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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


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.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-19

Ap. 19. Dimanche.

Dined at home, with Mr. Grand our Banker, his Lady, Daughter and Sons,1 Mr. Austin, Mr. Chaumont, and a great deal of other Company.
Mr. David Hartley, a Member of the B[ritish] House of Commons came to visit Dr. F., a Mr. Hammond with him.2
Went with Mr. Chaumont in his Carriage to the Concert Spirituel. A vast Croud of Company of both Sexes, a great Number of Instruments. A Gentleman sung and then a young Lady.3
1. The Grands, originally a Swiss family, were bankers in Paris and Amsterdam. In his Autobiography under the present date JA says that it was through the influence of Vergennes, Sartine, and Chaumont that Ferdinand Grand of Paris “obtained the Reputation and Emoluments of being the Banker to the American Ministers.” The Grands had a country seat near the Hotael de Valentinois in Passy and were hospitable to JA and particularly kind to JQA .
2. David Hartley the younger (1732–1813), M.P. for Hull, was acting as an unofficial agent for Lord North; he had known Franklin intimately in England and was a tireless opponent of the American war, in Parliament and out ( DNB ). In his Autobiography under this date JA gives an unfavorable view of “This mysterious Visit” to Passy by the two Englishmen, the other of whom was William Hammond, father of George Hammond, later to be the first British minister to the United States. In 1783 Hartley was appointed by the Fox-North Coalition commissioner to negotiate and sign the Definitive Treaty; see entry of 27 April 1783 and notes, below.
3. For an account of the concerts spirituels see Thiéry, Almanach du voyageur à Paris , 1784, p. 212.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-20

Ap. 20. Lundi.

My Son has been with me since Saturday.—The Concert Spirituel is in the Royal Garden, where was an infinite Number of Gentlemen and Ladies walking.
{ 304 }
Dined with the Dutchess D'Anville, at her House with her Daughter and Granddaughter, Dukes, Abbotts, &c. &c. &c.1
Visited Mr. Lloyd and his Lady, where We saw Mr. Digges.2
1. Including the philosopher Condorcet; see JA 's Autobiography under this date.
2. Thomas Digges (1742–1821) of Maryland, prior to the Revolution London agent for various shipping firms and afterward one of those colonial residents in London who worked, in greater or lesser measure, for the American cause. His recent arrival in Paris was for the purpose of presenting to the Commissioners David Hartley's five point proposal for a peace conference. See William Bell Clark, “In Defense of Thomas Digges,” PMHB , 77:381–438 (Oct. 1953), for a partial restoration of Digges' somewhat tarnished character. Among the eleven known pseudonyms used by Digges in his voluminous correspondence with JA were such diverse signatures as William Singleton Church, Alexr. Hamilton, T. Dundas, Wm. Fitzpatrick, and Timothy D. Ross.