This Lady is married to a Nephew of Mr. Bertin the
Minister, and he holds some lucrative office under the Crown. She has a fine
Person and an excellent Understanding. Her Husband is however said to be a
great Libertine worn out with debauchery, and very far from treating her with
the tenderness and fidelity which she merits. She is universally reputed to be
a Woman of sincere Piety and spotless virtue, and has inflexibly rejected the
many Advances which have been made to her by Gentlemen who had every Advantage
of Power, Person and fortune to recommend them, preferring the consciousness of
Innocence and the Esteem of the very few, to all other considerations. This
Lady is said by Dr. Smith to have been a Spy employed by the
Court to watch the American Ministers. I cannot contradict this, because it is
possible, but I have no reason to believe it, any more than that every Man and
France were so employed.Dr. Smith says too,
that she adored Franklin as much as she despized me. That she respected Franklin
is very true, and that she respected Mr. Lee and Mr.
Izzard is also true. And if she did not respect me she was the
greatest hypocrite in
France: for not one Lady in the Kingdom ever gave
memade me so many professions and gave me so many proofs of
her invariable Esteem as Madam Bertin, and there was not one
for whom I had and have still so great a regard. Her Attentions to Mr.
Izzards Family and to me, were very particular, and the reason she
assigned for it, to other Persons, was that she understood We were domestic
People. I have heard nothing about her for more than twenty Years, and whether
death by the Guillotine or otherwise has removed her I know not: but her Memory
ought to be vindicated from the Aspersions of this Dr.
May 10. Sunday, 1778.
Messieurs Brattle, Waldo,
Joy, Johonnot, Green
and Austin, dined with Us, at
Passi. After dinner We walked in the
Bois de Boulogne, as far as the new
Seat of the
Count D'Artois, which he called Baggatelle, where We saw
Mr. Turgot, Mr. and Madam La
Frt and much other Company, Sunday in this Country
being devoted to diversions, Exercises and Amusements. There were more Games,
Plays and Sports of every kind on that day than on any other in the Week. Some
of these American Gentlemen I suspect came over from
England, with hopes of Employment by the Commissioners or of
recommendations to Congress. Mr. Waldo was however the only one
who applied explicitly to me for that purpose. But in the first place We had no
Employments to bestow, and in the next place, I thought as Mr.
Waldo had left
America and resided in
England so long before the War broke out, it would be doing
Injustice to others who had born the burthen
heat of the day, to appoint him to any place worth his accepting. The Answer I
gave him, I do not re
should have forgotten the Conversation, had not Sir John
Temple told me, several Years afterwards that Mr.
Waldo was much offended and took great exceptions to what I had said
to him. He reported to Sir John that I told him I would set my
face against him tooth and nail. These are very vulgar Expressions and were
very unnecessary, if I said them, which I doubt. But although Mr.
Waldo had been esteemed a good Whigg in
Boston, when he left it, yet he had never any particular merit
that I knew of, he had left his Country for six Years of her greatest distress,
and had never discovered any inclination to return to it, till after the
Burgoine and the Treaty with
France and therefore I thought there was a meanness in his
Wishes to take the bread out of the mouths of Men, who had done, suffered and
merited much more than he had.
May 11. Monday.
at Mr. Sorins, at
Passi. Here, if I mistake not I dined with a Bishop, and another
Gentleman and Lady. The Lady was known by the Husband to be the Mistress of the
Bishop, and it was no Secret to any body. The Bishop was reported to have made
some compensation to the Husband, by procuring him some little Employment and
by contributing some what largely to the Expences
of the family. The Countenances of the Bishop, the Husband and the Wife were
watch'd by me with more marked Attention, than was perhaps compatible with good
France. No notice of it, however was taken by any of
Company. The jesuitical face of the Bishop, who was said
too, to be one of the most sensible Men in
France, The conscious humiliation in the Faces of both Husband
and Wife, convinced me, that misery was in the hearts of them all: that they
saw and approved better Things, but followed the worse. Such are the manners of
France, said I to myself. Our Republican Governments
in America, must exclude all these Examples or We shall be soon
May 12. Tuesday. 1778.
