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serting that Mr. Barlow had followed the Emperor Napoleon
to Moscow, and a member of the British Parliament, dis-
tinguished as much for his rancor against the United States
as for his eloquence, was reported to have stated in his
place in the House of Commons In terms very injurious to
the American government, that the object of Mr. Barlow's
journey was to make the United States subservient to the
views of France, by leaguing them with her in a treaty
to destroy the independence of Spain. I well know that
these assertions of Mr. Canning (as reported In the pub-
lished debates) were In every particular erroneous — that Mr.
Barlow was not gone to Moscow, and that he could have
neither the design nor authority to engage the United States
in any league hostile to the independence of Spain. I soon
afterwards heard, through the medium of private letters
received by Americans here, that Mr. Barlow had actually
left Paris to go, not to Moscow but to Wllna, and Count
Romanzoff informed me that he had been Invited, together
with two other foreign Ministers of governments In alliance
with France, to go thither by a letter from the Duke of
Bassano. I told the Count that it was impossible for me to



442 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

say what could be the motive upon which the Duke of
Bassano had invited Mr. Barlow to Wllna, but I was per-
fectly sure his motive for complying with the invitation was
not, and could not be, that ascribed to him in the English
gazettes and Parliament.

Last week Count RomanzoflF mentioned to me with many
obliging expressions of regret that he had been Informed
that Mr. Barlow, as he was returning from Wilna intending
to pursue his journey by the way of Vienna, had been taken
ill on the road and died at Cracow.^ He added that he had
received this Information from Prince Kurakin, the late
Russian ambassador In France who is now at Vienna. That
the Prince expressed great concern at this event, having
received many and continual marks of kindness and good
offices from him while they had both resided at Paris; and
during the last months of the Prince's embassy, from the
immediate prospect of rupture between the two Empires
he had associated with scarcely any other person. That on
the breaking out of the war, when the Prince left Paris, he
had deposited in Mr. Barlow's custody the archives of the
Russian embassy to be kept subject to the future orders
of this government, and as Prince Kurakin did not know what
disposition Mr. Barlow had made of them on his own de-
parture from Paris, nor in whose care they might now be, he
felt some anxiety for them. The Count requested me to
write to Paris to ascertain where they were, and to give such
directions for their further safe-keeping as might be neces-
sary.

There was a young American here of respectable char-
acter desirous of going to Paris by the way of Vienna, and
who had shortly before applied to me with a request if I had
any dispatches for either of those places, that I would send

^Barlow died December 24, 18 12.



i8i?] JOHN QUINCY ADAiMS 443

them by him so that he might have the advantage of travel-
ling with passports as a courier. But as I had no occasion
to send at all to Vienna, and none of sufficient importance
to send to Paris while Mr. Barlow was absent from that city
and I was ignorant where he might be, I declined asking a
courier's passport for Mr. Delprat (the young American of
whom I speak), being apprehensive that in the state of the
relations between this country Austria and France the notor-
iety which my dispatching a courier to Vienna and Paris
might and probably would assume, might at least occasion
surmises here or at Paris, and perhaps public falsehoods
in England, like those raised upon Mr. Barlow's journey,
which might have an operation injurious to the interests
of the United States.

But upon being informed of Mr. Barlow's decease and re-
quested by Count RomanzofF to write to Paris concerning
the archives which had been deposited with him, I had a
motive sufficient to ask the courier's passport for Mr. Del-
prat; and as this event had left me the only accredited
minister of the United States in Europe, I thought it ex-
pedient with reference to our own public concerns to ascer-
tain who was now charged with the affairs of the United
States in France, and to open a communication with him.
As Mr. Barlow is said to have died at or near Cracow, Mr.
Delprat by taking the way through Vienna may learn the
particular circumstances of this unfortunate incident, in
which case I have requested him to give me information
of them. Count Romanzoff very readily furnished the pass-
port for Mr. Delprat, and I took such other precautions for
obtaining his admission into Austria and France as were
practicable here, and might prevent any of those Idle con-
jectures and groundless suspicions and malevolent rumors,
the probability of which had previously restrained me from



444 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

dispatching him as a courier. He left the city the day be-
fore yesterday.

