The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. VIII
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The Russians shall be amenable to justice touching all their contracts and engagements between them and the citizens of the United States residing in Russia, in the place where they shall have made them, unless it shall be otherwise stipulated therein, and according to the laws of the same place; and if any process should arise between them in the towns of St Petersburg, Moscow, or Archangel, the College of Commerce alone, to the exclusion of every other tribunal, shall take cognizance thereof, after complaint shall have been duly made; and said College shall cite the person complained against to appear before them in person, or by his attorney, to answer such complaint, allowing a reasonable time therefor; and if he should appear, or fail to appear and answer within the time fixed, upon due proof of the matter in question being produced, the said College shall proceed to pass judgment thereupon against the person complained of, and where it is necessary to carry their judgment into execution against an absent person, shall forthwith when desired by the complainant, at his expense, send an express to the proper Governors or Waywodes, and shall order them to cause the judgment to be executed without loss of time, and thus shall oblige the person condemned, to pay the sums of money specified in such judgment, with reasonable costs.


But whenever a process or dispute shall take place concerning any contract made between the citizens of the United States and the Russian subjects, in a place where the College of Commerce hath no department, they shall be heard and determined by the ordinary magistrate of the place; and in all such cases, the process shall be conducted in like manner as is agreed in the preceding article, as well with respect to the obtaining of judgment, as to the execution thereof; and the citizens of the United States, in all causes between them and the Russian subjects, which shall be tried by any magistrate of a place where the College of Commerce hath no department, shall have a right to appeal from the judgment of the magistrate to that of the College of Commerce, whenever they shall think themselves aggrieved thereby. On the other hand, the Russian merchants within the territories of the United States shall, in their turn, enjoy the same administration of justice as the native citizens.


It shall be lawful for the merchants on the one part and on the other, to keep in the places of their abode, or elsewhere, books of their accounts and affairs, and also to maintain an intercourse of letters in any language they please, without being liable to any restraint in these respects. Nor shall they be obliged to show their books or papers to any person whatever, unless it be in the course of justice; and if it should become necessary for them to produce their books or papers for deciding any controversy, in such case, no other articles or parts thereof shall be shown, than such as shall relate to the matter in question, or shall be necessary to give credit to the same books and papers. And it shall not be lawful under any pretence, to take the said books or papers forcibly out of the hands of the owners, or to retain them; the case of bankruptcy always excepted.


If any bankruptcies shall happen in Russia, in which any of the citizens of the United States shall be interested, either as creditors or debtors, the creditors shall assemble under the authority of the College of Commerce, and the major part of them, as well with respect to number as to the value of their demands, shall name three or more persons, from among themselves or elsewhere, trustees, who shall take possession of all the effects movable and immovable of such bankrupt, and of his books and papers, and shall examine the same to discover the state of his affairs, and they may decide upon the claims of any one pretending to be a creditor of such a bankrupt, if his claim shall be questioned by any other creditor in whole or in part; and the decision of the major part of such trustees thereupon, shall be final and binding upon all the creditors. The trustees shall have full authority also to demand and receive all debts due to the bankrupt, to sell and dispose of his effects movable and immovable, and shall distribute with all convenient speed the proceeds thereof among all the creditors, in a just proportion to their respective demands and credits, as finally settled and allowed by the trustees, without any preference whatever among the creditors, on account of the different nature of their demands. It is to be understood always, however, that when any immovable estate of the bankrupt shall have been mortgaged and pledged to any creditor, such creditor shall receive the full of his debt before the same estate shall be taken out of his possession and sold for the profit of the other creditors. But, as to movable effects, no right of pledge shall be admitted, unless the thing claimed by any creditor as a pledge for his debt, shall have been actually delivered to him before the bankruptcy was committed, and shall have remained constantly in his hands; in which case, he shall also be paid the whole of his just debt, before he shall be dispossessed of such pledge to be sold for the benefit of the creditors in general. The trustees shall make a report to the College of Commerce in what state they have found the books, papers, and affairs of the bankrupt, and by what means he has failed, and, if they declare him to be an honest man, he shall be immediately discharged.


To multiply the ties, and to establish a more intimate and friendly intercourse between the citizens and subjects of the contracting parties, it is agreed, that whenever any citizen of the United States, resident in any part of Russia, shall associate and enter into partnership with any Russian merchant, he shall thereby acquire and be entitled, for so long time as the said association and partnership shall be continued, all the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions, in navigation, trade, and commerce, of a native subject of Russia. And on the other hand, whenever any Russian merchant resident in any of the territories of the United States, shall associate, and enter into partnership, with any merchant or citizen of the United States, he shall thereby acquire and be entitled to enjoy, for so long a time as the said association and partnership shall be continued, all the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions in navigation, trade, and commerce, of a native citizen of the United States. But the said citizens and subjects, on the one part and on the other, shall not be subjected on such account to any tax or imposition whatever, and they shall also be exempt from all burdens, charges, and services, of what nature soever, which are peculiar to native citizens, and subjects, and burghers, and are not exacted from the most favored nations.


All necessary precaution shall be taken, that the brack be trusted to persons of known ability and probity, and the brackers shall be responsible for the quality of the goods, and fraudulent package, and shall be obliged after sufficient proofs produced against them, to make up the losses occasioned by their negligence or fraud. The officers of the customs shall have the charge of examining the clerks or servants of the American merchants residing in Russia, when they cause their goods to be entered, whether they have the orders of their masters in writing for that purpose, and if they have not, they shall not be credited, nor shall their masters be responsible for any entries their clerks or servants may cause to be made in their names, without their orders in writing for the same.


