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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-03-09

March 9. 1783 Sunday.

Mercure de France 1. Feb. 1783, p. 26
Academie Royale de Musique.
Lorsqu'un homme entre dans la carriere des Arts, n'ayant pour { 111 } guide et pour Appui que son Genie; lorsque L'Intrigue et la Charlatanerie, ces deux grandes Ressources des petits talens, lui sont etrangéres, il doit s'attendre á être long tems persecuté, méconnu, arrêté á chaque pas. Mais qu'il ne perde point courage; tous les Obstacles s'applanissent peu-a-peu devant lui; ses Ennemis se lassent ou deviennent odieux et suspects; et le public, éclairé par ces memes productions qu'il n'avoit pas d'abord appreciees, rend enfin Justice à leur Auteur.
Il est vrai qu'un Artiste qui se presente apres vingt-cinq ans de gloire et de Succès ne devroit pas eprouver les mêmes degouts; son nom fameux dans l'Empire des Arts, paroitroit fait pour en imposer à ses dètracteurs; mais si dans le nouveau pays ou il arrive, son Art est encore ignoré; s'il y règne un faux Savoir, pire que L'lgnorance; si Ton y a la manie des Preferences, des Preferences exclusives, et que Ton ait deja choisi l'Objet de ces Preferences, son nom lui devient inutile ou meme dangereux; et la Reputation qui le précède, en éveillant l'Envie, n'est pour lui qu'un Obstacle de plus.
On se rappelle aujourd hui, avec une espece de honte, les excès où Ton se porta d'abord contre l'Auteur de Roland. Les quolibets, les plattes Epigrammes, les comparaisons injurieuses, rien ne fut épargné.
Mr. Picini [Piccinni] is the Author of Roland.
In this Country, the Demon of Monarchy haunts all the Scaenes of Life. It appears in every Conversation, at every Table and upon every Theatre. This People can attend to no more than one Person at a Time. They can esteem but one, and to that one their Homage is Adulation and Idolatry.
I once heard the Baron Van der Capellen de Poll say that the Daemon of Aristocracy appeared every where in that Republick. That he had collected together a Number of Merchants to sign a Requête. They agreed upon the Measure but insisted upon appointing a Committee to sign it. Many of them declared they would not sign it, with a Crowd, avec une foule.
Thus it is that the human Mind contracts habits of thinking from the Example of the Gouvernment. Accustomed to look up to a few as all in an Aristocracy, they imitate the same practice in private Life, and in common Things. Accustomed in monarchies to look up to one Man in great Affairs, they contract a similar disposition in little ones.
In the same manner in Democracies We contract an habit of de• { 112 } ciding every Thing by a Majority of Votes. We put it to vote whether the Company will sing a Song or tell a Story. In an Aristocracy they ask 2 or 3 of the better Sort. In a Monarchy they ask the Lady or the Gentleman, in whose honour the feast was made.
I dined with the Comte de Pilo, under the Incognito name of Mr. D'Olavide, heretofore Intendant of Seville who established the Colony of Sierra Morena in Spain, Mr. Boystel Consul General of France in Spain, the Comte de Jaucourt Marechal de Camp, the C. de Lusignem M. de Camp and the C. de Langeron M. de Camp, Commandant a Brest, at C. Sarsefields.
Ephemerides du Cytoyen par L'Abbe Baudau.
Memoire sur les Administrations provincials par Mr. Throne.
Dialogue sur les Bleds par L'Abbe Galliany.1
1. These are books JA purchased or intended to purchase. The Ephémérides du citoyen was a French periodical devoted to the ideas of the Physiocrats, of which scattered volumes are among JA 's books in the Boston Public Library; he also obtained a copy of G. F. Le Trosne's tract, De l'administration provinciale, et de la réforme de l'impôt, Basle, 1779 ( Catalogue of JA 's Library , p. 84, 144). But no copy of Ferdinand Galiani's Dialogues sur les blés, 1770, has been found among his books.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-04-27

1783 Paris April 27. 1783.

Mr. Hartley met Mr. Franklin, Laurens, Jay and me, at my Lodgings, and shewed Us an Instruction under the Kings Privy Seal, and signed George Rex, in which his Majesty recites that he had appointed Mr. Hartley his Minister Plenipotentiary to treat with Us &c.1
The American Ministers unanimously required a Commission under the great Seal, and promising to ratify what he should do.—Mr. Hartley was chagrin'd.2
Much Conversation passed, which might as well have been spared. Mr. Hartley was as copious as usual. I called on Mr. Jay in the Evening and We agreed to meet at my House next Morning at 10.
1. The weeks that followed the signing of the provisional treaties between Great Britain and France, and Great Britain and Spain, made “a very dull Pause,” as JA wrote Arthur Lee (12 April, Adams Papers), during which JA worried about his health and in long letters to intimate correspondents poured out his suspicions of “French and Franklinian Politicks” (to AA , 16 April, Adams Papers). After what seemed interminable delays the Coalition government of Fox and North was at length formed, and on 18 April David Hartley received his instructions, as successor to Richard Oswald, to treat with the American Commissioners for a definitive peace settlement. Hartley, an old friend of Franklin's whom JA had first encountered, without being favorably impressed, five years earlier (see 19 April 1778, above), arrived in Paris on 24 April. JA was to change his estimate { 113 } of Hartley and eventually to recognize his intense sincerity in endeavoring to obtain a liberal settlement, especially in respect to trade relations, but the negotiations in Paris from April to September proved perfectly fruitless. They are well summarized in a single sentence in the Commissioners' letter to Pres. Boudinot of Congress, 10 Sept. 1783: “We had many conferences and received long memorials from Mr. Hartley on the subject [of new commercial regulations]; but his zeal for systems friendly to us constantly exceeded his authority to concert and agree to them” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 6:688). The best secondary account of this negotiation, which has been little studied but was not unimportant in spite of its failure, is in George H. Guttridge, David Hartley, M.P., an Advocate of Conciliation, Berkeley, 1926, ch. 4. There is need for a more detailed and comprehensive study.
2. For Hartley's new commission see entries of 19, 22 May, below.