Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MONROE. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO JAMES MONROE. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO JAMES MONROE.
Quincy, 23 February, 1813.
I thank you for your favor of the 15th, and the able report of the committee of foreign relations, and a very conciliatory bill for the regulation of seamen. I call it conciliatory, because in theory it should appear to be so, and because I believe it was sincerely intended to be so. The views were upright and the motives pure which produced it, I have no doubt. But will the present ministry in Great Britain receive it with equal candor? Will the parliament or the nation accept it? I believe not. My reasons for this opinion are too many to be enumerated in detail; but one or two may be suggested.
1. Equality, reciprocity, and indeed the right of an independent nation require that the imperial parliament of Great Britain should pass an act forbidding the employment of American seamen, not only in their royal navy, but in their merchant service. Will ministry, parliament, or nation consent to this? I think not, at least at present, nor for a long time to come. Why? Because, if they do, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, indeed all other nations will demand a similar law relative to their seamen.
2. It is only necessary to look in the Index of the British Statutes at large, to find a number of statutes offering and promising rewards, temptations, and allurements to foreign seamen of all nations to enter the service in the royal navy and the merchant ships too, and promising them by the faith of the nation all the rights and privileges of natural-born subjects. Will they repeal all these laws?
3. Will Great Britain stipulate to renounce the power of employing American seamen? On this subject I may be deceived. And I desire to be understood to speak with diffidence. But I am suspicious, nay, persuaded, they have not only the impressed and enlisted American seamen on board their men-of-war to an amount of many thousands, but many more in their merchant ships and their transports. Among the documents attending one of their financial reports, was an article of four or five millions sterling for the pay of foreign seamen, in the merchant service, to the number of forty thousand. How came the government to pay seamen in the private service of merchants? I presume that foreign seamen have been employed not only in the transport service, but in forcing a clandestine commerce with the continent. And who were those foreign seamen? Nine tenths of them probably Americans.
The next question is, will this bill conciliate and unite the American people? It may put an argument into the mouths of some of the friends of the present administration, and take one away from some in the opposition; but it will not diminish the dread of taxes in the sordid, of whom the number is very great, nor extinguish the ambition to become the dominant party.
I hope you have by this time letters from Petersburg. We have only two since August. One containing nothing but a melancholy account of the death of the only daughter my son ever had. The other I will venture to inclose to you, in confidence, praying you to return it to me by the post. It is to his mother, and not intended to be seen by any but his family; but it contains more than usual of public affairs. We dare not correspond with him, nor he with us, upon public affairs. The times are too dangerous. Our letters have been almost all opened, many read by government in France and England; some produced in Court of Admiralty, yet all sent on at last. We have never lost but one letter. You may conclude from this that we have not offended High Mightinesses in France or England.