P. B. No. 29.
[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]
Inside Front Cover
1779 MARCH 12. FRYDAY.
About one O Clock arrived at
Nantes at L'hotelle de la Comedie, Rue [de
Bignon-Lestard], after a journey of near five days, having
sett off from
Passy Monday the 8th. This journey, which was by
Versailles, is thro the most barren
and least cultivated Part of
After Dinner, I had the Honour to be visited by the
following American Gentlemen. Mr.
Williams, Mr. Williams my
Pupil, Mr. Lloyd, Mr.
Ridley, Mr. Wharton, Mr. Lee,
Mr. Maese, Captn. Jones, Lt. Brown,
Mr. Ingraham, Mr. Cummings,
Mr. Bradford, Mr.
Mr. Jno. Lloyd is a sensible Man. He says that the french
officers of Marine, consider Convoys as a disgracefull Service. They hate to be ordered to
convoy Merchant Vessells. That when a Convoy is
ordered, the officer is negligent and the Merchant dares not complain. The
Marine officers and Police officers, and Custom house officers are connected
together, and if a Merchant complains he is marked out as an obnoxious Person
and Advantages are taken of him, so that he hold his Tongue.
1779 AP. 28.
Went up to
St. Nazare, before Wind and Tide in 4 Hours. This Morning by
C. [Captain] Landais who came on board I
received a Letter from Dr. F.
inclosing one from M. de Sartine,
both expressing a Desire, that the Alliance might not sail for
some Time, and that I would take my Passage home, with M. Le
Chevalier de la Luzerne, the new Ambassador, in one of the
This is a cruel Disappointment. -- To exchange May for July, and the
Alliance for [illegible] another Frigate,
is too much.
Lodged at the
Hotel de St. Julien, where I find the Accommodations better than
L'hotel de la Comedie. . . .
Dined at the Hotel, with a Number of Navy Officers, several with the Cross
of St. Louis. Drank Tea, at Mrs. Johnsons. Had much
Conversation with him about Consuls, Agents. He thinks one Consul enough for
the Kingdom with Power of Deputation. This that a Duty of so much per Ton on
all Ships, entering a french Port, for the Relief of unfortunate Americans,
Shipwrecked Persons, &c. That no Man should be
discharged from a Ship but by the Consul. That six, ten, or twelve Merchants
should be appointed to inspect the Consuls accounts, once in 3 Months,
1779. MAY 7TH OR 8TH. FRYDAY.
Mr. Odea of Paimboeuf,
Wibirt and Mr. Ford, dined in the
Cabin. O. speaks English perfectly, appears to have read much,
is an Admirer of Rousseau and Buffon.
W. is silent; has something little in his Face and Air: and
makes no great Discovery of Skill or Science.
F. talks as much as ever.
Says, that the Americans at
Paris, wished I had remained at
Passy, instead of F.
[Franklin] -- that
Passy is deserted by the Americans since I came away -- that
nobody goes there now but B.,
W. and a young
Williams, (which is my Ws. I suppose) who dine there every Sunday.
That he has copied Papers for Mr. W. L. [William
Lee] which prove upon F. many
Contradictions of himself, &c. That F. told him he did not
believe I should go to America -- that the Alliance would not be
ready for some time -- that a Commission would come for me, for some other
That F. did not shew his
Greatness in the Contract for old Arms, for Soldiers
Cloaths at 37 Livres a Suit, or for
Virginia Tobacco. Is much puzzled at the Mystery of
Jones's Ship, says she is private Property, that therefore
L. [Landais] ought not to be under his
Command &c. &c. &c.
I undertook to sound our Engineer this Evening and find he has Knowledge. He
says one should begin with the Architecture of Vignol, and
draw the five ordres, the Doric, Ionic, Tuscan,
Corinthian and composite -- Begin with a Pedastal,
then the Column, then the Capital, then the ornaments -- from civil you may go
to military Architecture, and naval if you will. Ces cinque ordres D'Architecture se construissent, par le moyen d'une
Echelle divise en modules, le module en Parties, demi Parties et quart
de Partie &c.
He made many Observations to my Son about
the Ink, the Instruments, the Pens, the manner of holding the Hand, sitting to
the Light of Day or Candle &c. which shew that he
knows Something of these Sciences. He is a Designateur. He never had a Master
This Evening arrived Capt. Jones from
Baltimore. He sailed 28 March -- brings no News Papers nor News.
No Dispatches from Congress. No Letters but to Mr. Johnson,
and a Packet for
1779. MAY 9. SATURDAY
The Pilot came on Board this Morning from
St. Nazare, and pronounced it unsafe to go out, with this
F. this Morning, fell to talking. -- "Above half the
Gentlemen of Paris are Atheists, and the other half Deists. No Body goes to
Church but the common People."
I wish I could find one honest Man
among their Merchants and Tradesmen" &c. &c.
Mr. F., says I, let me be so free as to request of you,
when you arrive in
America, not to talk in this Style. It will do a great deal of
Harm. These Sentiments are not just, they are contracted Prejudices, and
Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard too have hurt them
selves and the public too by indulging in a similar Language.
F. "Oh! I am no Hypocrite." -- Thus this Prater goes
Yesterday he wanted me, to get him a Passage on board the french Frigate,
that I am to go in. I told him I did not think it would be practicable. And I
hope it will not, for I dont wish such a Man to go, in that Ship.
At Dinner, much Conversation about the Electrical Eel which gives a Shock to
a ring of Persons like the Touch of a Bottle or Conductor. -- What is the Name
of this fish?
The Magnet is nothing but Iron Oar, Somebody said at
Table, and that the Tendency towards the Pole is in all Iron. --
This afternoon, a Mr. Watkin a Disciple of the
great Whitfield as he calls himself, performed divine Service upon the
Quarter Deck. He is not learned, but his Prayer was very good for the
united States and their Allies, their Army and
Gen., their Navy and this Ship and her Commander.
His Sermon also was passable.
talks much about
Batavia, is an Admir
that Dutch Settlement in the
This Gentleman has been disappointed in Love and in his Ambition --
disappointed in the Promotion to which he aspired, and in a Marriage of which
he thought himself sure. He has not so much Activity, Dispatch and Decision as
[one?] could wish. He seems not to know how to gain or preserve
the Affections of his Officers, nor yet how to keep them in Awe. Complaisance,
firmness and Steadiness are necessary to the Command of a Ship. Whether it is
his imperfect Knowledge of the Language, or his Absence of Mind when poring
upon his Disappointments, or any defect in his Temper or judgment, I know not,
but this happy Mixture seems to be wanting. His Lieutenants are smart Men,
quick and active -- not lettered it is true, but good Seamen, and brave.
MONDAY MAY. 10.
This Morning the Wind at S.E. The Pilot came
on board, the Alliance unmoored and set Sail, for
L'orient. A gentle Breeze, fair Weather, and moderately
The 1 Lt. -- I have made by this War 120 of
Prize Money, for which I got six Months Imprisonment, and spent all
the little that I had. This is all I have got by the War.
The Sand Droguers and Chimney Sweepers in
Boston have all turned Merchants and made Fortunes.
Ingraham. Otis says when the Pot boils the
Scum rises to the Top. Eg. The new Cyder
, when it
ferments sends all
bruised seeds and all sorts of Nastiness to the Top.
People of Fortune have spent their Fortunes, and those who had none, have
Ford. I came to
France with the highest opinion of Dr. F. -- as
a Philosopher, a Statesman and as even the Pater Patriae. But I assure you
He has very moderate Abilities, He knows nothing of Philosophy, but his few
Experiments in Electricity: He is an Atheist, he dont believe any future State:
Yet he is terribly afraid of dying. This is Fords Opinion.
This is his Character of the great Man.
I believe it is too much to say that he is an Atheist, and that he dont
believe a future State: tho I am not certain his
Hints, and Squibs sometimes go so far as to raise Suspicions: -- and he never
tells any Body, I fancy that he believes a G. [God], a P.
[Purgatory] or f. s. [future state]. It
is too rank to say that he understands nothing of Philosophy, but his own
electrical Experiments, altho I dont think him so
deeply read in Philosophy, as his Name impute.
He has a Passion for Reputation and Fame, as strong as you can imagine, and
his Time and Thoughts are chiefly employed to obtain it, and to set Tongues and
Pens male and female, to celebrating him. Painters, Statuaries, Sculptors,
China Potters, and all are set to work for this End. He has the most
affectionate and insinuating Way of charming the Woman or the Man that he fixes
on. It is the most silly and ridiculous Way imaginable, in the Sight of an
American, but it succeeds, to admiration, fullsome
and sickish as it is, in
When I arrive, I must enquire -- concerning
Congress, Ennemys Army,
G. [Georgia], our Army, our Currency,
1779. TUESDAY. MAY 11.
Belisle, which the English took last War after a
Defence of Six Weeks with about 900 Men.
F. still on the Subject. He says that the Contract made by
F. [Franklin] and D.
[Deane] with the farmers general, was for 40
Pr. Ct. whereas Tobacco was then at 90 and
T. Morris made a Contract with them before
F. and D. to be sure were duped by the
Farmers General but Fd. [Ford] has nothing
accurate in his Head, nothing judicious. He must be mistaken about Tobacco's
being at 90. He says farther it was to be du Poieds marques which makes a
difference of 8 Pound in the Hundred against Us.