It probably did not occur to Mr. Barlow before he left
Paris that there was any necessity for him to give me notice
of his journey, and to enable me, if not to give explanations
of its real motives, at least to guard against the effect of
such commentaries upon it as were transmitted hither from
England. The difficulties of communicating might also pre-
vent him from writing to me. On the authority of your
dispatch of i July last I have denied with perfect confidence
the truth of Mr. Canning's assertions, and I have no reason
to believe that they have obtained any credit here.

In the tenth number of the French gazettes which I en-
close by this opportunity, you will find an article under the
date of Vienna mentioning Mr. Barlow's death. Since
the commencement of the present year these gazettes are
published under the auspices of the government, and I
have thought them worth sending to you; particularly as
they contain the series of the Russian Hand Bills with official
advices from the armies. They will dispense me from send-
ing you any more extracts from them In English translations.
The Russian armies you will perceive are advancing Into
Prussia and the Duchy of Warsaw without meeting with
any resistance. They are said to be everywhere received
as friends and deliverers. But so were the French in Poland.
With Prussia and with Austria there are negotiations for
a separate peace. Lord Walpole, who was the secretary
of the British embassy here, has been some months at
Vienna. Austria has urged a negotiation for a general peace,
but neither England nor Russia appear inclined at present
to a peace with France. The British ambassador, Lord
Cathcart, left this city last Friday for the Emperor Alex-
ander's headquarters. I am, etc.



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAAIS 445

TO ABIGAIL ADAMS

St. Petersburg, 27 February, 181 3.

At length after another interval of nearly seven months
since I had been favored with the sight of a line from any of
my friends at Quincy, yours of 29 July has come to hand.
It is nearly seven months old, but is more than three months
later than your previous letter. As it came under cover to
Air. Barlow I suppose it did not reach Paris until after his
departure from that city. Thence it was sent back to Mr.
Beasley, the agent for American prisoners of war in London,
who transmitted it to me by the way of Gothenburg. If I
am to remain here another winter, probably this will be the
only channel through which you can write to me. If, as I
suppose, cartels will continue to frequently pass between the
United States and England, you can inclose letters under
cover to Mr. Beasley, taking care as you always do to write
nothing which could furnish a motive to anyone to inter-
cept the letter.

You will probably know before this, or will very shortly,
learn the decease of Mr. Barlow, very few particulars of which
have as yet come to my knowledge. He received by order
of the French Emperor an invitation from the Duke of
Bassano, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, to go to Wllna,
with which he complied. But the day before Napoleon
passed through that city on his return to Paris Mr. Barlow
left it, with the intention of returning thither through Vienna.
On the road, and before he has reached Cracow, he was
seized with a fever and inflammation of the lungs which
stopped him In the midst of his journey; he would neither
obtain suitable medical attendance nor any of the assistance
which were essential to his recovery and died, I believe, at



446 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

a post house, one or two stations short of Cracow, to which
place his remains were transported and there interred. He
was accompanied by his nephew ^ who immediately after-
wards returned through Vienna to Paris. These are all the
circumstances of which I have been informed. The English
newspapers have contained several paragraphs full of false-
hood concerning his journey, which they pretended was to
Moscow. I have no doubt you will see them all retailed at
second hand in our own gazettes. What the motive of the
French Emperor was for inviting him to Wilna I can only
conjecture; but he had added one to the numbers almost
without number of the victims to the rigors of this season
and of that climate.



TO R. G. BEASLEY

St. Petersburg, 28 February, 1813.

Sir:

I had the pleasure of writing to you on the 1st of this
month by Mr. Lawler, since which I have had that of re-
ceiving your favors of 12 and 15 January, enclosing a slip
of the Times with the English Regent's manifesto, and also
a letter from America which, although seven months old,
was the latest direct communication that I had from my
friends in that country. I thank you for them both and for
the information in your own letter.

