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federal neighbor. To return, not having seen the Ægis I am unable to give any opinion of the review.
Though in a former letter I mentioned your friendly remarks as an inducement to try to justify indulging in light and trivial conversation, it was not done on any supposition of deficiency of candor on your part. So far from it, that if I had suspected any want of candor, I should not have given any reasons at all. But knowing the high value you set upon that virtue, I was willing to inform you of all the operations of my own mind, so far as they influence my outward conduct. The reasons did not arise from pique, but from confidence.
All this winter I have been occupied, except when engaged in business, in peeping into the Russian language. As I could not buy a dictionary, I have been engaged in epitomizing a borrowed one. It seems to be an odd pursuit for a person just compleating his fifty-eighth year; but it is not so bad as Cato the censor, who learned greek at upward of eighty. But the more languages we learn, the easier new ones become. We see more of their resemblance in construction and learn to apply general principles, as we do in other branches of knowledge. It every day becomes more evident, that all languages are branches of one original, as Moses has declared.
Mrs. Hilliard and Harriet send their respects, and thanks for your congratulations. The occasion however has not yet fully matured, but it is apprehended will take place.
I am glad to learn by Mr. Warren's letter, that your health continues as good as usual.1 I am, Madam, with great respect Your most obedient servant,
1 A letter from Elbridge Gerry to Mrs. Warren, November 7, 1811, is in 5 Collections, IV. 499.
JAMES WINTHROP TO MERCy Warren
CAMBRIDGE, 8 Feb., 1812
MADAM,- This morning I was honored with the receit of your letter of the 5th. inst. inclosing one of 31 Aug., 1811, intended to have been delivered by Mr. Judson Jr. When last at Plymouth I had the pleasure of seeing him, and the pleasure would have been renewed and heightened by his bringing your letter. I do not know how long it is since any communication has passed between us, but it is very long; and give me leave to add, that it has not been owing to neglect or forgetfulness on my part; but to the want of any other matter, than such as we suppose always exists in the minds of those, who are in the habit of friendly intercourse.
I should have been glad to have seen Mr. Judson 1 before his departure from his own country to Calcutta, but as by this time he has probably gone, the attempt to see him would be vain, and writing would be little if any better. I wish him all the success, that the nature and importance of his Enterprise deserve. As it respects Christianity, this is an eventful and interesting time. The Exertions made in England and in this country to propagate the knowledge of the Bible in the most remote and benighted corners of the earth, are so great and at present so prosperous; that a very few years will probably shew Christianity to be the prevailing religion all over the World. At present it is the only one of any note in America. In Russia it is the religion of the Government and generally predominant among the people. In India and the Islands, so far as they have been subjected by the English or Dutch, it is the religion of the Government and common among the people. In China and Persia the Government has little to do with it, but a large proportion of the people adopt it, and an enterprising Christian probably would not be without supporters. China and Japan still reject it. But as the power of the Christians prevails in India, it will not be long before some question arises between them and the Chinese, which may require force to determine. In that case the resistance of China would be very
I Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), whose life was written by Francis Wayland (1853) and his son Edward Judson (1883).
short. These things will all be done within half a century. And about 1866 Mahometanism will be diverted, and the Messiah's Kingdom established at Jerusalem and the Arabian peninsula will be his Domicil of Empire. I wish Mr. Judson would send me a catalogue of the books printed in the Oriental languages at Calcutta with their prices, including bibles, dictionaries and grammars. They are printed to be sold cheap, but we want to regulate our expence, and not run into a thoughtless expenditure. If he has not already gone, I shall be obliged to you to get him to make a memorandum of my wish and as soon as he can after his arrival to transmit it to me. It is a branch of learning in which I am at present interested. If he has already gone, his father will have no objection to inserting such a clause in his first letter. If there be any expence in procuring such a catalogue, I will gladly defray it, but without it I know not what books to try for. Dr. Marchman the Baptist Missionary at Serampore, and one of their principal translators, will easily help him in this respect.
