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Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, vol. 2 [1888]

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Gouverneur Morris, 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. 2.

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About this Title:

Volume 2 of a two volume diary which Morris kept while he was Minister to France for the new American Republic from 1792-94. It provides much detail about the social life and political turmoil of Paris during a critical phase of the French Revolution.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

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[From the painting at Old Morrisania.]

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The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, etc.
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Copyright, 1888, by CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS


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  • CHAPTER XXVII. Delays in the instructions from America. Morris’s position embarrassing. Short entries in the diary. Letter to Carmichael. Letter to Short on the Lafayette subject. Letter to Madame de Lafayette. Morris keeps open house. The king before the Assembly. Letter to Jefferson. The Jacobin Club. Trial of the king. Letter to Hamilton. Letter to Robert Morris. Letter to Washington. Proposal to send the king and his family to America. Letter to the Countess Albani. Genet appointed Minister to the United States,. . . 1
  • CHAPTER XXVIII. Letter to Washington concerning M. Genet. Morris questions his ability. Clew to some mysteries of the Revolution. Morris urged to leave Paris. Paris a dangerous residence. He determines to stay. Letter in verse to Lady Sutherland. Trial of Louis Sixteenth. Letter to Jefferson. The king’s execution. His dignified manner. War with England inevitable. Letter to Washington. French prospects dreadful. Parties pass away like shadows. Morris reported a victim of the guillotine. Letter to Robert Morris. Letter to Jefferson. Scarcity of men in France. The Revolutionary Tribunal organized. Morris arrested in the street. Letter to Jefferson. Growing treachery to the government. A majority in the Convention in favor of royalty. Morris buys a country place. Leaves Paris. Spends the summer at Sainport,. . . 25
  • CHAPTER XXIX. Morris aware that his recall is desired. Difficulties of the mission. Letters delayed in transit to and from America. Source of great annoyance. Edition: current; Page: [iv] Insecurity of letters in France. Description of his life at Sainport. Distracted condition of France. Returns to Paris in October. Letter to Washington. At Sainport during the summer of 1794. Letter to Robert Morris. Changes hourly take place in the government. Difficulty of doing business. Letter to Washington. The probable event of the opening campaign not favorable to the Republic. Letter to Washington. Fall of Danton. Executions still go on at Paris. Acknowledges a letter from Washington over a year in its passage. Concerning the Lafayettes. New minister arrives in August. His advent a relief. Morris determines to stay abroad,. . . 47
  • CHAPTER XXX. Morris leaves Paris and France. Resumes his diary. Thinks Monroe takes a wrong tone. Journey through France. Switzerland. Coppet. Madame de Staël. M. Necker. Malet du Pin. Berne. Basle. Hospitality of friends. Incidents en route. Scraps of news. Hamburg. Glad to have left his position in France. Letter to Washington. Extremely cold weather. Princess of Wales goes to England. Madame de Flahaut. Treaty between Prussia and France published, April, 1795. Morris becomes surety for the Duke of Orleans. Verses to Mesdames de Beaurepaire and de Flahaut. Riots at Paris. Morris helps his friends among the émigrés. History of M. d’Angivilliers’s silver plate. Power of the Jacobins broken. Distress in France. Letter to Washington,. . . 68
  • CHAPTER XXXI. Morris goes to England. Account of the voyage from Hamburg. The Thames scenery. Mr. Pinckney. Count Woronzow. M. de Moustier. Dinner at the Marquis de Spinola’s. Conversation with Lord Grenville. He apprehends a bad disposition on the part of the American Government. Morris asks to be presented at Court. The Duke of Queensberry. Mademoiselle Faniani. Conversation with Moustier. Manifesto by the new King of France drafted by Morris. Riots in London. Dines with Pitt. Lord Grenville and Chatham. Long interview with Pitt,. . . 90
  • CHAPTER XXXII. Morris makes a journey through part of England. Portsmouth. Plymouth. Charmed with the beauties of England. Visit to Blenheim. Edition: current; Page: [v] Lady Sutherland. Back in London. Letter to Washington. Mr. Jay’s treaty. Journey through England and Scotland. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Pictures at Burleigh House. Edinburgh. Dines with friends. Pleasant reception by the Duke and Duchess of Athol. Taymouth—Lord Breadalbane’s place. Entertained by the Duke of Argyll. Loch Lomond. Conversation with the Duke of Montrose. Glasgow. The English lake region. The Bishop of Llandaff,. . . 105
  • CHAPTER XXXIII. Examines the Liverpool docks. The king attacked on his way to Parliament. Stratford-upon-Avon. Letter to Lady Sutherland from Warwick. London. Presented to George III. Conversation with His Majesty. The House of Commons. Fox speaks. French affairs. Conversation with Lord Chatham. Count Woronzow. A great City dinner. Congratulates the Imperial envoy on the Austrian victories. Dines with Lord Grenville. Long conversation with him. Letter to Washington about Adams. Meets Canning dining at Lady Sutherland’s,. . . 131
  • CHAPTER XXXIV. Morris passes the winter of 1796 in London. News of the armistice on the Rhine. Letter to Washington. Chosen honorary member of the Highland Society. Dines with the Duke of Argyll. The King’s drawing-room. Goes to the House of Commons. The Princess of Wales. Mr. Adams. Pitt speaks in the House of Commons. Fox. Sheridan. Letter to Washington. Letter to Alexander Hamilton. Mrs. Montague’s drawing-room. The Queen’s drawing-room. French victory in Italy. View of St. Paul’s. Dines with Pitt at Lord Gower’s. The House of Lords. Dines with Mrs. Vassal,. . . 148
  • CHAPTER XXXV. Morris goes to Switzerland in June, 1796. Lord Grenville provides him with letters. Altona. The Duke of Orleans. Journey to Berlin. Berlin. Count de Haugwitz. Conversation with M. Kalitchoff. Dines with Prince Ferdinand. Introduced to the Princess Dowager of Hesse. Dines with Count Haugwitz. First of a series of letters Edition: current; Page: [vi] to Lord Grenville. Dines with the Russian minister. Long conversation. Madame de Nadaillac. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Letter to Lord Grenville. Dinner at Lord Elgin’s. An announcement of a victory of the French at Brescia. An evening at Prince Ferdinand’s. Dines with Marshal Von Möllendorf. Leaves Berlin,. . . 169
  • CHAPTER XXXVI. Dresden. French emigrants fill the streets. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Manners and customs of Dresden. Goes to Court. Dines with the Duchess of Cumberland. Countess Loos. Leaves Dresden. Vienna. Baron Thugut. Sir Morton Eden. Is presented to the Emperor. News from the army. Letter to Lord Grenville. The Duke of Würtemberg. Is presented to the Archduchess. Madame of France. M. Rassoomousky. An evening at Madame Pergin’s. The French Directory answers Lord Malmesbury. Affairs in Italy. Death of the Empress of Russia. Accounts of the event. Conversation with Baron Thugut. Letter to Lord Grenville apropos of Lafayette’s release. Morris’s arrival at Dresden occasions inquiry. Madame de Colorath’s assembly. A little prince’s observations. Musicale at Mrs. Peploe’s. The levee. Prince Esterhazy. Tea with Sir Morton Eden,. . . 202
  • CHAPTER XXXVII. Morris returns to Dresden. Rhyming letter written en route. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Sir Gilbert Elliot. Keeps Lord Grenville informed of his conversations with public men. The Duchess of Cumberland’s drawing-room. Takes leave of the Electoral family. Goes to Leipsic. Berlin. Madame César. Presented at Court. Countess Lichtenau. Madame Crayen. Ball at the Prince Royal’s. Baron Münchausen. Dines with the Queen. Conversation at Baron de Haugwitz’s. Presented to Bischofswerder. Confidential conversation with Count Schmittau. Leaves Berlin for Brunswick. Presented at Court. Dines with the Duchess of Brunswick, Plays whist with the sister of the great Frederick,. . . 252
  • CHAPTER XXXVIII. Morris goes to Hamburg. An armistice signed, April, 1797. Letter to Lord Grenville. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Prince Zubow. Information about Russia. Lafayette released. Dines at Neusteden. Lafayette means to avoid all interference in French affairs. Intends Edition: current; Page: [vii] to go to America. Conversation with Duchess of Cumberland at Frankfort. Prince de Reusse. Fête at Offenbach. Mr. Crauford. The Duchess of Cumberland in a contradictory mood. Baron de Beaulieu. Mr. Wickham. Leaves Frankfort for Ratisbon. En petite sociêté at the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis’s. General Werneck. Dinner at the Prince Bishop’s. Communications of M. Aujard,. . . 288
  • CHAPTER XXXIX. Morris sees the society of various towns on the Continent. Count Rumford. Conversation with him. The Elector of Bavaria. Presented at Court. Ratisbon. Affairs of Switzerland. Stuttgart. Frankfort. Conversation with Mr. Crauford. A drive with Count d’Aspre. Movements of the armies. M. de Görtz and the citizen Treilhard. Mr. Crauford’s interesting communications. Riot in Vienna. General Holtze. Bonaparte goes to Rastadt. Cobenzel made Austrian Minister of State. Count Cobenzel goes to Rastadt to negotiate for peace with Bonaparte. Information received from Prince de Reusse. Conversation with the Elector. Dines with the Duchess of Cumberland. Ukase of the Russian Emperor. Mr. Crauford’s history of how he became acquainted with Simolin. Affairs in Paris in 1792 of which Crauford was cognizant,. . . 332
  • CHAPTER XL. Morris bids farewell to his friends in Europe. Returns to America. Difficulties of the voyage. Rebuilds his house at Morrisania. Pressed by friends once more to enter public life. Hamilton especially solicitous that he should do so. Death of Washington. Morris pronounces his funeral oration. Elected United States Senator in April. Journey to Northern New York. Niagara. Letter to James Parish. Enthusiastic description of the climate and prospects of America,. . . 370
  • CHAPTER XLI. Morris goes to Washington. Sits in the Senate. Presidential election. Treaty with France. Letter to Hamilton. Letter to James Leray. Jefferson elected President. Disconcerting proposition from Lafayette in regard to a loan. Letter to M. Labarte. A most unpleasant episode with the Lafayettes,. . . 393 Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • CHAPTER XLII. Yellow fever at New York. Morris describes his home life to Countess Hohenthäl. Letter to Parish on public affairs. Washington. The Senate opposes a motion to repeal the law respecting the Judiciary. Cannot support the Administration. Letter to Alexander Hamilton. Letter to Robert Livingston. Work in the Senate. Letter to the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis. Strictures on the Jefferson administration,. . . 413
  • CHAPTER XLIII. Morris resumes his duties at Washington. Letter to Parish. Opinion of the appointment of Monroe to France and Spain. Question of the purchase of Louisiana. Letter to Necker. Morris describes his quiet life at Morrisania. Letter to Livingston, Minister at Paris. Journey to the Northern lakes,. . . 430
  • CHAPTER XLIV. Morris appealed to for political advice. Question of the constitutionality of the Louisiana purchase. Letter to Robert Livingston. Letter to James Parish. Letter to Mr. Tracy. Discusses the cession of Louisiana. Entertains M. and Madame Jerome Bonaparte. Duel between Burr and Hamilton. Goes to Hamilton’s death-bed. Stays with him until he expires. The duel occasions much excitement in New York. Morris pronounces the funeral oration,. . . 441
  • CHAPTER XLV. Letter to Mr. Parish. Reflections on Bonaparte’s intervention in Germany. Ideas on the re-election of Jefferson. Letter to John Penn, of London. The political world of America. Takes no active part in politics. Letter to Aaron Ogden. Believes the Constitution has received a mortal wound. Letter to the Duke of Orleans. Gives his opinion on the chances of the Bourbon restoration. Comments on European affairs,. . . 461 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
  • CHAPTER XLVI. The summer of 1806. Letter to Samuel Hunt. Morris fears war. Conduct of the administration. Letter to Madame de Staël. General Moreau. Letter to Chief Justice Marshall. Washington’s character. Details relative to Lafayette’s liberation in 1796. Waiting for European news. Begs Madame de Staël to come to Morrisania. Napoleon’s victory at Friedland. Letter to Madame Foucault. Letter to the Marquis of Stafford,. . . 486
  • CHAPTER XLVII. Long interview with General Moreau. The first steam-boat on the Hudson River. Convinced that war is imminent. Distrusts the administration. Letter to Madame de Staël. Letter to Madame de Damas. Autumn in the woods of New York. Marriage with Miss Randolph. Letter to Timothy Pickering. Journey to inspect the country for the Erie Canal. Niagara. Writes on public topics. Horror of war. Discusses the Constitution,. . . 506
  • CHAPTER XLVIII. Morris makes his report on inland navigation. Is one of the commissioners to lay out New York. Travels by steam-boat to Albany. Goes to Washington. The memorable year of 1812. Delivers an oration at the funeral of Mr. Clinton. War declared. Letter to Mr. Hare. Considers the declaration of war as little short of madness. Letters on the subject. Opinion of the course to be pursued in relation to Great Britain. No faith in the proposed loan. Letter to Otis. Alarm at the extent of the domain of the United States,. . . 532
  • CHAPTER XLIX. Letter to L. B. Sturges. Conclusions drawn from Lord Castlereagh’s correspondence. Suggests calling a convention to consult on the state of the nation. The coast blockaded. America has no ships. European peace. Morris pronounces an oration to celebrate the restoration of the Bourbons. Commissioners at Ghent. British treaty. The Edition: current; Page: [x] finances. Letter to Rufus King on the negotiations with Great Britain. Alarming prospect of increased taxation. Letter to Timothy Pickering,. . . 555
  • CHAPTER L. Scheme for a bank. Letter to Rufus King on the subject. The Hartford Convention. Letter to Moss Kent. Laments the existing troubles and fears more misery. Peace proclaimed. Suggests laws to protect game. Letter to Senator Wells. Expresses his opinion of the peace. Napoleon’s escape from Elba. Letter to a friend commenting on the manifesto of the combined powers,. . . 577
  • CHAPTER LI. The summer of 1815. The last year of Morris’s life. He opposes the heavy tariff. His sixty-fourth birthday. Letter to Rufus King. The ratified Convention. Disapproves of direct taxation. Letter to Moss Kent. Writes of the exhausted commercial state of the country. Elected President of the New York Historical Society. Letter to the federal party. Dies at Morrisania,. . . 591
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the diary and letters of GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

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the diary and letters of GOUVERNEUR MORRIS


Delays in the instructions from America. Morris’s position embarrassing. Short entries in the diary. Letter to Carmichael. Letter to Short on the Lafayette subject. Letter to Madame de Lafayette. Morris keeps open house. The king before the Assembly. Letter to Jefferson. The Jacobin Club. Trial of the king. Letter to Hamilton. Letter to Robert Morris. Letter to Washington. Proposal to send the king and his family to America. Letter to the Countess Albani. Genet appointed Minister to the United States.

The delay in receiving instructions from his government, during the autumn of 1792, caused Morris infinite annoyance, and placed him in a most equivocal position toward the French Government; and it was not until the end of November that he received a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury committing to his management such part of the business relating to the debt due to France as was to be transacted in Paris, which consisted in payment of interest due thereon. November 14th he had written to Mr. Short, then at the Hague, informing him of the difficulties he had encountered with the French ministry, in the following letter:

“The ministry had taken up the idea that the management of what relates to the debt was in my hands, and that you acted in consequence of directions from me. They wished me to do things which were by no means in my Edition: current; Page: [2] power. I endeavored to undeceive them, but in vain. Every step I took in relation to it, however indifferent, was considered as a proof of their hypothesis, and they treated refusal as a disavowal of the late revolution. I assured them that I could neither adopt nor reject it, being merely an agent, etc. But this answered little purpose, and the whole council are personally my enemies. You may say that they are unreasonable, and the like, but that does not alter the thing. This inconvenience, however, is no small one, under the circumstances in which I have lived for the last three months, and has, I know, excited representations in America to my disadvantage.”

From the middle of November, and, indeed, dating back to the September massacres, in the entries in his diary Morris confined himself almost entirely to records of the weather, with brief non-committal notices of rumors of the successes or reverses of the armies, and to contradictions and confirmations of those rumors. Very occasionally he says, “To-day everything is quiet;” but, as he wrote to his friend Carmichael at Madrid, on the 5th of November, there were no “satisfactory or flattering accounts to give.” “True it is,” he continued, “that the French arms are crowned with great success. Towns fall before them without a blow, and the Declaration of Rights produces an effect equal at least to the trumpets of Joshua. But as, on the one hand, I never questioned the force of France if united, and her natural enthusiasm, warmed by the ardor of new-born freedom, so, on the other, I was always apprehensive that they would be deficient in that cool reflection which appears needful to consolidate a free government. We read in the history of man, as it is developed in the great book of nature, that empires do by no means depend on their success in arms, but on their civil, religious, and political constitutions, and that in the Edition: current; Page: [3] framing of these it is a useless question, ‘What kind are best in themselves?’ the more so as good and bad in most things here below, but especially in that which we now contemplate, are mere relative terms. The true object of a great statesman is to give to any particular nation the kind of laws which are suitable to them, and the best constitution which they are capable of. All here is in a state of uncertainty. Time will disclose the events with which he is charged in their due season. Some of them will, I think, be of sable hue.”

Morris was hardly in a position to take any active measures for the relief of his old friend M. de Lafayette, although he wrote to Mr. Short in November that he was “very sorry to perceive that the unhappy prisoners at Weszel are rigorously treated. I wish, at your leisure, to be informed pretty fully what has passed on their subject, and whether there be any ground to hope that we may by and by obtain their liberation, and particularly that of our fellow-citizen.” Hoping to aid Madame de Lafayette in her trouble, he enclosed in a letter to her the draft of a supplicatory address to be presented to the King of Prussia; but, unfortunately, there is nowhere any mention of Madame de Lafayette having made use of this letter.

My Dear Madame: I need not tell you why the enclosed paper is transmitted to you. I know not the titles of the King of Prussia. These should be properly placed, you know, because monarchs are very sensible on that subject. If report say true, His Majesty is more likely to listen to a woman than to a man, and this is favorable; but what would be still more advantageous would be to have your letter presented by the favorite of the day, a lady, I think Madame de Guisne; but certainly the daughter Edition: current; Page: [4] of Madame de Polignac is said to have made an impression on His Majesty, who is, it seems, very susceptible of violent though not of lasting affection. This young lady is said to have been ill-treated by her mother and others, who are among the principal emigrants, and to have used her influences with the King to avenge the slight of her countrymen and relations. I am told that Madame de Guisne has lately received his adorations. If you were to plead your cause in a court of justice it might be well to insist on the rights of our unfortunate friend; but as the person to whom you address yourself is both judge and party, the matter of right must be touched with great gentleness. Be of good courage, for sooner or later the present clouds will be dissipated. All human things are liable to change. You may remember that I used to inculcate that maxim when circumstances were smiling. It was then true, and it is still true. But then it was unpleasant, but now it will afford consolation. Farewell, my dear madame. It will give me sincere pleasure to be useful to you and yours.”

The enclosed letter, which was written at the urgent request of Madame de Lafayette’s mother, is as follows:

Madame De Lafayette Au Roi De Prusse.

Sire: Permettez à une malheureuse de se jeter aux pieds de Votre Majesté. C’est la femme de Lafayette, Sire, qui s’adresse à votre clémence; elle ose espérer que la genérosité du Roi de Prusse brisera les chaînes de son mari.

“Je ne prétends pas, Sire, agiter les hautes questions qui s’elèvent sur la détention de M. de Lafayette, car il est permis à une femme de n’être pas versée dans le droit des gens; d’ailleurs, Votre Majesté attache un trop grand Edition: current; Page: [5] prix à sa propre gloire pour ne pas observer avec exactitude cette loi suprême. Mais elle daignera écouter les prières d’une femme, à qui la révolution française a fait verser les larmes les plus amères.

“Sire, celui en faveur duquel j’emploie la clémence de Votre Majesté, n’a jamais connu le crime. Fidèle à son roi, des qu’il ne pouvait plus lui être utile, il s’eloignait de la France. Au moment où il a été fait prisonnier, il traversait les Pays-Bas pour se réfugier en Amérique; il se croyait sous la protection du droit des gens, et il s’y fiait avec d’autant plus de confiance, que les sentiments généreux de Votre Majesté ne lui étaient point inconnus; il sait qu’elle se conduit dans toutes ses démarches d’après les principes de l’honneur et de la justice.

“Sire, je m’aveugle, peut-être, sur la conduite d’un époux cher, mais je ne me trompe pas quand je me persuade que Votre Majesté exaucera les prières d’une malheureuse.”

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Morris occasionally mentions the fact of dining out with some friend during those months of the autumn of 1792—on one occasion, with Madame de Narbonne; but he more frequently stayed at home and hospitably entertained those who were homeless and miserable among his friends. On the 22d of November, he says: “I go today by appointment to M. Lebrun’s office and urge an exception in the law against emigrants favorable to those who are in the United States. The papers discovered in the Tuileries affect several persons who supposed themselves safe. I give a dinner to French people this day.”

“Cold weather [December 2d]. Dine with the Comte de Ségur, who gives us a Greek wine after oysters, and, by mistake as a second bottle of the same, some of the best Tokay I ever tasted. I drink the greater part of it, praising always his Greek wine, till his brother-in-law, astonished at my choice, tastes it, and then all is discovered.”

To Lord Wycombe Morris wrote, November 22d, thanking him for his letter and for his “kind congratulations on the success of French arms. The enemies of the Revolution attribute to numbers the great success which has been experienced, but they must at the same time allow that the appearance of those numbers in the field at their country’s call is itself a proof of the wonders which freedom performs. They flatter themselves, however, that famine and bankruptcy will tie up, next campaign, the swords of the valorous Franks. They may perhaps find themselves mistaken. The wishes which your lordship expresses respecting Britain are patriotic, if wealth were the only index of national felicity; but as man liveth not by bread alone, so the societies of men are not content with mere plenty but must pursue luxuries, among which the greatest is, to use an expression of one of my countrymen, Edition: current; Page: [7] the luxury of being free. And you must not imagine that we will avariciously confine to our own limits this gratifying enjoyment. No, we declare that all who wish to partake thereof will find in us (ye French) a sure and certain ally. We will chase tyranny, and, above all, aristocracy, off the theatre of the Universe. Mark that, my lord. The declaration was unnecessary, for all clearsighted men were convinced, a year ago, that such was the natural result of our endeavors. We begin, as your lordship observes, by establishing free commerce on the bosom of the Scheldt, by opening the long-shut gates of Antwerp, and bidding Wealth revisit, with his sister Liberty, their ancient temple. In comparison with these sublime efforts to increase the sum of human felicity, how cold and flat are all the little calculations of policy. Adieu, my lord. I heartily wish you well, but I think you must prepare for hard struggles, either at home or abroad. The theatre is perhaps still left to your choice, but certainly not the thing.”

“The Convention this day [December 3d] determine to try the King. It grows every day more probable that England will declare war. Success continues to crown the French arms, but we must not judge from success. The enemies of those who now reign treat them as they did their predecessors, and as their successors will be treated.”

“Since I have been in this country,” wrote Morris to Thomas Pinckney, December 3d, “I have seen the worship of many idols, and but little of the true God; I have seen many of those idols broken, and some of them beaten to dust. I have seen the late Constitution, in one short year, admired as a stupendous monument of human wisdom and ridiculed as an egregious production of folly and vice. I wish much, very much, the happiness of this Edition: current; Page: [8] inconstant people. I love them. I feel grateful for their efforts in our cause, and I consider the establishment of a good constitution here as a principal means, under Divine Providence, of extending the blessings of freedom to the many millions of my fellow-men who groan in bondage on the Continent of Europe. But I do not greatly indulge the flattering illusions of hope, because I do not yet perceive that reformation of morals without which liberty is but an empty sound. My heart has many sinister bodings, and reason would strive in vain to dispel the gloom which always thickens where she exerts her sway.”

On the 11th of December the king was questioned before the Assembly. “He answered well,” Morris mentions in the diary. “Some who saw him conducted tell me that the people seemed rather sorrowful than triumphant.”

“I am told this day [December 12th] that the committee think they have been pushed too far against the King, by the Orleans faction. The Convention banish the Bourbon family.”

“To-day [December 19th] all accounts from England show a design to engage in the war. Dine with some of the deputies. The decree against the Bourbons is suspended. Several Americans dine with me. Paine looks a little down at the news from England; he has been burned in effigy.”

Writing to Mr. Jefferson, under date of December 21st, Morris says:

“You will have seen that the Jacobin Club is as much at war with the present government as it was with the preceding. Victory or death is the word with both parties. Hitherto the majority of the Convention have had rather the advantage, although they frequently decree what they do not wish. The ministers, possessing far Edition: current; Page: [9] more patronage than any monarch since Louis the Fourteenth, secured by that means the influence of the majority, their friends and the Jacobins, who, backed by the Parisian populace, have been several times within an inch of ruin. Luckily for them their adversaries are many of them timid, while the Jacobin leaders are daring and determined. A late circumstance brought forward a show of forces, and, though it is rather anticipating a different subject, I must state it here. The Brissotines, finding themselves hard pushed towards killing the King, and apprehensive, not without reason, that this might be a signal for their own destruction, determined on a measure not a little hazardous, but decisive. This was the expulsion of the Bourbons, a blow originally levelled at the Duke of Orleans. The motion was carried, but the Convention have been obliged to suspend the decree, and that is, I think, equivalent to a repeal. Many members have talked of leaving Paris, but the same fear which controls them while in the city will prevent them from quitting it; at least, such is my opinion. I now come to the trial of the King and the circumstances connected with it. To a person less intimately acquainted than you are with the history of human affairs, it would seem strange that the mildest monarch who ever filled the French throne, one who is precipitated from it precisely because he would not adopt the harsh measures of his predecessors, a man whom none could charge with a criminal act, should be prosecuted as one of the most nefarious tyrants that ever disgraced the annals of human nature—that he, Louis the Sixteenth, should be prosecuted even to death. Yet such is the fact. I think it highly probable that he may suffer, and that for the following causes: The majority of the Assembly found it necessary to raise against this unhappy prince the national odium, in order to justify the dethroning him Edition: current; Page: [10] (which, after what he had suffered, appeared to be necessary even to their safety) and to induce the ready adoption of a republican form of government. Being in possession of his papers, and those of his servants, it was easy, if they would permit themselves to extract, to comment, to suppress, and to mutilate—it was very easy to create such opinions as they might think proper. The rage which has been excited was terrible; and, although it begins to subside, the Convention are still in great straits—fearing to acquit, fearing to condemn, and yet urged to destroy their captive monarch. The violent party are clamorous against him, for reasons which I will presently state.

“The monarchic and aristocratic parties wish his death, in the belief that such a catastrophe would shock the national feelings, awaken their hereditary attachment, and turn into the channels of loyalty the impetuous tide of opinion. Thus he has become the common object of hatred to all parties, because he has never been the decided patron of any one. If he is saved, it will be by the justice of his cause, which will have some little effect, and by the pity which is universally felt (though none dare to express it openly) for the very harsh treatment which he has endured. I come now to the motives of the violent party. You will see that Louvet, whose pamphlet, with many others, I send you, has charged on this party the design to restore royalty in the person of the Duke of Orleans. This man’s character and conduct give but too much room to suspect him of criminal intentions. I have many particular circumstances which lead me to believe that he has from the beginning played a deep and doubtful game; but I believe, also, that on the present occasion, as on the preceding, he is the dupe. Shortly after the 10th of August I had information, on which you may rely, that the plan of Danton was to Edition: current; Page: [11] obtain the resignation of the King and get himself appointed Chief of a Council of Regency, composed of his creatures, during the minority of the Dauphin. This idea has never, I believe, been wholly abandoned. The Cordeliers (or privy council which directs the Jacobin movements) know well the design of interverting the order of succession. They know how to appreciate the fluctuating opinions of their countrymen, and, though they are very willing to employ the Duke of Orleans in their work, I am much mistaken if they will consent to elevate him to the throne. So that, for his share of the guilt, he may probably be rewarded with the shame of it, and the mortifying reflection that, after all the conflicts of his political warfare, he has gained no victory but over his own conscience. It is worthy of remark that, although the Convention has been now near four months in session, no plan of a constitution is yet produced. Nevertheless, the special authority committed to them by the people, and the only authority, perhaps, which cannot be contested, was to prepare such a plan. On the conduct likely to be pursued by Great Britain I shall not permit myself to hazard much conjecture. I have already troubled you with some ideas respecting the interior state of Great Britain, and I add here my opinion that, sooner or later, they must go into war. As to Spain, I think the Court is too corrupt and too profligate to make any considerable efforts. Bankrupt almost in full peace, with the mines of Mexico and Peru at their disposal, what would war produce? Russia menaces, but the state of her finances, and the great distance, must make her efforts fall short of her wishes. Every art is used on each side to influence the Turk, and I own to you that I rather apprehend that England and the Imperial Court combined will prove successful, especially as M. de Choiseul Gouffier is now Edition: current; Page: [12] openly active there on the part of the emigrant princes. Austria and Prussia are making their utmost efforts, and the Prince of Hesse, who (strange as it may seem) is adored by his subjects, will second those efforts to the utmost of his ability.

“Such, my dear sir, is the foreign storm lowering over this country, in which you will see that my predictions respecting corn have been hitherto exactly verified. How they are to obtain supplies from abroad, in the face of the maritime powers, I am myself at a loss to conjecture. It is nevertheless in this awful moment, and immediately after expediting the orders to recruit their army to six hundred thousand effectives in order to sustain the landwar, that they affect to wish Britain would declare war against them, and actually menace, as you see, the government with an appeal to the nation. There are cases in which events must decide on the quality of actions, which are bold or rash according to the success. If I may venture to judge from appearances, there is now in the wind a storm not unlike that of the 2d of September. Whether it will burst or blow over it is impossible to determine.”

“You will have seen from the public prints,” Morris wrote to Alexander Hamilton, December 24th, “the wonderful success of the French arms, arising from the following causes: 1st. That the enemy, deceived by the emigrants, counted too highly on the opposition he was to meet with. 2d. That from like misinformation, instead of attacking on the northern frontier, backed by the resources of Flanders and those which the ocean could supply, they came across the Ardennes to that part of Champagne nicknamed ‘the lousy,’ from its barrenness and misery. 3d. That in this expedition, where the difficulty of the roads, transportation, and communication was the greatest they expected, it so happened that the season, usually dry and Edition: current; Page: [13] fair (when those bad roads are at the best), was one continued rain for two months; so that at length they were nearly stuck fast, and had as much as they could do to drag back their cannon through the mud. Lastly, that France brought into the field, and has kept up until very lately, the immense number of 600,000 troops. This has been done at an average expense of about five millions sterling per month beyond their resources, and yet they have ordered a like army for the next campaign, and talk boldly of meeting Great Britain also upon her element. What say you to that, Monsieur le Financier? But I will tell you in your ear that, in spite of that blustering, they will do much to avoid a war with Britain, if the people will let them. But truth is, that the populace of Paris influence, in a great degree, the public counsels. I think they will have quite as many men as they can maintain; but what that may amount to is hard to determine. The ministers here are a most extraordinary people; they make nothing of difficulties, as you shall judge by a simple trait of M. Pache, the Minister at War. He had sent Beuernonville to occupy the Moselle River down to Coblentz, taking Trèves and other places in his way. Now this way lies through a very difficult, mountainous country, in which the snow is already very deep; therefore Beuernonville, having got a little neck of land between the Saar and the Moselle, puts his troops into winter-quarters, pleading their nakedness as an excuse. The minister has sent him a brace of commissioners, who have power to impress in Edition: current; Page: [14] the neighborhood whatever may be needful for the troops and then (their wants supplied) summon him to obey his orders. If I may venture to judge from appearances, there is now in the wind a storm not unlike that of September. Whether it will burst or blow over it is impossible to determine. It has occurred to me that I never yet assigned a reason why the completion of the payment of 6,000,000f., which at Mr. Short’s request I had stipulated for with the government lately abolished, appeared to me desirable. In effect, I left this, as I do many other things, to the sense of the gentle reader; but as readers are sometimes ungentle, it is not amiss to communicate that reason to a friend. I saw that the new government would be hungry, and would urge us for money, in the double view of obtaining an acknowledgment of them as well as of supplying their wants. It was therefore, I thought, right to take a position where we might say there is nothing due. This would leave open a question which it would be very delicate to answer either way as things appeared then, and as they are, now that appearances have changed. You will have seen the manœuvres to force me in that intrenchment, but at last, like your friend General Lee, I was quit, at the worst, for a retrograde manœuvre. But I concluded that supplies of money to support the Colony of Santo Domingo would, in all events, have been considered as a good and effectual payment on our part, and, had my offer of recommending such supplies been accepted, I could, on that ground, have proposed the measure which, anticipating the next instalment, would have still kept open the main point as long as you should think proper. And thus my apparent retreat was, in effect, a mode of more permanent defence; and this is more, I believe, than poor Lee could say for himself.”

Writing to Robert Morris, on December 24th, Morris Edition: current; Page: [15] spoke more fully than usual of the horrors he had seen enacted about him. “You will long ere this have learnt,” he says, “that the scenes which have passed in this country, and particularly in this city, have been horrible. They were more so than you can imagine. Some days ago a man applied to the Convention for damages done to his quarry. The quarries are deep pits, dug through several feet of earth into the bed of stone, and then extended along the bed of stone under the surface. The damage done to him was by the number of dead bodies thrown into his pit, and which choked it up so that he could not get men to work at it. Think of the destruction of hundreds who had long been the best people of a country, without form of trial, and their bodies thrown like dead dogs into the first hole that offered. At least two hundred of these unhappy victims had committed no other crime than that of being ecclesiastics of irreproachable lives, who were conscientiously scrupulous of taking an oath prescribed to them. I am much mistaken if we do not experience similar scenes before the present Revolution is finished. Adieu, my dear friend. I heartily present to you and yours the compliments of this, which is with you a very festive season. I write from a place deserted by its former inhabitants, where in almost every countenance you can mark the traces of present woe and of dismal forebodings.”

