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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-10

April 10. Fryday.

Dined at Monsr. Brillon's, with many Ladies and Gentlemen...1 Madam Brillon is a Beauty, and a great Mistress of Music, as are her two little Daughters... The Dinner was Luxury as usual—a Cake was brought in, with 3 Flaggs, flying. On one, Pride subdued—on another, Haec Dies, in qua fit Congressus, exultemus et potemus in ea. Supped in the Evening, at Mr. Chamonts.2 In the evening 2 Gentlemen came in, and advised me, to go to Versailles tomorrow. One of them was the Secretary to the late Ambassador in London, the Count De Noailles.3
1. Suspension points, here and below, in MS. The Brillons and particularly Mme. Brillon were among Franklin's most intimate French friends; see Bernard Faÿ, Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times, Boston, 1929, p. 463–468.
2. Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont the elder (1725–1803), capitalist, holder of numerous government sinecures, enthusiast in the American cause, and a heavy speculator in contracts for supplying the Continental army and outfitting American naval vessels. Upon Franklin's arrival in France in Dec. 1776 Chaumont offered him accommodations rent-free at the Hotel de Valentinois, and there Franklin maintained his headquarters until he returned to America in 1785. JA's relations with Chaumont during his shorter stay in Passy were more troubled, as will appear from their correspondence and other evidence. On Chaumont and his family, which was to have continuing connections with America, see John Bigelow's article cited in note on preceding entry, and T. Wood Clarke, Emigré's in the Wilderness, N.Y., 1941, especially chs. 2–3.
3. Emmanuel Marie Louis, Marquis de Noailles (1743–1822), uncle of the Marquise de Lafayette; he had returned from London after notifying the British government of the Franco-American alliance (Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Générale). His secretary in London, previously chargé d'affaires there, was Charles Jean Gamier (1738–1783?), a rather shadowy figure but one who, from several of JA's allusions to him, was regarded as influential in the French foreign office and an expert on British affairs. He was well known to English sympathizers with the American cause, and in 1779 JA thought he would be sent as a successor to Gérard, the first French minister in Philadelphia. See entries of 21 April, 8 May 1778, 9 Feb., 2 July 1779, below; also Doniol, Histoire, 5:658, and references there; R. H. Lee, Arthur Lee, 2:87. (Garnier's forenames and dates have been furnished by the Service des Archives Diplomatiques et de la Documentation, Paris.)

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0003-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1778-04-11

April 11. Saturday.

Went to Versailles, with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee—waited on the Count De Vergennes, the Secretary of foreign Affairs—was politely received.—He hoped I should stay long enough to learn French perfectly—assured me, that every Thing should be done to make France agreable to me—hoped the Treaty would be agreable, and the Alliance lasting.—I told him I thought the Treaty liberal, and generous—and doubted not of its speedy Ratification. I communicated to him the Resolutions of Congress respecting the Suspension of Burgoines Embarkation, which he read through, and pronounced Fort bon.1
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I was then conducted to the Count Maurepas, the Prime Minister, was introduced by Dr. F. as his new Colleague and politely received.
I was then shewn the Palace of Versailles, and happened to be present when the King passed through, to Council. His Majesty seeing my Colleagues, graciously smiled, and passed on. I was then shewn the Galleries, and Royal Apartments, and the K's Bedchamber. The Magnificence of these Scaenes, is immense. The Statues, the Paintings, the every Thing is sublime.
We then returned, went into the City, and dined with the Count []where was the Count De Noailles, his Secretary, and 20 or 30 others, of the Grandees of France. After Dinner, We went in the Coach, to see the Royal Hospital of Invalids, the Chappell of which is immensely grand, in Marble and Paintings and Statuary.
After this We went to the Ecole militaire, went into the Chapell and into the Hall of Council &c. Here We saw the Statues of the great Conde, Turenne, Luxembourg, and Saxe. Returned and drank Tea, at Mm. Brillons, who lent me Voyage picturesque de Paris,2 and entertained Us, again, with her Music, and her agreable Conversation.
1. These resolves, voted 8 Jan. 1778, are in JCC, 10:29–35.
2. [Antoine Nicolas Dezallier d'Argenville,] Voyage pittoresque de Paris, ou indication de tout ce qu'il y a de plus beau dans cette ville, en peinture, sculpture & architecture, par M. D***. JA acquired a copy of the 6th edition of this useful work when he returned to Paris in 1780; it is among his books in the Boston Public Library and has proved useful in annotating his Diary.
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, 2016.