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CHAPTER XIII. - Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, vol. 1 
The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, ed. Anne Cary Morris (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1888). 2 vols. Vol. 1.
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Comparison between the newspaper of 1777 and 1789. New Year’s salutations. Scene at the Châtelet. Madame de Flahaut’s boudoir. Stoppage of pensions. Lively discussion thereon in Madame de Staël’s salon. Visit to the Comte de Chastellux. Message from the Parlement of Brittany. Morris examines table-ornaments for Washington. Decree in the Assembly concerning office-holding. Adherence to the constitution required. Riot in Paris. A handsome surtout for the table sent to Washington. Need of cultivating the taste of America. The Duchess of Orleans obliged to economize. The Cardinal de Rohan. The Bishop of Orleans. Marmontel. Letter to Washington. Morris writes a note on the situation of affairs for the king. Delivered to the queen by her physician. Anecdote of the king. He goes to the Assembly. Conversation with Lafayette.
Not the least important of the stirring events of the year just closed(1789) was the sudden development of the great and far-reaching power of journalism. Already Marat, Camille Desmoulins, Loustalot, and the principal journalists of the Revolution, had forced themselves before the public; and the genius of the Revolution had spoken through their medium with telling effect. There is a striking comparison between the first daily paper which was published in Paris in 1777, with its article on the “Almanac of the Muses,” its letter describing some “Vagary of Voltaire’s,” “Two Facts,” and a “Witty Thing,” and the violent organs of the Girondin party, or the power wielded by the pen of Camille Desmoulins, while the Revolution was in full swing. And now was instituted what might almost be called the cult of the Lantern, for which someone wrote a sacrilegious litany supplicating it to avenge the wrongs of France and have pity on the people, with the refrain, “Effroi des aristocrats, vengez-nous.” The street lamp only came into general use in Paris during the reign of Louis ⅪⅤ. Before his time, for many years, the Parisians had been in the habit of setting a lamp in a conspicuous window during times of danger; but under Louis ⅪⅤ. the lantern in the streets became an object of great admiration. The first and most interesting lantern of Paris hung on a house opposite the Hôtel de Ville below a bust of the Grand Monarque, and during the reign of Louis ⅩⅥ. this iron branch came to be at once interesting and terrifying to the aristocrats. The year 1790 was more or less quietly ushered in at the capital, but throughout France châteaux were burned, their owners cruelly outraged and banished, a vast amount of property of all kinds destroyed, and terror and confusion reigned supreme.
“The first day of the year,” Morris says, “some friends call and give me the salutations of the season, and I go [January 1st] round and pay sundry visits of the season, among others at the Châtelet to the Baron Besenval. He is a little vexed at finding new delays in his trial. He receives a visit from the dames de la Halle, who in very bad French, though Parisians, make him their sincere compliments, promise friendship and assistance, which are not to be despised. He of course treats them all with respect, and Mesdames d’Oudenarde and La Caze stimulate them to acts of violence. This is truly characteristic of wrathful women. I go to M. de Lafayette’s. A long time before the company assemble. Dine at half-past four. He tells me that Monsieur and Mirabeau are closely allied, that one is a weak and indolent creature, the other an active and artful rascal. I tell him that they must finish the trial of Besenval because the people begin to take his part, and that of course a violent torrent may be turned against his prosecutors; this affects him. To my surprise he tells me that, notwithstanding my criticisms on the Assemblée, I must acknowledge that their constitution is better than that of England. I assure him that he is much mistaken if he imagines that to be my opinion. Visit Madame de Staël, who expresses very kindly her apprehension that I had forgotten her; stay till half-past ten, and go to the Louvre, where the Bishop d’Autun is waiting for me. Explain to him a plan which I had communicated to Madame for purchasing facilities in America and in which she is to be interested. He tells me that, if the advantage is great and the operation solid, he thinks he can obtain two millions. I tell him that I wish to confine the object to one million. We are to talk further. He observes on what I say that the American debt would furnish a good speculation. I tell him that I am already engaged in it; that it is so large an object that the junction of many capitalists became necessary. Madame being ill, I find her with her feet in warm water, and when she is about to take them out, one of her women being employed in that operation, the Bishop employs himself in warming her bed with a warming-pan, and I look on. It is curious enough to see a reverend father of the church engaged in this pious operation.”
“Go to the club [January 4th]. The National Assembly have stopped the pensions, giving only 3,000£ for arrearages to the first instant. The list is to be examined between this and the 1st of July next, for the purpose of reformation, and absentees are to receive nothing until their return. Go to Madame de Staël’s, where this matter is discussed pretty much at large. I tell them that when privileges were abolished the road was opened for the destruction of all property. This gives rise to an endless dispute, in which she shows much genius and little good breeding. The opinions are various, but they will all be alike. I threw out the idea on purpose to make an impression on some who have, I know, styled me aristocrat, etc., because I do not approve of their sentiments.’
“I find Madame de Flahaut au désespoir about the reduction of the pensions, but she has very little reason. I convince her of this, or, rather, she was already convinced of it, but says she will cry very loud. Her servants this morning have waited on her, with the assurance that they will, if necessary, live on bread and water for the next six months. The Bishop d’Autun comes in. She had told me, before his arrival, that Monsieur has written a letter to the King demanding a seat in council. It is in concert with the Bishop and the Duc de Livi. The Bishop says that the décret respecting the pensions would not have taken effect but for the Abbé de Montesquiou. Dine with M. de Montmorin. The pensions are of course the subject of conversation. I treat the décret as a violation of the laws of property. It seems to be so considered, but not in a light so extensive as that in which I place it. Draw a parallel between this and the compensation given by Great Britain to the American Loyalists. The absence of many members who had gone to dinner is considered here the cause of the decree. At parting, M. de Montmorin asks me how my plan goes on. I tell him that I expect to be joined by the Hollanders, for that three persons who are here are agreed, and one of them goes this afternoon to Amsterdam to bring in his associates. He is very glad to hear this. See Madame de Chastellux, who tells me that she has seen M. de Lafayette; that Favras will be hanged; that Monsieur was certainly in the plot; that he is guided by Mirabeau. As M. de Lafayette makes the world his confidant, the secret must of course be kept, for it cannot go farther. But the consequence to him must be perpetual enmity from Monsieur, the brother of the King, who in all cases must be doing mischief, even if he has not ability to do good. The Maréchal de Ségur comes in. We have some conversation about the pensions, and my sentiments accord well with his.”
