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no difficulty to negotiate either with Sweden or with Russia.
Prince Lubomlrski, whom I have mentioned in a former
letter as having been in England, has lately returned here.
There remains no doubt that his visit to that country was
warranted by the sanction of the Emperor Alexander, and of
the British government. That he had any mission avowedly
of a political nature is strenuously denied. The Prince has
very large landed estates in Poland, the produce of which,
consisting chiefly of grain. Is rendered in a great measure
worthless by the want of an issue for exportation. Almost
all Poland is in the same situation. Dantzig at the mouth
of the Vistula, the outlet for Poland upon the Baltic, is in
the possession of France. Nothing can therefore go by that
course. The other outlet, by the Black Sea, is equally choked
up by the existing war between Russia and the Turks.
Under this double restraint upon all commercial circulation


the great Polish landholders are severely suffering, and it
aggravates the disaffection which may be supposed to exist
among them. The Duke de Richelieu came here last Spring
for the purpose of obtaining a free permission for the ex-
portation of grain by the Black Sea, notwithstanding the
Turkish war, and he succeeded in this object. But the Turks
now prohibited in their turn, and without their consent the
exportation could not be effected. Under these circum-
stances Prince Lubomirski was permitted to go to England
upon his private business, which was to propose to supply the
British (perhaps at Cadiz and Lisbon) with grain or flour
from his estates In Poland, by exportation from Odessa,
In return or payment for which he was content to take colo-
nial merchandises. It was understood that the British were
to undertake to obtain from the Turks the passage of the
vessels upon the Black Sea and through the Dardanelles,
to and from Odessa. It is also probable that the prince was
authorized to obtain by the consent of the British govern-
ment, a certain quantity of military stores, which were
wanted for the use of the Russian army. But all this too
was upon private commercial speculation. The British
government were ready enough to grant all that was wished.
But they were Inclined to give to the whole transaction a
publicity, which did not suit the views of the RussIanGovern-
ment, and to take Prince Lubomlrski's commercial specula-
tions for overtures of political negotiation. Mr. Liston was
dispatched as ambassador to Constantinople, and Sir Robert
Wilson ^ who had just published a book In honor of Russia
was sent out with him. The gazettes announced that Eng-
land was to mediate the peace between Russia and the Porte,
and were not backward In anticipating an union of their

^ Sir Robert Thomas Wilson, who wrote Brief Remarks on the character of the
Russian Army; Campaigns in Poland, 1806-1807.


arms against France. The store ships were sent, not only
with an affectation of notoriety, but under convoy of a
sloop of war. I have informed you of the manner in which
they arrived at Reval, and how they were ordered away.
After lingering for some time they went, and are said to have
carried off their lading as they brought it. And Russia,
without waiting for the efficacy of a British mediation at
Constantinople, has taken more effectual means to make
peace, by defeating the Turkish armies, and by offering
terms too advantageous to be refused.

There is no doubt but the negotiation for peace Is very
assiduously going forward at Bucharest. I am told that the
Emperor Alexander now considers its conclusion as certain.
About three weeks ago a courier was dispatched with his
ultimatum^ which he has no doubt will be accepted, and the
general expectation is that the Intelligence of the prelimina-
ries being signed cannot be delayed beyond another week or
fortnight. It is supposed nothing can disappoint this ex-
pectation, for although whatever of French influence may
exist at Constantinople will be exerted to prevent the peace,
it is believed that this influence itself is too much impaired
to produce an unfavorable effect.

Immediately after the news of the peace shall be received
Count Nesselrode is to be sent upon a special mission to
Paris, with powers and Instructions to settle all the differ-
ences with France, and particularly to adjust the indemnity
for the Duchy of Oldenburg. But the prevailing opinion here
in the diplomatic circle still is that the war will break out the
next spring. At all events the commerce with England will
be more freely allowed even than It has been this year. A
few remaining cases of the Teneriffe ships of last year were
decided last week in the Imperial Council. The sentence
of confiscation was passed upon them, but it Is represented


as little more than a formality to amuse the French ambassa-
dor. I have the honour to be, etc.