The citizens and subjects of the one part and on the other, shall have full liberty to remove themselves and their families (if they have any) together with their effects of every kind, whensoever they think fit, out of the territories of the other party; paying their just debts, and the ordinary established duties of exportation, but without being subjected to any extra duties or deduction from their effects, for the right of carrying them out of the territories of such party; and the proper passports for their persons and effects shall be granted without unnecessary delay. It is particularly agreed, that passports shall be granted to all such citizens of the United States, who being merchants within the Russian dominions, shall desire to quit the same, by the government, at the end of two months after they shall have published their intention of departing in the Gazette of St Petersburg, without their being obliged to give any security whatever, and if within that time there shall not appear any lawful cause to detain them, they shall be permitted to depart freely, with all their effects.


There shall be an entire and perfect liberty of conscience allowed to the citizens and subjects of both nations, within the territories of the other party; and in consequence thereof they shall be permitted to worship freely, either in their own houses, or churches destined and allowed for that purpose by the government, according to the rites of their own religion, nor shall they in any measure be molested therein. There shall, moreover, be granted liberty whenever any of the citizens or subjects of either party shall die in the territories of the other party, to bury them in the usual burying places, or in decent and convenient grounds, appointed for that purpose, as occasion shall require, and the dead bodies of those who are buried shall not in any measure be disturbed.


Although the Droit d'Aubaine does not exist within the territories of either of the contracting parties, it is nevertheless agreed between them, to clear away all doubts which might arise thereupon, that their respective citizens and subjects shall have full right to dispose of all effects, which they shall have or ought to have within the territories of the other party, by testament, donation, or otherwise, in favor of such persons as they shall think fit; and their heirs, subjects of one of the parties, and residing in the territories of the other, or elsewhere, whether so by testament, donation, or other particular titles, or as intestate, shall freely succeed to, and take possession of all such effects, whether in person or by procuration, or if minors by their guardians, tutors, or curators, although they shall not have obtained letters of naturalization, and may dispose of the same as they shall think fit, paying the just debts only which shall have been due from the deceased at the time of his death; and they shall not be chargeable with the payment of any duties or imposts whatever, upon entering into the possession of such effects, movable or immovable; and who shall be deemed heirs of any citizen of the United States, who shall die intestate in Russia, and in what proportion his effects, movable or immovable, which he shall have left there, shall be divided among them, shall be determined by the laws of the State in the Union of which the deceased was last a member; and if the heirs of the deceased shall be absent, or minors, at the time of his death, and he shall not have named a particular trustee of his effects for their use, in such case an inventory shall be taken of all such effects, movable and immovable, by a Notary Public, under the direction and in presence of the consul, vice consul, agent or commissioner of the United States, if there be any in or near the place where the deceased last dwelt; all which effects shall be immediately after committed to the care of one or more persons, to be named by the said consul, vice consul, agent, or commissioner, or in default thereof, to those whom the public authority shall designate for that purpose, to the end, that they may safely be kept by them, and preserved for the lawful heirs of the deceased.


The contracting parties shall mutually endeavor by all the means in their power, to defend and protect all vessels and other effects belonging to the citizens or subjects of the other party, and being in their ports, roads, harbors, internal seas, passes, rivers, and as far as their jurisdiction extends at sea, and to recover, and cause to be restored entire, to the true proprietors, their agents or attornies, all such vessels and effects which shall be taken under their respective jurisdictions, and their vessels of war and convoys sailing under their authority, in cases when they may have a common enemy, shall take under their protection all the vessels belonging to the citizens and subjects of the other party, which shall not be ladened with contraband goods, (according to the description thereof made in the article of this treaty) for places with which one of the parties is at peace and the other at war, nor destined for any place blocked, and which shall hold the same course or follow the same route, and they shall defend such vessel as long as they shall hold the same course, or follow the same route against all attacks, force, and violence of the common enemy, in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend the vessels belonging to the people and subjects of their proper sovereign.


Merchants, masters, and owners of vessels, mariners, men of all kinds, vessels, merchandises, and effects in general, of either of the contracting parties, or of their citizens and subjects, shall not be seized or detained within the territories of the other party for any military expedition, public or private use of any one, by arrests, violence, or any color thereof; much less shall it be permitted to take or extort by force anything from the citizens or subjects of the other party, and without the consent of the owner; which, however, is not to be understood of seizures, detentions, and arrests, which shall be made by the command and authority of justice, and by the ordinary method, on account of debts and crimes, in respect whereof the proceedings must be by way of law and according to the forms of justice.