“Go to M. de Moustier’s to dinner [January 7th]. The Comte de Croix, the Prince de Broglio, and Clermont-Tonnerre are our party. The last two are greatly violent against the Assemblée, to which they belong, but the Comte de Croix has a little of the obstination flandraise, and continues firm to the edicts, many of which he opposed.”
“Dress, and dine to-day [January 8th] with the Duchess of Orleans. She has changed, I think for the better, in her maître d’ hôtel. After dinner visit the Comte de Chastellux and his lady—in a pavilion of the Louvre, in the garret, near one hundred and sixty steps from the earth, in little cabins, and stinking most odiously from the collected treasures of ages. Madame shows me a box presented by her Princess, who had sent a painter on purpose to the Castle of Chastellux to take the different views. It is a situation in the mountainous part of Burgundy, near a small, clear river, abounding in trout. The Count and his lady are a domestic couple. How happy might they be to breathe the air of their own château, if it were possible for mortals to know what constitutes their own felicity. Madame de Ségur is here, and the Maréchal. The Duchess comes in. I make her a dish of tea. She makes use of many obliging expressions, the reason of which I cannot conjecture, but incline to think that they result from inattention. We shall see. After she is gone, the Chevalier de Graave reads us the speech made this day by the Parlement of Brittany to the Assemblée. It is written with great force and precision, and shows that they are confident of being supported by the province.”
“Dine to-day [January 10th] with M. de Lafayette. After dinner he asks me how they are to provide for the case of disobedience in the provincial and district administrations, which are submitted to the orders of the King, but, being elected, may not respect those orders. I tell him that no provision can be made; that it is an institution radically wrong, and they cannot alter it, because they have said so much to the people about liberty; that they must of necessity leave the correction of this and many other defects to time and experience, happy if the changes induced by the latter should not bring back an authority too severe. He does not like this sentiment. I suppose they will find out some expedient, but certainly nothing effectual. Go from hence to the Louvre. Madame de Flahaut is distressed. She has been in tears all day. After much entreaty she tells me the cause. Her pensions from Monsieur and from the Comte d’Artois are stopped; on that from the King she receives but 3,000£, and must therefore leave Paris. I try to console her, but it is impossible. Indeed, the stroke is severe, for with youth, beauty, wit, and every loveliness, she must quit all that she loves, to pass her life with what she most abhors. Go from hence to Madame de Chastellux’s. Short is here. I repeat, in conversation about the Parlement of Brittany, what in his presence I observed to Lafayette; viz., that the Assemblée must deal very delicately with the Bas-Bretons. But he repeats Lafayette’s answer; viz., that nine-tenths of the province are with the Assemblée. I doubt this intelligence, because the address of the Parlement is in a style of calm firmness which shows a conviction of support, and their position in the neighborhood of Britain is critical.
“This morning [January 11th] I go to the Porcelaine to see a kind of ornament cemented on glass, being birds formed with their feathers and other natural objects in the same way; of course, the representation is more just than painting. The maker is here, and we inquire the price of a surtout (epergne)* for a table ten feet long and two feet wide. It is 2,000£, and cannot be finished before October next. Go to the Luxembourg, to dine with Count Louis de Narbonne. A very good dinner, and very good wines; the Comte d’Afry, the Duc de —, the Chevalier de Narbonne, Madame de Vintimille, and Madame Fronsac. This last I had seen at M. de Montmorin’s. She appears to have a great deal of the free and easy about her; whether it is the result of a virtue out of all reach, or of an indifference about appearances, is to be examined. She is not unhandsome, and plays well on the harpsichord. M. de Bonnet, who was to have dined here, comes in late from the Assemblée. They have passed a decree by which the members of the Chambre des Vacations are rendered incapable of holding any office, or of electing or being elected, until they shall announce to the Assembly their adherence to the constitution. This is strong, but the Count de Mirabeau was of opinion that they should be sent to the Châtelet and tried for lèse-nation.
“Go from hence to Madame de Chastellux’s. Madame de Ségur and the Maréchal and the Count come in. Conversation is about the decree of the day, and so it is at Madame de Staël’s. I contend that this decree is void, according to the principles of the Assemblée themselves, who have declared their incompetency to act in a judicial capacity. This induces a long dispute, in which I take a greater part than the thing is worth, but the society here has that tournure, and one must conform to or abandon it. The latter, perhaps, is the wiser course.”
“After dinner [January 13th] go to the Louvre, and find Madame de Flahaut in deep distress at the idea of leaving Paris. She cannot go with me to look for a surtout and ornaments, having affairs. The Bishop arrives. He has had me elected into a society here which as yet I do not exactly know the meaning of; it is, however, a select one. He expects to get a million for the speculation proposed to Madame. He tells me that the members of the Breton Parlement come hither voluntarily, because they apprehended force from the Commons of Rennes. This is extraordinary, for Rennes subsists only from the presence of the Parlement. There has been a riot this day in Paris, and a number of the militaires engaged in the squabble have been taken prisoners. The matter is not generally understood, but all agree that Lafayette has acted with great prudence and decision.”
“See Madame de. Flahaut this morning [January 14th]. She tells me that next week the Caisse d’Escompte will stop payment in coin altogether. At Madame de Chastellux’s the Duchess reproaches me with neglecting her while she was ill the last three days, to which I reply that if I could have been useful to her I should certainly have shown my attention. I call for Madame de Flahaut and we go to look for a surtout; afterwards go to the manufactory of Angoulême. We agree that the porcelaine here is handsomer and cheaper than that of Sèvres. I think I shall purchase for General Washington here. Madame tells me that the Comte de Ségur has persuaded Lafayette to place the Bishop in the finance. He told him that he disliked the Bishop as much as M. de Lafayette, but that they had no man of sufficient abilities, and it would not do to have the abilities of the Bishop opposed to them. Lafayette told this to his friend Madame de Simieu, she to Madame de Coigny, she to Madame de —, who told it to the Duc de Biron, and he told it to Madame de Flahaut, who desires me to keep up this apprehension through Madame de Ségur; but I shall certainly say nothing to her but the truth, nor that, unless the occasion calls for it. Her husband is, I think, wrong in pushing so hard to obtain a place in the administration. But time must determine the propriety of this judgment. The Duchess arrives late at Madame de Chastellux’s to-night. The mother of the Bishop d’Autun is here. She is highly aristocratic; she says that the great of this country who have favored the Revolution are taken in, and I think that she is not much mistaken in that idea.”
