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appearance of this privateer may however render it indis-
pensable for them to resort to that protection upon their
return. I have been asked for an opinion by the supercargo
of one vessel about to sail, and recommended to him, not
indeed to take English convoy, but to keep out of reach
from that privateer.

It is far from being certain what treatment our vessels
will henceforth experience from the English ships in the
Baltic themselves. There are daily rumors of vessels which
have recently sailed from this port having been captured
by the British cruisers, and the latest accounts from Eng-
land mention the name of a vessel direct from New York
to St. Petersburg taken and carried into Portsmouth. I
have the honor to be etc.



(Private.) St. Petersburg, 24 August, 181 1.

Dear Sir:

I ought not at this time to have still to acknowledge
the receipt of your obliging favor of 4 January last, which
I received about the last of May. With regard to any in-
formation of a public nature that my correspondence could
afford, I have presumed that if you remained at the head of
the War Department, you would have as much of It and as
frequently as would be agreeable; and in the uncertainty
both as to your situation and of my own, which the changes,
real and rumored, of the late times have produced, I was
under a sort of necessity to wait, that I might [write] with
something more of knowledge what to say and where to
address you, than I have hitherto been able to possess.

I must thank you particularly for the view of the three
great subjects, which were to occupy the attention of Con-
gress at that, as you justly termed It, eventful session —
Florida, the bank, and the non-intercourse, since modified
Into a non-importation. Your reflections upon all these
topics appear to me strikingly just, and with regard to the
course which was eventually pursued In respect to the two
last, any doubts which may remain upon my mind respect-
ing Its policy are entirely subordinate to the conviction that
nothing now remains but to support what was then done.

My situation In Europe, though almost as distant from
Paris as you are at Washington, had given me the means
of seeing the real course of the French policy perhaps more
clearly, than it could be discerned across the Atlantic.
The revocation of the decrees of Berlin and Milan I believe


to have been intentionally a fair offer to England, combined
with a contingent snare to the United States. If England
gave up her Orders in Council and her paper blockades,
France was perfectly willing to restore neutral commerce
to all its privileges, substituting the tariff as her weapon
against colonial merchandise, the commerce of which she
believed could yield no profit in any part of the world which
would not in the nature of things centre in England. If
England rejected or evaded the offer, as France foresaw she
would, then she had granted substantially nothing to
America, but had laid the trap which she concluded would
catch us in an English war. Of the duplicity which pre-
vailed in the French cabinet at that time I have had proofs
that would give sight to the blind. If my whole public
correspondence since last February has not miscarried on
its passage, some of these proofs must long ere this be known
to you. Even now France must studiously withhold all
evidence of her having practically revoked the two decrees
with regard to us, because the English government with
the same cunning have declared, that upon such evidence
being given they will revoke the Orders in Council. From
the moment that an American vessel which entered a French
port after the first of November had been seized and se-
questered, I considered the pledge, given by our non-
intercourse act of the former session and accepted by the
counterpledge of France in the Duke de Cadore's letter of
5 August, as totally forfeited, and not only forfeited by such
a gross and palpable violation of France's own engagement,
but doubly so by the insulting pretence that this sequester
was to satisfy herself how we should carry our promise into
effect. I did, therefore, most devoutly hope that neither
the non-intercourse, nor any measure specially pointed at
England, would have passed at the last session; not that


England did not most richly deserve it, but because I ap-
prehended that her mulish obstinacy, combining with our
punctilious sense of our own engagements, would play the
game into the hands of France, and make us both the dupes
of her craft and perfidy.

After saying thus much I ought to add, that I honor and
venerate the motives upon which the majority of both
Houses of Congress did finally determine upon the non-
importation act of the last session. That sense of a promise
given, which sacrifices to its fulfilment the resentment of
ill-usage and even the imminent prospect of a treacherous
return, has the sincerest homage of my heart, even when I
cannot reconcile its eflfects to the coolness of my judgment.
It would seem that a policy dictated by the purest and no-
blest principles of honor ought to be successful. I pray
that in this instance it may be so. At all events good faith,
however insulted and abused, can never be dishonored, and
if our country must suflPer, let it be in the cause of justice.
But the temper which a long series of outrages on the one
part and of insulted forbearance on the other, has excited
between our countrymen and the British, is daily producing
new incidents of irritation and new approximations to war.
The affair of the President and Little Belt, so contested on
the point of fact, but which I believe was unpremeditated
at least by the governments on both sides, has every appear-
ance of hastening the crisis, and may have brought it on at
the moment when I am writing. The prospect opening be-
fore our country is formidable, but not hopeless.

