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John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 23 of 37, 19 - 21 May 1778

be speedily done. We have the Honor to be &c.
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
His Excellency Le Compte De Vergennes.
I find this Note of this date, in my book.
Mr. A. returns his respectfull Compliments to Mr. Hyslop, and informs him with much pleasure, that Dr. Chancey and his Family were well, the beginning of February and as he supposes Mr. Hyslops Family likewise, having never heard any thing to the contrary. As to Advice, what Mr. Hyslop had best do, Mr. A. is not able to give any, but wishes Mr. Hyslop to follow his own judgment which is much better. Hopes the Storms will blow over in time, and that he shall have the pleasure of again seeing Mr. Hyslop in fair Weather.
We dined with Mr. De Challut, one of the Farmers General.... We were introduced into the most superb Gallery I had yet seen. The Paintings, Statues, and Curiosities, were as rich and costly as they were innumerable. The Old Marshall Richelieu, and a vast number of other great Company dined with Us. After dinner Mr. De Challt invited Dr. Franklin and me to go to the Opera and take Seats in his Logis, which We did. The Musick and dancing were very fine. The French Opera is a very pleasing Entertainment for a few times. There is every Thing, which can please the Eye or the Ear. But the Words are unintelligible, and if they were not, they are said to be very insignificant. One always wishes in such an Entertainment Amusement to learn something. The Imagination, the Passions and the Understanding have too little Employment in the Opera.
I wrote the following Letter
Your Favour of the 26 of April I duely received, and it is with the utmost pleasure, that I am able to inform you, that an Officer of the name of De Fleury, whom I suppose to be your Son, having never heard of more than one of that name, is in the American Army under General Washington, to whom he has recommended himself, by his signal Valour And Activity upon several Occasions. He has also recommended himself,

so far to Congress, that they have, twice I think, acknowledged his Bravery, by Votes upon their journal, in which they have presented him, with two horses, he having had so many shot under him in Battle. I have not the honor, personally to know this worthy Officer, but I know enough of his fame to felicitate you, Sir, and his Mother, upon the honor of having such a Son, and to wish that his Life and health may be preserved for the Comfort of his Parents and for the honor and Advantage of the two Countries, now so happily united as Friends and Allies, France and the United Statesof America.
I believe, Sir, you may be perfectly easy, about your Sons Subsistance: because his Pay and Appointments, I believe are sufficient to supply all his Wants of that kind. I am, Sir, with much respect your most obedient Servant
John Adams.
A Monsieur De Fleury Conseignieur de la Ville de St. Hippolite.
Dined this day at Mr. Dr. Dubourg's, with a small Company, very handsomely but not amidst those Signs of Wealth and grandeur that I see every where else. I saw, however more of Sentiment, and therefore more of genuine Taste than I had seen in other places where there was ten times the magnificence. Among his Pictures were a devellopement of the Interiour decorations, and of the Paintings on the Cieling of the Gallery of Versailles. The Physician Erasistratus discovering the Love of Antiochus. The Continence of Scipio. The Adieus of Hector and Andromache, in which the Passions were so strongly marked that I must have been made of Marble, not to have felt them and been melted by them. I had not forgotten Adieus, as tender and affecting as those of any Hector or Andromache that ever existed, with this difference, that there were four Astyanaxes instead of one in the Scene. With Feelings too exquisite to produce tears or Words, I gazed in Silence at every Line, at every light and shade of this Picture, and could scarcely forgive Homer for introducing the Gleam of the Helmet and its Effect upon Astyanax, or any circumstance which could excite a Smile and diminish the Pathetic of the Interview.
After dinner We went and drank Tea, with Madame Foucault, and took a view of Mr. Foucaults House. A very grand Hotel it was, or at least appeared so to me. The Furniture, the Beds, the Curtains, the every Thing was as rich as Silk and Gold could make it.... But I was wearied to death with gazing wherever I went, at a profusion of unmeaning Wealth and Magnificence. The Adieus of Hector and Andromache, had attracted my

