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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, 26 March, 1815.
1. I now1 inclose to you the original Spanish letter to me, dated Falmouth, 10th May, 1798, from Don Pedro Josef Caro, apologizing for his not coming to me in person.
2. I next inclose a translation of Pedro’s letter to Pickering, dated Falmouth, 10th May, 1798.2
March 18th. Last night I received your favor of the 14th, with the inclosures. I have been and still am desirous, that you should see the original documents in this great and profound political intrigue, for the pretended, ostensible independence of South America. They throw some light on the policy of England and France, and the dupery of Spain, at the same time that, in my conscience, I believe, as I have always believed, that they prove to a demonstration the wisdom of my missions to France.
But before I proceed, Mr. Lloyd, I must settle some preliminaries with you.
1. I have no insidious design of drawing from you any opinion on any facts stated, or inferences or conclusions drawn, by me. You may reserve all your judgments. I only wish to furnish you with evidence, which I believe you never could derive from any other source.
2. I pray you to take your own time to answer or acknowledge my letters. I wish not to interfere with a moment of business or amusement. My object is to convince you, that my missions to France were not less dictated by deliberate prudence, than compelled by cogent necessity.
3. You can never “trespass on my time or retrospection;” both at your service; neither is of any value to me, but as it may possibly at some time be of some use to the public or to posterity. There is not a fact in my memory that I will not reveal to you, if you ask it.
4. I ask your pardon for translating Miranda’s letter. I believed that you understood the language; but was not certain, and thought it not amiss to furnish you with the sense in which I understand it. I will now inclose to you, Sir, the remainder of the South American packet, with a request that you will return it to me with the same punctuality that you have observed in all my former communications.
1. A magnificent confederation, association, platform, or conspiracy, call it which you will, of three great personages to separate all South America from Spain, erect an independent empire over that vast region, under the form of a federative republic; and these three great personages were Don Josef del Pozo y Sucre, Don Manuel Josef de Salas, and Don Francisco de Miranda. This was certified to me by Miranda.
2. The “Pouvoirs” signed and sealed by Josef del Pozo y Sucre, Manuel Josef de Salas, and Francisco de Miranda.
I need not proceed further, Mr. Lloyd! Here is enough to furnish a volume of reflections. Nay, if you were to pursue all the investigations and speculations that these papers suggest, you might write as many folios as Priestley or Voltaire ever produced. I read all these papers over and over, with great and very serious attention; and the oftener I read them, the more my astonishment was increased. After mature deliberation, I knew not whether I ought to laugh or to weep. In the sequel, laugh I did, most heartily; weep I did not, for I too cordially despised the whole business to cry over it. Give me leave to recapitulate the heads of my speculations or reveries upon that occasion.
1. What was to be done with these papers? What was the dictate of my duty? We are at peace with Spain. We are engaged in a friendly demarcation of the limits between their territories and ours; negotiations are in train for compensation for spoliations on our commerce, with a fair prospect of an amicable termination. Is it my duty to communicate these documents to Yrujo, the Spanish minister?
No, surely not. I cannot be obliged to act the part of a spy. a sycophant, or informer, to Spain or any other nation or government. Besides, what good can come of it? None, but to expose Miranda to the guillotine in France, and his associates to the rack or the stake in Spain or Spanish America. Besides, what fuel would these papers have thrown into the flames, the volcano of European politics and wars at that time!
Should I communicate them to Mr. Liston, the British minister? Surely not. If Mr. Liston had received any instructions from Mr. Pitt, it was his duty to impart them to me.
Should I transmit them to the Senate and House in Congress? No. This would give the greatest possible publicity. And what could Congress do with them? Should I summon the heads of departments, lay the packets before them, and ask their opinion and advice? No. I wanted none of their advice in so plain a case. Who ever thought of summoning a board of mathematicians to deliberate upon the question, whether two and two are equal to four? So intuitively obvious and certain was the answer to every question that I could imagine relative to the subject, that my judgment was made up as soon as I had read the despatch. If the British minister should present a memorial in the name of his master to the Secretary of State, proposing the tripartite alliance, I should instantly dictate the answer to the Secretary, very civilly and respectfully apologizing for declining the engagement on account of the juvenility of our nation, the infancy of our government, the instability of our financial establishments, the aversion of our people to war, the difficulty of raising men, the vastness, difficulty, and uncertainty of the enterprise, and the want of powers and authority in the agents for South America; and, above all, as it would be a departure from our established system of policy, a neutrality in all the wars of Europe as long as we could preserve it.