He says, Deane received from the Banker 1700 st.
after he knew he was recalled at 1100 of it the Morning he went away. And he
believes that Deane gave Money to Bancroft
that he is now living upon. -- It is impossible but he must be mistaken about
the sum that D. received, and the Insinuation about
Bancroft, is mere Suggestion and Conjecture. There is no End
of such Whispers.
Dr. W. [Windship]
told me of
Tuckers rough tarry Speech, about me at the Navy Board. -- I
did not say much to him at first, but damn and buger
my Eyes, I found him after a while as
sociable as any
Marblehead man. -- Another of Hinman
, that he had been treated with great
Politeness by me, and his first Attention must be to see Mrs.
, and deliver her Letters.
WEDNESDAY MAY 12TH.
L. [Landais] is as jealous
as a [illegible] of every Thing. Jealous of every
Body, of all his Officers, all his Passengers. He knows not how to treat his
Officers, nor his Passengers nor any Body else. -- Silence, Reserve, and a
forbidding Air, will never gain the Hearts, neither by Affection nor by
Veneration, of our Americans.
There is in this Man an Inactivity and an Indecision that will ruin him. He
is bewildered -- an Absent bewildered man -- an embarrassed Mind.
This Morning he began "You are a great Man but you are deceived. The
Officers deceive you! They never do their Duty but when you are on deck. They
never obey me, but when you are on deck. The officers were in a Plott
vs. me at
Boston, and the Navy Board promised to remove them all from the
ship and yet afterwards let them all come on Board."
Conjectures, Jealousies, Suspicions. -- I shall grow as jealous as any
I am jealous that my Disappointment is owing to an Intrigue of
Jones's. Jones, Chaumont,
Franklin concerted the Scheme. Chaumont
applied to Mr. De S [Sartine]
. He wrote the
Letter. If this Suspicion is well founded, I am to be made the Sport of
Jones's Ambition to be made a Commodore. Is it possible that I
should bear this?
Another Suspicion is that this Device was hit
upon by Franklin and Chaumont to prevent me
from going home, least I should tell some dangerous Truths. Perhaps,
Jones's Commodoreship, and my detention might both concur. Can
I bear either? It is hard, very hard, but I must bear every Thing. I may as
well make a Virtue of Necessity, for I cannot help my
Does the old Conjurer dread my Voice in Congress? He has some Reason for he
has often heard it there, a Terror to evil doers.
I may be mistaken in these Conjectures, they may be injurious to
J. and to F. and therefore I shall not talk
about them, but I am determined to put down my Thoughts and see which turns
Mr. Chaumont and his son are here and have been 15 days.
But no Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor any french Frigate.
It is decreed that I shall endure all Sorts of Mortifications. There is so
much Insolence, and Contempt, in the Appearance of this. Do I see that these
People despize me, or do I see that they dread me?
-- Can I bear Contempt -- to know that I am despized? It is my duty to bear every Thing. -- that I
As I set in my Quarter Gallery, We are sailing directly into
Port Louis, at
L'orient, before a fine pleasant Breeze. There is a strong
Fortification at the Entrance of this Harbour
which we were hailed, and asked Whence? Where -- Name of Vessell
-- Captain &c.
What an Advantage to
Nantes, would such a Port and Harbour
as this be?
Went ashore. C. Landais, myself and son, went on Board the poor Richard, saw
C. Jones and his officers, Mr. Moylan,
Captain Cazneau, Captain Young, &c.
Went to visit Mr. Grondell Commandant des Troupes de
Terre, found there Mr. Thevenard, Commandant du Port,
Mr. Desaudre India Merchant.
Went then to visit Mr. Le Ray de Chaumont, who has been
here 15 days with his son.
Went then to visit Mr. Grandville, Commissaire General du
Port. Then to the Commissaire des Classes.
Was very politely received, by all these Gentlemen, and Captn.
Landais treated with particular respect.
I spoke very freely to Mr. Chaumont, about my situation --
told him, I was ill treated -- that I had many jealousies and Suspicions --
that I suspected it was an Intrigue.
THURSDAY. MAY 13TH.
Went on Shore and dined with Captain Jones at the
Epe Royal. Mr. Amiel, Mr.
Dick, Dr. Brooke, officers of the Poor
Richard, Captain Cazneau, Captain
Mr. Blodget, Mr. Glover, Mr.
Conant, Messrs. Moylans, Mr. Maese,
Mr. Nesbit, Mr. Cummings, Mr.
Tayler, made the Company, with Captain Landais,
myself and my Son
. An elegant Dinner we had.
-- and all very agreable
No very instructive Conversation. But we practiced the old American Custom
of drinking to each other, which I confess is always agreable to me.
Some hints about Language, and glances about Women, produced this
Observation, that there were two Ways of learning french commonly recommended
-- take a Mistress and go to the Commedie.
Dr. Brookes in high good Humour Pray Sir, which in your Opinion is the best?
Answer in as good Humour -- Perhaps both would teach
it soonest, to be sure sooner than either. But, continued I, assuming my
Gravity, the Language is no where better spoken than at the Comedie. The
Pulpit, the Bar, the Accademie of Sciences, and the
faculty of Medicine, none of them speak so accurately as the french
After Dinner walked out, with C.s
Jones and Landais to see
Jones's Marines -- dressed in the English Uniform, red and
white. A Number of very active and clever Sergeants and Corporals
are employed to teach them the Exercise, and Maneuvres
and Marches &c.
After which Jones came on Board our ship.
This is the most ambitious and intriguing Officer in the American Navy.
Jones has Art, and Secrecy, and aspires very high. You see the
Character of the Man in his uniform, and that of his officers and Marines,
variant from the Uniforms established by Congress. Golden Button holes, for
himself -- two Epauletts -- Marines in red and
white instead of Green.
Excentricities, and Irregularities are to
be expected from him -- they are in his Character, they are visible in his
Eyes. His Voice is soft and still and small, his Eye has keenness, and Wildness
and Softness in it.
MAY 14 FRYDAY.
On Board all day, ill of a Cold. Many Gentlemen came on board to visit me. A
Dr. Brooks, Surgeon to the
Poor Richard, drank Tea with me. He seems to be well acquainted
with Philosophical Experiments. I led him to talk upon this subject. He had
much to say about Phlogiston, fixed Air, Gas &c. About absolute and
sensible Heat, Experiments with the Thermometer, to shew the absolute and sensible Heat in Water, Air, Blood
Finding he had Ideas of these Things, I led him to talk of the Ascent of
Vapours in the Atmosphere, and I found he had
considered this subject.
He mentioned a natural History of
N. and S. Carolina, by Catesby in 4 Volumes folio with Stamps
of all the Plants and Animals. Price 25 Guineas. He mentioned a
[Irvine] and a Dr.
Glasgow, as great Philosophers, whose Hints
Priestly had taken.
This Dr. Brooks is a Gentleman of Family, whose father has
a great Fortune and good Character in
Virginia. Mr. Dick, Captain of Marines, on
Board of Jones, is also of good family and handsome fortune in
Mr. Gimaet came on
board to visit me, Aid de Camp of the
Marquis de la Fayette.
15 MAY. SATURDAY.
Went on Shore, and dined with Captain Jones at
the Mess, at L'Epee Royale. Mr. Hill,
Capt. Cazneau, Captn. Young, Mr.
Dick, another Aid du Camp of the
Dr. Brooks &c. Mr. Gourlade
&c. Gourlade married a Scotch Lady. -- Captain
Jones this Morning shewed
me a Letter from
Lt. Browne, desiring or rather apologizing for leaving the
Ship, because of the Word (first) in M. Amiels Commission. I
said, I thought Mr. Browne could not serve under M.
Amiel. It would be in a manner
giving up the Claims of
many Lieutenants whose Commissions were dated between his and Mr.
Amiels, as well as his own and would expose him to censure. That the
Word first was agreed to be inserted by the Commissioners, because We expected
that either We or C. Jones would fill up the Commissions to
the other Lieutenants of that Ship, and it was intended to give him an
Assurance that he should be the first, on board that Ship. It was not so well
considered as it ought to have been, to be sure, but could not now be helped.
That however the Word first was void; it could not supercede
the Date of any former Commission. Mr.
Amiel was so urgent to have it in, that it was agreed to, perhaps, too
After dinner, took a Walk, out of Town, returned and went to view the two
Churches, the [least?] of which has some fine Paintings.
St. Joseph, St. Joachim, the
Virgin, feeling the Babe leap in her Womb, at the sight of
Elizabeth, and many others. Some handsome marble Pillars, and
two fine Statues in Plaister of Paris.
In the Evening C.L. [Captain Landais]
chagrined -- suspecting Plots among his Officers against him. Had written to
Dr. Franklin relating Things to him, &c. &c.
Mr. Blodget came in and said, he had one Chest in the Ward
Room, which the Officers had ordered him to take away, but as he had but one
and they so many, he ventured to wait for the C's
orders. That the Officers were now about to treat him better, conscious that
they could not treat him worse. Today they invited him to dine in the Ward
Room. But he begged Mr. Diggs [Degge]
to invite him. They had d-d him
and he could not dine there, yet
did not love to refuse, so begged off.