If Mr. Monroe's letter to Admiral Warren made the pop-
ular voice in England adverse to the American war, and
Sir William Scott's manifesto made the popular voice, as the

1 Thomas Barlow.



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 447

sailors say, chop round against us, it is to be hoped the next
American state paper on the subject will make it chop round
again in our favor. One of the English poets says

the People's voice is odd
It is and it is not the Voice of God.

It seems we have a sample of both kinds with regard to this
war. Such a volatile popular voice cannot have much effect
upon the issue of the war. That must depend upon some-
thing a little more stedfast.

There is another question in the case more important to
my mind than that of the popular voice in England : which
is whose cause in this contest is Right, or in other words Just.
The first of all questions in all national disputes ought ever
to be on which side is Justice.

A writer in a late Morning Chronicle well observes that,
however multiplied and however voluminous the state papers
on both sides may be, the war hangs upon one single point;
and that is impressment. Now right and impressment never
formed a coalition. They are just as congenial as Right and
Burglary, or Right and Murder. Practised upon their own
subjects and within their own jurisdiction, impressment Is
a violation of every right that constitutes a difference be-
tween British liberty and Asiatic servitude. Practised upon
American citizens in American vessels on the high seas, it is
piracy of the most atrocious kind. Such is the character of
impressment, and it is Indelible. No human law or compact
can ever make it just. The popular voice in England, if it
dared to speak, would say as I do. But ministers and leaders
of opposition who have been and may again be ministers,
and naval officers from the admiral to the midshipman who
practise impressment, and judges like Sir William Scott,
will all concur to stifle this popular voice. They will talk of



448 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

the necessity and the right of allegiance (as if that included
the right of impressment), and maritime rights, and French
invasion, and Bonaparte. Ergo they will wage war for im-
pressment from American merchant vessels on the high seas.

If the British government and the British navy are willing
to consider American frigates as a match for English line
of battle ships, I do not know that Americans ought to ob-
ject to the compliment. Our 44's are certainly heavier
frigates than their 38's, and supposing equal skill and bravery
and fortune on both sides ought to take them. If the Eng-
lish admiralty build frigates heavier than ours, or cut down
74's to make them heavier than ours, and they meet our
frigates, I suppose they will generally take them.

If on our side of the Atlantic we build and fit out only four
seventy-four-gun ships, and they are given to such men as
Isaac Hull, and Decatur, and Jones, we may flatter ourselves
that they will soon pass for three deckers in disguise. But
before the discovery is made I trust no English sixty-four
will go In search of one of them with her name painted upon
her foretop-sail.

The preparations making to carry on the war against us
vigorously afford cause for serious concern but not for dis-
couragement. When the rulers of our country drew the
sword of the nation none of them could believe that they had
a feeble or contemptible foe to encounter. My heart aches
when I look forward to the sufferings which my country
must go through in this struggle, should it even terminate
in our favor. But the strife is not Inglorious. If war must
be, there is not In the compass of human discussion a cause
upon which I could more cheerfully stake all that Is dear to
man than the cause of resistance against Impressment.
When I consider the disproportion of organized public force
between the parties, It excites a feeling of deep anxiety; but



i8i3] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 449

I think of the cause, and with that humble diffidence which
should accompany all mortal reliance upon divine power,
I believe that there is one stronger than the British navy
on our side.