A surtout of seven plateaus and the ornaments in biscuit and three large glass covers for the three groups were bought and sent to Washington. When sending the pieces, Morris wrote to him as follows: “In all there are three groups, two vases, and twelve figures. The vases may be used as they are, or, when occasion serves, the tops may be laid aside and the vases filled with natural flowers. When the whole surtout is to be used for large companies, the large group will be in the middle, the two smaller ones at the two ends, the vases in the spaces between the three, and the figures distributed along the edges, or rather along the sides. … To clean the biscuit warm water is to be used, and a brush such as is used for painting in watercolors. You will perhaps exclaim that I have not complied with your directions as to economy, but you will be of a different opinion when you see the articles. I could have sent you a number of pretty trifles for very little prime cost, but you must have had an annual supply, and your table should have been in the style of a petite maîtresse of this city. … I think it of very great importance to fix the taste of our country properly, and I think your example will go very far in that respect. It is therefore my wish that everything about you should be substantially good and majestically plain, made to endure. … By the bye, you must be thankful that I did not run you into further expense, for I was violently tempted to send out two dozen cups and saucers, with the needful accompaniments, to Mrs. Washington.”
“There is a musical party at Madame Le Coulteux’s tonight [January 16th], which is to me very dull, although the singing is very good. De Cantaleu asks me with a sarcastic smile how the Bishop d’Autun is. I tell him that he is by no means eager to enter into the administration at present. He observes that at present a minister can do nothing; things will go forward in their own way. I tell him that he is right as to the present moment, but that ministers might have directed some time ago, and either everything will go to destruction or they will hereafter direct the machine; that even now it is important to individuals to be apprised of their intentions. I find that M. de Cantaleu has all the self-importance of a parvenu who thinks that his merit has obtained what, in fact, is the price of his attachment to the ministers. I ask Laurent if nothing can be made out of the assignats. He says that until five or six months are passed, and their value a little known, it will be impossible to judge about them.”
“Dine at Lafayette’s [January 17th]. He asks what I think of Ternant as Minister to America. Tell him that I approve. Hence I conclude that he intends the appointment to pass in my opinion as of his making. Very well. After dinner Gouvernay tells me that Necker is much better, but makes himself worse than he is, by way of securing a retreat which he meditates. He says further that a chief minister is necessary. I ask him who is to be in the finances; whether the Bishop d’Autun. He says that he will not do at all; that he is unequal to the business; that M. Touret for the Home Department, and M. de St. Priest for the Foreign Affairs will do very well, but there are no other men sufficiently eminent. I ask Madame de Lafayette, who comes up to us, to name a man. She cannot. I observe that I hear the Comte de Ségur is in pursuit of the office of Foreign Affairs. Gouvernay and she join in declaring that he is not fit for it. At dinner Lafayette asked me what they should do about their militia. I told him, nothing; for they cannot do what is right, and therefore had better leave it in such situation as that it can be mended, which would not be the case if fixed by the constitution. He says that he and others are determined to select particular articles in the constitution as it now stands, and form of them a constitution properly so called, leaving the rest to the mercy of the legislature. This I approve of, but yet much will depend on the selection. I advise that they should, in respect to their bill of rights, imitate the masons, who knock down the scaffolding when they have finished the house. Go to the Louvre and give Madame de Flahaut such information as relates to her friend; but he has too good an opinion of his own opinion to make a good Minister of Finance. In the different societies everybody seems to agree that things go badly, and they speak with despondence; but, in fact, nothing good could result from the measures of Government, which have been so very ill judged.”
“Dine to-day [January 19th] at the Palais Royal.* The Duchess tells me that the Duke’s treasurer does not pay as he ought to do, monthly, and that unless this is done she will not adhere to the contract. She receives now 450,000£ per annum, of which 350,000£ are appropriated to the house, servants, table, etc.; near 15,000 louis. Certainly a great economy might be made upon this article. After dinner go to the Louvre. The Cardinal de Rohan is there. Accidentally he mentions his procès, and, after relating the circumstances which brought it to his mind, he declares that he thinks it a weakness to talk of it; and he is right. He has plus de grâce que d’esprit. But he speaks in too good style to write in a style as bad as Madame de la Motte has attributed to him. A new piece at the Comédie to-night much applauded, but a very bad one. It is, however, la mode. The object is to ridicule, or rather to preach against, the prejudices entertained against the family and connections of a man who is hanged. A ‘Lor Anglais’ is the preacher, who takes from the book of England a text which is not to be found in it, and, with the aid of antitheses and other such figures, gives the audience much satisfaction, which is greatly increased by the judicious ranting of the actors—judicious, because a natural action would disclose the defects of the piece, now concealed by the roaring.”
“While Count Dillon and I are walking in the Champs Élysées to-day [January 21st], the report of a pistol is heard, which Dillon considers some duel, for of late there is a great deal of that kind of work going forward. I laugh at the idea, but presently we see a man led along by a party of soldiers; making up to them we learn that he just now shot himself, but he took bad aim, so that the ball, which entered in at his forehead, came out at the top of his head. The soldier says he does not know who the man is, and that when a man has lost his all, without any fault of his own, the best thing he can do is to shoot himself. Go hence to the Louvre, and stay but a few minutes; M. le Vicomte de St. Priest is here. Dine with the Duchess of Orleans. The Bishop of Orleans is here. This Bishop seems to be of that kind whose sincerest prayer is for the fruit of good living, and, to judge by his manner of talking, one would suppose that he deems it of more importance to speak than to speak truth. Go to the Louvre. Immediately after my arrival the Bishop comes in, who seems not at all content to find me here. His expectations of procuring a million prove abortive. The party tells him that he thinks the affair excellent, but as they must soon have paper money in France he must collect his funds to take advantage of that event, by which he will gain greatly. The Bishop goes away, and Madame gives me a plan of finance to read which is prepared by M. de St. Foi for the Bishop and on which she asks my opinion. I tell her that nothing more is necessary to ruin him entirely. In effect, it is a scheme for 1,000,000,000£ in paper money redeemable in twenty years, at the rate of 50,000,000£ per annum; the sum redeemed to be determined by lottery every six months, and then 25,000,000£ to be paid, and on that, premiums of twenty per cent. or five millions, and to effectuate this, a tax of sixty millions to be laid. This plan, then, is to borrow at an interest of ten millions per thousand millions, or one per cent. The author is clear that the paper, instead of depreciating, will be above par, but the one hundred and twenty-five million loan which forms the standard for the price of stocks here and which bears near seven per cent. interest, premiums included, sells at a discount of above ten per cent. I show her a few of the many fatal consequences which would attend the adoption.”
