July 18 1812: Adams and Diplomatic Confusion over Rivers

On July 18, 1812, John Quincy Adams in St Petersburg, Russia writes in his diary of his discussions with Count Lauriston of France. Adams writes about a conversation with Lauriston where the lack of geographical knowledge of various rivers is discussed. He writes: 
18th. Baron Gremp and Mr. St. Genest called upon me this morning, and brought with them the packages which the Ambassador and Count Frohberg had requested me to receive in deposit; being the archives of the French Embassy, of the former Dutch Legation, and of the Wiirtemberg Legation. The French are in a very large wooden chest; the Dutch in. a trunk equally large; and those of Wurtemberg in a small box about the size of a portable writing-desk and covered with oil- cloth. In case of my own departure, they are to be delivered to Messrs. Livio.
I had afterwards visits from Count Lauriston and Count Bussche, who expect to go down to Oranienbaum on Monday. Count Lauriston asked me if I had seen the Emperor Napoleon's proclamation to the army at the commencement of hostilities. I had, but, I said, there must have been a mistake in the copy or translation that I saw, which was in English. For it stated the proposition of Russia to have been that the French troops should retire beyond the Rhine previous to negotiations — whereas it was the Elbe that she had spoken of, and not the Rhine. Lauriston laughed, and said, "Oh, the proclamation est bien de lui — c'est bien là sa maniere. My copy has it the Rhine, too — but do you know they did talk about the Rhine? Count Romanzoff himself said once to me that we must retire beyond the Rhine. I told him that he must surely mean the Elbe. But he said, ' Mais non, l'Elbe n'est pas votre frontiere.' But they mistake one thing for another. Count Romanzoff once complained to me that the French troops had crossed the Elbe and the Oder and entered Berlin. They had entered Berlin, but they had not then approached the Oder. But Romanzoff thought they must have crossed the Oder to get to Berlin." "But," said I, "it was the Elbe and not the Rhine, that Prince Kurakin's note required you to pass previous to negotiation. Was it not?" "Yes, mais qu'est-ce qu'il  coûte a l'Empereur Napoleon de dire que c'étoit le Rhin?" Lauriston has the same idea of Napoleon's veracity that Caulaincourt had; though he is a more enthusiastic admirer of him, and apparently more unbounded in his devotion to him. Count Bussche told me that St. Julien lingered about going away; that Russia was still courting Austria; that Count Stachelberg, the Russian Minister, had obtained permission to remain at Vienna, and it had -been indirectly signified to St. Julien that he might stay here if it suited his convenience. Even yesterday, St. Julien told Bussche that it might be some time before he should go. But this morning Berks had called on him (Bussche) and told him St. Julien would positively go on Tuesday; and Lauriston this morning told Bussche the same thing. Whence Bussche concluded that lauriston had given St. Julien a touch of the spur. General Pardo and Count Bose are gone. Mr. Raimbert paid me a visit likewise, and mentioned the report of an action in which Prince Bagration has suffered considerable loss, and the French were said to have entered Minsk. 

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