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332 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

violent and dangerous councils which produced the eleva-
tion of Mr. Gore. He was more cool, more cautious and
more moderate during his former administrations than
Gore. He made no sacrifices to the frenzy of faction, nor
to the most inveterate national enemies of his country. I
hope he never encouraged any symptoms of a system for
dissolving the Union. Should the event of the Massachusetts
election show a new change in the politics of the state, I
think it could now have no effect upon the general politics
of the nation. But the hands of the federal government
would be unhappily weakened at a time when the welfare
of the country most imperiously demands that they should
be strengthened, with such a state as Massachusetts in op-
position to the government of the Union.

The complexion of all the accounts that I have received
from America since the meeting of Congress has been warlike,
and if war must come it may be as advantageously waged
by us at this time as it probably ever can be. The British
Orders of Council, the direct cause of war, appear to be
more firmly fixed in the system of English policy than ever.
The manufacturing towns in the west and the north of Eng-
land are sufi"ering the natural consequences of this system,
and they have begun to show tempers in a shape hideous
enough in the eyes of most ministers, but which appears to
be viewed with perfect coolness and indliference by Mr.
Perceval, in the shape of famine. Liverpool, Nottingham,
Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, all the flourishing towns which
had grown and prospered entirely by the intercourse with
America, are precisely the places where hunger is now break-
ing down the stone walls. But Mr. Perceval says it is only
because the last year's harvest was a bad one, and has no
connection whatever with the Orders in Council; and Mr.
Stephen echoed back the word of Mr. Perceval with an elo-



i8i2] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 333

quent panegyric upon that great man. That there Is, or
very shortly will be, a famine in that part of England seems
highly probable. But the soldiers are there to shoot down
rioters, men, women or children, and with their aid Perceval
will get along until the next harvest. In the meantime there
Is too much reason to apprehend a new Incident In the
tragedy of European affairs which will prolong the struggle
perhaps for years. There is now a great scarcity of grain on
this continent as well as in England. In France It ap-
proaches already to a famine, but the prospects of the
present harvest are good and that country Is so situated
that even as early as June the soil produces some resources
to assist in feeding the people. This country to the very
neighborhood of St. Petersburg is a land of grain, and In
ordinary times exports large quantities of it. But the
scarcity Is felt even here and the exportation is prohibited
from all the Russian ports In the Baltic. Poland is one of
the granaries of Europe. And Mr. Perceval stated during
the last year grain had been Imported from France to the
amount of eight millions. It is from America, chiefly if not
altogether, that England must now depend for relief from
famine, and notwithstanding the promise of a fine harvest
in France this year as the consumption of the present
season must encroach upon the production of the next.
As not only the armies in Spain but the Innumerable myriads
in the north must be fed while destroying the sources of sub-
sistence, I think it is to say the least extremely probable
that for the next year England will obtain no more supply
from the continent than she does at present. England never
produces grain sufficient for her own consumption. I have
heard, but not by Information of which I am perfectly sure,
that the prospect of harvest this year there Is bad. If the
scarcity and the dependence upon America should continue



334 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

during the next year, it will give us a new hold upon the
pacific dispositions of England, of which I hope we shall avail
ourselves In the most suitable manner.

• «•••••

I remain etc.

TO WILLIAM GRAY

St. Petersburg, 24 May, 1812.
Dear Sir:

• ••«•••

The property which you sent here last year has I believe
all been disposed of except the cotton, the market for which
has been during the whole winter irretrievably bad. The
exchange upon England has Indeed been so favorable for
remitting that If the proceeds could safely have been sent
to London, It might have been advisable to sell even at the
low prices which were to be obtained. At the very time of
the year when the exchanges here were wont to be the lowest,
they were this last season upon England nearly one hundred
per cent above par. They have now fallen again to 13 and
14 pence which allowing for the depreciation of the English
paper is only about ten per cent above par. But as it Is
generally believed that an English subsidy will be to be
remitted during the present year, and as a free trade from
England is considered as certain, the exchange still continues
thus high with the prospect in the course of the summer of
rising yet much higher.

