October 9 1815: Adams to Adams

“Nothing can however be more clear in my mind than our interest and policy to avoid as long as possible a new War with England—How long it will be possible I know not, for the problem is now to be decided whether this Country can exist in Peace, and if so is very possible their Government should soon find that it cannot, the danger is that they will plunge the Nation headlong into a War with us, because it is against us only that they will be able to stimulate the National passions to the tone of War. It is a singular symptom, that the state of Peace, has brought a very oppressive burden upon the farmers, and land holders of the Country—The price of wheat, and consequently of bread has fallen, within these two years, more than one third—The value of land has fallen at least in the same proportion. Rents are coming down in the same manner; but the taxes are not reduced—The farmers however become more and more unable to pay them, and unless something should occur to restore the prices to the level of the former years, the landed and the funded interests of the kingdom will be brought into such a state of opposition against each other, as to threaten the tranquility of the Nation.

On the side of France they have henceforward nothing to fear. The Elements of civil Society in that Country are dissolved. For the price of two or three Provinces, and of all her important fortresses, the Bourbons are to be saddled upon the remnant of that wretched People, and to be maintained by an army of two or three hundred thousand foreign Soldiers, fed upon their vitals—Partial Insurrections must inevitably be the consequence of this state of things, but the internal war, of interests and passions will render any general and united effort impossible—Every struggle for deliverance will be smothered in blood, and be made the pretext for new spoliations and partitions—France is irretrievably lost, unless she can produce another Joan of Arc.—You will have more reason than ever to say that the Wars of Reformation shall continue, when you learn the late massacre of the Protestants, under the auspices of the Duke and Duchess of Angouleme—You will have many of the miserable fugitives from that persecution in America, and may they find there a Country, where St Bartholomew butcheries, are not in honour, and in fashion.”

—  John Quincy Adams writes to his father, John Adams, October 9 1815.

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