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John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 32 of 37, 4 - 9 July 1778

July 4. 1778
This being the Anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence, We had the honour of the Company of all the American Gentlemen and Ladies, in and about Paris, to dine with Dr. Franklin and me, at Passi, together with a few of the French Gentlemen in the Neighbourhood, Mr. Chaumont,Mr. Brillon, Mr. Vaillant, Mr. Grand, Mr. Beaudoin, Mr. Gerard De Rayneval, the Abby's Challut and Arnoud &c. Mr. Izzard and Dr. Franklin were upon such Terms, that Franklin would not have invited him, and I know not that Izzard would have accepted the Invitation if he had. But I said to Mr. Franklin that I would invite him, and I believe Dr. Smith and all the rest that he omitted and bring them all together and compell them if possible to forget their Animosities.Franklin consented, and I sent Cards to them in my name only. The others were invited in the Names of both of Us. The Day was passed joyously enough and no ill humour appeared from any quarter: Afterwards Mr. Izzard said to me, that he thought We should have had some of the Gentlemen of that Country: He would not allow those we had to be the Gentlemen of the Country. They were not Ministers of State, nor Ambassadors, nor Princes, Nor Dukes, nor Peers, nor Marquises, nor Cardinals, nor Archbishops, nor Bishops. But neither our Furniture, nor our Finances would have born Us out in such an Ostentation. We should have made a most ridiculous figure in the Eyes of such Company. Besides the Ministers of State never dine from  [illegible home unless it be with one another at the Castle: And We were not yet acknowledged, as public Ministers, by any Sovereign in Europe, but the King of France: therefore no Ambassador or other public Minister could have accepted our invitation. I know very well that the Company We had and the Society with which Dr. Franklin generally associated were disliked and disapproved by a great Body of the first and soundest People in the Kingdom. Some of them had been "fletris," by a grand Court Martial or Court of Inquiry, who which had been appointed on the Beginning of this Reign, or the latter End of the last consisting of the Marshalls of France whose Report I have read. These great People I now speak of, were, I know, very much disgusted, at our living at Passi and in the house of Mr. Chaumont. But this Step had been taken before my Arrival, and what could We do? The Circle in question, revolved round Mr. De Sartine and the Count de Vergennes, and were countenanced probably by Count Maurepas, whose departure from the first Intention of the present King had disgusted and driven from Court, first Mr. Malesherbes and next Mr. Turgot. I have not at present the Books and Papers, which I have seen and read, and if I had it would be endless as well as useless, to devellope the State of Parties in France at the Close of the Reign of Louis the 15th, and at the Commencement of that of Louis the Sixteenth. By those Revolutions of Parties We were

thrown into the hands of a Sett of People, whose Intrigues, and mercenary Views, involved the first Years and indeed days of the Alliance with Suspicion and Want of confidence. The Persons and Parties are all dead, I believe, and no Man will probably ever look into the Memorials of those times with sufficient care to distinguish the Springs of Action. But I know what I say and I know it was regretted and lamented by many of the greatest and best Men in the Kingdom.
I have neglected to introduce, in the proper time, because I cannot precisely ascertain the Day, an Anecdote which excited my Grief, my Pitty and somewhat I confess of my resentment.Mr. Deane had left orders with Dr. Bancroft to receive and open all Letters which might arrive, addressed to him, after his departure. Among others he brought one to me addressed to Mr. Deane from Mr. Hancock, highly complimentary to Mr. Deane, professing great Friendship and Esteem for Mr. Deane, lamenting his Recall, complaining of the cruel Treatment he had received, and assuring him that it was not Congress that had done it. I pitied the weakness, grieved at the meanness and resented the Malice of this Letter. He had left Congress long before I did. He must have been ignorant of the most urgent motives of Congress to the Measure. He must have been blind not to have seen the egregious faults and Misconduct of Mr. Deane before this. If Congress had not done it, who had done it? Congress was unanimous in his Recall. In short the whole Letter was the Effect of a miserable jealousy and Envy of me. I felt no little Indignation, at the ill will, which had instigated this Persecution against me across the Atlantic, from a Man who had been under great Obligations to me for defending him and his Fortune, and whom I had never injured nor justly offended. The Letter was a fawning flattery of Deane, a Calumny against Congress, and had a tendency to represent me in an unfavourable light in foreign Countries and to embarrass and obstruct me in the discharge of the Duties of my Mission.
Dined with the Abbys De Chaillut and Arnoud. Mr. De Chaillut the Farmer General and Brother of the Abby was there, Mr. and Mrs. Izzard, Mr. Lee, Miss Gibbs and Miss Stevens, and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd. After dinner the Abby invited Us to the French Comedy, where We saw The Malheureux imaginaire, and the Parti de Chasse

