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silly declamation against the constitution and present
reigning family of England, imputes to the Duke of Cadore
language and sentiments about as suitable to his character
as would be a panegyric of the Emperor Napoleon from the
lips of Mr. Perceval or Lord Wellesley. But the editorial
history of this publication is more curious than the perform-
ance itself. It says that during the last autumn there was
some apparent wavering in the political system of Russia.
That this memoir was then written by the Duke of Cadore
to convince the Emperor Alexander that it was necessary
for the peace and safety of the continent of Europe that
the British constitution should be changed, or that the pres-
ent reigning family of England should be removed from the
throne. That it was sent by the Russian ambassador to
his court, where it did not succeed in obtaining its intended
effect. That it was communicated by the Russian govern-
ment to me, that the United States might know how the
French Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke of them. That a
copy of it was sent by me to my government, and to my
father, through whom it was first published.

It will be well known to you, sir, that I never sent a copy
of this paper or of anything like it to my government, and
I presume it will be needless for me to add that I never sent
any such to my father, and never received any such com-
munication from the Russian government. So far as my
name is concerned the whole story is a fiction, as to my
mind there is not a doubt but is all the rest.

Having met the French ambassador yesterday at Count
Romanzoff's, he spoke to me of this paper, which he had
not then seen. But as he expected to receive it in the even-
ing, he promised to call upon me this day at noon. He ac-
cordingly came having seen the paper in a different gazette,



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 201

The Pilot, of 31 July, but extracted from the publication in
the Courier of the preceding day. He supposes It to have
been published with the countenance or connivance of the
British ministry, to hold up an appearance in the public
mind of a good understanding between the British and
Russian governments, and to sow or inflame dissensions be-
tween France and Russia and between France and the
United States. Notwithstanding the contemptuous neglect
with which Lord Wellesley treated the complaint addressed
to him by Mr. Pinkney, respecting the forgery of ships
papers, I do not believe that this publication was made with
the previous knowledge of the British ministers, though it
is clearly the production of one of their partisans. Its aim
appears rather to recommend their wisdom and virtue to
the Prince Regent in preference to the opposition, and to
convince the nation of the absolute necessity of continuing
the war. As an experiment upon the credulity of the public
it is not an ingenious contrivance, and perhaps it may only
be an article from the shop of Mr. Van Sander, to affect the
prices on the stock exchange for a day.

There are, however, other indications that the British
government wish to foster an opinion among their own
people, that there is already a good harmony prevailing
between them and Russia. Precisely at the same time when
this notable state paper was circulated, four or five vessels
loaded with lead, saltpetre, sulphur and gunpowder were
dispatched from an English port, under convoy of a sloop
of war, and destined to Reval; their departure was emphat-
ically announced in the gazettes as demonstrating the per-
fect good understanding already subsisting between England
and Russia. The sloop of war was commanded by a Captain
Fenthan,^ whose father and two brothers are officers in the

' In the American Historical Review, XI. 89, the name is printed Fenshaw.



202



THE WRITINGS OF [iSn



Russian service. They all arrived last week at Reval, and
Captain Fenthan sent a request to his father and brothers
to see them, stating in his letter that he had arrived there
upon an important service. This circumstance has occa-
sioned many speculations here, and an opinion was becoming
very general that the concert and good understanding of
which the English gazettes boasted had really existed. The
Emperor permitted General Fenthan and his sons to visit
their kinsman according to his request, but he directed that
all the vessels, as well the storeships as the sloop of war,
should be ordered immediately to depart.^ So that if there
has been any concert either attempted or effected between
the parties, at least they have not concerted the manner In
which It was to be manifested. A similar aversion to any
external appearance of agreement on the part of Russia,
had occurred before on the arrival of the frigate which
brought the prisoners. She was allowed to land them, but
the captain was Informed that he must have no other com-
munication with the shore, and was refused the permission
which he asked of sending even his surgeon to purchase
some medicinal drugs for the use of the ship.

