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you would doubtless expect that the cause of offence which
had been given should be specified. "CVjf d'ahord un ties
galant homme,^' said the Ambassador; but he never shews
himself, and upon every little occasion, when by a verbal
explanation with the Minister he might obtain anything,
he presents peevish notes."

On the 13 th of September I had another and much longer
conversation with the Ambassador at his own house, where I
had requested to see him for the purpose of expostulating
against the official declaration discrediting the certificates of
the French consuls in America. I have mentioned this
interview to you in one of my former letters. At this time
we were informed of the professed revocation of the Berlin
and Milan decrees. And I urged strongly upon the Ambas-
sador the inconsistency between such professions as those in
the Duke de Cadore's letter, which had then just been pub-
lished, and such measures as that declaration, and the ex-
clusion of American vessels from the ports of Prussia,
Holstein and Mecklenburg, at the instance of France. He


said that his government had not instructed him with regard
to those measures, and had only directed him to make the
complaint against General Armstrong, which he again re-
quested me to write to the American government.

I repeated the observation that in transmitting informa-
tion of such a nature, it was obvious that any other channel
would be more delicate than through a person standing in
such an official relation to General Armstrong as I then did.
And above all that something specific should be alleged to
warrant a direct complaint of this kind. He repeated in
substance what he had said before: that Mr. Armstrong
scarcely ever went to see the Minister (the Duke de Cadore) ;
that he never went to court; and that whenever anything
was to be done, he was presenting testy notes, which made
written answers of the same sort indispensable, and which
widened matters, when by verbal explanations they might
be conciliated. But, he added, that he did not consider the
complaints as of a nature to injure the character of General
Armstrong at home, and that perhaps after all the real cause
had not been alleged to him, the Ambassador.

I considered this last observation as a tacit admission
that the causes which had been assigned to him, with in-
structions so gravely to request that I should report to you
the complaint against my colleague, were too frivolous to
bear examination, or to warrant a procedure so unfriendly
to him. General Armstrong's note to the Duke de Cadore
of 10 March, 18 10, was now published throughout Europe,
and was admired wherever it had been read. I had no diffi-
culty in understanding the uneasiness which such notes
might have occasioned to the French Minister of Foreign
Affairs; but I felt myself more than ever unsuitable to be
the messenger of his ill humors. I determined however at
a proper time to inform you of the whole transaction, leav-


ing to you the Inferences which it may be useful to draw from
it. I have been particular in noticing the dates, from the
curiosity of a comparison between this diplomatic expedient,
and the manifestations of the French government, towards
the gentleman against whom it was pointed, precisely at
the same period. The personal attentions of the Duke de
Cadore at that very time were such as to call forth the
General's public acknowledgments, and on his appearance
at court, the Emperor himself noticed him with such peculiar
distinction that it was marked by the whole diplomatic
circle. It has been mentioned to me by a gentleman now
here, and attached to the Austrian mission, but who was
then at Paris, and present at the court. He says that the
Emperor's extraordinary notice of General Armstrong ex-
cited the more attention, because it was immediately after
the appearance of that note, which had so boldly spoken
to his government the language of a truly independent
nation. I am with high respect, etc.

No. 46. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 22 April, 1811.


For upwards of a month I had not found an opportunity
of forwarding dispatches for you to any place whence they
could be transmitted, until at the close of the last week,
when that of a Russian courier dispatched to Paris gave
me the means of enclosing a packet to Mr. Russell. I there-
fore sent under cover to him a packet for you, containing


copies of my last three letters, and a few lines in cipher to
the President of the United States.

I have now the opportunity of writing by Mr. Preuss, an
American citizen who brought me last summer dispatches
from your Department; and who now proposes to return
to the United States.

