Elbridge Gerry doubts upcoming peace negotiations will end the War of 1812Elbridge Gerry Autograph Letter Signed "E. Gerry." One and one-half pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Washington, July 12, 1813. One year after the American declaration of war on Great Britain, Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, writes to the "Honble Wm Plumer" concerning his views on the upcoming "Russian mission." In that mission, James Bayard and Albert Gallatin were to meet John Quincy Adams, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, in St. Petersburg to negotiate a peace settlement with Great Britain. Between his one term as the governor of Massachusetts and his election as the fifth vice president, Gerry writes in part:
"I have deferred an answer to your letter of the 24th of May, conceiving that after the receipt of it, there have not 'till lately been any documents comprized within the description of those wanted by [John] Quincy [Adams].
My private opinion in regard to the Russian mission, is, that it will not be productive of peace.
It is I believe the unanimous opinion of the friend of Government, that there exists an indispensable necessity for passing at this decision, the revenue acts. Such as are printed are enclosed in this & another packet.
The Senate are now in session, & I embrace the opportunity for addressing this, afforded by the third reading of the first revenue act enclosed No. 8."
Bayard and Gallatin met Adams in St. Petersburg nine days after this letter was written. As it turned out, Gerry was right: the mission was not productive or necessary because the British never sent a delegation to discuss peace. So in January 1814, Bayard and Gallatin left Russia while Adams remained.
William Plumer, the recipient of this letter, had just begun his term as governor of New Hampshire. Seven years later, he would be the only member of the Electoral College to vote for John Quincy Adams, rather than James Monroe, thus ensuring that George Washington remained the only president unanimously chosen by the college. This letter is toned. Separations at the folds have been repaired on the recto, though all text is easily legible.
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