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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-13

1778. Monday. April 13.

This Morning the Dutchess Dayen, and M. le Marquise De Fayette,1 came to visit me, and enquire after the Marquise [Marquis].
Went to Versailles, was introduced, to the Levee of Mr. de Sartine, the Minister. A vast Number of Gentlemen were attending in one Room after another, and We found the Minister at last, entrenched as deep as We had formerly seen the Count Maurepas. The Minister politely received Us, and shewed Us, into his Cabinet, where were all the Books and Papers of his office.—After he had finished the Business of his Levee, he came into the Cabinet to Us, and asked whether I spoke French, and whether I understood French? The Answer was, un Peu, and Si on parle lentement, ou doucement.2 He then made an Apology, to each of Us seperately, in the Name of his Lady, for her Absence, being gone into Paris to see a sick Relation. After this We were conducted down to dinner, which was as splendid as usual. All Elegance and Magnificence, a large Company, four Ladies only...3 During Dinner Time many Gentlemen came in, and walked the Room, and leaned over the Chairs of the Ladies and Gentlemen, and conversed with them while at Table. After Dinner the Company all arose as usual, went into another Room, where a great { 301 } Additional Number of Gentlemen came in.—After some Time We came off, and went to make a Visit to Madam Maurepas, the Lady of the Prime Minister, but she was out and We left a Card. We then went to the office of the Secretary4 of Mr. Vergennes and delivered him a Copy of my Commission—then went and made a Visit to Madam Vergennes, who had her Levee, and returned to Passi.
1. The Duchesse d'Ayen and her daughter, Adrienne de Noailles, Marquise de Lafayette.
2. According to JA 's Autobiography under this date, the answer was made by Franklin.
3. Suspension points in MS .
4. Joseph Mathias Gerard de Rayneval (1746–1812), usually called Rayneval by JA , brother of Conrad Alexandre Gerard (1729–1779), the first French minister to the United States. The younger brother had just succeeded the elder as premier commis or secretary in the French foreign office, a circumstance that has led to their often being confused with each other. See Despatches and Instructions of Conrad Alexandre Gerard, ed. John J. Meng, Baltimore, 1939, p. 35, note, and passim.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-14

Avril 14. Mardi.

Yesterday Morning sent for the Master of the Accademy in this Place, who came and shewed me his Conditions. [He] agreed to take my Son: who accordingly packed up his Things and went to School, much pleased with his Prospect because he understood that Rewards were given to the best Schollars, which he said was an Encouragement. Dancing, Fencing, Musick, and Drawing, are taught at this School, as well as French and Latin.1
1. In a letter to his “Hond. Mamma,” 20 April (Adams Papers), JQA described the regimen of M. Le Coeur's private boarding school. Among his American schoolmates were Jesse Deane, “Benny” Bache (Franklin's grandson), and Charles B. Cochran, the last of whom wrote JQA from Charleston, S.C., 5 June 1809, in a reminiscent vein about their school “Sur La Montagne de Créve-Coeur” (Adams Papers). JQA replied from Ghent, 18 July 1814, with his recollections ( RC , privately owned, printed in AHR , 15:572–574 [April 1910]).

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-15

Avril 15. Mecredi.

Went Yesterday to return the Visits, made me by American Gentlemen.
Dined this Day, with Madam Helvetius, one Gentleman, one Lady, Dr. F., his G. Son1 and myself made the Company—an elegant Dinner. Mm. is a Widow—her Husband was a Man of Learning and wrote several Books. She has erected a Monument to her Husband, a Model of which she has. It is herself, weeping over his Tomb, with this Inscription. Toi dont L'Ame sublime et tendre, a fait ma Gloire, et mon Bonheur, J t'ai perdu: pres de ta Cendre, Je viens jouer de ma Douleur.
Here I saw a little Book of Fenelons, which I never saw before— { 302 } Directions pour la Conscience D'une Roi, composees pour l'lnstruction du Louis de France, Due de Bourgogne.
At Mm. Helvetius's, We had Grapes, preserved entire. I asked how? She said “Sans Air.”—Apples, Pairs &c. are preserved here in great Perfection.
1. William Temple Franklin (1762–1823), natural son of Benjamin Franklin's natural son William (Franklin, Papers, ed. Labaree and Bell, 1:lxii–lxiii). Temple, as he was usually called, was serving as his grandfather's secretary.