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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


This note contained in document ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0005-0004
4. Guy Claude, Comte de Sarsfield (1718–1789), a French military officer of Irish antecedents (Dict. de la noblesse, 18:292; Edward MacLysaght, Irish Families, Dublin, 1957, p. 261–262; Ann. Register for 1789, p. 210). His seat was at Rennes, Brittany, but having gregarious habits he lived much in Paris and later sought out JA's company at The Hague and in London. He had a special fondness for Americans, entertained and corresponded with all those of any prominence who came to Europe, and apparently visited America after the Revolution. In the Adams Papers, besides a long series of letters from Sarsfield, 1778–1789, there is a book-length set of MS essays by him in French on the government and economy of the United Provinces, on Women, Slavery, and other topics, indicating that he had aspirations as a philosophe. (These are tentatively dated 1782–1783.) Long extracts from Sarsfield's journal in the Low Countries were copied by JA into his own Diary under date of 10 Oct. 1782, q.v. From London, 6 Sept. 1785, JA wrote Arthur Lee that Sarsfield was there and leading “the Life of a Peripatetic Philosopher.... He ... is the Happyest Man I know.... If a Man was born for himself alone, I would take him for a Model” (Adams Papers; R. H. Lee, Arthur Lee, 2:255). And to Sarsfield himself, 21 Jan. 1786, JA wrote:
“Among all my acquaintance I know not a greater Rider of Hobby Horses than Count Sarsfield—one of your Hobby Horses is to assemble uncommon Characters. I have dined with you 2 or 3. times at your House in Company with the oddest Collections of Personages that were ever put together. I am thinking if you were here, I would Invite you to a dinner to your taste. I would ask King Paoli, King Brant, Le Chevalier D'Eon, and if you pleased you might have Mr. and Mrs.—— with whom you dined in America. How much speculation would this whimsical association afford you?” (LbC, Adams Papers).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/