April 3, 1778
and who cared not half so much for Us, as they did for their flocks and herds. The Inhumanity too, with which they conducted the War, betrayed such a Contempt of Us and [as] human Nature could not endure. Not only hiring European Mercenaries, but instigating Indians and corrupting Domesticks as if We were fit for nothing but to be cutt to Pieces by Savages and Negroes. Americans would not submit to these Things, merely from Prophecies and precarious Speculations about the Protestant Interest and the ballance of Power in Europe. This Conversation was extended into a much wider field of discussion and was maintained on both Sides with entire civility and good humour, till I took leave of Mr. Le Texier and retired to my Lodgings. Twenty months afterwards passing through Bourdeaux in my journey from Ferrol to Paris, Mr. Le Texier called upon me again And I found was still embarrassed with the same Prejudices and Scruples. But as I had not time to enlarge I only said I was surprized to find him still think it possible that We should ever come under the Government of England again when the Affections of the People were entirely alienated from it and We had pledged our Faith to France to maintain our Independence, an Engagement that would be sacredly fullfilled.
During my Delay at Bourdeaux, Mr. McCrery informed me in Confidence, that he had lately come from Paris where he had been sorry to perceive a dryness between the American Ministers Franklin, Deane and Lee. Mr. McCrery was very cautious and prudent but he gave me fully to Understand that the animosity was very rancorous, and had divided all the Americans and all the french People connected with Americans or American Affairs into Parties very bitter against each other. This Information gave me much disquietude as it opened a prospect of perplexities to me that I supposed must be very disagreable. Mr. Lee, Mr. Izard, Dr. Bancroft and others whom Mr. McCrery named, were entire Strangers to me, but by reputation. With Dr. Franklin I had served one Year and more in Congress.Mr. Williams I had known in Boston. The French Gentlemen were altogether unknown to me. I determined to be cautious and impartial, knowing however very well the difficulty and the danger of Acting an honest and upright Part in all such Situations.
April 4. Saturday. 1778.
About ten O Clock We commenced our Journey to Paris and went about fifty miles. Mr. Vernon chose to remain at Bourdeaux.
April 5. Sunday. 1778.
Proceeded on our Journey more than an hundred Miles.
Mor April 6. Monday 1778.
Arrived at Poictiers, the City so famous for the Battle which was fought here. It is a beautiful Situation, and the Cultivation of the plains about it, appeared to me exquisite. The Houses were old and poor and the Streets very narrow. In the afternoon passed through Chattellerault, another City nearly as large as Poictiers, and as old and the Streets as narrow. When We stopped at the Post, to change our Horses, about twenty young Women came about the Carriage with their elegant Knives, Scissors &c., to sell. The Sc ne was new to me and highly diverting. Their Eagerness to sell a Knife, was as great as I had seen before and have seen since in other Countries to obtain Offices. We arrived in the Evening at Orms, the magnificent Seat of the Marquiss D'Argenson. It is needless to make particular remarks upon this Country. Every Part of it is cultivated. The Fields of Grain, the Vineyards, the Castles, the Cities, the Parks, the Gardens, must be seen to be known. Every Thing is beautiful, yet except the Parks there is a great Scarcity of Trees. A Country of Vinyards without Trees, has to me always an Appearance of poverty: and every place swarms with Beggars, the Reason of which I suppose is because the Poor depend upon private Charity for Support, instead of being provided for by Parishes as in England or Towns in America.
April 7. Tuesday 1778.
We travelled from Les Ormes, the splendid Seat of the Marquis D'Argenson, to Mer. We passed through [illegible] Tours, Amboise and several small Villages. Tours was the most elegant Place We had yet seen. It stands on the River Loire which passes through Nantes to the Sea. We rode upon a Causey made in the River Loire, for many miles. The Meadows and River Banks were very beautifull.
April 8th. Wednesday 1778.
We rode through Orleans, and arrived at Paris about nine O Clock. For thirty miles from Paris the Road was paved and the Sc nes were delightfull.