It Is not Impossible that the English government may have
been informed from this country that the articles of lead,
saltpetre, sulphur and gunpowder were wanted here, and

1 "Those newspapers and the ships arriving here at the same time put us all here
into such a fluster, as you, who know the ground, will readily conceive. There was
much chuckling in one quarter. Some long faces in another. On 'change the
whispering and the buzzing, and the asserting and the denying, and the head-
shaking, and the mysterious look of wisdom, lasted longer than usual — four or five
days at least. At last it turns out that the Emperor gave permission to General
Fenthan and his sons to visit their relation, on board the sloop of war, and then he
and his storeships received a notification to depart as they came, and that if they
did not go with all due speed, their next notice would be that there was still powder
and ball to spare in Russia, as much as was needed to be employed against the
Common Enemy [Napoleon.]" To Alexander Hill Everett, September 2, 181 1.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 203

would be received, if allowed by them to be sent hither from
England. But they were certainly not led to expect that it
might be done with such notoriety, or to conclude that it
was by Russia considered as equivalent to a treaty of peace.

In the month of June a young Polish nobleman, a chamber-
lain of the Emperor Alexander, name Prince Lubomirski, was
introduced to me, and informed me that he had it in contempla-
tion to visit the United States. He asked me for letters of in-
troduction, and I gave him one for the President, and several
others. I understood, though not from himself, that it was
probable he would first go to England. He actually went there,
and upon his arrival had a special permission to land, and to
go to London. It was immediately after his arrival that these
vessels were dispatched, and it is now the belief of different
persons here that he was charged with a secret mission by the
Emperor Alexander.

The ambassador however avowed the fullest conviction that
there is no political intercourse whatever between Russia and
England, and this day assured me, in the most positive terms,
that there was no present prospect of a war between Russia and
France.^ A traveler just arrived from Germany, asserts
that there are between nine and ten thousand men con-
stantly employed to strengthen and extend the fortifica-
tions of Dantzig, which some months since was declared by
the French government to be in a state of siege. I am with
high respect, etc.

^ Cypher.



204 THE WRITINGS OF [isu

TO JOHN ADAMS

St. Petersburg, 31 August, 181 1.
Dear Sir:

In a former letter I have thanked you for the two pam-
phlet speeches of Mr. Quincy made at the last session of
Congress, on the admission of the Orleans territory as a
state into the Union, and upon his proposed amendment to
Mr. Macon's proposed amendment of the constitution.
But I have not yet given you the reflections which occurred
to my mind upon the perusal of them.

It was my opinion at the time of the Louisiana purchase,
that upon the principles on which the constitution of the
United States was founded, the consent both of the people
of the United States and of the people of Louisiana was
necessary to make the latter a part of the American Union.
I considered that France could cede only her right of prop-
erty to the territory, and that the right of sovereignty in-
herent in the people of the country, when the jurisdiction
of France had ceased by the cession, could be ceded only by
some act of their own, and acquired by some act of the people
of the United States. I deemed an amendment to the con-
stitution the most proper form in which this act of the people
could be performed, and moved in Senate for the appoint-
ment of a committee to consider the subject in reference to
this view of it, and report their opinion concerning It. I
drew up even an amendment, which I supposed adequate
to accomplish the business, and which I believed If It could
obtain the sanction of two-thirds of the two houses, would
easily receive that of the State legislatures and of the people
of Louisiana, represented as they might think proper.^ This

