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John Quincy Adams And Madame De Steal

John Quincy Adams And Madame De Steal image
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The July nuinber of Ijipjñncott's Magazine givrs a thorotoforo unpublishod letter from John Quincy Adama to his father, ' from whioh thu following is an extract: Early ono muining I receivod a noto from Madame de Stel, requosting me to eall at, her lodginga that sanio day at noon, na she wished to speak to me on a ! subject raspeoting America. I went i oordingly at the hour appointed, and on ontering the Lady's Saloon fonnd there a company ofsome tiftoen or twenty persons not a Soul of whom I had over before seon. A n elderly gentleman in tlio full uniform of au English General was seatcd upon th&BOpha; and the Lady, whom I imDiediately peroeived to be il;ul.iine do j Steel, w;is complimenting him with equal I eloganoe and flaenoy upon tho glories of his Natioix, liis couiitniiKiii Lord iügtoa, aud his own. The battlo of j Salamanca and the Iiombardment of j Copenhagen were themes upon which ; niuch was to be said, and upon which she said mueli. Whfln I went in, she j ïuitted her discourse a moment to receive j me and offer mo a sent, wliioh I ! ately took, and for about half an hour had the opportunity to admire tlie brilliancy of her genius, as it sparkled iucessantly in her conversation. Thore was something a littlo too broad and direct in the substauco of the panegyries whioh she pronounced, to allow them the claim of refinement, Theru was neither disguiso nor veil to cover their naked beauties ; but they wero expressed with so much variety and vivaoity that the hearer had not timo to examine the thread of their toxture. Lord Oathoart reccived tho compliments pointed at hiinself with becoming modesty, those to his Nation with apparent satisfaction, and thoso to tho conquerorof Salamanca with silent acquiescence. The Lady insistod that the British Nation was thi! most astonishing Nation of ancient or modern times - thü only preservéis of social order - the exclusive defenders of the liberties of mankind. To which his Lordship added, that their glory was in beiug a Moral ISation, a character wluch ho was suro tboy would always preservo. The glittering sprightlinoss of the Lady and the statoly gravity of tlio Ambassador were as well contrastod as their respective topics of praiso ; and if iny mimi had been sufficiently at easu to relish anything in the nature of an exhibition, I should have been niuch ainusod at hearing a French woman's celebration of the English for genei-osity towards other 11al ii ii is, and a lecturo upon National Morality from the Commander of the expedition to Copenhagen. During this sentimental duet between the Ambassador and the Ambassadress I kept my seat, murcly an Auditor : the rest of the conipany wore equally silent. Aniong them was an English naval officer, Adniiral Bentinck, since deoeased. He was then quite th.6 ClievaUer d'honnour (o Madame do Stuel ; luit whether the seone did not strike Mm precisely as it did me, or whether his feolings ivsulting from it were of a moro serious cast than mine, tho moment it mus iinishcd and tho Ambassador had taken leave, he divw w, voiy long breath, and siglicd it out as if relieved from an oppresaÍTe burden, saying only, " Thank God ! thut's over." II( and all tho rest of the conipany iiumediatoly afterwards retired, mul lrttmetete-a-têtc with Madame de Stiel. Her subject respecting America was to teil mo that sho had. a largo sum in the American funds, and to enquire whether 1 knew how she could contrive to receive the interest, whieh she had hitherto received from England, I gavo her such information as I possessed. Sho liad also some lands in the State of New York, of which she wished to know tho value. I answered her as well as I could, but hor lauds and hor funds did ïiot appear to occupy much of hor thoughts. She soon askod me if I was related to tho celebrated Mr. A., the Author of tho book upou govcrnment. I said I had the happinoss of boing his son. Sho replied tluit sho had read it, and adjnired it vory much - that her fathor, Mr. Necker, had also always exprossed a vory high opinión of it. She noxt cominenced upon politics and askod how it was possible that América should havo deolured war against England ? In accounting for tliis phenoinonon I was obligod to reenr to a multitudo of facts not so strongly stamped with British Gonerosity or British Morality as might be expeeted from such a character as shc and tho Ambassador had been assigning to that nation. 'Die orders in couucil uud the press-m aíForded a sorry conimcntary upon tho chiviilresque dufenoo of the libertios of mankind, and no vey instructivo lessons in morality, She had nothing to say in their justitication ; but sho thought the Knights-eirant of the human race wore to bc allowed special indulgence, and, in consideration of their causo, wero not to be held to the ordinary obligations of War and Peacc. Thero was noprobability that any argume:it of mino would make imprcssion upon opinions thus toned. She listened, howuver, with as much complaconcy as could be expocted to what I said, uiid finally asked me wh v I had not been to seo her beforo 'í I answered that her high roputation waf calculated to inspire respect no loss tlian curiosity ; and tliat, however dosirous I hud been of bocoming personally acquaisted with hor, I had thought I could not without indiscrotion intrudo mysolf üpon her society. The reason appeared to ploase hor. Bhe said shc was to leave this city tho next day at noon ; sho was going to Stockholm to pass the winter, and afterwtuds to England ; she wished to havo another conversation with me before she want, and asked nio to cali aud see her the next morning.


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Michigan Argus