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October 9 1812: John Quincy Adams


On October 9,  John Quincy Adams writes the following diary entry: 
9th. Mr. Laval sent me word that he had returned home, and I called on him again. I had drawn his certificate according to a form which he had sent me, being the same that had heretofore been used by the French Consul. But it purported that Mr. Laval's Acte de Naissance had been presented to me, and I accordingly asked him to show it to me. He said he had given it to Mr. Lesseps, who had not returned it. I observed that I could not then certify that it had been presented to me. He thought that those were mere words of form, and that I might certify in confidence upon his statement. In the form Mr. Lesseps had used, those words were underscored and minuted as indispensable. I told Mr. Laval that my confidence in his assertion was perfect, but it could not justify me in certifying what was not the fact. I would either omit the words or insert in their stead " deposited at the French Consulate in this city." He preferred the latter, and we appointed seven in the evening for me to call upon him with the new certificate. At seven I accordingly went with it, and he signed it. I left it with him, to be signed by four witnesses as the French law requires. It is for an annuity which his mother receives upon his life. Madame Laval was present, and Count Maistre was there. They are to go in five or six days. They both appear to be much dejected. They are fugitives from one of the most magnificent establishments in St Petersburg, a house where splendor and hospitality went hand in hand. They are going with a family of small children literally they know not where and to return they know not when. Madame de Betancourt and all her children went the day before yesterday; they go to England. We shall have scarcely an acquaintance left.
Baron Blome paid me a long visit; he is much out of health, and no less out of spirits. He thinks the Swedes are going to attack the island of Zealand, and he is very apprehensive they will succeed in taking it. He says they have not the shadow of a complaint against Denmark, and that it will be an attack more treacherous and profligate than that upon Spain. He appears fully convinced that Koutouzof had really won the battle of Borodino, though the world will never believe it. I do not yet believe it myself.  The Baron, however, gives credit to all the stories they circulate here, many of which are without foundation.


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