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JQA Diary, volume 29 28 March 1816


Neal Millikan

28. V:15. Received an Answer from the Spanish Ambassador Count Fernan-Nuñez to the Letter which I wrote him last Saturday— He says he has authorized the Spanish Consul to enter an appeal of Jurisdiction before the Court of admiralty here in the case of the Sabine— I wrote to Messrs Glennie Son and Co: in answer to the Letter which I had received from them on this subject. I also wrote part of a Letter to the Secretary of State, and continued in the endeavour to retrieve my arrears— Finished the Journal of last Thursday, and began upon that of Friday. Walk to Hanwell and Ealing— The Evening Post, which always arrives while we are at dinner, brought me a Note from Lord Castlereagh, with a copy of a Letter from Admiral Cockburn to the Secretary of the Admiralty, Croker, concerning R. W. Downman’s Slaves— Also a Petition from three American Sailors at Haverford West; charged with stealing from a wreck; and a Letter from a man who wants me to appoint him their Attorney. This Evening I finished reading the Abbe de Pradt’s Book upon the Congress of Vienna— A Book of great pretensions and little merit— The author was an Archbishop and Ambassador of Napoleon’s making. His aumonier, and an officer of the Legion of Honour After his fall, he betrayed and libelled him, as he does in this book; he is a conspicuous personage in the Dictionnaire des Girouettes. It is impossible to say what the object of this Work is; but he praises and blames the Congress in his own way, which is different from that of every body else— There is in it, as in many of the French writers since the Revolution, a deficiency of moral principle betraying itself in every page— A political system is substituted in its stead as the basis of all reasoning and thus measures are urged or deprecated, not according to their bearing upon right or wrong, but according to their influence and tendency, in relation to the political system— If there is any settled design of this Book, it is to excite the fear and jealousy of all Europe, against Russia— As to England he is in character—Janus-faced— In one passage sounding the alarm against her, and in another paying her parasitical Court. But towards Russia, he is all bitterness, and his most aggravated charge against the Congress is for having suffered Russia to acquire a foot of Territory South of the Vistula.— This is the perpetual burden of his lamentation— As if the Vistula would have been a wall of adamant; an insurmuntable barrier for Europe, against the modern Tartars— It was according to him perfectly proper for Sweden to rob Denmark of Norway; and for Prussia to be pampered with Saxony, because this strengthened the barrier of Europe against Russia— The great fault of the Congress was in not giving all Saxony to Prussia— This Sacrifice of all consideration of Right and Wrong to State Policy, always disgusts me— If Saxony can properly be swallowed by Prussia; why should not Prussia be swallowed by Russia, in its turn— If the weaker must be given as food to strengthen the weak, why should not both be given to gorge the appetite of the strong. As to the barrier of the Vistula, it is as if one should undertake to stop the falls of Niagara with a wisp of Straw.— The ci devant Archbishop, complains of the Congress too for not restoring the Roman Catholic Clergy to affluence and dignity— He wants to see Cardinal Prime Minsters again, and yet he gives shrewd hints about the Spirit of the age, and holds the doctrine of legitimacy, to be not altogether tenable— He blames the Belgic Clergy too, for their opposition to the New Constitution of the Low Country— I could not comprehend this until I found by reference to the weather cock Register, that the Abbé has a pension of 12000 francs from the king of the Netherlands, as a fiche de consolation, for the loss of his Archbishoprick of Mecklin.