In case the citizens or subjects of either party, with their shipping, whether public and of war, or private and of merchants, be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies, or any other urgent necessity for seeking of shelter and harbor to retreat and enter into any rivers, bays, roads, or ports, belonging to the other party, they shall be received and treated with all humanity and kindness, and enjoy all friendly protection and help, and they shall be permitted to refresh, and provide themselves at reasonable rates with victuals, and all things needful for the sustenance of their persons, or reparation of their vessels, and conveniency of their voyage, and shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads, but may come to sail and depart when and whither they please, nor shall they be subject to any visit or to the payment of any duties whatever, provided always, that during their remaining in port, they do not break bulk, or expose any merchandise to sale. It is nevertheless to be understood, that if it shall become necessary for the effectual reparation of any vessel to unload her in part or in whole, permission for that purpose shall be granted, and there shall not be demanded any duties whatever upon the merchandises which shall be unloaded, but they shall be deposited in some suitable magazine under the inspection of a proper officer of the port, to be delivered up to the master of the vessel after she shall have been repaired, to be again loaded on board her; likewise, permission shall be granted to sell so much of the said merchandises as shall be necessary to defray the expenses of repairing and equipping the vessel for sea, paying the duties only upon such part as shall be sold, and they shall not be demanded upon any other part of the cargo under pretence of her having broken bulk, or any other pretence whatever, but she shall be permitted freely to proceed to sea with the remainder of her cargo, without any molestation or impediment whatever.


If the vessels of the citizens or subjects of either of the contracting parties come upon the coasts of the other party, without intending to enter into port, or being entered into port, not designing to unload their cargoes or to break bulk, they shall not be obliged to pay for their vessels or cargoes any duties of entry or departure, nor to render any account of their cargoes, at least if there is not probable cause to suspect that they carry contraband goods to the enemies of such party; in which case they shall be obliged to exhibit their passports and certificates described in the article of this treaty, to which full faith and credit shall be given.


It shall be lawful for captains and masters of vessels belonging to the United States, or any of them, or to their citizens, freely to receive on board their vessels, or take into their service as passengers or seamen, the natives or citizens of any of the United States, being in any port or place subject to the jurisdiction of her Imperial Majesty, upon such conditions as they shall agree upon, without being subject for so doing to any fine, punishment, process, or reprehension whatsoever; and reciprocally, the captains and masters belonging to her Imperial Majesty, or any of her subjects, shall enjoy in all the ports and places under the obedience of the United States, the same privilege of receiving and taking into their service passengers and seamen, being natives or subjects of any country of the domination of her Imperial Majesty, provided that neither on the one side nor the other, they may not receive or take into their service such of their countrymen who are already engaged either in the public or any private service, or who shall have fled from the justice of the country, but they shall surrender up all such persons whenever duly required so to do.


If any vessels belonging to either of the parties, their citizens or subjects, shall within the coasts or dominions of the other party, stick upon the sands or be wrecked, or suffer any other damage, all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the persons shipwrecked, or shall be in danger thereof; and the vessels, effects, and merchandises which shall have been saved, or the proceeds of them, if being perishable they shall have been sold, being claimed within the space of —— months by the masters or owners, their agents or attornies, shall be faithfully restored, paying only that which ought to be paid by the native citizens or subjects in such cases for salvage. There shall also be delivered, gratis, to the persons shipwrecked, safe conducts or passports for their free passage from thence, and to return each one to his country.


The two contracting parties, fully convinced of the wisdom and justice of the principles contained in the declaration of her Imperial Majesty of the 28th day of February, 1780, made to the then belligerent powers, and proposed by her as the basis of a system to be established for the general benefit of the commercial world, and that the same ought to be regarded as sacred by all belligerent powers forever; which principles have since been established and agreed upon in the maritime convention concluded at Copenhagen, between her said Imperial Majesty and the King of Denmark and of Norway, on the 9th of July, 1780; and being desirous to make the same the invariable rule of their own conduct, and to have recourse thereto upon all proper occasions, as to stipulations and laws, which merit a distinguished rank in the human code;

The contracting parties do here solemnly adopt and immediately apply to themselves the few important principles, which have been established as above in favor of neutral nations in general, viz.

1st. That all vessels shall navigate freely from port to port, and upon the coasts of nations at war, excepting always ports blocked;

2dly. That effects belonging to powers at war, or to their subjects, shall be free upon neutral vessels, excepting contraband merchandises;

3dly. That to determine what shall characterise a port blocked, this denomination shall be granted but to such port only, where the vessels of war of the power that attacks it shall be sufficiently near, and stationed in such a manner, that there is an evident danger of entering into it;

4thly. That neutral vessels shall not be arrested, but upon just causes and evident facts, and they shall be judged without delay; that the process shall always be uniform, prompt, and legal, and that always besides the indemnification, which shall be granted to those who have sustained any damages or losses without being in fault, there shall be given complete satisfaction for the insult committed upon the respective flags.


If the merchant vessels of the citizens or subjects of one of the other parties, sailing along the coasts or on the high seas without any escort, are met by the vessels of war or private armed vessels of the other party, being engaged in a war with any other power, they shall be held, if required, to exhibit their passports, sea-letters, and other documents described in the article of this treaty; and to prevent all disorder and violences, the vessels of war and private armed vessels making the visit shall constantly remain out of cannon-shot from the armed vessels, and shall send their boats to them, but they shall not board them with more than two or three men for the purpose of examining their papers abovementioned. Nevertheless, it shall not be permitted to visit or to examine the papers of any merchant vessels when convoyed by vessels of war, but full faith shall be given to the declaration of the officer commanding the escorts, that the merchant vessels are not charged with any contraband merchandises for an enemy's port.


