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Writings of John Quincy Adams (Volume 9) online

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St. Petersburg, 30 December, 1813.
Sir:

• ••••••

The event of the campaign In Germany has been such as
was to be expected after the accession of Austria to the cause
of the allies, and the defection of the Princes of the Rhenish
Confederation from that of France. By the sudden and it
would seem unexpected change in the policy of Bavaria,
and by the junction of the Bavarian with an Austrian army
behind the Emperor Napoleon, his army was placed in a
situation so desperate that nothing but his extraordinary
military genius, which has never yet deserted him, could



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 537

have saved so large a portion of them from the extremity to
which they were reduced, and in the midst of treachery of
every description have effected a retreat, through a hostile
country, and through an host of adverse forces at least
three times more numerous than his own.

In the battles near Leipzig, which continued from the
15th to the 1 8th of October, the combined Russian, Austrian,
Prussian, and Swedish armies amounted according to their
own statement, probably underrated, to 400,000 men. The
number with the Emperor Napoleon did not exceed 150,000.
His loss there was about 40,000, and with the remnant
he was yet to cut his way through an Austrian and Bavarian
army of 80,000 men in his rear, which he actually accom-
plished at Hanau, and reached Mayence, his official state-
ments say, with 100,000 men. From Mayence he returned
immediately to Paris. The headquarters of the Emperors of
Russia and Austria, and the King of Prussia, were transferred
in the beginning of November to Frankfort on the Main.

A corps of about 25,000 men commanded by Marshal
Gouvion St. Cyr had been left by the Emperor Napoleon at
Dresden. After making an unsuccessful attempt to effect
their retreat to Magdeburg, they obtained a capitulation
so favorable that Prince Schwarzenberg the commander
in chief of the combined armies refused to ratify it, and they
have been sent as prisoners of war Into Bohemia. The
fortresses of Dantzig, Stettin, Modlin and Tamose.have also
capitulated.

The retreat of the French corps on the lower Elbe under
Marshal Davoust has also been cut off. The kingdom of
Westphalia dissolved Itself without resistance, and a revolu-
tion was immediately effected in Holland. A deputation was
sent to the Prince of Orange, who was in England, inviting
him to return with the offer of the royal title, which he dc-



538 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

clined. But he assumed that of sovereign prince of the
United Netherlands, probably as a temporary character
to be definitively settled when a constitution shall be given
to the country. The constitution, the proclamations say,
is to be prescribed by the Prince himself, and nothing ex-
plicit is announced of its character, excepting that it is not
to revive the old constitution of the United Provinces or
the office of Stadtholder. All this of course is merely pro-
visional, and will eventually terminate in arrangements
under the sanction and guaranty of the combined powers,
and as far as will be found practicable under the dictate of
England.

The progress of the Austrian arms in Italy has been
slower and with more considerable vicissitudes. The Vice-
roy has however been generally upon the defensive, and
has been retreating to the Adige. As the appointment to
the Austrian chief command has recently been transferred
to General Bellegarde, it is probable that in the ensuing
campaign that country will be the scene of greater and more
important exertions.

In Spain the fortresses of St. Sebastian and of Pampeluna
have surrendered, and Lord Wellington with his army has
entered upon the French territory. So that France is at
this moment invaded at once on her northern and southern
boundaries.

The Swiss Confederation have declared a neutrality, but
it is said that this does not suit the views of the combined
powers, and that Switzerland will be under the necessity
not only of allowing the passage to their troops, but of join-
ing their cause and furnishing a contingent of men.

Three successive conscriptions of 30,000, 280,000 and
300,000 men have been authorized in France since the month
of August. Two armies of 100,000 men each are to be as-



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 539

sembled at Bordeaux and at Turin, and the rest, if they can
be raised, will doubtless be employed to strengthen the line
of defence from Holland to the frontier of Switzerland.

The Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of
Prussia have issued a proclamation at Frankfort preparatory
to their invasion of France beyond the Rhine. They renew
the assurance of their great attachment to the happiness of
France, connected with their determination to be also happy
themselves. They say they are willing that France should
be greater than she ever was under her Kings, and that they
have made proposals of peace to the Emperor Napoleon.
Whether these proposals were accepted or rejected they do
not say. There has been a general change of ministry in
France, where the Duke Vicence is now the Minister of
Foreign Relations, the Duke of Bassano having resumed the
office of Minister Secretary of State, and Count Mole is
Grand Judge in the place of Regnier.

Of all these events, as well as of the several treaties of
alliance and subsidy between Great Britain and the com-
bined powers, you will have more direct and earlier informa-
tion than it would have been possible for me to give you.
Should a negotiation take place, I think there is little pros-
pect of its terminating at present, or even very soon in a
peace. The Emperor Alexander has no expectation of re-
turning soon to his capital, and he has just invited the Em-
press to join him at his headquarters. She is to leave this
city upon that journey tomorrow morning.

I am, etc.



540 THE WRITINGS OF [1813

TO ROBERT FULTON

St. Petersburg, 31 December, 1813.
Sir:

Immediately after receiving your favor of 19 June last I
made application in writing to the Chancellor Count Roman-
zoff, stating your request that I would take out the ukase
for your privilege to build steamboats in this country. To
this application I have received no answer, nor is it possible
for me to say when an answer is to be expected.

There is no standing law here for granting patents to the
authors of useful inventions. Every grant of that nature is
made by a special act of the Emperor's will. The Emperor
has been more than a year absent from his Dominions, and it
is highly probable that more than another year will elapse
before his return. The objects which engross his attention
are of such magnitude that it may be impossible for him to
bestow time upon those of less pressing urgency.

I have reason to believe that after the promise contained
In Count Romanzoff's letter, of which I sent you a copy, was
given, there was an effort made to counteract its accomplish-
ment. I have understood that the person who was the bearer
of your letter to me, who had seen your boats and their suc-
cess in the United States, had himself a project of obtaining
an exclusive privilege for a similar invention, and made a
representation that he had invented a boat of the same kind
and very much improved upon yours. I do not know that
this application produced any effect, but as the person has
returned to Europe and has been at the Emperor's head-
quarters, I think it necessary to give you notice of the cir-
cumstance that you may draw your own conclusions.

General Betancourt, who informs me that he is an old ac-



1813] JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 541

quaintance and friend of yours, is now in the Emperor's
service, and has the superintendence of the Department of
Water Communications. It was upon a reference of the first
application on your part for the privilege to him and to the
Minister of the Interior, and upon a favorable report from
them, that the Emperor promised the privilege. General
Betancourt has repeatedly and very recently mentioned the
subject to me. He advised that you should immediately
send your agent and construct one of your boats, considering
Count Romanzoff's letter to me of which I sent you the copy
as of itself equivalent to a patent. He says that he considers
it so himself. That as an immediate act of the Emperor's
will it requires no other formality, and that if it should fail to
answer as a warrant for you to proceed in your design, any
patent or ukase that you could obtain here would prove
equally ineffectual. I place great reliance upon General
Betancourt's judgment and equal confidence in his friendly
disposition to you. I believe that he is aware that there are
interfering applications to appropriate to others the benefit
of your ingenuity, and he thinks the best way to prevent
their success would be for you to send your engineer here
without delay, and to take the Emperor's promise already
given for a patent. I am, etc.



T



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