^ See Vol. III. 20, supra.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 205

was my homage to republican principle, that the sovereign
power originally resides in the people, and can be delegated
only by their free consent. I showed my proposed amend-
ment to Mr. Madison, then Secretary of State, and to Mr.
Pickering, then my colleague In the Senate. It was not
approved by either of them. They both, however, admitted
the correctness of the principle. Mr. Madison's objection
was to the wording of the amendment, which he thought
too long and not congenial to the style of the constitution.
He thought that the amendment In these words, "Louisiana
is admitted as a part of this Union," would be proper and
sufficient. My amendment was much longer — a general
power to Congress to annex new territories to the Union at
their discretion, the very thing which Mr. Quincy's speech
considers a power so monstrous. It was exactly that, which
my statement proposed to confer upon Congress in express
terms. Mr. Pickering's objection was that any such amend-
ment would be useless, the principle of the sovereignty of
the people being as he thought altogether theoretical, and
In respect to such cessions of jurisdiction as that of the
Louisiana treaty always disregarded in practice. I could
not obtain in Senate even the appointment of the committee
for which I had moved. I then moved the two resolutions
to which Mr. Quincy referred In his speech. I have neither
the Journals of the Senate nor my own private journal of
that time at hand, but I believe there were three resolutions,
but the third was perhaps only the proposition of a measure
resulting from the principles declared In the others. They
excited a long and very warm debate on the first resolution,
the previous question was moved by General Jackson, and
afterwards withdrawn upon a suggestion from his side of
the House that the previous question would be tantamount
to a formal admission of the principle. In truth I never saw



2o6 THE WRITINGS OF [iSn

men more embarrassed with a principle than the great
majority of the Senate appeared to be on that day. But In
the debate I was perfectly alone. Mr. Tracy, who seconded
my motion, supported me on the question which Immediately
arose, whether It should be co7isidered, and on the discussion
concerning the previous question he and one or two more
voted with me on my first resolution. Mr. Pickering took
no part In the debate, affected to be very busy writing letters
or reading newspapers while It was going on, and when the
question was taken, desired to be excused from voting, he-
cause it was on a motion of his colleague. His colleague
thought It would have been more Ingenuous had he voted
at once against the resolution, and more delicate If abstain-
ing from delicacy to vote, he had left his place as was usual
In such cases without formally assigning his motive. The
keen and even angry opposition which he encountered from
others did not displease him so much as this pretension to
Indulgence. General Dayton who wished the Senate to re-
fuse to consider the resolutions, and severely tasked Tracy
for seconding my motions, was at least candid and professed
no scruples of delicacy.

So it was, however, that my propositions were rejected in
Senate by almost a unanimous vote. Congress did then ex-
ercise the powers of sovereignty over the people of Louisiana,
and have continued to do from that time. Notwithstanding
this fate of my resolutions I still think that on republican
principles, it was the assumption of power which had not
been delegated, and thus far Mr. Quincy's opinions har-
monize with mine. But the consent of the people, which I
suppose necessary to legitimate power, may be subsequent
by their acquiescence as well as antecedent by express grant.
The people of the United States, Including the Inhabitants
of Louisiana, have now for eight years quietly submitted



i



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 207

to the exercise by Congress of sovereign jurisdiction over
the whole territory of Louisiana. It is now too late to recur
to the first principles of human association, and most spe-
cially too late for the purpose of depriving the people of
Louisiana of the rights, privileges and advantages, to which
as citizens of the United States they are entitled. Among
which perhaps the most Important to them is the right to
form a state government of their own, and to be admitted
as a member of the Union into the national councils. After
denying them for eight years the benefit of an abstract
principle, and ruling them by an authority which they had
not granted, it would be equally unjust and absurd to recur
to that very abstract principle, to exclude them forever
from its benefits and even from the common rights of Amer-
ican freemen.

The question whether Louisiana should become a part of
the American Union and in what manner, was therefore
settled eight years ago, and at this time I can see no basis
for a constitutional question. The express authority to
Congress to admit new states Into the Union covers the whole
ground, and where the express letter is so explicit, my under-
standing Is not very accessible to a constructive restriction
to be Inferred from a conjectural Intention of those who
made the constitution of the United States. Yet on such a
pin's point rests the whole of Mr. Quincy's argument. I
neither admit nor believe, that the framers of the constitu-
tion intended to limit the admission of new states Into the
Union to the original territory of the United States. If such
a limitation had been intended, it would have been expressed.
By the old confederation there was an express provision for
the admission of Canada, though Mr. Quincy docs not In
his speech appear to know It. The constitution having
been made after the peace, It became improper to retain