And when it shall appear by the papers exhibited, or by the verbal declaration of the officer commanding the escort, that the merchant vessels are not charged with any contraband merchandises destined for a port of the enemy of the other party, they shall be permitted to pursue their voyage without any molestation or impediment; and that more effectual care may be taken for the security of the citizens, subjects, and people of both parts, it shall be expressly forbidden to the captains and commanders of all vessels of war, and of private armed vessels, their officers and people, to molest or to do any damage to the vessels, citizens, subjects, and people of the other party, and if they shall act to the contrary, they shall be obliged to answer therefor in their persons and goods, besides the reparation due for the insult committed upon the flag.


If, by exhibiting the sea-letters and other documents, the other party shall discover there any of those sorts of goods, which are declared prohibited and contraband, and that they are consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemy, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of such ship, nor to open any chest, coffer, packs, casks, or other vessels found therein, or to remove the smallest parcel of the goods, unless the lading be brought on shore in presence of the officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an inventory thereof be made; but there shall be no allowance to sell, exchange, or alienate the same, until after that due and lawful process shall have been had against such prohibited goods of contraband, and the Court of Admiralty by a sentence pronounced shall have confiscated the same, saving always as well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which are to be esteemed free, and may not be detained on pretence of their being infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawful prize. But, on the contrary, when by the visitation at land, it shall be found that there are no contraband goods in the vessel, and it shall not appear by the papers, that he who has taken and carried in the vessel has been able to discover any there, he shall be condemned in all the charges and damages, which he shall have caused, both to the owners of the vessels, and to the owners and freighters of the cargoes with which they shall be loaded, for his temerity in taking and carrying them into port; it being declared most expressly, that free vessels shall assure the liberty of the effects with which they shall be ladened, and that this liberty shall extend itself equally to the persons who shall be found in free vessels, although they are enemies to both, or either party, who may not be taken out of her unless they are military men actually in the service of an enemy.


On the contrary, it is agreed, that whatever shall be found to be ladened by the citizens and subjects of either party, on any ships belonging to the enemies of the other, although it be not comprehended under the sort of prohibited goods, the whole may be confiscated as if it belonged to the enemy; excepting always such effects and merchandises as were put on board such vessel before the declaration of war, or in the space of —— months after it; which effects shall not be in any manner subject to confiscation, but shall be faithfully, and without delay, restored in nature to the owners who shall claim them, or cause them to be claimed before the confiscation or sale; and, if they should not be claimed before then, the proceeds thereof shall be restored, provided they are duly claimed within —— months after the sale, which shall always be public. Nevertheless, if the said merchandises are contraband, it shall by no means be lawful to transport them afterwards to any port belonging to the enemies of the other ally.


And under this denomination of contraband or merchandises prohibited, shall be comprehended only ——. All other effects and merchandises not before specified expressly, and even all sorts of naval matters, however proper they may be for the construction and equipment of vessels of war, or for the manufacture of one or another sort of machines of war, by land or by sea, shall not be adjudged contraband, neither by the letter nor according to any pretended interpretation whatever, ought they, or can they be comprehended under the notion of effects prohibited or contraband; so that all effects and merchandises, which are not expressly before mentioned, may, without any exception and in perfect liberty, be transported by the citizens and subjects of both allies from and to places belonging to the enemy of the other, excepting only the place, which at the same time shall be blocked, as described in the article of this treaty.


All vessels and merchandises of whatever nature, which shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers navigating the high seas without requisite commissions, shall be brought into some port of one of the two States, and deposited in the hands of the officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietors, as soon as due and sufficient proofs shall be made concerning the property thereof.


It shall be lawful, as well for the ships of war of the two contracting parties, as for the private armed vessels belonging to their respective citizens and subjects, to carry whithersoever they please, the ships and goods taken from their enemies; neither shall they be obliged to pay anything to the officers of the Admiralty, or to any other judges or persons whatever; nor shall the aforementioned prizes, when they come to and enter the ports of the said States be detained by arrest, or be subject to any search or visit; nor shall the validity of the capture be questioned; but they may come to sail, depart, and carry their prizes to those places, which are mentioned in their commissions, which the commanders of such ships of war, or private armed vessels shall be obliged to show, if required. On the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given in the ports of one of the parties to such as shall have made a prize upon the citizens and subjects of the other party, and if, perchance, such ships shall come in, being forced by stress of weather, or the danger of the seas, they shall be obliged to depart as soon as possible.


No subject of her said Imperial Majesty, shall apply for or take any commission or letters-of-marque for arming any ship or vessels, to act as privateers against the said United States, or any of them, the citizens or inhabitants thereof, or against the property of any of them, from any Prince or State, with which the United States shall be at war; nor shall any citizen or inhabitant of the said United States, or any of them, apply for or take any commission or letters-of-marque, for arming any ships or vessels to act as privateers against the subjects of her said Imperial Majesty, or any of them, or against their property, from any Prince or State with which her said Imperial Majesty shall be at war; and if any persons of either nation shall take such commission or letters-of-marque, he shall be punished as a pirate.


It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers, not belonging to the subjects of her said Imperial Majesty, or to the citizens or inhabitants of the said United States, which have commissions from any other Prince or State, at war with either of the parties, to fit their ships in the ports of either of them, to sell the prizes which they shall have made, or in any other manner whatsoever to discharge the vessels, merchandises, or any part of their cargoes; neither shall they be allowed even to purchase provisions, except such as shall be necessary for their going to the next port of that Prince or State from which they have commissions.


