N. 5
Mrs. Abigail Adams – Quincy

St: Petersburg 25. July 1810.

Captain Harrod, by whom your kind favour of 20. March to me,
mentions that you had written to my wife, and also sent a Box of Articles which she had requested
to procure for her, has not yet arrived. – Your letter of 20. March itself was brought to me, a few
days past, I know not from whence; but having apparently been opened, and having suffered much
from a soaking; but whether in salt or in fresh water, I am unable to judge with certainty. – It was
however not the less precious to me on that account. – At the same time we received letters and
newspapers to the 21st : of April from Mr: Gray, and by other arrivals here and elsewhere on the
Continent we have accounts from the United States to the tenth of May.

From the returns of the votes at the April election which we have seen, I consider it as beyond
question that Mr: Gerry, and Mr: Gray were chosen Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State –
But on the comparison of the votes from the several towns, the prospect was that a majority of both branches
of the Legislature, still adheres to the politics of the two last years, in which case the Council must be of
the same complection, and the State authorities will not harmonize very cordially together – The changes
however, not only in Massachusetts, but in New-Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode-Island have been so
unpropitious to the Anglo-federalists, that the projects of a separate Empire will not make much pro:
:gress during the present year – and I cherish the hope that they will be so steadily discountenanced
by the suffrages of the People in New-England, that the father of them all, will renounce them in despair,
and turn the policy of the Eastern sages, if not to something useful and honourable, at least to something
less pestilential to their Country and their Posterity – To any thing more pernicious, in my sincere opinion,
the Prince of Darkness could not spur the most devoted of his instruments upon Earth.

The panic terrors of a War, between the United States and England, which the majority of
the Legislature of Massachusetts last Winter alledged in justification of their patriotic Resolutions in
favour of Mr: Jackson, and against the Government of the United States, are I hope before this, tranquilized –
I see however by a circular from the federal Committee of Boston Senators and Representatives, that their
palpitations of heart were still indicative of great alarm even after they had reason to apprehend that their
Governor would be supplanted, in his Office, and after their own news from England, had informed them,
that His Britannic Majesty’s Ministers would not go to War to avenge Mr: Jackson – highly as they approved
his spirited moderation, and deeply as they resented the unprovoked insult upon him –

I have too much respect for the characters of all those Gentlemen, who signed this federal circular,
not to believe that their fears were real and sincere – But knowing and esteeming as I do the judgment
and understanding of them all, I can with difficulty conceive the offuscation of intellect, which could
permit them, late in April 1810, to be in dread of a War with England, or an Alliance with France – There
is something in the Spirit of Party which stupefies even those whom it cannot deprave, and which blinds
the eyes, when it cannot succeed to vitiate the heart.

The most remarkable political transactions of the present time are in Sweden – The late king of
that Country laboured under the same prejudices as of late years have taken possession of almost all the
New-England federalists – He not only hated Napoleon as he deserves, but he relied upon the friendship
and protection of England – He lost Pomerania – He lost Finland, and he last of all lost his Crown – The
Swedish Diet not only discarded him, but his children – excluded all his descendants with him from the
succession, and sent to Norway for a Prince of Holstein Augustenburg, to be the successor to the Swedish
Throne – This Prince accepted the offer, and early in the Spring of the present year he came to Stockholm,
and was at the same time adopted by the present king as his son, and proclaimed Crown-Prince, or
heir-apparent of Sweden – On the 29th: of May, while reviewing a Regiment of Cavalry near Helsingborg,
he was seized with an apoplexy, fell instantaneously senseless from his horse, and expired within half
an hour after – During the short time that he had been at Stockholm, the simplicity of his manners, and

affability of his disposition, had rendered him very popular among the plebeian Class; but had at
the same time given offence and disgust to many of the nobility. These two orders of Society are
upon very discordant terms with each other in that kingdom, and the odium of the populace is the
most exasperated against the nobles of the highest Rank – The suspicion that the Crown-Prince had
been poisoned by a conspiracy of certain persons of the nobility, was excited among the People of
Stockholm, and became particularly concentrated upon Count Axel Fersen, the Grand-Marshal
of the kingdom, his Sister, Countess Piper, a Count Ugglas, and the Russian informal Envoy
General van Suchtelen – On the day when the body of the Prince was carried into Stockholm, Count
Fersen, going at the head of the Procession, which was to escort it, was attacked by a mob in the Streets,
sought refuge in a house, from which he was compelled to be brought out, and murdered with circum:
:stances as horrible as any of those which marked the worst period of the French Revolution – The other
suspected persons were preserved from the fury of the mob, only because they could not get them in
their power, and finally by the interposition of a military force, which was obliged to fire upon the
People, and killed a number of them. – There had been a report of three physicians who opened, and
examined the Prince’s body, declaring in the most formal manner, that no symptom of any other than
natural causes of his death appeared; nor is it yet explained why the suspicions of the People in
Stockholm were so settled upon five or six persons, or how they became so strong, as to burst out into
those furious excesses. – Commissioners are appointed to enquire and trace the suspicions of poison
and their foundation; but here the opinion generally entertained is that they were altogether groundless.

As our intercourse with England is again open, and will be in all probability very great again,
you will hear the accounts of interesting Events on the continent so much sooner through England,
than we can send them from this bottom of the bag, that I shall have scarcely any other news to tell you –
There has been, you know for about four years a personage called the king of Holland – A brother of
the Emperor Napoleon, who sent him to rule over that Country as he now suggests for the benefit of
France – King Louis however, whether from natural disposition, or from the contagion of dutch associates

appears to have imbibed an opinion that a king of Holland, ought to have some regard for the interests
of Holland – This has brought him into disgrace with Napoleon, who first made him disgrace himself
by a Treaty, ceding to France a quarter part or more of the Dutch Territories, and surrendering to
French disposal all the private American property within his reach, and then sent a corps of French troops,
to take care of his good City of Amsterdam – Louis became sick of playing this part of a phantom king
any longer, and has abdicated his crown, and left it to his infant son, under the Regency of its
mother to perform the Pageants, and be used as the instruments of Napoleon.

This illustrious character narrowly escaped a burnishing about three weeks since, at a splendid
Entertainment given by Prince Schwarzenberg the Austrian Ambassador at his Court, on the occasion
of his marriage with the Archduchess Maria Louisa – In the midst of the Ball, the House took
fire, and a number of the guests perished in the flames – The Emperor himself was present, but escaped

Perhaps you would be better pleased with some account of ourselves, than with accounts of mobs,
murders or fires – We are all well, excepting my wife, who has been very sick, but is now much recovered.
She suffers much from the severity of the climate, which is such that we have to this day had nothing that
can be called Summer. – We have been settled about six weeks at house-keeping, and are as comfortably
accommodated as the customs and nature of the Country will admit – The attendance upon the imperial
Court at this Season of the year is neither frequent nor troublesome; and most of the people of rank and
fashion are at their Country-Seats.

With my best remembrance of duty and affection to my father, of regard to all our friends
around you, and blessings for my boys, I remain ever faithfully yours.



J Q Adams No 5
25 july 1810