St. Petersburg, 22 December, 181 1.

• •••••«

This commercial phenomenon of colonial merchandises
exported from St. Petersburg and Archangel into Germany,
Italy and even France, is one of those singular symptoms in
the disordered state of the civilized world (if it deserves to be
called so) which strike superficial observers with amaze-
ment. The Emperor Napoleon has been preaching ab-
stinence of sugar and coffee to the people of Europe, with as
much zeal as the hermit Peter once preached the recovery of
the Holy Sepulchre from infidels. Finding his eloquence less
persuasive than that of Peter, he has invaded, conquered,
incorporated, and good citied, half a dozen sovereignties of
the old school, merely to teach the people abstinence of
sugar and coffee. He has offered them grape sugar, turnip
sugar, maple sugar, and I know not how many more sugars
and coffees In proportion, as substitutes for the true sugar
and coffee. He has taxed these delicious dainties beyond
all endurance, and he has threatened fire and sword against
whoever would not proscribe them like himself. Notwith-
standing all which sugar and coffee still make their way even
into France. First they went In from Holland, then from
Heligoland, then from Holstein, then from Prussia, and after
having been driven from all these stages they have now found
a vent through the very northern extremity of Europe, This
channel of colonial trade has been barely opened during the
present year; but it has proved so advantageous, not only


to the individual merchants, but to the revenues, the finances,
and the credit of this empire, that it will probably be con-
tinued on a much more extensive scale the next summer,
unless a new war should come and break it up altogether.
Napoleon has attempted partly to defeat it by authorizing
the seizure and confiscation of all vessels coming into or going
out of the Baltic; but his privateers will be able to catch
only a very small number of the vessels which sail under the
protection of English convoys, and no others will dare to
make their appearance. The exportation from hence by
land is to a place called Brody, the frontier of Austria in
what was once Poland. The Emperor of Austria has pro-
hibited the use of coffee in his dominions, and promises to
prohibit sugar too as soon as the maple trees shall be suffi-
ciently grown. But this deposit at Brody is not yet made ille-
gal, and it is doubtful whether even the influence of France
at Vienna will be strong enough to get it prohibited. The
prospect then is that the whole continent of Europe will the
ensuing year be well supplied with sugar and coffee from
Russia, but it must be understood that this prospect is sub-
ject to a contingency which may totally change its appear-
ance, that of a new war in the north of Europe. A war be-
tween the United States and England, or the entire accession
of the English Regent to the throne, would also have a mate-
rial influence on the aspect of affairs.

In this new state of European commerce our countrymen
have hitherto been almost exclusively the carriers on the
ocean. The business has yet been unprofitable to many of
them, and taken altogether a source of loss rather than of
profit. The fruit of their labors and dangers has been gath-
ered entirely by the Russian depositaries, who got the articles
for nothing when the market was glutted, and who are now
selling them at enormous prices. But there are now here a


number of Americans ready to adventure in the same specu-
lations which have proved so unsuccessful this year, and who
rely upon the continuance of the land conveyance to Brody.

The demand for cotton, the third great colonial article,
bears no proportion to that of the two others. The causes
of which are that a great supply of it from the Levant has
been opened into Italy, France and Germany, through the
Illyrian provinces, and the French tariff has laid duties so
much heavier upon the American cotton, that It cannot
stand in the market a competition with that of the East.
Another reason is that the prohibitions and the grinding
duties upon cotton have not been so widely extended nor of
so long continuance as upon the other articles. It has cir-
culated more freely. The scarcity and demand of it are con-
sequently not so great. There are probably other reasons
still, of some of which I may not be aware.