From the day which terminated the last war between
France and Austria, and still more from that which so soon
succeeded it, of a family alliance between the French Em-
peror and the imperial house of Austria, it has been the
general expectation of all men who speculate upon the future
destinies of mankind, with a general knowledge of the state
of things, and with the habit of calculating the operations
of the sanguinary passions, to which the occurrences of the
times have given such unbounded scope, that the next
terrible conflict upon the continent of Europe would be be-
tween France and Russia — a conflict for which France with
a policy rather wily than profound had already been preparing
in the consent that Russia should enlarge her boundaries at
the expense of Austria and Sweden.^ The course of events
hitherto has been altogether conformable to this expectation.
On concluding the peace with Austria the Emperor Na-
poleon wrote to the Emperor of Russia a letter, saying that
he had determined to make once more the experiment of
sparing Austria, congratulating the Emperor Alexander upon
his acquisition of Finland, and solemnly promising never to
raise an insurrection against him in Poland. This last
passage was if not a binding engagement at least an intel-
ligible insinuation. The negotiation for the Emperor Na-
poleo7i^s marriage was not only conducted with so much secrecy
that neither the Russian government nor either of their ambas-
sadors at Paris had a suspicion of the person contemplated as

' Cypher.


the imperial consort of France, but their conjectures were inten-
tionally led to a very different direction. Two years before a
similar proposition had been made, and the hand of the Grand
Duchess Catharine, the Emperor Alexander"" s sister, had been
solicited and denied. This Princess is since married to Prince
George of Oldenburg, the son of that very Duke of Olde^iburg
whose territories are now by a direct violation of the treaty of
Tilsit incorporated with the French Empire; and when the con-
tract of marriage with the Arch Duchess Maria Louisa was all
but signed, the Russian Ambassador was communicating to his
court that the Emperor Napoleon's intended bride was a daugh-
ter of the Duke of Modena.^

At the time when the marriage was solemnized the Aus-
trian Prime Minister, Count Metternich, was sent upon an
extraordinary mission to Paris, where he remained more than
six months without accompHshing anything which could
require the agency of a person thus distinguished, partic-
ularly while another Ambassador in form from Austria was
residing at Paris. The mission of such a minister, at such a
moment, naturally excited the attention of all Europe, and
especially of the Russian government. At first and indeed
during the whole time that Count Metternich remained
at Paris, it was given out, and somewhat studiously, both
from the French and Austrian legations here, that the object
of his mission was to set on foot a negotiation for a general
peace, in which Austria was to assume the part of a mediator.

But it was not long before the Russian government had notice
that projects by no means friendly to this country were inter-
woven with the professed attempt at a pacific negotiation, and
since the Count's return to Vienna, Austria has been content
to have it circulated as a diplomatic secret that the proposition

1 Cypher. The reference is to Maria Beatrice, only daughter of Hercules III,
who married Ferdinand of Austria, son of Maria Theresa.


of an alliance offensive and defensive against Russia was made
to her by France and rejected. It is probable that France had
reckoned a little too much upon the deep resentments of Austria
against Russia for the part which she had taken in the recent
war, and in her eagerness to recover, while enjoying the sweet
of revenge, that territory of four hundred thousand souls which
had rewarded the inaction of Russia under the guise of her
alliance with France in the short war of iSog.^

Count Metternich returned home in October, from which
time until this day the coolness between France and Russia
has been increasing until it is at the point of appearing in
the form of war. The provocations which have been multi-
plied on the part of France almost every week through the
winter, the resistance of Russia to the demands of France,
her measures of commercial retaliation and her preparations
for war, have been mentioned to you in many of my former
dispatches, but I have still hoped that the war would be
deferred, if not ultimately averted, because I knew that
such was the earnest wish of the Emperor Alexander, and
his most confidential minister, Count Romanzoif, and be-
cause the preparations on the part of France, although
considerable, have not been such as to indicate the intention
of commencing the war immediately.