Such is the Danger of Favouritism, in the
Government of a Ship as well as of a State. I have had the Pleasure to restore
this Ship to Peace and Harmony, and am perswaded,
it would have continued. But when I leave here I see plainly all will become
unhappy again. There is such a Mixture of Ductility and Obstinacy in the
Government of her as will not keep her together. A tender Heart and an
obstinate Will sometimes go together. The C. has told
M.B. of my Advice that he should not live
in the Cabbin. This will raise his Resentment
vs. me. And B. will be the Idol
still. Yet he will continue to be excluded the Cabin, which will make it worse,
for what I know.
The Captain is not of an accommodating
Humour nor temper. His Resolutions when taken are
without Conditions or Exceptions and unalterable, as one would think, yet
sometimes too easily and too entirely altered. My Presence has had some degree
of Awe upon the Capt. and all
the other officers, it has made them endeavour to
respect one another. But the Fire is not extinguished, it will break out
L. said Honour and Delicacy, are
his 2d God. -- He shall die poor, and
despized, -- not by those who know him. -- He
is an Honest Man. This is an honest Man -- But Chagrin and Disappointment
are visible in every Thing about him.
He is incapable of all Art. Has no Address or Dexterity at all in managing
P.F. [Parson Ford] this Morning was upon
his Fights and Battles. At such a Time he fought in
N.C., such a Time in &c. Once he [fought] half an Hour in his shirt tail. Then he got his
Rheumatism. Oh his Groin, his Swelling, his Pains in his Legs, Knees, joints,
shoulders, his fever and Ague. If We should have a Battle and he should be sick
and killed in his Bed. He had rather be killed ten times upon the Quarter deck,
Coll. Wuibert tells a story. That at
Angers a Bishop has been found unconsumed and uncorrupted after
being buried many Years. They buried him up again, and is to be dug up again
after a certain time, and if found entire, is to be made a saint. His
Preservation is to be a Miracle, whereas the Truth is there is salt where he
lies. This the Coll. calls
MAY 16. SUNDAY.
Went on Shore, and dined with Mr. Moylan.
Jones, Landais, Chaumont
Pere et Fils, Moylan Frere,
Maese, made the Company.
Maese made a sensible Observation, vizt., that he ever
found five out of six of the People of
England supporting the Measures of Government. That the People
America had been deceived by their Friends in
England, by writing that the People were against these
England received to day, say, that the
last Propositions of Spain for an Accommodation have been rejected by
Government with a Kind of Humour that We have been
long used to.
Went after Dinner with Mr. Chaumont, to the House of
Mr Bouvet, an old Officer of Marine, a Croix de St. Louis, to
see the Modell of a Seventy four Gun Ship, that he was
Twenty Years in making with his own Hand. Every Sparre, Block, Rope, Iron and
Timber in the true Proportions. It is fine comme un Tabatier. In his Shop he
has all his Tools, his Chizzells, his Files, &c.
and his turning Wheel, Glasses, Mathematical Instruments, &c.
C. [Colonel] Wuibert told us this
Evening of some very ancient and curious Pictures at
La Fleche. In one Situation you see H.
[Henri] 4. -- in another, at a small distance you
see one of his Mistresses, in another a second Mistress. In one Picture viewed
from one Point you see a Man, from another Point a Beast.
C.L. told Us of a curious Grate at
Nantes, which is ancient and no body knows how it was made. He
also entertained Us with an Account of the Indians at
. The most dextrous Thieves in the
World, but the best natured People. Mr. Bougainvilles People
sold them, Iron, nails &c. for very great Prices.
An Hog for a
Deck nail, and a fowl for a Board Nail. He related several Instances of their
Ingenuity, in picking Pocketts
, and stealing Nails
of Iron. One of their Priests picked his
of all the Nails in it, which was all his
Money. And a Drol
Relation of a Single Combat between
the Priest and the Indian that carried him over the River, on his shoulders,
for a Nail -- which consisted in clinching their Hands together and pushing,
the Priest fell back, when the other gave him a
Fillip upon his Forehead or Nose, which was the Tryumph
, and decided the Question about the Property of
My Son could not comprehend why they should
be so fond of Iron. He was told that Iron made the principal Difference between
savage and civilised Nations. That all Arts and
Manufactures depended upon Iron &c.
MAY 17. MONDAY.
L. gave Us an Account of St. George at
Paris, a Molatto Man, Son of a former
Guadaloupe, by a Negro Woman. He has a sister
married to a Farmer General. He is the most accomplished Man in Europe in
Riding, Running, Shooting, Fencing, Dancing, Musick.
He will hit the Button, any Button on the Coat or Waistcoat of the greatest
Masters. He will hit a Crown Piece in the Air with a Pistoll Ball.
Mr. Gimaet came on Board, to go to
Port Louis with C.L. [Captain
Landais]. The Affectation, in the Eyes, features, laugh,
Air, gate, posture, and every Thing of this Gentleman is so striking, that I
cannot but think I see C.J.Q. or C.B.
whenever I see him.
Affectation proceeds from Vanity. EASE is the Opposite. Nature is easy, and
simple. This Man thinks himself handsome, his Eyes, his Complexion, his Teeth,
his Figure, his Step, and Air, have irresistable Charms, no doubt, in his Mind.
L. will never accomplish any great Thing. He has
Honour -- Delicacy -- Integrity -- and I doubt not
Courage -- and Skill, and Experience. But he has not Art. -- And I firmly
believe there never was, or will be a great Character, without a great deal of
Art. I am more and more convinced every day of the Innocence, the Virtue and
absolute Necessity of Art and Design. -- I have arrived almost at 44 without
any. I have less than L. and therefore shall do less Things
than even he.
This Evening L. said that Mathematicians were never good
Company. That Mathematicks made a Man unhappy.
That they never were good writers.
I said no nor the Lawyers -- it had been often observed that Lawyers could
L. said that Observation is not just,
there are many other Instances of that besides you. -- This looks like Art, but
was too obvious.
I said, the Roman Lawyers were good Writers. Justinians
Institutes were pure as Classicks. Several French
Lawyers had been fine Writer as Cochin, &c. and
some English Lawyers as Bacon, Clarendon,
Couper, Blackstone. But it was a common
England, and I found it as common in
Paris, that Lawyers were generally bad Writers.
MAY 18 TUESDAY.
On Board all day, reading Don Quixot.
MAY 19. WEDNESDAY.
Pleasant. My State is tedious enough, waiting for the
Chevalier, and loosing Time and Wind. Expectation is a painful
Posture of the Mind, and Suspence, which is a
little different, is worse.
L'orient is a fine Port and Harbour.
Men of War can come up to the Wharf, and they commonly lie not far from it. But
there is no such pleasant Prospects of the Country as in
1779 MAY 20. THURSDAY.
Went ashore, met a Servant of Mr. Chaumont on the Wharf,
who presented me his Masters Compliments and an Invitation to dine which I
He lodges at Monsieur who with his Lady and
Daughter of Six Years, an Officer of the Navy, Mr. C., my Self
and Son made the Company. A rich Dinner for so
small a Company. The little Daughter of Six Years, shewed the Effects of early Culture. She sung at Table at
my Desire several Songs, with great Ease and Judgment. She behaved as easily,
as her mother, her Wit flowed and her Tongue run. Her Countenance was
disciplined. Her Eyes and Lips were at her Command. She was very respectful to
the Company and very attentive to Decency.
Mr. C. went afterwards with me, to see a Magazine of
Medicines belonging to the King, a very large Store, in
order to get some Jesuits Bark, the best Kind of which I found was Seventeen
Livres a Pound.
Found a Courier de l'Europe of the 7th. May. Paliser
acquitted, tho reprehended, not unanimously nor
honourably. Moultrie's Letter of
the 4 Feb. to Lincoln and
Putnams to Washington of 2. March.
It is said in this Paper that 121 Privateers and Letters of Marque from 6 to
36 Guns, have been fitted out at N. York,
1,976 Guns, 9,680 Men,
and that they have taken 165 Prizes. This must be exagerated
The 1st of May, the fleet at
Portsmouth of more than 400 Sail for
Ireland, put to Sea, convoyed by 6 ships of the Line, besides
Frigates and armed Transports.
Mr. Ingraham and Mr. Merrick dined with
me, in the Cabbin.
Went ashore. Dr. W. [Windship] revealed
to me, a Secret concerning the Parson. -- Good God! . .
. He is confident. He knows. -- The Rheumatism never touches the Glands. It is
a confirmed --. He says, that B. [Blodget]
knows so too. -- It must come to an Head. It will break. It will be two months
at least. He has purged himself off his Legs. Has exhausted himself by
(It gets into the Circulations -- breaks out in Knots under the Arms -- eats
away the Roof [of] the Mouth -- affects the Nose -- if it
seises the Lungs, &c.) A Man of his Cloth. His
Character is ruined &c.