To the end that all dissension and quarrel may be avoided and prevented, it is agreed, that in case one of the two parties happens to be at war, the vessels belonging to the citizens and subjects of the other ally, shall be provided with sea-letters or passports, expressing the name and the place of abode of the master or commander of said vessel, to the end, that thereby it may appear, that the vessel really and truly belongs to the citizens or subjects of one of the contracting parties; which passports shall be drawn and distributed according to the form annexed to this treaty. Each time that the vessel shall return she shall have such of her passports renewed, or at least they ought not to be of more ancient date than two years from the time the vessel last came from her own country. It is also agreed, that such vessels being loaded, ought to be provided, not only with the said passports or sea-letters, but also with a general passport, or with particular passports or manifests, or other public documents which are ordinarily given, to vessels which are outward bound, in the ports from whence they have set sail in the last place, containing a specification of the cargo, of the place from whence the vessel departed, and of that of her destination; or instead of all these, certificates from the magistrates or governors of cities, places, and colonies, from whence the vessel came, given in the usual form, to the end, that it may be known whether there are any effects prohibited or contraband on board the vessels, and whether they are destined to be carried to an enemy's country or not. And in case any one judges proper to express in the said documents, the person to whom the effects on board belong, he may do it freely, without however being bound to do it; and the omission of such expression cannot and ought not to be deemed a cause of confiscation.


The contracting parties grant to each other mutually, the liberty of having, each in the ports of the other, consuls, vice consuls, agents, and commissaries, of their own appointment, whose functions shall be regulated by particular agreement whenever the parties shall choose to enter into one.


For the better promoting commerce on both sides, it is agreed that if a war should break out between the contracting parties (which may God prevent) the term of twelve months, to commence from the day of the publication of a proclamation by the sovereign authority of the State to be made for that purpose whenever it shall be judged proper, shall be allowed to the citizens and subjects of each part residing within the dominions of the other, in which they themselves may retire, together with their families, goods, and effects, and carry them whithersoever they please; and for this end, passports and safe conducts shall be freely granted to them, as well for their persons as for their vessels and other effects, for some convenient ports of their respective countries, and for a time necessary for the voyage; and likewise during the said term, the selling and disposing of their effects, both movable and immovable, shall be allowed to them freely, and without any molestation; and also their goods and effects of every sort, and more especially their persons, shall not be detained or troubled by arrest or seizure, except it be in a due course of justice on account of debts or crimes, but rather in the meantime, they shall have and enjoy good and speedy justice, so that within that term they may be able to recover their goods, effects, and debts intrusted as well to the public as to private persons; and it shall be lawful for them also before, or at the time of their departure, to consign to whom they shall think fit, or otherwise dispose of according to their pleasure or convenience, such of their effects as they shall not have parted with, as well as the debts which shall be due to them, and their debtors shall be obliged to pay the same in like manner as if the contracting parties were in full peace with each other.


[27] It does not appear that this plan of a treaty was ever discussed between the parties, but was drawn up by Mr Dana on such principles as he intended to maintain, should the negotiation proceed.

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St Petersburg, June 24th, 1783.


In my last, I had the honor to transmit to you a copy of the answer which I had received to my Memorial, and my reply to it. Things remain in the same state, as we have no news of the conclusion of peace under the mediation of their Imperial Majesties. This delay is supposed to arise from some difficulties still subsisting between Great Britain and the United Provinces respecting their affairs in the East Indies, and though the latter are not concerned (any more than the United States) in the mediation, yet France will not probably conclude her definitive treaty till Great Britain and the United Provinces have agreed upon their terms. To give time for this, was not the least object which France had in view by the present mediation.

Notwithstanding the language of all the gazettes in Europe respecting an adjustment of affairs between the Imperial Courts and the Porte being at hand, it is still thought here, that the war between the latter and this empire, at least, is inevitable. Should the Emperor take a part in it, we shall see this continent in a flame. The naval reinforcements intended to be sent from hence into the Mediterranean, are stopped most certainly on account of an opposition from the quarter mentioned in mine of May 30th. Though in my last, by the references there made, I have pointed out the general object of the war with the Porte, on the part of the Imperial Courts, yet there are some particulars relative to the Empress, of which you are not particularly informed, I will give them to you by the first safe opportunity. I shall have one in about a month by Mr Allen, a merchant of Boston, who arrived here last week, and proposes to return to America about that time. The journey of the Empress into Finland, as mentioned in my last, has been postponed on account of a hurt the King of Sweden received from a fall from his horse; it will take place in a few days.

The flag of the United States is now displayed at Riga, upon a ship of five hundred tons, commanded by a Captain McNeil, belonging to Massachusetts, who arrived there on the first instant from Lisbon with salt, an article permitted in that port though prohibited here. This is the only arrival of any American vessel in any part of this empire. She carries out hemp only, it being the only article with which she can be furnished there proper for our markets. This demand comes very seasonably to destroy the allegations of those who had endeavored to promote their particular interests at the expense of ours, and also to support the contrary representation which I had constantly made of our commerce. Cordage may indeed be had at Riga, as well as hemp, but both of them are dearer than in this port. They are, however, of a better quality, but they are seldom exported on private account, as the difference of the price is thought to be too great for that of the quality. The Admiralty of England prefers them. I mention these circumstances as they may give some useful information, not only to the Admiralty of the United States, but to our private merchants. The one may seek them, the other may avoid them. A vessel owned partly in Ireland, and partly by a Mr Wharton and others, of Philadelphia, I am told, will sail from hence for Philadelphia in about a month. Mr Allen will take his passage in one of the two abovementioned vessels.

