present
season. A contract for ten or twelve thousand tons of hemp
for the use of the British navy has been made here; but for
its transportation they have been obliged to send out a
number of vessels, under flags of all colors, and with licenses,
but in ballast. These are among the consequences of the



Orders In Council, and the licenses. Their effect here at
this time Is to give the market exclusively to the Americans.
This Is now so notorious, and Is felt so deeply by the English
Interest, that I would ask nothing more than a continuance of
the present state of things one year longer to sicken the most
stubborn of the British ministers with their Orders of
Council and their licenses. A peace between Russia and
England would produce a total revolution In the commerce
of the Baltic. Perhaps the British ministers rely upon this
event. They may have relied upon It too much, and pre-
maturely. At least It Is clear beyond all question that un-
less they do make this peace the operation of their Orders
of Council win henceforth In these quarters lie almost en-
tirely against themselves.

I wish It were in my power to speak as favorably of the pro-
ceedings of France towards our commerce, as of those of
Russia. Since the last non-Importation act, passed at the
close of the late session of Congress, we are told that the
sequester upon the vessels from the United States, arrived
In France since the 2nd of November last, has been removed.
But the tariff remains unaltered, and the duties are equiva-
lent to prohibitions.

In the course of the last week, Mr. Harris has received a
letter from Captain Irion, master of one of the four American
vessels carried Into Dantzlg. He Informs him that twenty-
two American seamen, belonging to those four vessels have
been compelled to march from Dantzlg to Antwerp, where
they are to be forced to serve on board the French fleet.
I suppose that we shall be told this Is a retaliation upon
the British for their Impressment of our men.

The discussions between this country and France are yet
In a state of stagnation. Nothing Is settled. It would seem
as If nothing was doing for a settlement. It Is Intimated



here that great hopes of a conciliatory nature are enter-
tained from the reports which it is supposed the Duke de
Vicence, the late French ambassador, carried with him.
Much is expected from the disastrous state of the French
cause in Spain. But whether the result of that will be to
preserve the peace, or to precipitate the war in the north, is
not perfectly ascertained. A report of the Emperor Na-
poleon's speech to the Council of Commerce on the 24th
of March has been published in a Danish gazette, printed at
Altona. It differs less in substance than in the expressions
from that of which I sent you a translation. It has been
formally and officially disavowed by the French ambassador
to Count Romanzoff. But this speech has rung like thunder
all over Europe. The Russian government know, beyond all
possible disavowal, that the substance of it was made.
They expect the war as it was threatened, and are prepared
to meet it. They will not abandon their commerce and
particularly that of America. They have the whole military
force of the Empire on the frontiers and ready for action,
and are now probably not to be intimidated.

The Imperial Council are still occupied with the project
which has been mentioned in several of my late letters. The
Chancellor now believes that the part of it which was to
remove him from the Department of Foreign Affairs will not
be accomplished. But I think this question will depend
upon the solution of the present controversies with France.
If they terminate in war, he must go out. As long as the
peace continues it is scarcely possible that any other person
should come in.

The Portuguese minister, who has so long been expected,
the Chevalier Bezarra,^ arrived here the day before yester-
day. He landed at Reval, from the British frigate Fisgard,

1 Bezarra had been Portuguese Minister in Holland 1802-1810.


which was sent with a flag of truce to convey him and his
family. He has this day seen Count Romanzoff, but has
not yet had his audience of the Emperor. I am very re-
spectfully, etc.


St. Petersburg, 30 June, 1811.

I have now to acknowledge the receipt of your number
six, dated 23 February, brought by the Henry, Captain
Harris, a vessel of which we had heard nearly a month since,
and which has at length arrived after a passage from Boston
of one hundred days. The arrivals from America now crowd
upon one another in multitudes, which I am afraid will prove
not very profitable to many of the adventurers. From Quincy
we have yet nothing later than 4 March, but letters and news-
papers have been received by other Americans here to the
beginning of May.

