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regard them as his allies, which as parties to the Holy Alliance he would be.
It is possible that overtures of a similar character may be made to you; but whether they should be or not it is proper to apprize you of the light in which they have been viewed by the President. No direct refusal has been notified to Mr. Poletica. It is presumed that none will be necessary. His instructions are not to make the proposal in form, unless with a prospect that it will be successful. It might perhaps be sufficient to answer that the organization of our govern✔ment is such as not to admit of our acceding formally to that compact. But it may be added that the President approving the general principles, and thoroughly convinced of the benevolent and virtuous motives which led to the conception and presided at the formation of this system by the Emperor Alexander, believes that the United States will more effectually contribute to the great and sublime objects for which it was concluded, by abstaining from a formal par✅ticipation in it, than they could as stipulated members of it. As a general declaration of principles, disclaiming the impulses of vulgar ambition and unprincipled aggrandizement, and openly proclaiming the peculiarly christian maxims of mutual benevolence and brotherly love, to be binding upon the intercourse between nations no less than upon those of individuals, the United States, not only give their hearty assent to the articles of the Holy Alliance, but will be among the most earnest and conscientious in observing them. But independent of the prejudices which have been excited against this instrument in the public opinion, which time and an experience of its good effects will gradually wear away, it may be observed that for the repose of Europe as well as of America, the European and American political systems should be kept as separate and distinct from each
other as possible. If the United States as members of the Holy Alliance could acquire a right to ask the influence of its most powerful members in their controversies with other states, the other members must be entitled in return to ask the influence of the United States for themselves or against their opponents. In the deliberations of the league they would be entitled to a voice, and in exercising their right must occasionally appeal to principles, which might not harmonize with those of any European member of the bond. This consideration alone would be decisive for declining a participation in that league, which is the President's absolute and irrevocable determination, although he trusts that no occasion will present itself rendering it necessary to make that determination known by an explicit refusal.
2. Commercial. The aversion of the Emperor Alexander to the negotiation of any commercial treaties has probably undergone no change since the instructions to Mr. Campbell were prepared. We have no motive for desiring that it should. You will however pay suitable attention to the actual state of our commerce with Russia, and particularly to the condition and prospects of the Russian establishments on the Black Sea. Voyages of circumnavigation and of discovery have been since the late general peace in Europe. fitted out partly on account of the government, and partly under the direction and at the expense of Count Nicholas Romanzoff, late Chancellor of the empire. Of the objects of those voyages, and of the information obtained from them so far as it is of a public nature we shall be gratified in receiving any communication which you may think proper to transmit. . . The movements of the Russian American Company may, perhaps, occasionally deserve your atten
'No general treaty of commerce and navigation between the two powers was negotiated until 1832.
tion, as they are connected with the Russian establishments on the north west coast of this continent; but they will probably be found less important than they have been imagined. A translation of the whole ukase 1 by which that company was constituted, if you can obtain and forward it to this department, would be acceptable.
TO JONATHAN JENNINGS 2
WASHINGTON, 17 July, 1820.
Several months have elapsed since I had the honor of receiving your letter of 27 January last, with its enclosure. That it has remained so long unanswered I entreat you to attribute to any other cause than personal disrespect to you, or insensibility to the importance of the subject to which it relates.
With regard to the removal of Mr. Erving, his office having been dependent upon the Department of the Treasury, neither the event nor its causes were known to me when they happened, nor do I yet know the precise grounds of complaint upon which he was removed. From my general confidence in the justice, equity and tenderness to the characters of executive officers, as well of the President as of the Secretary of the Treasury, I am entirely convinced that they were influenced in their proceedings on this occasion by motives of public duty alone; and that if Mr. Erving has suffered injustice, it has been owing to misrepresentations, the incorrectness of which could not be corrected by them.
1 Of July 8, 1799. It is summarized in Moore, International Arbitrations, I. 755. 2 (c. 1776-1834), first governor of the state of Indiana.
Your letter being confidential, I have not thought myself at liberty to communicate it even to the President, uncertain as I have been whether that was your intention. But permit me now to say, that if as the friend of Mr. Erving you would wish that any representation should be made to the President tending to show that he has labored under unfounded imputations, and that such representation should be made through me, I will very cheerfully make it and offer every service in my power to vindicate his reputation from any suspicion which may have been erroneously cast upon him.
I was aware of the disposition existing in a portion, I hope a very small portion, of the inhabitants of Indiana to recede from the principles upon which the northwestern territory was founded, and to remove the salutary prohibition of slavery which I consider as among the choicest blessings of their condition. The virtuous feeling and sound judgment of the great majority of the people will, I trust, preserve the state and the union from the calamity of such an apostasy. In this Union I consider slavery as the misfortune but not the fault of the states where it exists, and exemption from it as the happiness but not the merit of those where it does not exist. The abolition of slavery where it is established must be left entirely to the people of the state itself. The healthy have no right to reproach or to prescribe for the diseased; but that slavery should dare to claim legislative sanction in an American state where it has once been prohibited passes my comprehension. If a member of the legislature of the state of Massachusetts, or of Indiana, should move to bring in a bill for a nursery of rattle-snakes for the purpose of propagating the breed, or to import the yellow fever for the benefit of the infection, I should pronounce him wise, benevolent and patriotic, in comparison with him who should propose a bill for the establishment of slavery. I
hope and believe that this sentiment will become from day to day more prevalent in the Union, and that you will have the pleasure of seeing every contrary disposition in your state hide its head for shame, and ultimately vanish.
That you have been among the most distinguished of its citizens, by whose steady opposition the introduction of this portentous evil has been discountenanced and prevented, is well known to me, and is one of the sources of that high and sincere esteem and personal respect with which I am, etc.1
TO JOHN CLARK 2
WASHINGTON, 24 July, 1820.
I had some time since the honor of promising your Excellency, conformably to your request, copies of the instructions to the Indian Agent, by which I understood you to mean the
1 "A writer in the Richmond Enquirer recommends a penitentiary system for the United States. It seems to me that this idea deserves to be well considered. You will shortly have to pass upon slave-traders as well as patriots. Sixteen of those fiends of humanity have been exported from the coast of Africa by the Cyane, to Boston, and are waiting for trial. By the reports we receive hundreds more may be expected. They spawn like fish on the coast of Labrador, and when they get their passports for the gibbet, you will have, I suppose, rolls as long as a chancery suit of female petitioners for mercy. The females petitioned you to spare the pirates at Richmond. The females at Baltimore petitioned Governor Sprigg to spare Hull and Hutton, mail robbers and murderers in cold blood. It is impossible to pass a censure upon the ladies; and my conclusion from these singular facts is, that the feeling of the country, male and female, is against all capital punishments. "Duane is endeavoring to give a false color to the application of Colonel Johnson in his behalf last winter, but I believe he imposes upon no one. He is drowning and grasps around him with instinctive desperation at any one to carry down with him. I have copies of his two letters to Colonel Johnson, so that I presume it will not be necessary to write to that gentleman." To the President, July 22, 1820. Ms. On the Duane letters, see Adams, Memoirs, January 18, 1820, and later entries. * Governor of Georgia. See Adams, Memoirs, July 22, 1820.