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me say then, that I am deeply dissatisfied with what Is called
the administration of justice, both in our state and federal
courts. That by the principles of their organization and
procedures they appear to me In the majority of cases to
produce by Inevitable necessity the sacrifice of substantial
justice either to mere forms or to general rules. I entertain
some very heretical opinions upon the merits of that common
law, so Idolized by all the English common lawyers and by all
the parrots who repeat their words in America. These
opinions have not been adopted hastily or without considera-
tion. They are deeply rooted In my mind, and could not
easily be eradicated. In the report of the Senate in the case



146 THE WRITINGS OF [iSn

of John Smith, and In one or two passages of my lectures, I
have given a mere glimpse of some of them. One of my mo-
tives for doing It was to feel the public pulse with regard to
certain principles. The storm of passion In the Senate and
the clamor throughout the nation excited by those very
passages of the report, as well as by the enthusiastic appro-
bation of the same passages by another party, both In the
Senate and among the people, warned me to be extremely
cautious In future how I mingled such edged tools as those
in the political controversies of the times. I have not weight
and Influence enough In my country to bring It over to my
opinions, and I have too much Independence of spirit to
renounce them myself. In any other than a judicial station
I have no call to discuss them. There a sense of my duty
would often compel me to bring them out, and If I did, you
may be assured that neither my life nor the good people of
America would be tranquillized by It.

26 July, 181 1.

I have been obliged to change my usual place of abode in
St. Petersburg; the house In which I resided, and of which I
had a lease to the 13th of next June, having been sold and
the lease of course annulled. I was fortunate to find a com-
fortable and beautifully situated house on an Island within
the bounds of the city, but really a country seat on the banks
of the Nevka.^ It had been some months empty for want of
a tenant, and being suitable for habitation only during the
summer months, its owner was glad to let me have it at a
moderate rent. We took It for four months, of which one
is nearly past and at the end of which we must again seek for
winter lodgings.

I received last evening your favor of April 28, No. 10,

* It belonged to Count Tatischeff, and was situated on Apothecaries Island,
about three miles from the Summer Garden Gate.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 147

brought me by the Hugh Johnston, Captain Johnson,^
which renews the injunction upon me to accept the appoint-
ment which I have refused. I can add nothing to what I
have already written you upon this subject. If I could recall
my answer to the President declining the office, it must
have been by asking that he should keep it vacant for me
another year, after it has to the great injury of the public
been kept so one twelvemonth. . . . It is still my in-
tention to pass the winter here. I shall have the inclination
and, with the blessing of Heaven, hope there will be no in-
superable impediment to my return next summer; but not to
be a judge, not to usurp the place which ought to be held by
Judge Davis.

We have very lately received the account of the action
between the frigate President and the Little Belt,^ The
English ministerial papers assert that the first shot was
fired from our frigate. I hope this is not true. But affairs
appear to be rapidly coming to the last extremities between
the United States and England. A war appears to be in-
evitable and I lament it, with the deepest affliction of heart
and the most painful anticipation of consequences. It is at
home that an English war will bring on our heaviest trial,
as I presume one of its early effects will be a struggle for the
division of the states, which has been so long in contempla-
tion and preparation by New England federalists. Our com-
merce too will suffer most severely by the war, though it will
continue to be carried on to a considerable extent by contra-
band or by licenses.

It Is upon the fate of the war in Spain that the fate of the
world is suspended. So says the Emperor Napoleon, and
so speak the actions of the British government. We are now

' William Johnson.

* May 16. See Henry Adams, History, V. 26.



148 THE WRITINGS OF [iSu

in expectation of the news of a battle. But why should I
say this to you, when If such a battle has been fought, you
will hear of its issue nearly as soon as we shall. I could tell
you indeed of a battle in Turkey, between General KutuzoflF
and the Grand Vizier. Last Sunday I attended the Te Deum
to celebrate the victory of the Russians. But the Russians
have something now upon their hands more serious than a
Turkish war. DIglto compressu labellum. The year i8il
is passing In peace. Yours in duty.



TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE

No. 59. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 22 July, 181 1.
Sir:

Mr. Calhoun of Philadelphia arrived here last week
after a short passage of thirty-nine days from the Capes of
Delaware to Cronstadt. He brought me two packets under
the seal of your Department, containing a file of the National
Intelligencer from 16 February to i June, and Informed me
that you had not sent any other despatches by him, under
the expectation that upon his arrival here I should have
embarked already upon my passage to the United States.
This expectation would have been realized but for circum-
stances which I have had the honor of intimating to you in
a former letter, and which I have still every reason to expect
will necessarily detain me here until next June.

This state of things was already suggested by me to the
President of the United States In a letter M^hich I had the
honor of writing him on the 7th of January last; and it pre-
scribed to me the duty of declining the appointment as



i8iil JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 149

judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, with which
I had been honored. I have hitherto presumed that it was
not the President's intention that I should divest myself of
my official character here, by delivering the letter of leave
without being prepared immediately afterwards to take my
departure. But I informed Count Romanzoff that I had
received that letter, and that I should keep it subject to the
further orders which I might receive. It may be proper
for me now to add my wish, that the President's final arrange-
ments respecting the mission to this Court may be separated
entirely from considerations relating personally to me or
to the situation of my family. Should he judge the appoint-
ment of another person expedient, or should he deem the
continuance of a minister here no longer necessary, I shall
readily deliver the letter of leave whenever I shall be ap-
prised of his Intentions.

The navigation of the Baltic has, during the present sea-
son, been liberated from many of the restrictions and vexa-
tions to which it had been liable for the American flag
during the two preceding years. The passage of the Sound
has not been blockaded by the British, and the captures by
Danish privateers have almost entirely ceased. The liber-
ality which has uniformly characterized the policy of the
Russian government In regard to our commerce, has been
more strongly marked than at any former period. The
general measures have multiplied the facilities of admission
to our vessels, and special indulgences have been in many
cases granted to those which were not within the provisions
of the law. But so interwoven is the struggle between
good and evil In human affairs, that it has now become
questionable whether even these indulgences and these
facilities will ultimately prove advantageous to those for
whom they have been granted. Nearly two hundred



ISO THE WRITINGS OF [iSn

American vessels laden with valuable cargoes have already
entered the ports of Russia since the commencement of
this season's navigation — one hundred of them at the port
of Cronstadt — and as many more are expected. Their
cargoes consist altogether of five or six articles of what are
called colonial merchandise — sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo
and dye-woods; and they have so glutted the markets
with these articles that scarcely any sales of them can now
be effected at any prices, and those who are compelled to
sell, do it to the total loss of the article. The prices of the
articles which are to be taken for return cargoes in the mean-
time rise In proportion to the extraordinary demand for
them thus produced, and the course of exchange rises in like
manner. The French tariff, which is enforced in Saxony and
Prussia, chokes the passage to reexportation, and the national
bankruptcy of Austria Is followed by such a stagnation
of all commercial affairs in that country that it affords no
better Issue than Its neighbors.

The British Orders of Council, and the French continental
system opposed against them, are undoubtedly the causes
of this state of things. The object of the former being to
monopolize the commerce of the world, that of the latter is
to cramp and cripple all commerce, as a medium through
which Britain must receive a wound. There Is no symptom
of relaxation in this policy on either side. We have just
been informed of the condemnation In England of the Fox,
and many other American vessels, for being bound to
France. At the same time the French minister, Montallvet,
was telling the Legislative Assembly that the continental
system had just begun, and that France can easily bear its
inconveniences for ten years to come. Each of the parties
endeavors to keep up the courage of Its subjects and de-
pendent allies, by representing its antagonist as at the last



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 151

gasp; while in reality, the means and resources for its con-
tinuance are but too great on both sides.