This is the innocent, the virtuous, the religious &c. This is
melancholly, and humiliating indeed! There is
English Beauty, at
Paris -- English Charmes as well as
french. Innocence, Simplicity is not Proof against the Arts of
Paris. Simplicity is a Prey -- and Virtue is melted away, by
Wine and Artifice. . . .
Coll. Wuibert drank Tea with me alone this Evening. I had a
long, free and familiar Conversation with him in french and he made me the
Compliment several Times to say that I spoke french very well, that I
understood French perfectly, that I had happily succeeded, tres heureusement
reussi in learning French, that I spoke it fluently, &c. This flattery
was uttered with as much Simplicity as the Duchess
I understood him, perfectly, every Word he said altho he commonly speaks very indistinctly.
He says that he was several Times with the Solicitor General
London. That Wedderburne speaks and writes
french, very correctly. That he told him, he had spent a dozen Years at
Paris and made many journeys there besides. That he treated him,
with great Politeness, beaucoup d'honntete. That he had a List of all
the American Prisoners, with Notes against their Names. That he brought
Letters for W. to some of the family of M. de
Noailles, the late Ambassador.
That We have many friends in
London. That he liked
London better than
Paris, because the Walking was better, the Streets were cleaner,
and there were Accommodations, on each Side, for People on foot.
That he has been two hundred Leagues to see his father and family who live
Champagne, near the frontiers of the Queen of
He ran over the Streets in
Paris that were commonly the most embarrassed, with Carriages.
-- C'est un Cahos, &c. -- He has promised to look for me after
Vignol's Architecture, &c.
We fell upon the Subject of Religion and Devotion on board the Men of War.
Every french Man of War has a Chaplain who says Prayers Morning and Evening,
regularly. I wished that ours were as regular.
We fell upon the Subject of Swearing. I asked him, if the french Sailors
swore? He said chaque Instant, every Moment. That H.
[Henri] 4. swore a great deal. Ventre St. Gris --
litterally, holy grey belly. I asked him if this originally alluded to the
Vierge. He believed not. I told him that most of the Oaths had originally
Relation to Religion, and explained to him Zounds -- G-ds Zounds -- His Wounds
-- Gods Wounds. s blood and wounds -- His Blood and Wounds -- relating to
Christ. He said this made him shudder.
Ma foi, Faith, par dieu, &c. It is amazing how Men get the Habit of
using these Words, without thinking. I see no Difference between F.
[French] and E. [English] on this
This afternoon, C.L. brought seven or Eight French
Gentlemen on board to see the ship, who all admired her. They were genteel,
well bred Men.
This Man has a Littleness in his Mien and Air. His face is small and sharp.
So that you form a mean Opinion of him from the first Sight. Yet his Eye is
good. He maintained a good Character among the American Prisoners, and you find
by close Conversation with him that he has a good deal in him of Knowledge.
Waited in the Morning on Mr. Chaumont, agreed to go
tomorrow Morning, on board the Sensible to make my Visit to
the Commander. Went to the Lodging of Mr.
Ingraham and Blodget. where about 8 or 10 Americans
Breakfast every Morning and drink Punch every Evening.
Took a Walk with Mr. Ingraham about the Town and then went
and dined with Mr. Puchelberg. This is a modest and a decent
German. He says there is no Protestant Church here. All is Levity,
Legerete. He says this Town is
perdu. Amour, Jeu, et Vin, ruin all the Women. The Women drink Brandy like
He says that
France is capable of nourishing 48, or 50 Millions of People,
but it is not half cultivated. The People are light and lazy.
Bourdeaux there are 40,000 Protestants -- but have no Church.
The Workmen, Artisans &c. are Protestants.
This Man has a Laugh and a Grin, and a
BrowBow that are very particular. His Grin
is good natured, his Laugh is complaisant, his Bow is aukward to the last degree.
The Peasants in this Country are lazy, and no Wonder, for those who work the
whole Year in planting Vines and in making Wine, are obliged to drink
There are many Protestants here, who ne croient pas rien. Ils sont
Went with Mr. Chaumont to make my Visit to
the Captain of the
, the Frigate in which I am to embark, and was
civilly received. Went next on Board the Pallas, where we
breakfasted with the officers, and then viewed the Ship. Went next on board the
Poor Richard and took another look at her. Went ashore and dined
with C. Jones. The Captain of the Pallas
dined there and an Officer of his Marines.
Maese, Mr. Dick, Mr. Hill,
Captn. Parks &c.
The Sensible has 28 twelve Pounders upon one deck.
1779 JUNE 1ST.
Dined on Shore at the Coffee House with Jones,
Landais, the two Aids de Camp
of the Marquis de la Fayette, Capt.
JUNE 2D. WEDNESDAY.
Dined on Board the Sensible, at the Invitation of
the Captn. Mr. Chavan
[Chavagnes], with Mr. Thevenard,
Mr. Grandville, Mr. Chaumont, &c.
On fait, et defait -- mande et contremand. "A Strong Fleet is necessary to
defend the Port of Brest."
This Observation, which I had never heard before, struck me. The Dry Docks
might be destroyed, the Stores burnt or demolished, the Magazines destroyed,
&c. unless the Place could be defended, by the Castle and other
Fortifications, with the Land Forces.
1779. JUNE 8. TUESDAY.
Yesterday I sent one Boat with some of my Things, and this Morning
another with the Remainder, on Board the Sensible.
Landais has torn open the old Sore, and in my Opinion, has
now ruined the Peace of this Ship
unhappy Mind. He must ever have something to complain
of -- something to peave
and fret about. He is
1779 SATURDAY [12 JUNE].
Last night, the Chevalier de La Luzerne arrived,
[and] took Lodgings at the
Epee Royal, in a Chamber opposite to mine up two Pair of Stairs.
He did me the Honour, together with Monsieur Marbois, his Secretary, or rather the
Secretary of the Commission, in my Chamber this Morning, and
invited me to dine, with him in his Chamber with my
Son. The Ambassador, the
Secretary, Mr. Chaumont, my
Son and myself, made the Company. The
Chevalier informs me that he dined with me once, at Count
I went in the Morning to the Lodging of Monsr.
. He was out, but I found his two Clerks, one of them speaks
English very well. They observed to me, that I had been waiting a long time. I
said Yes, long enough to have
made a sentimental journey through
the Kingdom. -- This pleased the English Secretary very much. He said
Yoricks Sentimental journey was a very fine Thing, a charming
Piece. I said Yes and that Sterne
was the sweetest, kindest,
tenderest Creature in the World, and that there was a rich Stream of
Benevolence flowing like Milk and Honey, thro
M. Marbois shewed me, a
Philadelphia of the 16 Feb. in which
is a long Piece, with the Name of Mr.
Paine. In it is the Letter, which I remember very well from
M.D. proposing P.
Ferdinand or M-B- to command in
Chief. The Name was mentioned of a Marshall, whom I have often heard
[Deane] say was
one of the greatest Generals in
Europe. This is curious -- bien extraordinaire, one of the
After Dinner, I took a Walk in the Wood.
Beggars, Servants, Garcons, Filles, Decroteurs, Blanchisseuses. Barges,
Batteaux, Bargemen. Coffee houses, Taverns. Servants at the Gates of
Woods and Walks. Fruit, Cakes. Ice Creams. Spectacles. Tailors for setting a
Stitch in Cloaths. Waiters for running with Errands,
Cards &c. Cabbin Boys. Coach Hire. Walking Canes.
Pamphlets. Ordonances. Carts.
1779. JUNE 17.
At 6 O Clock this Morning, Monsieur Chavan,
Capitain of the Sensible, sent his
Canot, on Shore for me, and mine, and here I am, in full Possession of my
Sailed about 3 o Clock, in Company with the Bon Homme Richard
Captain Jones, the Alliance Captain
Landais, the Captain Young,
the Captain Cazneau, the Courier
de L'Europe Capt.
The Three Friends Capt. Colman, belonging to
Mr. Williams of
Nantes, which is loaded with a large Quantity of
the Chevaliers Baggage, was missing. The
Chev. [Chevalier] discovered a good deal of
sensibility at this. The whole Fleet is obliged to wait for this
Captain Colman and loose this fair Wind.
The Chevalier has an Appartment about 8 Feet long and six Wide, upon the
Starboard Side of the Quarter Deck. I have another of the same Dimensions,
directly opposite to him, on the Larboard. Next behind the Chevalier is the
Cabin of the Captain Monsieur Chavan. Next behind me is the
Cabbin of the second in Command of the Frigate. And
behind us all at the stern is a larger Room, the Passage Way to which lies
between the Chevaliers and the Captains Cabin on one Side, and mine and the
Seconds on the other.
In this larger Room, which extends the whole Width of the Quarter Deck, all
the Company loll and converse by day. Monsieur
Marbois and my little son hang their
Cotts there and sleep at night. All the Officers and
all the Company, dine, below, in what is called the grand Cabbin.
The Chevalier is a large, and a strong Man, has a
singular Look with his Eyes. Shutts his Eye
Brows Lids, &c.
M. Marbois the Secretary, is a tall, genteel Man
and has a Countenance extreamly pleasant. He has
the Appearance of Delicacy, in his Constitution . . . .