Mr. Woodward, after waiting as long as any possibility
remained for an Improvement of the market here before
the opening of this season, determined to try the experi-
ment of another, and sent off by land the largest part of your
cotton for Vienna. Several speculations of the same kind



i8i2] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 33.;

previously undertaken by Americans here have proved
successful and there is every reason to believe this will prove
so, if the goods can reach the Austrian borders before their
introduction is prohibited by the Austrian government.
This prohibition is now expected from day to day, and your
cotton remains yet exposed to its chances; but if it gets in
before the door is shut, the advantage of its expedition will
be proportionally great. Messrs. Raimbert and Co. were
very reluctant at this undertaking on account of its hazards
which were certainly great. Mr. Woodward undertook
it against their opinion and upon his own responsibility. But
I ought in justice to him to say that he consulted me before
he came to the final resolution and took it with my approba-
tion. There was no possible market here. To have kept
the cotton here until the summer would have been equiva-
lent to the certaintv of a total loss. The chances that It
would arrive In Austria before the prohibition should be
issued were great and fair. They have indeed become much
more unfavorable since It was sent away. The Austrian
alliance with France was then not even concluded; here it
was not so much as expected. That event has reduced to a
certainty the final prohibition (if war should ensue) which
was then only probable. The Prussian prohibition had not
been issued; that came out on the i6th of April. The choice
then was between the certainty of a very heavy loss here
and the risk of an unsuccessful adventure and the chance of a
very profitable one to Vienna. At the very moment while I
am writing I receive a note from Mr. Woodward (who is
confined by an indisposition) by which I find that unfortu-
nate delays have occurred in the expediting of the greatest
part of your cotton from Moscow, which greatly increase
the danger of their arriving too late. Where the fault of
this want of diligence is chargeable I cannot undertake to



336 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

say. I have constantly supposed that In the execution of
the business all proper precautions would be taken. They
are at last gone from Moscow and I hope, but cannot say
confidently, that they will still be In time. I shall continue
to pay all the attention to your concerns here In my power.
I have often Indeed entered Into the detail of them to the
full extent of what I thought compatible with propriety and
delicacy to those who are specially charged with them by you.
I shall still do so whenever I shall think your Interest can
be promoted by It. The caution which I suggested to you
in my letter of 12 June last respecting the house of Ralm-
bert and Co. has become doubly necessary in the present
state of things. I still confide In them. But political revo-
lutions must affect their condition. I am glad you suspended
the order to them for making further purchases on your ac-
count, and repeat the recommendation of closing all your
concerns with them as soon as possible.

• ••••••

I am etc.



TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE

No. 85. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 27 May, 18 12.
Sir:

On the i6th Instant I received your favors of 22nd and 25
February last with a packet of public documents and another
enclosing the file of the National Intelligencer to 25 February.
A few days after I received a letter from Captain Henry, ^
dated at Paris enclosing a letter of introduction of him from

* John Henry. See Henry Adams, History, VI. 176.



i8i2] JOHN QUINCY ADAPTS 337

my brother to me, dated at Boston, 29 February. From
this and from Mr. Henry's own letter I learned that it had
been his Intention to visit this country, but that his journey
hither Is suspended for the present. What the purpose of
his intention was I am left to conjecture. The very inter-
esting particulars relating to this gentleman, which form
the subject of your dispatch of 22 February have induced me
to mention these circumstances to you. But neither my
brother's letter of introduction, nor Mr. Henry's letter to
me contain the remotest intimation of his communications
to the government, nor do they afford a ground for deter-
mining whether you were acquainted with his intention to
visit Russia.