The Massachusetts election appears to agitate the Ameri-
cans in Europe almost exclusively of all the other elections
going on at the same time in many parts of the Union. I
see paragraphs in the newspapers, but hear not a syllable
from any other quarter. But American federalists in this
city have received letters from their friends in London and
in Gothenburg, in high exultation, announcing the election
of Mr. Gore ^ by a majority of more than the three thousand
votes. But other Americans of different politics contest the
validity of this return, and affirm that Mr. Gerry and Mr.
Gray have been reelected though by a reduced majority
compared with that of the last year. Why this extreme
anxiety and concern for the Massachusetts elections? Is it

^ The federalist candidates were Christopher Gore and William Phillips.



Air. Gore for whose election all this enthusiasm is harbored?
I think it by no means difficult to account for. There is
much foreign hope and fear involved in these Massachusetts
elections. All the rest, even New York, are despaired of.
But the Massachusetts federal politicians have got to talk
so openly, and with such seeming indifference not to say
readiness for a dissolution of the Union, they are so valiant
in their threats of resistance to the laws, they seem so reso-
lute for a little experiment upon the energy of the Union and
its government, that in the prospects of a war with America,
which most of the British statesmen now at the helm con-
sider as in the line of wise policy, they and all their partisans
calculate boldly and without concealment or disguise upon
the cooperation of the Massachusetts federalists. The
Massachusetts election, therefore, is a touchstone of national
principle, and upon its issue may depend the question of
peace and war between the United States and England.
However hostile a British ministry may feel against us, they
will never venture upon it, until they can depend upon ac-
tive cooperation with them within the United States. It is
from the New England federalists alone that they can ex-
pect it, and from them they will doubtless receive it. From
the same view of the subject, though prompted by very op-
posite feelings, I too take a deep interest in the Massachu-
setts elections. I have known now more than seven years
the projects of the Boston faction against the Union. They
have ever since that time at least been seeking a pretext and
an occasion for avowing the principle. The people, however,
have never been ready to go with them, and when at the
embargo time they did for a moment get a majority with
them, they only verified the old proverb about setting a
beggar on horseback. Mr. Quincy has now been at the
pains of furnishing them with a new pretext, which will


wear no better than its predecessors. Mr. Quincy should
not have quoted me as an authority for a dissolution. He
may be assured It is a doctrine that never will have my sanc-
tion. It is my attachment to the Union which makes me
specially anxious for the result of the Massachusetts elec-
tions. They are a contest of life and death for the Union.
If that party are not effectually put down in Massachusetts,
as completely as they already are in New York, and Penn-
sylvania, and all the southern and western states, the Union
is gone. Instead of a nation, coextensive with the North
American continent, destined by God and nature to be the
most populous and most powerful people ever combined
under one social compact, we shall have an endless multi-
tude of little insignificant clans and tribes at eternal war
with one another for a rock, or a fish pond, the sport and
fable of European masters and oppressors.^

1 "There are so many seeds and elements of division, that it is unnecessary to
multiply them by premature threats which will not intimidate, and which may
perhaps be soon reciprocated. Quincy is very clever, but I cannot read a word
without regret that glances at a dismemberment of the Union, though ever so re-
motely or obscurely. The dangers to American liberty will be increased beyond
all Mr. Ames's imaginations, and the independence of both parts of the division
would be totally lost by a separation." John Adams to John Quincy Adams, Jan-
uary 25, 1811. Ms. "The prophecies of Quincy's imagination are not altogether
chimerical, though I hope the fulfilment of them is far, very far remote In futurity."
lb. to lb., February 15, 1811. Ms.

"June 12. By a return of the first day's votes of the Massachusetts election which
I find in a New York paper, I perceive that the Executive In Massachusetts has
changed hands again. And the course of these elections is so regular, that from the
events which must have influenced those of the House of Representatives in May,
I have no doubt that the legislative majority has gone back to Its station of the
years preceding the last. It is obvious that this struggle will be continued as long
as the war In Europe shall last. My prayer to God is, that it may eventuate to the
good of my country." Ms. Diary.



St. Petersburg, 5 July, 181 1.

I have received the letter which you did me the honor of
writing me the 31st of January last, relating to Claude
Gabriel, to whom I have read and explained it in the fullest
manner, at the same time that I delivered to him the letter
from his wife Prudence, that was inclosed with it.

