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John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 26 of 37, 25 - 29 May 1778

Your favours of the 12 and 17 of May are before Us. They contain Information of an interesting nature, which We shall attend to as soon as Circumstances will admit.
We thank you for the punctuality, with which you, from time to time, furnish us with Intelligence, as it arises in your City; and wish for a continuance of your favours in that Way.
You desire We should write you, that your Bills on Us, will be duely honoured.... We request that you would transmit Us, an Account of your disbursements, and after We shall have received and examined your Accounts, your Bills for the ballance shall be duely honoured.
We must request you, as We do every other American Agent for the future, to transmit Us your Accounts monthly, that We may know the State of our Affairs, and not run deeper in debt, than We shall be able to pay, which there is no small danger of. We have the honour to be, with great respect, Sir &c.
Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
John Bondfield Esq. Bourdeaux.
By these Letters, the Die was cast, and one great Scene of Controversy closed for the present. I had written all of them myself, and produced them to my Colleagues as soon as I could get them together. I was doubtfull whether Mr. Franklin would sign them, but when he saw that Mr. Lee and I would sign them without him, if he refused, he very composed with his habitual Wisdom he very composedly put his Signature to them all. Whether from a conviction in his Conscience, that the decision was right, or from an Apprehension, that upon a representation of it to Congress it would be there approved, or from both these motives together, is none of my concern. The Bruit was however spread, from this time, at Nantes and Brest, and Bourdeaux and elsewhere, that Mr. Adams had joined with Mr. Lee against Dr. Franklin. Hence some of the subsequent Letters to America, that Monsieur Adams n'a pas reussi, ici, que de raison parce qu'il a se joint a Monsieur Lee, contre Monsieur Franklin. I made as great a Sacrifice of my personal Feelings upon this Occasion as Mr. Franklin. Mr. Williams, his Father,Unkle and Cousins I considered as my Friends. Mr. Schweighauser was to me an entire Stranger, but by the Acknowledgment of every Body French, Americans and Dr. Franklin himself, his House was established in Reputation for Integrity, for Capital, for Mercantile Knowledge, and for an entire Affection to the American

cause, being a Protestant and a Swiss, though long established and universally respected in France. Mr. Williams was a young Gentleman, without Capital, and inexperienced in the Commerce of France, and liable to be imposed upon, by french Merchants and Speculators, who might be envious of Mr. Schweighausers Superiority of Wealth and Credit, and who I well knew were looking with longing Eyes to our little deposit of Money in Mr. Grands Bank. But abstracted from all these Considerations Congress and Mr. William Lee had lawfully and regularly settled the question, and I could not reconcile it to public or private Integrity to disturb it.
Dined at the Seat in the Country of Monsieur Bertin, a Secretary of State.Madam Bertin, the Lady of the Ministers Nephew, invited Dr. Franklin, Mr. William Temple Franklin and me to ride with her in her Coach with four Horses, which We did. This was one of the pleasantest rides, I had seen. We rode near the Backside of Mount Calvare, which is the finest Hill near Paris, though Mont Martre is a very fine Elevation. The Gardens, Walks and Waterworks of Mr. Bertin were in a Style of magnificence, like all other Seats of the Gentlemen in this Country. He was a Batchelor. His House and Gardens were situated upon the River Seine. He shewed his Luxury, as he called it, which was a collection of misshapen Rocks, at the End of his Garden, drawn together, from great distances, at an Expence of several Thousands of Guineas. I told him I would sell him a thousand times as many for half a Guinea. His Water Works were curious, four Pumps going by means of two horses. The Mechanism was simple and ingenious. The Horses went round as in a Mill. The four Pumps empty themselves into a square Pond, which contains an Acre. From this Pond the Water flows, through Pipes, down to every Part of the Garden.
I enquired of a certain Ecclesiastick, who sat next to me at dinner, who were the purest Writers of French. He took a Pencil and gave me in Writing, The Universal History of Bossuet, La Fontaine, Moliere, Racine, Rousseau, Le petit C rene [Car me] of Massillon, and the Sermons of Bourdaloue.
I must now, in order to explain and justify my own Conduct give an Account of that of my Colleague Dr. Franklin. It is and always has been with great reluctance, that [I] have felt myself under the Necessity of stating any facts which may diminish the Reputation of this extraordinary