“Since the date of my last letter, the 23d of October,” Morris wrote to Washington, December 28th, “the exterior affairs of this country have put on a more steady appearance. My letter of the 21st inst. to Mr. Jefferson will communicate my view of things, to which I could add but little at this day. I have not mentioned to him the appointment of M. Genet as Minister to the United States; in fact, this appointment has never been announced to Edition: current; Page: [16] me. Perhaps the ministry think it is a trait of republicanism to omit those forms which were anciently used to express good-will. In the letter which is addressed to you is a strain of adulation which your good sense will easily expound. The fact is, that they begin to open their eyes to their true situation, and, besides, they wish to bring forward into act our guarantee of their islands, if the war with Britain should actually take place. À propos of the war, I am told that the British ultimatum is as follows: France shall deliver the royal family to such branch of the Bourbons as the King may choose, and shall recall her troops from the countries they now occupy. In this event Britain will send hither a minister and acknowledge the Republic, and mediate a peace with the Emperor and King of Prussia. I have several reasons to believe that this information is not far from the truth, and that if the ministers felt themselves at liberty to act they would agree to the terms. These terms are, it is said, consequential to the sentiments delivered by the Opposition in the British Parliament, which is, as you will see, become quite insignificant; but it was thought best to place them in a necessity of supporting the measures of administration. I consider these terms (or something very like them) in a different point of view. If the French retire (and consequently eat up again their high-toned declarations in favor of the people and denunciations against kings), they will at the next attempt find as many enemies as there are men in the neighboring countries, and, of course, the mediator will prescribe such terms as she may think proper. Secondly, as it is (almost) evident that the Republic must be torn to pieces by contending factions, even without any foreign interference, her population, wealth, and resources, above all, her marine, must dwindle away. And, as much of her intelligence and industry, with the greater part of her Edition: current; Page: [17] money capital, must in this hypothesis seek the protection of law and government on the other side of the channel, her rival will increase both in positive and relative power. Thirdly, an exiled monarch on the other side of the Pyrenees (for it is at Madrid that he would probably take refuge) would enable Britain at any moment to distract the French affairs and involve the Republic in a war with Spain. Lastly, it seems an almost necessary conclusion that if France (in some years of convulsive misery) should escape dismemberment, she would sink under severe and single despotism, and when relieved therefrom (by the King and his descendants or relatives), she would live in a state of wretchedness for at least one generation. I understand that the French, in the consciousness that their principles have ruined their colonies, are willing to pay them as the price of peace, but, on the other hand, Mr. Pitt has, I am told, refused the offers which the colonists have made to him; partly because he does not wish to excite alarm, and partly because the only useful part of the colonies—their commerce—will, he conceives, naturally fall to Britain, in proportion to their interior ruin, which has already made great ravages in this country. If the terms offered by Britain, whatever they may be, are not accepted, I think a declaration will not suddenly follow, but only an increase of preparations, because time must be given for the cooperators (Spain and Holland), who are both of them slow. Besides, it will be necessary that a body of Prussian troops should be collected through Westphalia, in the neighborhood of Flanders, to be joined by Dutch, Hanoverian, and, perhaps, British troops. The more the French advance the more they expose themselves to this danger, and you may rely that if a large body of troops be thrown into Flanders, that country will join them eagerly to expel or destroy the French. I think it possible that in case war Edition: current; Page: [18] should break out there may be a treaty of partition, in which the Elector Palatine may have Alsace and Lorraine in lieu of Bavaria, and that the Low Countries may be given by the Emperor, in exchange for Bavaria, to the Duke and Duchess of York. This would suit everybody but France, and she will not, in such case, be consulted. I have not yet seen M. Genet, but Mr. Paine is to introduce him to me. In the meantime I have inquired a little what kind of person he is, and I find that he is a man of good parts and very good education, brother to the Queen’s first woman, from whence his fortune originates. He was, through the Queen’s influence, appointed Chargé d’Affaires at Petersburg, and when there, in consequence of despatches from M. de Montmorin, written in the sense of the Revolution, and which he interpreted too literally, he made some representations in a much higher tone than was wished or expected. It was not convenient either to approve or disapprove of his conduct under the then circumstances, and his despatches lay unnoticed. This, to a young man of ardent temper, and who, feeling genius and talents, may perhaps have rated himself a little too high, was mortifying in the extreme. He felt himself insulted, and wrote in a style of petulance to his chief, believing always that if the royal party prevailed his sister would easily make fair weather for him at court, which I doubt not. At the overturn of the monarchy these letters were so many credentials in his favor to the new government, and the dearth of men has opened his way to whatever he might wish. He chose America, as being the best harbor during the storm, and, if my informant be right, he will not put to sea again until it is fair weather, let what will happen. In addition to what I have said respecting the King to Mr. Jefferson, it is well to mention to you that the majority have it in contemplation not only to refer the Edition: current; Page: [19] judgment to the electors of France, that is, to her people, but also to send him and his family to America, which Paine is to move for. He mentioned this to me in confidence, but I have since heard it from another quarter. Adieu, my dear sir; I wish you many and happy years.”

The last entry in the diary for 1792, of any length, was made on the 25th of December, and is the mention of a report that “General Custine and his army are taken prisoners. I doubt this. Count d’Estaing told me this morning that a majority of the Convention would give Mr. Pitt the French West Indies to keep him quiet. He also spoke to me on a subject which Paine had communicated confidentially.”

The following letter to Madame la Comtesse d’Albani, who had fled from Paris leaving all her belongings at the mercy of the new government, is of interest as showing the efforts Morris made to assist the unfortunate fugitives and the encouragement he tried to give them.

“La lettre que vous aviez la bonté de m’adresser de Bruxelles, Madame la Comtesse, ne m’est parvenue qu’après le délai d’un mois, c’est à dire, en octobre. Ce délai est provenu des mouvements militaires, mais il en est résulté que je ne vous ai pas adressé ma réponse à Stuttgart, ni ailleurs, parceque, vu les circonstances, je m’imaginai bien que vous aviez dῦ changer souvent et votre route et vos projets. Je viens de recevoir celle du 30 novembre, qui m’annonce votre arrivée à Florence. Je me suis transporté chez vous, mais votre maître d’hôtel n’y étant pas, je l’ai fait venir chez moi hier matin. Il me dit que vous aviez dῦ recevoir plusieurs de ses lettres avant cette époque, que les scellés ont été mis chez vous, et qu’ils n’ont été levés que depuis un mois; qu’à présent tout est bien et en bon ordre; qu’il a disposé (en cadeaux Edition: current; Page: [20] de trois de vos chevaux d’après les ordres que vous lui aviez donnés; que le quatrième est mort. Il en reste huit, qui ont tous bon appétit. Il pense, et je suis décidément de son avis, qu’il serait sage de les vendre. Ils se vendront bien à présent, et d’ici au mois de — ils vous auront coῦté plus que la différence de prix entre la vente et l’a-chat; si toutefois vous vous décidez à revenir au printemps.

“Ensuite il me paraît que la République pourrait bien s’en servir, en cas de besoin, malgré les bonnes dispositions de ses chefs, parce que nous sommes encore loin d’un gouvernement réglé. Il arrive, comme dans le fort de toutes les révolutions, qu’on est obligé de laisser faire. Quant à vos meubles, je crois que si vous vous décidez à ne plus revenir en France il faudra les faire emballer et descendre la Seine jusqu’à Rouen, pour être embarqués à Rouen sur un bâtiment, loué exprès, et ensuite transportés au port le plus voisin de votre habitation. La vente des biens des émigrés a réduit à très peu de chose le prix des meubles, et ensuite le change vous ôte un bon tiers de la vente telle quelle.

Notre amie a voyagé depuis votre départ, mais je l’attends sous peu, ou plutôt j’espère que sous peu elle reviendra. M. de St. André est à Paris. M. et Madame de Trudaine sont a Rouen.

“Vous me demandez une idée de l’état des choses ici, et vous avez bien fait de dire: ‘Si vous pouvez.’ Rien de plus difficile que cela. L’objet principal du jour, c’est le procès du roi. Il a très bien répondu quand on l’a mis sur la sellette, mais je crains qu’il ne soit immolé. Je crois que la majeure partie de l’Assemblée ne désire pas sa mort. En effet, cela serait non seulement inutile, mais nuisible, puisque ses frères seraient dès lors reconnus (partout) comme Régents; mais on a tant fait pour échauffer le peuple, afin de faire adopter la République, qu’à, présent Edition: current; Page: [21] ils n’en sont plus les maîtres. Ils ne me paraissent pas, au reste, s’apercevoir que le supplice du roi n’est que le préliminaire de leur propre destruction. Voilà, pourtant, ce qui me paraît démontré, et voilà aussi, il me semble, une des causes de l’acharnement contre ce malheureux prince. Vous aurez vu par les gazettes, si en effet les gazettes peuvent vous parvenir, que les chefs des constituents sont tous en fort mauvaise odeur ici. La roue immense à laquelle est attaché le sort de cet empire, écrase dans sa marche ceux qui l’ont fait mouvoir. Personne n’est assez forte pour l’arrêter, quoique chacun se flatte de pouvoir la faire aller à son gré; mais ils se trompent tous. L’histoire nous a toujours présenté les aveugles humains creusant, avec une industrie fatale, leurs propres tom-beaux, et Shakespeare a fait dire par le tyran Macbeth, à la fin de sa carrière: ‘Hélas! il est toujours démontré que nous ne faisons que de donner aux autres des leçons de sang, qui, aussitôt qu’elles sont apprises, reviennent tourmenter ceux qui les ont inventées. La justice, avec une main égale et sévère, nous fait boire de la coupe que nous avons empoisonnée.’ Mais ne dites pas, madame, que la vie est une triste chose. Sans revers, elle deviendrait bien ennuyeuse, et nous voyons toujours que les mortels les plus heureux sont ceux qui ont appris, par une triste expérience, la juste valeur des objets de ce monde. Il faut en goῦter avec modération, sans trop s’y livrer. Il faut se souvenir, que le bonheur et l’infortune sont également passagers, et il ne nous en reste, bientôt, que les traces de leur passage. Vouloir le bien, éviter le mal, un peu de sévérité pour nous, un peu d’indulgence pour les autres, voilà, je crois, les moyens de tirer bon parti de notre chétive existence. Aimer ses amis, en être aimé, voilà le moyen de l’embellir. Je suis persuadé que vous avez tous les droits au bonheur que peut vous donner un bon cœur, et que, par conséquent, Edition: current; Page: [22] vous serez heureuse. Voilà l’horoscope que j’aime à vous tirer, et je vous prie de croire que personne n’a, plus que moi, le désir de le réaliser. Adieu, madame, faites mille complimens, je vous prie, au Comte Alfiéri, et comptez toujours sur les sentiments d’estime que vous m’avez inspirés, pour la vie.”

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“All accounts from England seem to announce war,” Morris wrote to M. de Monciel, then in London, January 1, 1793. “En effet, tout décèle une disposition, de leur part, d’établir en France un despotisme militaire. . . Hélas, monsieur, si, comme vous, tout le monde avait voulu le bien de la France, ce serait, en ce moment, le pays le plus libre et le plus heureux de l’univers. Je n’ai point de liaisons avec les ministres de l’Angleterre; je suis trop bon Français pour cela. Les circonstances du moment sont bien fâcheuses.”

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“M. Genet, who is appointed Minister to the United States, dines with me,” says the diary for January 3d. “Mr. Short calls in the evening, and I give him his passport. The weather is soft.”

“Mr. Short, the Maréchal de Ségur, M. Grefeuille, and the Chevalier de Tremblai dine with me [January 4th]. The weather grows colder.”

“I go out this morning [January 5th], but am glad to get home. The streets are a glare of ice, horses tumbling down, and some killed; mine come off tolerably. The situation of things is such that to continue this journal would compromise many people, unless I go on in the way I have done since the end of August, in which case it must be insipid and useless. I prefer, therefore, the more simple measure of putting an end to it.”

Mr. Morris’s letters must carry on the history of his life in France for the subsequent twenty-one months of his stewardship in that distracted country, and but for his indefatigable energy in keeping copies of his letters, the editor of these papers would be forced to abandon the work at this most interesting period.

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Letter to Washington concerning M. Genet. Morris questions his ability. Clew to some mysteries of the Revolution. Morris urged to leave Paris. Paris a dangerous residence. He determines to stay. Letter in verse to Lady Sutherland. Trial of Louis Sixteenth. Letter to Jefferson. The king’s execution. His dignified manner. War with England inevitable. Letter to Washington. French prospects dreadful. Parties pass away like shadows. Morris reported a victim of the guillotine. Letter to Robert Morris. Letter to Jefferson. Scarcity of men in France. The Revolutionary Tribunal organized. Morris arrested in the street. Letter to Jefferson. Growing treachery to the government. A majority in the Convention in favor of royalty. Morris buys a country place. Leaves Paris. Spends the summer at Sainport.

On the 6th of January, 1793, Morris wrote to Washington concerning M. Genet, the new Minister from France to the United States. Morris says:

“I have seen M. Genet, and he has dined with me since I had the pleasure of writing to you on the 28th of last month. He has, I think, more of genius than ability, and you will see in him at first blush the manner and look of an upstart. My friend, the Maréchal de Ségur, had told me that M. Genet was a clerk at £50 per annum in his office while Secretary of War. I turned the conversation, therefore, on the maréchal, and M. Genet told me that he knew him very well, having been in the ministry with him. After dinner he entered into dispute with a merchant who came in, and, as the question turned chiefly on facts, the merchant was rather an overmatch for the minister. I think that in the business he is charged with he will talk Edition: current; Page: [26] so much as to furnish sufficient matter for putting him on one side of his object, should that be convenient.

“I have endeavored to show him that this is the worst possible season to put to sea for America. If he delays, there is some room to suppose that events may happen to prevent the mission; perhaps a British ship may intercept that which takes him out, and I incline to think that until matters are more steady here you would be as well content with some delay as with remarkable despatch. . . . As I have good reason to believe that this letter will go safely, I shall mention some things which may serve as a clew to lead through mysteries. Those who planned the revolution which took place on the 10th of August sought a person to head the attack, and found a M. Westermann, whose morals were far from exemplary. He has no pretensions to science or to depth of thought, but he is fertile in resources and imbued with the most daring intrepidity. Like Cæsar, he believes in his fortune. When the business drew towards a point the conspirators trembled, but Westermann declared they should go on. They obeyed, because they had trusted him too far. On that important day his personal conduct decided, in a great measure, his success. Rewards were due, and military rank, with opportunities to enrich himself, granted. You know something of Dumouriez. The Council distrusted him. Westermann was commissioned to destroy him should he falter. This commission was shown to the general. It became the bond of union between him and Westermann. Dumouriez opened treaty with the King of Prussia. The principal emigrants, confident of Edition: current; Page: [27] force and breathing vengeance, shut the royal ear. Thionville was defended, because a member of the Constituent Assembly saw in Lafayette’s fate his own. Metz was not delivered up, because nobody asked for the keys, and because the same apprehensions were felt which influenced in Thionville. The King of Prussia waited for these evidences of loyalty until his provisions were consumed. He then found it necessary to bargain for a retreat. It was worth to Westermann about ten thousand pounds. The Council, being convinced that he had betrayed their bloody secret, have excited a bloody prosecution against him for old affairs of no higher rank than petit larceny. He has desired a trial by court-martial. You will judge whether cordial union can subsist between the Council and their generals. Vergniaud, Guadet, etc., are now, I am told, the intimates of Dumouriez, and that the present administration is to be overturned, beginning with Pache, the Minister of War. You will have seen a denunciation against these members of Assembly for a letter they wrote to Thierry, the King’s valet de chambre. This affair needs explanation, but it can be of no present use. The King’s fate is to be decided next Monday, the 14th. That unhappy man, conversing with one of his council on his own fate, calmly summed up the motives of every kind, and concluded that a majority of the Council would vote for referring his case to the people, and that in consequence he should be massacred. I think he must die or reign.”

Mr. Morris’s friends, as well as members of his family, had by this time become apprehensive for his life, and Edition: current; Page: [28] earnestly urged him to abandon Paris and seek some less perilous place. In reply to this wish he wrote, January 14th, to his brother, General Morris, then at London, as follows:

“The date of this letter will show you that I did not, as you hoped, abandon my post, which is not always a very proper conduct. It is true that continuing here was, on many accounts, unpleasant, but we must take the world as it goes. You are right in the idea that Paris is a dangerous residence. But it is better that my friends should wonder why I stay than my enemies inquire why I went away. I will do what is right, to the best of my judgment. I perfectly agree with you that a small sum on my farm, with contentment, is better than anything in a situation like that in which I am now placed; but the first of all enjoyments is that which results from doing our duty. An opportunity presents itself which enables me to give you the desired certificate that as yet I exist. Such an existence, however, is very far from pleasant, so I should be very glad to pass the coming summer at Morrisania, for, if it be possible to judge of the future by the past, it will exhibit new scenes of horror.”

The many “scenes of horror” through which he had passed had not destroyed his spirit or rendered his pen less facile, as the following rhyming letter to Lady Sutherland testifies:

“The science of politics,” he wrote, “is at the best a dry one. The French, therefore, discuss it with the ladies; and, indeed, the presence of a fine woman is so pleasant that it diffuses general gladness. In this view of the subject, I am now about to converse with one of the loveliest I know, and thus begins our conversation:

  • When Brunswick hither came express to
  • Restore the king, his manifesto,
Edition: current; Page: [29]
  • Denouncing widely war and vengeance,
  • Was one of those destructive engines
  • Which, if we do not safely choose them,
  • Prove hurtful to the men who use them.
  • No wonder, then, he missed his aim.

“Here you reply:

  • An easy task it is to blame.
  • And when a general’s measures fail,
  • The world is privileged to rail;
  • But would you, whilst men wound and curse you,
  • Present them naught but Christian mercy?
  • Mildness to those abandoned wretches!
  • The men of Paris without breeches,
  • With due submission to your meekness.

“Now ‘tis my turn:

  • I grant you that the sans culottes,
  • Who please themselves by cutting throats,
  • Might well expect, if times should alter,
  • To be rewarded with a halter;
  • But they who loved the Constitution—

“You come in here pat:

  • Prepared the second Revolution;
  • ’Twas they who led their hapless nation
  • Out of the road of her salvation,
  • To follow that fantastic scheme,
  • The rights of man; a boyish dream
  • Where words of vague, ambiguous sense
  • Conduct to bloodiest consequence.
  • They pulled unhappy Louis down,
  • Then mock’d him with a paper crown
  • Which any breath might blow away
  • And leave him bare. In short, ’twas they
  • Who, with a rage perverse and blind,
  • Would fain have ruined all mankind.
Edition: current; Page: [30]

“To this I answer:

  • Admitting what you say were true,
  • Yet punishments most justly due
  • May be deferr’d, when hasty zeal
  • Would rather lead to woe than weal.
  • Those who contend against a foe
  • Of great resources strive to sow
  • Dissension in his state; make friends,
  • Who may contribute to their ends;
  • And, easier conquests to obtain,
  • Adopt the rule—divide and reign.
  • If Brunswick had this line pursued,
  • He had not now his fortune rued;
  • For this you surely may rely on,
  • He would have taken town of Thion
  • Without a stroke, as well as Metz.
  • But when the fall of Lafayette’s
  • Companions was proclaimèd here,
  • Each bosom was appall’d with fear.
  • The Constitutionals, elate
  • Before, in his, beheld their fate,
  • And found in arms ’twas better die
  • Than to surrender, or to fly.
  • Thus Brunswick was oblig’d to fight,
  • Both with the party Jacobite
  • And with the Feuillantins their foes,
  • Who but for him had come to blows
  • Before this hour; and thus the nation,
  • United by his proclamation,
  • Displayed at once uncommon force.
  • But had he ta’en a different course
  • He would have found a numerous party
  • Who in the royal cause were hearty,
  • And wish’d sincerely to restore
  • The power they destroyed before.

“And hereon, charming lady, I greet you; and I would have you to consider that all this rhyme is not without Edition: current; Page: [31] some reason. So pray ask your lord to give the gentleman who bears this letter an interview, and sometimes, when you have nothing else to do, think of a lone man who thinks very often of you, and never without wishing you were again established in Paris. Adieu, yours.”

From the 14th till the 20th of January Louis Sixteenth stood his trial, and awaited calmly, it would seem, the sentence, not doubting what it would be. “Louis Capet est coupable de conspiration contre la liberté de la nation et attentat de la sῦreté générale;” so the Convention at last decided, and for seventy-two hours were in séance to vote for his life or death.

“The 21st of January, at ten o’clock in the morning, Louis de Bourbon, XVI. of the name, born at Versailles the 23d August, 1754, named Dauphin the 20th December, 1765, King of France and of Navarre, 10th of June, 1774, consecrated and crowned at Rheims, 11th June, 1776, was guillotined in the Place de la Révolution.” On the 25th of January Morris wrote of the event to Mr. Jefferson. “The late King of this country has been publicly executed. He died in a manner becoming his dignity. Mounting the scaffold, he expressed anew his forgiveness of those who persecuted him, and a prayer that his deluded people might be benefited by his death. On the scaffold he attempted to speak, but the commanding officer, Santerre, ordered the drums to beat. The King made two unavailing efforts, but with the same bad success. The executioners threw him down, and were in such haste as to let fall the axe before his neck was properly placed, so that he was mangled. It would be needless to give you an affecting narrative of particulars. I proceed to what is more important, having but a few minutes to write in by the present good opportunity. The greatest care was taken to prevent a concourse of people. This proves Edition: current; Page: [32] a conviction that the majority was not favorable to that severe measure. In fact, the great mass of the people mourned the fate of their unhappy prince. I have seen grief, such as for the untimely death of a beloved parent. Everything wears an appearance of solemnity which is awfully distressing. I have been told by a gentleman from the spot that putting the King to death would be a signal for disbanding the army in Flanders. I do not believe this, but incline to think it will have some effect on that army, already perishing by want and mouldering fast away. The people of that country, if the French army retreats, will, I am persuaded, take a severe vengeance for the injuries they have felt and the insults they have been exposed to. Both are great. The war against France is become popular in Austria, and is becoming so in Germany. If my judgment be good, the testament of Louis the Sixteenth will be more powerful against the present rulers of this country than an army of an hundred thousand men. You will learn the effect it has in England. I believe that the English will be wound up to a pitch of enthusiastic horror against France, which their cool and steady temper seems to be scarcely susceptible of. I enclose you a translation of a letter from Sweden, which I have received from Denmark. You will see thereby that the Jacobin principles are propagated with zeal in every quarter. Whether the Regent of Sweden, intends to make himself king is a moot point. All the world knows that the young prince is not legitimate, although born under circumstances which render it, legally speaking, impossible to question his legitimacy. I consider a war between Britain and France as inevitable. I have not proof, but some very leading circumstances. Britain will, I think, suspend her blow until she can strike very hard, unless, indeed, they should think it advisable to seize the Edition: current; Page: [33] moment of indignation against late events for a declaration of war. This is not improbable, because it may be coupled with those general declarations against all kings, under the name of tyrants, which contain a determination to destroy them, and the threat that if the ministers of England presume to declare war, an appeal shall be made to the people at the head of an invading army. Of course, a design may be exhibited of entering into the heart of Great Britain, to overturn the Constitution, destroy the rights of property, and finally to dethrone and murder the King—all which are things the English will neither approve of nor submit to.”

Again, in a letter to Mr. Jefferson on the 13th of February, Morris says: “Since my last, I have had every reason to believe that the execution of the King has produced on foreign nations the effect which I had imagined. The war with England exists, and it is now proper, perhaps, to consider its consequences; to which effect we must examine the objects likely to be pursued by England, for in this country, notwithstanding the gasconades, a defensive war is prescribed by necessity. Many suppose that the French colonies will be attacked, but this I do not believe. There are higher considerations to be attended to. In one shape or another this nation will make a bankruptcy. Strange as it may seem, the present war is, on the part of France, a war of empire, and if she defends herself she commands the world. I am persuaded that her enemies consider this as the real state of things, and will therefore bend their efforts towards a reduction of her power: and this may be compassed in two ways—either by obliging her to assume a new burden of debt to defray the expense they are at on her account, or else a dismemberment. The latter appears the more certain mode. As to the conduct of the war, I believe it to be on Edition: current; Page: [34] the part of the enemy as follows: First, the maritime powers will try to cut off all supplies of provisions and take France by famine; that is to say, excite revolt among the people by that strong lever. I think I can perceive some seeds already sown to produce that fruit. As to the colonies, I believe that France will not attempt to defend them, and their whole commerce falls naturally into the lap of America, unless the British prevent it, and I think they will find it more convenient to neglect that small object to pursue the great ones which open themselves to view in this quarter.

“You had instructed me to endeavor to transfer the negotiation for a new treaty to America, and if the revolution of the 10th of August had not taken place, but instead thereof the needful power and confidence had been restored to the Crown, I should perhaps have obtained what you wished as a mark of favor and confidence. A change of circumstances rendered it necessary to change entirely my conduct, so as to produce in one way what was impracticable in another. As I saw clearly, or at least I thought I saw, that France and England would at length get by the ears, it seemed best to let them alone until they should be nearly pitted. When I found this to be the case, I asked an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and mentioned to him my wish that an exception should be made in the decree against emigrants in favor of those who were in the United States. I told him, truly, that I wished the alliance between the two nations to be strictly preserved; I told him with great frankness that, notwithstanding appearances and the flattering accounts transmitted by some of his agents, Britain was, in my opinion, hostile, and an attempt at an alliance with her idle. He assured me he was of the same opinion. I then observed to him that, in such case, there would be no Edition: current; Page: [35] doubt but Mr. Hammond would exert himself to inculcate the opinion that our treaty, having been made with the King, was void by the Revolution. He said that such an opinion was absurd. I told him that my private sentiments were similar to his, but I thought it would be well to evince a degree of good-will to America, and had therefore taken the liberty to suggest the exception in favor of emigrants to America. Now I know well that some of the leaders here who are in the Diplomatic Committee hate me cordially, though it would puzzle them to say why; and I was determined rather to turn that disposition to account than to change it, because I see some advantages to result from it. Thus I contributed indirectly to the slight put on me by sending M. Genet without mentioning to me a syllable either of his mission or his errand, both of which, nevertheless, I was early and sufficiently informed of. The pompousness of this embassy could not but excite the attention of England, and my continuance at Paris, notwithstanding the many reasons which might have induced me to leave it, would also, I thought, excite in some degree their jealousy; and I have good reason to believe that this effect was produced. At any rate, the thing you wished for is done and you can treat in America if you please. Perhaps you will see that all the advantages desired do already exist, that the acts of the Constitutional Assembly have in some measure set us free from our engagements, and that, increasing daily in power, we may make quite as good a bargain some time hence as now.

“It remains to add a few words in reply to what regards me personally in your letter. I am very happy indeed to find that my conduct, as far as it was known, is approved of. This is the summit of my wish, for I candidly acknowledge that the good opinion of the wise and Edition: current; Page: [36] virtuous is what I prize beyond all earthly possessions. I have lately debated much within myself what to do. The path of life in Paris is no longer strewed with roses, as you may well imagine; indeed, it is extremely painful. I have already given my reasons for staying here, but now the scene is changed, and I had thoughts of making a tour to the different consulates. There are, however, some pretty solid objections to that plan for the present. The next thing which suggested itself was to hire a country-house for the summer season in the neighborhood. At length, that my leaving the city might give no offence to anybody, I have bought a country-house in an out of the way place where it is not likely that any armies will pass or repass, even should the enemy penetrate. If I lose the money paid for it I will put up with the loss. The act in itself shows a disposition friendly to France, and as it is between twenty and thirty miles from Paris, I shall be at hand should business require my presence. Mr. Livingston, my secretary, will continue in town unless driven out by war or famine. In this way I hope to avoid those accidents which are almost inseparable from the present state of society and government, and which, should they light on the head of a public Minister, might involve consequences of a disagreeable nature. It is more proper also, I conceive, to make arrangements of this kind in a moment of tranquillity than when confusion is awakened into mischief. In all this my judgment may err, but I can truly say that the interest of the United States is my sole object. Time alone can tell whether the conduct was right, as I know the intention to be.”

To Washington Morris wrote on February 14th as follows:

“I have received yours of the 20th of October, which was very long on its way. You will find that events have Edition: current; Page: [37] blackened more and more in this country. Her present prospects are dreadful. It is not so much, perhaps, the external force, great as that may be, for there are always means of defence in so vast a nation. The exhausted state of resources might also be borne with, if not remedied; but the disorganized state of the government seems irremediable. The venality is such that if there be no traitor, it is because the enemy has not common-sense. Without the aid of venality there are not a few who, from mistaken zeal and from ignorance, contribute to the success of those powers who are leagued against France. Many also, under the garb of patriotism, conceal their attachment to the former government. In short, the fragment of the present system is erected in a quagmire. The new constitution has not yet made its appearance, but it is easy to conjecture what it will not be. In the mean time I learn that the Ministers of War and Marine declare it impossible for them to go on.

“How all this will end God only knows, but I fear it will end badly. I will not speak of my own situation. You will judge that it is far from pleasant. I could be popular, but that would be wrong. The different parties pass away like the shadows of a magic lantern, and to be well with any one of them would, in a short period, become cause of unquenchable hatred with the others. Happy America, governed by reason, by law, by the man she loves, whom she almost adores. It is the pride of my life to consider that man as my friend, and I hope long to be honored with that title. God bless you, my dear sir, and keep and preserve you. Your cool and steady temper is now of infinite consequence to our country. As soon as I can see the way open to anything decisive I shall inform you of it. At present I weary myself with unavailing reflection, meditation, and conjecture. A Edition: current; Page: [38] partition seems the most probable event at present. Adieu.”

A month later, rumor and the gazettes having numbered Morris among the victims of the guillotine, he hastened to inform Robert Morris, and through him his other friends, of his well-being. “I am told,” he wrote, March 15th, “that the London gazetteers have killed me, besides burning my house and other little pleasantries of the same kind. Now, as these accounts may be republished, I apprise you thereof and pray you to vouch that they were not true at the time of publication. You tell me that in my place you would resign and come home, but this is not quite so easily done as said. I must have leave to resign from the President. The very circumstances which you mention are strong reasons for abiding, because it is not permitted to abandon a post in the hour of difficulty. I think the late decrees respecting our commerce will show you that my continuance here has not been without some use to the United States, and as to the rest, we must console ourselves with the reflection that whatever is is.”

It was in March that Morris became assured of the fact that the Executive Council had sent to America with M. Genet blank commissions for privateers. On the 20th he communicated his knowledge to Mr. Pinckney, then United States Minister at London, as a “fact of which I am informed in a way that precludes doubt. The commissions are to be given clandestinely to such persons as he might find in America inclined to take them, to prey on the British commerce. This appears to me, waiving all question of honesty, no very sound measure politically speaking, since they may, as a nation, derive greater advantage from our neutrality than from our alliance. I learn that some seamen have lately been taken by British Edition: current; Page: [39] cruisers who claim to be Americans. I presume that the claim will not be admitted, but if the government should cause them to be executed as pirates, a knowledge thereof would go a great way to prevent our citizens from engaging in a war contrary to the wishes of our Government. I am the more solicitous on this subject in that we may well expect a back game of the same kind by Britain, and in such case it would be impossible for the French to distinguish, among their prisoners, between those who were and those who were not English.”

France began now to feel the effects of war and emigration, not to mention the devastation caused by the work of the guillotine, and in a letter to Mr. Jefferson on March 7th, Morris refers to this state of things as follows:

“It now appears that there is a real scarcity of men, and that the supposition that this country would procure five hundred thousand men required arose from little circumstances of dress and flattery calculated to catch idlers. The losses of the last campaign are sensible in the mass of population, so that, notwithstanding the numbers thrown out of employ by the stagnation of some manufactures and the reduction of private fortunes, the want of common laborers is felt throughout the whole country. Already they talk of drafting for the service, but if delayed it would not, I believe, go down, and at any rate would not produce in season the required force, especially if the enemy should have any considerable force; for you must not imagine that the appearances in this country are all real, and you must take into your estimation that the Convention is falling into contempt because the tribunes govern it imperiously. They try to save appearances, but the people cannot long be dupes. It is the old story of King Log, and how long it may be before Jupiter sends them a crane to destroy the frogs and froglings is a Edition: current; Page: [40] matter of uncertainty. Already they begin to cry for a dictator. An insurrection also is brewing whose object, I am told, is to destroy the faction of the Gironde. I think I mentioned to you that the death of the King would be the forerunner of their destruction. The majority of the Convention is clearly at the disposition of their enemies.

“The consuls will forward to you, and you will see in the gazettes, the decree for opening all the ports of this nation to our vessels on equal terms with their own. You will be so kind as to observe that this was done on a report of the Committee of Safety. Now you must know that the members of this committee, or at least a majority of them, are sworn foes to the members of the Diplomatic Committee. I have received indirectly a kind of assurance from the former (which disposes entirely of the Convention) that they will do anything for the United States which I will point out; but, in fact, I know not anything which we ought to ask. Great exertions are making here to re-enforce Dumouriez, and still greater to bring about a new revolution, whose effect, if successful, would be, I think, the destruction of what is called here the faction of the Gironde, and which calls itself the republican party, qualifying its enemies by the term anarchists. To avoid, if possible, the carnage of the 2d to the 8th of last September, a tribunal called the Revolutionary Tribunal is organized, with very large and wide powers. It is one of those instruments whose operations are incalculable, and on whose direction depends the fate of the country. Opinion seems to set very strongly against the Convention. They are supposed to be incapable of steering the state ship in the present rough weather; but it must blow yet a little harder before they are thrown overboard. I believe I never mentioned that a constitution was reported, but the truth is that it totally escaped me. A paper of Edition: current; Page: [41] that sort was read at the Convention, but I learnt the next morning that a council had been held on it overnight, by which it was condemned; so I thought no more of it.”