On our Arrival at a certain Barrier We were stopped and searched and paid the Duties for about twenty five Bottles, of Wine which were left, of the
generous present of Mr. Delap at Bourdeaux. We passed the Bridge over the River Seine, and went through the Louvre. The Streets crouded
with Carriages with a multitude of Servants in Liveries.
At Paris We went to several Hotells which were full; particularly the Hotel D'Artois, and the Hotel Bayonne. We were then advised to the Hotel de Valois, Rue de Richelieu, where We found Entertainment, but We could not have it, without taking all Chambers upon the Floor, which were four in number, very elegant and richly furnished, at the small price of two Crowns and an half a day without any thing to eat or drink. I took the Apartments only for two or three days, and sent for Provisions to the Cooks. Immediately on our Arrival We were called upon for our Names, as We had been at Mrs. Rives's at Bourdeaux. My little Son had sustained this long Journey of nearly five hundred miles, at the rate of an hundred miles a day, with the utmost firmness, as he did our fatiguing and dangerous Voyage.
April 9. Thursday. 1778.
Though the City was very silent and still in the latter part of the night, the Bells, Carriages and Cries in the Street, were noisy enough in the morning.
Went in a Coach to Passy with Dr. Noel and my Son. [We visited] Dr. Franklin with whom I had served the best part of two Years in Congress in great Harmony and Civility, and there had grown up between Us that kind of Friendship, which is commonly felt between two members of the same public Assembly, who meet each other every day not only in public deliberations, but at private Breakfasts, dinners and Suppers, and especially in secret confidential Consultations, and who always agreed in their Opinions and Sentiments of public affairs. This had been the History of my Acquaintance with Franklin and he received me accordingly with great apparent Cordiality.Mr. Deane was gone to Marseilles to embark with D'Estaing for America. Franklin undertook the care of Jesse Deane, as I suppose had been agreed between him and the Childs Father before his departure. And he was soon sent, with my Son and Dr. Franklins Grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, whom as well as William Franklin whom he called his Grandson, the Dr. had brought with him from America, to the Pension of Mr. Le Coeur at Passy.
Dr. Franklin presented to me the Compliments of Mr. Turgot the late
Controuler of the Finances and a very pressing Invitation to dine with him. Though I was not very well accoutered to appear in such Company I was persuaded and concluded to go. I went with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee, and dined with this Ex Minister. The Dutchess
D'Anville, the Mother of the Duke de la Rochefoucault, and twenty others of the Great People of France were there. I thought it odd that the first Lady I should dine with in France should happen to be the Widow
of our Great Ennemy
who commanded a kind of Armada against Us, within my Memory: but I was not the less pleased with her Conversation for that. She appeared to be venerable for her Years, and several of her Observations at Table, full as I thought of bold, masculine and original Sense were translated to me. The House, Gardens, Library, Furniture, and Entertainment of the Table, appeared very magnificent to me, who had yet seen but little of France, and nothing at all of any other part of Europe. Mr. Turgot had the Appearance and deportment of a grave, wise and amiable Man. I was very particularly examined by the Company through my Colleagues and Interpriters Franklin and Lee concerning American Affairs. I should have been much better pleased to have been permitted to remain less conspicuous: but I gave to all their Inquiries the most concise and clear Answer I could and came off, for the first time I thought, well enough. Returned and supped with Franklin on Cheese and Beer.
Dr. Franklin had shewn me the Apartements and Furniture left by Mr. Deane, which were every Way more elegant, than I desired, and comfortable and convenient as I could wish. Although Mr. Deane in Addition to these had a House, furniture and Equipage in Paris, I determined to put my Country to no further expence on my Account but to take my Lodgings under the same Roof with Dr. Franklin and to Use no other Equipage than his, if I could avoid it. This House was called the The Basse Court de Monsieur Le Ray de Chaumont, which was to be sure, not a Title of great Dignity for the Mansion of Ambassadors though they were no more than American Ambassadors. Nevertheless it had been nothing less than the famous Hotel de Vallentinois, with a Motto over the Door Si sta bene, non se move, which I thought a good rule for my Conduct. If you stand well do not move; or stand still.