I have the honor to be, &c.


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St Petersburg, July 1st, 1783.


I do myself the honor to write you by this day's post, merely to let you know, that we have not yet received an account of the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, and of course, that I remain in the same state as at the date of my last. Her Imperial Majesty set off last Friday to meet the King of Sweden at Fredericksham, and is expected here again next Friday. The object of this meeting is doubtless such as I have mentioned in my letter of June 17th. The King of Sweden has a well appointed army of more than ten thousand men near his frontiers in Finland, and the Russian army, about their frontiers, is said to be greater. The two Sovereigns have been putting their possessions in that quarter into a better state of defence for some time. Sweden has been engaged in completing the fortress of Sweaborg, near Helsingfors, which is said to be an exceeding strong place.

These preparations do not indicate, certainly, hostile intentions on either part. They are such as common prudence, with the most pacific dispositions, might render indispensable in the present prospect of a war with Turkey. Should this empire prove unsuccessful in that, there is little reason to doubt that Sweden would seize upon such an occasion, to recover the territories which have been conquered from it. Or if the Emperor should take a part in the Turkish war, of which there seems to be much doubt at present, and thereby engage Prussia, France, and perhaps, Spain in it, it is highly probable in that case, that Sweden would not long remain inactive. It cannot now be long before the point will be decided, whether we shall have a general war on the continent of Europe or not.

We shall have a great change in the course of the summer, in the diplomatic corps here. The Minister of Spain has lately gone away, leaving a Charge d'Affaires. The Ministers of France, Portugal, and Denmark, are about doing the same. The Minister of England will be succeeded by another of the same class, as also the Minister of Naples. Besides these changes, a Minister is coming from the Republic of Venice. France, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden, will be represented here by Charges d'Affaires, and, if I might offer my opinion upon the matter, when the United States shall have made their commercial treaty with this empire, a Charge d'Affaires would answer every useful purpose they can have in view at the Court. Every day's experience convinces me, that they cannot decently maintain a Minister of the second class at this Court, under an appointment of L3000 sterling per annum, and that it would be a very useless expense for them, as a Charge d'Affaires may be well supported upon half that sum. I have not received any letter from you later than ——, nor has the confederation or the constitutions of the several States, which you say you have sent me, and which would be very acceptable to me, ever come to hand, and as you have not mentioned through what channel you sent them, I know not where to apply for them. I have written to Paris and Holland for them in vain.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


St Petersburg, July 8th, 1783.


After the departure of her Imperial Majesty for Fredericksham, as mentioned in my last, the Vice Chancellor communicated to the foreign Ministers the information, that their Imperial Majesties had concluded an alliance offensive and defensive against the Porte. Thus it is now become certain, that the Emperor will take a part in this new war; the consequence of which will be, as I have supposed in some of my former letters, a general war on the continent of Europe.

A courier has been sent from hence with a similar communication as above, to the Courts of Berlin and Versailles, which Courts having been apprehensive of such an event, are, doubtless, prepared to meet it, and oppose themselves to the execution of the project of the Imperial Courts, which is nothing short of what was supposed to be in agitation, by my letter of the 30th of March, 1782, particularly by the first sentence of it relative to that subject, to which I beg leave again to refer you for more particular information. Last Saturday, a courier arrived from Versailles for the French Minister, which was sent from thence in consequence of the same matter being communicated there by the Minister of the Emperor, that from this Court had not then arrived. I am told his Most Christian Majesty expresses in a firm tone his surprise at the Empress's seizing upon the Crimea, and demands an explanation upon that subject, concluding, however, with an offer of his mediation between her Imperial Majesty and the Porte for settling their differences and pretensions. But it is evident the sword alone must decide these.

Sometime in last February, France having information of the project formed against the Porte, remonstrated in strong terms against it to the Emperor, upon which, as is said, he gave full assurances that he had not any such design as was imputed to him. This gave rise to the doubts, which have been entertained, whether he would take a part in the war against the Turks, which seemed to be the point upon which a general war upon the continent would depend. For if Russia alone had attacked the Turks, the powers whose interest it is to support them, would have, probably, confined themselves to secret succors. Their own safety will now oblige them to make powerful diversions in their favor. Not only France and Prussia have a deep interest to prevent the aggrandizement of the House of Austria, but many of the Electors and Provinces of Germany also, in order to preserve their own independence and liberties, which are ever in danger from powerful and ambitious Emperors. Hence we may see some of these allied with those two principal powers, to support the Turks against the formidable alliance of the Imperial Courts. Great Britain will remain neuter, rejoicing to see France engaged in an expensive continental war. Or if a favorable occasion should arise, she may take a part in it towards the close, to avenge herself for the part France has taken in our revolution. Thank God, we have a world to ourselves, and may rest in peace while the calamities of war are laying waste and desolating this continent. We may derive special advantages from it, as it will, probably, augment the emigrations of that most useful class of men, the peasants of Germany, into America.

Since my last, a Nuncio from the Pope has arrived here, coming from Poland. Having had no account of the definitive treaty, I remain in statu quo.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


St Petersburg, July 27th, 1783.


