Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES LLOYD. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO JAMES LLOYD. - 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 LLOYD.
Quincy, 6 March, 1815.
As method is of no importance in my letters, I will deviate from the course I was in, to speak of the project of the independence of South America in 1798. Since my glances at this subject have excited your curiosity, it shall be gratified. As the prudence and necessity of my mission to France are cogently demonstrated by this history, I pray you to read it with patience in detail.
During our revolutionary war, General Miranda came to the United States, travelled through many, if not all of them, was introduced to General Washington and his aids, secretaries, and all the gentlemen of his family, to the other general officers and their families, and to many of the colonels.1 He acquired the character of a classical scholar, of a man of universal knowledge, of a great general, and master of all the military sciences, and of great sagacity, an inquisitive mind, and an insatiable curiosity. It was a general opinion and report, that he knew more of the families, parties, and connections in the United States, than any other man in them; that he knew more of every campaign, siege, battle, and skirmish that had ever occurred in the whole war, than any officer of our army, or any statesman in our councils. His constant topic was the independence of South America, her immense wealth, inexhaustible resources, innumerable population, impatience under the Spanish yoke, and disposition to throw off the dominion of Spain. It is most certain that he filled the heads of many of the young officers with brilliant visions of wealth, free trade, republican government, &c., &c., in South America. Hamilton was one of his most intimate friends and confidential admirers, and Colonel Smith, I presume, was another. Of Burr I will say nothing, because I know nothing with certainty. Of Dayton I will say but little. Of Wilkinson, nothing at all, at present. But of Winthrop Sargent, Governor of the Mississippi Territory, and one of the most intelligent of them all, I will say, that he acknowledged to me, with apparent humiliation and grief, that he had been one who had been carried away by the fashionable enthusiasm, and been charmed with the ideas of wealth, glory, and liberty, which the independence of South America exhibited. General Knox was also one of his intimates. I had never seen Miranda, and have never seen him yet. But this was the universal language concerning Miranda, of all the Americans whom I met in France, Holland, and England, without one exception.
Some years after the peace of 1783, Miranda came to England, and was several weeks in London. He never came near me. I never heard he had been there till years afterwards. I have lately heard, that his apology for avoiding my house was, that if he had been seen there, the Spanish ambassador might have been informed of it, and the Marquis del Campo might have procured from court an order for his arrest. This excuse may be true, and I may and do conjecture other reasons that may be equally true, though I need not explain them at present. But he did meet Colonel Smith, secretary of legation to my commission to the Court of St. James; was intimate with him, though I knew nothing of it, and persuaded him to travel to Holland, Prussia, and Germany. On this journey he persuaded Smith to lend him money to the amount of some hundred guineas to pursue his travels to Russia. The money he afterwards honorably and punctually remitted to his benefactor. He afterwards entered the service of France, commanded armies, was accused of treason, tried, and honorably acquitted. But he soon went over to England, procured audiences and conferences with Mr. Pitt and Mr. King, some of the results of which I shall proceed to state to you.
On the 25th of August, 1798, I received a letter at Quincy from Mr. Pickering, Secretary of State, dated Trenton, 21st August, 1798,1 inclosed in a large packet of papers, among which was a letter from Mr. King, one from Mr. Joseph Pedro Caro, and one from Miranda. Mr. Pickering informed me, that he had received under the same cover two letters, one for Colonel Hamilton and the other for General Knox, which he forwarded by the same post to those gentlemen.
Mr. King’s letter to the Secretary of State, Mr. Pickering, dated February 26th, 1798, was in these words.2
. . . . . . . . . . .
I inclose Mr. Pickering’s original letter and an authenticated official copy of Mr. King’s, requesting the return of them by post. In my next, I will develop more of this mystery, which, I think, abounds with instruction to American statesmen, among whom you, Mr. Lloyd, will be enumerated, whether you will or no. You are in a cage. Like Sterne’s starling, you “can’t get out.”
[1 ] He seems to have had long conferences with M. Marbois, the French Chargé d’Affaires, at Philadelphia, and to have communicated through him with the government at Versailles. Histoire de la Louisiane, p. 161.
[1 ] See vol. viii. p. 583.
[2 ] For this letter, see vol. viii. p. 585.