James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert R. Livingston, 2 November 1803

From Robert R. Livingston

No. 89

Paris 2d Novr 1803


I told you in my last1 that a coolness Subsisted between the First Consul & Count Marcoff the Minister of Russia, But that it was rather a personal dislike than any thing that led immediately to a rupture between the two Courts. [Mar]cof2 has never much liked the present order of things and has sometimes too freely spoken his opinion of them in this country it is difficult to say anything which is not rep[eated]3 to those from whom you would most wish to conceal them4 but about the time of the war breaking out and just after Marcof was very much [atten]ded5 to since Russia was6 to be managed if possible but the [first]7 consul is of all men the least capable of concealing his resentments when he feels them what [first] made them break into action was that several libels or such as the consul [thought]8 such were written by a man by the name of Destrangers9 in [Switzerland]10 the consul had him arrested he was claimed by Marcoff as attached to [the] Russian [le]gation.11 About a month ago at public levee the First Consul asked the Count de Brunau Minister from Saxony, how his Sovereign could Support in his dominions a person whose name I have forgotten who employed himself in vilifying the French Government.12 The Minister replied that he was not Subject to the Jurisdiction of the Elector, being attached to the Russian legation, upon which the consul [turn]ing13 to Marcoff express[ed] his surpri[se] that a man of that character should be protected by the Russian [ambass]ador14 Marcoff made some [ap]ology for him15 which irritating the consul he replied yes you have [also] claimed16 another man guilty of the same offence as attached to your [le]gation tho he is a French citizen no sir he is a Swiss he is not a Swiss17 he is a Frenchman says the consul and I will [ar]rest18 all the mauvais sujets in France Markoff replied dryly you do very well sir to [ar]rest allthe mauvais sujets in France. A few days after we were all invited to a play, & drawing room at Madame Bonaparte at St Cloud Markoff was not asked as this was considered as a private party & not necessarily diplomatic. None of the Russians were there Tho’ there are many in Paris who go to Court. Since this there has been another levee and tho Marcof was asked he did not attend but pretended to be sick. Last Sunday, we had a play at St Cloud most of the Russian nobility were present but Markoff did not attend. I have not inquired whether he was asked or not. It is generally understood, here that he has overacted19 [his]20 part that he will not be support[ed] by [his] court. I think however that there are Some Symptoms of Russias being more favorable to England than she has been but I do not expect any very sudden effect from them—they will however probably hasten the attempt upon England, perhaps to the compleat conquest of Egypt by the Beys, & the expulsion of the Turks, together with the advances of the Mammeluks to England, may produce Some very important changes & introduce New actors upon the Tragic Stage. Should the Turks consent & close an alliance with France with the participation of Russia who may Share in the booty, Egypt may be again the Theatre of war.

Affairs are accommodated with Spain the prince of peace is to remain Spain is to remain21 Spain is to pay annually to France in lieu of troop[s] and ships the sum of forty eight millions.22

I have this thro’ a channel that I can depend upon, it is not generally known here, & no mention must be made of it on your Side of the water, as my informant might be Suspected. But as no Secret can be kept long, I doubt much whether England will after the payment of these23 subsidies consent to the neutrality of Spain. The British Still blockade closely the harbour of Havre, & will not Suffer any of our vessels to enter. By letters from Leghorn I learn that Mr Cathkart has been refused admittance into Tunis or to be received as Consul. I find that a Danish vessel has been Stopped carried into Port & Searched by a cruiser of Morocco, under pretence of Searching for ennemies goods & finally discharged. As I know no ennemy that Morocco has, unless it be us, it proves further the existence of their war with us. This is a very Serious circumstance & will call for Some immediate remedy. I have the honor to be Sir with the most respectful attachment Your most Obt hum: Servt

Robt R Livingston

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