December 10 1812; Diplomatic Overtures to Britain

On December 10 1812, in St Petersburg, John Quincy Adams writes the following diary entry
10th. On returning this morning from my walk, I received a note from the Chancellor, Count Romanzoff, requesting me to call upon him at twelve o'clock, noon ; which I did. He said he had sent for me to show me the draught of a dispatch to Count Lieven, the Russian Ambassador in England, which he had prepared to lay before the Emperor for his approbation; and as its object was to communicate to Count Lieven the substance of what I had said to him in our last conversation, he wished me to peruse it, and to point out any inaccuracy or variation from what I had said, and that he would immediately correct it. I found there were several passages differing from the ideas I had intended to convey to him, which he immediately struck out of the draught, inserting others in their steady exactly conformable to what I now repeated, and explained as having said, or intended to say, before; the Count observing that he was desirous of not using one expression; either stronger or weaker, than I had meant to use. The first variance was, that he had written Count Lieven that I had called upon him,by order of my Government^ to communicate to him the declaration of war by the United States against Great Britain. I had on the contrary, said to him that my Government had not ordered me to make any official communication here of this declaration; but that, having just received it, together with a dispatch from the Secretary of State, indicating the views of my Government on this occasion in relation to other powers, and particularly to Russia, I had felt it a duty to communicate the substance of it to him. 
The second difference was, that in reporting what I had mentioned of the state of our affairs with France, he had used expressions of resentment and reproach, such as, that France used us as ill as Great Britain, that she gave us nothing but "des belles paroles," which I told him might be very just inferences from the facts, and might even express my own sentiments, but which I had not intended to use, because my object had been merely to state the purport of the dispatch I 
had received, in which no such expression of asperity, no sentiment even of irritation, was to be found. It simply said that the principal subjects in discussion with France remained unsettled, and there was little reason to expect a settlement of them satisfactory to us. On the third point, I observed that the Count's expressions were not so strong as those I had repeated from the Secretary of State's letter.  He had accu rately noted the determination of the American Government not to enter into more intimate connections with France, even if a satisfactory adjustment of those differences should be obtained ; but he had omitted the additional assurance, that they did not foresee any event whatever that could produce such a result. 

The Count immediately struck out every one of the passages which I noticed as inaccurate, and inserted others in their stead, exactly conformable to my present repetition and explanation of what I had said to him in our last conversation. I then told him, in consenting to the making of this communication to the British Government I was aware that it might possibly produce an effect, different from that which he intended and which I desired ; that, supposing the British Ministers should be actuated by dispositions which might without any breach of candor be imputed to them, the certainty that the American Government would in no case seek or accept a community of cause with their most dreaded enemy, might render them more careless or indifferent to a pacification with us, as leading them to think less formidably of our hostility ; that I believed, however, the operation of this intelligence upon their minds would be of an opposite kind — that its tendency would be to promote the spirit of conciliation ; and that I was in this respect happy to have the concurrence of his judgment. 

The Count said there was a possibility that the effect might be contrary to his wishes and intentions, but he trusted it would not; that his instruction to Count Lieven was to inform Lord Castlereagh of this conversation with me, with the purpose of removing the prejudices entertained by the British Government, and of promoting the peace which he (Count Lieven) knew the Emperor had much at heart, as believing it most for the interest of both powers as well as of his own empire; that he had not told Count Lieven that he was authorized by me to repeat this conversation, but appeared to relate it altogether without my privity; that as the affairs of the British in Spain were not so prosperous as they had lately been, they would probably be under the necessity of making further efforts there, and might therefore be more disposed to accommodation in another quarter. He was quite anxious, he said, to hear from England. He had no accounts from thence later than 3d November, and now the only course of information, even with regard to the internal state of France was through England. 

I asked him if there was no communication through Sweden and Denmark. He said there was — but very precarious and dilatory, for even before the war between Russia and France the usual course of the post between Paris and Copenhagen was through Moscow. I spoke to the Count of the answer the English Government had given to the Emperor's proposed mediation. He said they had neither accepted nor rejected it, but had hinted that it would not be acceptable in America ; that they thought the time was not yet come. But it appeared they had sent out Admiral Warren with powers to negotiate. Did I know what the result had been of this ? I said I did not, but I augured very little from this mode of negotiation. Admiral Warren had been known here in a mere diplomatic capacity, and I had heard his personal character spoken of as amiable and conciliatory; but there, he went also as commander-in- chief of a hostile squadron of ships, a character in itself far from portending conciliation. If we were vanquished indeed, an Admiral might signify to us the terms to which we must 
subscribe, as well as any other; but until then, it was no good aspect for judging favorably of the proposals; to be offered from an Admiral making his first appearailce in hostile array, with ships of the line and frigates. 

The Count replied, that was true, but to the amiable and conciliatory disposition of Sir John Borlase Warren he could bear ample and willing testimony. He was as free from pride and from prejudices, both personal and national, as any Englishman he had ever known. At an early period of his embassy here, he (Count Romanzoff) had told him that the commercial relations between Russia and England might be continued on a foundation of mutual advantage to both nations, but not upon the basis of former times; not by viewing things under the 
varnish of the English factory ; not on the scale of maintaining here a dominion something like that they had in India. Supposing the Russian commerce upon the Black Sea were to become important, was the English factory to say that there must be none but at St. Petersburg? It could not be endured.  
It was absolutely necessary to remember that times and things had changed. Sir John did not say anything in answer to this at the time, but afterwards, when he was going away, he told the Count that he had remembered that conversation, and was fully satisfied of the correctness of his opinion. From the general tenor of the Count's remarks, I conjecture that he does not now very cordially harmonize with the English Ambassador, or fall into the present commercial or political views of the English Government He said that he was happy to find that the Brit-
ish Ministers did full justice to the sentiments of the Emperor Alexander —" more justice, indeed," said he, " to the Emperor than they do to his Chancellor." He told me that Mr. Zea had lately sent him a dispatch of an old date from Mr. DaschkofT, and asked me whether I knew how it came to Mr. Zea's hands. I suppose Mr. DaschkofT sent it through the Spanish Minister by a cartel-ship to England, from whence it was transmitted to Mr. Zea by a courier. 

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