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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0005-0009-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-08-23

Aug 23d. Saturday.

This morning I went and paid a visit to the Baron de la Houze the Minister of France at the Court of Denmark, who is here at present by Congé, and whom I had the honour of seeing at Copenhagen. He talked to me a great deal about America. He said he believed that France, England and Holland would carry on the greatest part of our Commerce; that the Nations of the North wanted a number of our Commodities, but had nothing but ready money (and very little of that) to give us in return. He said he believed that the population of America was equal to that of Sweeden and Denmark together; that he had made a Calculation, and that those two Kingdoms did not contain more than four millions of souls, that Denmark would never be more peopled, while the present Constitution lasted, for the whole Nation consisted of the Nobility and the Serfs: and that Nothing could discourage Population more than personal Slavery, that Sweeden it was true was not in that State; that the Peasantry were free, but that both the Population and the Finances of that Country had been exhausted, by the ruinous Wars of Charles the 12th. and their Consequences which were still felt in Sweeden, but that the Commerce of that Kingdom was increasing every day, and that it promised soon to be in a flourishing Condition, and in that Case, the Population would also increase. He then Spoke of the Duties which ships were obliged to pay for the passage of the Sound, he said it was an unjust tribute which all Nations were obliged to pay to Denmark, and it was the fault of the other Nations that suffered it. I asked him, how Denmark came by it, rather than Sweeden, the coasts of which are on the opposite Side. He said that all those coasts belonged formerly to Denmark when this imposition began, by some Dutch Ships having paid voluntarily a duty; and Denmark made herself a right of it, { 187 } and have obliged every ship that passes to pay the duty; and altho' the province of Scania which forms the Coast on the other Side, has been since ceded to Sweeden still Denmark has kept up that right; besides, he said, there was another reason, which was that on the Sweedish side there were several sand banks, and the water was not deep enough for large vessells to pass over, so that they were obliged to pass very near the Danish side. He said it brought the King a revenue of about 6 millions of livres per annum: and that the expences of the fortress &c. mounted to about two millions.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0005-0009-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-08-24


Comédie Italienne voyage de Rosine et Felix ou l'enfant trouvé.1
1. Pierre Antoine Augustin de Piis and Pierre Yves Barré, Les voyages de Rosine, Paris, 1783; Felix, ou l'enfant trouvé, Paris, 1777, by Michel Jean Sedaine, with music by Pierre Alexandre de Monsigny (Brenner, Bibliographical List).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0005-0009-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-08-25


Comédie Italienne le bon ménage, et Blaise et Babet.1 Mr. T——r returned.2
1. Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, Le Bon ménage, ou, la suite des deux billets, Paris, 1783; Blaise et Babet, ou, la suite des trois fermiers, Paris, 1783, by Jacques Marie Boutet de Monvel, with music by Nicolas Dezède (Brenner, Bibliographical List; Larousse, Grand dictionnaire universel).
2. John Thaxter had decided to visit London while JA was away from Paris in Holland and just shortly before his own return to the United States (John Thaxter to John Thaxter Sr., 28 July, MHi:Thaxter Papers; JQA to Samuel Cooper Johonnot, 25 Aug., CtY:Beinecke Library).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0005-0009-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-08-27

Aug. 27th.

This forenoon I went to see the Pictures which are exposed to view in the Gallery of the Louvre; there are some good paintings there amongst a great number of indifferent ones. After dinner I went to see the experiment, of the flying globe. A Mr. Montgolfier1 of late has discovered that, if one fills a ball with inflammable air, much lighter than common air, the ball of itself will go up to an immense height of itself. This was the first publick experiment of it, at Paris. A Subscription was opened some time agone and filled at once for making a globe; it was of taffeta glued together with gum, and lined with parchment: filled with in• { 188 } flammable air: it was of a spherical form; and was 14 foot size in Diameter. It was placed in the Champ de Mars. At 5. o'clock 2. great guns fired from the Ecole Militaire, were the signal given for its going, it rose at once, for some time perpendicular, and then slanted. The weather, was unluckily very Cloudy, so that in less than 2. minutes it was out of sight: it went up very regularly and with a great swiftness. As soon as it was out of sight, 2. more cannon were fired from the Ecole Militaire to announce it. This discovery is a very important one, and if it succeeds it may become very useful to mankind.
1. The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne, had made the first successful unmanned balloon flight on 5 June 1783 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
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, 2018.