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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0004-0025

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-26

May 26. Tuesday.

Dined at Mr. Bertins the Secretary of State at his Seat in the Country. Dr. F., his G. Son and I rode with Mm. Bertin, the Niece of the { 315 } Minister, in her Voiture with 4 Horses. This was one of the pleasantest Rides yet. We rode near the back side of Mount Calvare, which is perhaps the finest Height near Paris. Mount Martre is another very fine Elevation. The Gardens, Walks and Water Works of Mr. Bertin are very magnificent. He is a Batchelor. His House and Gardens are situated upon the River Seine. He has at the End of his Garden a Collection of Rocks, drawn together at a vast Expense, some Thousands of Guineas. I told him I would sell him a Thousand times as many for half a Guinea.
His Water Works are very curious. 4 Pumps, going by Means of two Horses. The Mechanism is simple and ingenious. The Horses go round as in a Mill. The four Pumps empty themselves into a square Pond which contains an Acre. From this Pond the Water flows through Pipes down to every Part of the Garden.
I enquired of a certain Abbe, who sat next me at Dinner, who were the purest Writers of french. He gave me in writing, L'Histoire universell du Bossuet. La Fontaine. Moliere. Racine. Rousseau. Le petit caerene [carême] de Massillon. Les sermons de Bourdaloue.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0004-0026

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-29

1778. May 29. Fryday.

Dined again at Monsieur La Fretes at the Foot of Calvare. Madam La Fretes four Sisters dined with Us.
Monsr. Rulier [Rulhière], who has always dined with me at that House, dined there to day—the same Gentleman who wrote the History of the Revolution in Russia. He has also written the Revolutions of Poland. I asked him who was the best Historian of France. He said Mezeray. He added, that the Observations upon the History of France by the Abby de Mably were excellent.1 He told me I might read his History of the Revolution in Russia, when I would.
The Inclination and the Apparatus in this Country for Amusements is worthy of observation. There is scarcely a genteel House but is furnished with Accommodations for every Sort of Play. Every fashionable House at least has a Billiard Table, a Backgammon Table, a Chess Board, a Chequer Board, Cards &c.
1. Gabriel Bonnot, Abbé de Mably (1709–1785), historian and philosopher, with whom the Adams family were to become very friendly later and whose Observations sur le gouvernement et les loix des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, Amsterdam, 1784, was addressed to JA . For an account of Mably's career and for JA 's marginalia in his De la législation, ou principes des loix, Amsterdam, 1776, see Haraszti, JA and the Prophets of Progress , ch. 7, “The Communism of the Abbé de Mably.” See, further, entry of 5 Jan. 1783 and note, below.
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