2o8 THE WRITINGS OF [i8u

this clause, and therefore the power was given to Congress
in general terms; but a mere comparison between the con-
federation and the constitution, if Mr. Quincy will take the
trouble to make it, will show him that the power to admit
new States was substituted for the clause authorizing the
admission of Canada. I think, though of this I am not sure,
he will find the same thing expressly stated in the Federal-
ist.^ It is true the power in the constitution applies to the
admission of states within the original territory of the
Union; but excepting Mr. Quincy's gratuitous supposition,
I see not the shadow of a reason to believe that it was in-
tended to apply so exclusively.

The rest of Mr. Quincy's speech seems to me a mere appeal
to small passions and local jealousies. If in a Boston town
meeting a North End orator should arise and say that for
his part, all the fire of his patriotism spent itself between
the Mill-Bridge and the WInnlsimmet Ferry, that he warned
the long skirted gentlemen of Fort Hill and Mount Vernon,
that the North End would not long submit to be trampled
upon by them, and that If after having purchased and an-
nexed to the town a part of Dorchester, anybody should
ever presume to build houses there, and to dwell in them,
and then come to town meeting and out-vote the neighbor-
hood of Charles river, then it would be the right and the duty
of the End to put up an independent sovereignty of their
own, amicably if they could, violently if they must; the dis-
course would certainly not be so eloquent as Mr. Quincy's,
but would be quite as reasonable, and perhaps at the North
End quite as popular. I love my native land, I believe, as
much as Mr. Quincy, and I feel an attachment of sentiment
to the very spot of my birth which will quit me only with
my life. But I could take by the hand as a fellow-citizen a

1 See Federalist, No. XLIII.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 209

man born on the banks of the Red River or the Missouri
with just the same cordiaHty, that I could at least half a
million of natives of Massachusetts, with whom I never had
and probably never shall have any other relation than that
of being their fellow-citizen. To attempt to limit the rights
and duties and relations resulting from political association
within the necessarily narrow bounds of personal affection,
friendship or consanguinity, is to look at the moon through
a microscope. The whole continent of North America ap-
pears to be destined by Divine Providence to be peopled by
one nation, speaking one language, professing one general
system of religious and political principles, and accustomed
to one general tenor of social usages and customs. For the
common happiness of them all, for their peace and prosper-
ity, I believe it indispensable that they should be associated
in one federal Union. The relative proportion of power be-
tween the different members of this Union is as insignificant,
as the same question between North End and South End.
This is totally subordinate to all important and all absorb-
ing principle of union. I have no apprehension that the
people of Massachusetts will be trampled upon by the power
of the Union, though their relative proportion of that power
should become as small as that of Rhode Island or Delaware
is now in comparison to the whole. But let that federal
Union which secures to each member the sympathies of the
same body once be dissolved, and every part will in turn
inevitably be trampled upon by the others, and America
like the rest of the earth will sink into a common field of
battle for conquerors and tyrants.

I have not left myself room for my animadversions upon
the oration against patronage and place. Your own re-
marks upon it are enough, perhaps it was meant only as
Si jeu d' esprit. My duty to my mother and love to my



2IO THE WRITINGS OF [iSn

boys. My wife is getting well and my daughter craves your
blessing.