Having his personal liberty interfered with was not at all to Morris’s taste, and when on the 28th of March he was arrested in the street, M. Lebrun was speedily informed that that sort of thing was not to be quietly borne. “Yesterday afternoon,” he wrote to the minister, “I was arrested in the street and conducted to the Section de la Butte des Moulins because I had not a carte de citoyen. Fortunately a person who knew me, having heard what had passed, came to my rescue, and brought me out of the affair on his own responsibility. I have the honor to send you herewith the copy of the pass given me by the Section. I beg, sir, that you will have the goodness to secure me against similar accidents, troublesome in themselves and scandalous from the publicity. I pray you, also, to grant me protection from domiciliary visits. Armed men came into my house yesterday, and although I have every reason to be satisfied with their conduct (for they went away as soon as I convinced them of the impropriety of their proceedings), yet I think that when general orders are given for these visits such houses ought to be excepted as are under the protection of the law of nations. Will you do me the favor also to send me a passport for travelling into the interior? In the month of January it happened to me to be arrested and sent back to Paris under pretence that the passport you gave me was out of date. I am in expectation of going forthwith to pass a few days at my country-house, and it may be that I shall be again stopped. Will you have the goodness, sir, to sign the enclosed certificate for the members of my family?”

M. Lebrun’s reply was as follows: “The affection of the French Republic for the United States is too marked Edition: current; Page: [42] to admit the possibility of an unfavorable interpretation being given to the accident which befell you on the 28th instant. The precautionary measures taken on that day extended to all the inhabitants of the city of Paris, and a proof that they had no reference to you personally is that at the moment your name and rank were known you obtained the justice due to you. The domiciliary visits were an equally general measure, from which no house in Paris was exempt. I see with pleasure that the Commissaries of the Section who entered your house withdrew after the explanation you gave them. The respect which they have shown you is proof of the belief of my fellow-citizens that the minister of a free nation, an ally of France, is incapable of receiving into his house disaffected persons. The exemption which you claim would have had the pernicious effect of affording the ill-disposed a facility for calumniating your motives, in order to disturb the entire harmony which subsists between the two nations.”

Morris does not again speak of being arrested or of any domiciliary visits disturbing his privacy. Shortly after this experience he left Paris for Sainport, a modest pied-à-terre on the Seine, not far from Paris, which he had purchased. Of the growing treachery to the government Morris wrote, April 19th, to Mr. Jefferson:

“There seems to be more of treason in this country than was imagined, and every day increases suspicion, which, whether well or ill founded, has always the effect of distracting the public councils. As far as I can judge of the public mind, it appears that there is a general state of suspense. Success on either side will fix the opinions of a very great number, who will then act to show their sincerity. Here they hang people for giving their opinion in favor of royalty (that is, they cut off their heads), but yet I am told that such opinion is openly avowed and supported Edition: current; Page: [43] in the streets. I am told that there is a majority even of the Convention who think a king necessary; but, as they see the loss of their own lives in connection with the re-establishment of the throne, it is to be supposed that they would not tell such thoughts. Time will show that there are among them some false brethren, and certainly the most intelligent must be convinced that the republican virtues are not yet of Gallic growth.

“The Duke of Orleans is in the way of reaping the fruits of his conduct, being, as you will see, sent a prisoner to Marseilles. The storm thickens all around us, but as yet one cannot certainly determine how it will burst. The attempts made to excite disturbances in Paris have hitherto proved ineffectual, but that stroke seems to be reserved for the moment when the deputies, now in commission in the departments, shall return.”

By the end of May Morris had established himself in quiet and comparative safety, “in a neat little house on the banks of the Seine at Sainport,” he wrote to Robert Morris, “with a pretty little garden and some green trees, and more grass than my neighbors; for you will observe that we are so scorched by a long drought that, in spite of all philosophic notions, we are beginning our processions to obtain the favor of the bon Dieu. Were it proper for un homme public et protestant to interfere, I should be tempted to tell them that mercy is before sacrifice. I remember that about a year (or, indeed, eighteen months) ago I was desired in a large society to draw the horoscope of France, to which I answered that it might be done in three words—guerre, famine, peste. This, which appeared to me at the time more than possible, has long been certain as to a part, and but too probable for what remains.

“I have about twenty acres of land, about twenty miles from the barrier of Paris in summer (by means of a crossroad); Edition: current; Page: [44] I have, on the whole, about twenty-seven miles to Paris, and from hence to Fontainebleau about fifteen. This last will, I imagine, become the seat of government should the royal party prevail. But if Monsieur should be regent he might reside in his palace at Choisi, about six miles from the barrier of Paris, and eighteen from hence. My little territory is enclosed by a stone wall about eight feet high on the north and east sides, from which last come the cold winds of this hemisphere. On the south and west I am secured by a ha-ha. The western side, which is my greatest length, bounds on the river, from which the ha-ha is distant about fifteen yards and the house about forty. The river is about the size of the Schuylkill at the Tweed’s ford, but deeper, being not fordable. Adjoining to the north, and separated only by a street, is the village.

“My prospect is rural and extensive. At a mile and a half on the southwest are the ruins of baths which once belonged to the fair Gabrielle, favorite mistress to Henry the Fourth, and at half that distance in the opposite direction stands on a high plain the magnificent pavilion built by Bouret. He was what is here called un homme de finance. He expended on that building and its gardens about half a million sterling, and after squandering in the whole about two millions sterling he put himself to death because he had nothing to live on. I think you will acknowledge that the objects just mentioned are well calculated to show the vanity of human pursuits and possessions. My time is spent in reading and writing, of which last I have not a little.

“The French privateers employ many of my hours, for the masters and agents of the American vessels they take apply to me for advice and assistance. The other day I was desired, on the part of a merchant in London, to claim of the ministry some rice and indigo, but I knew Edition: current; Page: [45] neither by whom nor when nor where they were taken, nor where they are deposited. Without observing, however, on so lame and so strange a request, I desired the person who made it to appoint an agent in the port, with directions to state a proper claim before the competent judicature. I wonder what this person would have thought had anybody asked a Secretary of State in England to deliver up goods taken by one of his privateers. I have had applications to grant the privileges of the American flag to vessels owned by Frenchmen and others. Some of the applicants were offended at my refusal of that trifling favor. The state of the government here is also a great plague, for it is difficult to discover the best mode of compassing an object when the parties who are to decide are perpetually changing. Our old Congress was nothing to this Convention, and you will form a tolerable idea of the nature and extent of that influence which the city of Paris exercises from some late events.

“It is rather late now to mention Paul Jones. But I should have written to you about his death immediately if I could have gotten a copy of his will to transmit. I was promised from day to day, and at length the matter lay over, and since, his relations have been here and have written to you. I drew the heads of his will, poor fellow, the day he died, and when his extremities were already cold. I called on him in the afternoon, with M. Vicq d’Azyr, first physician to the Queen, and he was then a corpse. It was somewhat singular that he, who detested the French Revolution and all those concerned in it, should have been followed to the grave by a deputation from the National Assembly, and that I should have had in one of your gazettes some svery severe reflection on me for not paying him due respect; I, who during his life had rendered him all possible service and possessed his confidence Edition: current; Page: [46] to the last, so that he wished to name me with you for executor. But such is the world, whose mistakes frequently amuse me, and on more serious occasions. Before I quit Paul Jones I must tell you that some people here who like rare shows wished him to have a pompous funeral, and I was applied to on the subject; but as I had no right to spend on such follies either the money of his heirs or that of the United States, I desired that he might be buried in a private and economical manner. I have since had reason to be glad that I did not agree to waste money of which he had no great abundance, and for which his relatives entertain a tender regard. I promised them to entreat your attention to their requests, which will no doubt be somewhat troublesome, and consume the moments you can badly spare. A preview of this made me desire Jones to think of some other executor, but the poor fellow was so anxious, telling me that as we alone possessed his full confidence he could not think of losing the aid of both, etc., and as what he said, besides his natural stammering, was interrupted by the strugglings against death, I was obliged to quit my opposition. Thus, my dear friend, I have given you a history which ought to have been communicated long ago. You will probably find it somewhat tedious now. . . .

“The communication with England, and, indeed, with all foreign countries, was never in the memory of man so difficult and uncertain as in the present moment. I know nothing of what passes in London, even as to my own affairs. This is extremely disagreeable. I could indeed send a messenger, but to that effect I must ask passports as for one carrying my public despatches, and I do not choose, even in matters of indifference, to make my public character subservient to private purposes.”

Edition: current; Page: [47]


Morris aware that his recall is desired. Difficulties of the mission. Letters delayed in transit to and from America. Source of great annoyance. Insecurity of letters in France. Description of his life at Sainport. Distracted condition of France. Returns to Paris in October. Letter to Washington. At Sainport during the summer of 1794. Letter to Robert Morris. Changes hourly take place in the government. Difficulty of doing business. Letter to Washington. The probable event of the opening campaign not favorable to the Republic. Letter to Washington. Fall of Danton. Executions still go on at Paris. Acknowledges a letter from Washington over a year in its passage. Concerning the Lafayettes. New minister arrives in August. His advent a relief. Morris determines to stay abroad.

That a desire had been expressed to his Government for his recall Morris had known for some time, and on the 25th of June he wrote from Sainport to Robert Morris telling him that he knew well that orders had been given to effect his recall. “If” he says in this letter, “I did not mention this to you at the time, it was out of delicacy Edition: current; Page: [48] (perhaps ill-judged), for when I alone am concerned I leave things to the discussion of my enemies. I suspected (but did not say so) that Paine was intriguing against me, although he put on a face of attachment. Since that period I am confirmed in the idea, for he came to my house in company with Colonel Oswald, and, being a little more drunk than usual, behaved extremely ill, and through his insolence I discovered clearly his vain ambition. At present, I am told, he is besotted from morning till night. He is so completely down that he would be punished if he were not despised.

“I have in a former letter explained to you why I could not properly resign. Let me add that if I get through this mission honorably it will be a master-piece, and yet nine out of ten will say it was the easiest thing in nature. So every school-boy thinks he can write verses till he comes to the trial. If I fail, I shall not be ashamed of it, for, to tell you the truth, fortune must be propitious or else . . . As I suppose the Senate have a communication of our despatches so far as may suit the Department of State, you will be able to form some judgment of what my situation has been, and I think the President will do me justice in his opinion, however political consideration may sway his conduct, of which I shall never complain, for an individual should never be placed in competition with the public good.”

Added to the difficulties of his position, Morris’s patience was sorely tried by the length of time his letters took to reach America. In a letter to Washington, also of June 25th, expressing the vexation of this particular circumstance, he says:

“I am mortified more than I can tell you at the delay my letters experience in their passage. I task my mind to its utmost bent to discover those events which are Edition: current; Page: [49] most likely to happen in order that (so far, at least, as my judgment can be relied on) you may be duly prepared, and, after all, you hear of the event before my almanac comes out. I trust that long ere this you will have received what I had the honor to write during the last winter months. Should the present society be able to establish themselves I think M. Genet will have a successor, and if, the Revolution completed, things return to the point from whence they started, I am sure M. Genet will have a successor. It is my opinion that the members of Convention lately arrested will do nothing, for the greater part of them have only parole energy; and if I were called on by any urgent motive to act, it should be in conformity to that idea. In my letter to Mr. Jefferson of this day I tell him that I shall implicitly obey his orders, but this is in reply to the broad hint that my embarrassments may have arisen from inattention to the principles of free government. You may rely, sir, that I shall be cautious to commit the United States as little as possible to future contingencies. I have never thought that three parties could conveniently exist in any one country, and therefore it seems to me that one of those into which those who call themselves democrats are divided must join the royalists. I do not inquire what negotiations are carried on to that effect, for I have no desire to meddle with such affairs, directly or indirectly, and I should be very sorry to have the appearance of siding with any one party or faction whatever, being convinced that I can best do the business of the United States by keeping aloof from them all.”

During the summer of 1793 Morris kept up a rather interrupted correspondence with his friends, although he took advantage of every opportunity which promised the least safety. “But even after all precautions Edition: current; Page: [50] were taken,” he says, June 23d, in a letter to Madame de Chastellux, then at Vernon, “I know not whether my last letter reached you. Indeed, the apprehension that other eyes than yours may read what I now write lays me under a painful restraint in expressing myself. Still, I must entreat you to communicate to your amiable and unhappy mistress my sensibility for her cruel situation. Her fate is so extremely hard that severe afflictions seem yet necessary, not only before she can be restored to peace, but even for that very restoration. In some respects, however, the clouds dispel, and in her children she may meet with consolations unexpected. In her virtuous soul she will find an unfailing source of bliss which neither time nor chance can destroy, which will, I trust, assuage her anguish in this world, as it cannot fail to exalt her transports in the world to come. I am, and for about two months past have been in the country, about eight leagues from Paris, but in the opposite direction from Vernon. I would have paid my respects to the Duchess but for those events which it is needless to mention, any more than the reasons resulting from them. I still flatter myself with the hope that all the broken ends of society will be again tied together, and then the calm will be so much the more pleasant as you have been tossed and tormented by the storm. It bellows loudest on the mountain’s brow, but yet so wasteful and so wide is its range that the sweet violet of the humble vale shrinks at the blast. Little Alfred is so far happy that he has not yet put forth his buds and may hope a milder season for his bloom. That fortune may smile on his youth and gratify with rich fruits your maternal affection is, my dear madame, the sincere wish of your friend.”

Writing at this time to his brother, Lieutenant-General Staats Long Morris, in London, for the first time in many Edition: current; Page: [51] months, he says: “The applications which I made for your liberation, and which, I am told, procured it, have on that ground brought me the enclosed letter to be forwarded to you. M. de Baas asked me when I wrote to you to enclose his letter; I told him, very truly, that since the breaking out of the war I had curtailed very much my correspondence, but would nevertheless forward to you an open letter. Make my affectionate remembrances to my sister. If peace were restored I should press you to enjoy a French air on the banks of the Seine in my hermitage, where you would be in the neighborhood of many objects worth riding to look at, if it were only to gain appetite for a bottle of good claret and a slice of small mutton.”

The following letter to Mr. Pinckney at London, dated August 13th, gives an interesting picture of Morris’s isolated life at Sainport during this summer, and of the unhappy state of society in Paris and France.

“You wish to know the state of this country. There exists a tyranny alike cruel and capricious, and restrained neither by shame nor principle. The body of the people long for the restoration of their former government. The exterior is more formidable in show than in substance. The real administration is occupied in acquiring wealth. As to the news, I might write a dozen pages of newspaper, but you would derive from thence no information. As to what passes in our armies we are ignorant. Some, therefore, conjecture; and as the little information obtained consists of outlines, each fills up the picture according to his fancy, and gives it the coloring of his own disposition. Hence it happens that good patriots see great victories and small checks where the other party behold slight skirmishes and dreadful defeats. Who shall decide when doctors disagree? I am retired to the country Edition: current; Page: [52] for the sake of peace and good air. I receive the newspapers by accident. I know nothing of what passes but by hearsay. I confine my views to the giving protection to such of my countrymen as stand in need of it, or rather to the asking protection. The great revolution wheel rolls on as declivities lead, and the season is as dry as it is conveniently possible, so that nature presents no cheering view, but drives us back into the moral world to shift as we may. My letters, even between Paris and Sainport, are delayed. The Comité de Surveillance have done me the honor to peruse some of them.”

To the difficulty of receiving letters and news was added the danger of moving about, of which Morris spoke in a letter to Mr. Short during September. “By the by,” he wrote, “such is the distracted condition of the times that people experience as much difficulty in passing to and fro near the capital as they would have formerly been exposed to in going to the territory of a power at war. It is also impossible to commit anything to paper without great risks.

“One of my countrymen, on his way from Paris hither having taken up my letters in Paris (most of them brought by the post), was stopped, the letters taken from him, broken open, and sent to the Comité de Surveillance. He was detained two days, till I could apply for his release. Some of my letters were lost, and all received in a mangled condition. Orders have been given to prevent such accidents in future, and I shall not communicate this and other little affairs officially because I will not excite resentments which I do not feel. I mention this to you that you may see why information from this country respecting even private business must be very defective. To write in cipher is the sure way to have the letter intercepted. It Edition: current; Page: [53] was not possible to foresee six months ago the many extraordinary events which we have witnessed in that period, and as every day produces something new, no sober man will pretend to guess the state of things so far forward as only six weeks hence. Therefore writing across the channel, much less across the Atlantic, is totally useless. . . . Pray tell your French friends not to name anyone in their letters, for they will bring their friends to the guillotine.”

About the middle of October, and just before the execution of the queen, Morris returned to Paris, and on the 18th he wrote the following letter to Washington:

“The present government is evidently a despotism both in principle and practice. The Convention now consists of only a part of those who were chosen to frame a constitution. These, after putting under arrest their fellows, claim all power, and have delegated the greater part of it to a Committee of Safety. You will observe that one of the ordinary measures of government is to send out commissioners with unlimited authority. They are invested with power to remove officers chosen by the people, and put others in their places. This power, as well as that of imprisoning on suspicion, is liberally exercised. The Revolutionary Tribunal, established here to judge on general principles, gives unbounded scope to will. It is an emphatical phrase in fashion among the patriots, that terror is the order of the day. Some years have elapsed since Montesquiou wrote that the principle of arbitrary government is fear.

“The Queen was executed the day before yesterday. Insulted during her trial and reviled in her last moments, she behaved with dignity throughout. This execution will, I think, give to future hostilities a deeper dye, and unite more intimately the Allied Powers. It will silence Edition: current; Page: [54] the opposition of those who would not listen to the dismemberment of their country, and therefore it may be concluded that the blow by which she died was directed from a distance. But whatever may be the lot of France in remote futurity, and putting aside the military events, it seems evident that she must soon be governed by a single despot. Whether she will pass to that point through the medium of a triumvirate or other small body of men seems as yet undetermined. I think it most probable that she will. A great and awful crisis seems to be near at hand. A blow is, I am told, meditated which will shroud in grief and horror a guilty land. Already the prisons are surcharged with persons who consider themselves as victims. Nature recoils, and yet I hope that these ideas are circulated only to inspire fear. . . . The plan for the Commissioners, which will probably be carried into effect, is to charge one of those sent with letters of credence, but instructed to conform to the directions of the Board. It is probable that the new minister, on being presented, will ask you to aid in securing the person and papers of the old one. I have favored, or rather excited the idea of this procedure, for several reasons. Such a public act will place in a contemptible light the faction connected with M. Genet. The seizure of his papers, by exposing his connections with prime movers, will give a lesson to others, and the Commissioners who exercise the highest-handed authority will, on reflection, feel the necessity of respecting your government, lest they should meet a similar fate. I have insinuated the advantages which might result from an early declaration on the part of the new minister that, as France has announced her determination not to meddle with the interior affairs of other nations, he can know only the government of America. In union with this idea, I told the minister that I had observed an overruling Edition: current; Page: [55] influence in their affairs which seemed to come from the other side of the channel, and at the same time had traced the intention to excite a seditious spirit in America; that it was impossible to be on a friendly footing with such persons, but that at present a different spirit seemed to prevail, etc. This declaration produced the effect I intended. I find that this Commission will endeavor to get hold of the debt from America to France by anticipation if no other reason. If you were here you would not be surprised that people do not write to their correspondents. The times are very critical, and innocent actions may be misinterpreted. All correspondence with foreign countries gives ground of suspicion.”

The next letter to Washington, dated the 5th of February, 1794, urged the necessity for the Government to arrange for the regular conveyance of despatches. “Six packets would be amply sufficient for the service, and if, as I believe, small schooners could be safely employed as well, the prime cost would not be above three thousand pounds sterling, and the annual expense I should suppose not more than half that sum. In a newspaper of this day I find the translation of your message of the 5th of December to Congress, and observe that, after stating the violation of the treaty by a decree of the National Convention, you tell them I have been instructed to make representations to them on the subject. Now, my dear sir, this is the first I hear and all I know of such instructions. I suppose this arises from the difficulty of communication, but, whatever be the cause, I feel the effect. I beg your pardon, my dear sir, for troubling you with this groaning, scheming epistle. I will not say a word of news, as in supposable circumstances it might prevent this letter from reaching you.

“P. S. I am sorry to see that your love of retirement Edition: current; Page: [56] struggles so strongly against a continuance in public life. I am afraid the Devil (for it is from him, you know, that comes all evil) will put it in your head one day to quit outright, which God in his mercy forbid; for I tell you, and you know me well enough to believe me, it will be a very sad day for America. As to yourself, I know that you will be more happy at home, and I judge from my own feelings how strong must be your desire to get there. Apropos: Whenever you think the United States can gain anything by giving me a successor, let it be done.”

In the early spring Morris again sought the quiet and refreshment of his little home at Sainport, and from there he wrote to Robert Morris on March 10th, asking for information on many subjects. “Neither from the United States nor from you,” he wrote, “has one line come since the month of July, 1793; and six months have passed since the receipt of public despatches. I hope the new Secretary of State, who was formerly an attentive man, will contrive to let the servants of the United States in foreign countries hear from time to time whether their letters are received. I am very disinterested in this hope, for different reports from various quarters seem to concur in the idea that I am to be recalled. On that subject I will here express to you my opinion as coolly as if I were speaking of a stranger, and concerning a transaction of the last century. It will not be wise. If the government here were fixed on any permanent basis, it would be proper for America to have here a man agreeable to the rulers of the country, provided always that he did not, to render himself agreeable, sacrifice the interests intrusted to his care. But during the changes which hourly (as it were) take place, it is impossible for any man to do the business he is called on to perform unless he have the consciousness of support from home, and unless those who Edition: current; Page: [57] are here be well convinced that he cannot be removed at the will and pleasure of any faction or party in the country where he resides. The power to remove is more than equivalent to the power of appointing in its influence on the mind of the agent, and so it will be found in its exercise. On the present occasion, it is lighter than a feather. I will pursue what I conceive to be the true interest of America in spite of faction and calumny in either hemisphere or in both, saving always my obedience to the instructions I receive. M. Genet’s attempts I conjectured beforehand, but I should suppose that his channel was not the best through which to apply for the appointment of a successor to me. Mine on his subject met with every attention which could be desired. . . .

“You are mistaken if you suppose that my habitation merits the name of château. A château was in my offer on most eligible terms, but I am not a lover of show or magnificence. My house, my humble house, in the neighborhood of many superb châteaux, exhibits a plentiful, plain, wholesome table, and commands a cellar of excellent liquors. Temperance and hospitality are the titular deities which preside. If I could receive you in it the former of these goddesses might chance to be neglected for one evening, in the course of which her sister should rule alone; or, rather, I would give them both a holiday, and we would together brighten the chain of ancient friendship which will, I hope, endure as long as we do.

“At this moment I look out of my window and see the pear- and plum-trees in full bloom. The peaches, apricots, and almonds are already formed. The apple-trees are advanced. We have had hardly any winter, and if there comes no frost the season will be wonderful. They dread the moon of April, which is called la lune rousse, i.e., the red-haired moon. Within these few days past it has Edition: current; Page: [58] been so hot that exercise at noon was very disagreeable. This is the best farming country I ever saw, taking it for all in all, but it is badly cultivated. Our country is capable of producing much better fruits, and with far greater certainty. I will not except either grapes or plums; except the nectarine, I may—and, by the by, it is a beautiful, bad fruit.

“You tell me that I can be more useful to the United States and to myself in America than here, which I can readily believe; but I hope this does not mean the putting me in any office. My wish is to pass quietly what may remain of my life when I get home, and to close my little circle at the spot where it began. I do not mean by this to say that if my services were necessary to my country they should be withheld, but I hope no such necessity will ever exist, and I have modesty enough to believe so. I believe that my residence here has been of little use, but that is not my fault. If the present Secretary of State would take the trouble of reading over my letters from the beginning he will find that I have given regularly for months beforehand an account of what would happen. If credit was not given to my predictions, it was not my fault. As to my conduct here, I will neither praise nor excuse it, but confine myself to the sincere wish that my successor, whoever he be, may act with more wisdom in a situation less critical. And for the rest, I leave it to fortune, which is but another name for Providence, knowing that the world judges only from events, and, of course, that the general or statesman who gains one brilliant affair is more applauded than he who exists, with small force or assistance and in a dangerous situation, through the course of a long campaign.

“I am ashamed to have said so much of myself even to you. I therefore quit the subject with desiring my affectionate Edition: current; Page: [59] compliments to Hamilton, and my congratulations that he has such violent enemies; for if it be just to judge a private man by his friends, it is not amiss to estimate a public man by his foes.”

To Washington Morris again wrote a few days later (March 12th): “Every day confirms what is written in my letter of the 18th of last October. But parties are so balanced, and the impending force from abroad is in such threatening attitude, that the present state of things drags on its existence rather from surrounding circumstances than from internal vigor, and, strange as it may seem, the impending changes may arise from a victory, a defeat, or from a famine.

“The gazettes tell us that Mr. Jefferson is coming to Europe—some of them say as my successor; others say it is a secret mission. I have heard it said that he is to negotiate a peace among the belligerent powers. For my own part, I hold in politics the opinions which prevail in physics among some philosophers, viz., that it is proper to determine facts before we attempt to discover causes. I wait, therefore, patiently the event. Major Jackson, who has been here for some time, gave me two successors, first Mr. Bingham and then Mr. Pinckney; giving in the latter case Mr. Pinckney’s place to Mr. Bingham. So it is easy, you see, to fill up vacancies. The probable events of the campaign about to open are not favorable to the French Republic. It will be extremely difficult for them to subsist the armies needful for their defence, and the extreme severity exercised by the present government will, in case of adverse events, excite an universal insurrection. At present the people are restrained by fear from showing any sentiment unfavorable to the existent authorities. But, as is usual in like circumstances, should that fear be removed it will be succeeded by sharp resentment. If, Edition: current; Page: [60] however, the armies of the Republic should prove successful, they would, in my opinion, be the first to overturn the Convention, for such is the usual course of things. A terrible perspective this, my dear sir, for those who are at present in the saddle. No wonder, therefore, if they ride hard. It is not the least of their misfortunes to be fully sensible of their situation, and it results therefrom that as much time is consumed in providing for their defence against adverse factions and contingent events as in preparing for the general defence of the country; more, perhaps. How different was our situation in America. Everyone performed cheerfully his part; nor had we anything to apprehend but from the common enemy. Such is the immense difference between a country which has morals and one which is corrupted. The former has everything to hope, and the latter everything to fear.”

Again, after the fall of Danton, and under date of April 18th, Morris wrote to Washington of the event, recalling at the same time to Washington’s mind a letter concerning Danton which he had written some months previously:

“In a letter which I had the honor of writing to you on the 10th of January, 1793, I gave you some traits respecting M. Westermann, and, as my public despatches had already communicated the plans of M. Danton, you will not be surprised at what has lately happened to them. I wrote to you on the 25th of June that those who rule the roast had just ideas of the value of popular opinion; also, that should they reach a harbor it would be as much by good luck as by good management, and that at any rate part of the crew would be thrown overboard. Those I had then particularly in view were Chabot and company, Edition: current; Page: [61] of which company a part still exists. On the 18th of October I gave you a short view of the nature of the then government, and added what seemed to be the probable termination. I therein observed that whether France would pass to that point through the medium of a triumvirate or other small body of men seemed as yet undetermined, but that I thought it most probable she would. At that period things were wound up very high, and ever since the utmost uncertainty has prevailed as to the stroke which would be given. I enclose herein a copy of what I wrote you the 12th of last month, since which both the Dantonists and Hébertists are crushed. The fall of Danton seems to terminate the idea of a triumvirate. The chief who would in such case have been one of his colleagues has wisely put out of the way a dangerous competitor. Hence it would seem that the high-road must be laid through the Comité de Salut Public, unless, indeed, the army should meddle. But as to the army, no character seems as yet to have appeared with any prominent feature; neither is there so much discipline as would give an aspiring character just ground of hope. It is a wonderful thing, sir, that four years of convulsion among four and twenty millions of people has brought forth no one, either in civil or military life, whose head would fit the cap which fortune has woven. Robespierre has been the most consistent, if not the only consistent. He is one of those of whom Shakespeare’s Cæsar speaks to his frolicsome companion, ‘He loves no plays as thou dost, Antony.’ There is no imputation against him for corruption. He is far from rich, and still further from appearing so. It is said that his idol is ambition, but I think that the establishment Edition: current; Page: [62] of the Republic would (all things considered) be most suitable to him. Whether he thinks so is another question, which I will not pretend to answer, nor how far such establishment may appear to him practicable. If it be supposed that a man in his situation should absolutely despair of the Republic and have so much diffidence, either in his abilities or his influence, as to despair also of obtaining, much less of preserving, the supreme power, then it might be supposed that Danton’s plan would be by such person carried into execution. Yet all this supposition is but conjectural foundation of new conjecture. And what are the Allies about? Forming schemes to be executed, if they should continue to be allies.”

The spring of 1794 was lovely and fruitful. “The weather,” Morris wrote to Robert Morris on April 25th, “continues fine, or, to use a more apposite expression, hot—about the temperature of our month of June. Heaven seems to have decided in favor of the Republic against those who would by famine deprive her of freedom. Such promise of fruits and of all vegetable productions was never seen. It is indeed a miracle in nature, considering the latitude, for at this moment all the fruits are formed—the strawberries in full blossom, the apples are set, the vines, not in blossom, but the future clusters already marked. In the lawn under my eye I have grass lodged, some of it a yard high. In short, it is difficult to persuade one’s self that the dates are just. This advance in the season will probably save us from the horrors of famine. A frost is possible, but there seems to be but little reason for apprehending it.

“Since my last there have been abundant executions at Paris, and the guillotine goes on smartly. It was a matter of great doubt before the blow was struck which party was strongest. Perhaps the victory depended on Edition: current; Page: [63] the first stroke. Danton, when condemned, or shortly before it, told his judges that he had observed in reading history that men generally perished by the instruments of destruction which they had themselves created. ‘I’ (says he) ‘created the Tribunal Révolutionnaire by which I am shortly to be destroyed.’ Shakespeare had made Macbeth pronounce the same dreadful sentence on the wickedly ambitious long ago. ‘But in these cases we still have judgment here; that we but teach bloody instructions which, being taught, return to plague the inventor: this even-handed justice commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice to our own lips.’ God only knows who next is to drink out of the same cup, but, as far as I can judge, there is no want of liquor. The rest depends on circumstances.”

“Every gazette announces new victories, and gives, of course, hope that France may soon enjoy that freedom from which she derives her name,” Morris wrote, July 4th, to Leray de Chaumont at Nyon. “Let me offer congratulations on this anniversary of American Independence, our country’s natal day. The new Federal city (Washington) will be unquestionably one of the first cities on earth, and when I get back to America I mean to choose a good spot and build a house on it for myself. Five hundred dollars would buy a lot. Ships take building materials cheap from ports of Europe to Washington; and twenty-five thousand dollars would build a very large house in the American way of building, without parquets, carving, gilding, and the like costly ornamentations.”

Morris’s next letter to Washington, dated July 25th, had for its subject the trials of Madame de Lafayette, and also was an acknowledgment of a letter of Washington’s, “which had,” he wrote, “been a little more than a year in its passage. Before it reached me Madame de Lafayette Edition: current; Page: [64] (who, in common with most others of the nobility, had been confined in her province) was brought on to Paris, where she is now imprisoned. As soon as I heard it, which was the day of her arrival, I took the steps which appeared to me most proper for preventing the catastrophe which is to be apprehended. Since that period, finding that whatever may be the inclination of individuals every one remains silent, for fear of compromising himself, I have written to the Commissioner of Exterior Relations an unofficial letter, on the 29th of last month, to which as yet I have received no answer. I tell him that I know not whether she is brought up to be tried or only as a safer place of confinement, and that, moreover, I do not pretend to meddle with matters foreign to my mission, but think it proper to prove on that occasion my attachment to the cause in which the French are embarked, etc. I then assure him that my letter (directed to him, by the by, as a citizen and not as a commissioner) is not official, but amical and dictated by friendly sentiment, etc. After which I state that the family of Lafayette is beloved in America; that without examining his conduct in this country, which would doubtless be condemned, my fellow-citizens confine themselves to the grateful remembrance of the services he has rendered us, and therefore the death of his wife might lessen the attachment of some among them to the French Republic; that it would furnish the partisans of England with means of misrepresenting what passes here; that I cannot but think her existence of very little consequence to this government; and that I am sure its enemies will rejoice at the destruction of anything which bears the name of Lafayette. I conclude by the assurance that I have taken that step from what I conceive to be the true interest of the French Republic. What may be the effect of this Edition: current; Page: [65] application I know not, but if she is preserved for some time I shall have hopes—the more so as I conceive the present rage for executions must at length terminate. The gazettes will give you the details on that subject and spare me the pain of dwelling on it. I will here, however, mention to you what I have done for this unfortunate family of Lafayette. She wrote to me last summer desiring I would officially pledge the United States as security for certain sums due by his estate and which, not being exactly within the line marked out for the creditors of emigrants, might not be allowed in liquidation, and she stated that his honor and hers stood pledged, etc. You will readily conceive that I did not comply with that request, but at the same time your goodness will feel that a flat denial would add sorrow to distress. In this dilemma I informed her that it was inconsistent with the dignity of governments to appear in such affairs; moreover, I had not any right to dispose of the public property, but, as far as my own would go for her relief, she might count on every aid in my power. Not to fatigue you with a long story, this engagement ended by paying her in November last one hundred thousand livres when the assignats were at par (or, indeed, for silver, under par) and when, by the obstacles thrown in the way of all negotiations, it became to me an object of very serious inconvenience. However, I had taken the engagement, and it was necessary to keep it or break my word. When she was brought up to Paris she sent a person to me to communicate her situation and that of her children, and to propose an advance of credit to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand livres in order to complete some arrangements which they had imagined at Chavagnac. This advance I declined, not only because the plan they had formed appeared to me unwise but because I had not the money to Edition: current; Page: [66] dispose of. Being hard pressed for an opinion of consolatory nature to those poor children, I authorized the person employed to assure them of my conviction that the United States would take care of them. This I cannot doubt of, and I flatter myself that they may all of them be yet united at some future day in our hospitable regions, and that they will have cause to speak with gratitude of the bounty of America.”