Notwithstanding the threatened thunderbolt of the
Emperor Napoleon, and the reiteration by his minister,
Montalivet, of the promise that Spain shall be subdued,
the only evidence now admissible of the determination to
renew that contest, will be the sending of large reenforce-
ments to the French armies. It Is said that such reenforce-
ments have been sent and an intimation has been given me
that the Emperor Napoleon intends to go there for a short
time in person. This has become so necessary for the main-
tenance of his political supremacy In Europe, that It seems
the only alternative left him, if he seriously adheres to the
conquest of Spain. But upon the Issue of that campaign
will depend more than ever the fate of Europe. It is heyond
a doubt that he will not be molested when he commences it by
Russia. If he succeeds, what his policy to Russia will be I will
not say. If he fails the Emperor Alexander'' s personal de-
termination and the system of the present Chancellor are essen-
tially pacific. But it may be doubted whether either of them would
stand the test of another successful British campaign in Spain.

In the meantime the negotiations between France and Russia,
tho^ less ambiguous, are becoming daily more equivocal than at
the period when ijistant war was expected. The professions of
amity, thd' still repeated, have become cooler, and are expressed
with more reserve: with the protestations of pacific intentions
on the part of France and promises of indemnity for the Duchy
of Oldenburg have been mingled some recriminations on account
of the Russian commercial orders, and some manifestation of
displeasure at the extraordinary armaments of Russia along
the frontiers of Poland. To all this it has fiat been difficult for
Russia to reply, and so the questions upon which the parties
are at variance are spinning out for discussions. There is hoW'



152



THE WRITINGS OF [iSn



ever one remarkable fact of which I am assured from a quarter
deserving of confidence. It is, that the Emperor Napoleon has
expressly declared to the Russian ambassador that he is satis-
fied with the conduct of Russia in reference to the continental
system and perfectly convinced that she has had no communica-
tion with England incompatible with her engagements with
France. It does not appear even that he has taken amiss the
arrival of a Portuguese minister here in a British frigate, or
the restoration of the Russian prisoners who have been landed
from another British frigate at Reval.^

A Te Deum was yesterday celebrated at the Imperial
chapel for a victory obtained by General Kutuzoff, (the
successor of the late General Count Kamlnsky) over the
Turkish army under the Immediate command of the Grand
Vizier. It was In the neighborhood of Rustchuk. But the
Russians are altogether on the defensive. The hopes of
peace are less sanguine that they were last month. The
Turks demand not only their lost provinces, but a sum of
money and the Crimea, by way of Indemnity.

I have received from Llebau, a small packet, enclosing
a third copy of the National Intelligencer of 6 and 8 December
last. I mention It merely from the principle of acknowledg-
ing the receipt of every packet coming from your Department.
I am very respectfully etc.

1 Cypher.



j8ii1 JOHN QUINCY ADAAIS 153

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE

No. 60. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 28 July, 181 1.

Sir:

I went one day last week,^ with Mr. Hazard, and intro-
duced him personally to the Chancellor Count Romanzoff,
through whose department as Minister of Foreign Affairs,
the exequatur was to be obtained. For this purpose I had
supposed it would be sufficient for Mr. Hazard to exhibit
his commission, together with a French translation of it,
to the Count, but he observed that it would be necessary
for me to address a note to him giving him notice of it, upon
which the exequatur would be issued, not from the Chancery,
but from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and it must
be, when delivered, carried to the Senate to be registered.
I wrote the Count that same day, and as the want of a consul
at Archangel Is most sensibly felt by the multitudes of Amer-
icans who have already crowded into that port, I suggested
the hope that the forms of recognition might be abridged as
much as possible to give the gentleman appointed the means
of rendering to his countrymen there the official services of
which they stand so much in need. I have not received the
Count's answer. But as there is nothing in nature so callous
to the spur as official routine, I suppose Mr. Hazard's recog-
nition will proceed with exactly the same pace as if I had
said nothing about it.

This was the first occasion upon which the Count had ever
marked a special discrimination between his functions as
Chancellor, and those as Minister of Foreign Affairs; I

^ Adams, Memoirs, July 25, 181 1.



