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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


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.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-16

April 16. Jeudi.

Dr. F. is reported to speak French very well, but I find upon attending to him that he does not speak it Grammatically, and indeed upon enquiring, he confesses that he is wholly inattentive to the Grammar. His Pronunciation too, upon which the French Gentlemen and Ladies compliment him, and which he seems to think is pretty well, I am sure is very far from being exact.
Indeed Dr. Franklin's Knowledge of French, at least his Faculty of speaking it, may be said to have begun with his Embassy to this Court. ...1 He told me that when he was in France before, Sir John Pringle was with him, and did all his Conversation for him as Interpreter, and that he understood and spoke French with great Difficulty, untill he came here last, altho he read it.
Dined, at Mr. La Fretés. The Magnificence of the House, Garden and Furniture is astonishing. Saw here an History of the Revolution in Russia in the Year 1762.2
This Family are fond of Paintings. They have a Variety of exquisite Pieces, particularly a Storm and a Calm.3
1. Suspension points in MS .
2. See entry of 29 May, below.
3. This dinner party at Suresnes is described much more fully in JA 's Autobiography under this date.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-17

April 17. Vendredi.

Dined at home with Company—Mr. Platt and his Lady—Mr. Amiel and his Lady—Mr. Austin—Mr. Alexander &c.
After Dinner, went to the long Champ, where all the Carriages in Paris were paraded which it seems is a Custom on good Fryday.1
1. See, further, JA 's Autobiography under the present date.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-18

1778 April 18. Samedi.

This Morning the Father of General Conway came to visit me, and { 303 } enquire after his Son as well as American Affairs. He seems a venerable Personage.
Dined at Mr. Bouffets, who speaks a little English. Mr. Bouffetts Brother, Mr. Veillard, M. Le Fevre, L'Abbe des Prades, Mr. Borry, &c. were there.
Called and drank Tea at Mm. Brillons. Then made a Visit to M. Boullainvilliers, and his Lady, who is a kind of Lord of the Manor of Passi, and is just now come out to his Country Seat.1
1. “Le Château de M. le Marquis de Boulainviller, Prévôt de Paris, est la premiere maison considerable qui se trouve sur le chemin de Versailles” (Dezallier, Environs de Paris , p. 14, followed by a detailed description). The Boulainvilliers were close neighbors of the American Commissioners; see plan of “Franklin's Passy” in Bernard Faÿ, Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times, Boston, 1929, facing p. 452.