In August the new Minister from the United States to France arrived; his advent was an inexpressible relief to Morris, and in the following letter, of August 14th, to Robert Morris he gave vent to his feelings on the subject.

“Presenting my successor, which I did yesterday, to the Commissioners, has given me more pleasure than any event for many months. As soon as the ceremonial is adjusted for his reception, I shall be relieved from a burden which has pressed on my shoulders, and which I am happier to be rid of than you can easily conceive. I am preparing for my departure, but as yet can take no step, as there is a kind of interregnum in the government and Mr. Monroe is not yet received, at which he grows somewhat impatient. The intelligence you give me respecting myself is particularly pleasing. I desired much to be recalled, but I would not ask it because I conceived my honor concerned in seeing the thing through. My only remaining wish is that the measure may be as useful to the United States as it is pleasing to me.”

After seeing his successor installed and disposing of his house at Paris, Mr. Morris’s intention was to return at once to America; and with this object in view he sought, and after much difficulty found, a sea-worthy ship to take himself and his effects across the Atlantic. But events in Europe were so interesting at this moment, and promised so much excitement and stir for the future, that he suddenly Edition: current; Page: [67] changed his plans, and determined to stay at least another year in Europe and watch the great play enacting on that stage. This year lengthened itself into quite four years before he embarked for America.

In October, 1794, however, he sent his steward Bromeling in the ship Superb to New York, “with,” as he wrote to Mr. Constable, “all my books, liquors, linens, furniture, plate, and carriages, which I presume will be admitted free of duty.” Instructions were sent that the “things, when the ship arrived, should be taken from her to Morrisania by periaugers,” and his overseer was directed to take especial care of his liquors and wines. Among the latter was a large quantity of Imperial Tokay sealed in wax with the double-headed eagle of Austria, the wedding-present of Maria Theresa to the unfortunate queen Marie Antoinette. This wine Mr. Morris had bought during the days of the Terror from a cheap grocery shop, where it was exposed for sale at twenty-five cents a bottle. The last bottle of it was opened at a wedding-party in New York in 1848.

Edition: current; Page: [68]


Morris leaves Paris and France. Resumes his diary. Thinks Monroe takes a wrong tone. Journey through France. Switzerland. Coppet. Madame de Staël. M. Necker. Malet du Pin. Berne. Basle. Hospitality of friends. Incidents en route. Scraps of news. Hamburg. Glad to have left his position in France. Letter to Washington. Extremely cold weather. Princess of Wales goes to England. Madame de Flahaut. Treaty between Prussia and France published, April, 1795. Morris becomes surety for the Duke of Orleans. Verses to Mesdames de Beaurepaire and de Flahaut. Riots at Paris. Morris helps his friends among the émigrés. History of M. d’Angivilliers’s silver plate. Power of the Jacobins broken. Distress in France. Letter to Washington.

On Sunday, October 12, 1794, Morris left Paris for Sainport to make arrangements for disposing of his possessions there, and two days later he bade a final farewell to France and journeyed to Hamburg. The entries in the diary commence again on October 12th, with a description of the journey to Sainport.

“I left Paris this morning at ten o’clock. Instead of four horses I have but three, and my servant mounts behind the carriage. The postmaster says that all his bidets are held at the order of the Comité de Salut Public. This I suspect to be untrue. I reach Charenton, where I find it next to impossible to find a bidet, and so go on as before. The postmaster says it is impossible to procure post-horses; that they are, moreover, very dear and very bad, etc.—all which I believe, being the natural result of a system of paper money, and, above all, of a war like the present, which cannot but exhaust the country exposed to it.

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“At Villeneuve, again, there are difficulties about a bidet. I agree to pay three posts for the distance to Sainport, which is more than I ought; but on all such occasions one is at the postmaster’s mercy—one among many bad consequences of doing that by exclusive privilege and minute regulation which should be left to competition and private interest. In how many different ways reflection and experience inculcate the important maxim not to govern too much. The state of husbandry in the country through which I pass is detestable: no artificial grasses, and but little natural meadow; two years of crop and one of fallow, consequently small crops and very foul with all kinds of weeds. The little experiments I have made at Sainport during the summer, upon some of the worst land in the whole country, convince me that intelligent husbandry would almost work miracles here. I am persuaded that France ought (for at least two years to come) to renounce all idea of colonies and commerce. The culture of her soil and the active pursuit of fisheries on her coast would, if she were well governed, raise her to a pitch of prosperity which can hardly be conceived. Corn, wine, oil, silk, flax, and hemp, with a sufficiency of iron, give her the first principles of wealth, and the genius of her people in converting the rude materials into various manufactures would, if well directed, accumulate again, in less than half a century, the immense property expended on the present war. The amount will not be known until after the close of it, but, if I judge rightly, she will be exhausted to a degree beyond what would have been conceived to lie within the power of any government. Constantly successful in the field, she is running to ruin with a rapidity that is as yet unknown in the history of human affairs. Before I left Paris, Mr. Monroe called on me and explained his conduct and his views. He begins to find out that fine Edition: current; Page: [70] words are of little value, and his letters from America show me that something more is expected (and justly expected) there, for many violences committed against our merchants. In my opinion he has taken the wrong tone at first, and will find much difficulty in changing it now. Time must determine a pretty serious question on that subject. So far as I am personally concerned at least, I have the consolation to have made no sacrifice either of personal or national dignity, and I believe I would have obtained everything if the American Government had refused to recall me. I rejoice that I am no longer in the pitiful situation which I have so long endured; for the rest, experience must decide, and I hope that events will be favorable to America. At Sainport, I feel relieved and rejoiced to be for a day without the torment of attention to any sort of affairs, after having been so plagued with a variety of them. The weather is mild to-day and threatens for to-morrow. I must wish for soft weather, both on account of my gout and of my journey. Should it turn cold, Mount Jura will prove a tough morsel. I did not reach Sainport till a quarter after three; say, from Paris, five hours and a quarter. I used to come with my own horses easily in four hours, generally in three and a half.”

“This morning [October 14th] I get off from Sainport at ten minutes before eleven. At Pont-sur-Yonne I am forced to apply to the officers of justice to settle the extortion of the postilion; and then on again through very rich but badly cultivated land, through which the Yonne meanders to Vallogne. Here the landlady of the inn is in the style of the ancien régime, and every ‘monsieur’ she utters is worth five sous at least in the bill. Pass Dijon and arrive at Mont-sur-Vaudray, where there are no horses, and I must wait till others can be refreshed; I am obliged to subscribe to the terms the postilion was pleased Edition: current; Page: [71] to propose, although the law is in my favor; but what signifies the law in this country at present? A half-drunk and wholly insolent postilion takes me one post, where we rise in truth a mountain, but the road is excellent; there is a striking view, which to the approaching traveller is terribly beautiful, if he gives the rein to imagination. In a valley towards which he goes are thrown a parcel of mountains, somewhat resembling cocks of hay but of a mass more great as well as more solid, for they are large and of rock. In the midst of them, as if intended for theatrical decorations, is one on the side of which the road resembles a little ribbon, and it hangs over a vast precipice. Both the beginning and the end are hidden, one by the mountain itself, the other by the base of a brother-mountain which is nearer to us. After descending into the valley we turn to the left, and, having wound round that part which was concealed, we turn to the right, and gain that which was disclosed. Up these roads we go, drawn by three horses, the postilion amusing himself as he walks behind the carriage, and a horse need only sheer a little to throw the carriage and its contents at least a hundred fathoms upon the rocks beneath. To show apprehension would be only to excite mirth, and induce him to try projects, for I observed the fellow looking at me askance to discover whether I am terrified, but a very severe countenance and not a word spoken induces him to take hold of the bridle of his porteur. It was time.”

“Arrived at Morey [October 19th] we are surrounded by the commis of the douane. I show my passport and, to obviate unnecessary cavil and examination, show them also my permission from the Comité de Salut Public to export four hundred louis, telling them it would have cost me only the trouble of asking it to export five times that amount. This quiets a little the bustle. The mayor arrives, Edition: current; Page: [72] bringing in his hands my passport. He observes that it is not signed by me, and makes no mention of my wooden leg. I show him two or three old passports for the interior which I had kept, and these, with the permit of the Committee, obviate difficulties. As we leave Les Rousses we ascend a little, and soon pass the dividing line between the territories of the two nations. It is marked by a stone wall which a pig can jump over anywhere. Shortly after we get into Switzerland, round the point of mountain which shuts in that gap through which we descend, I perceive before us the Alps, and chief among their highnesses—for they at least merit that title—Mont Blanc, at whose foot lie the glaciers filled with the accumulated frost of centuries.”

“Still advancing [October 20th], we see the lake of Geneva and the Pays de Vaud under our feet; a fine coup d’œil, but in this season it wants verdure. The Alps are majestically grand, but they become more awful as we descend, and thence I am led to observe that mountains, like other great folks, inspire less respect when seen from something like their own level. In my route to-day, clambering up hill, I was reminded of an expression of General Putnam respecting Westchester County, which here is literally true. ‘Get,’ says he, ‘upon the highest hill you can find, and you will immediately see another which is higher. There are hills here which we cannot get upon. We reach Cour, in the neighborhood of Lausanne, where M. Chaumont resides, this day and put up at the hotel.”

“This morning [October 21st] at twelve set off to see the Baron de Coppet, alias M. Necker. He is abroad and I am so pressed to remain until his return that I cannot avoid it, although I had ordered dinner at home, and wished for many reasons to return. He arrives a little Edition: current; Page: [73] while before dinner, and is truly glad to see me; so much more so than I can account for, that I conclude there is something behind. Company come after dinner. The French affairs form, of course, the subject of conversation. He wishes to speak to me in private, and I find that Leray de Chaumont has been dealing with him.

“This morning [October 23d] I have a smart touch of the gout, in consequence of my yesterday’s walk. Go to dinner at Madame de Staël’s, where I am received with great warmth—the more necessary as I have a villainous ague. A good appetite at dinner, but the ague comes on very strong and then the fever, which is gentle. We have much talk, or rather I have, for they are desirous of information, both public and private, and I am more in condition to give it than most others. There is here a little French society which live at her expense and are as gay as circumstances will permit. The road to her house is up hill and execrable, so that I think I shall not go again thither. On my return, being much out of sorts, I find bed the properest place for me, and my pillow the fittest society.”

“This morning [October 24th] I still suffer with the gout. M. de Narbonne comes after dinner, but Madame de Staël, who was expected, does not appear till later, when she comes and gives me much of her history and plans of life.”

“Leave Cour [November 5th], and stop on my way to see Madame de Tessé, who has quarrelled with Madame de Tôt, and who complains of persecution, and in consequence she is about to quit this country and go, with about ten to twelve thousand pounds sterling, she knows not whither. Advise her to invest in the American three per cents.”

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“This evening [November 6th] at Berne Messieurs Malet du Pin and Mounier call upon me. I see in a den made for the purpose one of three bears which are maintained here at the public expense. There is a pension of 4,000f. Swiss, or 6,000f. French, appropriated to the keeping of four bears. Malet du Pin tells me that the Austrian Cabinet is seriously determined on continuing the war if it can be done.”

“At Basle [November 11th] I buy the horses of M. Diodati, and engage his coachman, who seems to be an excellent creature. Dine with M. Diodati and go to the concert. There are arrived in town some Prussian officers, said to come for the purpose of treating about an exchange of prisoners. Two deputies are expected, and the idea is that a treaty of peace is in contemplation. It is possible enough. Many and many civilities from M. and Madame Diodati.”

Morris’s journey from Paris to Hamburg was charmingly diversified by the kind reception of old friends whom he met in the different towns he passed through, and also by many hospitalities shown him by strangers to whom he had letters, who dined and wined him with almost more liberality than he cared for. The relief that he experienced at being once more free he expressed in letters to various friends written along the way. To Mr. Isaac Parish, of Hamburg, he wrote from Basle, November 12th: “The arrival of a successor has at last enabled me to quit the irksome place which I occupied, and I am now on my way to your city.” And to William Short, then at Madrid, he wrote of the “relief it is to get away from my duties as Minister. I hope,” he adds, “you have so much friendship for me as to be heartily glad at my removal from the place I lately occupied. . . . As to the political state of France, it is externally as strong as its best Edition: current; Page: [75] friends could desire, and internally as weak as its worst enemies could wish.”

“To-day,” says the diary for November 13th, “I set off with my own horses, which I see for the first time, having bought them at a venture from the Comte Diodati. They appear to be excellent, and we jog along over execrable roads and I get cheated at the various inns I stop at. The best way, however, is to pay with good humor and jog patiently on. The art of living consists, I think, in some considerable degree in knowing how to be cheated. At Hirschfeld this evening, after taking tea and as I am going to bed, I receive a message from the Landgravine and another from the Duchesse de Bouillon, her sister. It is impossible to refuse, so I embark in a voiture de la cour and wait on the Duchess; then go to the Château and assist at the souper. Madame had known me at the Baron Besenval’s five years ago and, hearing my name, was desirous of seeing me. Je suis comblé de politesses of the right kind, and am pressed to stay and dine to-morrow. The gentlemen assure me that the spring of my carriage shall be mended in the morning. The smith of Monseigneur is to do it. It is near twelve when I get to bed, which is not right for a traveller.”

“The next morning I am off at ten. At Münden [December 2d] I meet a young Austrian officer who dined with me, and who is a prisoner on parole, taken at Maestricht. He tells me that the Dutch troops are detestable, and their fortresses wholly unprovided of provisions and military stores. At Maestricht he says there were no casemates, and two magazines of powder were blown up by the enemy’s bombs. He tells me also that in the French army there are a great number of very young people, and even children of thirteen and fourteen years of age.”

“At Zelle, to-night [December 6th], the Hamburg gazette Edition: current; Page: [76] arrives, which announced the surrender of Luxembourg to the French. If this be true, there remains only Mayence to be taken, and the young Republic is bounded by the Rhine. I agree to take a pair of young sorrel horses of a man on the road, who is driving them before a wagon; the price, thirty-four louis d’ors, and he is to deliver them at Hamburg for five crowns. The fire in the kitchen of the inn where we dine to-day is the first thing of the kind I have seen. The kitchen is in the middle of the house, half-way between the chambers and the barns and stables. It has a square hearth, in the middle of the floor nearly, and without any chimney, but a flooring directly over it all black with smoke, which is to find a way out of the house as well as it can. Against the beams on which this floor rests are suspended beef, pork, mutton, and split geese, which have been pickled, and are now smoke-drying. The dinner consists of a piece of the mutton stewed with turnips. One of my servants recommends it to me, and I find it very good. My horse-seller gives me some white bread (the house not furnishing any), and I make one of the heartiest meals of my life. The servant who recommended it to me, however, eats still more, and the quantity demolished between us is astonishing. What is still more astonishing is that the price for both of us is but four gros, or groschen, equal to about two sterling groats, or sixteen sous of French money. The hay and oats of my horses amount to eighteen-pence sterling for four horses. This is cheap living. Last night, in conversing with my host, I find that the present war is highly unpopular in this country; that the sovereign is much disliked, and that their connection with Great Britain is extremely irksome to them. He tells me that he understands an attempt is to be made to-morrow to raise recruits by force, but he thinks the people will not submit Edition: current; Page: [77] to it. The French cause is greatly favored. They are desirous the French should come among them.”

Morris reached Hamburg early in December, and the following letter to Washington, dated December 30th, explains the reason of his presence there.

My Dear Sir: At this late hour and from this remote corner, I am to acknowledge your favors of the 19th and 25th June. I did not reply from Paris, because I wished for a safe conveyance, and although none offers itself at present, yet I will write what occurs for communication, and take a future chance of transmission. The assurances of friendly esteem which your letters convey are very pleasing; but, indeed, I never doubted of the sentiments you express, and even go so far as to flatter myself that the measure in question was not agreeable to you. It was highly so to me, and although I am persuaded that you will believe me on my word, I will nevertheless assign some reasons why a change of situation was desirable. And first, you will see from what is now publicly known respecting those who administer the French despotism how painful it must have been to represent our virtuous republic to such persons. I had stayed at some risk after the 10th of August, because I thought the interests of America required it, and I did not ask my recall at a subsequent period because it would not have been honorable to abandon a post which, if no longer unsafe, was at least unpleasant. I felt that I was useless, and, indeed, that nobody could be useful until some permanent system should be established. I saw misery and affliction every day and all around me, without power to mitigate or means to relieve, and I felt myself degraded by the communications I was forced into with the worst of mankind, in order to obtain redress for the injuries sustained by my fellow-citizens. During that state of things I was Edition: current; Page: [78] grossly insulted by the arrest of a lady in my house, by order of the Committee of General Safety. I could not resent this as I ought to have done, by quitting the country, because a great number of our citizens were then detained in France, with much of their property, and I knew the violences which those who administer the government were capable of. Moreover, I saw with regret that the temper of America was not such as her best citizens could have wished, and the conduct of Britain rendered a temporizing conduct with France indispensable. My representations obtained a half-apology and promise of satisfaction, but occasioned the order to solicit my recall, of which I was apprised within four and twenty hours after it was given, and might easily have shown whence it originated; but, to tell you the truth, I was inclined to wish that I might be removed on their application. I really believe it was necessary to my reputation. So long as they believed in the success of their demand, they treated my representations with indifference and contempt; but at last, hearing nothing from their minister on that subject, or, indeed, on any other, they took it into their heads that I was immovable, and made overtures for conciliation. At this time I began to apprehend that we should be plunged into a war with England, in which case it would have become my duty to aid the French as far as my abilities might go. But as I knew their temper, I replied to the advances made that I was not to be affected by smooth words, so that they must begin by complying with the various demands I had made, and show me by facts that they were well-disposed. Shortly after this I received a volunteer letter from the Commissary of Exterior Relations (a poor creature who scarce dared wipe his nose without an order from the Committee of Safety), assuring me that he had transmitted my various representations to the Commissary of Edition: current; Page: [79] the Marine, and expected soon to give me satisfactory answers. It was written ten days before the death of Robespierre, shortly after which Mr. Monroe arrived. He was fortunate in not reaching France at an earlier period, for, if I may judge by what fell within my observation, he would have been a little too well with that party to be viewed in a neutral light by their opponents. I hope he may succeed in obtaining the redress of those grievances which our countrymen labored under, but on the 12th of October, when I left Paris, nothing was done. I found my present hopes, however, on Mr. Jay’s treaty, for they will now be somewhat more cautious respecting us than they have been.

“In reply to what you say about my return to America, I must tell you that I could not depart in such season as that my communications could be of much importance; and therefore, as I must have exposed myself to the inconveniences of a winter’s passage, I deferred my voyage, and the rather as I have some affairs in London which I wish to wind up. I should have gone thither for that purpose direct, but the French would have harbored jealousies respecting my journey which for many reasons I wish not to excite; and therefore I came round through Switzerland to this city, in which I am now weatherbound. So much for my history.

“As to the state of political affairs, the Polish insurrection is, as you know, completely subdued, and of course the attention of Europe is all turned to France, which has lately triumphed in every quarter by the extreme misconduct of her enemies. It seems at present that they are coming to their senses, and, if I am rightly informed, they have at length abandoned the idea of dismemberment and mean to pursue simply the establishment of the throne. If they act wisely and vigorously in that direction it Edition: current; Page: [80] seems to me that they must succeed, for the French are wearied and exhausted by the contest. They detest and despise their present rulers, and, as far as I have been able to judge, they ardently desire the restoration of their Prince. You will ask, perhaps, why, then, do they not restore him? It is because they dare not act nor even speak, so that they do not know each other’s opinions, and, of course, each individual apprehends from the general mass. But everything which has taken place leads them to look back with regret to their ancient situation. In judging the French we must not recur to the feelings of America during the last war. We were in the actual enjoyment of freedom, and fought not to obtain but to secure its blessing. The people elected their magistrates during the continuance of the war. The property of the country was engaged in the Revolution, and the oppressions which it occasioned were neither great, extensive, nor of long duration. But in France they have been lured by one idle hope after another, until they are plunged in the depth of misery and servitude; so much the more degrading, as that they cannot but despise their masters. I have long, you know, predicted a single despotism, and you have seen how near they have been to that catastrophe. Chance, or rather the want of mettle in the usurper, has alone saved them to the present moment; but I am still convinced that they must end their voyage in that port, and they would probably reach it, should they make peace with all their foreign enemies, through the channel of a civil war.” “The news from Holland,” says the diary for January 3, 1795, “turn out, as I expected, much less unfavorable to the Allies than was expected. The French, having failed in one of their attempts to cross the Waal, have retired, and with considerable loss. Visit the British Minister and see Mr. Lane, who reads to me his letter Edition: current; Page: [81] from Brunswick communicating the determination of Prussia to make peace with France.”

“The weather [January 23d] is extremely cold; seldom colder, they say, in Russia. The Empress by edict has ordered all public amusements to stop when the cold is at seventeen degrees, because the men and horses exposed to the air must frequently perish. This loss of Holland turns people’s minds very strongly towards America. I observed this day a very strange phenomenon. The sun shone very bright, not a cloud to be seen, and yet it snowed. Several of our company had noticed the same thing, also that it continued to snow this evening with a bright starlight, which I had also remarked. Many of the guests laugh at the idea, and yet refuse to go out and verify it by the evidence of their senses. I dare say that if this were recounted anywhere else it would be considered as making use of the traveller’s privilege. The weather is greatly softened this evening, but in the two last days many persons have been frozen to death. There is no news which can be depended on either from France or Holland, and the communication with England is entirely stopped.”

“The Elbe is opened [March 11th], though the season is very backward, and the fleet of British frigates is arrived at the mouth to convey the Princess of Wales to England. By the gazettes it would seem that the system of cruelty is going more and more out of fashion in France. The Abbé St. Albin tells me of the refusal of the Prince of Wales to marry unless they pay his debts, which appear twice what he announced, and more than Pitt dare propose to the Commons.”

“We learn from France [April 13th] that Paris is far from quiet, and the scarcity of food becomes daily more sensible. Yesterday I plucked a violet on the south side of a steep hill; it is the first I have seen. I present it and Edition: current; Page: [82] some other flowers to Madame de Flahaut, who is lodging at Altona, and write at the same time:

  • Reçois les prémices que je viens de cueillir;
  • Depuis longtemps tu sais qu’elles te sont consacrées—
  • Mes travaux et mes soins, mes soins, mes jeux et mon loisir,
  • Les fleurs du printemps et les fruits de l’été.
  • Voilà l’hiver qui vient, et d’un pas de géant,
  • Où le jour est si triste et la nuit est si bonne;
  • Jouissons au plus vite, jouissons, chère enfant,
  • Car déjà je me sens au milieu de l’automne.”

“It is affirmed [April 19th], as announced by five couriers, that peace is signed between Prussia and France. Boyd tells me that Pitt had offered a subsidy to the King of Prussia, but he knows not the conditions.”

“I have company to dine [April 21st] and am told that the treaty between Prussia and France is published, and that the Prussian possessions beyond the Rhine are provisoirement to remain in the hands of France. Walk and visit Madame de Flahaut. M. Thouvenot has told her that a loan can be obtained for the young Duke of Orleans if I will be his surety. I think over the proposition for a day and tell Madame de Flahaut that I will become surety, etc., and form a joint concern. M. Thouvenot calls and takes notes of my proposals. The young man is disinclined to making great engagements, and I am of his opinion. The Princesse de Vaudemont brings the Duc de Choiseul to dine with me. He is just escaped from Dunkirk, whither he had been carried by a French frigate which had taken him on board of a British packet. Call Edition: current; Page: [83] on the Duke of Orleans, who goes off this evening on a journey northward. Madame de Flahaut tells me that she is informed that Paris will soon be the scene of great commotions. By advices as late as the 27th of last month they are reduced to four ounces of bread per day. She also told me last evening that Madame de Beaurepaire was to call this morning in order to get a cap made, and wished me to ask her and her companion, M. de Boursac, to dine, which I agreed to, but this morning wrote an additional invitation:

  • Eh, bon jour, belle faiseuse
  • De romans et de bonnets;
  • Parfois vive et paresseuse,
  • Bonne et douce et sans apprêt.
  • Quand vous ouvrirez boutique
  • Soit de modes ou d’esprit,
  • Vous aurez grande pratique;
  • L’amour même me l’a dit.
  • Il s’instruit de la conduite
  • Que vous tenez nuit et jour;
  • Mais, objet de sa poursuite,
  • Avez-vous connu l’amour?
  • C’est celui qui seul inspire
  • Les douceurs du sentiment;
  • Vous les savez bien écrire,
  • Je vous crois de son couvent.
  • Au milieu de vos travaux
  • Littéraires ou bonnétaires,
  • Je vous fais de lourds propos,
  • Qui ne sont que dinataires.
  • Quittez gazes et romans,
  • Bel esprit devenu sage;
  • Menez-moi vos deux chalands
  • Manger mon petit potage.”
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“I had been informed [May 13th] that Austria negotiated for peace, but I am told that the Emperor has made his solemn declaration at Ratisbon in favor of the continuance of hostilities; that the resolutions of the Cabinet of Vienna were to that effect. The news of a late date from Paris is that they now think of adopting the American Constitution and talk of Pichegru and the Abbé Siéyès as President. The former has his headquarters at Versailles. My landlady tells me there is a rumor in town that the young King of France and his sister are escaped from the Temple, and that it is supposed they are gone to join Charette.”

“I learn from Madame de Flahaut [June 1st] that there has been a riot at Paris in which the Jacobins had the advantage the 22d of May, and the Assembly the 23d was completely victorious. It seems that the Jacobins had for some time the upper hand, but were finally crushed, and the Convention was in full train to destroy them. Barère & Co. will experience the same fate. Thus the divine justice singles out its victims, and each shall perish by the other. The famine still rages, and must, I think, destroy the Convention sooner or later, for I know not how a people are to be restrained who are void of principle, and who perish with hunger. M. de Septeuil calls on me this afternoon to settle an affair of M. d’Angivilliers, and among other things asks me if the King did not deposit with me the amount of the Civil List. He understood that they were to be transmitted by M. de Monciel. I tell him, which is true, that I never saw them.”

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During this winter, which he passed at Hamburg and Altona, Morris spent both time and money endeavoring to alleviate the distress, and often actual want, of his friends among the émigrés. In his letters to them he encouraged, while he told them plainly what he foresaw they must endure before order could be established in their country. To Madame de Nadaillac he wrote: “Je suis sensiblement affecté en méditant sur la vicissitude des affaires humaines. . . . Il me semble que votre malheureuse patrie doit subir encore plusieurs révolutions avant qu’on ne puisse compter sur un ordre quelconque.” He condoled with her on the great difficulty there was for her to receive any remittances, but said: “Dans cet embarras, j’ai trouvé un petit expédient. La personne qui vous remettra celle-ci, est chargée de vous payer en même temps cinquante louis. Si la fortune vous devient propice, vous me les rembourserez. Si non, laissez-moi la consolation de croire que j’ai pu adoucir un instant vos malheurs. Soyez aussi persuadée, que si mes moyens étaient abondants je ne me bornerais pas à un aussi faible secours.” He gave to those among the more fortunate, who had a little property, advice as to investments, and arranged that the interest on any investments he made for them should be paid to him as a sure means for them to receive it.

Not without interest is the little history of the silver Edition: current; Page: [86] plate of M. le Comte d’Angivilliers, which had been placed under Morris’s care when the excitements of the 10th of August, 1792, sent the count flying out of Paris. After it became known that M. d’Angivilliers had survived the storm and was living in Brunswick, Morris wrote him the following letter of explanation:

“Il y a longtemps, M. le Comte, que je me suis promis l’honneur de vous écrire sur un objet qui vous intéresse. Vous savez comment votre argenterie avait été sauvée et déposée chez moi. Je la gardai jusqu’au temps de mon rappel, c’est à dire, environ deux années. Pendant cette époque je désirais souvent en être quitte, comme vous pouvez bien vous l’imaginer. Mes gens l’avaient vu venir, ils savaient qu’elle y restait, j’avais grande raison de n’avoir pas en eux une confiance entière. Enfin, dans un moment un peu critique, je fis chercher quelqu’un de vos gens d’affaires, et j’en trouvai un qui s’appelle, je crois, M. Armet; il s’était mis alors, comme plusieurs autres, dans une place quelconque pour se sauver la vie. Je lui proposai de le charger de ce dépôt, et il en frémit. Sur mes instances, il fit deux voyages à Versailles pour prendre les ordres de Madame d’Angivilliers, alors gardée à vue chez elle; il obtint difficilement une occasion de lui parler. On vous croyait mort. Je lui avais proposé de faire convertir en louis d’or cette argenterie et de les prendre chez elle quand je devrais partir. Elle était remplie de craintes, que d’horribles massacres n’ont que trop justifiées. Elle me fit dire d’en disposer comme je voudrais, en me priant d’employer le produit au profit du fils de Monsieur votre frère. Je proposai alors à ce M. Armet de faire faire la conversion en louis et de les prendre chez lui, mais il me répondit qu’il y allait de sa vie. Alors je me décidai à le garder encore aussi longtemps que possible. Quand je reçus les nouvelles de mon rappel, ne pouvant plus m’adresser à Madame Edition: current; Page: [87] d’Angivilliers, qui avait défendu qu’on lui parlât de rien, de peur d’être compromise, j’en fis la vente au prix courant du jour, qui était de soixante et seize livres la marc; il y en avait 622, et, par conséquent, le produit en était de 47,272 livres. Il n’y avait point alors de change avec l’étranger, toute opération de cette espèce étant défendue sous peine de mort. Je fis donc des arrangements pour que cette somme fῦt payée à Londres sur le taux de la valeur du louis d’or, en prenant d’abord cette valeur en assignats et ensuite en argent sterling. La valeur d’alors en assignats était de 60 livres la pièce, et, par conséquent, il vous en revient la valeur de 788 louis d’or en argent sterling.

“Avant de savoir que vous existiez encore, mon projet était de placer cette somme dans les fonds publics des États-Unis d’Amérique, au nom de Monsieur votre neveu, dans ce que nous appellons la dette différée, c’est à dire, une créance dont les intérêts ne commenceront à courir qu’a la fin du siècle où nous sommes, et qui, par conséquent, se vend d’autant meilleur marché qu’elle ne donne aucune rente. À présent, je n’ai qu’à me confirmer à vos ordres.”

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The diary records the settlement of this affair on June 5th. “This morning I settle with M. Septeuil for M. d’Angivilliers’s plate. By the gazettes of Leyden it appears that the question between the Jacobins and the Convention was long in contest before the complete superiority of the former was ascertained. But a further struggle may yet take place, though perhaps under a different banner. The destruction of those who meditated a new revolution will have checked for a time the spirit of insurrection, but I know not any means to repress a people who are perishing with hunger. It was easy to foresee what has happened, and thus, as I think, little difficulty in finishing the gloomy picture for months to come. Let little politicians play over as they please their peddling parts, a strong chain of events binds them fast to their fate, and then strong, manly sense will appear, as it ought, superior to fleeting incident, avouched by truth and warranted by experience.”

On June 5th, and just before leaving Altona, Morris Edition: current; Page: [89] wrote to Washington and informed him of his intended departure for London. “I shall,” he said, “take the liberty of writing to you from that city on the state of things as they shall appear. I can say nothing better on the peace with Prussia than what a French valet de chambre wrote from Paris to his master in this country. ‘It was necessary that His Prussian Majesty should make haste to save our dignity, for in three months we should have been on our knees to beg peace from the Allies on any terms they might prescribe.’ I long since gave you an idea of the Cabinet in that country. I omitted, perhaps, the word corruption, and if so you may write it in capitals. But the half-way talents of Prince Henry may be considered as one cause of that measure, which will, I think, tend in its consequences to melt down the colossus raised by the great Frederick. I consider Holland as a ruined country, more especially if the war should continue for two years longer, and Britain will suck up that commerce which formerly flowed through so many channels to Amsterdam. It seems probable, also, that the war will ere long be felt in this quarter of Europe. But I suspend all further observations for the present, and the rather as I am returned from a tour through this Duchy and am packing up for my departure.”

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Morris goes to England. Account of the voyage from Hamburg. The Thames scenery. Mr. Pinckney. Count Woronzow. M. de Moustier. Dinner at the Marquis de Spinola’s. Conversation with Lord Grenville. He apprehends a bad disposition on the part of the American Government. Morris asks to be presented at Court. The Duke of Queensberry. Mademoiselle Faniani. Conversation with Moustier. Manifesto by the new King of France drafted by Morris. Riots in London. Dines with Pitt. Lord Grenville and Chatham. Long interview with Pitt.

On the 7th of June Morris left Altona early in the morning, and, as soon as the gates were opened, entered Hamburg to embark for London.

