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desirous that no unessential consideration should embarrass your negotiation or
endanger its result, intends that in providing against the practice of impressment


wail that while the whole ruling part of the British nation is
united against us in as iniquitous a cause as ever stained the
infamous record of human wars, we are divided and dis-
tracted in a cause as righteous as ever was sealed with the
blood of martyrdom. Our weakness and our divisions may
excuse compliances objectionable in themselves, but indis-
pensable to obtain the blessing of peace.

From the disposition which you say prevails at present
among the English to chastise our temerity it is not prob-
able that even our compliances will attain their object. The
disposition to chastise us has been the constant spirit of
English power from the time that James the first chastised
the founder of Virginia, Sir Walter Ralegh, and the puritan
founders of New England down to this hour. Charles the
first chastised Pym, Hampden, and Oliver Cromwell, by an
Order in Council when they were embarked to go to America,
prohibiting their departure and forcing them to remain in
England. The Rump Parliament, St. John, and Cromwell
chastised the American colonies by the invention of the
Navigation Act. And so delightsome was this mode of chas-
tisement to the English spirit that Charles the Second after
the Restoration adopted the witty device of the Rump,
which laid the just foundation of American Independence,
and which has been ever since one of the darlings of the Eng-
lish nation. George Grenville, "the stupendous calculator,"
chastised us with the stamp act, and how we were chastised

from American vessels you should exercise an entire discretion as to the mode and
shape of the provision, taking care only that it be such as by fair construction will
bind the faith of the British government to an effective discontinuance of the prac-
tice in question. This practice being essentially a cause of war, and the primary
object of your negotiation, a treaty of peace, leaving it in silence and trusting to
a mere understanding liable to doubts and different explanations, would not be
that security which the United States have a right to expect." Monroe to Gallatin^
Mays, 181 3. /^., 540.


by the Lords North, and Sandwich, and Stormont, and the
Generals Burgoyne, Clinton, and Cornwallis, is known to all
mankind. If Lord Castlereagh goes out and Mr. Canning
comes in, as you anticipate, we shall have the chastising
spirit in all its vigor. Mr. Canning wishes to chastise us
out of mere humanity, precisely as Catherine of Medicis
chastised the Protestants at the St. Bartholomew. It is
strange to observe, as the proverb says, how "great wits
jump together," and how exactly similar the humanity of
Mr. Canning is to the humanity of that famous Princess.
In the recurrence of memory to times past I have the con-
solation to remark that in spite of all these chastisements we
have lived, and thrived, and prospered, until we get beyond
the reach of chastisers and disarmed their humanity. I trust
in God we shall do so again.

The family quarrel and the Catholic question may serve
to amuse the leisure moments of the public. With regard
to the first the parties have made an appeal to the public
and therefore the public are authorized to form and express
an opinion in the case. The question is between high treason
and subornation of perjury — peccadillos which are apt to
catch small offenders in the cobweb of the law but which In
this instance will not even forfeit character. The Catholics
will undoubtedly gain their cause. The existence of the na-
tion, or of the constitution, or of the church indeed, depends
upon the perpetuation of their disabilities, just as It did upon
the Orders in Council, just as It does upon impressment.
Nevertheless the disabilities will be removed and who would
have thought it.'' the nation and the constitution and the
church will go on as before.

You have now the news from Germany sooner than we
have it here. How formidable the French army In the north
will be next summer I hardly know, but I believe more


formidable armies will be brought against them. France
will not be suffered to rise from the blow which has thrown
her prostrate; the second stroke is ready to receive her
as she makes the attempt, and it will probably prepare her
to receive the law and the lawgiver from the hands of her
enemies. Such at least is the undoubting opinion here and
the symptoms of the times give it much countenance.
I am etc.


