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John Quincy Adams to John Adams

4 Mar. 1797

My Dear Sir. The Hague March 4. 1797.

This is the day upon which the President of the United States enters upon his functions; but we remain here in a state of perfect uncertainty with regard to the issue of the Elections.—The general opinion indeed is that the choice as President has fallen upon you, and such are the most recent statements from America. But the fact is far from being unquestionably ascertained, and after the excessive efforts that have been used to give the election a different turn, I shall expect, that the manoeuvre will be followed by the expedient to the last moment.—I know not therefore at this moment how I am to address you, but for the present shall enclose under cover to the Secretary of State, my Letters for you, together with the Papers which I endeavour to send so that they may reach you early, though I fear I am seldom successful.

I mentioned in my last an intimation I had received, that Adet’s powers would be renewed to commence again the discussion of the differences between the French and American Governments. Since then, my suggestions from Paris, are that the Directory will for the present take no further step detrimental to the American People; and that Adet will be charged with having a little exceeded his instructions both in substance and manner. I feel it somewhat ridiculous to give you these little transient accidental indications upon points which are perhaps perfectly clear from the information before you; yet at worst I hope it will only be my loss of labour and time, without injury any where.

The most unaccountable circumstance to me in the present state of affairs, is the refusal to receive Mr: Pinckney and the order given him to leave France, if as they pretend, they do not mean an absolute rupture. The only manner in which I can explain it is by the supposition that they are trying to force the American Government upon a reappointment of Mr: Monroe

The appeal to the People, though not formally declared, as in the time of Gênet, who found it necessary in that instance to deny his own words, is however very clearly and systematically undertaken.—No further violent measures are to be pursued untill it shall appear whether the People will support their Government under the menaces of french resentment or not. Will you forgive me for intimating it again as an object of encreasing conviction upon my mind that all these measures are concerted with a very powerful and influential party among ourselves: and that there are symptoms which make me very uneasy both as to the extent of the views which this concert embraces, and the persons engaged in it.—When the Passions of Men have conducted them to such a point that they negotiate a War against their own Country, I cannot imagine any boundaries at which they will stop.

The immediate system which will be pursued [...] by this combination seems clearly to be this. To set the House of Representatives in Congress at opposition with the Executive Government. It has already been pursued with considerable success.—It appears that the present house will be composed in a great measure of the same members as the last. The attempt to assume Executive powers does not appear to have met with general approbation in the former occasion. I hope it will not be renewed.

Nothing new of material importance has occurred in Europe since my last Letter. The capture of Mantua has been followed by the rapid progress of the french army towards Rome on \one/ side, and the Tirol on the other. The Austrian armies have been so much weakened upon the Rhine, by detachments to supply the place of their troops lost in Italy that the campaign it is said is to be offensive again on the part of the French in this quarter; and they are to renew the experiment of penetrating into Germany.—They require however at present a considerable army in this Country, to contain the People.—I have mentioned to you some late disturbances in Friesland; since the dispersion of the insurgents, about two hundred persons have been arrested and are still imprisoned in that Province. One man has been tried, sentenced to Death, and Executed.—The dissatisfaction among the People appears also in the other Provinces.—All this will soon be settled by the return of the french army.

The national Assembly have almost gone through the plan of Constitution, but a great number of the most important Articles have been referred to Committees for further examination and report upon them

The King of Prussia and Landgrove of Hessel Cassel have been making great military preparations; the object of them is a subject of much speculation. The plan in all probability is that which the french Minister De la Croix, opened in his conversation with Lord Malmesbury.—One of the measures proposed by that was the creation of three new Elecorates for the Dukes of Wirtemberg and Brunswick, and the Prince of Orange.—This last will not suit the ruling party in this Country, but they cannot help it—France it seems chuses to keep that family up as a rod over her friends here—the attachment of the People to it is continually breaking out in spite of every exertion to repress and smother it.

The royalist conspirators lately discovered in France, are upon trial before a military tribunal. But the constitutional question as to its competency has not yet been decided by the Court.—This fear of the civil judicial administrators, and propensity of the Directory for Court-martials is particularly remarkable.

I am with sentiments of perfect duty and affection, your Son

John Q. Adams.

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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