Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1




 JQA's account of Beaumarchais' outspoken attack is essentially correct. On reading Le mariage de Figaro, Louis XVI determined never to allow it to be played, but was forced by court pressure and by the persuasion of his wife, Marie Antoinette, to allow a private performance in Sept. 1783. This was followed a year later with a public production, which proved an instant success, especially effective in its assault upon the ancien régime and the censorship of the press. Beaumarchais' replies to his critics at this time offended a prince of the blood, who asked Louis to arrest him. Finally, after public outrage, the French playwright was released from St. Lazare on 15 March (Larousse, Grand dictionnaire universel ; entry for 15 March, below). On 16 April JQA bought a copy of Beaumarchais' play (n.p., 1785), which is now in the JQA pamphlet collection at MBAt.