At the time when he entered the service of the Emperor,
the Minister of the Police, by order of his Majesty, who did
not know that the ship to which he belonged was gone leav-
ing him behind, sent to me a message that the man was de-
sirous of engaging himself in the Emperor's service, who
had consented to take him, if he could be disengaged from
that of the ship; that his iMajesty would indemnify the
owners of the ship, if they should sustain a loss in the man,
and I could ascertain their demand on that account; and that
he would also defray all expenses which might be occasioned
for the passage of Prudence and her children to this country.
As the ship was gone I undertook to give information to
the owners of the Emperor's offer to indemnify them, and
knowing that Mr. William Gray of Boston would probably
send vessels to this country the ensuing spring, I wrote
to him requesting him, if he conveniently could, to provide
a passage for the woman and children in one of them. I
wrote also to Mr. Russell at Paris, who had been the super-
cargo and as I understood part owner of the ship President
Adams, informing him that if the owners had any demand
for damages occasioned by the loss of the man, the Emperor
had ordered that it should be satisfied. From Mr. Russell's
answer I understood that although the loss of the man was


considered as a serious Inconvenience, no demand for In-
demnity would be made.

From the tenor of your letter I am led to believe that you
consider the man as being detained against his own will,
which is far from being the case. He Is perfectly well satis-
fied with his condition here, which Is a very advantageous
one, and exceedingly disappointed at his wife's refusal to
come with his children to join him here. He has obtained
permission from his Majesty to go himself to the United
States, with a view to return with them, which he hopes
the health of his wife and the security which she and his
family will derive from being with him will enable him to
accomplish. He informs me that he Is not a citizen of the
United States, but he considers himself as a free man, and
best qualified to judge of the manner in which he is to pro-
vide for himself and his family. I have in consequence of
your letter urged upon him in the most earnest manner
the duty which he owes to his wife and children, of which
he appears to be fully sensible. But he is firmly convinced
that for their ease and comfort as well as his own, the most
eligible condition within his reach is that which he now en-
joys, and he has neither inclination nor intention to renounce

He will probably arrive in Providence shortly after this
letter will come to your hands. I presume that In all events
he will make a suitable provision for his family, so that
whether he returns hither or remains with them in the
United States, your solicitude on his account and theirs
will be relieved by the knowledge, that whatever course he
may ultimately determine upon will be the result of his own
choice. I am etc.



No. 57. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 6 July, 181 1.


The speech of the Emperor Napoleon to the legislative
assembly of France at the opening of their session, the
l6th of last month, was brought by an extraordinary courier
from the Russian ambassador in France to his government
and arrived here on Wednesday last. It had been a subject
of great expectation, as it was foreseen that it would indi-
cate the prospects, whether of peace or war, between France
and Russia which were known to depend altogether upon
the will of the French Emperor. Its complexion is altogether
pacific and has confirmed, almost to a certainty, the hopes
of those, who have for some time past flattered themselves
that the war will not break out during the present year. If
the true intention of the speaker were to be collected with
unerring accuracy from the purport of the speech, not a
doubt could remain upon the question. The name of Russia
is not mentioned in the speech, but there is frequent allu-
sion to the state of the relations between her and France,
and always in obscure and ambiguous terms. He says, that
he has no occasion to call for any new taxes or impositions
upon the people, although he had three months before placed
one hundred millions at the disposition of his ministers of
war, because he then thought it necessary. Three months
before was precisely the time, when he made his far famed
speech to the Council of Commerce and Manufactures.
He says that he wishes nothing but what is in the treaties


that he has concluded : that he will never sacrifice the blood
of his people for interests, which are not immediately those of
his empire, and that he flatters himself the peace of the con-
tinent will not be disturbed. There seems to be in these ex-
pressions a promise that he will give satisfaction to Russia
with regard to the Duchy of Oldenburg and to the extraor-
dinary armaments in Poland; but the strongest of all the
pledges of peace Is the assurance that he will not ask for
any additional taxes.

By the peace of the continent, however, he is not to be
understood as Including the peace of Spain. There, he says,
it Is that the struggle against Carthage is to be decided. It

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