Man, but the Truth is more sacred than any Character, and there is no reason that the Character of Mr. Lee and Mr. Izzard not to mention my own, should be sacrificed in unjust tenderness to that of their Ennemy. My quondam Friend Mrs. Warren is pleased to say that "Mr. Adams was not beloved by his Colleague Dr. Franklin."' To this Accusation I shall make no other Answer at present than this, that "Mr. Deane was beloved by his Colleague Dr. Franklin."
I found that the Business of our Commission would never be done, unless I did it. My two Colleagues would agree in nothing. The Life of Dr. Franklin was a Scene of continual discipation. I could never obtain the favour of his Company in a Morning before Breakfast which would have been the most convenient time to read over the Letters and papers, deliberate on their contents, and decide upon the Substance of the Answers. It was late when he breakfasted, and as soon as Breakfast was over, a crowd of Carriges came to his Levee or if you like the term better to his Lodgings, with all Sorts of People; some Phylosophers, Accademicians and Economists; some of his small tribe of humble friends in the litterary Way whom he employed to translate some of his ancient Compositions, such as his Bonhomme Richard and for what I know his Polly Baker &c.; but by far the greater part were Women and Children, come to have the honour to see the great Franklin, and to have the pleasure of telling Stories about his Simplicity, his bald head and scattering strait hairs, among their Acquaintances. These Visitors occupied all the time, commonly, till it was time to dress to go to Dinner. He was invited to dine abroad every day and never declined unless when We had invited Company to dine with Us. I was always invited with him, till I found it necessary to send Apologies, that I might have some time to study the french Language and do the Business of the mission.Mr. Franklin kept a horn book always in his Pockett in which he minuted all his invitations to dinner, and Mr. Lee said it was the only thing in which he was punctual. It was the Custom in France to dine between one and two O Clock: so that when the time came to dress, it was time for the Voiture to be ready to carry him to dinner. Mr. Lee came daily to my Appartment to attend to Business, but we could rarely obtain the Company of Dr. Franklin for a few minutes, and often when I had drawn the Papers and had them fairly copied for Signature, and Mr. Lee and I had signed them, I was frequently obliged to wait several days, before I could procure the Signature of Dr. Franklin to them. He went according to his Invitation to his Dinner and after that went sometimes to the Play, sometimes to the Philosophers but most commonly to visit those Ladies who were complaisant

enough to depart from the custom of France so far as to procure Setts of Tea Geer as it is called and make Tea for him. Some of these Ladies I knew as Madam Hellvetius, Madam Brillon, Madam Chaumont, Madam Le Roy &c. and others whom I never knew and never enquired for. After Tea the Evening was spent, in hearing the Ladies sing and play upon their Piano Fortes and other instruments of Musick, and in various Games as Cards, Chess, Backgammon, &c. &c. Mr. Franklin I believe however never play'd at any Thing but Chess or Checquers. In these Agreable and important Occupations and Amusements, The Afternoon and Evening was spent, and he came home at all hours from Nine to twelve O Clock at night. This Course of Life contributed to his Pleasure and I believe to his health and Longevity. He was now between Seventy and Eighty and I had so much respect and compassion for his Age, that I should have been happy to have done all the Business or rather all the Drudgery, if I could have been favoured with a few moments in a day to receive his Advice concerning the manner in which it ought to be done. But this condescention was not attainable. All that could be had was his Signature, after it was done, and this it is true he very rarely refused though he sometimes delayed.
From the 26 I remained at home, declining all invitations abroad, arranging the public affairs, and reading french Litterature till
When I dined again at Monsieur La Fret s at the foot of Calvare. And, We saw a great Rarity in France, Madam La Frete had four Sisters who dined with Us. Monsieur Rulier [Rulhi re] 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  [illegible 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.

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 26 of 37 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778. Part 2 is comprised of 37 sheets and 7 insertions; 164 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 4 Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961.
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