154 THE WRITINGS OF [i8



II



remarked it the more particularly, because the plan has for
some months been in agitation of removing him from the
Foreign Department by accumulating his dignities and
perhaps his occupations as Chancellor. They call it going out
by a good door. But if the peace can be kept with France, the
Count has neither inclination nor occasion to quit the office of
Foreign Affairs, an offce less elevated, but far otherwise {more)
efficient than that of Chancellor. If the rupture with France
comes he must inevitably withdraw from the same Department,
and would doubtless himself be glad to have a ladder provided
by which he might ascend to a more serene and tranquil station.
I hear that he has received a letter from the Duke de Bassano,
written by command of the Emperor Napoleon, expressing the
regret that he had felt on learning that the Count had intimated
a disposition to retirement and the earnest wish that he would
continue in office, as that event must have the most essential
tendency to the preservation of peace upon the Continent. Since
then the Emperor Alexander himself has signified his intentions
to keep the Count in the Foreign Office, and the Count has not
concealed his own intention to remain. All this I learn from
persons usually well informed, and it may all be true. The proj-
ect which was in discussion before the Imperial Council sleeps
perhaps upon the files. But it may be taken up again, if the
rupture with France should ensue. ^

The Chancellor told me that they were going to remove
Count Pahlen from the United States, but that another per-
son would be sent there to replace him. He has accepted
the offer of the mission to Brazil, which was made him some
months since, and the commission will be sent out to him
immediately.^ But he has stipulated that he should not be
required to stay longer than two years, and that within that

^ Cypher.

2 On July 30 Adams received notice of the appointment of Andre DaschkofT.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 155

time he should be provided with some place nearer home.
To this condition Count Romanzoff said the Emperor had
assented; that Count Pahlen would have the peculiar fortune
of commencing the diplomatic relations on the part of Russia
with both parts of the American hemisphere, and if still
another sovereign power should arise In that quarter of the
globe, he would probably be accredited there too. This
allusion was undoubtedly to the existing state of the coun-
tries which have been Spanish colonies in South America;
but to whom I do not Imagine it is probable that Russia
will send a minister within two years. He added that he was
convinced Count Pahlen would in future thank him for
having thus given him the opportunity of becoming ac-
quainted so advantageously with both the American con-
tinents; it must be far preferable to a mission at Stuttgart
or at Cassel, which a Russian might visit and which many
Russians did visit, as well without a diplomatic mission as
with one. I said I hoped that at least Count Pahlen would
have reason to recollect with pleasure his residence with us.
All his letters, he replied, were expressive of the strongest
satisfaction with our country.

The state of our relations with England is a subject upon
which the Chancellor never fails to make inquiries, in con-
versing with me. I was now as little Informed concerning
it as himself. The affair between the frigate President and
the Little Belt had been known here these ten days. The
Count said he had seen the English gazettes down to the
28th of June and this event had occasioned there great agita-
tion in the public mind. The report of Captain Bingham
had not been received, but the ministerial papers already
asserted as unquestionable that the first fire came from the
American frigate. A squadron under the command of
Sir Joseph York was fitting out to sail for America. But It



156 THE WRITINGS OF [iSn

appeared the whole struggle for Spain and Portugal, was to
be gone over again. Lord Wellington had been obliged to
raise the siege of Badajos, and another general action was ex-
pected. This the Count said was a very different result from
what had been lately and very generally expected. It had
been thought that the issue of the late campaign had given
the English, if not undisputed possession, at least a decisive
preponderancy in Spain. Now it appeared that all was
to be fought for again. I observed that the Emperor Na-
poleon and his Minister of the Interior had both declared
that France would persevere in this struggle, but that it
would require large reenforcements to the French armies.
He said that such reenforcements had been sent both from
Toulon and Marseilles, and also, as he was informed by
the Ambassador Prince Kurakin, from Paris.