“Walk in the gardens of the Tuileries [January 22d] with Madame de Flahaut and M. de St. Pardou, and then dine with the Comte de Montmorin. M. de Marmontel* is here. After dinner I speak to the Count about the commerce with their islands. He says he hopes something will be done in the next fifteen days; that in his opinion they ought to permit a much freer commerce with us than with any other nation, because that the state of their colonies must depend on us. I communicate to him, in the most perfect confidence, the commission with which I am charged in part. I tell him two very great truths: that a free commerce with the British Islands is the object which will chiefly operate on us to give us the desire of a treaty of commerce with Britain, and that I prefer much a close connection with France. He tells me that their great misfortune here is to have no fixed plan nor principle, and at present no chief. I tell him that they ought to go to war. He says he is convinced that if they do not soon make war, it will soon be made against them. But their finances! I tell him that there is less difficulty in that than he is aware of. But the great mischief is in a constitution without energy. We join the company. A good deal of conversation about public affairs, in which Marmontel agrees with me in opinion. I had an opportunity at dinner to remark on the varieties in taste. A large trout was received from the Lake of Geneva, and it was a question when we are to dine off it. The maître d’hôtel was interpellated and the trout was produced—a very large one, of at least twenty pounds weight and perfectly fresh, having been brought by the courier. The maître d’hôtel says it must be kept till Wednesday, ‘pour être mortifié,’ and as that day does not suit the company, poor Monsieur Trout must e’en mortify two days longer. I cannot but sympathize in his afflictions.”
“The Vicomte de St. Priest, who dines at the Palais Royal to-day [January 25th] and sits next to me, mentions the idea of the King’s going to the Assemblée in order to put himself at the head of the Revolution. I blame this step and tell him, without mincing the matter, that his advisers to that step give him un conseil ou inepte ou perfide. Madame de Ségur differs with me, and after dinner her husband, to whom she mentioned it, also tells me that he holds the opposite opinion and wishes to discuss the matter with me. I only add that the King ought to send the Comte d’Artois his children, so that the whole of the royal family should not be in the power of their enemies, and that he should let the nation do as they please. In the course of things, they will come back to their allegiance. The occasion does not suit for a discussion of this matter. Return home and write. At nine go to the Louvre. The Bishop d’Autun is here. Some conversation about coinage, in which he is not quite right, but I find that he has studied the matter. I remind him of the book he was to lend me. Send my servant home with him, and he transmits it. ‘Tis somewhat droll to receive the ‘Portier des Chartreux’ from the hands of a reverend father in God.”
The following letter, written in January, to Washington, gives a forcible and correct picture of Paris, and of France as well. “Your sentiments,” he wrote, “on the Revolution effecting here I believe to be perfectly just, because they perfectly accord with my own, and that is, you know, the only standard which Heaven has given us by which to judge. The King is in effect a prisoner at Paris, and obeys entirely the National Assembly. This Assembly may be divided into three parts. One, called the aristocrats, consists of the high clergy, the members of the law (not lawyers), and such of the nobility as think they ought to form a separate order; another, which has no name, but which consists of all sorts of people, really friends to a free government. The third is composed of what are called here the enragés, that is, the madmen. These are the most numerous, and are of that class which in America is known by the name of pettifogging lawyers, together with a host of curates, and many of those who, in all revolutions, throng to the standard of change because they are not well. This party, in close alliance with the populace, derives from that circumstance very great authority. They have already unhinged everything. … The torrent rushes on, irresistible until it shall have wasted itself.
“The aristocrats are without a leader, and without any plan or counsels as yet, but ready to throw themselves into the arms of anyone who shall offer. The middle party, who mean well, have unfortunately acquired their ideas of government from books, and are admirable fellows upon paper; but as it happens, somewhat unfortunately, that the men who live in the world are very different from those who dwell in the heads of philosophers, it is not to be wondered at if the systems taken out of books are fit for nothing but to be put into books again. Marmontel is the only man I have met with among their literati who seems truly to understand the subject; for the rest, they discuss nothing in the Assembly. One large half of the time is spent in hollowing and bawling—their manner of speaking. Those who intend to speak write their names on a tablet, and are heard in the order that their names are written down, if the others will hear them, which often they refuse to do, keeping up a continual uproar till the orator leaves the pulpit. Each man permitted to speak delivers the result of his lucubrations, so that the opposing parties fire off their cartridges, and it is a million to one if their missile arguments happen to meet. The arguments are usually printed; therefore there is as much attention paid to making them sound and look well, as to convey instruction or produce conviction. But there is another ceremony which the arguments go through, and which does not fail to affect the form, at least, and perhaps the substance. They are read beforehand in a small society of young men and women, and generally the fair friend of the speaker is one, or else the fair whom he means to make his friend, and the society very politely give their approbation, unless the lady who gives the tone to that circle chances to reprehend something, which is, of course, altered if not amended. Do not suppose I am playing the traveller. I have assisted at some of these readings, and will now give you an anecdote from one of them. I was at Madame de Staël’s, the daughter of M. Necker. She is a woman of wonderful wit, and above vulgar prejudices of every kind. Her house is a kind of Temple of Apollo, where the men of wit and fashion are collected twice a week at supper, and once at dinner, and sometimes more frequently. The Comte de Clermont-Tonnerre (one of their greatest orators) read to us a very pathetic oration, and the object was to show that, as penalties are the legal compensation for injuries and crimes, the man who is hanged, having by that event paid his debt to society, ought not to be held in dishonor; and in like manner, he who has been condemned for seven years to be flogged in the galleys should, when he had served out his apprenticeship, be received again into good company as if nothing had happened. You smile; but observe that the extreme to which the matter was carried the other way, dishonoring thousands for the guilt of one, has so shocked the public sentiment as to render this extreme fashionable. The oration was very fine, very sentimental, very pathetic, and the style harmonious. Shouts of applause and full approbation. When this was pretty well over, I told him that his speech was extremely eloquent, but that his principles were not very solid. Universal surprise. A few remarks changed the face of things. The position was universally condemned, and he left the room. I need not add that as yet it has never been delivered in the Assembly, and yet it was of the kind which produces a decree by acclamation; for sometimes an orator gets up in the midst of another deliberation, makes a fine discourse, and closes with a good snug resolution, which is carried with a huzza. Thus, in considering a plan for a national bank proposed by M. Necker, one of them took it into his head to move that every member should give his silver buckles, which was agreed to at once, and the honorable member laid his upon the table, after which the business went on again. It is difficult to guess whereabouts the flock will settle when it flies so wild, but, as far as it is possible to guess at present, this (late) kingdom will be cast into a congeries of little democracies, not laid out according to the rivers and mountains, but with the square and compass, according to latitude and longitude; and as the provinces had anciently different laws (called coutumes), and as the clippings and parings of several provinces must fall together within some of the new divisions, I think such fermenting matter must give them a kind of political colic.
