November 4 1812: Adam's Napoleon

On November 4, 1812, in St Petersburg, John Quincy Adams  discusses the feelings that Napoleon engenders. He makes the following  entry  in his diary: 
4th. Went out to Ochta, and dined at Mr. Krehmer's. Mr. Harris was there, Mrs. Pitt, the wife of the English clergyman, and two Mr. Gisbornes, sons of Dr. Gisborne the author, who live with Mr. Krehmer. There was much political conversation, characteristic as well of the present state of affairs as of the feelings of the speakers. The passions of almost all the politicians whom I now see and hear are concentrated upon the head of one man. It seems almost universally to be considered that the destinies of mankind hang upon his life alone; and in proportion to the force of this sentiment is the ardor for his death. I know not how it has been with former conquerors during their lives, but I believe there never was a human being who united against himself such a mass of execration and abhorrence as this man has done. There is indeed, on the other hand, an admiration of him equally enthusiastic, as for every great conqueror there always must be; but I have never yet seen the person by whom he was regarded with affection.

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