Attention and given me more pleasure melancholly as it was, than the sight of all the Gold of Ophir could.... Gold, Marble, Silk, Velvet, Silver, Ivory and Alabaster, made up the Show every where.
I shall make no Scruple to violate my own rule of Criticism, by introducing on the same page with Hector and Andromache, a Story of Franklins which he gave Us in the same day. Franklin delighted in New Gate Anecdotes and he told us one of a Taylor who stole a horse, was detected and committed to New Gate, where he met another Felon, who had long followed the Trade of Horse Stealing. The Taylor told the other his Story to the other who enquired, why he had not taken such a road, and assumed such a disguise and why he had not disguised the Horse? I did not think of it. Did not think of it? Who are You? and what has been your Employment? A Taylor.... You never stole a Horse before I suppose in your Life? Never.... [line] What Business had you with Horse Stealing? Why did not you content yourself with your Cabbage?
Dined at Home The disputes between the Parties had by this time become so well known to me, and their violence had arisen to such rancour, that what ever was done or said by Dr. Franklin or by me, when I agreed with him in Opinion was censured and often misrepresented by one Party, and whatever was done or said by Mr. Lee or Mr Izzard, and by me when I thought they were in the right was at least equally censured and misrepresented by the other. I was so thoughrougly disgusted with the Service and so fully convinced, that our whole System was wrong and that ruin to our Affairs abroad and great danger and confusion in those at home, must be the Consequence of it, that I thought it my indispensable duty to represent my Ideas in America. To Congress I had no justification to write but in conjunction with my Colleagues. It was impossible that We could agree in any thing, I therefore determined to write to a confidential Friend in Congress, who I knew would communicate it to others, who might make such Use of it as the public good might require. I accordingly wrote to Mr. Samuel Adams as follows.
My dear Sir
I have never yet paid my respects to you, since my Arrival in Europe, for which seeming Neglect of Duty, the total Novelty of the Sc nes about me, and the incessant Avocations of Business and Ceremony

and Pleasure, for this last I find in Europe, makes an essential part of both the other two, must plead my excuse.
The Situation of the general Affairs of Europe, is still critical and of dubious Tendency. It is still uncertain, whether there will be War, between the Turks and Russians; between the Emperor and the King of Prussia; and indeed between England and France, in the Opinion of many People; my own Conjecture however is, that a War will commence and that soon.
Before this reaches you, you will be informed, that a strong Squadron of thirteen Capital Ships and several Frigates, has sailed from Toulon, and that another Squadron is ordered to sail from Spithead. Whatever I may have heard of the destination of the first, I am not at Liberty to mention it. We have yet no intelligence that the latter has sailed.
Chatham the great is no more: but there is so much of his wild Spirit in his last Speech, yet left in the Nation, that I have no doubt but Administration will put all to the hazard.
We are happy to hear, by the Frigate Le Sensible, which has returned to Brest, that the Treaty arrived safe at Casco Bay. We hope to have the earliest Intelligence of the ratification of it.... The Commissioners from England, who sailed about the twenty second of April, will meet as We suppose with nothing but ridicule.
Prussia is yet upon the reserve concerning America, or rather, forgetting his Promise has determined not to acknowledge our Independance, at present. His Reason is obvious. He wants the Aid of those very German Princes who are most subservient to Great Britain, who have furnished her with Troops to carry on the War against Us, and therefore he does not choose to offend them by an Alliance with Us, at present.Spain is on the reserve too: but there is not the least doubt entertained here, of her intentions to support America. In Holland there is more Friendship for Us, than I was aware before I came here. At least, they will take no part against Us.
Our Affairs in this Kingdom, I find in a State of confusion and darkness, that surprizes me. Prodigious Sums of money have been expended and large Sums are yet due. But there are no Books of Account, or any Documents, from whence I have been able to learn what the United States have received as an Equivalent.
There is one Subject, which lies heavily on my Mind, and that is the expence of the Commissioners. You have three Commissioners at this Court, each of whom lives at an Expence of at least Three thousand Pounds Sterling a Year, I fear at a greater Expence. Few Men in this World are capable of living at a less Expence, than I am.

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 23 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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