St. Petersburg, i May, 18 13.
Every day that passes gives me occasion more and more to
lament this unfortunate war with which it has pleased heaven
to visit us. If it could have been avoided, we should now
have had a free commercial intercourse with all the north of
Europe, at least to Bremen inclusively, and in a few months
more with Holland. Besides the advantages which our
country would have derived from this I should have had con-
tinual opportunities of hearing from my dear friends in
America, and of writing to them; and what would have been
yet more agreeable to me had our peace been preserved,
there would have been no other than the natural obstacles
to prevent my return to them and to my country. As it
is, the only means I have of communicating with America
is by the way of England. How precarious that is you can
easily judge, for it depends upon the forbearance of the
British government to stop individual travellers who go to
England, there to embark for America In cartels. Of these
there has been a succession at short intervals through the
winter, by everyone of whom I have written to you. I now
write by an American who is going to Hamburg and thence


to England. I inclose the letter as I have done once or twice
before to R. G. Beasley, Esqr., agent for American prisoners
of war, London. If it should be our destiny to remain here
another winter I would recommend it to you to inclose
letters for us under cover to him, and to send them by the
cartels. He informs me that by the regulations all the letters
sent by the cartels must be open, except his. So that by
transmitting them under cover to him they will be less ex-
posed to perusal on their way.

I say if it should be my destiny to remain here another
winter, because I have got no orders from our government
that indicate what we are to expect. This uncertainty can-
not however much longer continue. I have already learnt
from English newspapers the arrival at New York of the
Freeling cartel in which Mr. Harris was a passenger. What-
ever the President may determine concerning the dispatches
of which he was the bearer, it will at least be decisive with
regard to our prospects for the present year. That we should
stay here is the least probable as well as the least desirable
of the alternatives that I can anticipate. After an expe-
rience of four successive Russian winters, I believe there is
no person accustomed to milder climates who would not be
desirous of an opportunity to assure himself once more that
in the changes of the seasons there is such a thing as summer.
We have formed no social attachments that can make us
much regret the country, and I have no employment here
which can even afford me the consolation of being useful
to my own.

On the continent of Europe the year upon which we have
entered promises to be as eventful and threatens to be as
sanguinary as its last predecessor. But the scene of action
and the cause are totally changed. The dream of universal
monarchy in France, which may have tickled the imagination


of the Corsican, and which has so hideously haunted the
fancies of his enemies, is forever past. France will not soon
again appear in the character of an invader. She is herself
invaded. The Hanseatic cities are already lost. Holland
in a few months, perhaps in a few weeks, will share the same
fate. Prussia from the most subservient of her allies has
become the most exasperated of her enemies. Denmark
has deserted her and is before this numbered with her foes.
Austria will in all probability very soon join the same side.
A Swedish, Russian, and British force, commanded by a
French general, Is destined to recover Hanover and to re-
store Holland to the House of Orange; while at the same time
Louis 18 has issued a declaration claiming anew the throne
of France as his Inheritance. To oppose all this Napoleon
has little but the resources of a genius great only by success,
and the remnants of a shattered military reputation. It
Is rumored that he Is collecting a large army upon the Rhine;
but his troops will be mostly raw and inexperienced and all
of them disheartened. His present disasters are so entirely
Imputable to himself that it can scarcely be said fortune has
abandoned him. There is so little in his personal character
that can take hold of the affections of mankind, that his
destruction, which is as certain as any human event that can
be foretold, will leave no sympathizing feelings behind. But
what will be the fortunes of France it is not so easy to fore-
see. If she takes back the Bourbons, she must take them
from the hands of her enemies; and with the Bourbons she
must take conditions the most humiliating to her pride,
and at the price of sacrifices the most fatal to her course.
This is a point of view by no means grateful to contemplation,
but which cannot be overlooked. Louis 18 in his declaration
has promised to abolish the laws of conscription — a promise
certainly well suited to the purposes of England, but which,


if accomplished, will make the Bourbons themselves when
restored the mere puppets of foreign powers and France
alternately a prey to all her neighbors.

