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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0092

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

[May 29. Fryday. 1778.]

When I dined again at Monsieur La Frétes at the foot of Calvare. And, We saw a great Rarity in France, Madam { 120 } La Frete had four Sisters who dined with Us. Monsieur Rulier [Rulhière] who had always dined with Us at that House, the same Gentleman who wrote the History of the Revolution in Russia, and who also had written an History of the revolutions in Poland, dined there to day. He offered me the reading of these Histories. I asked him who was the best Historian of France, he said Mezeray: and added that the Observations upon the History of France by the Abby de Mably were excellent.
The Disposition of the People of this Country for Amusements, and the Apparatus for them, was remarkable in this House, as indeed it was in every genteel House that I had seen in France. Every fashionable House had compleat Setts of Accommodations for Play, a Billiard Table, a Bacgammon Table, a Chesboard, a Chequer Board, Cards, and twenty other Sorts of Games, that I have forgotten. I often asked myself how this rage for Amusements of every kind, and this disinclination to serious Business, would answer in our republican Governments in America. It seemed to me that every Thing must run to ruin.

Docno: ADMS-01-04-02-0001-0093

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-05-30

[May 30. Saturday 1778.]

Dr. Franklin, who had no Business to do, or who at least would do none, and who had Mr. William Temple Franklin for his private Secretary, without consulting his Colleagues and indeed without saying a Word to me, who lived in the same house with him and had no private Secretary, though I had all the Business to do, thought fit to take into the Family a French private Secretary, a young Man of civil deportment however and good Understanding. He had some Knowledge of the Italian, German and English Languages. For what reason or for what Purpose he was introduced I never knew. Whether it was to be a Spy upon me, or whether Franklin was persuaded by some of his French Friends to give him Employment, or whether it was to save Mr. William Temple the trouble of Copying the Letters when I had written them, I gave myself no trouble to enquire. I thought his Salary and his Keeping an unnecessary expence. The young Man however continued with Us, as long as I remained at Passi, and conducted himself with propriety. This day I dined at home, with this young Gentleman only. Having some Inclination to look a little into the Italian Language, I asked him which was the best Dictionary and Grammar of it. He said those of Veneroni: and the best Dictionary and Grammar of the German, were those of Gottshed. I asked many questions about French books, and particularly enquired about their Prosody, as I wished to understand something of their Versification. He said the best Treatise of French Prosody was The Poetique Francoise of Mr. Marmontell.
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