“We got under way this morning at six,” he says, “but are obliged to come to an anchor below Altona from the want of wind. Start again on Monday. On Tuesday the current is so strong we cannot make head against it, and we anchor. On Thursday the morning is very hazy. We tacked last night at twelve, and continued with our larboard tacks aboard till seven. We cast over a troll net and lay to. Later the wind comes more round to the northward, and we get up the net, in which we have a good many fish. On Friday, June 12th, we are directly before the wind since midnight with a pretty rough sea, so that the ship rolls considerably. Early this evening we see Lowestoft, and come to anchor about ten under the lee of Orfordness in Horsley Bay; the wind fresh, and the weather cold. I remark that in the Elbe a great portion of the shipping is American. We come through a fleet of colliers at anchor.”

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“We heave our anchor this morning [June 13th], with a smart gale from the northeast. Get into the Downs about eight o’clock, where there is a fleet of eight sail of the line, besides frigates and many merchant-vessels. The wind continues to blow hard, and, the tide being with us, we run up rapidly. At length we are obliged to come to with the ebb in a reach of the river which brought the wind too much on our starboard bow. Getting underway again we are moored opposite to the Tower at eight o’clock. The sides of the river are beautiful beyond all description, and extremely well worth seeing. In effect, this voyage from Hamburg is one of the most agreeable which can be made in fine weather, but we have it extremely cold.”

“This morning [June 14th] I go on shore and take up my quarters at the Great Hotel, Covent Garden. In the course of the day I learn that Mr. Pinckney is gone to Spain and has taken his children to Paris, which is, I think, ill-judged, and must excite the jealousy of this Court. The British are taking our provision-vessels bound to France, which excites an apprehension that the treaty may not be confirmed in America. I presume it will be confirmed by a feeble majority, but it will, I imagine, hang about Mr. Jay’s neck like a millstone in his political voyages; the more so as I see, (I think) from conversation with Mr. Days, Mr. Pinckney’s secretary, that he is not at all satisfied. I explain to Mr. Days a little the situation of France, and express my apprehension that Mr. Pinckney’s conduct may be disagreeable to this Court. He says that he thinks not, but that Mr. Pinckney’s attachment to the French Revolution is not unknown to them. The Chevalier de Graave calls, and gives me a convincing proof of the misconduct of M. de Monciel to me.”

“Call [June 21st] at Count Woronzow’s, who receives Edition: current; Page: [92] me with open arms. We have much conversation. He shows me a letter from the Russian Minister at Copenhagen to him, and his consequent application to Lord Grenville. It seems that the stoppage of Danish vessels laden with grain will be compromised, and it seems that the Danish Minister, Berenstoff, disapproves highly the conduct of Sweden in regard to France. He gives me some additional proofs that the latter power has no more money left. Respecting Prussia, he seems decided that it ought to be added to Poland, and that Austria ought to recover Silesia and be permitted to possess herself of Bavaria; but he seems to think that Britain ought not to have Flanders. He wishes me to see Lord Grenville, and I tell him that if his lordship wishes it I will see him. He thinks I ought to go to Court as being a public man, and that otherwise it would look like hostility. He wishes I could replace Mr. Pinckney, whom he speaks of as a Jacobin, and adds that he was prudent enough to conceal his sentiments, whereas the person he has left behind him speaks out openly. He also expresses a wish and a hope that I may be appointed Minister to this Court. I tell him that it is my wish to pass my days in the tranquillity of private life. He tells me that the French have corrupted the southern part of America.”

“Dine [June 24th] at Mr. Boyd’s in the country, where I see the Marquis de Spinola, an able man, formerly one of my diplomatic brethren in France. He tells me that he has been employed here very assiduously in trying to prevent the government of this country from ruining their own affairs in his country—Genoa; that the bane of parliamentary influence forces them to the nomination of improper men, of which he gives me some striking instances. Indeed, this evil runs through the whole contexture of their civil and military life, so that if, on the one hand, it secures Edition: current; Page: [93] the domestic freedom and prosperity of the country (which seems, by the by, to be questioned) it does certainly, on the other, diminish its exterior influence, splendor, and even its security. There is nothing perfect in this world, and we must therefore take things as we find them. I find that Mr. Jay was universally liked here, and that Mr. Pinckney is not approved of among the government people. The news in town from the West Indies are bad, and Admiral Cornwallis has been driven into port by a French fleet. Qu.: Whether Admiral Lord Bridport has not a chance of falling in with them, for in that case he will probably obtain, with superior force, equipment, and skill, a decided as well as an easy victory.”

“Dine with Count Woronzow [June 27th]. M. de Spinola dines with us, and Mr. Burgess, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who has the American department. I have a long conversation with him after dinner, and he repeatedly expresses his wish that I would see Lord Grenville. I tell him that if his lordship wishes it I will wait upon him. I tell him the apprehensions expressed to me by men in the city respecting the capture of our provision-vessels (by the by, Hankey mentioned it this morning in terms too strong to be repeated). He tells me that those apprehensions have been excited by Mr. Deas, and from the tenor of his conversation on that chapter I see clearly that this Government are by no means satisfied with the present mission. I say all I can consistently to smooth difficulties. Admiral Lord Bridport has fallen in with the French fleet and driven them into Port L’Orient, after taking three ships of the line. He remains at sea, where he rides triumphant, and, of course, has many naval means of facilitating the debarkation of the troops destined to act in that quarter.”

“This morning [June 29th] the Comte de Moustier calls Edition: current; Page: [94] on me, and we have a long conversation. He is working to place himself as one of the new King of France’s ministers, if I can judge of his views by his conversation. He tells me that the King will be well disposed to conciliate with all parties. I mention the Duke of Orleans, but he thinks that may encounter some difficulties. While he is here, Mr. Burgess comes in. He gives me a rendezvous at Lord Grenville’s, and descants on the rights of ci-devant Monsieur to be acknowledged as King of France, whence I conjecture that the administration here lean to that idea. While he is here Mr. Beckford comes in, and he, having an estate in Jamaica, sees the necessity of being well with America, as their granary and natural protector. Go after dinner to the Marquis de Spinola’s. The conversation here, where our company consists of aristocrats of the first feather, turns on French affairs. They at first agree that union among the French is necessary, but, when they come to particulars, they fly off and are mad. Madame Spinola would send the Duke of Orleans to Siberia. An abbé, a young man, talks much, and loud, to show his esprit, and, to hear them, one would suppose that they were quite at their ease in a petit souper de Paris. Our little abbé tells us that the leaders of the French, finding how strong is the disposition of the people towards monarchy, will place the Duke of Orleans on the throne, and he, finding it impossible to gain the good opinion of the gentlemen of France, must at length accept. I ask him if it be wise to place him in that predicament; he says, whether wise or not, the King will not be able to prevent his followers from insulting him. There is, I fear, too much truth in this. His connection with Montesquiou is mentioned as a sad blot on his escutcheon. Yet Montesquiou (whatever may be his heart) is certainly one of their best heads, and they have not too many people of understanding Edition: current; Page: [95] among them. Burgess spoke of them this morning with much contempt, and, indeed, their conduct is not calculated to inspire respect.

“M. de Puisignieu calls upon me and enters into a long conversation on his affairs and those of his country. He tells me that the Comte d’Artois is much changed. He is grown wiser by adversity and more moderate in his opinions. He is going to La Vendée, and Puisignieu is going with him—but this is a secret.”

“Go to Count Woronzow’s [June 30th], who tells me he has seen Burgess, who is delighted at the conversation which he had with me. I suppose it was the last, because in that I merely assented to his ideas. The Count desires me to call on him to-morrow, when he will show me a despatch to his Court on the subject of an acknowledgment by this government of the French King. He says the ministers are strongly inclined to it, but fear the effect of that measure in the country.”

“Go to Count Woronzow’s [July 1st], who shows me a despatch to his Court containing the argument he used to Lord Grenville to persuade to an acknowledgment of the new King of France; his lordship’s reply; the plans in contemplation, etc. He is convinced that if Spain and Austria be not soon bound down by a recognition of the new King, they will make peace with the Convention. I believe he is right. He gives me some light as to this Cabinet, and by his account Lord Grenville is the strongest man in it. Dine at the Piazza and then come home, take tea, and read the newspapers.”

“This morning [July 2d], at eleven, wait by appointment on Lord Grenville, and stay till half-past twelve. We have a long conversation on general politics, the line to be adopted by Great Britain in the present moment, and the ruin of acknowledging the French King. I mention Edition: current; Page: [96] the acquisition of Flanders by this country, and the advantages to be expected from it. His lordship seems very attentive to this idea. I tell him my opinion of Prussia and the relations in which it stands to this country, in which he seems to agree. I state to him what I conceive as practicable respecting Austria and Russia in the present moment, and show him how far it would affect France by pushing the King of Prussia to extremity; this also strikes him forcibly. I state the various advantages which might result from acknowledging the French King: the treaties which might be formed with him, the difference between appearing as auxiliaries and invaders, etc. State to him, further, the necessity of a moderate line of conduct on the part of the new King, so as to lessen, if not destroy, opposition to him. Touch on the means of keeping Spain, etc., steady. Observe to him that Sardinia must ever be the ally of France and the enemy of Austria. All this makes an impression. I notice the state of Italy and the utter indifference to Great Britain whether that country continue in its present political form or put on any other. He wishes to know the state of France. I observe to him that half a dozen different people going through that country will give each a different account of it, and that he can, in his cabinet, form a better opinion on principles which I explain, and then add correspondent information. I take up what might be the feelings of the country on the step proposed, and cite the conduct of Queen Elizabeth as an authority which they would be little inclined to question, whatever may be its intrinsic merit. Having gone far into that affair, I then mention, as a business which I have no right to meddle in but which, from its importance, presses itself upon me—the taking of our ships and the ill blood which might thereby be excited; how useful it would be to give immediate relief; the very bad Edition: current; Page: [97] consequences of delay to the party interested and its resulting effects on national feelings. He says he believes everything is done which can be done to give despatch, general assurances—and was inclined to think the price allowed would render the capture rather useful than injurious to the owners. He then mentions a declaration by Mr. Innis to the Governor of Kentucky, that the influence of the British Cabinet has been used to prevent our success in negotiation for the free use of the Mississippi, and how injurious this is, as they are really desirous we should have it. He apprehends that the American Government are not so well disposed towards Great Britain as he had been led to imagine. I say everything which appears to me proper for removing that impression, and suggest a confidential application by the British minister. He states the danger of publicity from the nature of our government, and its consequent effects, on which I suggest a verbal communication to the President; to this also he is disinclined, as not coinciding with their habits of business, but wishes I would write a private letter on the subject, which I promise. At coming away he expresses the wish to see me again before I leave town; also that Mr. Pitt wishes to see me. I will wait on them, etc.—and then recollect the being presented to His Majesty, which I will ask on the ground of respect, but would rather avoid, unless his lordship should think it would be taken ill. He says that, considering the place I have filled, he thinks it would be most proper; upon which I desire him to present me, and to let me know the time and place, etc. I call (at his request) on Mr. Windham. He is just going to Court, is under restraint, wishes to commence an interesting conversation which there is no time to pursue, so I avoid it and leave him. Dine at M. de Ciricello’s, the Neapolitan minister. The Duc d’Harcourt, who is here, Edition: current; Page: [98] speaks to me, first respecting the Duke of Orleans, and afterwards generally on French affairs. He has much the idea of re-establishing the parlements. I recommend on the part of the new King such general declarations as will bind him down to nothing except a general oblivion of the past, with very few exceptions. Try to convince him that re-establishing the parlements will be in the first instance attended with much difficulty on the part of the people, and in the second will occasion much opposition by them to his measures.”

“I visit Mr. Burgess [July 3d] at the Secretary’s office, and, speaking of what Lord Grenville had said yesterday respecting the spirit of our Government, from what Mr. Innis had said to the Governor of Kentucky, he tells me that he thinks much stronger ground is given by Mr. Randolph, the Secretary of State, in his intercourse with Mr. Hammond, to whom he had refused a sight of the treaty, and to whom he holds the same or even severer language than before. I tell him of Mr. Jay’s arrival, which he is much rejoiced at.”

On the 3d of July Morris wrote a private letter to Washington, and enclosing it to Lord Grenville requested “that he would be so kind as to note anything that might appear inaccurate in it.” In this letter to Washington he begged to suggest that it seemed “most consistent, not only with the prudence but the dignity of Government, to prevent as much as possible these hot speeches, lest we should fall into the state described by Butler:

  • When hard words, jealousies, and fears,
  • Set folks together by the ears.

“His lordship was particular in mentioning that these things do not excite irritation, but apprehension. This distinction consists with His Majesty’s dignity, but the Edition: current; Page: [99] ultimate object is the same, since either must lead to disagreeable consequences. Now there is every reason to believe that the governments mean well and fairly to each other; it would therefore be particularly unfortunate that misunderstandings should arise, especially at the present moment, and on ground the most foreign to your temper and disposition.”

“To-day [July 4th] I go to Madame de Tremouille’s, and make her, what she had asked for, a long visit. The Duke of Queensberry, who comes in while I am there, desires Mademoiselle Faniani to invite me to dine with the Duchess de la Tremouille at his house, which I cannot do. This Mademoiselle Faniani is an extraordinary person. She bears the name of the husband of her mother. George Selwyn, of famous memory, left her his fortune in the persuasion that she was his child, and the Duke of Queensberry looks upon her as the issue of his loins, treats her with the tenderness of a parent, and will, it is supposed, bequeath a great part of his fortune to her. Scandal, in the mean time, says that she is already a mother by unknown aid. She has fine eyes and an intelligent countenance. Dine at the Piazza coffee-house with a host of Americans to celebrate this day, but I leave them early, very early. Mr. Mitchell, of Philadelphia, who sat near me at dinner, tells me that the ministry here are very fair in their conduct respecting the vessels lately taken with provisions on board, and acknowledges that it will be much better for him that all others in which he is concerned should also be taken.”

“The weather is fine this morning [July 5th]. M. de Bonnet calls upon me, and sits a long time. He urges me to prepare a manifesto for the new King of France, which I decline, but he returns so often to the charge that I promise at last to write something, if my time will permit. Edition: current; Page: [100] Hence to dinner with M. de Spinola. The Baron de Breteuil is here, and takes possession of me in the afternoon. Spinola tells me that the British ministry will probably acknowledge the French King; also that a good proclamation will be made as soon as they get footing in La Vendée.”

“I sit down [July 7th] to write, but O’Connel comes in, and is desirous of information respecting France, and so solicitous to obtain my sentiments as to future conduct, and my opinions of the success, that I am obliged to give him some time, which I very much regret. He has just left me, when the Chevalier de Graave comes in, and quite wearies me and almost vexes me. Having been one of the ministres ephéméres of the unfortunate Louis Seize, he talks of having enjoyed His Majesty’s confidence, etc., as if he had really been an efficient Cabinet Minister. And then his wild ideas respecting the succession to the throne! He is truly a bore.”

“This morning [July 8th], dress and go to Lord Grenville’s. He is not disengaged till after two, when we go to Court, and the levee is over. He makes apologies, but I desire him to mention simply to the King my appointment, which answers all my views. I give him a sketch of what I had prepared for the French King. Go from St. James’s to Sir John Sinclair’s, and then to Count Woronzow’s. He tells me that Lord Macartney is to go to the new King as the confidential agent of this Court. I recommend strongly Kosciusko to the Russian Court if they would use Poland against Prussia, especially if they mean to give some executable form of government to that country. I tell him, from some expressions which dropped from Lord Grenville, I think they mean to acknowledge the King of France.”

“The Comte de Moustier calls on me. Says he was long Edition: current; Page: [101] in connection with Windham, the Minister at War, and had urged him lately to see and consult me. He says Mr. Pitt has consigned over the affairs of La Vendée to Mr. Windham. He (Moustier) has sundry plans respecting France, but French liberty does not enter into them. I go to the Secretary’s office, and am detained some time before I can see Mr. Burgess. He tells me that Bond will remain chargé d’affaires till a minister can be found: ‘A thing,’ says he, ‘very difficult; we have not the men in this country.’ I tell him they may perhaps find two men if not one, and recommend a man of social temper for the chief. This, however, is all, on my part, with the utmost deference, etc. We converse a little on their European politics, and especially the King of Prussia, to whom we are led by the mention of Lord Malmesbury. He says that, previous to the British subsidy, he knew the King of Prussia had received two millions sterling from France to betray the coalized powers previous to the subsidiary treaty made with this country. Not being able to prove the fact, nobody would believe him, and so Lord Malmesbury went forward and was the dupe. He says the Hanoverian Regency are not Jacobins, but worse—illuminés. I tell him they are Prussian, and if the Prussian Court be not otherwise employed they will soon steal Hanover. He is of the same opinion. I go to Putney, and dine with Mr. and Mrs. John B. Church. There is a party of English Jacobins, who are really insufferable. If their conduct may be estimated by their conversation, they will certainly be compromised to the extreme. I do not wonder that Mr. Pinckney should have given offence by keeping such company.”

“To-day [July 11th] I call on Count Woronzow, and show him a draft of a manifesto by the new King of France, which I gave to Lord Grenville last Wednesday, Edition: current; Page: [102] and which he has returned with his wish that it may arrive in season. Count Woronzow is well pleased with it, and thinks the Duc d’Harcourt should give money to the person who will carry it to the King. I tell him that is a matter to be settled among them. He gives me an account of the strange levity and wild negotiations of the Comte d’Artois; the pitiful folly of a M. Serenne to whom he gives his confidence. He fears that, when arrived in La Vendée, he will surround himself by such petits maîtres, and disgust the chiefs who have acquired the confidence of the people in that quarter; namely, Puisaye, Labourdonnaye, Charette, Stoflet, etc., and wishes me to caution some of his entours. I tell him that would have no other effect than to lead the persons to whom I may give such caution into a communication of it to all those who are about the Prince, and by that means more effectually produce the mischief we mean to avoid.”

“The people in this town seem [July 14th] very riotous, The scarcity and dearness of bread is a principal cause of this disposition, fomented doubtless by designing men. This necessary article has risen to double the former price, and wheat was this day, I understand, so high that fifty per cent. of that former price is to be added. It has sold as high as £5 per quarter, or 12s. 6d. per bushel. Go to dine at Mr. Pitt’s. We sit down six. Lord Grenville, Chatham, and another come later. The rule is established for six precisely, which is right, I think. The wines are good, and the conversation flippant. After dinner I have some further conversation with Lord Grenville, and mention par hasard M. de Boursac, my companion in a tour through Holstein—his poverty, among other things—and he says the means of joining the army shall be supplied. We agree that I shall give him (if still at Altona) a credit on my banker for £100. He says he has taken the liberty Edition: current; Page: [103] to give Lord Macartney a copy of the manifesto which I had showed him, which I do not, of course, disapprove of. Indeed, I knew it before. I am to see Mr. Pitt to-morrow. The mob broke his windows yesterday and are rioting in Moorfield this evening.”

Enclosing an order on Messrs. Parish & Co., Hamburg, for one hundred pounds sterling, Mr. Morris sent the following letter to the Vicomte de Boursac:

“Dans les circonstances actuelles, monsieur, vous désirez certainement vous rapprocher de votre chef. Il est possible que vous manquiez de moyens pecuniaires, et la lettre ci-jointe vous en fournira. Ne parlez pas d’obligations. Souvenez-vous toujours de nos conversations, et tâchez de faire comprendre à tout le monde combien il est essentiel de pardonner, d’oublier le passé, en ne pensant qu’à l’avenir. Les dispositions ici sont excellentes. Ils veulent franchement rétablir la France, mais ils ne veulent pas verser le sang et les trésors de l’Angleterre pour assouvir des vengeances particulières. Ils sont dans ce que j’appelle les bons principes, et je me trompe fort ou le nouveau roi se déclarera ouvertement pour la modération et pour la conciliation.”

“This morning [July 15th], at ten, I visit Mr. Pitt. I tell him that as I presume Lord Grenville has given him the purport of our conversation it will be best that he should ask me questions. He does so, and I reply to Edition: current; Page: [104] them. Our interview is long, and he is much satisfied with it. I recommend earnestly sending some man to the Comte d’Artois to keep him from doing foolish things. Ask the parole of Piquet’s sons, which he promises, and to pay them fifty pounds apiece. He asks me my ideas respecting a future constitution for France, which I avoid giving as much as possible. Some points, however, we examined.”

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Morris makes a journey through part of England. Portsmouth. Plymouth. Charmed with the beauties of England. Visit to Blenheim. Lady Sutherland. Back in London. Letter to Washington. Mr. Jay’s treaty. Journey through England and Scotland. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Pictures at Burleigh House. Edinburgh. Dines with friends. Pleasant reception by the Duke and Duchess of Athol. Taymouth—Lord Breadalbane’s place. Entertained by the Duke of Argyll. Loch Lomond. Conversation with the Duke of Montrose. Glasgow. The English lake region. The Bishop of Llandaff.

Although Morris had spent many months in England, his knowledge of the country districts was mostly confined to that portion through which he passed on the journey from the channel to London. In July, therefore, he determined to see the provinces, “so as to judge for myself of the condition of things,” he wrote to Washington. From his carriage as he drove along he carefully examined the soil, made conjectures as to what would be the best fertilizers to use, and what interest the land could be made to yield on the capital employed. Meanwhile a beautiful view never escaped his attention, and his diary contains the most minute descriptions of all he saw during his entire journey. He particularly expressed surprise at the meagre forests between London and Portsmouth. “That is,” he says, “if trees be considered as an essential ingredient to the making of a forest.” In England, as in travelling on the Continent, Morris found himself passed on from one friend to another, and a pleasant welcome always ready for him when time and inclination favored his partaking of it.

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Coming into Portsmouth he was immediately taken possession of by General Cuyler, who did the honors of the navy yard there stationed, and put Morris in the way to see the sights, including the French prizes just arrived at Spithead. “We go on board the Tigre, one of the late prizes, an eighty-gun ship, very fine, but dirty as yet, and much cut to pieces. A furnace is still standing on board to heat the shot; but this is a bad business at sea, as is proved by the event. She is much cut by the shot, and lost in the action one-half of her men, killed and wounded. From this ship we go to the Commerce de Marseilles, a ship taken at Toulon. She is twenty-five feet longer than the Queen Charlotte, one of the largest ships in the British Navy, and measures near five hundred tons more. On her gun deck she is two hundred and eight feet long. Her lower deck contains thirty-four thirty-two pounders, and her upper deck the same number of eighteens; the other twenty-six guns are twelve on the quarter-deck and forecastle. The officers say that this ship works as well as a frigate and sails very fast. She is hogged, but her proportions are perfect and she is one of the handsomest ships imaginable. There is a company of beautiful women on board, but I cannot stay with them. Dine with Sir William Pitt, the Governor of Portsmouth, where I meet Lord Buckingham, who is a sensible man. He had made up a party for me tomorrow to visit Sir Peter Parker, the Port Admiral, but I decline it as my time is short.” Leaving Portsmouth, July 21st, the traveller drove “over hilly down and heath, on roads that are as fine as it is possible to imagine them,” to the beautiful valley in which stands Salisbury. “As soon as we alight,” he says, “I go to see the cathedral, which is by far the lightest and handsomest Gothic building I ever saw.” The next morning, on Edition: current; Page: [107] again over the downs, “all along the tumuli (Anglicé, barrows) which show the conflicts of the olden times. The view from the downs is fine, and especially in the present moment, as there is a large fleet at anchor in the bay.” The next stopping-place to which he journeyed was Exeter, through a “country finely varied with hill and dale, the valleys very fertile, flocks of sheep scattered over the heath, the hills cultivated almost to the top; the whole scene so completely green that, indeed, there are hardly fallows enough to create the needful variety.” He arrived, July 25th, at Plymouth: “A town of miserably narrow streets; there is not room in many of them for two carriages abreast. I go on to my brother’s quarters at Roxborough Camp. Walk with Mrs. Morris, and then return to dinner. After dinner I go with Mrs. Morris to a tea-party at Colonel Bastard’s tent, where there is good company and sociability. The place leads to throw off that English coldness which checks conviviality.”

“Mrs. Morris takes me [July 27th] to the Government House to be presented to General and Lady Lenox, and I go with General Morris to dine with the Duke of Beaufort. We go this evening to a ball at Camp, where there are some handsome girls, but all dressed in a very indecent dress which they call the Grecian, and which is imitated from very loose Parisian models. We hear of the total defeat of the emigrants landed at Quiberon.”

“We dine to-day [July 29th] with General Granville, who accompanied the Duke of York on his travels as a kind of Mentor. There is a paragraph in an Opposition paper, the Star, which mentions war by Russia against Prussia.”

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“Lord George Lenox and his family dine with us [July 31st], and we hear that the sailing of the fleet destined for the French coast is countermanded.”

“We were to have had to-day [August 1st] a grand field-day, with a mock battle, had the weather been good, but it is very bad, high wind and much rain, which renders that plan abortive; but still we pursue another, which is to assist at a ball and supper given by Mrs. Bastard. In the morning Mrs. Morris urged me to give her a copy of some verses I had written many years ago, but instead of them I wrote some on the present occasion, which are very indifferent.

  • ’Twas fix’d this day, had it been fair,
  • To imitate the pomp of war.
  • When first stretched out in order due,
  • Opposèd corps should meet the view,
  • Till this advancing, that should yield,
  • Reluctant, the contested field.
  • But nature, wearied with the jar
  • And ravages of real war,
  • Frowns and denies a solar ray
  • To decorate this dreary day.
  • She bids the growling tempest roar
  • And drenching rains incessant pour,
  • As if with elemental strife
  • She wept the woes of human life.
  • Again ’twas fix’d, the battle o’er,
  • To bend before another power;
  • Returning from a mimic fight
  • To pass in real joy the night:
  • To see, but not in hostile line,
  • The British fair resplendent shine
  • And, winding thro’ the dance’s maze,
  • Shed all around love’s genial rays.
  • I hop’d the general bliss to share,
  • And, while I watch’d the tender care
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  • Which beauty, mirth, and love impart
  • To each ingenuous, youthful heart,
  • My own might feel its former heat;
  • Again with rising rapture beat,
  • Again dissolve in tender woe,
  • With pure delights again o’erflow;
  • Again—but why those times recall
  • When every thought was love? when all
  • My ardent wish, my serious care,
  • Was but to please some blooming fair
  • And see, when none but Love was by,
  • His lustres dancing in her eye.
  • Ah, no! behold, in nature’s gloom,
  • Damp fogs, and chilling winds, my doom.
  • She bids me quit the am’rous chase,
  • And yield to happier youth my place.
  • I see and hear her harsh decree,
  • But still my soul, high-born and free,
  • Disdains to bend. In nature’s spite,
  • To Cupid I devote the night.”

“This morning [August 2d], the weather being unfit for exercise, I sit down, with a view to amuse Mrs. Morris, and translate or, rather, imitate the lines I wrought yesterday.

  • Si le soleil ce jour embellissait la terre,
  • Ce jour nous offrirait l’image de la guerre.
  • Mais la nature en deuil, dont des combats affreux
  • Égorgent par milliers les enfants malheureux,
  • Se refuse à nos vœux, se voile de nuages,
  • Fait tomber en trombes ses orages,
  • Et semble, gémissant, se désoler des maux
  • Qui de cet univers font de vastes tombeaux,
  • Nous avions aussi, la bataille finie,
  • Le projet d’embellir le chemin de la vie;
  • De quitter le dieu Mars, et ses sombres atours,
  • Et d’orner de nos fleurs le temple des amours:
  • D’admirer, dans ce lieu, de la beauté les charmes,
  • Et les soins quelle inspire et les douces alarmes;
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  • Et les brillants tableaux du plus grand des bonheurs,
  • Qui transporte les sens et pénêtre les cœurs.
  • Je me flattais aussi de retrouver encore
  • Le beau jour qui luisait sur ma première aurore:
  • Ce ravissant printemps où mon âme, encor’ neuve,
  • Subissait des passions la première épreuve.
  • Mais, hélas! vous voyez, dans ce temps si affreux,
  • Ces brouillards, ces nuages, mon sort si malheureux.
  • Le temps, en plus d’un sens, à mes vœux est contraire:
  • Je puis aimer toujours, mais comment puis-je plaire?

These verses are full of faults, and must be corrected. We dine with Lord George Lenox, where I meet the Prince de Leon and some other French officers. He tells me that the late misfortune at Quiberon must be attributed to the ignorance of Puisaye, and the overweening ambition of Messieurs d’Hervilly and de Sombreuil, who, to avoid the danger of being superseded in command by those who have higher rank, made their attempt with a force infinitely too weak, etc.”

The journey began again on August 3d, and through a beautiful country, finely cultivated, with charming views of the sea and the mouth of the Severn, Morris drove to Bristol, and from here he visited Chepstow and Tintern Abbey. “I think,” he says of the latter place, “that it is much indebted to the pens of those who have written about it; but the ivy on the walls is luxuriant.”

“Walking about Bath to-day [August 12th] I am over-taken by the ci-devant Grand Vicaire of Bordeaux, who recalls himself to my recollection; he dines with me on a cold fowl, lobster, and salad.”

“This morning [August 13th] I go to the Duke of Beaufort’s (Radminster). His grace shows me his house, in which there are some very good paintings of Salvator Rosa, Guido, etc., and his gardens, which are no way extraordinary. The road to Cirencester lay through the Edition: current; Page: [111] Duke’s park and plantations, where large herds of red and fallow deer disported themselves; and so across the Thames near its source to the inn at Barford, “which is now,” Morris says, “kept by two maiden sisters, both past sixty; and their lineal ancestors (from the information of the waiter, who has been here, he says, four and twenty years) have been innkeepers in the same house for a century back, their relations for two centuries, and the house itself has been an inn for more than three hundred years. The room in which I am now sitting was the dining room of the Pilgrims, but has lately been pulled down and modernized. There are many now noble families who cannot trace back their families in so exact a manner as these sisters. Their house is scrupulously clean, and the waiter is one of the very few men who seem to be contented in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call them. He says very gayly that he is as happy (he believes) as if he were rich, and perhaps more so. ‘I enjoy health,’ says he, ‘and what is riches without health?’”

“This morning [August 14th] I leave the inn and go on through Witney to Blenheim; ride round the park, walk afterwards over the garden, and finally view the house. The grounds, though little varied in their surface, have, nevertheless, been highly ornamented. The river is a fine piece of water now, though anciently it was, I understand, only a small brook; but the famous Brown has since rendered it worthy of the bridge thrown over it, to the regret, however, of the famous Dr. Johnson, who complained on seeing it that he had spoiled the epigram:

  • The lofty arch his high ambition shows,
  • The stream an emblem of his bounty flows.

This park contains an area of 2,700 acres. Of this, above 200 are contained in the garden, and 260 appropriated to Edition: current; Page: [112] the river, so that there remains not more than 2,200 in wood and grass, on which are fed 2,000 deer and as many sheep, besides cattle occasionally. In the garden and park are a number of oaks of great size, though not high. The largest is said to be thirty feet in circumference. It is a large tree, but I did not measure it. The house, built by Sir John Vanbrugh, is one of many which partly drew down on him the satirical epitaph, ‘Lie heavy on him, earth, for he laid many a heavy load on thee.’ I believe it would be difficult to cover more space and have less room. It is a thing to look at, not to live in, and if ever it should fall to a munificent and hospitable owner I do not see where he would put his guests. There are many very valuable paintings in Blenheim House, especially by Rubens, some of them given by the Emperor and one by the city of Antwerp. There are some attributed to him, but I think falsely, as the coloring is neither so fine nor so fresh and glowing as in his works.”

Arrived at Oxford, Morris confided to his diary minute and enthusiastic descriptions of the beauties of that quaint old town, and “as the weather,” he says, “is as fine as the heart of man could wish, I have, in the New England phrase, improved it until I am completely tired. Should it be my. lot to spend any considerable time in England I think I will come down thither with a party and stay some days, so as to see more at leisure what is here to be seen. One thing I see with concern, that the stone is corroded by the air, so that without constant repairs the buildings made of them must crumble to dust.”

“Leave Maidenhead [August 17th], and call on Lord Grenville at Dropmore Hill, but he is abroad. At ten minutes after four reach Wimbledon, where I dine and pass the evening with Lord Gower and Lady Sutherland—a pleasant afternoon in every sense of the word.”

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“I lodged at Lord Gower’s, and this morning [August 18th] Lady Sutherland brings me to town. I must endeavor to spend a day or two with them. Mr. Trumbull calls on me. He came lately through France, but saw nobody of consequence; as he had been Mr. Jay’s secretary they did not like him, being very jealous about the treaty. He says Mr. Monroe found it difficult to change principles fast enough so as to keep pace with the changes in the French Government.”

“Call on Count Woronzow [August 22d]; he tells me what has been done, what is doing, and what is like to be done. Go to see Lord Grenville at his house. He is out. Go to his office, and sit awhile with Mr. Burgess till I have an opportunity of seeing his lordship. Mr. Burgess tells me that Mr. Deas continues writing very improper letters. I am sorry for it. I find the treaty Mr. Jay has made occasions much complaint and dissatisfaction in America. He has been burned in effigy, etc. One clause in the treaty is clearly ill-judged, and has been objected to by the Senate. The other clauses are, it seems to me, proper enough. Mr. Burgess tells me that I am liked by the ministers, but that is of little consequence, since a change of moon or other circumstance would produce a change of their bienveillance. Mr. Jay’s treaty has considerable blemishes, but more noise was made about it than was proper, owing to personal causes. An idea had been started that he was the proper person to succeed the President of the United States. Dine with M. and Madame Ciricello, where dine also the Duke d’Harcourt and M. de Spinola. After dinner I talk with them, and find that we are all of one mind as to the things now proper to be Edition: current; Page: [114] done. I suggest to them, as I did this morning to Mr. Burgess, the advantages to be derived from purchasing the flour and salted meats of the United States.”