It may occasion some surprise in America that the English
opposition and their gazettes distinguish themselves only by
their superior inveteracy against us. From the Wellesleys
and the Cannings indeed no other was to have been expected;
but to find the ministry goaded and spurred to excessive ex-
ertions against us by the very party which had been most
averse to the war and still professes to lament it, might as-
tonish anyone not accustomed to all the obliquities of party
spirit. The very Morning Chronicle, which bewails the in-
fatuation which could make two nations whose common in-
terests, and principles, and feelings, so loudly admonish
them both to be at peace, yet rushing into war, is incessantly
stinging the admiralty to measures which can only tend to
increased exasperation and bitterness between the two na-
tions. Mr. Canning's rattling eloquence might tell the
electors at Liverpool that vigorous war was the only way to
bring the American government to their senses; he might hurl
his fire brands at our seaport towns from his seat in the House
of Commons; we have too long known his temper and his
principles to look for anything in him but a vindictive and
remorseless enemy. But to find, if not the same spirit, at
least the same style of argument used by those who have
heretofore held forth a conciliatory policy towards America,
would appear inexplicable, were It not elucidated by the ap-
parent motive of making every thing subservient to the
purpose of running down the ministry. N. B. this paragraph
omitted. I am, etc.



4SO THE WRITINGS OF [1813

TO JOHN ADAMS

St. Petersburg, 22 March, 18 13.

My Dear Sir:

Towards the close of last summer there arrived here as a
sort of semi-official appendage to the British Embassy an old
acquaintance of yours, Sir Francis d'lvernois, who as you
know has been for many years a distinguished political
writer in the French language and in the interest of the
British government. He came not, I believe, with but very
soon after the ambassador. Lord Cathcart. Just at the same
time a lady of celebrated fame, Madame de Stael, the daugh-
ter of Mr. Necker was also on a transient visit. As I had not
the honor of being personally known to Madame de Stael,
and as we had just received information of the American
declaration of war against Britain, I had no expectation of
having any communication or intercourse either with the
ambassador or the lady. And I regretted this the less as my
whole soul was at that period absorbed in the distressed
situation of my family, and in the sufferings and departure of
the angel that was our child.

Early one morning I received a note from Madame de
Stael, requesting me to call at her lodgings that same day at
noon, as she wished to speak to me on a subject respecting
America. I went accordingly at the hour appointed, and
on entering the lady's salon found there a company of some
fifteen or twenty persons, not a soul of whom I had ever be-
fore seen. An elderly gentleman in the full uniform of an
English general was seated upon the sofa and the lady, whom
I immediately perceived to be Madame de Stael, was com-
plimenting him with equal elegance and fluency upon the



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 451

glories of his nation, his countrymen, Lord WeUington and
his own. The Battle of Salamanca and the bombardment
of Copenhagen were themes upon which much was to be said
and upon which she said much. When I went in she inter-
mitted her discourse a moment to receive me and offer me a
seat which I immediately took, and for about half an hour
had the opportunity to admire the brilliancy of her genius
as it sparkled incessantly in her conversation.

There was something a little too broad and direct in the
substance of the panegyrics which she pronounced to allow
them the claim of refinement. There was neither disguise
nor veil to cover their naked beauties, but they were ex-
pressed with so much variety and vivacity that the hearer
had not time to examine the thread of their texture. Lord
Cathcart received the compliments pointed at himself with
becoming modesty, those to his nation with apparent satis-
faction, and those to the conqueror of Salamanca with silent
acquiescence. The lady insisted that the British nation was
the most astonishing nation of ancient or modern times, the
only preserver of social order, the exclusive defenders of the
liberties of mankind; to which his Lordship added that their
glory was in being a Moral Nation, a character which he was
sure they would always preserve. The glittering sprightli-
ness of the lady and the stately gravity of the ambassador
were as well contrasted as their respective topics of praise,
and if my mind had been sufficiently at ease to relish any-
thing in the nature of an exhibition, I should have been much
amused at hearing a French woman's celebration of the Eng-
lish for generosity towards other nations, and a lecture upon
national morality from the commander of the expedition
to Copenhagen.

