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November 9 1812: Snow and Death of General Pardo


On November 9, 1812, in St Petersburg, John Quincy Adams   makes the following  entry  in his diary: 

9th.- On taking my usual walk this morning, I found the two bridges of the Neva gone, and the river about half full of floating ice. The Fontanka Canal was almost everywhere frozen over. There has been yesterday and the day before a considerable fall of snow, so that the sledges pass upon it. The thermometer (Reaumur's) has been from five to seven below zero, the temperature at which the river usually freezes. Mr. Harris called upon me, and brought with him some English newspapers containing the English official account of the capture of the British frigate Guerriere by the Constitution, Captain Hull, and also the dispatches from General Brock, and the shameful capitulation of General Hull and his army in Upper Canada. The Countess Colombi and her sister, Frederica Bode, visited the ladies, and mentioned the decease of General Pardo, the late Spanish Minister here. He died at a small, mean hovel of an inn, upon his journey from this city. General Essen, at Riga, has taken his daughter, a child about fourteen, who was left friendless and alone when her father died. Madame Colombi intends sending for her. Pardo, I believe, died of a broken heart. He had connected himself with the French party in Spain inextricably, while his feelings were all on the other side. He accepted office, military rank, and a blushing riband from Joseph Bonaparte, and yet in all his conversation with everybody was enthusiastically zealous for the patriots. There was a contrast between his conduct and his discourse greater than I ever witnessed in any other man. He had lost his fortune and several of his near relations by the war in Spain; he had been two or three years without pay from the Government that he had consented to serve; and by the new war he was dismissed, even from nominal employment, without any present provision, or any prospect of future supply, so much as for the subsistence of himself and his daughter, besides a son of sixteen or seventeen, who is at Paris. He was a learned classical scholar, a well-taught connoisseur in the fine arts, a profound theoretical proficient in the art of war, a lively and pleasant convivial companion, and a man of strong and brilliant genius. I believe if he had possessed firmness and energy of character he would have taken an active part, and been a highly distinguished leader, in the Spanish cause.

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