“This morning [August 23d] I leave London and go to Lord Gower’s at Wimbledon. We dine en famille. I go to Count Woronzow’s at Richmond where I meet an aide-de-camp of Charette. There is somewhat of curious and hardy in his journey through Paris to La Vendée three months ago. He was present at and privy to the treaty between Charette and the agents of the Convention by which they agreed to destroy the monarchy. He was also present at a retaliation by Charette upon three hundred republicans for so many of the émigrés lately guillotined. He comes to ask troops, arms, money, etc. Lord Grenville writes to Charette that he shall be supplied to his wish, excepting only as to troops, of which he can send only four thousand, and that if his plans go on a large scale he must reduce them, etc. This is candid and proper.”

The treaty of amity and commerce which John Jay had made with Great Britain, and which had been signed at London on the 19th of November, 1794, created the greatest excitement in America. Mr. Jay, it was asserted, had been sent to adjust their claims, and he had, instead, formed a treaty with England. There was, therefore, no punishment too bad for him—the man who had sold his country. This treaty formed the subject of the following letter to Washington, written during Morris’s visit to Lady Sutherland and dated at Wimbledon, August 23d:

“I am sorry,” he wrote, “that Mr. Jay’s treaty has occasioned so much clamor in America. I believe the defects might easily be corrected, and seem to me to have arisen as much from oversight as anything else. I have not, however, conversed on the subject with any of the Edition: current; Page: [115] King’s ministers; indeed, I was but two or three days in London, returning from my tour through the South of England, and shall now set off again for my Northern tour, which will take six weeks or two months, so that I do not expect to see any of them for some time to come. You will have seen that Spain has made peace with France. I presume that Sardinia and the Italian States will follow this example, and Portugal, whether at peace or war, is not to be considered as a belligerent power. Austria, therefore, and England, are the only parties with which France has now to contend, and it seems not improbable that this will be the last campaign. It does not follow that peace will be fully restored, for I do not quite see on what terms it is to be made. Germany asks, and certainly wishes, that France should cede the countries it has conquered from the Empire, but, having no equivalent to give in exchange, nor any force to compel the cession, it seems not quite likely that the conqueror will be persuaded to make the desired surrender. Flanders will, I think, be another object of difficult disposition. If retained by France, the situation of this country will be very insecure, and I have reason to believe that Mr. Pitt would not, except in the last necessity, make peace on such terms. Of the West India Islands I shall say nothing, because you will always know more of what is doing there than we can. The British fleet will probably maintain a decided superiority there, as in Europe. Consequently a chief of real talents, to whom a broad discretion shall have been given, might do much—very much. Has Britain such a chief to send thither? Will the government leave him a sufficient liberty to act? These are questions which I cannot answer. The failure of the Quiberon affair seems to have arisen entirely from the misconduct of those French officers who commanded. Edition: current; Page: [116] The party of the royalists is in great force, and if they knew their strength throughout France (which, from the measures taken to prevent a communication of sentiments, it is very difficult and almost impossible for them to do) they would soon overturn the present powers. A second expedition is now going on from hence and will be directed to a point more proper than that where the last attempt was made. Admitting that peace were made, it is highly probable that France might become the theatre of a long and furious civil war. You will observe that they are endeavoring at a less absurd constitution than those by which they have been hitherto pestered and tormented. But supposing that they should even adopt a good one, which seems unlikely to happen, still, in my opinion, they will not be easy under it, for they never appeared to me to have the needful education nor the proper temper for free government. I continue to be persuaded that they will fall under the domination of some single despot, but I am by no means clear as to the person nor the mode by which he is to get into authority. Should the party of the royalists succeed, the business is then settled for a time very simply; otherwise, it may be the result of civil commotion, and in all cases the fatigue of such violent convulsions will induce that turbulent people to submit to the yoke with great tameness.

“This hemisphere seems in general to be oddly situated. Few of the existing governments possess vigor equal to the trying circumstances which surround them, and in many corruption is superadded to weakness. The French and Prussian Cabinets are endeavoring to stir the Turk, and if they bring him into action it will probably terminate to his great disadvantage; but about this they are indifferent, provided he would make a powerful diversion to forces which are now employed against France, and others Edition: current; Page: [117] which menace Prussia. I believe this last will be reduced to insignificance before the close of the present century, and in the meantime I should not be surprised at his invasion of Hanover. France is so much exhausted that she can do little, very little, if anything, at a distance from her own frontier. Sweden, who is begging for cash, without which her efforts will be futile, cannot, I think, obtain an adequate assistance, and in the meantime Russia will probably bring about another revolution in that country, and re-establish the Senate. Denmark will fall into the scale of Russia, Austria, and England, rather than of their enemies. The season is so far advanced that no stroke will probably be struck in the North this year, owing principally to the feebleness of the Cabinet of Vienna.

“In all cases, Holland appears to me to be completely undone. The bankruptcy of their India Company, long palliated, now stands confessed, and that of the nation exists, though not avowed. Her commerce is totally suspended, and, as the great mass of the people derived thence their means of subsistence, the distress will be great and general. Discontent as general must thence arise, and if the French protection be withdrawn the patriots (so called) will probably be sacrificed. In the case of a general pacification I do not see how, or on what principle, the ruling powers can keep up a large French army in the heart of their country. But in whatever manner it may be done they can, from the nature of things, be no more than the upper servants of such an army. Placing the matter in the fairest point of view, and supposing the present party to be the strongest, still they will not, I think, be able to establish that order and security without which commerce will fly far from their shores. Hence I conclude that London will become the great emporium of trade in Europe, unless the devil should Edition: current; Page: [118] put it into their heads to make revolutions here also, which will not, I believe, be the case during the life of the present monarch.”

The projected journey of which Morris wrote to Washington was begun on Friday, August 28th. “I go,” he notes in his diary, “(at great expense of turnpikes) round the north side of London, instead of passing through that city, and enter the Cambridge road near the two-mile stone. Then on through Edmonton to Cambridge.” From here he gave Lady Sutherland the benefit of his experiences in a characteristic letter.


Dear Lady Sutherland: I will perform what I did not promise, and give you an account of what I saw and also of what I felt. First, then, I felt on leaving Wimbledon like a boy at the end of vacation, and I fear I shall find nothing I like so well in my whole route. Next I visited the bed of Ware, and I am able to assure you that it still exists and is (as the chamber-maid told me) ‘eleven feet and a half square, built by Edward the Fourth in the year 1463 for his servants.’ I believe that she is not much of an antiquarian, but it seems that the date is on it. Moreover, I am just returned from having divine service (so called) at King’s Chapel, a sort of chanting in which it was difficult to distinguish what was said. The Almighty, from his quality of omniscience, is of course apprised of it, and also of what was thought on the occasion; but, methinks, if ever I should be a god or a fine lady, I would never grant but to natural sentiments expressed in a natural manner. Tell my Lord Gower that the word I have just underscored seems to me to convey a different idea from I think. This last is a plain declaration of what passes in the mind, as it is affected either by exterior objects or by Edition: current; Page: [119] its own reasoning faculties. Thus, I think you are a charming woman, I think his lordship is a sensible, well-informed man, and I think a late manifesto will be attended with bad consequences. Methinks, on the other hand, seems to express rather an effect of the mind on itself by means of the imagination, and precedes a communication of those fanciful creations which accompany strong emotion. Thus, methinks the world without you were a desert—I certainly do not mean to say that the present harvest would have been destroyed had you never existed. So much for synonymes. I must add, however, that, being consecrated to the sublime, that term, in common with others of the sort, when used on common occasions is expressive of the ironical or ridiculous—another proof that it is not quite synonymous with I think. I must not forget to tell you that King’s Chapel reconciles me in some measure to Gothic architecture. I will tell you nothing more just now, but bid you adieu.”

The history of this journey, with the minutest account of daily events—of the weather, the crops, and the people—which would be unnecessary to detail here, is given in the diary. It will be possible to give only a sketch of Morris’s trip through the pleasant land of England, and to note only the places which most attracted his attention. First among these was Burleigh House, “where,” he says, “I spend a considerable time viewing this vast château, and the very great collection of paintings. A fortnight would not suffice to examine them. I was obliged to tear myself away from one, ‘Our Saviour Blessing the Bread and Wine. I never saw such a countenance. I believe nothing human was ever so beautiful, so heavenly. The smallest details are perfect—the very napkin is from the hand of a master; but such expression in the countenance, Edition: current; Page: [120] so manly, so soft, so like what one would wish to imagine of the God of mercy, without being ever able to accomplish that wish. Wonderful art! Sublime artist! This great collection contains many pieces of the highest merit, but this one is, in my opinion, so far beyond all the rest that, having seen it, I could hardly look at what followed. The house was built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and is, though ancient, not in a bad style. I could not conveniently view the park, in which there was one striking defect—a pond instead of a river. By concealing the two ends, for it is a winding pond, it would seem a river. There are a great many very rare and valuable objects to be seen at this house, but Carlo Dolci occupies all my sense of recollection in that wonderful combination of majesty, sweetness, pity, and resignation, which I believe I shall never forget.” A few days later, in the entry of September 10th, he says: “Writing a letter this evening to Lady Sutherland, I mentioned to her the painting which pleased me so much at Burleigh House, and in viewing it again with the mind’s eye I tell her:

  • The thought is love in all its kindest care;
  • ’Tis something more than hope, and yet ’tis prayer;
  • ’Tis confidence and resignation too.
  • The eye appears, with chastened glance, to view
  • On high the throne of everlasting day.
  • The silent semblance speaks. It seems to say:
  • ‘Vouchsafe, O Father, to accept in me
  • The willing victim of thy firm decree;
  • Be in my death fulfilled redemption’s plan,
  • And these the pledges between God and man.’”

At Sheffield, Birmingham, and Leeds, by reason of letters to manufacturers, Morris was well received and every facility given him to inspect all the interesting operations of those active towns. The moral and physical condition Edition: current; Page: [121] of the operatives, their wages, and the number of hours of work required of them, were subjects which always commanded his attention and excited his interest. The beauty of the cultivated fields, the picturesqueness of the scenery through which he passed, never failed to call forth some expression of pleasure; and the more or less significant incidents of the day amused rather than discomposed him. “To-day,” he says, September 5th, “the weather is showery, and I observed a young woman preparing against the rain under a little tree. She had on her new gown and bonnet; to save them from the weather, I offered her a seat in my chaise. She at first made no answer, but after some time spent, as I supposed, in reflection, she agreed suddenly, as if her determination was completely and decidedly made up. The door is opened, and she is seated next me and we jog on. It becomes me to do the honors, and so I began conversation by asking whither she was going. She looked very steadily forward, held up an oil-skin bonnet, which she had in her hand, and fixed her eyes on it with a kind of eager anxiety. I thought that my question was imprudent, and had perhaps awakened some ideas of an uncomfortable kind. Before I could arrange any conjecture on the subject, she began to jump from her seat with a kind of convulsive motion, then wriggled a little, and with a clear voice told me she was going to Hunslet. This is a little village a mile short of Leeds. All these strange phenomena resulted from a most extraordinary impediment in her speech.”

Morris was much impressed at Edinburgh, where he arrived on the 15th of September, by the extreme height of the houses, which appeared to him, as he says, “to be one of the most curious things which I have seen anywhere. Directly opposite the window of my bedroom is a house ten stories high; at least upon this, the north front of it. On the other Edition: current; Page: [122] side it has, I suppose, five, six, or seven, being built on a side-hill, and in the street on the top of the hill there are sundry houses of the latter height. In the old part of the town, if it were not for the signs, etc., in English, one might take it for a French town. In Holyrood House is the most curious gallery of paintings in Europe. Buchanan wrote a Scottish novel which he called the history of his country, and gives therein an account of kings that never existed. The Duke of York, afterwards King of Great Britain, and afterwards an unfortunate wanderer, brought over a Flemish painter (Dewitt) who copied some of the originals of the later Scottish princes; and then, to fill up the list, either from his own fancy or the phizzes which he could meet with, made up a long line, giving thus to Buchanan’s ideal forms—aerial nothings—a local habitation and a name. We are shown here the apartments of the imprudent, unfortunate Mary, and the closet where she was sitting with a lady and David Rizzio, when this poor fellow was dragged out by the haughty, barbarous lord of her court into an adjoining chamber and stabbed. There are on the floor some stains, said to have been made by his blood. In Mary’s chamber are preserved some articles of needle-work which she had wrought. All this brings strongly to my mind the needle-work which I have seen of the late unhappy Marie Antoinette, and still more strongly her miserable fate. In my walk this evening I meet women coming up from Leith with baskets of oysters on their backs fastened by a strap which comes round their foreheads. They remind me of the mode of working oxen in France, where the peasants contend that the animals have more strength that way than any other.”

“Lord Somerville calls [September 20th], and tells me that Lord Adam Gordon expresses a wish to see me, on which we go together to wait on his lordship. Dine with Edition: current; Page: [123] Lord Somerville, who gives me a good dinner with excellent wines. We are three. Sir Richard Ainslie is the third. His younger brother, Robert, was long ambassador from this country to the Porte. This Sir Richard seems to be an oppositionist, and expresses an ardent affection for America, so much that I doubt a little of the reality and altogether of the extent.”

“Returning from visiting Mrs. Arbuthnot I meet [September 23d] Sir John McPherson, who has just come from my lodgings; so I return and go to take tea with him. In the course of conversation I learn from him what I had got before but slightly from Mr. Cochrane; viz., that the British policy in India is to encourage a free commerce with all the world, which, by pouring wealth into that country, adds greatly to the revenue, etc. He tells me that when, by the return of Mr. Hastings, he was left at the head of affairs in India, he found the revenue one twelvemonth in arrear, two hundred thousand men to provide for, not a shilling in the treasury, and bills on Europe quite unsalable. In this situation he issued a paper money bearing interest, which was redeemed in numerical order. All payments were made in that paper, and the accounts of its redemption regularly published. This, says he, gave it such credit that a black merchant had at one time half a million of it in his possession; and this gain, he says, was the origin of the French assignats, and thereupon he gives me the filiation, which history I do not contradict; but I know more of the origin of assignats than he does.”

“At the register’s office is placed Mrs. Damer’s statue of the reigning king. It is colossal, and placed on a very low pedestal, which has a bad effect; besides, the performance itself is very tame. Sir William Forbes calls on me this morning, and Mr. Cochrane. Dine with Lord Adam Gordon [September 24th], who is very polite and extremely Edition: current; Page: [124] attentive to me. Lords Somerville and Napier, with General Campbell and others, are of our party. A very good dinner and a pleasant evening.”

From Edinburgh Morris continued his wanderings to Stirling and Perth, and so on to Dunkeld, “the approach to which,” he says, “is singularly fine. At some miles distant we drive directly towards the mountain which is on the right bank of the Tay, and then turn off to our right towards the river, which we break upon lying under us. Before we get to the end of our stage it begins to rain, so that a part of the view is hidden, but the gloominess of a storm is more suitable to the surly grandeur of a mountain-scene than garish day. I had heard much of the bare Scottish hills before I came hither, and some of them are bare enough, in all conscience; but I see numerous plantations rising in different places to clothe them, and in another century the great bareness will be found only in the conversation of the English, like the present penury and scarcity and famine of Caledonia. John Bull seriously believes, and as seriously relates, the wretchedness of his Northern brethren, which I dare say existed at the Union; but the culture of a part of Scotland is equal, if not superior, to any in the island. Improvement daily makes great progress, and diffuses wealth and plenty. Good stone houses take place of the former mud hovels; planting, manuring, and enclosing hourly change the face of the country; climate, indeed, is wanting, but fruit is said to be plentiful and cheap at Perth. Dunkeld, seen from the opposite shore, has the air of a fortification. This is owing to the walls on the river’s bank, to secure little patches of earth which serve as gardens or grass-plats to the houses, and, being no wider than they are, seem like a parapet with embrasures.”

“Arrived [September 30th] at Blair in Athol, the residence Edition: current; Page: [125] of the Duke of Athol; a letter of introduction and a card of “compliment was responded to at once by the Duchess, who desires that I would come over, which I do as soon as I have dined. We are in the midst of the Grampians, naturally very high, rugged, and bare; but the possessors are busily engaged in clothing them. There are many fine views of little cultivated plains, with the river meandering through them, and overhung with rocky crags. The huts of the Highland peasants are as miserable and as filthy as the worst description of them which I have ever seen. My valet-de-chambre tells me they are just pictures of those inhabited by the Russian and Livonian slaves.” A day or two passed pleasantly in the society of the Duke and Duchess, inspecting the deer shot by his grace, and scribbling verses apropos of the “Duchesse’s discontent at the strong hunting temper of M. le Duc.” In the Duke’s carriage Morris left Blair in Athol the 3d of October, and, passing through the gorge of Killiecrankie, where King William’s troops were defeated by the Highlanders and Lord Dundee was killed, soon reached the country-seat of Lord Breadalbane, at the mouth of Loch Tay, where he was hospitably received. Prepared to resume his journey by the 5th of October, the weather, being very rainy, induced him to “yield to the hospitalities of Lord Breadalbane. Pour comble de bonheur, my coachman tells me that one of my horses was lamed last night, but this information was given after I had agreed to stay, otherwise I should have been in sad plight. Speaking after dinner on the extent of the Duke of Athol’s possessions, Lord Breadalbane tells me that he can ride one hundred and ten miles without going off his estates, and this in a straight line.”

“This morning [October 6th] is very fine, but I am obliged to stay for my horse, who can hardly walk and Edition: current; Page: [126] who is lying down in the stable. Go fishing on the lake, but the fish will neither rise at the fly nor take the worm bait, and I have no other; so we return, and cast the net, with which we take a perch and some trout. On returning to the house I find a pair of parsons, and our conversation turns on the improvement of the country. They go away early, but, as my servant afterwards tells me, it is to take a dish of tea with the upper servants.”

Leaving Taymouth and his hospitable entertainers, “with promises to see them in London next winter,” Morris pushed on to Inverary, where he arrived on the 9th of October. “The misfortune of this country through which I pass,” he comments, “is that there are too many people—a great number of cottagers, who can pay no rent, and make no improvements, being wholly occupied in obtaining a subsistence. Fuel is scarce and difficult to be got; add to this they are all tenants at will, and of course have no disposition to improve either house or land. The Duke of Argyll is out riding when I arrive, and I have dined at his return, when he sends for me to dinner. I therefore assist at his repast without partaking of it. His daughter, Lady Charlotte, has the mania of being admired, which will, I think, lead her far. After dinner, before they quit the table, she and her elder married sister sing a duetto for the old gentleman, who tells me that music is his principal enjoyment. The weather is better to-day, but seems yet to be wild.”

“This morning [October 10th] or, rather, this noon, His Grace takes me in his chaise round his grounds. There are some fine views and a good deal of wood. He has had a rage for husbandry, and, as the climate is intolerably wet, has built immense barns in which to dry the grain as it is brought in. It serves for the hay also, and is above all, or, rather, they are—for he has two—very ornamental. Edition: current; Page: [127] He has several people now at work repairing and building bridges, for some time ago they had a water-spout which broke over the mountains for a few miles in this neighborhood, and poured down such torrents of water as to sweep along with them vast rocks and, of course, everything else. We have for dinner, among other things, chevreuil (roebuck), a very common game here, and but little esteemed. This evening I am très aimable, and in consequence the ladies press me much to stay a day longer. What amuses me most in this request is that a Miss Campbell joins in it. She took me last evening in much dislike, and showed it so clearly that this morning Lady Augusta, without going directly at the point, made an apology by letting me into her history, which is contained in three words—a disappointed old maid. I had well perceived it, and, as occasion offered, had already by little attentions put myself much better with her.”

“Go on to Loch Lomond [October 12th], and reach Buchanan, the seat of His Grace of Montrose, in the afternoon. He is on his grounds. En attendant his arrival I read, for madame is par trop anglaise pour recevoir le monde de monsieur. When she appears, however, she becomes very well. The Duke is a sensible, well-informed man. We have some political conversation, and he appears to me, like most of the well-informed men I have met in this country, much better acquainted with their domestic concerns than with foreign affairs. He is indisposed to that great extension of manufactures and commerce which has introduced a great deal of money into the country, but which has greatly relaxed the military spirit. I have met lately with several people of this opinion, which certainly has weight. It will be proper, perhaps, to give some new spring to the militia service and infuse a little more of the aristocratic temper; but this last is, I believe, a difficult Edition: current; Page: [128] thing. There seems to be in all human societies at a certain period of their progress a natural tendency towards the pecuniary system, and as it prevails it ruins and destroys the aristocracy. Now this is done by lessening the respect for virtue, because, in effect, whatever may have been the origin of great families, in a course of ages some of their members have shed on each a splendor which awes the vulgar. Moreover, I believe experience will justify the assertion that such families are generally more fair and upright in their conduct than others. Be it the effect of education, of example, or of respect for a deceased ancestry, or let it result from that affluence which places them above temptation—no matter for what cause—such conduct must impress on others deep sentiments of respect. But when the money influence grows great the general maxim is be rich; if you can, honestly, but be rich. From that moment may, I believe, be dated the decline of an empire; and although circumstances may check the progress of destruction, though the weakness of surrounding States may lengthen out a feeble existence, yet, the infection taken, it extends a silent but deadly corruption which few, if any, political constitutions are strong enough to throw off. These ideas lead far on in questions of finance, commerce, public funds, etc. It is not either an answer or an objection that great public calamities may correct or revolutions remove evils. The one is a remedy prescribed by circumstances, the other is a political death, and the succeeding men live under a new government and in a new state of society.”

“This morning [October 14th] I leave the Duke’s and go on to Glasgow. In my route I stop twice to look at the canal which crosses the island here, and which this day, for the second time, I rode under. First I went to look at a succession of locks which rise immediately after Edition: current; Page: [129] the canal has been carried over a river, and saw sufficiently, I think, their principle and constitution. I admire much the execution—in hewn stone, etc., all in the best style. My second object was to see a number of vessels collected and lading in the highest part of the canal; some brigs, sloops, etc. On inquiry I find that those which draw only seven feet and a half of water can go through; also that there are twenty locks each of eight feet, so that the whole rise is one hundred and sixty feet. When I see this, my mind opens to a view of wealth for the interior of America which hitherto I had rather conjectured than seen.”

By October 21st Morris was back again in England. From Carlisle he went to Keswick. “On the way,” he says, “we passed at the foot of Skiddaw, which is a good height; the vale, as far as mist, rain, and twilight will permit me to judge of it, is very beautiful. I ride almost round the famous Derwentwater Lake, which is nothing compared with those in Scotland, either for size or depth. At the head of it lies Borrowdale, which we ascend for two miles. The road is just wide enough for the carriage, and we hang over the precipice in some places curiously enough, but such is the force of habit that this excites in my bosom no kind of emotion. The driver and horses seem to be well acquainted with what they are about, and that is sufficient. In the deep bosom of this dale a man might have lived fifty years ago and no one have heard of him, but now the wealth and idleness of Britain have made it a place of great resort. Lord William Gordon has built a small house at the lower end of the lake, the north end, which contrasts well with the wild and shaggy appearance of the other.”

Pushing on through the beautiful lake country of England to Windermere, Morris finally arrived at Colgarth Park, “where, having announced myself to the Bishop Edition: current; Page: [130] of Llandaff and Mrs. Watson, I agree to stay. The reception of the Bishop is very good; he is a sensible man of considerable genius and very pleasant conversation. He tells me that on March 25th, the day the Marquis of Rockingham kissed hands on being appointed minister, he showed him on the back of a letter certain conditions which he had made with the King and took down with a pencil. The first of these was that the independence of America should be acknowledged. The marquis took that precaution because on a former occasion the King had deceived him, and His Majesty was so hurt by that precaution that he never forgave the marquis, and expressed indecently his satisfaction when he heard of the other’s death. The Bishop mentions to me some traits of the Prince of Wales to show that he is a better man than is generally supposed, but these apply more to the self-love of my informant than they do to the subject. The Bishop is a stanch Opposition man, and, as he says, a firm, decided Whig. He is certainly a good landlord, and a man of genius. I taste at dinner of the famous char, taken in the Windermere, which is, I think, neither more nor less than a very good trout. There are some differences, such as a more forked tail, and whitish instead of brown spots. There is also a considerable redness on the belly, but I have seen greater differences between the trout of different waters, excepting always that of the tail. I had read that these fish had gizzards, and had them opened so as to compare their entrails with those of a trout lying together on the same plate, and cannot perceive the slightest difference.”

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Examines the Liverpool docks. The king attacked on his way to Parliament. Stratford-upon-Avon. Letter to Lady Sutherland from Warwick. London. Presented to George III. Conversation with His Majesty. The House of Commons. Fox speaks. French affairs. Conversation with Lord Chatham. Count Woronzow. A great City dinner. Congratulates the Imperial envoy on the Austrian victories. Dines with Lord Grenville. Long conversation with him. Letter to Washington about Adams. Meets Canning dining at Lady Sutherland’s.

From the charming lake country Morris went to Liverpool, where he thoroughly examined the docks, “the finest in Britain,” and all the trade advantages possessed by that town. Then on through Manchester, where he inspected every machine, and the different processes by which the many materials were made, “which my guide,” he says, in the diary for November 2d, “tells me are vended all over the world, even in Turkey and on the coast of Barbary; but of the whole quantity exported, Mr. Taylor tells me, America does not consume one-fourth. The newspapers have announced to us yesterday a serious attack on the King in his way to the Parliament House at opening the sessions. This will, I think, operate unfavorably to the views of the Opposition. Their leader, Mr. Fox, is driven to an eulogy on existing systems which bestow practical liberty in contradistinction to those which, in pursuit of an ideal perfection, have produced anarchy, misery, and despotism. France begins at last to furnish useful lessons to mankind, and will give, I think, Edition: current; Page: [132] an example still more awful of the folly, the impious folly, of those idle, half-way reasoners who, with the supposed rights of man in a supposed state of nature—rights which cannot consist with society, the natural state of man—have bewildered the lower order of citizens and nearly destroyed all the relations of social life.”

From Warwick, where Morris arrived on November 18th, after spending a day at Stratford-upon-Avon, the following letter was written to Lady Sutherland, in which he gave her the benefit of his thoughts on that classic spot:

My Dear Lady Sutherland: I received at Liverpool the letter you were so kind as to address for me at that place, and would have replied immediately had I known how to give any tolerable account of myself; but, as many zig-zag wanderings lay before me, I thought it best to be silent until time and chance, to whose absolute disposal I submitted myself, might put me in a situation to say that I hoped soon for the great pleasure of seeing you. I have had a month’s mind, or, if you like the phrase better, I had it in my mind for a month to write you a political epistle, and the impulsion was very strong after the criminal attempt of the 29th of last month, but I will confine myself to saying that, notwithstanding the ill news you expected, or any other which might come, I would have adopted the motto of my countryman the beaver—’Perseverando.’ You know he cuts down trees with his teeth. À propos: The late Austrian victories show what might have been done some years ago if everybody had been in earnest. I left Stratford this morning and the rain induced me to tarry here, instead of going to Coventry, for which I intend setting out to-morrow, and thence straight to London, ‘pour faire ma cour et rendre mes devoirs à la belle Écossaise.’ It would have been unpardonable, you know, Edition: current; Page: [133] to have spent an evening at Stratford and not written some nonsense about Shakespeare, but it is a crime of lèse société to pester others with such things. I ought therefore, you will say, to have thrown into the fire what I shall lay as a tax on your patience. Do not mistake. I send it not poetically, but medically. Supposing then that, after some very late hour, you should be awakened by the rumbling of coaches or of carts, with the disposition without the power to sleep, you will be pleased to read these lines, they must have the effect, for (foi d’honnête homme) I was half asleep when they were written. It is true, they have since been revised and corrected, so that you have the second edition. And so good-night sweet lady. My respects await his lordship. Adieu. I am ever and truly yours.

  • Ages are past since nature on this spot
  • To her own bard gave birth; self-taught, he knew
  • How to unravel all the tangled web
  • Of human passion; and his judgment, true
  • To the nice touch of inborn sentiment
  • Perceptive, felt, for every scene of life,
  • However varied, by the waving wand
  • Of fancy’s magic, the appropriate thought
  • Of each degree, age, sex, and circumstance.
  • The purple glory of Imperial Cæsar,
  • The checkered rag of famished wretchedness,
  • The sly pretextings of insidious treason,
  • Humble ambition, close conspiracy,
  • Proud war, wild madness, and sound policy
  • To him were all familiar; and he knew
  • In its own color ev’ry thought to paint
  • With each distinctive tint and lessening shade,
  • From the deep crimson of a murderer’s mind
  • To that sweet blush which gilds her early morn
  • When rising Love his bright effulgence beams
  • On the clear surface of a virgin’s soul.”
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“After my arrival [November 23d] at the Great hotel, Covent Garden, I go to see Lord Gower. Dine at the Piazza coffee-house. I saw Boswell at the coffee-house, who is one of the corps. It seems that the opponents of administration cut their hair short, somewhat in the Jacobin style. The bills to secure the government meet violent opposition, and there is a general wish excited for peace. The Cape of Good Hope is taken by the English, but the storm has done much mischief to their West India fleet.”

“Agreed this day [November 25th] with Robert Dudley Medley as a footman. I give him livery, a great-coat, eighteen guineas per annum, and board wages. Thomas my coachman, is to serve me at 25/ per week and find himself everything. Dress and go to Lord Grenville’s office. Thence to Court. Lord Grenville arrives late. Am presented to the King, who takes me at first for an Englishman, and, not recollecting me, says, ‘You have been a good while in the country.’ We set him right, and Lord Grenville tells His Majesty that I was not liked by the ruling powers in France.

“‘I suppose Mr. Morris is too much attached to regular government.’

“‘Yes, sir, and if Your Majesty would send thither your discontented subjects, it would do them much good.’

“‘Well, if you’ll contrive it for me I’ll give my hearty consent.’

“Lord Grenville adds, ‘There are enough of them, sir.’

“‘Oh, aye, quite enough.’

“‘I can give Your Majesty good news from the Continent’ (says Lord Grenville). ‘General Claerfayt is still following the French.’

“‘And I, sir, can give you a piece of intelligence which Edition: current; Page: [135] I am sure will be agreeable. I am informed from unquestionable authority that all the lower orders of people in Holland are strongly attached to the Stadtholder.’

“‘Oh, that’s good,’ with surprise.

“‘Sir, they have always been so.’

“‘Then it is only the aristocratic party which is against him.’

“‘Just so, sir.’

“’Pray, Mr. Morris, what part of America are you from?’

“‘I am from near New York, sir. I have a brother who has the honor to be a Lieutenant-General in Your Majesty’s service.’

“‘Ah, what! you’re a brother of General Morris? Yes, I think I see a likeness, but you’re much younger.’

“‘Yes, sir.’

“‘Well, and how does your brother do? he’s at Plymouth, isn’t he?’

“‘Yes, sir.’

“I afterwards see a petition presented to the King on his throne by the University of Oxford. Then go with Lord Gower to see Lady Sutherland. Thence to the House of Commons, return to Lord Gower’s, dine, and thence again to the House, where Mr. Fox delivers a very animated speech in reply to a very cool and sensible discourse from Mr. —. Mr. Pitt does not speak, for which I am disappointed. On a division the ministerial party has a great majority, and the affair is to be discussed again next Friday. Great acuteness on the part of Mr. Fox. The King asked me when I expected Mr. Pinckney back, and added, ‘They are very slow in that country.’ I could have told His Majesty of another country in which they were quite as slow, until lately at least, on American subjects.”

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“M. Mountflorence comes in [November 26th] from Paris. He tells me that the French are quite heart-broken since their late scuffle with the Convention; that the present government is purely military; that Paris and Orleans are disarmed; that Lyons is a constant scene of bloodshed; that Freron is at the head of a strong Jacobin party in the South of France; that the Jacobins expect to overturn the present government in a month or six weeks, and that the want of bread is the lever by which they are to work. Mr. Hammond told me that Colonel Hamilton told him the day before he left New York that the demagogic party would have a majority in the house of Representatives. He also said that the government of this country are determined to give full effect to the treaty and to go on fairly to the further provisions which may be needful.”

“This morning [November 27th] my coachman, à propos of the sale of one of my horses, inquires the distance we have gone. I tell him after a tedious examination, but the result is somewhat extraordinary. My first sortie with them southward, including a double ride to Richmond while I was at Wimbledon, was just six hundred miles; and my second, after quitting Wimbledon, was precisely thirteen hundred, allowing one mile for the difference in the last stage between the standard from whence the roads measured and my lodgings at Covent Garden.”

“Go [December 1st] with Lord Gower to the House of Commons. There is no battle this evening. While I take tea in the committee-room, Mr. Windham comes in, and from his disposition to converse with me I am led to suppose that I am un peu en bon odeur ici. Mr. Pinckney has asked to be recalled.”

“Go to Court [December 2d], where I see, of course, a number of people, of whom I know a few. Have a little Edition: current; Page: [137] conversation with Lord Chatham, and mention for his consideration a progressive tax on the sales of wheat monthly, by way of paying the bounty on importation of foreign wheat; also a tax on all horses, by way of encouraging the breed of horned cattle. The Marquis of Buckingham is very civil, and invites me down to Stow. I put in his hands Mr. Mountflorence’s affair. The King tells me he hears Mr. Pinckney is coming back, re infectâ, the treaty being postponed for a year. I tell His Majesty that they don’t treat with us because they are afraid of us. He says there may be something in that.”

