Entry  About  Search  Log In  help (navigation)
printable version

John Adams to Charles Adams

7 Feb. 1797

Extract of a Letter from Holland of 7th. Feb. 1797

No 2.

Since I wrote you last, I am informed that the French Directory have ordered Mr Pinckney to leave France, and as he has determined to come into this Country, and wait here for the orders of his Government. At the time, when the refusal to receive him took place an Intimation was given him, that it was expected he would depart, but he refused to go, without a written order. This was delayed, untill the Directory received their last dispatches from the United States, and the most recent Statement of the Election for President and Vice President. I have already written you, in what manner they consider this Event, with what mortification they have found their Influence insufficient to turn the Choice, and how much they are inclined to persist in their System by their proximity to Success. This last incident Strongly corroborates the opinion.

A Circumstance which cannot escape Observation, is the treatment at this time experienced from the Same quarter by Mr Monroe. He has been upon a Tour, through this country. He came Strongly recommended, to an influential member of the Committee of foreign Affairs and to the Secretary of that Committee, who, as well as the French Minister here, paid him the greatest Attentions. This member of the Committee is devoted totally to France. He gave a Splendid Entertainment to Mr Monroe, at which were present other Members, and the Secretary of the Committee, and the American Minister. After dinner while they were Sitting at Table, he accosted Mr Monroe and the American Minister by Name and gave for toast "The People of America The Secretary upon whom the American Minister instantly turned his eye, was apparently confused, and instead of repeating the Toast as given, Substituted in its Stead "The United States." Mr Monroe Said neither the one, nor the other. This Anecdote may appear trivial but is a clear indication of Things far otherwise.

I Saw Mr Monroe, almost every day, while he was here. He conversed with me but little upon our public affairs, and with great reserve, particularly concerning our Situation with France. His Deportment evidently discovered an exasperated and Strongly agitated mind, though his conversation was in every particular extremely guarded. He went from the Hague to Amsterdam, where he Stayed only a few days. and from whence he very Suddenly Set out for Utrecht on his return to Paris, on the Same day, when the News arrived here, of the order to depart given to Mr Pinckney.

In this Country, the Name of the Vice President is remembered with respect and Attachment by the People of all Parties. The Proofs of it, which I have observed are innumerable, and most particularly Since the recent American Elections have become an Object of immediate Notice and Attention. There is however a Power extant in this Country which overrides all Attachments and will either Silence respect or render its Voice unavailing. To an order Signified from the French Directory, be it what it may, no resistance can be made, and never is attempted. If therefore they Should require of this Government to Suspend all Intercourse, commercial or political or both with the United States, they could not refuse the demand; although fully Sensible that it would be a measure extreamly odious to the People, and that in consequence of such a difference they would Suffer much more injury than Americans. If therefore the American Minister should be ordered away from hence, as Mr Pinckney has been from Paris you will not be Surprized. There is not at present any reason to expect it; but how Soon the Directory may exact it, is impossible to say; and if exacted it cannot be refused. This opinion is Supported by an Example which has already taken place with regard to Portugal.

You will See by the Papers that the new Emperor of Russia has determined to adhere to the Treaties concluded with \by/ his mother with Great Britain and Austria, but not to conclude the Treaty which She was upon the Point of signing at the time of her death, and in virtue of which she was to furnish 60,000 men for the next campaign. He has not as was pretended, recognized the French Republick; but the death of the late Empress is followed by so remarkable and important a Change of System, that it cannot be Supposed to have happened in the course of common Mortality.

The French Army in Italy has obtained another Splendid Victory. It may give them Mantua, but will probably not reconcile the Emperor yet to the Sacrifice of the Netherlands. This is now, the great apparent Obstacle to a Peace and for this, the nations of Europe are to bleed at every Artery for Years perhaps to come. You will undoubtedly see the Account of Lord Malmesburys Negotiations, and will find in the Conversation of De la Croix the present System of the Directory. You See how coolly they are resolved to Sacrifice this Country; to give up the Cape of good Hope and Trincomale to Britain, as a compensation for the Annexcation of the Netherlands to France. The Batavian Republic will Still be obliged to return Thanks, and glory in holding its Liberty under the Tenure of French bounty.

(MHi: Adams Papers, Seymour Collection).
This early access document should not be cited in formal research.
Please report any errors or problems you notice in documents.