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From Orchard Cook to John Quincy Adams, 1 January 1809

Washington Jany 1st. 1809

Mr. & Mrs. Cook ask leave to present to Mr. & Mrs. Adams the Compts. of the Season—

Your Letters do much good, are treated with very great respect indeed—I think you have now more influence than when here—not <[. . .]> mere opinions in which you deal very sparingly but the excellent Arguments & reasons you give for every conclusion—

As I flatter myself with the Hope of more of your Favours embracing an entire plan—it is necessary that you should know how we move here &c—

Since the Bill for enforcing the E—so suddenly passd the Senate, & of which procedure every Senator seems as [Lamed] & which Judge Anderson says did not accord with the individual opinion of any one; but was forced through by mere party feelings, The Bill has been arrested in our House & I hope laid asleep—At first the details were assaild, and at length we begin to discover that we have already more Embargo Law than can be enforc’d, among a People totally averse from such a Measure—& that if it is to be enforc’d Physical Strength & not Paper Law is alone necessary to be added—

Since Mr. Story came, who boards with Bacon & myself the uneasiness & complaints from northern Members & a certain description of other Members—have encreased—Mr Jefferson & Mr M have been freely convened with; Effects & deleterious consequences pointed out to them—I am sorry to say to you in confidence that they discover too much attachment to the present System, & can think of no other alternative but such as involves War—So that a great proportion of the Reps. from the South Say they will not vote to raise E. except to declare War, & we even think they are averse to War & incline to hug Embargo & die in its embrace—

In short to be plain—Mr. Madison long since told me If we opend a Trade with Spain & Portugal it would be War with France—& was so laid down by Vattel The Strongest advocates for Embargo seem to be Jefferson Madison Jackson, Cutts, G. W. Campbell—Georgia—S Carolina—Macon, W Alston, et al—these generally say we must have E. or we must issue Letters of M. & reprisal & to the Letter they are doubtless averse & incline to continue & try E. a little longer hoping for some favourable change of Circumstances. On the other hand all N. England—N York—N. Jersey—excepting a very few—viz Seaver Deane & two or 3 more are vs the Embargo System—as are a number of Senators & Reps from the West & all the Federalists—

viz all Tennessee—most of Kentucky &c

I will now name to you the several Plans spoken of in the various circles—

It is said that Johnston of K requested of Madison to know what would be his substitute if the E came of & that he said—double the Duties on imports from Engd. & F—and arm & force a Trade both to E. & F—I will not vouch for the correctness of this although I had from Johnston himself—

Our Plan in this Mess is to pass one general Act embracing an entire Plan viz repeal E & enter into non intercourse with E. & F to begin to operate on the fourth of March next & not to arm until by losses &c our Merchants shall call for it—

If we cannot carry our Plan we shall try for the following viz To raise the E & adopt non intercourse—with a right to Arm in defence only & to make Prize of such Vessel as may assail our armd vessels—Or we will even grant Letters of Mark & reprisal rather than continue the Policy—I ask you to write your Opinions with the reasons—not for the gratification of mere curiosity but to do good—to endeavour to aid us in a time pregnant with important events to our Portion of the Country—<[. . .]>

I did not discover that this Sheet of Paper was broken till I had written most of my Letter & it being too late to copy this long Letter—and as it is merely for a hasty perusal <of> then for the [fine]

I will ask your excuse & subscribe yr / Devoted hum St

Orchd Cook

MHi: Adams Papers.

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