I have reflected perhaps more than the subject deserves
upon that part of your letters which personally concerns
myself, and the regret you express at my absence under the
present circumstances of affairs from home. I am certainly,
comparatively speaking, here in a quiet harbor, while those


of you who have so large a portion In the administration
are threatened with the pelting of a pitiless storm. But as
certainly my expedition here in the first Instance was not
more pleasing to myself than to you, I assented to the des-
tination, but by no means desired it. I have declined the
seat upon the bench, because I could not return In time to
take it. I should nevertheless have been by this time more
than half way home, but for circumstances in my family
which will detain me another twelve months. When I do
return, however, I shall have no partiality for any share In
the government, and least of all for a judicial ofhce. A
sentiment of my own, long entertained, would deter me from
that. Yet were it possible for the duties which a citizen
owes to his country to be increased by the obligations he
has received from her, I should feel mine already great be-
yond the possibility of adequate return, to have been yet
more accumulated by the honorable appointment which
was offered me.

The change which took place In one of the executive de-
partments ^ last spring has occasioned a multitude of rumors,
which have reached me either by the public newspapers or
by private letters to myself and to other Americans here.
There is yet a thick veil of obscurity over the real state of
things to my eyes, and no Immediate probability of Its re-
moval otherwise than by events. I hear and read much of
discussions and schisms In the republican party, of new
candidates to be started at the next presidential election,
and of the federalists having the balance in their hands.
All this comes from republican sources, though I am at a
loss to believe one part of It, and to understand another.
Most of the federalists have unfortunately placed themselves

1 The Department of State. For the President's statement, see Works of Madison
(Rives), II. 495.


in such a position that they cannot act from any other im-
pulse than faction. But to some of them and to all of the
republicans I hope the dangers of the country will have the
effect which a philosophical historian says they always
[have] upon virtuous nations, to cement Union, and not as
in corrupted countries, to embitter discussion.

I say little to you about the state of my affairs for the
reasons I have already assigned In justification for not hav-
ing written to you sooner. Our commerce here has been
constantly favored, in spite of every obstacle thrown In its
way from external quarters. It suffers principally at this
time from the consequences of that favor. The markets
are crowded and overstocked. The Danes had nearly es-
caped their depredations. The English, though according
to the Wellesley doctrine they have two if not three block-
ades of the Sound still subsisting because not formally re-
voked, have not in fact blockaded the passage at all this
year. Our vessels, therefore, would come and go perfectly
secure, but for certain pirates with French colors which at
Dantzig on the coast of Holstein, and now recently at Copen-
hagen, take every loaded vessel that they can catch, and
prey upon Americans, because they do not have recourse
to the English protection, France and Russia do not agree
well together, but both declare they will remain at peace
for the present. The English government with no small
ostentation sent a frigate here, with a few Russian prisoners
that had been left in England, but she was allowed to have
no other communication with the shore. The war between
Russia and the Turks continues, but excepting on one occa-
sion we have scarcely heard anything of It this year. There
has been a new levy of troops in Sweden which has occa-
sioned some popular disturbances, but they are now sub-
dued. I am etc.



St. Petersburg, 26 August, 181 1.
Dear Sir:

Your favor of the 9th Instant was but twelve days from
its date when I received it. If It were not for these pestifer-
ous privateers, we could correspond much more expeditiously,
and more safely too by our own countrymen, who are com-
ing and going through the Sound than by the post. But while
the danger of capture by English, French and Danes hangs
over them, whatever It may be advisable to write, it will be
equally prudent to send by duplicates. I therefore inclose
you a copy of my last, and have numbered this as I shall
continue to do in future, that we may ascertain whether
all those I write you are received and, If not, which of them
may fail.

This open Deal pilot boat, with French colors and a crew
partly of Americans Issuing from Copenhagen, taking Ameri-
cans within the Swedish jurisdiction, and sending their
papers to Paris, has excited feelings which you will readily
conceive. If the Danish government cannot assert its own
jurisdiction within its own capital against a piratical Deal
pilot boat, how can they possibly expect that duties should
be paid them for the passage of the Sound. All the vessels
directly from America which have arrived here this season,
have come through the Sound, or without convoy through
the Belt. If they return in a different manner, it will be
only to keep out of the reach of the French privateers.
Immediately on receiving your letter I had notice of Its
contents given to all masters of vessels and others Inter-
ested here at Reval and at Riga. All those who came with
convoy will no doubt return In the same manner. They are


very little concerned about French privateers or any others.
I regret very much that the Inflexibility of Denmark upon
what she has chosen to call convoy cases and those new dep-
redations of soi-disant French privateers, has tended so
strongly to spread the opinion among our countrymen here,
that the safest course for Americans to come or go will be
by taking real convoy.