Even now the hope of preserving peace is not absolutely
abandoned, but its last beam is quivering on the point of extinc-
tio7i. The resolution to resign his office is already taken by
Count Romanzoff, and waits only [the] answer to the instruc-
tions carried by Count Chernicheff to Paris. The conjectures
of political speculators are busy in designating the probable
successor to his power, a point which must undoubtedly be deter-
mined in the Emperor^s mind, but which is yet undivulged.
The generals to whom the principal commands will be given in

1 Cypher.


the event of a war are also named, doubtless by anticipation.
They are Count Kamensky, the late commander in chief of the
Moldavian army, who enjoys at this time the first military
reputation in Russia. He is under forty years of age, but is
unfortunately still at Bucharest by the consequences of a fever.
His predecessor in that command, Prince Bagration, deemed
an excellent officer for a subordinate command, yielded. He is
now here, and General Bennigsen,^ who was distinguished in
the last war with France, but now resides on his estates at a
distance from the imperial residence. His reputation is also
high, but the experience of the present and recent wars of Europe
has passed some disfavor on commanders in chief of his age.
He is little short of seventy. These are the leaders of brightest
fame which the Russian Empire has to oppose against the
Emperor Napoleon in person, and a long train of his lieuten-
ants, spurred not only by the example of his fortune, the long
and constant habit of victory and the actual enjoyment of its
friiits in wealth and glory, but by the dazzling glances of crowns
a7id sceptres sporting in visions before them, and glowing with
the color of like visions already realized to more than one of
their fellow soldiers. It would perhaps be possible for Russia
to bring into the field armies as numerous and troops at least
as trusty as those which will follow the eagles of France; but as
to the great result of European war in these times it has been
demonstrated that the men are nothing, the officers all. If the
war should now commence, I believe that neither Austria nor
Sweden will immediately take a part in it. I am at least sure
that no apprehension of that sort is entertained here, although
insinuations are circulated at Paris that Sweden will co-
operate with France, and has disclosed at Paris some secrets of
Russia. But this may perhaps only be the counterpart of that
threat which France used to extort from Sweden the declaration

1 Levin Augusti-Theophile Bennigsen (1745-1826).


of war against England. Sweden was then told that if she
hesitated she should be attacked by Russia, when Russia had not
the most distant idea of attacking Sweden.^

But when the war once begins undoubtedly there will
be no exertion spared by France to draw both Sweden and
Austria into it, on the side of France. I know not whether
the measures are to be considered as preparatory to this
event, but the king of Sweden has resigned all the essential
part of his executive power into the hands of the Crown
Prince, and Austria has scaled her national bank paper at
five for one. . . .


No. 47. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 29 April, 181 1.


With the last letter which I had the honor of writing you
was inclosed a translation of the arrangement agreed upon
between Count Romanzoff and the charge d'affaires of
Portugal at this court: but which remains suspended until
the arrival of the minister plenipotentiary from the Prince
Regent of Portugal, who is shortly expected.

The first treaty of commerce between Portugal and Russia
was concluded the 9/20 December, 1787, for twelve years, and
was renewed with several modifications for twelve years more
the 16/27 December, 1798. By the 6th article of this treaty,
all wines of the growth of Portugal, or of the islands of
Madeira or the Azores, imported into Russia in Portuguese
or Russian vessels, for account of Portuguese or Russian

^ Cypher.


subjects, were to pay only four rubles and fifty copecks a
hogshead import duty: but if imported in vessels of any
other nation, they were to pay according to the general
tariff of 1790.

Further, the privilege was stipulated, that six thousand
lasts of Portuguese salt might annually be imported in
Portuguese vessels into the ports of Russia and pay only
half the amount of the duties prescribed by the general
tariff upon the same article. By the 7th article of the same
treaty Portuguese or Russian merchants were to pay only
one-half the import duties prescribed by the general tariff
and ordinances of Portugal upon the articles of hemp, flax,
or hempseed, hemp or linseed oil, iron of all dimensions,
anchors, cannon balls, and bombs, provided they should be of
the produce of Russia and imported directly into Portugal in
Russian or Portuguese vessels for the account of Portuguese
or Russian subjects. If imported in the vessels of other
nations, they were to pay the full amount of the duties,
according to the tariff.