“Their Assemblée Nationale will be something like the old Congress, and the King will be called executive magistrate. As yet they have been busily engaged in pillaging the present occupant of his authority. How much they will leave him will depend upon the chapter of accidents; I believe it will be very little, but, little or much, the perspective of such a king and such an assembly brings to my mind a saying which Shakespeare has put into the mouths of two old soldiers upon hearing that Lepidus, one of the famous Triumvirate, was dead: ‘So the poor third is up. World, thou hast a pair of chaps no more; and throw between them all the food thou hast, they’ll grind the one the other.’ At present the people are fully determined to support the Assembly, and although there are some discontents, I do not believe that anything very serious exists in the style of opposition. Indeed, it would be wonderful if there should, for hitherto an extension of privileges and a remission of taxes to the lower class has marked every stage of the progress. Besides, the love of novelty is a great sweetener in revolutions. But the time will come when this novelty is over, and all its charms are gone. In lieu of the taxes remitted other taxes must be laid, for the public burden must be borne. The elected administrators must then either indulge their electors, which will be ruinous to the fisc, or, in urging the collection of taxes, displease their constituents. In all probability there will be a little of both; hence must arise bickerings and heart-burnings among the different districts, and a great languor throughout the kingdom, as the revenue must fall short of calculation in point of time, if not in amount (and that is the same thing where revenue is concerned). It will follow that either the interest of the public debt will not be regularly paid, or that various departments will be starved; probably a little of both. Hence will result a loss of public credit, and then with much injury to commerce and manufactures, operating a further decrease of the means of revenue, and much debility as to the exterior operations of the kingdom. At this moment the discontented spirits will find congenial matter in abundance to work upon, and from that period all the future is involved in the mist of conjecture. If the reigning prince were not the small-beer character he is, there can be but little doubt that, watching events and making tolerable use of them, he would regain his authority; but what will you have from a creature who, situated as he is, eats and drinks and sleeps well, and laughs and is as merry a grig as lives? The idea that they will give him some money when he can economize, and that he will have no trouble in governing, contents him entirely. Poor man, he little thinks how unstable is his situation. He is beloved, but it is not with the sort of love which a monarch should inspire; it is that kind of good-natured pity which one feels for a led captive. There is, besides no possibility of serving him, for at the slightest show of opposition he gives up everything, and every person. As to his ministers, the Comte de Montmorin has more understanding than people in general imagine, and he means well, very well, but he means it feebly. He is a good, easy kind of man, one who would make an excellent peace minister in quiet times, but he wants the vigor of mind needful for great occasions. The Comte de la Luzerne is an indolent, pleasant companion, a man of honor, and as obstinate as you please, but he has somewhat of the creed of General Gates, that the world does a great part of its own business, without the aid of those who are at the head of affairs. The success of such men depends very much upon the run of the dice. The Comte de St. Priest is the only man among them who has what they call caractère, which answers to our idea of firmness, joined to some activity; but a person who knows him pretty well (which I do not), assures me that he is mercenary and false-hearted; if so, he cannot possess much good sense, whatever may be his share of genius or talents. M. de la Tour du Pin, whom I am almost unacquainted with, is, I am told, no great things in any respect. M. Necker was frightened by the enragés into the acceptance of him instead of the Marquis de Montesquiou, who has a considerable share of talents and a good deal of method. Montesquiou is, of course, at present the enemy of M. Necker, having been his friend.
“As to M. Necker, he is one of those men who has obtained a much greater reputation than he had any right to. His enemies say that as a banker he acquired his fortune by means which, to say the least, were indelicate, and they mention instances. But in this country everything is so much exaggerated that nothing is more useful than a little scepticism. M. Necker, in his public administration, has always been honest and disinterested, which proves well I think for his former private conduct, or else it proves that he has more vanity than cupidity. Be that as it may, an unspotted integrity as minister, and serving at his own expense in an office which others seek for the purpose of enriching themselves, have acquired him very deservedly much confidence. Add to this, his writings on finance teem with that sort of sensibility which makes the fortune of modern romances, and which is exactly suited to this lively nation, who love to read but hate to think. Hence his reputation. He is a man of genius, and his wife is a woman of sense. But neither of them has talents, or, rather, the talents of a great minister. His education as a banker has taught him to make tight bargains and put him upon his guard against projects. But though he understands man as a covetous creature, he does not understand mankind, a defect which is irremediable. He is utterly ignorant also of politics, by which I mean politics in the great sense, or that sublime science which embraces for its object the happiness of mankind. Consequently he neither knows what constitution to form nor how to obtain the consent of others to such as he wishes. From the moment of convening the States-General, he has been afloat on the wide ocean of incidents. But what is most extraordinary is, that M. Necker is a very poor financier. This I know will sound like heresy in the ears of most people, but it is true. The plans he has proposed are feeble and ineptious. Hitherto he has been supported by borrowing from the Caisse d’Escompte, which (being by means of what they call here an arrêt de surséance secured from all prosecution) has lent him a sum in their paper exceeding the totality of their capital by about four millions sterling. Last autumn he came forward to the Assemblée with a dreadful tale of woe, at the fag end of which was a tax upon every member of the community of a fourth of his revenue, which he declared to be needful for saving the state. His enemies adopted it (declaring, what is very true, that it is a wretched, impracticable expedient) in the hope that he and his scheme would fall together. This Assemblée, this patriotic band, took in a lump the minister’s proposition, because of their confidence and the confidence of the people in them, as they said, but, in fact, because they would not risk the unpopularity of a tax. The plan thus adopted, M. Necker, to escape the snare which he had nearly got taken in, altered his tax into what they call the patriotic contribution. By this every man is to declare, if he pleases, what he pleases to estimate as his annual income, and to pay