I have this day been honored with the duplicate of your letter of the 1st of May last, enclosing the resolution of Congress of the 1st of April, approving of my intention of returning to America, provided I should not be engaged in a negotiation with this Court at the time I should receive that resolution, but that if I should be, it is the desire of Congress that I should finish such negotiation before I return.[28] This letter has come very opportunely to hand, as we are in expectation every moment of receiving the account of the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, when I should have immediately had my audience of her Imperial Majesty. I shall now think it expedient to decline that honor. For it would be a very useless ceremony, to take an audience of reception one day, when the next, I must ask one of departure, as according to your letter, it not only seems that Congress declines being at the customary expense of concluding a treaty with her Imperial Majesty, but you say also, with respect to a commercial treaty, (the only one I had any intention of concluding,) none could be signed by me, as my powers only extend "to communicate with her Imperial Majesty's Ministers on the subject of a treaty, &c. &c. but not to sign it." I confess I had put a very different construction upon the passage of my instructions alluded to, which is, "You shall assure her Imperial Majesty and her Ministers, of the sincere disposition of the United States to enter into a treaty of friendship and commerce with her, on terms of the most perfect equality, &c. and you are authorised to communicate with her Imperial Majesty's Ministers on the form and terms of such treaty, and transmit the same to Congress for their ratification," especially when taken into conjunction with the following paragraph of my commission, "And he is further authorised in our name and on behalf of the United States of America, to propose a treaty of amity and commerce between these United States and her said Imperial Majesty, and to confer and treat thereon with her Ministers vested with equal powers, so far as the same shall be founded on principles of equality, &c. transmitting such treaty for our final ratification. And we declare in good faith, that we will confirm whatsoever shall by him be transacted in the premises."

But it is useless to spend a moment's consideration upon the extent of my powers, when you say you are persuaded it is the wish of Congress rather to postpone any treaty with Russia, than to buy one at this day, as I am persuaded no treaty is to be obtained, or could be honorably proposed, without conforming, as other nations have done, to the usage of this Court in that respect. That it would be for the interest of the United States, immediately to conclude a commercial treaty with her Imperial Majesty, such a one as I flatter myself I could obtain, I have not the least doubt upon my mind. As to the neutral confederation, I have the honor to agree in opinion with you, that it is now of little consequence to us; for this reason, I had determined to have nothing to do with it, even if I could not obtain a commercial treaty without acceding to it, as was the case with Portugal.

I pray you to be pleased to acquaint Congress, that I shall improve the earliest opportunity to leave this country and to return to America. Happily, I shall have a very good one in three weeks or a month, in the yacht of the Dutchess of Kingston, which will sail from hence for Boston, where I hope to arrive in all November. I have not received the letter from Mr Morris, which you mention.

I have the honor to be, &c.



[28] "Resolved, That Mr Dana having intimated his intention of returning to America, Congress do approve of the same; provided he should not be engaged in a negotiation with the Court of St Petersburg at the time of receiving this resolution, in which case, it is the desire of Congress that he should finish such negotiation before he returns."

* * * * *


St Petersburg, August 8th, 1783.


In my last, I acknowledged the receipt of yours of the 1st of May, enclosing the resolution of Congress of the 1st of April, relative to my returning to America, and I acquainted you, at the same time, that I should take my passage directly from hence for Boston, in the yacht of the Dutchess of Kingston. It being necessary immediately to prepare for the voyage, I thought it but decent to inform the Vice Chancellor of this change before it should become public, and have this day written a letter to him for that purpose, of which the following is a copy.


"I do myself the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that having obtained the permission of the Congress of the United States to return to America, I propose to leave this Empire in a few weeks. And as her Imperial Majesty has been pleased to postpone granting me an audience for the purpose of presenting my letters of credence, till the conclusion of the definitive treaties of peace, under the mediation of their Imperial Majesties, though that event should take place before my departure, yet if would be unnecessary to trouble her Imperial Majesty with that ceremony, when it must be soon followed with another. I have thought it incumbent upon me to inform your Excellency of my intention to return to America, before I had taken any step, which might make it public.

"I have the honor to be, &c.


"St Petersburg, August 8th, 1783."

As it is probable I shall be in America by the time this letter will reach you, that is in all November, I shall add nothing here.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


St Petersburg, August 17th, 1783.


Before I received your letter and the resolution of Congress founded upon my letter of the 23d of September last, permitting my return to America, finding it impracticable to support myself upon my appointment for the time I expected to be detained in negotiating a treaty of commerce, I had written to Messrs Willink, and other bankers of the United States in Holland, to give me a credit here, for a sum not exceeding one thousand pounds sterling on account of the United States, engaging at the same time to be responsible for it, if Congress should refuse to allow it. Over and above this, I had applied to my bankers in this city to advance me six hundred pounds sterling, on my private credit, which I found it would be necessary for me to expend for such household furniture only, as is not included in what they call here a furnished house. Such a one I was just upon the point of engaging for six months, at the rate of sixteen hundred rubles a year, when your letter came to hand.

But as the object of negotiation above mentioned, is not thought by Congress to be worth pursuing at this time, I thought it would be most advisable for me to disengage myself from these extraordinary expenses, and to improve the convenient opportunity which now offers to take my passage from this port for Boston, without waiting for the conclusion of the definitive treaties of peace, merely to take an audience of her Imperial Majesty; especially as I doubted whether Congress would approve of my incurring them, after I had received their permission to return, and found that they had no particular object of negotiation in view at this Court. Besides, I saw if I had an audience of her Majesty, it would not do for me to leave the Court abruptly, or before the next spring, and that in consequence of it, I should not be able to arrive in America till nearly the expiration of another year. I therefore wrote to the Vice Chancellor, as you will find by my last, to inform him of my intention to return to America. Further to explain the motive of Congress, as well as my own respecting this measure, I wrote him again on the 14th instant as follows.