Mr. Marbois has two Persons with him, one a
French Secretary, the other a Secretaire interprete, who speaks and writes
The Maitre D'Hotel has his Wife with him. She seems a
well bred Woman. . . .
We are to speak English. This is the Agreement, but there are so few who can
speak a Word of English, that 9/10 of the Conversation in spight of our Intentions and Engagements runs into French.
We have on board a Dictionary of the Marine, so that We shall soon understand
the Names of Things and Actions on Board.
Brown of the Manufactory, is on Board as Pilot for the
American Coast. He has received fifty Guineas for it. Such is the Reward for
a Stand, manfully, 10 or 11 Years ago. I told the Story to
the Che. [Chevalier]
who was much
pleased with the Narration.
Mr. Hill also, first Lieutenant of the
Alliance is on Board but I know not by whose Influence. C.
Jones or M. Chau. [Chaumont]
1779. JUNE 18.
This Morning, the Monsieur a french Privateer, which sailed out
L'orient as We went into it in the Alliance, came
in with four English Prizes, having made Six this Cruise. She and her Prizes
saluted the Sensible, and their Salutes were returned.
Received a Card from Mr. Williams 3d., apologising for
the 3 friends that the Pilot refused to take charge of her
untill the Morning.
I asked a Gentleman how he slept. -- Very badly, dans le Sainte Barbe. -- Il
faut chercher cet mot la, said I, dans le Dictionaire de Marine. -- He ran and
brought it and found Le Sainte Barbe to be the Gun Room. -- Connoissez vous
Etymologie Monsieur, said he -- Que non, said I.
Sainte Barbe is the Tutelary Sainte of the Cannoniers --
Gunners. Each Trade has its Patron. The Shoemakers have Sainte
Crispin, &c. and the Gunners Sainte Barbe.
The Sainte Barbe therefore is the Gunroom or the Salle D'Armes, Place of
There are 9 Persons who sleep in the Sainte Barbe.
The Serruriers have chosen St. Cloud for their Patron,
Mr. Marbois discovered an Inclination
to day to slide into Conversation with me,
to day. I fell down the Stream with him, as easily as
possible. He hoped Thought the Alliance beneficial, to both
Countries, and hoped it would last forever. I agreed that the Alliance was
usefull to both, and hoped it would last. I could not
foresee any Thing that should interrupt the Friendship. Yes, recollecting
myself, I could foresee several Things that might interrupt it. -- Ay what were
they? I said it was possible, a King of
France might arise, who being a wicked Man might make Attempts
to corrupt the Americans. A King of
France hereafter might have a Mistress, that might mislead him,
or a bad Minister. I said I could foresee another Thing that might
interrupt endanger our Confederation. -- What was that? -- The Court
France, I said, might, or their Ambassadors or Consuls might,
attach themselves to Individuals or Parties, in
America, so as to endanger our Union. -- He caught at this, with
great Avidity, and said it was a great Principle, not to join with any Party.
It was the K's Determination and the
Chevaliers, not to throw the Weight of the French Court into the
Scale of any Individual or Party.
He said, he believed, or was afraid, it had been done: but it was
disapproved by the King and would not be done again. . .
. He said that the Chevalier and himself would have the
favour of the greatest Part, the Generality of the
honest People in
France, altho there would be
Individuals against them.
He said He hoped the
United States would not think of becoming Conquerors. I said it
was impossible they should for many Ages. It would be Madness in them to think
of conquering foreign Countries, while they had an immense Territory, near them
uncultivated. That if any one State should have a fancy for going abroad it
would be the Interest of all the rest and their Duty to hinder her. -- He
seemed to be pleased with this.
He said We would explain ourselves wholly, on the Passage. I said, with all
my Heart, for I had no Secrets.
All this Conversation was in french, but he understood me, very well, and I
He said Mr. Gerard was a Man of Wit, and had an Advantage
of them in understanding the Language very well and speaking it easily. I said
I believed not much. I had heard it affirmed, by some, that Mr.
Gerard spoke English perfectly, but by others, very indifferently.
That it was often affirmed that Mr. Franklin spoke French as
fluently and elegantly, as a Courtier at
Versailles, but every Man that knew and spoke sincerely, agreed
that he spoke it
very ill. Persons spoke of these Things, according
to their Affections.
He said it was Flattery. That he would not flatter, it was very true that
both Mr. F. and I spoke french, badly.
A Cutter and a Lugger, hove in Sight, about Noon, and dogged about all the
Mr. Marbois began with me, again this Afternoon.
Enquired who was Dr. Bancroft -- Who Dr.
Berkenhout? &c &c.
Pages 37 - 38
[Blank pages -- no images available]
1779. JUNE 18. FRYDAY.
The orders are to breakfast at 10. dine at 5. and sup at 10.
The two Privateers, which were in Sight Yesterday, are so still with two
Our Captain at length laid too, hoisted his
Colours and fired a Gun as a Challenge. One of them
hoisted English Colours and fired a Gun, which I
suppose was accepting the Challenge. Our Captain gave her two Broad Sides, for
the Sake of exercising his Men, and some of his Balls went beyond her, some
before and some behind her. I cannot say that any one hit, but there were two
which went so well that it is possible they might. It is certain they were
frightened, for upon our wearing to give her chase all 4 of them were about in
an Instant and run. -- But at Evening there were several others in Sight.
Two Privateers have been in sight all this day. One advanced, and fired
several Guns in order to make Us hoist our Colours.
But Captain Chavan would not do them that Honour. They are afraid to come near. But this it is. Every
day We have a No. in Sight, so that there is no
Chance for a Vessell to pass without Convoy.
Our Captain Mr. Chavan has a Cross of St. Louis, and one of
his Midshipmen has a Cross of St. Louis. His second has none -- he is a youth
of 18 or 19, an Enseigne du Vesseau, and very able for his Years. He has a fine
The Chevalier de la Luzerne, and M.
Marbois are in raptures with my Son.
They get him to teach them the Language. I found this Morning the
Ambassador, Seating on the Cushing in our State Room,
Mr. Marbois in his Cot at his left Hand and my Son
streched out in his at his Right -- The Ambassador reading out loud, in
Blackstones Discourse, at his Entrance on his Professorship of
the Common Law at the University, and my Son correcting the Pronunciation of
every Word and Syllable and Letter. The Ambassador said he was astonished, at
my Sons Knowledge. That he was a Master of his own Language like a Professor.
Mr. Marbois said your Son teaches Us more than you.
He has Point de Grace -- Point d'Eloges. He shews us
no Mercy, and makes Us no Compliments. We must have Mr.
This Evening had a little Conversation with the
Chevalier, upon our American Affairs, and Characters, Mr.
Samuel Adams, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Jay
-- and upon American Eloquence in Congress and Assemblies as well as in
Writing. He admired our Eloquence. I said that our Eloquence was not corrected.
It was the Time of Ennius
, with Us. That
Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Jay had Eloquence, but
it was not so chaste, nor pure, nor nervous as that of Mr. Samuel
Adams. That this last had written some things, that would be admired
more than any Thing that has been written in
America in this Dispute. -- He enquired after Mr.
Dickinson, and the Reason why he disappeared. I explained, as well as
I could in French, the Inconsistency of the Farmers Letters and his
Perseverance in that Inconsistency in Congress. Mr. Dickensons
Opposition to the Declaration of Independancy
I ventured as modestly as I could to let him know that I had the
to be the Principal Disputant in Congress
against Mr. Dickinson upon that great Question. That
Mr. Dickinson had the Eloquence, the Learning and the
Ingenuity on his Side of the Question, but that I had the Hearts of the
Americans on mine, and therefore my Side of the Question prevailed. That
Mr. Dickinson had a good Heart, and an amiable Character. But
Opposition to Independency, had lost him the Confidence of
the People, who [illegible]
suspected him of Timidity and
Avarice, and that his Opposition sprung from those Passions: But that he had
since turned out with the Militia, against the B. [British]
Troops and I doubted not might in Time regain the Confidence of the People.
I said that Mr. Jay was a Man of Wit, well informed, a good
Speaker and an elegant Writer but that I should not. The
Chevalier said perhaps he will not be President when We arrive. He
accepted only for a short Time. I said I should not be sorry to hear of his
Resignation, because I did not much esteem the Means by which he was advanced
to the Chair, it appearing to me that he came in by the Efforts of a Faction at
that Moment dominant by Means of an Influence which I was afraid to mention.
That I did not care to say what I thought of it.
We fell into a great deal of other Conversation this 21. Monday
Mr. Marbois told me this Morning Evening upon
Litterature, and Eloquence ancient and modern,
Demosthenes, Cicero, the Poets, Historians, Philosophers. The English,
Bacon, Newton &c. Milton
He said Milton was very ancient. I said no, in the Reign of
Charles and the Protectorship of Cromwell and
the Reign of Charles the Second. -- He thought it was much
I said there were three Epochas in the English
History celebrated for great Men. -- The Reign of Elizabeth,
the Reign of C. [Charles] I. and the
Interregnum, and the Reign of Queen Anne.
The C. said Ld. Bolinbroke was a
great Man. I said
Yes and the greatest Orator that England ever
Mr. Marbois upon this said, it would be easy in
France to produce an Orator equal to
Bolinbroke. I asked who? John Jac.
