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September 25 1811: John Quincy Adams




On September 25, 1812, John Quincy Adams, the American Ambassador in St Petersburg writes the following entry in his diary:

25th. At nine o'clock this morning I went with Mr. Smith to Field-Marshal General Count Soltykofts house, and attended the funeral of his wife, Countess Natalie. The ceremonies were the same as I have seen them several times before. About ten the procession moved from the house, and was an hour and three-quarters in reaching the Monastery of St Alexander Newsky. The service, including a short sermon, was an hour and a half long, and it was about two in the afternoon when we got home. The procession was large, and the attendance numerous. The principal change that I perceived was in the Diplomatic Corps. Lord Cathcart, with a suite of seven gentlemen, attached to the British Embassy, Mr. Zea, as Spanish Minister, the young Duke of Serra Capriola, as attached to the Legation of the Two Sicilies, and Mr. Hochschild, as Charge d'Affaires from Sweden, were there. Count Maistre, Baron Blome, and myself formed the only remnants of the former diplomacy. The courtiers were as assiduous to the British Ambassador as eighteen months ago they had been to the Duke of Vicence. Mr. Fisher called upon me after I came home, much alarmed and anxious about his present situation here. The English are all preparing to leave the country; their fears are greater than I believe there is occasion for. My landlord, Strogofshikofl, also came to me much alarmed and mortified at the present condition of his country — hinting, but afraid expressly to say, that Moscow is in the hands of the French, and still reposing confidence in the cunning of General Koutouzof. Nothing official has yet been published by the Government concerning the occupation of Moscow and the rumors are innumerable. Several persons, it is said, have been made to sweep the streets for having said that Moscow was taken; so that the people are afraid of talking.

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