One effect of this incidental result of the continental
system has been that the exchange here upon Hamburg,
Amsterdam, and Paris, which nine months ago was from ten
to fifteen per cent below par. Is now as much above It. The
balance of trade which was so heavily against Russia, Is now
as much to her advantage. It Is hardly possible however
that France, perceiving this tax which she is paying to Russia,
should submit to it, and if she can prevent it, she will prob-
ably not scruple at the means, though war should be among

A question remains whether war itself would prove a
remedy to her complaints. That might depend upon its
success. The scene of the first conflicts would doubtless be
In Prussia and In Poland, where the approaches to hostility
have been manifested by preparations and armaments and
accumulations of forces on both sides for more than a year.
The event of a single battle might put the very road by which


the merchandise is transported in the possession of the
French army. But from the force that Russia has concen-
trated there she may perhaps maintain her ground more than
one campaign, and even carry the war beyond her own fron-
tiers. In that case the passage to Brody will remain free, but
a peace with England which would naturally precede or
immediately follow the rupture with her enemy would bring
the English in again as competitors with the Americans in
the market and at the same time an influence eager enough,
if possible, to exclude them from it.

Such is the view of things political and commercial at the
present juncture. The course of policy that it dictates to
our country is perseverance in her system of neutrality. The
session of Congress will doubtless be closed before you re-
ceive this letter. Nothing will I trust have been done in it
to precipitate a rupture with either France or England, and
I hope nothing will produce it. Both of them are still doing,
as they have done, their worst against us short of involving
us with them in their quarrel. But all the evil they have
done us is but the dross of which that would be the ocean.
They are both warring for impracticable pursuits. Let us
seek only peace.


St. Petersburg, i January, 1812.

• ••••••

I hope and trust that Congress will have the wisdom still
to preserve our country from war in which we could gain
nothing and could not fail to lose something of what is worth
more than all other possessions to a nation, our independence.


If between the two belligerent powers, France and England,
it were possible to discern a just or honorable cause; If In
their treatment of us It were possible to discern anything
but jealousy, hatred, and eagerness to despoil us of all the
advantages which they saw us enjoy, we have ample cause
to appeal to the last resort of nations against either. Were
it possible by any rational calculation to foresee that by
joining either of them against the other we should be able
to obtain justice for ourselves, and look back at the close
of the war with satisfaction as having contended success-
fully for a suitable object, I should wish for war. If a pro-
found and indignant feeling of the wrongs which both are
committing against us, and the most cordial wish to see them
redressed, were it at the sacrifice of more than my life, would
avail instead of line of battleships and battalions, my voice
should be for war, and I would strike as soon as preparation
could make it prudent at the party which is most vulnerable
to us, a point by no means difficult to ascertain. But "what
king," says our Saviour, "going to make war against another
king, sitteth not down first and consulteth whether he be
able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against
him with twenty thousand. " The proportion of the numbers
about which we are to consult are much more unfavorable
to us than those of ten and twenty thousand. They are in
point of naval force scarcely ten to five hundred, and our
principal object to contend for is unfortunately on the sea.
Our consultation need not therefore be long. The position
which is not pleasing to acknowledge, but which it behoves
us well to know and to consider. Is that we have not the
means to protect our commerce upon the ocean against the
violent Injustice of England. Still less have we the means
of forcing our commerce upon the continent of Europe,
which with some inconsiderable exception excludes It by


prohibitions or prohibitory duties. In the present condi-
tion of the world, and it is much to be doubted whether it
will ever be otherwise, that right is not worth a straw which
a nation has without force to defend it. We have not force
to defend our rights upon the sea, or exercise our rights
upon it at the pleasure of others. So it would still be if we
were at war. There Is, however, a consideration In our favor
which ought not to escape us. Both England and France
have mounted their policy upon systems as impracticable
for them to carry through as would be an attempt by us to
maintain our maritime rights by force. England abuses her
naval dominion by attempting to engross to herself exclu-
sively the commerce of the world. This she never can ac-
complish. France heaps conquest upon conquest until she
is unable to govern what she has conquered, and loses from
one hand while she is grasping with another. France and
England are now obviously fighting for objects which neither
will ultimately obtain. Both in spite of themselves are com-
pelled to admit our participation In commerce to a certain
extent. Both, If we have patience and preserve ourselves
from war, will be compelled to admit us still further. Their
necessities will do more for the restoration of our rights than
we could do by any exertion of our own forces.