[Jacques?] -- No, Malesherbes.
Malesherbes Orations might be placed on a Footing with
Demosthenes and Cicero.
MONDAY JUNE 21.
This Morning I found Mr. Marbois
recovered of his
Sea Sickness. I [illegible]
I fell into Conversation
with him, about his illness, advised a Dish of Tea, which he readily accepted,
told him he must learn to drink Tea in
America in order to please the Ladies, who all drank Tea. That
the american Ladies shone at the Tea Table. He said, he had heard they were
very amiable and of agreable
Conversation. I said
Yes, but they could not dance, nor sing, nor play Musick
, nor dress so well as the European Ladies. But they
had Wit and Sense and Virtue. -- After a great deal of Chat like this, I asked
him -- Sir you mentioned last night Malsherbes Orations. Who
and What was Malesherbes? -- He said
Malsherbes was President of the Court of Aids,
during the Disputes between the late
King and the Parliament of
Paris. That he made his orations in the Course of those
Disputes. That most of them were not printed, only a few of the latter ones
were printed in the Newspapers. That He was banished by the late King with the
Parliament, and after the Accession of the present King
was recalled and made one of his Ministers, in which Place he continued 18
But finding Things were likely to take a Turn not perfectly
to his Mind and that he could not
continue in Place with Honour and
resigned and lives a private Life in
Paris and is happy. He is the Son of a Late Chancellor
De la moignon de Males herbes, who was a famous Man. He goes by the
Name of De la Moignon. He died about five Years ago, and it
was thought his Son would take the same Name of La moignon, but he choses to go
by that of Malesherbes. He is a great Man, an intimate Friend of Mr. De
Turgot. Mr. Malesherbes is Uncle to the
Chevalier de la Luzerne. I have dined twice, within a
few Weeks past, with Mr. Franklin at the House of Mr.
Malesherbes, and once with him at Mr. Franklins. The
Acquaintance was formed upon Occasion of the Appointment of the C.
De la Luzerne to go to
I lamented that I had not seen Mr. Malesherbes, said that I
had the Pleasure to dine often with Mr. Turgot at his House
and at ours. That Mr. Franklin was very intimate with
Mr. Turgot, who I thought was a very good Man. -- Yes says
, but a little too systematical and a
little too enthusiastical . . . . I said Enthusiasm was sometimes a very good
Quality, at least very usefull
. -- Not for a
Minister, says M.M. -- Yes for a Minister, in some Cases, and
Circumstances. -- Ay says he, at sometimes when he can communicate
his Enthusiasm to All about him. But at others when his Enthusiasm will be
opposed by Millions of People of great Weight, it will not do.
I am very happy to hear of these Connections. I shall discover more of them
yet. This Mr. Marbois is one of the best informed,
and most reflecting Men I have known in
France. I warrant I shall have much Pleasure in his
About Three O Clock, the Chevalier and I walking upon Deck, he took me under
the Arm, and told me, he had something to communicate to me, which he had bound
himself in Honour not to communicate, while he was in
Les Espagnols viennent, de se declarer. -- Comment, said I? -- Aux Anglois
said the Chevalier. They have declared that the Court of
London having rejected all the Propositions for Peace, which
they had made, they were now determined to declare them
on the side of
France, and to assist them with all their Force by Land and Sea,
in every Part of the World, and accordingly they have ordered 17 Ships of the
Line or 19 to join the Comte D'orvilliere, making up 50
Sail, in the whole. They have a Minister in
America, at Congress. And they are to concert with Congress all
their military Operations. Without saying any Thing about the
America. -- Je ne comprend pas le Politique
D'Espagne said I. (This instantly struck me
. I am jealous of some Scheme. The
, the Invention, the profound Secrecy, the
Absolute Silence of these European Courts, will be too much for our hot, rash,
fiery Ministers, and for our indolent, inattentive ones, tho
as silent as they.) This within Crochets was not said,
but is a Reflection of my own. The Chevalier added, The Basis of every
Proposition for Peace that
Spain has made was, an Acknowledgement of the
He added farther, We i.e. the french have within this Month offered, that if
the English would withdraw their Troops from
Rhode Island and
Long Island all Things should remain as they were. -- Note, this
I dont understand. What becomes of
Georgia? What was to become of the Sea War? &c.
The Chevalier added, this was rejected by the Court
London. . . .
By this it appears, the Court of
Spain have given Mr. Lee the Go by. They may
have made a Treaty with Congress by their Ambassador there.
I said the English would make great Depredations upon the Spanish Trade. --
How, says the Chev. [Chevalier]? --
By their little Cutters and Luggers said I. -- Oh the Spaniards, said he, dont
make an active Commerce like the French. Their Commerce is made in large
Vessells, and always well escorted.
This News operates upon my Mind, like the Affair of
Sarratoga. It is not good enough and therefore, the
Disappointment makes me Melancholly.
The Chevalier said one other Thing worth Remembrance.
He said that The Americans did not know, what their Commerce with
France would be. The great and able Merchants had not yet traded
America. Who is it, said He, that has traded to
America, but a Parcell of little
Rascals, petits Coquins, and Adventurers who have sold the worst Merchandises,
for great Prices. -- This Conversation was all in french and may not be
perfectly translated, but I believe it is.
I have much Satisfaction in reflecting, that the Chevalier
[illegible] in all the Conversations I have yet had with
the Chevalier, no unguarded Word has escaped me. I have
conversed with that Frankness that makes a Part of my Character, but have said
nothing that I did not mean to say.
I find a Gentleman in the Suit of the Chevalier, in
the Character of Interpreter and English Master who has written a large Volume
upon English Pronunciation and Accent. His Name is
JUNE 22. TUESDAY.
We have had a fine Wind ever since We came out of
L'orient, but it blows fresher today than ever. Yet We go but
about 5 Knots, because being obliged to wait for the Three
Friends, and the Foudroyant, which sail slow, We cannot
carry Sail. With all our Sails We might now go eleven Knots. This is Mercantile
Politicks of C.
[Chaumont] and W.
[Williams] in getting the
Chevaliers Baggage on Board those Ships.
The Chevalier de la Luzerne, the other day at
Mr. De Thevenards Table, gave a terrible Stroke to M.
Chaumont. Chaumont said, M. Franklin
parle Francais bien. -- Oh que non, said the Chevalier, fort mal. Mr.
Adams parle mieux que lui. -- Yesterday, in a long Conversation with
the Chevalier, on the Quarter Deck, he said to me, Vous connoissez [illegible] les Fondemens de notre Langue tres bien. Vous parlez
lentement et avec difficulte, comme un homme qui cherche pour les mots: mais
vous ne pechez pas contre la Prononciation. Vous prononcez bien. Vous
prononcez, beaucoup mieux que Mr. Franklin. Il est impossible
Mr. Marbois, with whom I fell into Conversation,
this Afternoon very easily upon Deck, said a great many Things that deserve
He said that Mr. Franklin had a great many Friends among
the Gens des Lettres in
France, who make a great Impression in
France, that he had Beaucoup des Agremens, Beaucoup de
Charlatagnerie, that he has Wit: But that he is not a Statesman. That he might
be recalled at this Moment, and in that Case, that his Opinion was he would not
America -- But would stay in
That he heard many of the honest People in
France lament that I left
France, particularly the Count
and the Marquis de
. That I
might possibly return to
France or to some other Part of
Europe. That the Court of
France would have Confidence in any Gentleman, that Congress
have Confidence in. That there ought to be a
[illegible] Charge des
or a Secretary, and a successor pointed out, in Case of the
Death of Dr. F.
Mr. Marbois said some were of opinion, that as I
was not recalled, I ought to have staid
untill I was.
I told him that if Congress had directed me to return, I would have
returned. If they had directed me to stay untill
further orders I should have staid. But as they
reduced me to a private Citizen I had no other Duties but those of a private
Citizen to fulfill, which were to go home as soon as possible and take Care of
my family. Mr. Franklin advised me to take a journey to
Geneva. My own Inclinations would have led me to
Holland: But I thought my Honour
concerned to return directly home. -- He said I was right.
In the Evening I fell into Chat with the Chevalier.
He asked me, about Governeur Morris
said it was his Christian Name -- that he was not Governor. The Chevalier said
He had heard of him as an able Man. I said he was a young Man, chosen into
Congress since I left it. That I had sat some Years with his Elder Brother in
Congress. That Governeur
Man of Wit, of
and made pretty Verses -- but of a Character
That the Cause of
America had not been sustained by such Characters as that of
Governor Morris or his Colleague Mr. Jay, who
also was a young Man about 30
and not quite so solid as his
, upon whose Resignation in the sudden
Heat Mr. Jay was chosen. That Mr. Lawrence
had a great landed Fortune free from Debt, that he had long Experience in
public life and an amiable Character for Honour
Probity. That he is between 50 and 60 Years of Age.
JUNE 23. WEDNESDAY.