d'Henri Quatre.
Dined at St. Lu, with the Farmer General De Chaillut. The aged Marshall Duke Richelieu, and many others Marquisses, Counts and Abbys were there.
I had long since determined to look at France, with a steady Eye and obtain as much Information as I could of her Manners, Institutions and History: but there was another branch of Enquiry in which all America at this time was compleatly uninformed, I mean the Negotiations and Dispatches of Ambassadors. The Powers of Europe in general have kept the Letters and Memorials of their Ambassadors locked up in the Cabinetts of their Courts: very few of them have ever been collected and published. The Policy of France has been different. There are extant more Publications of their negotiations, than of all the rest of Europe.... I purchased D'Avaux,D'Estrades, Dossat, Jeannot [Jeannin],Torcy,Noailles, The Diplomatick Dictionary, The Principles of Negotiation of the Abby De Mably, the Public Law of Europe founded on Treaties by the same Author, The Corps Diplomatique, and all other Books I could find relative to the office of an Ambassador as Wickefort &c. Grotius,Puffendorf, Vattell &c. I had read before in America. An Historical Collection of the Acts, Negotiations, Memorials and Treaties from the Peace of Utrecht, to the Year 1742 by Mr. Rousset in Volumes, The History of the Congress and of the Peace of Utrecht as also of that of Rastadt and of Bade in Volumes.
These Writings contain a great deal of the History of France, especially of her foreign Relations, but as I wished to know as much of their internal Concerns as possible I purchased Veilly, Mezerai, De Thou and other [illegible Histories of France, and especially all the memoirs I could find of the civil Wars in France, among many others The Memoirs to Serve for the History of Ann of Austria, the Consort of Louis the Thirteenth King of France, by Madam De Motteville one of her Favorites in Volumes, and the Memoirs of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Daughter of Gaston of Orleans Brother of Louis the thirteenth in Volumes, and all the original Memorials I could find of the Times of the League and the Fronde.

It will be easily understood, that with my superficial Knowledge of the French Language, and with all the Business on my hands and Amusements that were inevitable, these Writings were not to be read in a short time. I resolved however to read as much of them as I could, and in fact I did read a great deal and endeavoured to get as good a general Idea of their Contents as possible. The Information obtained from these Books and the Observations I there madeon the Manners and Character of the French People, together with my general Reading on the Nature and forms of Government, enabled me Eight or ten Years afterwards to form a pretty correct judgment of the wild Project of demolishing the Monarchy and instituting a Republick, especially a Republic in one Representative Assembly, in France. But more, much more of this hereafter.
We wrote the following Letters
Mr. Schweighausser
Inclosed you have an order on Messrs. Desegray,Beaujard Junr. and Co., Merchants at L'orient for 1520 Bags of Saltpetre, which you will please to receive, and ship for America, as Opportunities may serve. We are with Esteem yours &c.
Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams
We also forward you herewith an order upon Mr. Cassoul [Cossoul], drawn by Mr. Williams for sundry Articles, which you will dispose of in the same manner with the Salt petre.
Messrs. Desegray, Beaujard and Co. Merchants L'orient
Please to deliver to Mr. Schweighauser, Merchant at Nantes, or to his order, Fifteen hundred and twenty Bags of India Salt Petre belonging to the United States, and marked as follows -- in all 1520 Bags weighing 216475 nt. We are Gentlemen yours &c.
Signed. B. Franklin, Arthur Lee,John Adams
These two Letters are in the hand Writing of Mr. Arthur Lee, in my Book and are the first that were so.
I began now to think it high time to attend to my Friends in America and on this day I wrote the following private Letters. The first to Mr. James Lovell a Member of Congress.
My dear Friend
I had yesterday the honour of receiving the Dispatches from Congress which were sent by the Saratoga from Baltimore, arrived at Nantes, convoyed in by the Boston Captain Tucker, who has returned from a short cruise and has brought in four Prizes, and those by the Spy, from New London arrived at Brest; and the inexpressible Pleasure of your private Letters by the

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 32 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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