The reflection of the present state of things upon our own
concerns is not auspicious. In the spring tide of success which
has flowed with such an impetuous torrent in favor of the
English almost from the moment of our declaration of war,
they have been gathering spirit and inveteracy and unanim-
ity, so that now the language of all their parties Is that we
must be chastised into submission. The loss of three frigates
and of more than five hundred merchant vessels in six months
has only stimulated them to revenge, and our shameful
failures in Canada have made them perfectly secure in the
only quarter where they could have any reason to fear us.
They have blockaded all our ports from the Mississippi to
New York inclusively, and the rest I suppose will soon
follow. I hope our country will prove herself equal to the
trial that awaits her. Peace is not to be expected.


St. Petersburg, 5 June, 1813.

You have observed in several of your letters that many
things have been occurring in our country which I ought to
know, but which could not with prudence be communicated
to me. Of public affairs I know scarcely anything but what
the editors of the London newspapers think proper to ex-
tract from those they receive from America. The New Eng-
land votes at the Presidential election (Vermont excepted)


have given me a sufficient indication of the temper prevail-
ing in that part of the country. The federaHsts in abandon-
ing the standard of their former candidates, Pinckney and
King, and ranging themselves under the banners of Mr.
Clinton, have at least shown that they are not chargeable
with undue attachment to men.''- Measures and not men
has been sometimes a favorite maxim among Republicans.
By accepting Mr. Clinton for their leader the federalists
have illustrated their principles more unequivocally than in
any of their earlier proceedings. But the objects of party
controversy are so perpetually changing in America that
consistency is no more to be expected in adherence to men
than to measures. As the rallying word of this new party
is peace, an object so desirable in itself, and so congenial to
the spirit of the people in America that have a fair prospect
of rising in popularity. Mr. Clinton has very recently de-
clared himself as explicitly and in as strong terms as could
be desired on the subject of the Union. This has for the
last nine or ten years been the livid spot of New England
federalism. I have not heard of anything on his part that
indicated or implied any dereliction of his principles. I
hope therefore that he will never countenance the project of
separation. We have nothing else to dread.

The exploits of our heroes upon the ocean have not only
saved our national character from sinking in the eyes of
Europe, but have exerted universal astonishment on this
continent and a perfect frenzy of resentment in England.
Our disasters by land would have made us the scorn and
derision of mankind, if the naval victories had not redeemed
our fame. Hitherto we have rather gained than lost in the
estimation of the world by those vicissitudes of war; but

^ De Witt Clinton and Jared Ingersoll were the Federalist candidates against
James Madison and Elbridge Gerry.


upon the water the contest is too unequal. The day of mis-
fortunes must come, and if we continue the burlesque upon
war which we have so often been exhibiting before Canada,
our consideration will be irretrievably lost. Every allow-
ance is made for our ignorance and inexperience, but these
excuses cannot always be admitted. The year of novitiate
is nearly past, and if we are ever to form soldiers, it is time
to show it by some other token than surprises and surrenders.
It is there after all that we can alone expect ever to make
any impression upon our enemy. Our frigate warfare must
be nearly if not quite at an end. Our privateering has had
its harvest. If we can build and equip line of battle ships
and frigates in numbers sufficient to form a squadron, we
may give our Lady Macbeth mother a new demonstration
of the legitimacy of our descent from herself; but years must
pass before this will be practicable, and in the meantime she
will fill the blank of our history with fire and blood, and,
what is worse than both, with shame, unless we show her
other generals and other warriors than we have yet sent to
bluster with proclamations and capitulate to half their