I have in several of my recent letters, expressed to you
the surprise which has been excited throughout Europe, at
the course of policy pursued during the last nine or twelve
months by Sweden. After the peace of Fredericshamn
(October, 1809) there had been until last summer diplomatic
missions of the highest rank though without formal character
from Russia at Stockholm and from Sweden here. In July
last they were on both sides recalled and the relations be-
tween the two governments were respectively committed
to the care of a charge d'affaires. The person appointed
to that office from Sweden to this court was a Mr. Schin-
born, who had resided here many years in a private capacity,
had been engaged in many extraordinary transactions, and
had long been personally known to the Emperor Alexander.
He had gone from this place to Stockholm a few months be-
fore the departure of Count Stedlngk, the ambassador, and
while there had obtained this appointment of charge d'af-
faires. Very soon after his return here, by a special appoint-
ment of the Emperor, he had a personal interview with his
Majesty. At that time there was a new levy of troops in



338 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

Sweden, increasing the army of that country to the number
of 60,000 men, and the effecting of which had excited serious
disturbances and even popular commotions in various parts
of the Kingdom. It is understood that in this conversation
the Emperor noticed the circumstance of this armament and
expressed his confidence that its object was not to act against
Russia. Mr. Schinborn who on such a sudden occasion could
not speak with official authority assured his Majesty, however,
from his general knowledge of the views of his government that
these harbored no hostile intentions against Russia, that they
considered Finland as irretrievably gone not only by the cession
formally made at the last treaty of peace, but by its natural posi-
tion so contiguous to the rest of the Russian dominions.'^

It was very soon after this that the altercations between
the French minister at Stockholm and the Swedish govern-
ment became so sharp and personal that Mr. Alquier refused
to communicate officially with Baron Engestrom and was
finally removed to Copenhagen. Mr. de Cabre was left as
charge d'affaires, and his personal conduct has been unex-
ceptional and conciliatory. In January last the Prince
Royal made a report to the king, of the manner in which
he had managed the administration during his Majesty's
illness. It has doubtless been transmitted to you, and you
will have observed the favorable manner in which it mentions
the relations between the United States and Sweden. But
it took little notice of France, and that little was principally
of complaint against the piracies of the French privateers
in the Baltic. But although the Prince very justly remarked
that they were such as ought neither to be avowed nor au-
thorized by any government, France not only countenanced
and supported them but by way of reply to the report, im-
mediately invaded and took possession of Swedish Pomerania

^ Cypher.



i8i2] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 339

and forcibly Incorporated the troops there into her own army.
In my letter No. 81 I mentioned to you the substance of a
verbal communication from Baron Engestrom to Mr. de
Cabre, on this occasion. It was Immediately afterwards
put Into the form of an official note, and sent to the Swedish
charge d'affaires at Paris with orders to present it to the
French government. It arrived there just after the conclu-
sion of the alliance between France and Austria, to which
It seems Austria had undertaken to invite Sweden to accede.
The Duke of Bassano prevailed upon the Swedish charge
d'affaires to wait for new Instructions from his Court before
he presented the note; but the Austrian proposition was
Immediately rejected by Sweden; the forbearance of the
charge d'affaires to present the note has been strongly dis-
approved and censured, and new and peremptory orders
have been dispatched to him to present it without further
delay. In the meantime Mr. Thornton, the English nego-
tiator, has been received Informally at Stockholm, and there
has probably undertaken to pledge the consent of his govern-
ment to the neutrality of Sweden. I mentioned In my last
letter my doubts of what England will understand by this
neutrality. {Here two lines of cypher not decyphered]. If the
English Regent's new proclamation respecting the Orders in
Council is to elucidate the English meaning of neutrality,
[here three lines of cypher not decyphered] the roots of that
neutrality are not very profound.

Monsieur de Narbonne, a person of high distinction in the
diplomatic department of France, after having been some
days at Berlin, has been at Wilna, where he had an interview
with the Emperor Alexander on the i8th instant and left
that city the next day. This circumstance has not led to
any expectation that the war will be averted. I am with
great respect, etc.



340 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

TO ABIGAIL ADAMS

St. Petersburg, 28 May, 1812.