This Forenoon, fell strangely, yet very easily into Conversation with
I went up to him -- M.M. said I, how many Persons have you
in your Train and that of the Chevalier who speak the
German Language? Only my Servant, said he, besides myself and the Chev. -- It
will be a great Advantage to you said I in
America, especially in
Pensilvania, to be able to speak German. There is a great Body
of Germans in
P. [Pennsylvania] and
M. [Maryland]. There is a vast Proportion of
the City of
Philadelphia, of this Nation who have their Churches in it, two
of which one Lutheran the other Calvinist, are the largest and most elegant
Churches in the City, frequented by the most numerous Congregations, where the
Worship is all in the German Language.
Is there not one Catholic, said M.M.? Not a German Church
said I. There is a Roman catholic Church in
Philadelphia, a very decent Building, frequented by a
respectable Congregation, consisting partly of Germans, partly of French and
partly of Irish. -- All Religions are tolerated in
America, said M.M., and the Ambassadors have in
all Courts a Right to a Chappell in their own Way.
But Mr. Franklin never had any. -- No said I, laughing,
because Mr. F. had no -- I was going to say, what I did not
say, and will not say here. I stopped short and laughed. -- No, said
Mr. M., Mr. F. adores only great Nature,
which has interested a great many People of both Sexes in his favour. -- Yes, said I, laughing, all the Atheists, Deists
and Libertines, as well as the Philosophers and Ladies are in his Train --
another Voltaire and Hume. -- Yes said
Mr. M., he is celebrated as the great Philosopher and the
great Legislator of
America. -- He is said I a great Philosopher, but as a
America he has done very little. It is universally believed in
England and all
Europe, that his Electric Wand has accomplished all this
Revolution but nothing is more groundless. He has [done]
very little. It is believed that he made all the American Constitutions, and
their Confederation. But he made neither. He did not even make the Constitution
Pensylvania, bad as it is. The Bill of Rights is taken almost
verbatim from that of
Virginia, which was made and published two or three Months
before that of
Philadelphia was begun. It was made by Mr.
Mason, as that of
Pensilvania was by Timothy Matlack,
James Cannon and Thomas Young and
Thomas Paine. Mr. Sherman of
Connecticutt [A mistake for Dickinson of Pennsylvania,
though Sherman was a member of the committee appointed to draft the Articles,
12 June 1776.] and Dr. F. made an Essay towards a
Confederation about the same Time. Mr. Shermans was best
liked, but very little was finally adopted from either, and the real
Confederation was not made untill a Year after
Mr. F. left
America, and but a few Days before I left Congress.
Who, said the Chevalier, made the Declaration of
Independance? Mr. Jefferson of
Virginia, said I, was the Draughtsman. The Committee consisted
of Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Franklin, Mr.
Harrison, Mr. R. and myself, [A double mistake.
The committee appointed on 11 June 1776 to draft a Declaration of Independence
consisted of Jefferson, JA, Franklin, Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston, in
that order.] and We appointed by Jefferson a
subcommittee to draw it up.
I said that Mr. Franklin had great Merit as a Philosopher.
His Discoveries in Electricity were very grand, and he certainly was a Great
Genius, and had great Merit in our American Affairs. But he had no Title to the
Mr. M. said he had Wit and Irony, but these were not the
Faculties of Statesmen. His Essay upon the true Means of [bringing] a great Empire to be a small one was very pretty.
-- I said he had wrote many Things, which had great Merit and infinite Wit and
Ingenuity. His bonhomme Richard was a very ingenious Thing, which had been so
much celebrated in France, gone through so many Ad Editions, and
been recommended by Curates and Bishops to so many Parishes and
Mr. M. asked, are natural Children admitted in
America to all Priviledges
Children born in Wedlock. -- I answered they are not Admitted to the Rights of
Inheritance. But their fathers may give them Estates by Testament and they are
not excluded from other Advantages. -- In
France, said M.M., they are not admitted into
the Army nor any Office in Government. -- I said they were not excluded from
Commissions in the Army, Navy, or State, but they were always attended with a
Mark of Disgrace. -- M.M. said this, No doubt, in Allusion to
Mr. Fs. natural Son and natural Son of a natural Son. I let
myself thus freely into this Conversation being led on
the Chevalier and Mr. Marbois
Purpose because I am sure it cannot be my Duty nor the Interest of my Country
that I should conceal any of my sentiments of this Man, at the same Time that I
Justice to his Merits. It would be worse than Folly
to conceal my Opinion of his great Faults.
JUNE 24. THURSDAY.
Mr. Marbois told a Story of an Ecclesiastic, who
pronounced a funeral oration on Marshall Saxe. -- He compared
him to Alcides, who ballanced long
whether he should follow the Path of Virtue or of Sloth, and at last chose the
former. But Saxe, after ballancing long, did better by determining to follow
both, i.e. Pleasure and Virtue.
This Evening I went into our State Room, where I found Mr.
Marbois, alone. -- Mr. Marbois, said I,
what Books are the best to give a Stranger an Idea of the Laws and Government
France. -- I shall surprise you, Sir, said M.
Marbois, and I shall make you laugh: But there is no other, but the
Almanack Royal. -- You say this, said I
laughing on purpose to make me laugh. -- No says he there
are is no Droit public in
France. There are different Customs and Prerogatives in
different Provinces. . . . But if you wish I should talk with you, more
seriously, there are several Books in which there are some good Notions upon
this subject. There are 4 Volumes by
[illegible] of Observations sur l'ancient Gouvernement de
France, and 4 Volumes more by the
Abby De Fleury on the
same Subject. -- He ran over a great deal more concerning the Salique Law and
the Capitula Regnum francorum &c., which I will be more particular with him
about another Time. I mentioned Domat. He
said it was excellent on the civil Law: but had little on the Droit public.
How happened it, said I, M.M., that I never saw you at
Paris. You have, said he. -- Ay where? said I. I dont remember
it. -- I dined with you said he at the Count Sarsefields. -- I
said there was a great deal of Company, but that I had never seen any one of
them before. They were all Strangers: but I remember the Count told me, they
were all Men of Letters.
There were four Ladies, said M. Marbois, the
handsomest of which was the Countess de la Luzerne, the
Wife of the Count de la Luzerne. The Count himself was
there, who is the Eldest Brother of the Chevalier de la
Luzerne. There was another Lady there, who is not handsome and was
never married. She is a Sister. -- She was the Lady who sat at my left Hand at
Table, said I, and was very sociable. I was charmed with her Understanding,
altho I thought she was not handsome.
There was a Gentleman there, said I, who asked me if the
Religion was tolerated in
America? I understood he bad been in
Constantinople, as Ambassador or Secretary to some Embassy. And
there was a Bishop there, who came in after Dinner. -- Yes said he, he is the
Bishop of Langres, another Brother of the
Chevalier de la Luzerne. -- I fell, said I,
unaccountably into a Dispute with that Bishop. He sat down by me, and fell into
Conversation about the English and their Conduct, in
America. In the Course of the Con.
I said it was the Misfortune of the English that
there was no consistent Character among those in Opposition to the Court. No
Man who would Adhere to his Principles. The two
Hows were in Opposition to the Ministry and the American
. But when the Honor and Emoluments of
Command were offered them, they accepted to serve under that Ministry and in
support of those Measures. Even Keppell, who refused to serve
America, was induced to serve vs.
France, who were only supporting the Americans. -- The Bishop
said it was the Will of the K. [King]
that must controul
public officers. -- I said, an
officer should beg to be excused, or resign the
rather than serve
against his Conscience. -- He said the King's Will must govern. -- I said it
was a Doctrine I could not understand. -- There was a Gentleman present who
attended to our Conversation in silence, till this when he said c'est un
Doctrine Ecclesiastique, Monseigneur L'Eveque, said he,
This Bishop, said Mr. Marbois, is no slave, he is
a Man of free sentiments. He is Duke et Pair. There are three Bishops, who are
Dukes and Peers and Three others who are Counts and Peers, who are always
present at the Consecration of our Kings. The Bishop of
Langres is one. The Dukes of
Normandy, and of Burgundy, used to be present, but as
there are not at present, Monsieur and the Count
D'Artois represented them at the Consecration of the
present King, about 4 Years ago. The origin of the Custom is not
The Chevalier de la Luzerne, said I, is of an high
Family. -- Yes, said Mr. Marbois, he is of an
ancient Family, who have formerly had in it Cardinals and Marechalls of
France, but not lately. They were now likely to regain their
Splendor for the Three Brothers are all very well at Court.
JUNE 28 MONDAY.
We have been favoured, in our Voyage hitherto,
beyond my utmost Expectations. We have enjoyed an a Succession of
favourable Winds and Weather, from the Time of our
L'orient to this Moment.
The Discipline, on Board this Ship, is a
constant Subject of Speculation to me. I have seen no Punishments inflicted, no
Blows struck, nor heard scarcely an Angry Word spoken, from the Captain to any
of his officers, or from any of the officers to the Men. They live together in
greater Intimacy and Familiarity than any Family I ever saw. The Galliard or
Quarter Deck, seems to be as open to the foremast Men as the Captain. Captain,
all other Officers, the Ambassador, his Train, Common Sailors, and domestic
Servants are all walking upon Deck, and sitting round upon Seats on it, upon a
footing of perfect Equality that is not seen in one of our Country Town
America. I never saw so much Equality and Levelling in any
Society, whatever. Strange Contrast to a British, or even an American Frigate.
