Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

Sunday May 1st. 1785.


2d. JQA


2d. Adams, John Quincy

Mr. A and myself went and dined with the Marquis de la Fayette, Comte and Chevalier de la Luzerne, Comte de la Touche, General du Portail:1 A Letter was brought after dinner to my father from Dr. Franklin,2 informing him that Mr. Randall3 arrived from New York in the last Packet, and that he has 260Letters from Mr. Jay for my father.4 We went immediately to the Hôtel d'Orléans Rue St. Anne, and found Mr. Randall out, but he had left the Packets for my father, to be given to him, in case he should call for them. They contained two Vols, of the Journals of Congress, A Commission, Credentials, and Instructions for the Court of St. James's.5 We went to Mr. Jefferson's, and spent an hour there; he has received a Commission for this Court, and the resignation of Dr. Franklin is accepted.6 Congress have resolved to send a Minister to Holland, and one to Spain, but as yet, none is appointed.

We went to see the Abbés de Chalût and Arnoux, and found them in affliction for the Death of their friend the Abbé de Mably. Abbé Chalût has written the following epitaph for him.

D. O. M. Hic jacet Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, Delphinas Juris naturae Indagator audax, felix, indefessus: Dignitatis humani generis labefactatae vindex Rectae rationis assecla tenacissimus Ad Respublicas instituendas, restituendas, stabiliendas Ad Populos sanandos, politiarum errores profligandos Quae indesinenter scripsit Orbis utriusque suffragio, plausu comprobata. Assiduâ historiarum meditatione E variis gentium institutis, moribus, regiminibus Praeteritorum eventuum causas latentes detexit, futuros praenuntiavit. Strictae semper addicta veritati Mens flecti nescia Honores, divitias, omnimoda servitii vincula In re tenui Constanter aspernata est. Vita Innocué elapsâ, avitae religionis cultor sapiens Sacris vitibus accuraté servatis Æquissimo animo Obiit, 23d. die Aprilis 1785, ineunte aetatis anno 770. H. M. Amici moerentes P. C.7

The abbé was a character, that would be uncommon at any 261time, but almost unknown at present in this Kingdom. Every thing that he has left, as I am told will not amount to two hundred louis d'ors. The two abbés his friends are his executors, and he begs of them to accept his library which is composed of about 250 volumes. Of all the Literati in Paris, he owned the least books: but he used to borrow those he wanted; from the bibliotheque du Roi, and made extracts from them: his works are less known than they ought to be, because he was neither an Academician nor a Courtier: But he always maintained the Reputation of a good Man, which is preferable, to any that either Courts or Academies can give. Return'd home at about 10. in the evening.


Louis Le Bègue de Presle Duportail, French military engineer in American service who later became French minister and secretary of state for war (Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles , 1:272–277).


That of 2 May (Adams Papers).


Paul Randolph Randall, a New York lawyer, who later participated in the unsuccessful negotiations with Algiers and other Barbary powers (John Jay to JA, 8 March (bis), Adams Papers; Jefferson, Papers , 8:544, 610–611; 10:649–651).


Jay to JA, 8 March (bis), 15 March, 18 March (Adams Papers).


Jay's letter of 18 March included JA's instructions, dated 7 March; JA's commission, dated 24 Feb., is also among the Adams Papers.


The congress elected Jefferson on 10 March 1785, and Franklin notified Vergennes on 3 May that the congress had permitted him to return ( JCC , 28:134; Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 9:321).


To God the Best and Greatest. Here lies Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, of Dauphiné. A bold enquirer, successful, unwearied, of the Law of Nature: Defender of the damaged integrity of the human race, most tenacious servant of right reason in establishing states, restoring them, stabilizing them, in leading peoples, and casting down the errors of political treatises. What he unceasingly wrote has been approved by the vote and applause of both worlds. By assiduous meditation on history, from the varied institutions of peoples, their customs, their governments, he uncovered the hidden causes of past events, and foretold the future ones. Ever devoted to strict truth, his mind, uninfluenced by his humble estate, constantly spurned honors, wealth, and all sorts of bonds of slavery. After having spent his life doing no harm to anybody, and wisely fostering his ancestral religion, he died with the most tranquil mind on the 23rd day of April 1785, as the seventy-seventh year of his life was beginning. This monument his grieving friends have erected.