By the 8th article a similar diminution of one-half the
import duties was stipulated upon the direct importation
of Russian sail-cloth, hemp, ravensducks and drillings into
Portugal, and of Portuguese olive oil and Brazil indigo,
tobacco and snuff imported into Russia by the vessels and
for the account of the subjects of either of the two nations.
By the 9th article it was agreed, that as there were other
goods and merchandizes of the growth and manufactures of
the two countries, their colonies, dominions and conquests,
which might increase the navigation and commerce between
them and contribute to their mutual advantage, the min-
isters of the two parties were to examine and confer upon
them, and that whatever might be adjusted and agreed upon
in this respect, should be drawn up in the form of new


articles, which, approved and ratified, should become a
part of the treaty.

Since the peace of Tilsit, the removal of the royal family
and court of Portugal to Brazil, and the Invasion of Portugal
by the French, the political and commercial circumstances
of both the parties to this treaty have rendered the modifica-
tions anticipated In this 9th article expedient to the present
Interest and purposes of both. In consequence of the con-
nexions, which Russia had contracted with France she was
prevailed upon to forbid all direct commercial communica-
tion between her own dominions and Portugal, on the ground
that It was a country occupied by the forces of Great Britain,
a power with whom she was at war. But this prohibition
was not extended to Brazil or any of the Portuguese colonies
or possessions out of Europe. On the other hand, by the
removal of the house of Braganza to America, a new Interest
had arisen, prompting the substitution on their part of other
articles for the enjoyment of privileges when Imported Into
Russia, instead of the wine, oil, and salt of Portugal, and
these were precisely those colonial articles which could no
longer be sent by exclusive prerogative to Portugal, as to a
mother country, and which England In the obstinacy of
adherence to her colonial system, even now under the treaty
of Rio Janeiro, refuses to admit. By the present agreement
therefore, the wine, oil and salt of Portugal cease to enjoy
the diminution of duties, stipulated by the treaty of 1798,
instead of which the same privilege is transferred to the
articles of sugar, coffee, cocoa, dye-wood, rice, cochineal,
pepper, cinnamon and medicinal drugs, the produce of Brazil
or of other possessions of the Prince Regent of Portugal.
The privileges, secured to the indigo, tobacco and snuff of
Brazil are confirmed. Madeira wines and those of the
Azore Islands, instead of four rubles fifty copecks the hogs-


head, at which they were taxed by the treaty of 1798, are
to pay under the new Russian tariff twenty rubles the hogs-
head, and in the case of any further modifications of this
tariff, they are still to pay only one-fourth of the duties
charged upon other wines, or upon those, when imported by
other than Russian or Portuguese vessels, and for account
of Portuguese or Russian subjects. They are taxed in the
new tariff at eighty rubles the hogshead. The increase of
duty from four and one-half to twenty rubles is rather nom-
inal than real, for as they are paid in the depreciated bank
paper, which passes current at four for one, twenty rubles at
this time are worth very little more in gold or silver than
four and a half rubles were in 1798.

In the present situation of things it is of no material im-
portance to the navigation and commerce either of Portugal
or Russia, whether this new convention should be definitely
concluded or not. But I have been thus particular in stating
the parallel between the old treaty and the new agreement,
and in explaining the causes of the alteration, because the
principle of this change in the commercial relations between
Portugal and Russia may hereafter be by no means indif-
ferent to the commercial interests of the United States. The
articles of sugar and rice at least are productions of the
United States as well as of Brazil, and under the present
Russian tariff a diminution of one-half the duty on sugar
would give an advantage in the competition, which might
easily operate to exclude from the market, those who would
remain subject to the payment of the full duty. The
Methuen treaty between Portugal and England was probably
the model from which these articles in the first treaty of
commerce between Russia and Portugal were imitated.