• ••••••

Letter writing may be called the trade^ or in old English
law and poetical language the mistery of persons in my con-
dition. To us therefore it becomes habitually an object of
importance to know whether and when the letters we write
to our correspondents are received by them, and whether
those which are written by them in return are received by us.
This may account to you for the formal stiffness with which
I number in regular series all the letters that I write you,
and for that with which I particularize the time when I re-
ceive every one of yours that comes to hand. The receipt
of letters from any of my friends is always interesting to
my feelings, although their contents must sometimes be,
and of late have been peculiarly distressing. From you every
letter combines a double and treble interest, and even when
long delayed on their passage come with a welcome almost
as dear as those which have made the greatest speed.

Your letters continue to remind me of my obligations to
superintend personally the education of my eldest boys, and
my own heart as constantly reminds me of my other motives
for wishing to return home. I have written to have the
children sent to me, if they can be sent this year. I have
also written to the President expressing my desire not to be
left here longer than another winter, which will accomplish
the period of absence which he and myself had contemplated
when he was pleased to make me the offer of this mission.
I have no expectation of enjoying in America the tranquillity,
the leisure, or the comforts of various kinds which naturally
attend my situation here. My family, too, after my return



i8i2] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 341

will require a sort of provision for which I shall be less pre-
pared than when I left home, and for which I must rely upon
a gracious Providence, But as far as I can make up my
mind I am satisfied that my duties both to my country and
to my family beckon me homeward, that I cannot in the
nature of things make myself so useful to either of them here
as there, and that I must not at their expense consult my
own ease or convenience. I regretted much that the op-
portunity afforded me for returning last summer was neces-
sarily lost though by circumstances the result of which are
among my most precious engagements. But I retain all
my sentiments and opinions with regard to the office which
I declined, and which I hope and trust is filled by a gentle-
man better fitted for it than I should have been.

Dr. Johnson indulges himself in merriment (portly not to
say coarse merriment, such as suited his character) with
Milton, for hastening home from Italy at a critical period
of his country's troubles to let his zeal and patriotism evap-
orate in a private school. I think that notwithstanding the
Doctor's grave ridicule I shall in this respect follow the ex-
ample of Milton. My design is to be the schoolmaster of
my children, a task for which I am not entirely without ex-
perience. I had taught George what I am afraid he had in
my absence forgotten, but what I still hope was not entirely
lost. John has been too constantly absent from me since he
was of an age to learn anything, but I do not intend he shall
always be without such instruction as I can give him.
Charles I have taken from the beginning. He reads French
with ease, and speaks it I believe nearly as well as most
French boys of his age. He speaks German too, but without
any teaching from me. The English Is of the three languages
that which he Is the most embarrassed in speaking, but I
am now teaching him to read It. I flatter myself that with



342 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

one year's assiduity more he will read all three as well as
persons full grown. After having executed with two of my
children the office of the schoolmistress I shall not feel
ashamed to assume with them the duties of the schoolmaster.
The question does Indeed sometimes occur to me whether I
do not give them time which might be more usefully em-
ployed? Possibly there are meditations more sublime and
occupations more liberal to which my vacant hours might be
dedicated. But there Is an attraction in these more power-
ful than in the others, and no positive and commanding sense
of duty has hitherto diverted me from them.

You will ere this have ample reason to be convinced that
Mr. J's rule of taking the exact counterpart of England's In-
terest for the anticipation of her practical policy Is not
likely to fail at this tlme.^ The Regent since the restrictions
upon his authority have expired has pursued a course equally
unexpected to his former friends and adversaries. It Is
perhaps too soon to pronounce definitely upon its character.
Louis XII did not avenge the injuries of the Duke of Orleans.
The sovereign of Britain buries in oblivion the animosities
of the heir apparent. In this point of view he might say like
Harry the Fifth in Shakespeare that

Consideration like an angel came

And whipped the offending Adam out of him.

