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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0006-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-04-23

23d.

In the afternoon I went into Paris. Saw Mr. West and Dr. Ruston who propose going to England, next week. I afterwards went to see for a Cabriolet; I saw several, but they ask 120 livres for the hire of one, from this place to L'Orient. Spent the evening { 255 } with Mr. Jefferson, who is a great admirer of Ossian's poems: which he thinks are indisputably genuine.1
1. The Poems of Ossian, Edinburgh, 1762, were allegedly translated from authentic Gaelic by the Scottish poet James Macpherson. Dr. Samuel Johnson, among others, thought that they were traditional elements blended together and passed off as an ancient poem, a verdict generally agreed upon after Macpherson's death. Jefferson had maintained a strong interest in the work for years (Jefferson, Papers , 1:96–97; 100–102).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0006-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-04-24

24th.

Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Lefevre, came out and dined with us. Mr. Jarvis offers me the carriage they came in from L'Orient: but it is at Versailles.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0006-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-04-25

25th.

The Ladies dined with the Marquis de la Fayette. We went there before dinner. Mr. Williamos tells me the Abbé de Mably is dead. He was very old; not less I think, than 78. Yet although it is probable, that had he lived many years longer, I should not have seen him, above once more, still I was much affected at the news, because he was not only a man of great genius, and learning, but was one of the best men in the world.

A wit's a feather, and a chief's a Rod,

An honest man, is the noblest work of God1

He has written a number of works, that are published, and he has left several to appear after him. 2. vols. of Observations upon the History of France,2 a Treatise, sur le beau, and another on the Course of Passions in Society are ready for the Press.3
We dined at Count Sarsfield's, where there was a small, but chosen Company. He shew us some of the drawings of Countess Spencer,4 which were exceedingly well done. In the evening, we went and took up the Ladies at the Marquis's.
1. “An Essay on Man,” Epistle IV, lines 247–248.
2. Mably's Observations sur l'histoire de France, first published in 2 vols., Geneva, 1765, was continued by Claude Caroloman de Rulhière and published in 4 vols., in Kehl, Germany, 1788.
3. Mably's essays “Du Beau” and “Du Cours et de la march des passions dans la société” both appear in Oeuvres completes . . ., 16 vols., London, 1789–1795.
4. Lavinia Bingham, wife of the second Earl Spencer, was a leader of London society, befriending a large number of eminent men in politics and the arts; she was a painter and etcher (Thieme and Becker, Lexikon ).
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