TO WILLIAM PLUMER

St. Petersburg, 8 September, 1811.
Dear Sir:

I give you many thanks for the view of public affairs and
of the state of parties contained In your letter. Since you
wrote many and great changes have taken place. Some of
them have been made known to us here by the letters and
newspapers which we have received, and of many we must
of course still be uninformed. The state of our foreign rela-
tions as marked out by the non-intercourse act of last ses-
sion of Congress; by the condemnation of thirty or forty of
our vessels in England under the Orders in Council, and
merely for having been bound for France; by the continued
misconduct and outrages of France herself; by the extraor-
dinary and unaccountable transaction between the President
Frigate and the Little Belt sloop of war; by the termination
of Mr. PInkney's mission to England and the commence-
ment of that of Mr. Foster to the United States, appear
approaching to a crisis which seems to render a foreign war
utterly unavoidable. If anything can avert it, the death of
George the Third will be that event. As yet no account of
it has been received here; but in all probability it must take
place and be known in the United States before you receive
this letter.^ The accession of a new King in England will
undoubtedly produce some important changes of policy,
but whether It will bring among them a system founded on

^ In this year the reign of George III practically came to an end, though he lived
in insanity and blindness until January 29, 1820.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 211

common sense in regard to their relations with America,
can only be ascertained by time. During the whole reign
which is terminating with circumstances so striking that the
hand of Heaven seems visible in them, the spirit of delirium
and of stubbornness, the Evil Spirit from the Lord which
troubled Saul, has had almost constant rule over the king-
dom of Great Britain. It has had tremendous consequences
upon the destinies of our generation, consequences far be-
yond the calculation of contemporaneous politicians. In
our country, the theatre upon which it first carried fire and
sword, the benevolence of Providence has long since brought
great and preeminent good out of evil. In Europe darkness
and gloom, blood and desolation yet prevail. Humane
and pious minds can only pray and hope that out of this
darkness light will also in due time be made to appear.



TO GEORGE WASHINGTON ADAMS ^

St. Petersburg, i and 8 September, 181 1.
My Dear Son:

In your letter of 18 January to your mama you mentioned
that you read to your Aunt Cranch a chapter in the Bible,

1 September i, i8ii. "I began this morning the first of a series of letters which
I intend to write to my son George upon subjects of serious import. I have had this
project in contemplation several months, and have hitherto done nothing. My
intention is extensive, but not well defined in my own mind. I reflected upon it so
much this morning that I wrote but little. . . .

8. "After finishing a letter begun three or four days ago I continued that to my
son George, which I intend to be the first of a series. But as I advance, I find the
want of a plan arranged in my own mind. I am already so much dissatisfied with
what I have written, find my ideas so undigested and confused, feel so much my
own ignorance upon the subjects concerning which I mean to instruct him, and



212 THE WRITINGS OF [i8u

or a lecture of Dr. Doddridge's annotations every evening.
This information gave me great pleasure, for so great is my
veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief that when
duly read and meditated upon it Is of all the books in the
world that which contributes most to make men good, wise
and happy, that the earlier my children begin to read it,
and the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it
throughout their lives, the more lively and confident will
be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their
country, respectable members of society, and a real blessing
to their parents.

But I hope that you have now arrived at an age to under-
stand that reading, even of the Bible, Is a thing In Itself
neither good nor bad, but that all the good that can be drawn
from It Is by the use and Improvement of what you have
read with the help of your own reflections. Young people
sometimes boast of how many books and how much they
have read ; when Instead of boasting they ought to be ashamed
of having wasted so much time to so little profit. I advise
you, my son, in whatever you read, and most of all in reading
the Bible to remember that it Is for the purpose of making
you wiser and more virtuous.

I have myself for many years made It a practice to read
through the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored
to read It with the same spirit and temper of mind which I
now recommend to you. That Is, with the Intention and
desire that it may contribute to my advancement In wisdom
and virtue. My desire Is Indeed very imperfectly successful,
for like you and like the Apostle Paul, I find a law in my
members warring against the law of my mind. But as I

am so remote from the helps to which I might recur for assistance, that I am afraid
I have in this instance, as in numberless others, undertaken more than I can execute.
I have not yet however abandoned it entirely." Ms. Diary.



i8ii] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 213

know that it is my nature to be imperfect, so I know it is
m.y duty to aim at perfection; and feeling and deploring my
own frailties, I can only pray Almighty God for the aid of his



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