But other motives and other impulses are attributed to his
present conduct which, if true, exhibit him in a light far less
heroical. These are not merely circulated in the whispers of
private scandal, they have been proclaimed by a peer of the
realm in open Parliament, and In language the most ener-

^ "Mr. Jefferson used to say, it was only necessary to consider what was the true
policy of England, and you might be sure that she would act directly contrary to
it." Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, February ii, 1812. Ms.



i8i2] . JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 343

getic and indignant — uncontradicted. So that the only-
change yet discovered at the head of that government is an
individual unprotected by that wall of brass which amidst
the innumerable errors and miseries and calamities of the
late reign surrounded and defended the person of the sover-
eign — a respected private character. There Is no symptom
of a change of policy towards America.

Of France, and Russia, and the European continent, I
shall say nothing, and would to heaven there were little to
be said! You will hear enough and too much by public re-
port. Though we had a snowstorm here last Monday, being
the 25th day of May, we have now what passes In this coun-
try for summer. I long for the pleasure rustication which
we enjoyed the last season, but they are luxuries with which
I cannot indulge myself. We are to pass the summer in the
city. . . .

TO LEVETT HARRIS

St. Petersburg, 4 June, 1812.

Sir:

I did not say that you had allowed last year an entry Into
this port of ships under the American flag which you knew
were not American but English ships.

From the tone and style of expression which you thought
proper to assume with me at my house, in answer to the
representations I was making to you In behalf of unfortunate
and injured American seamen, entitled to your protection,
I am not surprised that you misunderstood what I did say.



344 THE WRITINGS OF [1812

TO THE CREW OF THE "MONTICELLO" AT CRON-

STADT

I have received your letter and have represented to Mr.
Harris your complaints. If your wages are at all recoverable
it must be through his means and those of Mr. Sparrow.

If you go away without recovering them, you will do well
to leave your demands for them liquidated with Mr. Harris,
or with some person who may hereafter recover them for
you. My advice to those of you who are real Americans is,
not to ship in any vessel which came here with false Amer-
ican colors.

I am your friend and well-wisher
St. Petersburg, June 4, 18 12.

TO LEVETT HARRIS

Sir:

I have made no specific charge against you. I neither am
nor wish to be your accuser.

If, after the manner in which you chose to denounce to
me the total dissolution of all relations between you and me,
you still have doubts whether your tone and expressions
were such as I have high and just reason to be offended with,
I perceive no claim that you can have to a written specifica-
tion of the facts I had stated and the sentiments I had ex-
pressed to you which may have given you displeasure. A
correspondence of altercation and reproach is quite unneces-
sary, and between us would be very Improper after all other
relations between us have ceased.

St. Petersburg, 4 June, 181 2.



j8i2] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 345

TO LEVETT HARRIS

St. Petersburg, 4 June, 1812.
Sir:

I accept with pleasure your apology and beg you to be
assured that as the Interruption of our friendly and confi-
dential relations has given me sincere concern, and their dis-
solution would be to me cause of serious regrets, so nothing
could be more agreeable to me than their entire restoration.

I have assured you that accusation was by no means the
object of the remarks which I made with warmth indeed,
but without any disposition of unkindness to you. Specifi-
cation in writing was therefore needless for your defence;
but in candid and amicable explanation I should have been,
and am yet, willing to give It. You will recollect the re-
peated applications which have been made both in writing
and individually to me by numbers of American seamen
belonging to the vessels which arrived here last summer
under false American colors. I have always referred them
to you as to the only person who could procure for them jus-
tice or relief. I had received repeated complaints from them
that means were using to compel them to ship in the same
vessels, or some of them which had been seized for coming
with those false papers. I had the day before you called
received a letter from the crew of the Monticello stating anew
their complaints, and adding that they were refused a pass.
I had seen the same morning three of the men who stated to
me that Mr. Sparrow had attempted to prevent them from
coming to St. Petersburg, and that it was only by an express
order from the Admiral to whom they appealed, that they



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