The events of the last year in the north of Europe have
materially changed the face of the world, and have probably
produced a great approximation towards a European peace,
though its symptoms are yet scarcely perceptible. The last
military season began by presenting the aspect of France
with all Germany and Italy invading Russia. The season
has commenced by showing Russia with almost all Germany,
Sweden, Denmark, and England, invading France. France
to the astonishment of the world, and I confess to mine,
has risen like Antaeus from her fall. Napoleon instead of
sinking under his calamities has already returned to the
field, less powerful but perhaps not less formidable than be-


fore. The first eflFect of his appearance was a battle ^ which
his adversaries have determined as a victory, for it was cel-
ebrated here by the usual appendage of triumph, a Te Deum.
But after this victory they retreated. The storm that has
been haltring over his head is at this moment bursting upon
him in all its fury, and the chances are of excessive odds that
he will perish in It. The fate of France is involved In that of
his person. There appears scarcely a possibility that he
should escape the forces that are now brought to bear against
him; if he should, he will be entitled beyond all controversy
to the title of a great man. He had never before stood the
trial of adversity, but It has now come with a severity pro-
portioned to the greatness of his fortune.

Another favorite of the fickle Goddess has been just called
in the midst of a triumphant march to pay the debt of nature.
The commander in chief of the Russian armies, Prince
Kutuzoif Smolensky died on the 28th of April, four days
before the battle of Liitzen. He was appointed to the com-
mand In August last, while Napoleon was In the midst of
his victorious march to Moscow. He did not succeed in
saving the metropolis; but as the misfortunes of the French
Emperor commenced Immediately afterwards, the Russian
Field Marshal has had the honors of victory over him. In-
debted for them more to famine and frost than to any very
signal display of genius or of skill. He died at Bunzlau in
Silesia, and his remains have been transmitted to this place.
While his body lay there In the cofiin and exposed to public
view a lady took an opportunity to slip a crown of laurel
round his brow. A silent tribute to his fame, but for delicacy
of sentiment and pathos of expression worth an hundred vol-
umes of personal eulogy. The Emperor Alexander, also. In

1 Of Gross-Gorschen, (more usually known as the battle of Liitzen), fought
May 3.



a letter to the Prince's widow, has done honor to his General
and to himself. I am etc.


St. Petersburg, 24 June, 1813.


I expect hourly the arrival of Messrs. Gallatin and Bay-
ard, but I believe the opinion given by you Mr. Hanztow
will be verified. The English ministerial papers show that
the ministry were never so remote from all ideas of peace as
at this time, and there never was a time when they were so
little molested by opposition. The nation as well as the
government are in a state of what Cobbett calls exacerbation.
It is not yet clear that their magnificent plans of restorations
and counter-revolutions in Germany, Holland, and France,
will fail. Monsieur and the Duke d'Angouleme, and the
Prince of Orange, a general in the Austrian service, and the
Duke of Cumberland, may have resources and expedients
for final success which have not yet been brought into opera-
tion. The system has not had time to unfold itself in all its
grandeur, still less can the partial events of a few weeks lead
sanguine tempers to despair of its ultimate success. Paper
money and Mr. Pitt's sinking fund give facilities of great
liberality from the public coffers; and if England will but
bleed her purse freely, she may still bleed the continent /or
the liberties of mankind for aught I know four or five years
longer. While the exacerbation lasts we must not soothe
ourselves with hopes of peace. If England can make her
own terms of peace in Europe, she will not be willing to take


terms of peace from America. She cannot at present expect
to dictate them to us.

No. 113. [James Monroe]

St. Petersburg, 26 June, 1813.

A few days after I received from a friend the National In-
telligencer of 15 April, containing an editorial paragraph con-
cerning the appointment of those gentlemen,^ which I com-
municated to the Count on the 22d. I observed to him that
however the British government might think proper to act
on this occasion, that of the United States would at least
have manifested in a signal manner at once its earnest and
constant desire for a just and honorable peace, and its sense
of the motives which had induced the Emperor's offer. That
the President could not have adopted a measure better
adapted to do honor to His Majesty's proposal, than by the
appointment of two persons among the most distinguished
of our citizens to cooperate on the part of the United States
in accomplishing the Emperor's friendly and benevolent
purpose, and that if it should eventually fail of being success-
ful, at least the true and only source of its failure would be