The victory of the Russian army commanded by General
Kutuzoff, for which the Te Deum was celebrated last Sunday
in the imperial chapel, was obtained over the Grand Vizier
in person at the head, as the Russian official account asserts,
of sixty thousand men. The Russian force engaged, by the
same account, was less than twenty thousand. They were
attacked in their entrenched camp before Rustchuk, and
not only repulsed the Turks with great slaughter, but pur-
sued them six or seven miles in their retreat. The Russian
loss is stated to be about five hundred men killed and
wounded. It was on the 22nd of June. In all these actions
with the Turks, there is a rumor in circulation differing
materially from the official report. It is said that the victory
was not so complete, nor gained with so little loss as the gazettes
announce. In evidence of this it is alleged that General
Kutuzoff, since the action, has abandoned his entrenched camp,
Bas Rustchuk, arid that place itself, and with his whole army
has withdrawn to the left hanks of the Danube. It has been



i8u] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 157

found necessary to send hack to the army two divisions of thirty
thousand men zvhich had been drawn to form the line on the
borders of Poland. The Turks have the offensive, and the hopes
of peace have nearly vanished.^ I am with great respect etc.



TO ABIGAIL ADAMS

St. Petersburg, 29 July, 181 1.
My Dear Mother:

The death of my worthy and respected friends, Judge
Dana - and Mr. Emerson,^ has given me great concern, and
the state of health In which my brother's own letters and
yours represent him occasion deep anxiety. Mr. Dana had
a harshness of temper, arising from a constitutional nervous
irritability, and the perpetual terrors of that disease which
finally proved fatal to him, and had hung over him nearly
five and twenty years. I saw him under the operation of
his first paralytic attack, and then watched one night with
him at his bedside. It was in the spring of 1787, while I
was a student at college. I had then no expectation that
he would ever recover from it, nor had he himself, nor his
family nor his physician. He never did recover from it en-
tirely, for although he retained for twenty years afterwards
the powers of his mind to a surprising and, I believe after
such an attack, to an unexampled degree, yet his nervous
system was so shattered, and his fears of a relapse so inces-
sant, that it embittered all the remnant of his days. This
state of habitual distemper sharpened the natural asperities

> Cypher.

2 Francis Dana died April 25, 181 1.

' William Emerson died May 12, 181 1.



158 THE WRITINGS OF [1811

of his disposition, narrowed the means of his intercourse
with society, and confined him in a great measure to his
family relations. He was always very highly respected as
a judge, and until the last moment when he held that sta-
tion, I believe his learning and his judgment remained unim-
paired. His integrity was never questioned. He had been
a distinguished patriot of our revolution, an enlightened
and upright judge, a virtuous citizen and excellent father of
a family; but of all the men whom I ever knew, moving in
so enlarged a sphere he had the fewest friends. I was there-
fore not surprised to learn with how little public notice his
decease had been attended.^ Had I been at Boston assuredly
the ordinary tribute usual to the memory of the obscurest
citizens should not have been denied to him. But I have
had intimations for several years that he was engaged in a
manner which will leave a durable memorial of himself.
Mrs. Warren's Aspasian remarks upon his mission to Russia,^
which the good woman borrowed from the political Adonises
of our revolutionary age, and which she never asked herself
whether they were fit for the chastity of a female historian
to retail, had affected the feelings of Judge Dana, as it was
natural they should, and I have some reason to believe that

^ "Judge Dana died, and his funeral is attended by his relations, his pall bearers,
and a few individuals. Not a word of notice taken of a man who had sustained
various important offices, and who for many years was Chief Justice of the State;
who discharged the duties of his office as an honest, upright and learned Judge; who
was a religious man; as husband and parent, fond, affectionate and tender; as a
public man, without a stain. Yet not one solitary paragraph in a newspaper, to
say more than upon such a day he died! This would not have been, if you had
been here. It has really hurt me for his family. But he was not a party man; he
had not popular talents, nor, what Lord Chesterfield calls suavity of manners, which
attract more forcibly, than sound sense and learning." Abigail Adams to John
Quincy Adams, May 28, 181 1. Ms.

2 Warren, History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolu-
tion, II. 302.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 159

he was preparing for publication, either memoirs of his own



Online LibraryJohn Quincy AdamsWritings of John Quincy Adams (Volume 9) → online text (page 13 of 42)