one-fourth of it in three years. You will easily suppose that this fund was unproductive, and, notwithstanding the imminent danger of the state, here we are without any aid from the contribution patriotique. His next scheme was that of a national bank, or at least an extension of the Caisse d’Escompte. It has been variously modelled since, and many capital objections removed, but at last it is good for nothing, and so it will turn out; at present it is just beginning. By way of giving some base to the present operation, it is proposed and determined to sell about ten or twelve millions sterling of the Crown and Church lands, both of which are, by resolution of the Assemblée, declared to belong to the nation; but as it is clear that these lands will not sell well just now, they have appointed a treasurer to receive what they will sell for hereafter, and they issue a kind of order upon this treasurer, which is to be called an assignat, and is to be paid (out of the sales) one, two, and three years hence. They expect that on these assignats they can borrow money to face the engagements of the Caisse d’Escompte, and they are at the same time to pay some of the more pressing debts with the same assignats. Now this plan must fail as follows: First, there will be some doubt about the title of these lands, at least till the Revolution is completed. Secondly, the representative of lands must always (for a reason which will presently appear) sell for less than a representative of money, and therefore, until public confidence is so far restored as that the five per cents are above par, these assignats, bearing five per cent., must be below par; money, therefore, cannot be raised upon them but at a considerable discount. Thirdly, the lands to be disposed of must sell a great deal below their value, for there is not money to buy them in this country, and the proof is that they never obtained money on loan at a legal interest, but always upon a premium sufficient to draw it from the employments of commerce and manufactures; and as the Revolution has greatly lessened the mass of money, the effect of the scarcity must be greater. But further, there is a solecism in the plan which escapes most of them, and which is nevertheless very palpable. The value of lands in Europe is, you know, estimated by the income. To dispose of public lands, therefore, is to sell public revenue, and therefore, taking the legal interest at five per cent., land renting for roof. ought to sell for 2,000f£; but they expect that these lands will sell for 3,000£, and that thereby not only public credit will be restored but a great saving will be made, as the 3,000£ will redeem an interest of 150£ It is, however, an indisputable fact that, public credit being established, the stocks are worth more than land of equal income, and for three reasons: First, that there is no trouble whatever in the management; secondly, there is no danger of bad crops and taxes; and, thirdly, they can be disposed of at a moment’s warning, if the owner wants money, and be as readily repurchased when it suits his convenience. If, therefore, the public credit be restored, and there be a surplus sum of ten to twelve millions to be invested, and if such large sales (contrary to custom) should not, from the amount, affect the price, still the lands must go cheaper than the stocks, and consequently the interest bought will be smaller than the revenue sold.
“Having thus given you a very rude sketch of the men and the measures of this country, I see and feel that it is time to conclude. I sincerely wish I could say that there are able men at hand to take the helm, should the present pilot abandon the ship. But I have great apprehensions as to those who may succeed. The present set must wear out in the course of the year, and most of them would be glad to get fairly out of the scrape at present, but it is alike dangerous to stay or to go, and they must patiently await the breath of the Assembly and follow as it blows. The new order of things cannot endure. I hope it may be mended, but fear it may be changed. All Europe just now is like a mine ready to explode, and if this winter does not produce peace, next summer will behold a wider extension of the war.”
“To-day [January 26th], at half-past three, I go to M. de Lafayette’s. He tells me that he wishes to have a meeting of Mr. Short, Mr. Paine, and myself, to consider their judiciary, because his place imposes on him the necessity of being right. I tell him that Paine can do him no good, for that, although he has an excellent pen to write, he has but an indifferent head to think. In conversing about this affair he tells me that he has gotten into his possession a mémoire written by the refugees of Turin to stir up the Princes of Germany against France, etc. It is to be read in council to-morrow by M. de Montmorin. Lafayette says it shall be published. I desire him to suspend that determination, and give him reasons which convince his judgment, but without affecting his will. He is to show it to me to-morrow, and I think the public will soon be let into the secret. At half-past nine go to the Louvre. Madame has another lady with her and is at play. She apologizes for it in English, which the other understands. This is whimsical enough. I make tea for them, and at half-past eleven we are left en tête-à-tête. I communicate to her a note, written this morning, upon the situation of affairs, and the conduct which the King ought to pursue. This she will hand to the Queen through Vicq d’Azyr, the Queen’s physician. I tell her that she must cultivate the Queen and give her good advice, the direct contrary of what the King receives from the ruling party; that if they succeed she will then be provided for by means of her friends, but if if they fail, then the Queen will feel obligations which, having the power, she will of course repay. My friend feels some repugnance to this, which is only proper conduct for her. She tells me an affair in which the Marquis de Montesquiou behaves with indelicacy, and in which she sees the prospect of making some money. She is to give me the particulars for my consideration. I leave her at half-past twelve and return home.”
“Friday [January 29th], I go to M. de Montmorin’s to eat the trout, which was so much ‘mortifié’ that he refused to assist at this repast. In plain English, it was spoiled some days ago. Before dinner the question of the King’s visit to the Assemblée was started, and I very imprudently give my opinion of that measure. Reflection tells me that whether proposed by Necker or by Lafayette, Montmorin has probably agreed to it. The Baron de Besenval is released from his confinement this evening, about eight o’clock. From what Madame de Chastellux tells me as coming from Madame Necker, by the Duc de Nivernois, I conclude that the proposed plan for the King originates in the Finance Department. It is ridiculous. Go to the Louvre. M. de Montesquiou is there. We have some conversation on political topics, and after a while he goes away. Madame de Flahaut is exceedingly distressed. She tells me their conversation, from which she collected that unless he can borrow money to relieve his wants he must put an end to his existence. She is much shocked at the situation of a friend who has been long and sincerely attached to her. I calm her griefs as well as I can, and leave her to go to Madame de Chastellux’s. The Comte de Ségur gives me all the reasons for the King going to the Assemblée, which are not worth a sou, in my opinion.”