During this sentimental duet between the ambassador
and ambassadress I kept my seat merely an auditor. The



452 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

rest of the company were equally silent. Among them was
an English naval officer, Admiral Bentinck, since deceased.
He was then quite the chevalier d'honneur to Madame de
Stael; but whether the scene did not strike him precisely as
It did me, or whether his feelings resulting from it were of a
more serious cast than mine, the moment It was finished and
the ambassador had taken leave he drew a very long breath
and sighed It out, as if relieved from an oppressive burden,
saying only, "thank God! That's over!" He and all the rest
of the company immediately afterwards retired and left me
tete a tete with Madame de Stael. Her subject respecting
America was to tell me that she had a large sum in American
funds, and to Inquire whether I knew how she could contrive
to receive the Interest which she had hitherto received from
England. I gave her such Information as I possessed. She
had also some lands in the state of New York of which she
wished to know the value. I answered her as well as I could,
but her lands and her funds did not appear to occupy much
of her thoughts. She soon asked me if I was related to the
celebrated Mr. A. the author of the book upon government.
I said I had the happiness of being his son. She replied that
she had read It and admired It very much. That her father,
Mr. Necker, had also always expressed a very high opinion
of it. She next commenced upon politics and asked how it
was possible that America should have declared war against
England.^ In accounting for this phenomenon I was obliged
to recur to a multitude of facts, not so strongly stamped
with British generosity or British morality as might be ex-
pected from such a character as she and the ambassador had
been assigning to that nation. The Orders In Council and
the press-gang afforded a sorry commentary upon the chlval-
resque defence of the liberties of mankind and no very In-
structive lessons of morality. She had nothing to say in their



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 453

justification, but she thought the knights-errant of the hu-
man race were to be allowed special indulgence, and in con-
sideration of their cause were not to be held to the ordinary-
obligations of war and peace. There was no probability that
any argument of mine could make impression upon opinions
thus toned. She listened however with as much complacency
as could be expected to what I said, and finally asked me
why I had not been to see her before.'' I answered that her
high reputation was calculated to inspire respect no less than
curiosity, and that however desirous I had been of becoming
personally acquainted with her, I had thought I could not
without indiscretion intrude myself upon her society. The
reason appeared to please her; she said she was to leave the
city the next day at noon, she was going to Stockholm to
pass the winter, and afterwards to England. She wished to
have another conversation with me before she went and
asked me to call and see her the next morning. I readily
accepted the invitation and we discussed politics again two
or three hours. I found her better conversant with rhetoric
than with logic. She had much to say about social order,
much about universal morality, much about the preservation
of religion, in which she gave me to understand she did not
herself believe, and much about the ambition and tyranny
of Bonaparte, upon which she soon discovered there were no
difference of sentiment between us. But why did not Amer-
ica join In the holy cause against this tyrant.'' First, because
America had no means of making war against him. She
could neither attack him by sea nor by land. Secondly,
because It was a fundamental maxim of American policy not
to intermeddle with the political affairs of Europe. Thirdly,
because it was altogether unnecessary. He had enemies
enough upon his hands already. What! did I not dread his
universal monarchy? Not In the least. I saw indeed a very



454 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

formidable mass of force arrayed under him, but I saw a
mass of force at least as formidable arrayed against him.
Europe contained about 160 millions of human beings. He
was wielding the means of 75 millions, and the means of 85
millions were wielding against him. It was an awful spec-
tacle to behold the shock and I did not believe and never
had believed that he would subjugate even the continent of
Europe. Had there ever been any real danger of such an
event it was past. She herself saw that there was every pros-
pect of his being driven very shortly out of Spain, and I was
equally convinced he would be driven out of Russia. It was
the very day of the battle of Borodino. /Vn accepte Vaugurey
said she. Everything that you say of him is very just, but
I have particular reasons for resentment against him, I
have been persecuted by him in the most shameful manner.
I was neither suffered to live any where, nor to go where I
would have gone; and all for no other reason but because I
would not eulogize him in my writings.

As to our war with England I told her that I deeply la-
mented it, and yet cherished the hope that it would not last
long. That England had forced it upon us by measures as
outrageous upon the rights of an independent nation as tyr-
annical, as oppressive, as any that could be charged upon
Bonaparte. Her pretences were retaliation and necessity.
Retaliation upon America for the wrongs of France! and
necessity for man stealing! We asked of England nothing
but our indisputable rights. But we allowed no special pre-



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