"Lest the motive of the Congress of the United States, in granting me permission to return to America, as mentioned in the letter I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency on the 8th instant, might be misapprehended, I beg leave to inform you, that finding my health had suffered greatly since coming into this climate and my private affairs urging it upon me at the same time, I wrote to the Congress in September last, acquainting them with my desire to return to America. It was in consequence of this alone, they have been pleased to grant me that liberty.

"Those causes, but especially my ill state of health, operating with greater force at this day, oblige me to improve the earliest occasion to return to America, and one now offering from this port, I have proposed to take the benefit of it. But independent of such considerations, which are merely personal, as I have not yet been acknowledged in my public character, it appears improper for me after having received the abovementioned act of Congress, to ask an audience of her Imperial Majesty for the purpose of assuming it, and when too, if I should do it, I must immediately after ask an audience of leave. These reasons I hope, will excuse my retiring in a private character, as I have hitherto remained here. Highly sensible of the honor I should derive from being the first Minister from the United States of America at this Imperial Court, it is with infinite regret, I feel myself under the necessity of departing without having assumed that character. If your Excellency should judge it expedient, I will do myself the honor to wait upon you, in order to give you further explanations upon this subject verbally, than I have done in writing.

"I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your Excellency's most obedient and humble servant,


In consequence of the above letter I received a message from the Vice Chancellor on the 15th by one of his Secretaries, acquainting me that he should be glad to see me at his house in the country the next morning. When I waited upon him accordingly, he said he had received my two letters respecting my departure for America, assigning the ill state of my health as the occasion of it, that I was already well informed of the time her Imperial Majesty had fixed for my reception, and of the reasons which influenced her in that respect; and that she could not make any change in it; that if my health did not permit me to wait for the event, in such a case it lay wholly with me to return. I told him the cause which I had mentioned was the true cause, that my health was in such a state the last fall, when I wrote to the Congress, that I should not have remained over the winter, but from an expectation that everything would have been settled during the winter, so that I might have had an audience of her Majesty, and been ready to return to America early in the spring, by which time I expected to have received the permission of the Congress, that I wished only to have the matter properly understood, that the permission of the Congress was not owing to any transactions which had taken place here.

He then asked if I had received any answer from the Congress since the communication of my mission. I replied, none at all, that if he would be pleased to attend to dates, he would see it was impossible; that my communication was made on the 24th of February, that the permission of the Congress was dated on the 1st of April, between thirty and forty days after; that the greater part of that time, my letter containing the account of it, must have been on its way to Paris; that if my letters reached them in two or three months it was very well; that six months, sometimes nine, as was the present case, elapsed before I could receive any answer from America, and that I did not receive her Majesty's first answer, till near two months after the communication.

He seemed to be perfectly satisfied with this account, and said he was very sorry my health would not permit me to remain here, that he should have been very happy to have had the honor of seeing me in my public character. I expressed again the great regret with which I should depart, especially after having resided so long in the country without having had an audience of her Imperial Majesty, which I should have deemed the highest honor of my life. I told him, so convenient an opportunity now offering directly from hence for Boston, I thought I ought not to omit improving it, that if I should, I should be detained in the country through the next winter; for I could not think it would be proper to depart sooner, after taking an audience of her Majesty, to which he seemed to assent. He said, perhaps, after I had recovered my health, I might return again, when he should be very happy to see me, &c. I thanked him for his politeness, and we parted without the least apparent dissatisfaction. Yet I am persuaded, that they had much rather I should remain, because they have their apprehensions, that Congress may resent the postponement of my audience to the conclusion of the definitive treaties of peace; an event, which they must know can operate no change in the political existence of the United States.

I thought it best to put the permission upon its true ground, and my speedy departure upon the ill state of my health; because this would not in the least engage Congress, but leave them at perfect liberty to send another Minister at this Court or not, as they shall judge expedient, all circumstances considered. It is clearly my opinion, since Congress decline being at the expense of concluding a commercial treaty with her Majesty, that the supporting a Minister here has become a matter of much indifference to our interests. The interests of this empire are much more in the power of the United States, than theirs are in the power of this empire. Should we vigorously adopt the cultivation of hemp, and our territories along the Ohio are exceedingly well adapted to it, we should strike at the foundation of the commerce of this empire, and give her Majesty reason to repent at leisure of the line of conduct she has chosen to hold with the United States.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


Cambridge, December 17th, 1783.


I do myself the honor to inform your Excellency of my arrival at Boston in the ship Kingston, on Friday last, after a passage of ninetyfive days from St Petersburg. I propose to set off for Congress as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made for my journey, provided the severity of the season should not render it impracticable. I wish, however, that your Excellency would be pleased to write to me by the return post, (to which time it is possible I may be detained) whether it is the expectation of the Congress, that I should come on to the place of their session, and without loss of time, to render a more particular account of my late mission. There is nothing I should more earnestly wish, than to meet a strict inquiry into my conduct during the time I have had the honor of being a servant of the public.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE. Omitted words, shown as blank spaces in the original, have been transcribed as four hyphens (' '). Spelling variations between letters have been preserved.

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