21 September 1820
adams-john10 Neal MillikanAdams-Onis TreatyFlorida AnnexationForeign RelationsHealth and IllnessSouth, TheLatin American Wars of IndependenceWest, The

21. III:30. This morning Fahrenheits Thermometer was at 42. and I was so pinched with cold that it was with the utmost difficulty, I could write without a fire— Mrs Cornell with Bestor, and Mrs Jones came again to the Office— I told Mrs Cornell, that the President would now see her—that an immediate pardon could not probably issue; but a further reprieve would probably be granted during which new applications in favour of her son might be made— She said if his life could but be spared he would cheerfully submit to any term of imprisonment. Mrs Jones I referred as the President had directed to the Commissioners of the Navy— At the President’s I found he was preparing to leave the City again to-morrow morning for his seat at Oakhill, in Loudoun County, Virginia. I had a long conversation with him again upon the Instructions to be given to Mr Gallatin. We concluded that the basis of arrangement proposed by Baron Pasquier could not be accepted by us— The motives and principles upon which we arrived at this conclusion are to be stated in the Instructions, for which reason as well as for want of time I shall omit the detail of them here. But it appears to me that the greatest difficulty of our present position is with Spain— When the Session of Congress comes, we shall be still with the Treaty unratified, after threatening measures to take possession of Florida; and postponing them only to give the Cortes an opportunity to do us Justice— The Cortes will do nothing, and the question what we are to do will come upon us with double recoil. The President I found had no inclination to take forcible measures. Symptoms of convulsions in Europe are thickening— The revolution in Spain has been acted over again at Naples— The Emperor of Russia has issued a fulminating declaration against the Spanish Revolution, and Austria is marching troops against that of Naples— A plan of Counter revolution has exploded in Spain and a civil War between Naples and the Island of Sicily appears to be impending. France, England Germany emit volcanic smoke, and time is teeming with another great political earthquake— Our own situation is uncomfortable; our finances disordered; our resources decayed; and tranquility seems in the 422view of the President, the pole-star of our policy. Of all political courses the easiest for execution is that which consists in doing nothing— Far niente— But it has a result, which seldom turns to good account; it effects nothing— I told the President that the non-ratification of the Treaty would give no dissatisfaction in this Country, excepting to the persons, whose claims were provided for in it. The Southern and Western People would be glad to have the Treaty set aside. But as Spain will do nothing and is likely to fall into civil War, a movement of the People of Pensacola, and Saint Augustine may be anticipated and might be hastened by which they would assume the Government into their own hands, and then apply to the United States, for protection— Under some such circumstances whether hastened by any agency on our part, or merely waited for, I was convinced we should ultimately be obliged to take possession of Florida, and with it, I thought the recognition of the Republic of Colombia, ought to be simultaneous— The President did not appear to think the time was matured for the recognition of any of the South-American Governments— He told me he should be at Oakhill, ready at any time at a days warning to come to the City— He read me a letter from New-York being an account of his Son in Law Gouverneur’s being dangerously ill with a bilious fever.— There was a Doctor Washington at the Office, who came to ask for a subscription to a medical Miscellany— I was alone at home, morning and Evening; but so occupied that I was scarcely sensible of the lapse of time.