I hope your health remains good, and that your eyes have amended. Let me hear from you soon. My best regards to your children. I am with much respect, Madam, Your most obedient Servant,
JAMES WINTHROP TO MERCY WARREN
CAMBRIDGE, 13 Decr., 1812
MADAM, - I hope your health continues as good as it has been for some time past. It is long since I have heard directly from Plymouth. Has any communication been yet received from Mr. Judson in India. How does his father bear his absence?
Two events have, since the Commencement of the French Revolution, taken place, which have satisfied me of the detestable maxims of the old governments of Europe, and convinced me that they ought to be extirpated. One of them was that Louis 16th. paid two armies at the same time for fighting with each other. As King of France he was commander in chief of all the armies
of the state, and he put them in motion to defend the country against the German Armies and the French Emigrants. He at the same time was paying the emigrants for invading their country, under the pretence of restoring the King to the ancient prerogatives, that he had himself renounced. When this fact was ascertained, it cost him his head.
The other events which characterize the extreme depravity of the old governments, are the late Conduct of the Russians in setting fire to their towns, when they found themselves unable to resist the french invaders in the field. They have claimed the honor of a great victory over the french army because they held in check the column of the latter which was on the right of the French and nearest to Moscow. In the centre and on the left Victory was decisive in favor of the French. So that as it respects the whole battle the Russians were the losers. Their subsequent conduct, shews pretty plainly what sort of victory they boasted of; for the next view we have of this same victorious army is that it retreated, the french continued their march toward Moscow, and the governor in despair of making any effectual defence set on fire and actually destroyed great part of the city, when the arrival of the French saved the remainder, and stopped the conflagration. If this can with any propriety of speech be called a victory it is difficult to determine what is not one.
Moscow is described as the most extensive town in Europe being about twenty four English miles in circuit, and tho' larger than London or Paris, did not probably contain more than a quarter of the population of either of those cities. The houses were chiefly of wood, and at a distance from each other. This accounts for the time it took to burn so much of the town as was consumed, and the number of fires to be kindled. But it seems the french Troops, whether from seeing the flames at a distance in the bearing of Moscow, or from other means of intelligence, took the alarm and arrived in time to save the greater part of the city. While the Russians were destroying their own towns and turning out the inhabitants at the beginning of winter to perish by cold and hunger, the french appeared as their saviors. Can there be any doubt to which party the affections of those distressed people
will incline? The same policy, barbarous and mistaken as it was, had been pursued by the Russians at Smolensko and other places which they had lost, and was pursued so constantly and systematically, as to leave little doubt of being grounded on imperial orders. But surely no government has a right to distress or destroy a part of their subjects, whom it finds itself unable to protect. Accordingly it has been the policy of European Nations, when they found it necessary to leave a place to the mercy of an enemy to withdraw their troops and let the inhabitants make the best terms they could with the victorious general. At the end of the War it has been customary to restore conquests. But what claim can a government have to the benefit of the rule, who consider it not as their duty to preserve their people, but suppose they have also a right to destroy them.
A reverse of the British influence seems to have taken place in Spain. Madison probably re-elected. All these things tend to give us peace.
Our friends here all join in respect to you and yours. please to accept my best respects for you and your children. I am, Madam, with great respect Your most obedient Servant
ELBRIDGE GERRY TO MERCY WARREN
CAMBRIDGE, 17th Decr., 1812
I have received, my dear Madam, your friendly letter of the 7th, and proposing a ride to Quincy yesterday, I called at the Post office and was favored with that of the 12th and with the copy it enclosed.
Your congratulations are always a source of great pleasure, especially when they respect my family or self; because I am sure they are the sincere effusions of friendship. Those which respect the health of Mrs. Gerry, as you justly conceive, relate to a primary object; one that is essential to my happiness. And those which regard my supposed election, are highly flattering; as well for the sanction they imply of my political conduct, as for the