known. ^

The Count said he was persuaded the Emperor would view

1 Gallatin and Bayard.

2 See Madison's special message to Congress, May 2$, 1813, in Writings of Madi-
son (Hunt), VIII. 244.


in the same light the proceeding of the American govern-
ment, and he regretted very sincerely that there appeared a
reluctance in the British government to accept the Emperor's
offer. That he had received since he saw me last dispatches
from Count Lieven. That the British minister in terms of
much politeness had intimated to him that there was no
sovereign whose mediation they should more readily accept
than that of the Emperor, but that their differences with
the United States were of a nature involving the principles
of the internal government of the British nation^ and which it
was thought were not susceptible of being committed to the
discussion of any mediation.^ The Count added that it
would remain to be considered whether after this, and after
the solemn step taken by the government of the United
States, It would be advisable to renew the offer to the British
ministry, and give them an opportunity for a reconsideration.
It was possible that further reflection might lead to a differ-
ent resolution; and he should submit the question to the Em-
peror's determination. Different circumstances furnished
other materials for deliberations, and we have, said the
Count, in our own affairs an example of a sudden and unex-
pected turn of occurrences and prospects. He alluded to the
armistice concluded between the Emperor of Russia and
King of Prussia on one part, and the Emperor Napoleon on
the other, on the 5th of this month, and which is to continue
until the 20th of July. ^

This event, sudden and unexpected indeed, does not ap-
pear to me calculated to make the British government more
ready to accept the Emperor's mediation for a pacific nego-
tiation with the United States. Its tendency, so far as It
leads to the prospect of a continental peace, is rather to Im-

1 See Alexander Baring to Gallatin, July 22, 1813, in Writings of Gallatin, I. 546.

2 The armistice of Plaswitz, agreed to June 4, after the battle of Bautzen.


pair the harmony between Britain and Russia herself. It
has occasioned here so much astonishment that the very mo-
tive for it is yet problematical.


No. 114. [James Monore]

St. Petersburg, 14 July, 1813.


On the 2nd instant Mr. Pflug arrived here by land from
Gothenburg with dispatches from Mr. Daschkoff to this
government.^ He brought me a letter from Messieurs Gal-
latin and Bayard, dated 21 June, Gothenburg Roads, in-
forming me of their appointment together with me by the
President as envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipo-
tentiary to negotiate a peace with Great Britain under the
mediation of the Emperor of Russia, of their progress thus
far, and of their intention to proceed as speedily as possible
to St. Petersburg. Mr. Pflug tells me that they were to sail
from Gothenburg the same day that he left it and that their
letter to me was dated. I have been from this arrival in
hourly expectation of theirs.

I must solicit the favor of you, sir, to make my warm and
sincere acknowledgments acceptable to the President for the
honor done me by this new appointment, to which I am the

1 "It appeared to me improper to give Mr. Pflug any American character or ap-
pearance; concealment of his being employed to carry the Russian despatches
being, as I thought, forbidden by the law of nations." Gallatin to Monroe, May 8,
1813. Writings of Gallatin, I. 545.


more sensible from the highly respectable and distinguished
characters of the gentlemen with whom he was pleased to
connect me in the mission. I have only to add the most
ardent wish that its result may prove satisfactory to him and
propitious to our country.^

Since I had the honor of writing you last none of the in-
formation from England has tended to encourage the be-
lief that on further consideration they will ultimately accept
the mediation of the Emperor. On the contrary, my own
information from private sources, and that of all the Amer-
ican and English here from their correspondents, concurs to
show that the British government have been both surprised
and mortified by the Emperor's offer of mediation. The pre-
tension upon which alone they now continue the war is so
far from being as they have asserted, an ancient right, that
they never did dare and dare not now advance it against
any one European Power. It has been so uniformly and
invariably the policy of the United States to keep themselves
aloof from all the political combinations of Europe, that the
British government seems to have taken it for granted that
their controversies with us might always be managed upon

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