Mr. Deane had left the care of his Son Jesse
with Dr. Franklin and Dr. Bancroft, so that I
had no longer any responsibility, on his Account. Mr. Vernon
had chosen to remain at
Bourdeaux, although I had proposed to him to come to
Passi and assist me as my private Secretary, a Situation which
would at least have borne all his Expences
initiated him very early, into the Knowledge
of the foreign Affairs
of his Country: but as his Fathers Views were commercial rather than political,
I could not disapprove of his Choice. In Answer to a Letter from him I wrote
him the following
Passi, near Paris
May 12. 1778
My dear Sir
Your favour of the tenth of last month came to my
hands some days ago, and I believe that your determination to reside
at Bourdeaux, in preference to any other commercial City is
judicious, because it is generally agreed to be the most oppulent and
flourishing; and its proximity to
Spain may give you a fairer Opportunity of gaining Knowledge of
the Trade of both Kingdoms, than you could have, in any other.
I can say nothing of your choice of a House, because the Gentlemen are
wholly unknown to me; for which reason I believe it will be better for me, to
refer you to Mr. Bondfield the American Agent, than to write
directly to Messieurs Feyers.
Give my Compliments to Mr. Bondfield, and ask the
favour of him to assist you in settling the terms with
those Gentlemen or any other with whom you may determine to agree. Mr.
Bondfield may be assured that he will be doing much good, by assisting
you, for that you are sprung from a Family of much merit, in
America. That your Father who was a Merchant of large property
and excellent reputation, in the Town of
Newport in Rhode Island, has had the Virtue to
abandon his property to the fury of a British Army, and take his Lot with his
Countrymen, in their hardy Struggle for Liberty. That he is a Gentleman in high
Trust and Esteem, being the first of the three Members of the Continental Navy
Board, established at
Boston, for the Eastern District of
If these things are decently represented to those Gentlemen, I doubt not,
they will agree to take you into their family: and Mr.
Bondfields Goodness of heart I am convinced, will be gratified by the
Opportunity of rendering this Service to a young Gentleman of liberal Education
and promising hopes, and to a Father, whose Sufferings and Services, have
deserved this friendship of his Countrymen. Shew this
Letter to Mr. Bondfield, who may shew
it, to whomsoever, he will. I am, Sir, with much Esteem, your Friend and humble
Mr. William Vernon Jur. at
This day We dined at Mr. Duprs, at the
Montagne. The Gardens and the prospects were very fine. The Place lies
adjoining to the Seat of the First President of the Parliament of
Paris. We met his Lady in our Walks, and she desired the
Gentlemen to shew Us the Grounds, but not the whole of
them, for she wished to enjoy the Company of the American Ministers, At her
house, at her own invitation, and she chose to reserve a part of the
Curiosities of the place as an inducement to Us to accept it. Compliments are
so essential a branch of the Science of Life, the Savoir vivre, in
France, that it is astonishing how prompt and ingenious, they
are in producing them.
From this Hill We had a fine View of the Country, and of the Kings Castle
at Vincennes. My little Son and
the other young Americans at the Pension, were invited and dined with Us.
May 13, Wednesday. 1778.
Dined at Mr. Chaumonts, with a great deal of Company. After
Dinner took a Walk to
Chaillot to see Mr. Lee, who had a large
Company of Americans to dine with him, among the rest, Mr.
Maryland and Dr. Smith, Brother of Mr.
William Smith of
New York the Historian. This Gentleman has been occasionally
May 14. Thursday. 1778.
Under this date, I find in my private Letter Book, the following in Answer to
Letters received from Mr. McCreery
May 14. 1778.
Your two Letters of April 25, and May 3 are before me. I thank you for the
trouble you have taken in searching for the Breeches. I have no suspicion of
the Servants at your house. I rather think conjecture that once,
upon the road, when a few Things were taken out of my Trunk, this Article might
slip aside. The Gold could not have been the temptation for it was hid in the
Waistband. However, whether it is in the hands of a Thief or an honest finder,
I wish he knew of the Gold for it might be of Service to him. So much for
I am not disposed to find fault with any thing I meet with, in this Country.
Such a disposition, in any Traveller, in any Country, I should esteem a Mark of
a littleness of Mind: but in a Person situated as I am, and sustaining the
public trust, that has been committed to me, I should hold it, not only an
Absurdity, but a Misdemeanor.
The Gentleman you allude to, I hope has been more upon his guard, because
from a long Acquaintance, with his Character and conduct, I know he has
Abilities and merit, and, from all that I have seen of him here, I am convinced
that he is actuated by great Zeal and Anxiety for the public good.... A fatal
Misunderstanding, between some Characters, of importance, has given rise to
reflections upon each others Conduct that must have hurt the reputation of our
Country. The Gentle