“I go to Court [December 3d], where I see Lady Sutherland, true to her promise, and looking wondrous well. Count Woronzow tells me an instance of Lord Grenville’s candor. It relates to the manifesto prepared for the new King. The Count has sent a copy of it and the history of it to his Court. He introduces me to Count Staremberg. Lord Grenville introduces me to the Duke of Portland, and tells me that Mountflorence shall have his passport. He presents me to the Queen, who is a well-bred, sensible woman, I think. Conversing with Lord Grenville about our treaty, I tell him that we must not covenant not to export the produce of the West India Islands, because our commerce will always give us an excess of those articles; that if I had to negotiate with him on the subject, I would almost venture to leave the settlement of the articles with him and the West India planters; that whatever may be the final state of the islands, and whoever may be the possessor, it must be his policy to convince us that it is our interest he should continue in the possession. He says that his opinion coincides perfectly with mine, and that he treated on that ground. I then tell him that in my opinion all difficulties might be removed if, after designating the size of vessels Edition: current; Page: [138] to be admitted, a further stipulation should be made of a maximum of export duty, the amount within that limit to be fixed by the King. His Majesty’s ministers would then, by their instructions to the governors, have it so fixed from time to time as to comport with the wants of the colony and the interests of the British navigation, without any reference to the colonial assemblies. He says he thinks something may be made out of that idea. He says Lord Bute informs him from Madrid that Mr. Pinckney is on his way back, having concluded a treaty of navigation (in which he supposes the affairs of the Mississippi to be settled), and leaving the treaty of commerce for another year. I tell him, as I did the King, that their fears prevent them from treating, whereas those very apprehensions should have induced them to treat. He agrees in this idea, and adds it is inconceivable how apprehensive they are. I tell him Mr. Pinckney has asked his recall, and that I do not think it improbable that Mr. Adams may be appointed minister here. As soon as the drawing-room is over I return home, change my dress, eat a bit of cold meat, and go to the House of Commons. I am again disappointed in not hearing Mr. Pitt speak. Stay till near three o’clock.”

“Go [December 5th] to a great City dinner, given to Mr. Hammond, and chance places me next to Lord Grenville and Mr. Adams. This last is deeply tinctured with suspicion, and sees design in everything. His mind has received early a wrong bias, and I think will always go obliquely. Mr. Bayard asks if I will give my assistance in the discussion of some questions arising here which regard the captures made. I promise it freely. He tells me that in a late affair Lord Grenville gave a remarkable proof of his candor. At our dinner, in the midst of the line of toasts he gave Mr. Jay, which was received with Edition: current; Page: [139] great applause. This, I think, will prove injurious to him in America, and mention that idea to Mr. Adams, who prims up, and, while his countenance (in general, insipid) overflows with joyful expression, he is silent; then says, ‘I don’t know,’ and then opens a little. From this I conjecture that his father and Mr. Jay are at political variance. The shouts of applause which accompany the King and Mr. Pitt as toasts show that the administration stands very strong in public.”

“Take up the Marquis de Spinola, and go to dinner at Count Woronzow’s at Richmond [December 7th]. We have here a very good and a very sociable dinner. The wine renders Spinola a little communicative. He tells me that Woronzow will never stand well at this Court, because Pitt will not forgive him for foiling his attempts in the Russian armament. He tells me why he stands well with Lady Sutherland. He tells me that he thinks the government here would be pleased that I should be appointed Minister, and in return I tell him why it would not suit me. I learn that Mr. Liston, who is going out to America, is clever. The weather is nasty.”

“Dine with Count Staremberg [December 9th]. He and Woronzow are quite in air about the King’s message declaring his disposition for peace. It seems to me to be a thing of no consequence. After dinner Woronzow gives us the history of the three partitions of Poland, in which, according to him, the Empress was led by a kind of necessity. He thinks, and so, indeed, do I, that it is unwise in the Imperial Courts to bring their dominions together. He and Count Staremberg tell me that the King’s Ministers expect the present government in France will be overturned by the Jacobins. After I leave this, I go to see Madame Ciricello. At coming away the Duke d’Harcourt tells me he understands the young Duke of Edition: current; Page: [140] Orleans is gone out to America, and that he was much distressed at the idea of leaving Europe. He says he had taken some measures to bring him into terms with the King of France, and has received that information. Wishes to know from me if it be true. I tell him (truly) that I know nothing of the matter. We promise each other to communicate the result of our inquiries.”

“News of the taking of Mannheim [December 10th] reached town yesterday. There are about nine thousand prisoners of war. This affair puts the Austrians in condition to act against the French with increased means, while it must tend to dishearten their opponents. I expect that they will turn their arms towards Flanders, and, if they can seize any considerable magazines of provisions, France will soon be reduced to her former limits. Holland must of course be abandoned, and then I think the counter-revolution will take place there as a thing of course. Go to see the Imperial envoy. Congratulate him on the Austrian victories. Lord Grenville gave him the explanation which I supposed of the King’s message. Converse with him on the general politics of Europe. He tells me that, from Claerfayt’s last letter, he will push on, but knows not, of course, which way. Dine at Mr. Phyn’s, and find that the ministers are gathering strength by the Austrian victories, and that the desire of peace grows less ardent. It appears from every account that the French armies are quite discouraged.”

“Dine with Lord Grenville [December 12th]. He tells me he was astonished that persons who had been here so long should be so little acquainted with the British Government as the Russian and Imperial Ministers appear to have been, by the alarm they took at the King’s message. He admits, however, that it may have the effect of strengthening the French Government in France, but he Edition: current; Page: [141] thinks, and justly, that the many other things which are happening must operate on the other side of the question. I tell him the advice I gave yesterday to the Imperial minister; viz., to send some confidential agent to Flanders, authorized to give money to those charged with the care of the French magazines, provided they do not, on the approach of the Austrians, destroy them. He thinks this good, and will enforce it. He says the French are evacuating Holland. After dinner I ask him to tell me the affair of Randolph. He says that a despatch of Fauchet’s was taken in which was related a conversation between him and Randolph, and from that conversation it appeared clearly that Randolph had been corrupted. He had proposed a plan to render the Western insurrection a means of uniting America with France in the war against Britain. The rest of the story I had heard before. He tells me that he is not the only person in America; that he knows some others, and mentioned it to Mr. Jay, but did not name them, not being in a convenient situation to furnish the proofs, as he had acquired the knowledge from Paris. We converse on the state of the war, a general conversation (by the by, the company consists of only Hammond, Scott, and Lord Carrisford), and I tell him jocosely that I find the people in the City are not inclined to let him off easily, if he makes a bad peace. He answers, very candidly, that he thinks if a bad peace is made it must be their own fault. He considers the Cape Edition: current; Page: [142] of Good Hope as an important acquisition, and truly so it is. Trincomalee is also taken before this time, in all probability. Thus Britain is at length the complete mistress of the East. I take it for granted that these places will not be given up. Mention to Lord Grenville that it would be a pleasing thing to America if he procured the release of Lafayette. He says the prejudices here are so strong against him. Upon which I smile, and say the King has too much good sense to mind anything which may have happened. ‘Oh, yes, to be sure!’ ‘And as to anything else, you know, my lord, it depends entirely on His Majesty’s Council!’ I add that Lafayette is a person of great intrigue, and that with such a weight of obligation hanging about his neck he can in no decent manner act against the British interest in America, to which country he will get sooner or later. Moreover, keeping his own secret, it will be a good thing to come out with, when opposition shall be loud on the subject. Speaking of the minister appointed to represent this Court in America, he says: ‘Your friend Woronzow is very angry that I have taken Liston from Constantinople. He won’t understand that it is more important for us to have an able minister in America than at the Porte.’”

“The Imperial minister, who called on me this day [December 14th], tells me that the French have made a detachment of eight thousand men from their army in Holland, and it is from thence that a report has arisen of the evacuation. He says the English insist strenuously on their keeping Flanders. He thinks the King of France must be left on one side in the negotiation for peace, and that they must keep themselves in a situation to take advantage of circumstances which may arise in the interior. Call on Mr. Adams, who is a little entiché of the French politics. We dine at Mr. Church’s, and in conversing Edition: current; Page: [143] about our City dinner he repeats and urges, what he mentioned to me at the time, and Church thinks, that General Washington’s health was drunk at an improper time. All these things appear to be very small.”

In a letter to Washington, dated December 19th, Morris wrote in reference to Mr. Adams as follows:

“When I first saw Mr. Adams (understanding that he was empowered to negotiate with this country during Mr. Pinckney’s absence), I offered him any assistance which I could give, but, to my great surprise, he told me that he was here merely as a private individual. A day or two afterwards, Lord Grenville gave me very different information. We then conversed about what I conceived to be the policy of Great Britain. And let me say here that nothing will so strongly affect the government of this country as the view of an American navy, though in embryo; wherefore I do most ardently desire that something may be done this session towards its establishment.

“A strange story has been handed about here of a conspiracy between the French minister and others. I presume that it arose from the affair of Mr. Edmund Randolph, which Lord Grenville related to me; also the additional hints communicated by him to Mr. Jay for your use. I feel myself bound to communicate to you a circumstance which has some relation to the same object. Shortly after my successor arrived in Paris (viz., two, or at most three days) a person who was in the habit of telling me what passed called, and began a conversation by saying: ‘This new minister you have sent us will never do here.’ ‘Why?’ ‘He is either a blockhead himself or thinks that we are so.’ ‘I can’t suppose either to be the case, as I know him to be strongly attached to your revolution. I should think he would succeed very well.’ ‘No, it is impossible. Only think of a man’s throwing himself into the arms of the first Edition: current; Page: [144] persons he met with on his arrival and telling them he had no doubt but that, if they would do what was proper here, he and his friends in America would turn out Washington. If he meant to deceive us the artifice was too gross, and if he was in earnest that circumstance proves him to be unworthy of our confidence. Besides, he made this declaration to people who, though they stand high at present, must soon lose ground, for reasons I have already communicated.’ ‘I cannot believe the fact.’ ‘You may rely on it, ‘tis true. I did not hear him, nor have I yet seen him, but it was mentioned to me by one of those to whom he spoke immediately after it had passed, and I have taken the earliest opportunity to inform you of it.’ He then told me other parts of the conversation of him and of his secretary, particularly the latter, which ran counter to the views of the ruling party, although intended to flatter them.

“I own that, notwithstanding the clear and direct manner in which this was stated, I did not believe it, but concluded my informant to have been deceived. I took, however, the earliest opportunity to apprise Mr. Monroe that he was mistaken as to the temper and views of those in power, and to desire that he would recommend caution to Mr. Skipwith, leaving him to take to himself as much of the recommendation as he should think proper. I shall add nothing on this chapter, except my fervent wish and earnest exhortation that you do by no means resign. You cannot conceive how important it is to our foreign concerns that you should hold your seat. I dare say that you must see every day that it is essential to our dearest domestic interests. So God grant you health and inspire you with the determination to exercise that firmness and decision of character with which his Divine Providence has endowed you.

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“I find this will be but a desultory letter, though I think you will glean something from it. You will have seen that M. de Puisaye is arrested by the royalists of the Western Coast of France. If it was not from treason it was certainly through great incapacity that he caused the failure of the Quiberon expedition. It was, indeed, too feeble, but the plan was his own, and though I think the minister here confided in him too much, that does not lessen his responsibility. I am persuaded that great efforts would have been made from hence in that quarter, and probably with effect; but the wild thunder manifesto of the new French King rendered it impossible to stand well in his favor. Hence a change of system became unavoidable, and the administration had reason to congratulate themselves that they had gone no further. The bringing back to the Vendée that victorious army which had dictated terms of peace to feeble Spain obliged the royalists to disperse and conceal themselves, but late transactions on the German frontier having obliged the French Government to re-enforce their armies, and send to that effect the troops which overawed Paris, those in La Vendée are, it seems, to replace them, and so the disaffected begin again to hold up their heads. It has not escaped your penetration that France is now a military government, and of course still in the straight road to single despotism, should she obtain peace with the Allied Powers, but there seems at present to be a very wide distance between her expectations and theirs. She doubtless is exhausted, but what convulsive struggles she may still make seems uncertain; in my opinion, not much. Austria is also much weakened in her finances. But this country is still fresh as a youthful bridegroom, of which nothing can afford a clearer proof than the present complaints among one party of the moneyed men that they had not permission to supply Edition: current; Page: [146] the minister with eighteen millions at £4 13s. 6d. per cent. interest. This new loan bears above ten per cent. advance in the market, although there is no covenant on the part of government not to open a new one. Indeed, it is expected that a considerable sum will be borrowed for the Emperor, and so high is the spirit of the people upon the late successes of the Austrian armies that he may have just as much as he chooses to ask for. It is on the ground of these superior resources that the well-informed here expect His Majesty’s ministers will be able to dictate their own terms to France. This could not be done should that country come forward and offer now to retire from Holland and Flanders, which, by and by, they will be forced to do; and even at present nothing will, I believe, prevent Marshal Claerfayt from attempting, at least, to march into the Low Countries but the well-grounded doubt whether he could seasonably collect the needful magazines for the subsistence of his army. It is expected every moment here that an express will arrive to announce the capture of Trincomalee and the valuable island of Ceylon. Great Britain will soon possess all the Dutch possessions in India which she may think it worth while to take. As to Santo Domingo, the elements have hitherto fought in favor of the French, and detained here the immense armament fitted out against it—not less than twenty-five thousand effective men. Let the success be what it may, the effort is wonderful. I have already assigned a sufficient reason why I say nothing on the subordinate questions depending between this country and us; neither will I say a word about Mr. Pinckney’s treaty with Spain, which you will doubtless receive before this letter reaches you. But I will drop one hint upon a great leading point; viz., the right of neutral powers to trade with the West India colonies of a belligerent power, upon a permission given by Edition: current; Page: [147] such power during the war. I will not discuss this as a question of law, neither would I ever or in any situation attempt to support what I conceive to be unjust. Yet, as a statesman, I will venture to say that this government is contending now for the very point which it is our interest to establish, and which would form our main reliance should we be engaged in any war against those who have such colonies.”

“Go to Wimbledon [December 21st] to dine with Lady Sutherland. Meet there Mr. Canning, the newly appointed Deputy Secretary of State, a young man of abilities. Mais la tête lui tourne un peu. We pass a pleasant afternoon and evening.”

“At three o’clock [December 30th] I go to Court, where I see the Dukes of Montrose and Argyll. Promise to call on them. The King is in high spirits. After the levee ride in the park; then change my dress, and call on the Duc de Castries. See Moustier, who is going to the coast of Brittany to see the state of things there and in Normandy.”

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Morris passes the winter of 1796 in London. News of the armistice on the Rhine. Letter to Washington. Chosen honorary member of the Highland Society. Dines with the Duke of Argyll. The King’s drawing-room. Goes to the House of Commons. The Princess of Wales, Mr. Adams. Pitt speaks in the House of Commons. Fox. Sheridan. Letter to Washington. Letter to Alexander Hamilton. Mrs. Montague’s drawing-room. The Queen’s drawing-room. French victory in Italy. View of St. Paul’s. Dines with Pitt at Lord Gower’s. The House of Lords. Dines with Mrs. Vassal.

The winter of 1796 Morris passed in London, watching the progress of events on the Continent, and enjoying the society of his many friends among the émigrés. The hospitality of numbers of English friends and acquaintances was always acknowledged in his diary, which daily records an opera-party, a dinner, or a supper. Foreign affairs naturally commanded the larger share of his attention, and rumors concerning the movements of the armies, as well as facts, are to be found in the pages of the diary. “There is nothing new,” says the entry for January 8th, “but I find the people in the City are getting off their high but false opinion of the French plan of finance. The gazette (the London Times) announces an armistice between the French and Austrians on the Rhine, the account of which reached town at one o’clock, by way of Paris, to-day.”

“Some mails are arrived from Hamburg [January 11th]. Edition: current; Page: [149] The news of the armistice on the Rhine stand confirmed, but no particulars are, it would seem, contained in the letters received.”

À propos of the measures taken in France to establish their finances, Morris wrote to Washington on the 11th of January:

“These measures may perhaps be announced in America as the perfection of human wisdom, but also as inevitably productive of the best effects; in which respect they would differ from those perfections of wisdom heretofore exhibited on that theatre. Our experience in America could have proved (had proof been necessary) that the natural effect of paper money is to consume all the personal property of a country. The assignats were going on in their natural progression, when, after the revolution of the 10th of August, measures of increasing cruelty were successively adopted to force property out of the hands of its owners, or at least to render the possession of it highly dangerous. At the same time the total suspension of foreign commerce shut up all remaining commodities within the country, and the permission to export was only granted in exchange for articles wanted by the government, which gave its paper for those things which it obliged the owner to sell, and which all but its agents were prohibited from buying, by the very same means which compelled the sale. Mankind were pretty generally the dupes of these appearances, and although they were going on to increase the nominal amount of their paper to more than the fee simple of the whole country was worth, people whose habits and profession should have taught them better persisted in the absurd idea that all that mass of paper would be paid according to its specified value. When I left France, that system of terror being for a while suspended, I did not Edition: current; Page: [150] hesitate to declare that the paper would fall rapidly; and being pressed by one of its advocates to say how far and in what period, gave it as my opinion that it might in a year be at a hundred for one. Strange as this opinion then appeared, experience has more than justified it. This is a tedious preface to what I meant to say, but it seemed proper to show, by example, that the idea even of professional men may be erroneous upon this subject, which our experience has (I believe) enabled us to consider more maturely than many others. You will have seen that one of the first plans suggested in France was to issue, under a different name, new paper for the old. As this was not adopted, the absurdity need not be detailed.

Another plan, which does not appear to have been made public, was to call on individuals of property to give to the government their negotiable bonds and then to obtain supplies on the credit of those bonds, the cash to be supplied (in the first instance) at a great discount by societies of moneyed men in Paris, and these to reimburse themselves with advantage by sale of shares in such operations to wealthy foreigners. This plan was impracticable; not merely from the doubt whether foreigners would embark their funds in such speculations, but also from the want of capitalists in France to set the machine in motion. These have been destroyed pecuniarily by the assignats, and physically by the guillotine. I come now to the plan which was actually adopted. This consists, theoretically, of three parts: First, to issue only thirty million livres in assignats; secondly, to fix their relation to specie at one hundred, which would reduce the mass to three hundred millions; thirdly, to exact by force, and under the name of a loan, the contribution of six hundred millions (over and above all other taxes), of which one-half be paid in paper at one hundred, and the other half in specie. The Edition: current; Page: [151] reasoning on this fine system is conclusive. The paper moiety of the loan pays off all the assignats. The specie moiety pays the expenses of the ensuing campaign, which cannot but prove glorious to the republic; and then she opens the year 1797 with a trivial remnant of her ancient debt, much of which was prudently discharged by the guillotine, and with a prodigious landed property on which to issue new assignats and run again round the circle which she will have then just completed.

“This reminds me of a sophism which some one tried to palm on me when I was a child, that if a tortoise had the start of a fox, the fox would never overtake him because it was impossible, though the fox should go ten times faster than the tortoise, but that this must go some distance, viz., a tenth of what the other should move over, and then while he was going that tenth the other would have advanced one hundredth, and so on ad infinitum. My answer was, let the fox make a good jump. Now those who have reasoned in the manner before stated never thought of the good jump. The sum of the argument amounts to this: That France, now exhausted beyond anything of which modern times can furnish an example, should be able not only to defray the expenses of a vigorous war, and that, too, with a most prodigal administration, but also to discharge a debt of twelve millions sterling. This is, at first blush, an absurdity. As to paying the debt it is indeed very easy, for by nominally increasing the amount it will (by the force of depreciation) discharge itself. The assignats are already at about 200, and if extended to 40,000 millions they will be under 400, in which case the amount will be only one hundred millions, or four millions sterling; that is, one-third of what the system-makers calculated. But as to the expenses of the campaign, that is a different affair. Should they retire Edition: current; Page: [152] within their own limits, and openly profess the determination to make peace, provided their limits were secured to them, it is hard to say what might be the extent of those efforts which they might yet make. For in this case we must take into calculation the national pride, her characteristic enthusiasm, and the force of a government the most absolute in its nature, and whose members have everything to gain and to lose. As these circumstances go out of the usual course of financial calculation, I will not dwell upon them. My object was merely to convey some ground for the opinion I entertain that the newly adopted system of finance is radically defective, inasmuch as it appears to my mind self-evident that no force of taxation can squeeze out from the people of France a sum equal to the unavoidable expenditures. So that, if their enemies persist in the war, they must keep the press a-going as long as anything can be done with it, and then resort to the convulsive struggles of despair.

“But, I hear you say, will their enemies persist in the war? I own to you that I am not able to answer that question decisively. I will not speak of the views which I suppose this Court to have, but all the world, except the members of Parliament who are in opposition, see that Britain is gaining more by the present war than she ever did in any equal period of time during her history. Austria cannot but feel that the contest wears her down for the sake of recovering the Low Countries, which, from their remote situation, must ever be an onerous and precarious possession. Should France therefore cede her conquests, I cannot see why the Emperor should not immediately quit the game, and proceed to those exchanges and arrangements which will suit his views. It is true that his engagement with this country and with Russia might stand in the way, but, after making certain propositions Edition: current; Page: [153] to the former, he might hold himself excused by their non-acceptance, and the Empress (by the by, there is a report of her death) would rather have the aid of her Imperial ally to secure the spoils of Poland, against any attempt which might be made by Prussia and Turkey, than furnish a body of her troops to be employed on the Rhine. Will the desire of re-establishing the House of Bourbon in France have any material operation? On this subject I will write to you at my first leisure. This is enough, I fear, to tire your patience.”

“Go to the drawing-room [January 18th] where, being a birthday, is all the world. Their Majesties me font bon acceuil. The Duke of Clarence asks me if I am Minister here from America instead of Mr. Pinckney. I tell him no, and express some surprise at the question. He tells me that he has learned from a lady whom he mentions, and who is a relation of Mr. Pinckney’s, that he told her that he considered himself no longer as minister here. Dine with Lord Grenville. Hammond tells me that both Pinckney and Adams were invited, but neither of them came. Adams sent an excuse after accepting, and I find that the jealousy which I marked in his temper and the suspicious turn of his mind have already disgusted those whom he had to do business with. I am sorry for it. Go to the ball, where I see very good dancing by the members of the royal family. The Prince of Wales, in particular, dances a minuet extremely well.”

“Dine with Sir John Sinclair at the Highland Society [January 19th]. There are three other guests, and on his motion, in our presence, we are chosen honorary members. I write a few stanzas, which I desire Sir John Macpherson to turn into verse.

  • When virtue and freedom came down from on high,
  • On the mountains they fix’d their abode;
  • Edition: current; Page: [154]
  • They breath’d the pure air which is nearest the sky,
  • Ate the food that kind nature bestow’d.
  • They saw vice and tyranny gloom on the plain,
  • And boast the perfection of art;
  • On these they look’d down with deservèd disdain
  • And chose for their temple the heart.
  • Hence their favorite children, you ever will find,
  • Mid the highlands and mountains still stray.
  • Would you know a true son, why, look at his mind;
  • In the field it is noble, in company gay.

I leave the stanzas with them and walk quietly off.”

“Dine with the Duke of Argyll [January 21st], where I meet the Lord Chancellor, who has, it seems, desired to become acquainted with me. He is very pleasant and in good spirits. The weather this day is wonderfully fine. The Chancellor, speaking of the state of the morals in this country and consequently of crimes, says that in nine years that he attended Courts of Oyer and Terminer, always in his turn and often out of it, he never had once occasion to pass sentence for murder; also that, having inquired on this subject of the recorder, who had been fifteen years in office, he was told that the condemnations for it in this city during that period were at the rate of one annually. Sundry other things are mentioned to show the horror entertained by Englishmen at the idea of shedding human blood.”

“This morning [January 21st] go to Court. The Duke of Montrose, who is one of my guests at dinner to-night, tells me just before he goes away that he has heard the armament under Admiral Christian is put back. This, which at the first blush would seem to be an untoward event, will probably turn out quite otherwise. The weather still continues very blustering; high wind from the west and southwest. I afterwards hear that one of the Edition: current; Page: [155] transports from Admiral Christian’s squadron or, rather, fleet, which had put back (the Sutton Indiaman) has foundered near Plymouth, but the men are saved. It seems probable that the whole fleet has returned, and probably a number of them have gone down, for these heavy gales must have occasioned a dreadful sea in the chops of the channel. The wind is still high from the west and southwest, but generally southwest.”

“Dine at Wimbledon and stay all night [January 30th]. Mr. Canning, who is one of the guests, tells us that Admiral Christian’s fleet is arrived at Spithead. The Lord Chief Baron Macdonald is here also. He is clever and pleasant.”

“Go to the drawing-room [February 11th]. The King has much conversation with Count Woronzow and me. His Majesty tells me, on the authority of Admiral Pye, that in seven weeks lately spent at sea he had not nine hours at a time in which to set up his rigging; this is a most uncommon storm. See the Duchess of Gordon, who reproaches me for not visiting her. Lord Westmoreland’s conversation is a little in the style of despondency as to the success of the war.”

“Go in the evening [February 12th] to the Duchess of Gordon’s. I am told here that accounts are arrived of a separate treaty of peace between France and the Emperor.”

“Dine at Lord Gower’s [February 13th], and here Mr. Huskisson assures us that the news of yesterday is a forgery; that a French gazette, called l’Éclair, has been counterfeited in this city and sent down to the coast, where it was put into the mail and sent up to the several printers. It seems that a society had purchased on the King’s message more stock than they could pay for, and had invented this mode of inducing others to buy.”

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“Go to see Count Woronzow [February 14th]. Throw out to him the idea of bringing Prussia forward by an exchange of Hanover for Cleves and Prussian Guelders, given to Holland in exchange for the Island of Flushing, given with Flanders to England in exchange for Bavaria, given to the Emperor in exchange for Alsace, to be surrendered back to the empire of France. He startles at the idea of strengthening Prussia.”

“Dine en famille with Lord Gower and Lady Sutherland [February 15th]. Go hence to the House of Commons, expecting a long debate, in which I am completely disappointed, for Mr. Fox sits down two sentences after our arrival, and the question is put. The ministers have, as might well be expected, a clear and decided majority. In the debate Mr. Grey was very feeble, running over old and useless ground, but expressed the idea that Great Britain should solicit peace from France, even if the former were in a state of humiliating distress. Mr. Pitt had greatly the vantage-ground, and in a discreet speech of some length said nothing, not being in fact called on to say anything. Mr. Fox endeavored to cover Mr. Grey’s blunder by declaring that he would risk and suffer everything to preserve the national honor.”

“Go to Her Majesty’s drawing-room [February 17th], and see for the first time the Princess of Wales. She has the eye of sense and spirit. In the evening visit at Madame Ciricello’s, where I see the Duchess of Tremouille and her friend Miss Faniani, who has very impressive eyes. The Duc de Castries tells me that the King of France has transmitted assurances fit and proper to calm the apprehensions which his proclamation had raised. Mr. Pinckney, whom I see, shows a paper containing the answer of the President of the United States to the address of the French minister on presenting him a flag. Edition: current; Page: [157] This answer is not what I like, for it commits the President to an approbation of the new French Constitution. It will work rather ill here.”

“Dine at Mr. Pinckney’s [February 22d]. It is Washington’s birthday. He is sixty-four years of age. Doctor Romaine tells me that he is determined to resign his office, and attributes it to his conviction that he would not be unanimously re-elected. He says, further, that the kind reception given by him to Randolph, for many days previous to the communication of M. Fauchet’s letter, and after it was in his possession, has injured him in the public opinion; that Randolph says his heart is black as that of Caligula, and in so saying makes some disciples. I fear that all is not well in our country. Mr. Adams, who was with me this morning, in his wrath and indignation at the conduct of the British Government, seemed absolutely mad. He breathed nothing but war, and was content to run into it at the hazard of our finances and even of our Constitution. Such sentiments arise in him only for the moment and would not certainly influence his conduct; but such language, if held to those who should repeat it, must do mischief here. I tell him, when he asserts that the administration of this country means ill to us, that I think they only mean good to themselves, excepting always two or three men who are personally vexed at our prosperity.”

“Go after dinner, at four [February 26th], to Lord Gower’s, but he not being at home I step up to ask Lady Sutherland how she does. Lord Carlisle is there, and her ladyship tells me that her lord is down at the House already; advises my going thither, and returning if I don’t find him. I go, and meeting him on the way he puts me in. I stay till five before the debate begins, and till three when the question has been taken and is decided in favor Edition: current; Page: [158] of the accused minister. Mr. Pitt is certainly the best speaker in the House of Commons. He explains his conduct in a manner highly honorable to himself, but, on the other hand, Fox and Sheridan, who follow him, make many sharp and shrewd observations.”

“Mr. Hammond tells me [March 2d] that the ratification of the treaty had not reached America, but only a copy of it. He attributes this to a neglect of Mr. Deas, and seems to think that the Americans here in office are not friendly. He also tells me that five thousand horses were to be purchased in America for the cavalry sent out from hence. This is enormous. Mr. Pinckney comes to see me; he seems desirous of information, without asking it. I ask him if he has seen Franklin, and what accounts he brings. He tells me that Franklin seems to know nothing about public affairs in France. I ask him what Monroe says. He tells me that Monroe, he believes, is very little acquainted with what is passing. I say that I have reason to believe he is not now well pleased or well treated. He says that the government have been cool towards him ever since Mr. Jay’s treaty; moreover, that the French are now taking our vessels in the West Indies bound to British ports. On my mentioning my surprise at the number of horses bought up for the West Indies, he tells me that the British are purchasing in America all kinds of live stock they can lay hold of, of every kind. I dine at home and go in the evening to the opera. There is a very fine ballet.”

Private advices from Paris of an alarming nature having come to Morris, he hastened to communicate them to Washington on March 4th, as follows:

“A fleet is to conduct to you the new French Minister, who will be directed to exact in the space of fifteen days a categorical answer to certain questions. What these are Edition: current; Page: [159] I can only conjecture, but suppose that you will, in effect, be called on to take part decidedly with France. Mr. Monroe will no doubt endeavor to convince the rulers of that country that such conduct will force us into the war against them; but it is far from impossible that the usual violence of their counsels will prevail.

“The last letter which I had the honor to write was of the 11th January. On the subjects then mentioned I will only say that the French finances are quite as bad as I supposed they would be, that another campaign seems now unavoidable, and that it is so much the interest of some among the Allied Powers to restore royal authority in France that I think it will now form a real object. If you ask my opinion of the chances, I will tell you that, properly attempted, it must, humanly speaking, be effected.”

To Alexander Hamilton, for obvious reasons, Morris wrote more fully than to Washington, under the same date. He says:

“I have just written to the President to communicate some intelligence just received from Paris. This letter is dated in Paris the 15th of last month. You may be sure, by my communicating this to you, that I have confidence in the sources from which it is derived. Now, my dear friend, I have barely stated to the President the intention as to the new minister. His late declaration as to the existing French Government has prevented me from saying a word to him on a subject where he has, I think, committed himself. To you I will declare my conviction that this government cannot stand, whether the monarchy be restored or not. The people in general are averse to it. The adherents to the royal cause grow daily more numerous. If I knew decidedly the steps to be taken in aid of them, I could tell you almost with certainty whether they Edition: current; Page: [160] would be successful, for the state of that country now presents sufficient data on which to reason soundly. I need not say to you that if the French rulers persist in the measures which are above mentioned America will probably be obliged to take part in the war. On a former occasion, when they talked somewhat highly, I told them that they could certainly force us into the contest, but as certainly it would be against them, let the predilection in their favor be ever so great, because it would be madness in us to risk our commerce against the navy of the world; that to join them could do them no good, and must do us much evil. That time, they believed me. What representations Monroe may make I cannot pretend to divine, and much less the effect of them. Supposing, however, that you should be driven to make this election, you will naturally weigh not only the naval force, but also the financial resources, of the opposed powers. The noisy folks with you will undoubtedly be loud on our obligations to France, and on the long list of our grievances from England. As to the former, I think we should always seek to perform acts of kindness towards those who, at the bidding of their Prince, stepped forward to fight our battles. Nor would I ever permit a frigid reasoning on political motives to damp those effusions of sentiment which are as laudable in a nation as they are desirable in a private citizen. But would it be kind to support that power which tyrannizes over France and reduces her inhabitants to untold misery? Would it be grateful to mix with, much less to league with, those whose hands are yet red with the blood of him who was our real protector? Would it be decent? As to the conduct of Britain towards us, although I see as clearly as others the ground which we have to complain, and can readily account for the resentments which have been excited, yet I give due weight to the causes by which that Edition: current; Page: [161] conduct was instigated, and if in some cases I find it unjustifiable, I cannot consider it as in all cases inexcusable. Provided, therefore, that our honor be saved, I am so far from thinking that the injuries we have endured should become the source of inextinguishable hatred and perpetual war that I would rather seek in future amity and good offices the fair motive for consigning them to oblivion. I have not, my dear Hamilton, any such view of our political machinery as to judge what may be the effect of lofty menace. I apprehend that some feeble counsels will be given. Whether they will be received and pursued you best know, and will doubtless act accordingly. What I have to ask is that you would put yourself in the way of being consulted; I mean locally, for should you be at a distance the time may be too short for communication.

“It is possible, after all, that the demand may turn on a single point, viz., that we shall no longer pretend to claim an exemption from seizure for those goods of an enemy which may be found in our ships. If so, the case is plain and easy. We slide back to the law of nations, which it is our interest to preserve unim-peached. Probably we shall be called on for our guarantee of Santo Domingo; and here many questions will arise, in the course of which we shall see, perhaps, some wise and virtuous slave-masters contending for the propriety of general emancipation, with all its consequent train of crimes. It appears certain to me that the French Directory would not risk high language to us if they had not received previous assurances that the people would force our Government to sacrifice the national interest. These assurances were, I presume, given, and the present plan proposed, while victory seemed yet bound to the French standards, and while you received official assurances of the prosperous state of their internal affairs. Edition: current; Page: [162] The scene is now not only changed but almost reversed, and I presume the language, if not the conduct, of certain persons will experience a similar change.”