I forgot in my last letter, and I ought to be ashamed at
having forgotten, to thank you for your very obliging offer of
a bed In your house at my passage upon my return. If you
should not be disappointed In your expectation of winding
up by the month of December, I shall be deprived of the
pleasure of meeting you there, as I have no chance of getting
away from hence until next June. But unless Denmark
has the grace of a nimbler speed towards justice, than is too
common to belligerent spoilers, you will hardly be able to
finish so soon as December. I am so far from anticipating
that you will escape from your island of Seeland the next
winter, that I am thinking how we shall manage our corre-
spondence when the passages by water will be barred. I
have had experience of a curiosity to be acquainted with
my epistolary style at Hamburg since the reunion of the
Hanseatic cities, and I wish not to give the police or the
post office any unnecessary and unprofitable trouble in the
perusal of my letters. If they are of my mind, they would be
much gratified and amused by the inspection of yours; but
there is so much of selfishness in the pleasure I derive from
them, that I am not altogether willing they should share it
with me.

The precise state of actual negotiation between France and
Russia is not sufficiently critical to be known without the
pale of the two cabinets. The details that are known would
not interest you much. There has been recently a relaxation


of preparations on both sides. Both the Emperors have said
they hoped the peace of the north would not be disturbed,
but each has in a civil manner dared the other to fire the
first gun. This fear of being charged with having fired the
first gun seems to be the only thread by which the peace of
the world hangs. What a spider's web it is the affair of the
Little Belt may show.

England is no doubt anxious for a reconciliation with Rus-
sia, which becomes important to her in proportion as she
approaches to the turn of rupture with us. Hitherto, how-
ever, her advances have been received with great coolness.
A Portuguese minister landed from a British frigate at
Reval in June, and since then another frigate has brought
home a few Russian prisoners who had been left in England.
She was received however in a manner by no means flatter-
ing, and allowed no communication with the shore excepting
to land the prisoners. Some English people who were here,
and had received permission from the Emperor to embark
in her and return to England, found her already gone when
they arrived at Reval, and were sent after her in a flag of
truce. The English partisans here have indulged them-
selves in hopes that this indulgence of the Emperor to a few
individuals portended a great advance towards peace; but in
reality it was nothing but the result of a personal and gen-
erous sentiment of the Emperor's, to return in kind the
politeness of the English government, without having any
connection whatever with the political system of the Empire.

A large number of vessels, American and others, have ar-
rived here indirectly from England in ballast. They came to
carry back hemp, which is in great demand and at very high
prices in England. This is paid for almost entirely in cash,
for there has been no importation of English goods, and
scarcely any of colonial articles from England. The course


of exchange therefore upon England has risen from thirty
to forty per cent, and nearly in the same proportion upon
Hamburg, Paris and Amsterdam. It has even arrested the
depreciation in the paper currency of this country, but has
not raised its credit in the same degree with the rate of ex-

We have become acquainted with a Mr. and Mrs. Bent-
zon, who we are informed were your fellow passengers from
Newport to L'Orient. The lady is the first of our fair
country-women that we have seen here. They are lately
from Paris, and propose to return there before winter. Mr.
Bentzon is now laid up with the gout or rheumatism^ I
am etc.


St. Petersburg, 28 August, 181 1.

Dear Sir:

Your favor of 19 February and 20 May were received by
me within a short time of one another. The first was
brought as far as Paris by Mr. Erving, and forwarded to me
from that city by an occasional Russian courier. The second
was delivered me by Captain Lovett, who arrived here in a
vessel owned by Mr. Thorndike. Both of them gave me great
pleasure by the information of your own health and that
of your lady and family, and by much pleasing intelli-
gence respecting your own concerns and those of public

I have seen in the newspapers I believe all the numbers

1 "This is a Danish gentleman, who belonged to the island of Santa Cruz, and was
a member of the government there until it was taken by the English. He then
went to New York, and there married a Miss Astor of that city." Ms. Diary,
August 8, 18 1 1.


addressed by Leolin to Mr. Otis, one of which you inclosed
in your last letter; but I have never heard and am unable to
conjecture who was the author.^ His man7ier is respectful
and moderate perhaps even to excess. When men have
got to that stage of political violence, indicated by the res-
olutions which Mr. Otis did not think it unbecoming or
unjustifiable in him to support, the mild and soothing forms
of Leolin can have no more effect upon them than a barrel
of oil would have to allay a hurricane. As however there
may be still some well meaning citizens, whom cool reasoning
and soft persuasion may recall from treason and rebellion,
I am fully of opinion that Leolin deserves well of his country,
and I hope that his writings had the effect for which they
were intended.

I have also seen some of the numbers addressed to the
People of the United States, and published in the newspapers
by Mr. Pickering. As I had long known this man's honesty,
and in particular his regard to truth, was subordinate to the
violence of his passions and to his vanity, I was not at all
surprised either at the coarseness or at the falsehood of his
attacks upon the reputation of my father. His primary
object in writing at that time was so obviously to secure
his own reelection, that it was natural for him to suspect
others of passions as selfish and contracted as his own, and
with him, suspicion confirmed by a proper dose of hatred
is systematically equivalent to proof. I certainly felt in-
dignant at the effusions of his malice against my father,
but as there was no immediate effect injurious to him that
they could produce, I should have thought them in America,
as I think them here, deserving only of silent contempt.