My reflections did not stop here. What was I to think of Mr. Pitt and the British cabinet? Was it possible that Miranda should be such a conjurer as to bewitch Mr. Pitt and his colleagues into a serious belief, that South America was to be revolutionized so easily by Miranda and his two Jesuits? Did they believe the South Americans capable of a free government, or a combination of free federative republics, according to Miranda’s plan? Or did Mr. Pitt deliberately project an insidious plan to dupe me into a rash declaration of war against France, and a submissive alliance, offensive and defensive, with him? Does he think me as raw, awkward, and ignorant a boy as I know him to be? If he does, he will find himself mistaken.
Having despatched the great and renowned Mr. Pitt in this laconic style, my next inquiry was, who and what is Miranda? He is either an Achilles, hurt by some personal injury, real or imaginary, by being deprived of his girl, as likely as any thing else that we know, who has adopted the maxim of so many other heroes, “Jura negat sibi lata, nihil non arrogat armis;” or he is a knight-errant, as delirious as his immortal countryman, the ancient hero of La Mancha. In the next place, what could I think of Don Josef y Pozo y Sucre and Don Manuel Josef de Salas? I knew nothing about them but that they were Jesuits. And what were Jesuits? Ask Pascal in his Provincial Letters. Spain had abolished the order, and these might be taking vengeance for their imaginary wrongs. They might boil with revenge against the king of Spain for abolishing their order. They were certainly corrupted by British mercenary policy. But what was I to think of Don Pablo de Olavide? Here was a fact, a history, a secret, unknown to Pitt, King, Miranda, and all their Jesuits. The fact is, I personally knew Olavide, his history, his character. I had been in company with him at festive convivial dinners with the Duke Rochefoucauld, the hereditary representative of the famous Sully, the bishop of Langres, a brother of the great Lamoignon, a duke and a peer, who had assisted at the coronation of the King at Rheims, where the holy oil had been poured on the royal head; that holy oil which was brought down from heaven in the bill or the claws of a pigeon.
Olavide was an old man, had been in Spain a great man, a member of the Council of Seville, &c. A head stuffed with learning, and curiosity insatiable. Touched with the contagious heresy of the holy church philosophy, of which Voltaire was the sovereign pontiff, he had suffered to escape him sentiments which alarmed the Inquisition. He was obliged to fly, as the Count d’Aranda had been, to France, as an asylum from the persecutions of the Court and the Inquisition in Spain. In Paris, he was tormented with ennui; he knew not what to do with himself. He told me, “mes momens ne sont pas si courts.” He went daily to the mesmeric experiments. I heard him say, he saw there miracles as inexplicable as those of the Abbé Paris in a former century.
One of the highest frolics I ever enjoyed was with this Olavide, at a dinner with the highest characters in France, ecclesiastical and civil,1 in which the question was discussed between Olavide and me of an alliance, offensive and defensive, between North and South America. The history of it would be as diverting as the feast of Plato. You will see with what eagerness Miranda and his associates courted Olavide to join them, and you will see the total neglect and contempt of them shown by Olavide. I was confident he had too much sense to have any connection with them. They never could get him to meet them, or to answer their invitations. This Olavide afterwards hit upon the happy expedient of translating from French into Spanish a work in favor of Christianity, which appeased the wrath of the Inquisition, and procured his return to Spain.2 But who were the “Junta” in Spain? Who were the Junta in South America? Whom did Miranda and his two Jesuits represent? Where were their full powers?
I will not fatigue you with too much speculation at once. I beg you to read the inclosed papers, and I will soon again trespass on your patience with a few more of my lucubrations.
[1 ] In a preceding letter, dated 9th March. Mr. Adams had inclosed a translation of General Miranda’s letter to him, printed in Vol. viii. of this work, p. 569.
[2 ] Omitted, because printed in Vol. viii. p. 584. What follows, seems to have been written earlier, but inclosed in the same letter.
[1 ] See the Diary, vol. iii. p. 362.
[2 ] A curious account of this person’s life up to 1782, is given by Diderot, from papers furnished by a Spaniard. It is found in the Literary Correspondence of Baron de Grimm, vol. xi. p. 233.