No. "jj. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 12 January, 1812.

The peace with Turkey has not yet been proclaimed,
though it is still said to be as confidently expected as it was
at the date of my last letter. Circumstances have indeed
occurred, in themselves calculated to renew the doubts
which had almost disappeared, whether this peace was so
near being concluded as had been announced. The pre-
liminaries were actually signed. But as the Grand Vizier,
who was the Turkish plenipotentiary, had probably exceeded
his powers, it was thought expedient, previous to the pub-
lication of the convention, to wait for its ratification from
Constantinople. It was agreed that if this ratification did
not arrive within a certain day, the body of Turkish troops,
which had crossed the Danube, were surrounded by the
Russian army, and supplied with provisions by the Russian
general, should surrender themselves as prisoners of war.
The limited day arrived without bringing the confirmation
of the convention; and the Turks surrendered themselves
according to the agreement. The desire for the conclusion
of the peace was nevertheless here so strong, and the hope so
sanguine, that notwithstanding this incident, it is still given
out as certain. There are now accounts from Constanti-
nople through Vienna and Paris, which assert that the pro-
ceedings of the Grand Vizier have been disapproved, and that
the Sultan inflexibly rejects every idea of a peace founded
upon the principle of ceding any of his provinces. It does
not appear, however, that the Emperor Alexander's ulti-


matum, which was dispatched at a later date than the first
arrangements between General Kutuzoff and the Grand
Vizier has been rejected, and perhaps It may have met a
more favorable reception from the Porte. The government
here still rely upon the peace, but it Is not quite so strong
in the general belief of the public as it was when the negotia-
tions commenced.

The accounts from France have a complexion still less
pacific than those from Turkey. On the 20th of December
the Emperor Napoleon issued a decree, conformably to an
ordinance of the Senate of the same day, for a levy of 120,000
men upon the conscription of 18 12, a measure which he had
threatened in his conversation with the Russian ambassador,
in August, and which adds greatly to the probability of a
war the ensuing summer. By another incident which has
lately occurred at Paris, it appears that France has taken
offense at the relations still subsisting between Russia and
the Prince Regent of Portugal. Mr. Labensky, who had
been several years the Russian consul general in France,
some months since received the appointment as Consul to
Brazil. He was then here, but went to Paris with the in-
tention of proceeding from thence to America. I have heard
that a passage to the United States was offered him in the
frigate Constitution; but that on his asking for passports
from the French government they were refused upon the
alleged principle, that the appointment of a Russian consul
to Brazil was a breach of the treaty of Tilsit. It is at least
certain that the passport was refused, and Mr. Labensky
purposes returning to St. Petersburg.

An article in an English ministerial gazette asserts that
an order had been issued from the British Privy Council,
for the restoration of all Swedish property which had been
detained in England. This has occasioned the report that


the peace between Sweden and England was concluded.
In the present condition of affairs between this country and
France, the disposition of Sweden is not unimportant; and
the misunderstanding which the unsatiablc demands of
France upon Sweden, with the depredations of her pirating
privateers, have excited, is at the present juncture highly
satisfactory here. Sweden has added one more to the evi-
dences already numerous, that not even a French general
seated on a foreign throne can be made to sacrifice the In-
terests of the nation to a degree sufficient to satisfy the un-
appeasable rapacity of France.