^ These letters, four in number, written by James Trecothick Austin, were
printed in the Boston Patriot, and republished in a pamphlet, Resistance to Laws
of the United States, considered in four letters to Hon. H. G. Otis, 1811.


My father's reputation with posterity has a foundation which
it is not in such men as Pickering to shake.

The general policy of all the American states ever since
the acknowledgment of their independence has been peace
with all the world, and seclusion from the political system of
Europe. It is not difficult to see that under our federal con-
stitution such must be the policy of their executive, in whose
hands soever it may be placed. But Europe is perpetually
struggling to draw us into the vortex of her policy and her
views. More than once there has been imminent danger
that we should be so drawn in, but at no period so great
danger as at present. The folly of England and the arti-
fices of France alike tend to produce this crisis, which will
probably be further precipitated by our Internal factions
and the turbulent ambition of our party leaders. A war with
England will so totally change the face of everything in
the United States, that I, who delight in peace as much as
Fleury, have as long as possible turned my eyes away from
the contemplation of it. I hope there are those in our country
who have duly reflected, and with an eye to events now more
than probable, upon the difficulties, dangers and unavoid-
able evils which will attend a war, and upon the resources
which may be brought Into operation to carry It on and bring
it to a just and honorable conclusion. Some of Its miseries
have been anticipated and foretold, but there are many
others equally menacing which, by being thought of in
season, may perhaps be averted. As to our resources and
means they have been depreciated and underrated by party
writers, and perhaps as much exaggerated by others. They
are indeed great, but the most formidable difficulty will be
to bring them forth.

I have learnt by accounts of a later date than your letter,
that both branches of our legislature this year are republican.


Considering the great and increasing difficulties of our public
affairs, and the extraordinary exertions made by the feder-
alists, the result was honorable to the steadiness and sober
sense of the people. The remarks of Governor Gerry's
speech upon the resolutions of the Boston caucus were not
only just, but they contained some hints and cautions to
their author and supporters which I hope will make some im-
pression upon their feelings. Those gentlemen needed a
little admonition to inform them what game they were
playing. It is a strange thing to me that the Boston feder-
alists in particular should have yielded up to the guidance of
the weakest heads and most furious tempers of their party.
Such people, it is true, are always the busiest and the noisiest
partisans, and in times of heat often push themselves by
their mere bustle much above their natural level, but they
can bring nothing but discomfiture and shame to their as-
sociates, and were it possible they could acquire an ascend-
ency in the government, their accession to power would be a
signal of calamity to the nation.

It gives me much pleasure to learn that you have hitherto
been so successful in your struggles against a persecution,
much of which I never could attribute to anything but a
wretched bias of party politics. I wish you may derive as
much profit and pleasure from the publication of the Botan-
ist as you did from the delivery of your lectures. Mr. Gray's
establishment and patronage of the vaccine institution for
seamen is worthy of his judicious and benevolent mind,
always bent upon purposes of usefulness. I rejoice too that
it is placed under your management. I wish as much as you
that you could spend a month at St. Petersburg without
the labor of getting here. Besides the motives, which while
I am here myself would always prompt me to join in this
wish, I have now a particular and additional one — for I could


then ask you to vaccinate my little daughter who is not quite
three weeks old.

News I suppose you will not expect from the North Pole;
here I could scarcely give you any other. We are already far
advanced in autumn and begin to make fires. I have none
yet in the room where I write you, but my fingers are so
pinched with cold, that I can scarcely hold the pen; yet I can-
not lay it aside without requesting to be respectfully re-
membered to Mrs. Waterhouse, and offering my best regards
to all your young family. Being, dear sir, with sincere at-
tachment, etc.


No. 65. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 30 August, 181 1.

In the London Courier, a ministerial paper of 30 July,
there is a letter or a memoir, announced by an editorial
article with inflated solemnity, as perhaps the most impor-
tant state paper ever laid before the English nation, and
purporting to have been addressed by the Duke of Cadore,
whose name appears to it in form of signature, to Prince
Kurakin the Russian ambassador in France.^ It bears date
30 October, 18 10, and is repeatedly declared by the English
gazetteer to be of unquestionable authenticity. It is a very
stupid fabrication, which appears from its internal evidence
to have been written by some hireling scribbler of the pres-
ent British ministry, who after a clumsy distortion of the
commonplace accusations against Britain and British policy,

' Adams, Memoirs, August 28, 181 1.



which are often Introduced into French state papers, and a

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