“This morning [February 1st] the Comte de Luxembourg comes to breakfast with me; as I am very busy, I cut the conversation short and begin to write. He leaves me, lamenting always that he is not old enough to be in administration, where, with the aid of my counsels, he could do wonders. He will know better by and by. Dine with the Duchess of Orleans. After dinner we discuss a question on which I deliver a sentiment somewhat extraordinary, in this extraordinary country, viz., that a woman of sense and learning is more easily led astray than another; among other reasons, because, having perhaps a higher sense of duty, she feels a pleasure proportionately greater in the breach which leads her on further and faster than another could go. The Duchess denies this position, but in my elucidations I give some traits of female sentiment so true that an old lady present declares my opinion to be abominable, but fears it is just. I cannot stay to finish the discussion, but as soon as my carriage is announced I step into it and go to M. Necker’s. I tell him briefly the conduct of the houses in Holland, and add that I must go thither before I can deal further with him. He seems to be much disappointed. I tell him that I will do everything in my power to conclude the affair agreeably to his wishes; that it is possible the United States may employ me, and in that case I shall, from motives of delicacy, decline all further dealings with him, but in such case I will cause the thing to be done by others. He seems better pleased. He is one of those men whose opinions one must guess at. From Madame’s manner, I think I can perceive that my neglect of the house for some time past has not been useful. Perhaps there are other reasons. There are commotions in Brittany, and the Comte de Thiard tells me that commotions arise from the Tiers, i.e., from some citizens disguised as peasants. Evidently it is a concert with the members of the Assemblée. Go hence to the Louvre, and sup. Madame de Flahaut tells me that the Queen has told Vicq d’Azyr she has heard that the Bishop is a man of great abilities, and that it is worth while to have such men. Vicq d’Azyr said he was well assured, from one of his intimate friends, that Her Majesty would never have cause to complain of him. The Queen smiled and said she knew who that friend was, to which the physician replied, ‘Then Your Majesty will spare me the indiscretion of mentioning it.’ He gave her the note I had written, and which Madame de Flahaut had copied for the purpose. The Queen said that, so long as M. Necker continues in office, she will not interfere in affairs.”
“This morning [February 3d] M. de la Chaise calls, and I spend the rest of the morning with him. I try to persuade him to join me at once in an offer to M. Necker on the debt, but he is afraid. I show him the advantages of which the plan is susceptible, and the facility of the execution, but he dares not. He recommends it to me very strongly to go to Holland, and I think I shall take his advice. Dine at the Palais Royal. An excellent dinner. Puisignieu, who is here, tells me that he finds that I was right in my ideas about the effect of the King’s speech, and owns that he was mistaken. I whisper to Madame de Ségur that this information has no effect either to alter or confirm that opinion, which is founded on what I conceive to be the nature of man. It is a very strange thing that men who have lived in the world fifty years should believe that opposition, founded on strong direct personal interests, can be instantly calmed by a few honeyed expressions. The present idea is that it will have a wonderful effect in the provinces, but I can conceive of no other effect there than to create animosity. The noblesse will consider it as the effect of the thraldom in which he is held, and the populace as a declaration of war against their superiors. The Abbé Delille repeats some verses, his ‘Catacombs.’ They are very fine, and very well spoken, but I remark to him that one of his lines is un peu fort:
’Il ne volt que la nuit, n’entend que la silence.’
He tells me he is surprised that I, above all men, should make that remark, who must certainly remember Milton’s ‘darkness visible.’ There is a difference, however, both in the phrase and in the idea; there is a difference, also, in the kind of poem, and perhaps Milton was on the verge, at least, of bombast in that expression. However, I do not discuss the matter further with him.”
Just as Morris was hoping to arrange satisfactorily the affair of a loan on the debt to France with houses in Holland, he received the information “that the houses in Holland have not only refused to be connected with me, either as parties or on commission, but have opened a loan for 3,000,000£ on account of Congress, and written a letter to Mr. Hamilton* and M. Necker urging them not to agree. Go to Mr. Short’s to see the letter to Hamilton, which, besides being a very foolish one, is, like all the rest, a violation of the promises made to me. I tell Van Staphorst my opinion of their conduct, which he acknowledges to be just. I have disagreeable forebodings about the affairs negotiating in Holland. Van Staphorst tells me that he thinks I had better go to Amsterdam, and that, although the houses do not merit a participation in my plan, yet they can be so useful that I shall find it to my interest to employ them. I tell him that I think I shall go. Short comes to see me, and I read him my letter to Colonel Hamilton. He will write in conformity to my sentiments, and is much hurt to find that the plan has not succeeded. Madame de Ségur is at Madame de Chastellux’s when I call there. She tells me, and the Maréchal confirms it, that the Queen decided the King to go to the Assemblée. She adds, as received from an aristocratic quarter, that His Majesty, the day before, swore hard at Necker, and asked him if that step would procure peace, which the poor minister could not promise; that he was very much out of humor, also, all the morning, and that when he returned from the Assemblée he passed some time in tears. I doubt that this picture is overcharged, but I believe the ground is just, and my fair informant is of the same opinion. The Maréchal avows that he has been very much mistaken as to Necker’s abilities.”
On the 4th of February the King sent a message to the Assembly to say that at midday he desired to attend their deliberations: “Je désire étre reçu sans cérémonie.” Dressed in black, attended by several pages and his ministers, he arrived, affected not to sit down, but, hat in hand, read his discourse. The diary comments on the event as follows: “The Comte de Montmorin tells me that the King’s speech has been received with great applause. The Assembly take an oath to support the constitution which is to be made. A strange oath. If this step of His Majesty has any effect on reasonable minds, it must be to prove more clearly the feebleness of his ministers. For three months past they have inveighed (to the members) against the proceedings of the Assembly, and they appear to give His Majesty’s full approbation. Go from hence to M. de Lafayette’s. He asks my opinion of this step, and is much surprised to hear that I disapprove of it. I tell him that I think it can do no good, and must therefore do harm. He says it will enable him to advocate the royal authority in the Assemblée.”
“Dine to-day [February 5th] with the Prince de Broglio, and go afterwards to Madame de Chastellux’s. The Prince of Hesse comes in, and tells us of what has passed in Brabant relative to the reduction of 12,000 Hessian troops which are sent for, and will probably arrive. This comes exactly to the point which I have long suspected. Mention, in consequence of what Madame de Chastellux says, my opinion, which he contests a little, but on going away he tells me it is all easy enough if the Prince of Brunswick were at the head of affairs; but this, he says, is prevented by the Baron de Hertzberg. I find Madame de Flahaut at dinner with Miss Fanny and Alice, nieces of her religieuse. After dinner go with Madame de Flahaut below to answer a letter. After returning to the chamber, they contrive to keep me by simply locking the door, and thus I am deprived of my intended visit to the Commandant General. Go from hence to the house of Madame de Vannoise. A Madame de Pusy, who is here, seems to be on the lookout for aid. Go to Madame de Laborde’s. A Mrs. Williams, who is the wife of an English artillery officer, and daughter of Doctor Mallett, the friend of Lord Bolingbroke, makes acquaintance with me. She pays me some compliments, which are too pungent for my nerves, and, though they might have passed in French, they revolt in English.”