It is probable that if a treaty of commerce between the United
States and Russia should be contemplated during the adminis-


tration of Count Romanzoff that he would agree to similar
stipulations in favor of our vessels and productions upon the
like reciprocal conditions. I have repeatedly received intima-
tions of a similar nature to those which I mentioned in my letter
of 5th September last {No. 2j), but the Count has never said
anything explicit to me on this subject himself , and now should
the full power and instructions which I then requested be sent
me, it is doubtful whether I could avail myself of them before a
change of administration here will take place.

The accounts from Paris received here are to the yth instant.
No act of direct hostility and no public manifestation of a
rupture between the two countries had then occurred there nor
has any yet taken place here. But there and here the war is
considered as inevitable and every arrangement for it is making
as speedily as possible by both governments. There are a
multitude of rumors in secret circulation, the authenticity of
which I do not consider as sufficiently clear to mention them at
present to you; but things all concur in proving that the catas-
trophe is near at hand. It is not improbable that on one side
or the other the blow will at least accompany if not precede the
word. ^

I have the honour to be, etc.


St. Petersburg, 29 April, 181 1.

• • • • • • •

Your letter of 24 September is yet the last which I have
received, and from my dear mother I have none later than
25 July. As the world of waters is again open before us, I
hope we shall now hear from you very often during the navi-

^ Cypher.


gating season. At least I have no doubt but we shall have
vessels from the United States arriving in swarms, if the
English, the French, the Danes, and Swedes will let them
come. Indeed they might dispense with the permission of all
these nations except the first, but without their leave none
will reach a Russian port. The trade, however, according
to all appearances will be good for nothing, and much more
probably a source of loss than of profit. First, because
it will be, as it already is, overstocked, and secondly, because
it will ere long labor under the double burthen of highly ag-
gravated duties, and of English fellow customers in compe-
tition. They hitherto have been excluded, but as an im-
mediate war between France and Russia is considered as
unavoidable, the peace between Russia and Great Britain
will follow of course. I can hardly say this to you now with-
out indiscretion, because to this day there has been no public
manifestation of the slightest misunderstanding between the
cabinets of the Tuileries and of St. Petersburg. But you
know the fashion of modern war is to strike before they speak,
and it is highly probable that you will hear of actual hostili-
ties between the Russian and French armies before you
receive this letter. The condition of the ports on the Baltic
and Gulf of Finland will then depend upon the fortunes of
the campaign. On this subject I do not think it prudent to
say more at present.

We are hourly in expectation of hearing the arrival of
Mr. Livingston,^ as Minister to France, and of Mr. Erving,^
In the same capacity at Copenhagen. Neither of these
gentlemen will find his mission a bed of roses. The one will
be extremely dependent as to its result upon the other. The
policy of France is at this time as hostile to the United States

^ Joel Barlow was appointed minister to France.
2 Erving arrived at L'Orient, April 17.


as it ever was, since our existence as a nation. We hear,
and I most sincerely hope truly, that the non-importation
act, which was proposed in Congress before the discovery of
what the French government intended by the professed rev-
ocation of the decrees of Berlin and Milan, did not eventu-
ally pass. It was a trap to catch us into a war with England;
a war which England most richly deserves, but which would
on our part be more than ever impolitic at this time.

Mr. Pinkney has taken leave at the English court, and by
this time I suppose is far advanced upon his passage home.
The British ministers however say, that the negotiations
are not yet at an end, but that they have sent out new propo-
sitions by Mr. Foster, who goes as Minister Plenipotentiary.^
I have no hopes that these propositions will be acceptable
or admissible, but I hope Foster will behave himself better
than Jackson, that he will spare his country's partisans in
Congress and the Massachusetts legislature the degradation
of proclaiming themselves the satellites of his insolence,
and that he will not undertake to instruct the Ancient
and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, at a public
dinner where he is their guest, against whom they are to
draw their swords, meaning particularly, as he and they
know, against their own government.


St. Petersburg, 1/13 May, 181 1.
There was one of the small English poets, I think it was

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