Landais is a great Mogul, in Comparison of
One of the Officers have favoured me with the
de la Fregate du Roy la Sensible.
|Bid de Chavaigne, Capitaine de Vaisseaux
||Commandant la Fregate.
|Le Chevalier de Goabriant [Gosbriand],
Enseigne de Vaisseaux ||Lieutenant de Fregate pour la
|Le Chevalier D'Arriardant.
|Le Chevalier de Pincaire.||
| Du Breville.|| idem
Garde la Marine
|Le Chevalier de Guerivierre
|La Roche de St. Andr.
|Bergrac Chirurgien Major
|Le Pere Usem Capucin et Aumonier
The Diversions on Board the Ship are very curious. The Officers and Men sing
and dance in a Ring round the Capstain, on the
Quarter deck, in fine Weather. The Men are in Parties at Cards in all Parts of
1779. JUNE 30. WEDNESDAY.
Mr. Marbois, this Morning, upon my
Enquiry, told me, that the Chevalier de
la Luzerne is the Grandson of the famous Chancelier de
la Moignon by his Mothers Side. That the Marchall
Broglie is a Cousin to the Chevalier.
He also told me, that he himself, Mr. Marbois,
was born in
Metz, where the Marchall Comte de
Broglie is Commandant. That going lately to
Metz to be admitted a Counsellor in Parliament, he journeyed in
Company with the Comte.
JULY 2D. FRYDAY.
Walking this afternoon, with Mr. Marbois, upon
the Quarter Deck, I said frankly to him, that I had expected that Mr.
Garnier would have been sent to
America. That I had observed some things in the Conduct of
made me conjecture and believe that they were planning to have Mr. G.
[Garnier] succeed Mr. G.
[Gerard]. That there was a great Intimacy between
B. and Mr. G.
Between our selves, said Mr. Marbois, I believe
that was a Reason, why he did not go.
Mr. G. [Garnier], said M. Marbois, is a Man of Spirit, and has a great deal of
England he did us good Service, and he speaks English very well,
and understands Affairs very well, but in this Affair of his going out upon
this Embassy, I cannot reconcile his Conduct, with a Man of Spirit.
I said, I had the Pleasure of some Acquaintance and a good deal of
Conversation with Mr. G. [Garnier]. That he
did me the Honour to visit me, several Times, and I
had several long Conversations with him alone; that I was much pleased with his
Knowledge of our Affairs from the Beginning, and with his Manners: But I
thought him too much connected, and attached to a particular Circle,
particularly to B. to whom he seemed to me to have a blind
There is Reason to believe, said Mr. Marbois,
that Dr. Franklin is not too much pleased with the Appointment
of the Chevalier. What is the Reason of the Attachment
of Dr. F. to B. said ? -- Because,
B. is devoted to Mr. D.
[Deane] and because he is the only American at
Paris who loves him -- all the Americans but him are at present
very bitter vs. F. . . . He would
probably be very glad to get his G. [Grand]
Son Secretary, but as I fancy he must think him too young to obtain
the Appointment, he will join with Mr. D. in endeavouring to
get B. -- D. I know from Authentic
Information is endeavouring to get B. appointed. That
B. was so irregular and excentric
a Character, and his Conduct in American Affairs, had been such that I
confessed I had an entire Distrust of him.
That at present he and Mr. C. had in a manner the Direction
of American Affairs. That C. [Congress] might as well
appoint Mr. C. their Ambassador. But that he had not the
Brains for the Management of such Affairs.
Mr. Marbois said, in Fact, he had the Management
but it was altogether improper. That the K.
[King] would never suffer any of his Subjects to
represent foreign Courts at his, &c.
The Chevalier came up, and said as our Court would
take it amiss, if an American Minister should meddle in the Cabals or Intrigues
Versailles, So the
United States should resent a french Ministers taking a Part in
any Disputes among them. That there was no need of Policy between
France and the
United States. They need only understand one another. Rien que
I said that in my Youth I had often heard of the Address and Intrigues of
the french Court, but I could sincerely say, I had found more Intrigue and
finesse among my own Countrymen, at
Paris, than among the french.
It is true said the Chev.
[Chevalier] -- our Court at some Periods of our
History have mis beaucoup de Ruses dans leur Politique. But, this had never any
better Effect than to make Us distrusted by all Mankind.
1779 JULY 4TH. SUNDAY.
This Morning, having stepped out of my Cabbin, for
a few Minutes, I found upon my Return, that the Compliments of the following
Gentlemen, were left chez Moy, on the Anniversary of American Independence,
Le Chevalier de La Luzerne.
Mr. De Marbois.
Mr. Bide de Chavagnes, Capne. des Vaux. du Roy de
France, commdnt. la Sensible
Le Chev. de Goisbriand, the Second in
Mr. De la Forest.
I returned Compliments to the Chevr. and the
Gentlemen and Thanks for their kind Congratulations on my Countries
Independence, and sincerely wished, as this was the foundation of the happy
America, that the latest Posterity of both Countries might have
Reason to rejoice in it.
1779. JULY 16 FRYDAY.
Since I have been in this Ship I have read Robertsons
History of America in 4 Volumes, in French, and four Volumes of the Observateur
Anglois, in a series of Letters from my Lord All Eye to my Lord All Ear.
I am now reading Les Negotiations De Monsieur
Le President Jeannin. He was Ambassador from Henry the
the Hague, at the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century, and is
reputed one of the ablest and faithfullest Ambassadors that
France ever had. Dossat,
Jeannin and D'Estrades are the 3 first. . . .
I am pleased with this Work, as well because of the Resem Similitude
between the Circumstances of the united Provinces at this Time and those of the
united States at present, as on account of the Wisdom, the
Prudence, and Discretion and Integrity of the Minister.
The Observateur Anglois is extreamly
entertaining but it is ruined, by an Intermixture of Debauchery and licentious
Pleasure. It is vastly instructive to a Stranger, in many curious Particulars
of the political state of
France -- gives Light upon many Characters. But probably has
1779 JULY 17TH. SATURDAY.
Three Days past We have sounded for
the Grand banc but have not found it. By the Reckonings of all
the officers, We ought to be now Ten Leagues upon the Banck.
It is surprizing to me, that We have not seen
more Fish. A few Whales, a few Porpoises and two Sharks are all We have seen.
The two Sharks, We caught, with a Shark Hook and a Bit of Pork for a Bait. We
cutt up the first, and threw over board his
Head and Entrails, all of which the other, which was playing after the Ship,
snatched at with infinite Greediness and swallowed down in an instant. After We
had taken him, We opened him, and found the Head and Entrails of his Companion
Mr. Marbois is indefatigable. As soon as he is
up, he reads the Correspondance of
Mr. Gerard, for some Hours. The Minister it seems has
furnished them with a Copy of all Mr. Gerards Letters, which
appear to be voluminous. After this He reads aloud, to Mr.
Carr, Mr. Otto, Mr. Restif
or Mr. Forrest, one of Congreves or
Garricks Plays. Then he writes some Hours.
He is unwilling to let me see Gerards Letters, or what he
1779. JULY 20. TUESDAY.
I was struck with these Words in a Letter from the President
Jeannin to M. Bellegarde Of 28 Jany. 1609
Si le Roy "est content de ma Conduite, et de la Diligence et
Fidelit, dont fuse pour executer ponctuellement ce qu'il m'a
command c'est deja une Espece de recompense qui donne grande
Satisfaction un homme de bien; et quand il ne m'en aviendra rien de
mieux, j'en accuserai plutot mon malheur que le defaut de sa bonne
volont. Aussi suis-je si accoustum travailler
beaucoup, et profiter peu, que j'en ay acquis une habitude qui me rend plus
capable de souffrir patiemment la rudesse de cette mauvaise Fortune, sans m'en
plaindre, ni murmurer."
It is said that H. [Henri] 4.
altho he honoured
Jeannin with his Confidence and Trusts, yet recompensed him
very ill, notwithstanding the magnificent Rewards he gave to
Sully, whose Modesty, and Delicacy did not hinder him from
asking for them.
1779, FRYDAY JULY
We are not yet arrived to the
Banc of St. George. [illegible] Calms, contrary
Winds and every [illegible] &c. detain Us. Saw a
Whale spouting and blowing and leaping to day in our
Wake -- a Grampus they say.
1779 JULY 31 SATURDAY.
Found Bottom this Morning on
St. Georges Banc. The Weather, the Wind, the Discovery of our
Longitude, give Us all, fine Spirits this Morning. The Wind is as good as We
could wish it. We are now about to pass the Day and Night of greatest Danger.
By the present Appearances, We are highly favoured.
But Appearances are often deceitful.
At the Moment I am writing a thick fog comes up, on all Sides, as if
directed specially to conceal ing us from our
I am not so presumptuous as to flatter myself that these happy Circumstances
are all ordered for the Preservation of this Frigate, but not to remark them
would be Stupidity, not to rejoice in them would be Ingratitude.
If We should be prospered so much as to arrive well, what News shall We find
public or private? We may find Dissappointments on Shore. -- But our Minds should
be prepared for all.
Pages 68 - 80
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[Pages 72 - 73 are uncut.]
Inside Back Cover
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