“While I am dining to-day [February 10th] with Madame de Flahaut, the Bishop comes in, and tells us the King’s advice to the Comte d’Angivilliers, which is curious. ‘Pray be quiet, Count, for the times are difficult, and everyone must take care of himself; so that, if you censure the present measures, you may get yourself into trouble.’ Go hence to Madame de Chastellux’s; the Bishop’s report of an address from the Assemblée to their constituents is as much censured here as it was applauded at M. de Lafayette’s. I see M. de Montmorin, and tell him what has passed specting the debt, and that in consequence I am going to Holland. Go from hence to the Comédie Française. A wretched piece. Take Madame de Flahaut home. Monsieur comes in from Versailles; lend him my carriage to go to the King’s coucher. Tell her that I must go in a day or two to Holland.”
“Go to-day [February 13th] to M. Necker’s to dinner. After dinner, as I am going away, I ask if he has any commissions for Amsterdam. He asks what leads me thither; I tell him that I wish to divert the gentlemen there from their present pursuits and bring them into my views. He objects. Says he understands that the loan they have opened is filled, and that he expects the Americans will pay the debt, which is the best way. Thus it seems that this plan is finally ruined. At Madame de Chastellux’s, to-night, the Comtesse de Ségur tells me that on Wednesday next M. Necker is to go to the Assemblée, and tell them that upon the 1st of March there will not be a shilling in any chest belonging to the public. The Duchess comes in; the usual chit-chat.”
“After dining with the Duchess of Orleans, go to Lafayette’s [February 15th]. He takes me into his closet and enters into conversation on the state of affairs. In the course of conversation I ask him what situation their frontier towns are in toward Flanders. He gives but a disagreeable account of them, and complains of the Minister at War, whose misconduct has aided the spirit of revolt prevalent among the troops. I tell him that the enemies of France must be extremely stupid if they do not attack those places. He is much alarmed at the riots which still rage in the provinces, and consults me as to a plan he has in agitation for giving legal authority to quell them. Apprehensive that the officers of the municipality may not appear on some occasions to head the military, he has, in concurrence with M. Short, for this extraordinary occasion, determined to authorize the commanding officer of the troops to act alone. Thus these violent advocates of liberty adopt the measure most hostile to it. I oppose the plan; show him the evil consequences, personal and political. In reply to the question, what are they to do if the municipalities will not make use of the authorities committed to them, I first mark out the various penalties which may be devised, but conclude that they will all prove insufficient, because the institution of the municipalities is radically wrong. Predict to him that they will become the sources of endless confusions, and of great debility, but observe, at the same time, that they have flattered the people with such extravagant notions of liberty that I see it is out of their power to alter that organization until experience may have made them wiser. Suggest the appointment of commissioners as conservators to be sent into each district. He thinks that the Assemblée will not agree to give the King authority to name such commissioners. Finally, however, we agree that it may be proper to declare, provisoirement, that certain commissioners already named for other purposes shall be vested with the power in question until the municipalities are organized. He tells me that he must give the King a sugar-plum for his speech to the Assembly. I smile, and tell him that he has no sugar-plum to give; that they have already parcelled out the executive authority in such way that they cannot restore it to the monarch. He tells me that he has thought of appointing St. Priest Minister at War, with Duportail under him. I tell him that I do not know St. Priest, but understand from one who does know him that he is faux, and advise him to be clear on that point before he makes him his master. As to Duportail, I say nothing, but I believe him to be incapable because I believe him to be too much a man of the closet; but I know that he has ideas very different from Lafayette as to this revolution. I tell Lafayette that their finances are in the high road to destruction; that anarchy seems to menace, and even already to attack on every quarter; wherefore they must, above all things, secure the army, which promises to be the only existing establishment. I tell him that if a war breaks out they must conduct it on principles totally different from those hitherto used; that they must put strong garrisons in their islands, and then abandon the ocean and totally stop their commerce, which they will be unable to protect; that such ships as they can fit out must be sent to cruise as privateers; that they must march with all the force they can muster directly into Holland, and endeavor to possess themselves of that country. I have not time to develop these ideas, but if needful I will take an opportunity to put them on paper. Mr. Short tells me that Lafayette consulted him, with others, this morning about the means of quelling riots. Go from hence to Madame de Staël’s. Stay but a little while. She desires me to bring her a novel from England, if any good one comes out. She has been told that I speak ill of her. I tell her it is not true.”
“The morning of February the 16th, prepare for my journey to Holland, get a passport and maps, bid Madame de Flahaut adieu, and at eleven on the 17th leave Paris.”
[*]Washington had intrusted to Morris an order for the purchase of table-ornaments to be used at his state dinners at Philadelphia.
[*]The Duke and Duchess of Orleans had lived happily until 1789, when Madame de Genlis came between them, and the management of the children was given to her. The first open quarrel they had was when the duchess refused to accompany the duke on his mission to England, but she was subsequently reconciled to him. About this time a separation had taken place between them, and a lawsuit had been commenced to obtain the repayment of her dowry. This demand, in the shattered condition of the duke’s finances, meant ruin. At length, worn out with worry, the duchess quitted her husband’s palace on the twenty second anniversary of their wedding-day, April 5, 1791, and sought shelter with her father, the Duc de Penthièvre. Later the Princesse de Lamballe undertook to reconcile the duke and duchess, and the duke offered to restore the dowry, provided the duchess would settle an annuity of one hundred thousand livres on each of her children, entirely independent of both parents. The duchess rejected these terms, but offered to be responsible for the entire support of the Comte de Beaujolais and Mademoiselle d’Orléans, they to be immediately confided to her care. Scarcely was this proposal made than Mademoiselle d’Orléans was sent with Madame de Genlis to England, and the duchess did not see her again for ten years. A suit was brought against the duke in October, 1791, which was continued even when the husband and wife were separated by many leagues, and the decree of final separation was pronounced, in November, 1792, only a few weeks before the duke lost his head.
[*]Jean François Marmontel, the successor to D’Alembert as perpetual secretary of the French Academy, a writer and critic, was in the first rank of the literature of the eighteenth century. Full of resources and of ideas, he expressed himself with precision and force. Through the epoch of the Revolution his course was dignified, prudent, and at the same time generous. He passed those stormy years in retirement in the country, and died in 1799.
[*]Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.