A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-05-12

Wednesday May 12th.

L[andais] is jealous of every Thing. Jealous of every Body, of all his Officers, all his Passengers. He knows not how to treat his Officers, nor his Passengers nor any Body else.—Silence, Reserve, and a forbidding Air, will never gain the Hearts, neither by Affection nor by Veneration, of our Americans.
There is in this Man an Inactivity and an Indecision that will ruin him. He is bewildered—an Absent bewildered man—an embarrassed Mind.
This Morning he began “You are a great Man but you are deceived. The Officers deceive you! They never do their Duty but when you are { 369 } on deck. They never obey me, but when you are on deck. The Officers were in a Plott vs. me at Boston, and the Navy Board promised to remove them all from the ship and yet afterwards let them all come on Board.”
Conjectures, Jealousies, Suspicions.—I shall grow as jealous as any Body.
I am jealous that my Disappointment is owing to an Intrigue of Jones's. Jones, Chaumont, Franklin concerted the Scheme. Chaumont applied to Mr. De S[artine]. He wrote the Letter.1 If this Suspicion is well founded, I am to be made the Sport of Jones's Ambition to be made a Commodore. Is it possible that I should bear this? Another Suspicion is that this Device was hit upon by Franklin and Chaumont to prevent me from going home, least I should tell some dangerous Truths. Perhaps, Jones's Commodoreship, and my detention might both concur. Can I bear either? It is hard, very hard, but I must bear every Thing. I may as well make a Virtue of Necessity, for I cannot help my self.
Does the old Conjurer dread my Voice in Congress? He has some Reason for he has often heard it there, a Terror to evil doers.
I may be mistaken in these Conjectures, they may be injurious to J. and to F. and therefore I shall not talk about them, but I am determined to put down my Thoughts and see which turns out.
Mr. Chaumont and his son are here and have been 15 days. But no Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor any french Frigate.
It is decreed that I shall endure all Sorts of Mortifications. There is so much Insolence, and Contempt, in the Appearance of this. Do I see that these People despize me, or do I see that they dread me? Can I bear Contempt—to know that I am despized? It is my duty to bear every Thing—that I cannot help.2
As I set in my Quarter Gallery, We are sailing directly into Port Louis, at L'orient, before a fine pleasant Breeze. There is a strong Fortification at the Entrance of this Harbour, at which we were hailed, and asked Whence? Where—Name of Vessell—Captain &c. What an Advantage to Nantes, would such a Port and Harbour as this be?
Went ashore. C. Landais, myself and son, went on Board the poor Richard, saw C. Jones and his officers, Mr. Moylan, Captain Cazneau, Captain Young, &c.
Went to visit Mr. Grondell Commandant des Troupes de Terre, found there Mr. Thevenard, Commandant du Port, Mr. Desaudrèe India Merchant.
{ 370 }
Went then to visit Mr. Le Ray de Chaumont, who has been here 15 days with his son.
Went then to visit Mr. Grandville, Commissaire General du Port. Then to the Commissaire des Classes.
Was very politely received, by all these Gentlemen, and Captn. Landais treated with particular respect.
I spoke very freely to Mr. Chaumont, about my situation—told him, I was ill treated—that I had many Jealousies and Suspicions— that I suspected it was an Intrigue.
1. Sartine's letter to Franklin of 20 April; see entry of 28 April, above. CFA omitted this and the two following paragraphs from his text of JA 's Diary.
2. This paragraph was also omitted by CFA .

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0004-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-05-13

Thursday. May 13th.

Went on Shore and dined with Captain Jones at the Epèe Royal. Mr. Amiel, Mr. Dick, Dr. Brooke, officers of the Poor Richard, Captain Cazneau, Captain Young, Mr. Ingraham, Mr. Blodget, Mr. Glover, Mr. Conant, Messrs. Moylans, Mr. Maese, Mr. Nesbit, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Tayler, made the Company, with Captain Landais, myself and my Son.
An elegant Dinner we had—and all very agreable.
No very instructive Conversation. But we practiced the old American Custom of drinking to each other, which I confess is always agreable to me.
Some hints about Language, and glances about Women, produced this Observation, that there were two Ways of learning french commonly recommended—take a Mistress and go to the Commedie. Dr. Brookes, in high good Humour—Pray Sir, which in your Opinion is the best? Answer in as good Humour—Perhaps both would teach it soonest, to be sure sooner than either. But, continued I, assuming my Gravity, the Language is no where better spoken than at the Comedie. The Pulpit, the Bar, the Accademie of Sciences, and the faculty of Medicine, none of them speak so accurately as the french Comedie.
After Dinner walked out, with C[aptain]s Jones and Landais to see Jones's Marines—dressed in the English Uniform, red and white. A Number of very active and clever Serjeants and Corporals are employed to teach them the Exercise, and Maneuvres and Marches &c. After which Jones came on Board our ship.
This is the most ambitious and intriguing Officer in the American Navy. Jones has Art, and Secrecy, and aspires very high. You see the Character of the Man in his uniform, and that of his officers and { 371 } Marines, variant from the Uniforms established by Congress. Golden Button holes, for himself—two Epauletts—Marines in red and white instead of Green.
Excentricities, and Irregularities are to be expected from him— they are in his Character, they are visible in his Eyes. His Voice is soft and still and small, his Eye has keenness, and Wildness and Softness in it.