I have received a letter from Mr. Wells, an American
citizen at Copenhagen, recommending Mr. Hugh Wilson of
New York for the appointment of consul for the provinces
of Livonia and Esthonia, to reside at Riga. Mr. Wells is a
grandson of the late Governor Adams of Massachusetts,
and a person of respectable character. I have no knowledge
of Mr. Wilson, but from his recommendation. I have heard
that a consul for the port of Riga had already been appointed,
but have received no such advice from your Department.
Hitherto the consul agency of that port and of Reval has
been executed by respectable merchants of those places
under appointments from Mr. Harris. I have repeatedly
had the honor of suggesting to you the Importance of the
consular office In the ports of the Baltic at this time. That
the duties of an American consul should be correctly dis-
charged by merchants of the country is. If not utterly Im-
possible, at least not to be expected. Not only a real Amer-
ican, but a person Inaccessible to very alluring temptations,
is indispensable to detect the frauds upon our flag, which
licenses and false papers carry with them. Those frauds may
be hereafter neither necessary nor profitable. But to guard
against them Is yet the most important, the most diflnicult


and the most unwelcome part of an American consul's

I have also received a letter from Mr. Bourne, the consul
at Amsterdam, mentioning that he had written home to
solicit the appointment of consul at London, and requesting
a testimonial from me in his favor. During the time that
I resided in Holland Mr. Bourne appeared to me always an
active intelligent and zealous public officer, but as he has
been ever since then in relation with the government, in the
same capacity, I trust his merits must be still better known
at the Treasury Department than I could testify for them.
That he is in great and urgent want of an appointment, w^hich
would be more profitable than his office at Amsterdam, he
has stated to me so repeatedly, and in terms of such strong
feeling that I cannot question their sincerity.

On the other hand Mr. Anderson, the consul lately ap-
pointed to Gothenburg, writes me that he is dissatisfied with
the place and Intends to leave it as soon as possible. . . .

I am very respectfully etc.


St. Petersburg, 24 January, 1812.

• •••••«

Others are, however, more fortunate than I am. Several
of the Americans here have letters dated in November from
Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and Mr. Harris the
Consul brought me the day before yesterday a slip from the
New York gazette of 16 November, containing the corre-
spondence between the Secretary of State and Mr. Foster,
respecting the affair of the Chesapeake, settlement number
two, of which I have to observe two things. First, to see


whether the British government will not again disavow their
own minister; and secondly, if they confirm his engagements,
to see how they perform his promises? I shall consider as
one of the most pleasing days in my life that in which the
account shall be closed satisfactorily to our country of that
transaction. When I recollect the doctrines publicly as-
serted on that occasion by our writers in Boston, both in
conversation and in print, and when I reflect upon the in-
fluence which my open, immediate and determined opposi-
tion to those doctrines has had on my subsequent life, I
cannot but consider it as fortunate that the ground which
I then took should be now justified by such authority, that
they who then contested it would gladly deny that they ever
made a question of it. That was the occasion upon which
I discovered to what an extent that party was prepared to
sacrifice the independence of our country to British preten-
sions, and I shall never cease to rejoice that it was the
occasion upon which I took care not to suffer myself to be
involved in the disgrace of participation in their willing ser-

I join very cordially in the wish of Mr. Monroe that all
the difference between us and England could be accommo-
dated in like manner. But I fear that day is yet remote.
The same spirit which has made them delay for upwards of
four years a reparation which from the first knowledge of
the offense they acknowledged to be due, the same shuffling
spirit which made them to the last moment hold out a pre-
tended punishment of the offender which they had in reality
always refused, will still lead them astray from the path of
their own interest as well as of justice to us. Such are my
apprehensions. The Prince Regent, however, having com-
menced his political relations with the United States by an
act of reparation, may listen to better counsels than his


predecessor. His hands are scarcely yet untied. When
he is at Hberty to pursue the course of his own incHnations,
let us hope he will delight in wiping away the stains upon
the honor of his country which her undisguised outrages
upon the rights of others, her connivances at forgery, and
her licenses for perjury, have brought upon her.

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