“To-day [March 10th] Lord Gower takes an early dinner with me, and we go to the House of Commons. Mr. Grey is speaking, when we arrive, in support of his motion to go into a committee of the whole House on the state of the nation. The general ground of his argument is that thirty-five millions have already been expended under authority of Parliament in prosecution of the war, but that there remain thirty-one millions unauthorized; that in this unprecedented waste of money the nation has gained nothing, and that if a peace were immediately concluded the annual taxes must be raised to the amount of twenty-one millions for a peace establishment. Mr. Jenkinson and Mr. Steele reply (with some others). Jenkinson is the chief, who compares the expense of this war with that of the last, contends that much more has been done for the money spent, and that they have had to contend with a nation who has spent in the contest not merely her revenue but her capital; that, notwithstanding that nation’s unprecedented exertions, her marine is ruined. Mr. Grey makes a very able reply, but on division a great majority join in rejecting his motion. Neither Pitt nor Fox took part in this debate—each reserving himself to reply to the other. I think the former is outgeneralled, for Grey’s speech will make impression out of doors.”

“I go to Court [March 17th], which is very brilliant—more so than on the birthday. As I am about to come away Lord Grenville comes in, with whom I have some conversation. I think there will be no expedition against the coast of France this season. They cannot find force for the purpose here, and they are, I believe, cured of small attempts. I dine at home, and go in the evening to Edition: current; Page: [163] Lady Louisa Macdonald’s rout. Am presented to the noted Mrs. Montague, and by accident to the Archbishop of York. Lady Sutherland presents me to Lady Carlisle, her sister-in-law, as is, indeed, Lady Macdonald.”

“Go this evening [April 9th] to a conversazione at Mrs. Montague’s. It is one of the finest houses in London; and, indeed, there is a room in which we sat that, if less gilt, would be very fine. There is much good company here. The old lady is indisposed, but still indefatigable in doing the honors of her company. The ancient Miss Morris is here, who continues to claim kindred.”

“This morning [April 14th] I go to the Queen’s drawing-room. They are in high spirits. Count Staremberg, who is overjoyed at the answer of the French Directory, speaks of it to the Queen as being a piece of very good news. She prudently answers in German, on which I tell her that I think she was right in speaking that language upon that occasion. ‘I believe it was prudent.’ ‘Yes, madam, much more so than the speech to which you replied.’ The King, however, is very open to Count Woronzow, and to me, who arrive while they are in the discussion. He afterwards talks on the subject of finance with much good sense, but in English, so that Woronzow does not get his share of it.”

“Accounts are received [April 27th] of an important victory obtained by the French in Italy. After sitting a while with Lady Sutherland, who is to go to Court this day, I walk with Lord Gower to the Exhibition Room, and thence from the terrace of Somerset House take a view Edition: current; Page: [164] of London and Westminster. Few things of the kind are so fine. The Blackfriars and Westminster Bridges, St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, the Tower, and shipping whose masts form a grove in that quarter, are distinct and striking features in the view. We go from thence to St. Paul’s to see the monuments of Howard and Dr. Johnson. We hear, also, part of the evening service. The sound of the organ in the dome is prodigiously solemn. Walk home, where I do not arrive till half-past four, and then fatigued. Dress, take a short ride in the park, and go to Mr. Church’s to dinner, where I arrive the first of his guests. The Duke de Laval dines here. Church says the expenditures for the quarter ending the first of April are already fifteen millions. If this be so, and (as he insists) a like expenditure is to continue, this country can by no possibility support the war.”

“I go to Wimbledon to dine with Lord Gower [April 30th], and meet Mr. Dundas. Mr. Pitt is of the party, which is as lively as can be expected with Ministers of State. A list of the Austrian and French armies gives to the former a great superiority of force. It is official, being from the returns of the Austrians, and the last information they have been able to obtain respecting the force of their enemy. I do not, however, believe in it. Mr. Pitt thinks that in the late affairs between the French and the Allies in Italy, the former boast of victories not obtained, and which will prove different, perhaps opposite, to the French accounts. I think he flatters himself too much, though I have no doubt that the Executive Directory have exaggerated.”

“The Duke of Montrose calls on me [May 2d], and sits a little while. At four I take some cold meat with him, and we go down together to the House of Lords, where the Marquis of Lansdowne makes a strange speech, and still Edition: current; Page: [165] stranger motion. Lord Grenville replies very strongly and very well. Lord Lauderdale cracks away in support of the Marquis, at a great rate. Lord Kinnaird stammers out a lame speech, which has luckily the merit of being short. Lord Moira makes a few observations very handsomely in reply to Lord Auckland, who had, as it were, read a puffing note on the state of the country. The Lord Chancellor intended a neat speech, but, being much pestered by the cry of ‘Hear! hear!’ from Lord Lauderdale, he lost the thread of his discourse. However, he said enough to vex both him and Lord Lansdowne. Lord Lauderdale in consequence replied with much of heat and flash, charging the other with marching by crooked paths to the attainment of power. The Chancellor explained, being much hurt, or, rather, he faintly stated why he would not enter into explanation as to his conduct, which was sufficiently before the public eye for the judgment of mankind, and which was, at any rate, entitled to self-approbation. Lord Lansdowne then concluded by a speech in support of his motion, after which the House divided, and the Duke brought me home.”

“The Duc de Laval comes [May 5th], and I take him to M. de Spinola’s, and examine the map of the Maritime Alps territory of Genoa containing the scene of the late action between the French and Austrians. By the accounts, it appears that the latter had suffered severely from having extended their line too much and pushed their left wing too far forward. Dine at home, and then go down to the House of Commons. Lord Gower tells me there will be no debate this day, the business being postponed till to-morrow. Set him down, and then go to Mr. Pinckney’s to get off my engagement for to-morrow’s dinner. Call on Mrs. Marshal, take a ride in the park, and then go to Lord Gower’s, where I pass the early part of Edition: current; Page: [166] the evening with him, the Chief Baron Macdonald, and their ladies.”

“Lord Gower calls this morning [May 6th]. Dine early, call for him, and we go down together to the House of Commons. Mr. Grey makes a violent speech, attacking the Minister as an impeachable offence for that he had left unpaid near two years sums granted for particular purposes, and applied them to other purposes. Mr. Pitt confesses the fact, and triumphantly justifies. His answer is very able, and quite convincing. Mr. Fox replies in a speech full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The Opposition have nevertheless thirty-eight votes. Colonel Bastard and I walk a great part of the way home together. He (as we are speaking of America) says we have bullied them, to which I reply that we had, on the contrary, borne more from them than any one nation ought ever to bear from another, and having mentioned the unjustifiable capture, come next to the incitation of the Indians against us. He, on the part of Simcoe (who is, I find, his intimate friend), denies his concern in it, but admits his desire to keep the posts lately added de novo as the means of extending the British Empire in that quarter. He says that their hopes are now at an end, for that Vermont has connected itself with the United States, and, moreover, that they have used Kentucky very ill, whose agents were in this country, and who was inclined to unite with them. I must (if occasion favors) again turn the conversation with him to this same topic.

“Call on Sir John Sinclair [May 9th], and see a model of a threshing-machine. See, also, Mr. Arthur Young. Mr. R. Penn and Major Barclay dine with me. The latter, as I am taking him home, lets out some bile respecting America, and in particular says that the powers of Europe Edition: current; Page: [167] must certainly prevent it from becoming a great power. Above all, we must not be permitted to have a fleet. I go to Mrs. Montague’s, where I pass the evening.”

“After dinner [May 10th] I go to the House of Commons, and there I hear the close of Fox’s speech, together with the able refutation of it by Pitt. He has the advantage in argument greatly, thanks to the French Directory, and also to ill-judged measures and unfounded principles of his opponents.”

“This morning [May 17th] I walk out to Kensington, and call on Madame de Graave, who tells me of an intended marriage between Madame de Flahaut and M. de Souza; also of a coldness between him and her respecting the Duke of Orleans. I presume that he has been un peu mystérieux, and she un peu légère à cet égard. He is a little compromised, it seems, in Walkier’s bankruptcy. Dine at Lord Breadalbane’s, where is a Mr. McLeod, a man of much interesting anecdote, which rumbles on in a Scotch accent badly concealed. He tries to talk English, and thinks he succeeds. Puisignieu described to me, with a kind of horror, the uncouth manners of two young men fresh from France, their irreverence, etc. Mr. Clavering, who dined at Lord Breadalbane’s, mentioned circumstances in the marriage of the Prince of Wales which show that a story I heard of their extreme disunion is not unfounded.”

“Dine [May 21st] with Mrs. Vassal, and pass the evening there. Her son-in-law, Sir Godfrey something Webster, is here, whose lady is on her route from Italy, accompanied by Lord Holland. Monsieur le mari seems quite unsuspicious and unconcerned. A very large party at cards.”

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“I dine with Sir John Sinclair [May 23d]. He has here a Mr. Irvin, whom I remember of a long time ago. It was he who formerly contended that the people of this island should be forced by starvation to provide a sufficiency of bread from their own soil. He has still the same feeling with regard to America. A Mr. Strickland, who has just come from that country, holds different ideas.”

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Morris goes to Switzerland in June, 1796. Lord Grenville provides him with letters. Altona. The Duke of Orleans. Journey to Berlin. Berlin. Count de Haugwitz. Conversation with M. Kalitchoff. Dines with Prince Ferdinand. Introduced to the Princess Dowager of Hesse. Dines with Count Haugwitz. First of a series of letters to Lord Grenville. Dines with the Russian minister. Long conversation. Madame de Nadaillac. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Letter to Lord Grenville. Dinner at Lord Elgin’s. An announcement of a victory of the French at Brescia. An evening at Prince Ferdinand’s. Dines with Marshal Von Mollendorf. Leaves Berlin.

In June of this year Morris was suddenly called, by some “indispensable circumstances, to take a journey into Switzerland; and my sense of propriety,” he wrote to Washington, “induces me to make the long and inconvenient circuit of Hamburg in preference to the short cut through France.” In this same letter he said: “Short as this letter is, I must not close without the tedious repetition how important I conceive it to be that you should continue in office. Would you require a very strong reason indeed? You yourself shall give it from the last four months of our history, and I will freely consent to your retirement when you can designate a successor who will truly hold the sentiments and pursue the conduct mentioned in yours of December. But even then you ought to consider that it is not given to every man to bend the bow of Ulysses, whatever may be his wishes or intentions, and well know that weight of character is, in arduous circumstances, quite as useful as strength of Edition: current; Page: [170] mind. God grant you long life and good health; the rest you will take care of. Farewell. I am, ever yours.”

Morris left London on the 7th of June for Switzerland, having previously taken leave of the king, partaken of farewell dinners with various friends, and conversed with Lord Grenville, “which conversation, though short,” he says, “amounts nevertheless to a great deal in substance.” He left amply provided by Lord Grenville with letters.

After the various vicissitudes experienced at that time when crossing the North Sea from Gravesend to Altona in a Dutch sailing-vessel—“sleeping in a so-called bed upon a mattress about two feet too short, with no sheets and but two blankets,” with a pretty fresh wind and “all sail left standing so as to avoid the trouble of taking them in and setting them again,” Morris arrived safely at Altona, June 12th. “The vis inertiœ of the Dutchman nearly cost me my horses. At four I hear them stamping and struggling upon deck. They tumble down, break the frail stalls which had been built for them, and such is the list of the ship that it is with difficulty they can, when clear of the wreck, keep upon their legs. I go to my old quarters at Altona, but, alack! they are taken, and, what is worse, my landlord is not at home, so that I know not whether any lodgings are taken for me elsewhere. Finally, I have my baggage brought to the King of England Hotel. Everything is, I find, become dearer since I left this place, or else the expectations of the innkeeper are greatly raised by the concourse of strangers. I meet M. Dumas this morning in the street; he regrets not having believed what I told him about the assignats.”

“A M. Macon, aide-de-camp to M. de Lafayette, calls on me [June 20th], and consumes a great deal of my time in recounting projects to get him out of prison. He is to Edition: current; Page: [171] send me some papers relating to his confinement, etc. I write less than I ought, owing to this interruption, and then go and partake of an indifferent dinner at Madame de Flahaut’s. Miss Mathiesen gives me a lesson in the German language. Take Madame de Flahaut driving, and, chemin faisant, she tells me her whereabouts with her Portuguese lover, M. Souza.”

“This morning [June 29th] the Abbé de St. Far calls on me, and then M. de Montjoie, whom I accompany to his lodgings, and see there the Duke of Orleans, with whom I converse on his situation and future prospects. He is to breakfast with me to-morrow. Return home, and, as I am in a hurry, fearing to be late for an appointment, I hurt my foot on the wretched pavement of this town. The Abbé de St. Far does not come until a long half-hour after my return. We dine together at the restaurateur’s, and go thence to Madame de Flahaut’s.”

“This morning [June 30th] MM. Montjoie and d’Orléans breakfast with me. Settle the proper arrangements with the latter, and take him home in my way to dinner at Mr. Parish’s. A large company here to a turtle, and Mr. Ross, the gendre de la maison, makes us drink an immense dose of claret. Play at whist, and return home late. I observe that M. Bonaparte has, in a late address to the Tyrolese, imitated in some measure the famous proclamation of the Duke of Brunswick. Those who found the latter horrible, admire the former for its energy. Such is the justice and impartiality of mankind. If I judge rightly of those mountaineers, M. Bonaparte will not find favor with them, and, after committing himself by such sanguinary declaration, he will, by adhering to it, excite indignation, or, by abandoning it, contempt.”

“This morning [July 12th] I am up at three o’clock, and, after much fatigue in hurrying my servants packing Edition: current; Page: [172] up, I at length get off at five on my journey to Berlin. At Fehrbellin I take post-horses, so as to spare my own young cattle. The waagemeister tries to make me pay for one more horse than I ordered. He considers himself a man of genius, and so, to show that genius, is very eloquent on every occasion, in the very worst dialect of the German language. He is a very great patriot as far as the abuse of kings, nobles, priests, etc., may go, and, with high pretensions to superiority over his fellow-servants, is disposed to consider himself on a level with his master. He says he despises Prussia and its government so much that he never troubled himself to inquire about Berlin, etc. However, as he sits next the postilion, this one tells him that postilions are forbidden to smoke through the forest; that the jägers, if they see them do it, take away their pipes, but yet the jägers themselves smoke. He tells me this with much zeal and emphasis, to prove the oppression of the government. What a barbarous law against the poor. I humbly represent to him that the poor depend much for fuel on these forests, which may be quite consumed by the carelessness of a postilion; that there is no great hardship in being deprived of the use of a pipe while a man rides from one stage to another; that it would be, perhaps, a useful regulation of police to prohibit smoking anywhere, except in the apartments of a house, because villages may be consumed by it, and remind him of our anxiety on shipboard lest the smokers should set the hay on fire. He takes his departure from this point by asserting that there is much more danger from the use of flambeaux behind noblemen’s carriages. I then again humbly represent to him that in the dark, rainy, or snowy nights of winter, numerous carriages, driving about in every direction and through narrow streets, without lights, might not only injure each other but prove fatal to footpassengers; Edition: current; Page: [173] wherefore it might be a useful regulation of police to oblige those who use carriages to exhibit lights. On the whole, I desire him to inquire whether a nobleman be not equally forbidden, with all others, to smoke in the forest. After some consultation with the postilion, he exults in the discovery that, though the law be general, yet the jägers do not take away the noblemen’s pipes. Take leave to suggest that, when a government makes just and equal laws, it cannot be blamed merely because some of those to whom the execution is intrusted wink at the breach of them; that we ourselves, on entering the frontier, found it convenient to encourage the officers in their delinquency by way of expediting our journey. Here again, filled with patriotic zeal, he complains that the portmanteau of a foot-passenger would have been examined. I do not find it worth while to continue the conversation further than to suggest that the blame here, if any, falls on the officer and not on the prince; besides, that one who travels in a chariot and four is not likely to smuggle. But the postilion makes the best commentary on the subject by lighting his pipe, and as the smoke flies in the other’s face and incommodes him not a little, I simply observe that the poor can elude the laws as well as the rich. The postilion smokes on with great fervor, till the patriot loses all patience, and would, I am persuaded, if armed at this instant with legislative power, make it felony to smoke at all. I cannot help meditating again on this occasion (as on a thousand others) upon the manner in which travels are written. A man has adopted some system of morality or politics or religion, either from habit or whim, and, in the plenitude of his own infallibility, goes on condemning the practice of every other person and nation, catches up single incidents and converts them into general data, by way of supporting his hypothesis, and, Edition: current; Page: [174] fixing on special inhibitions without seeking the reason of the law, condemns the legislator for those things which most merit applause, and there where he shows himself a provident parent, the self-conceited satirist marks him as the object of detestation.”

“At seven [July 17th] we reach the Hôtel de Russie at Berlin. The appearance of this town is magnificent, and at the same time there is an air of dissoluteness which is striking. It reminds me at once of the Palais Royal. They say that a hotter season was never known here. Nous verrons.”

“In the afternoon [July 18th] visit the ministers of Portugal, Spain, and Russia, whom I see; then the British minister, who is not at home, so I leave my letter for him; so, also, for MM. Guillaume de Humboldt and Schmidt. Count Haugwitz desires I will come to-morrow at eleven. Go from M. Schmidt’s to Madame de Nadaillac’s, who reproaches me for not coming sooner etc. Stay till twelve o’clock; a small party there à la française. The weather this day is warm, though not quite so hot as the two preceding days. I observe, in driving through this great unpeopled town, that the greater part of it is built of brick, plastered over to imitate freestone. The plastering already falls off in many places. In effect, it is emblematical of the empire over which it presides. The immense appearances, I think, want solidity, and this power must (unless upheld by the same genius and talents with those to which it owes its birth) soon fade away, and figure hereafter in history as one of those grand operas which have amused generations long since mingled with the dust, and of which no traces are now to be found. And yet the present situation of affairs would, if duly improved, furnish the means which are wanting (un arrondissement) to make of Prussia a permanent power.”

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“I am engaged to wait on Count Haugwitz [July 19th], which I do at eleven, for the people of this country are early. He seems to be a sensible man. Our conversation is, of course, on the current affairs. I tell him that I consider Prussia mistress, in the present circumstances, of the fate of Europe, and throw out the idea that Hanover appears to me necessary to the due consistency of the Prussian Empire. I see that this is a favorite idea. He asks me by what means that acquisition is to be made, and I suggest the exchange of it for Flanders, as a transaction which might perhaps be suitable to all parties. He seems to consider that object as environed by much of embarrassment, and it seems to me that this arises from the length to which they have gone in connection with France. He wishes to know the reason why money is so scarce in England, and I tell him the different causes of scarcity and the circumstances which have placed it so much in evidence. I terminate the conversation, which is leading into length, by taking leave of him. If he wishes anything further, he will seek it. But his chief (Bischofs-werder) being with the King in Pyrmont, it is probable he will leave all this just where it is. We considered a little the probable state of France in time to come. I go from hence to see Madame de Nadaillac, and take her to dine with the Portuguese minister. After dinner visit her son at his pension, and we then ride in the park together. Un peu tendre, mais rien de conclusif. I learn that the King is as much in the hands of common women as ever Louis XV. was, and still more—if possible. The great Edition: current; Page: [176] events which occupy just now the attention of this capital are the exilings of abandoned women and actresses, etc.; high-handed acts of authority, exercised towards very insignificant persons and on very trivial occasions, serving to excite at once contempt, disgust, and aversion; but there are more than twenty-five thousand troops, well disciplined and appointed, to preserve the majesty of the Empire. This town is built on such a dead level that the gutters do not carry off the water, and, of course, the stench is great and disagreeable, probably most unwholesome.”

“M. Kalitchoff wished to know [July 22d] whether I thought anything could be done to serve the wandering chief of the House of Bourbon. I tell him that in my opinion he has nothing left but to try and get shot, redeeming by valor the foregone follies of his conduct. This, if he fails, will rescue his memory from reproach, and if fate directs away the shot aimed at his life it may restore him to the good opinion of his nation; that there is very little chance of his being called to the throne of his ancestors, but if any, it is only to be secured by such valorous conduct as may command the respect of the French. The Russian minister wishes to continue a conversation which I commenced with him the other day, so I go on and explain, under the various hypotheses which present themselves, what I conceive possible for the different powers of Europe. M. d’Escar dines with me, and after dinner I go to M. de Humboldt’s, who takes me to see Madame de Berg. Go from thence to Madame de Nadaillac’s, who takes me to tea at Madame de Haugwitz’s. The Spanish minister says that the people of Rome are extremely vexed at the peace made with the French by the Pope.”

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“This morning [July 23d] M. de Humboldt calls on me, and we go together to see a monument raised by the present King to his natural son. I dine (very much against my will) with Prince Ferdinand. I was engaged to a very agreeable party, but it seems that their Highnesses must never be denied unless it is from indisposition. I had, however, written a note declining the intended honor, but the messenger, upon looking at it, for it was a letter patent like the invitation, said he could not deliver it, that nobody ever refused, etc.—all which I was informed of after he was gone, and on consulting found I must go or give mortal offence, which last I have no inclination to do; so I write another note and send out to hunt up the messenger. While I am abroad this untoward incident is arranged, and of course I am at Bellevue. This prince resembles the picture of his brother, the late king, but has by no means the same expression of countenance. The princess is tolerably well-looking, now that she is made up, and the children are rather handsome than otherwise. It is said that their progenitor was one Schmittau, aide-de-camp to old Frederick. Old Ferdinand has at least the exterior of regard to this acquired offspring. The princess is overjoyed at a piece of news she has just heard, in such way as proves that it is a fabrication to amuse her, by some courtier who knows the gentle feelings of her breast. A traveller, it seems, is arrived, who heard from the servant of some other traveller that in a popular commotion at Vienna, consequent on the late ill-success of the Austrian arms, the Emperor has been massacred by the mob. She says it is a pity, for he, a good sort of creature, innocent cause of all the evils which Europe groans under, and, moreover, being already afflicted with a pectoral complaint, must naturally perish in no distant period, if his days be not already shortened Edition: current; Page: [178] by the catastrophe she has just heard. This Court of Ferdinand abounds in such news, and from the same cause, of which a late instance is said to have produced a good anecdote. Somebody had contrived to make the whole host of Condé prisoners, and then to put them all to the sword by the victorious republicans. Elated by so splendid an affair, the princess sent to M. Caillard, the Minister of the Republic, to know if it was true; and he in reply is said to have written that he had not the slightest information of so bloody an event, which it was to be hoped, for the sake of humanity, was not true. I sit at table next to a M. Percival, brother to Madame de Vannoise. He says that he knew me in the society of Madame de Laborde, of the Carrousel, at Paris. He brought here the diamond called the ‘Regent,’ to be pledged for a loan, which has been obtained for the new Republic. He assures me that his sentiments are still pure, and those of M. Caillard also. Asks permission to wait on me, and to make me acquainted with M. Caillard. I shall be very happy, etc., but apprise him that I am not at all agreeable to his government, and therefore leave it to him to consult with M. Caillard how far it may be proper to risk seeing me. He seems very desirous. This afternoon the ministers of Spain and Portugal, with the Marquise de Nadaillac and Baron d’Escar go to the garden at Charlottenburg, which they are so kind as to show me, and afterwards we take tea with Mrs. Brown, the wife of the King’s physician—an English family. Here I see Princess Augusta, youngest daughter of His Prussian Majesty, who seems desirous to please. The garden of Charlottenburg is tolerable, and that is all. On our return, speaking of the arrangements of old Frederick about his posterity, the Baron d’Escar tells me the history of the present King of Sweden, who is the illegitimate son of Edition: current; Page: [179] the Duchess of Sudermania. Louis XV. was said to be the son of a M. de Nangis. The questions raised as to the legitimacy of the late Dauphin are buried now in the tomb which encloses the ashes of that unfortunate child. From what source is to flow the new line of Gallic monarchs?”

“I am introduced to-day [July 24th] to the Princess Dowager of Hesse, who being desirous to know what will probably result from the progress of the French arms, I tell her that the little princes along the Rhine must lay their account in being the humble servants of the Republic. She does not like this. Prince Frederick says the proclamation of the Duke of Brunswick was forced upon him by the King, acting with the advice of Shulemberg, who adopted the plan given by —; that the conduct of the campaign was contrary to the advice of his brother, Prince Henry, who recommended assembling the army on the frontier, and declaring to the French nation that it was not intended to invade them, much less to dismember the kingdom, but merely to re-establish the monarchy. This plan would not have succeeded better than the other; at least, I think not. But all the past is now consigned to the facts of history. As to the future, it is in the hands of that Supreme Intelligence which mocks the prudence of man, and his cunning, which we presume to dignify with the name of wisdom.”

“Call on Madame de Nadaillac [July 25th]. The Baron d’Escar comes in. He seems a little hurt. Dine at home, and call after dinner to take her out to ride. He is there, and has the same air. He wishes to marry her, a foolish thing for both of them, but he is in love and can’t see it. She, who is not, opposes but pities him. I advise her to Edition: current; Page: [180] love me, which she seems inclined to, but reason steps in to advise her against it. She has preserved herself pure from a man she was much attached to during her husband’s life by respect for the marriage vow; she has resisted the King of Prussia, who offered the honors of the handkerchief, and Prince Louis, whose letters she shows me proving that fact. It would be ridiculous to succumb now to a voyageur who treats everything lightly, and yet such a thing might happen. She gives me the character of the ministers and monarch conformably to what I had previously heard among the members of the Corps Diplomatique. The Baron, who comes after our return, has an air of despondency which touches me, and which is far from being changed by perceiving, in the countenance of the fair, marks of sentiment which he cannot excite.”

“The Vicomte d’Anadia and Chevalier de Borghese breakfast with me [July 26th]. The latter tells me that the French are at their old work of destroying nobility in Italy. Perhaps some persons not yet involved in the mischief may awaken, but as yet the sleep appears profound. When they are gone I call on Lord Elgin, and we converse fully on the present state of affairs. He considers the Prussian Cabinet as being completely in the hands of France, and, moreover, as being too feeble, from the personal character of the King, to undertake and pursue any great plan of politics. He says they will confine themselves to the peculation of towns and districts from time to time, so as to keep up the attention and flatter the avidity of the Prussian monarch and nation, without risking the chances of remote events for any permanent interest. Edition: current; Page: [181] He thinks also that Russia will not assent to any arrangement which may give an increase of power to this monarchy. Things seem, however, to press pretty hard, and, in my opinion, if a decisive conduct be not speedily adopted, all future efforts will be useless. If, however, a considerable battle should be gained against the French in Upper Suabia, it would totally change the face of affairs. Lord Elgin says he is upon the scent of what has passed in Pyrmont. I fancy the public will know it as soon as anybody; for if, in effect, there be any plan adopted there, its execution must be prompt and immediate. He gives me the history of the little stories of women which have lately emanated from the King of the Bulgarians. Evidently he must be a very weak Prince, and if he be placed in arduous circumstances he must be ruined. I take Madame de Nadaillac to dinner at M. Haugwitz’s. A petit dîner, after which some conversation with him. In the course of it we agree that the situation of Europe is very critical; that the German Empire is, in effect, annihilated, and the name of it only useful to those who, in the interval which precedes its public dissolution, know how to possess themselves of its spoils; that this idea formed the basis of that policy pursued by old Fritz when he put himself at the head of a Germanic Confederation; that the possession of Mayence by the French opens for them a road into the heart of Germany, and that the fate of Europe is in the hands of the Prussian Cabinet. I observe to him that, however it may have been in the interest of this Court to depress the Austrian power, it seems by no means advisable to overturn it, and that the extension of the power of France, though very pleasing to us Americans and republicans, cannot be perfectly so to the kings and nobles of Europe, who will probably see the anticipation of their own fate in ancient history, and may Edition: current; Page: [182] perhaps already perceive that the Republic of France is not much more respectful in its conduct than was ancient Rome. He does not feel pleasantly under this, but says, as to the conduct of this kingdom, they must wait and let others come to them (laisser venir), which may be translated ‘bid at their auction.’ I applaud the wisdom of this idea, which might, however, be characterized by a name less noble, and only add that if they suffer matters to go one-half inch beyond their means of arresting the progress, from that moment they are lost; just as all those have been hitherto ruined who, in a like indolence, have looked on indifferent at the fate of their neighbors. He tells me that Saxony wishes now to connect herself federatively with Prussia. He does not say, neither do I ask, what may be the success of such proposal, because I presume that the sense of the French Directory must be first known. I tell him that there is one circumstance well worthy of their attention, viz., that the French Government, apprehensive lest the army should overturn them and establish the authority of a military chief, cannot but desire the destruction of that army previous to a peace, and of course that it would be a leading point of policy with them to re-establish Poland, in the course of which Russia and Prussia could not do them a greater favor than to kill their troops. This conception seems never to have entered into people’s heads here, so difficult is it to comprehend what passes before our eyes.”

“Dine [July 27th] with Lord Elgin, who learns that a truce of nineteen days has taken place between Austria and France. He communicates to me whatever he knows of the situation of things; is to call on M. d’Alvensleben, who hitherto has been the greatest enemy of the British Court.”

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“I dine at M. Schmidt’s at Charlottenburg [July 28th]. We have a large company. Lord Elgin tells me the result of his conference with M. d’Alvensleben, which is far more satisfactory than he expected. I go to Prince Ferdinand’s. The Princess not being at home, I await her return.”

“This morning [July 29th] I read, and write a letter. Call on the Portuguese and British ministers. Dine with Madame de Nadaillac. Her friend and adorer the Baron d’Escar dines also with us. She would have been as well content if he had not come. After dinner we go together to the rout of Madame de Haugwitz, which is just like all other things of the same sort. After our return we are un peu froids, and then très animés, but the sound of the Baron’s boots leaves everything undecided. She has what the French call une tête exaltée, and the struggle between her reasonings and her wishes gives no small interest. Au reste, things must take their course sans que je m’en mêle, for it is chance which usually decides.”

During his visit at Berlin, Morris, in fulfilment of a promise made to Lord Grenville before he left London, commenced a series of letters to his lordship in which he gave him information of the state of Europe and of the feeling of the various court circles in which he moved. The first of the series was dated July 28th, and in a very straightforward manner he set before his lordship the state of feeling at the Court of Berlin, and the “object, which is, my lord,” he says, “to possess the King’s electoral dominions; and,” he continues, they will accomplish it unless you can reduce their power to a second order. The German Empire still exists in name, but in fact it is annihilated. Those who calculate on former establishments neglecting present circumstances will be dupes. They may slumber behind the intrenchments of mouldy records, but the point Edition: current; Page: [184] of a Prussian bayonet will awaken them. Events in Italy and on the Rhine have thrown everything into confusion at Vienna. France may derive every advantage from it; perhaps she will. This Cabinet now holds the fate of Europe in its hands. If you mean to have their cordial assistance, you must give them a consideration of permanent value. If France dictates peace to Austria, Prussia may perhaps risk taking Hanover, and holding it under a French guarantee. That will depend on the occupation which can be found for the Empress of Russia. She is not immortal. I believe it is possible to make an arrangement which will bring you to a solid and useful peace. If Prussia receives the King’s electoral dominions on condition that you get the countries lying north of ancient France and west of the Rhine, including Dutch Flanders with Flushing and Berg-op-zoom; if Prussia give Cleves and Prussian Gelders to the Stadtholder, erecting Holland into a monarchy and receiving the Dutch American possessions; if the Emperor receive Bavaria; and the Elector of Bavaria, in lieu of it, the German territory along the Rhine in possession of France, the Emperor leaving, for the present at least, his possessions in the Milanese to the King of Sardinia; you surrendering to France her possessions in the East and West Indies, but keeping the Cape of Good Hope and Trincomalee—if these things be done, Prussia becomes your friend from the double tie of interest and apprehension. Once get her at sea and you will know how to deal with her. The same thing may be predicted as to France, so far as you would hereafter work upon her fears.

“If, on the contrary, you possess yourself of all her transmarine dominions, from that moment, she confining herself to a marine merely military, you are reduced to that dependence in which hitherto she has been held to Edition: current; Page: [185] you, because in a marine war you may lose much and can gain nothing. I am persuaded, my lord, that this Court may be brought to concur heartily in such a plan—which, by the by, Russia will certainly dislike, unless, indeed, an exchange could be made as a peace-offering to the Empress, giving her Finland for Norway, to be taken by Sweden at the expense of Denmark, which would suit this Cabinet so much the better as a dispute with Denmark would favor projects against Hamburg, Lübeck, and Mecklenburg, reserving the entry into Holstein for the moment when Denmark should be sufficiently embarrassed in her affairs to render it a mere parade instead of a campaign. Should a proper understanding take place between the courts interested on the matters above mentioned, it seems to me that Prussia might come forward and offer her mediation on the following conditions: First, the status quo in Europe at a certain day past, and in Asia and America a certain day to come. Secondly, the full acknowledgment of that form of government which the French may think proper to adopt, and a renunciation of all claim to interfere in their affairs. Thirdly, the inviolability of the rights of property. The first point would cut off all claims and clamors of retribution by merging precedent dominion in the rights of conquest. The second, indifferent in itself, and coupled with the first, would serve as a lever to raise the army and people of France against the government, if the mediation should be refused and the force of Prussia be in consequence once more exerted, or (if you please) once exerted, against France. The third point would enable this Cabinet to draw on negotiation into length so as to exhaust your enemy, in and through his finance, because new points of discussion might continually be raised and would serve as the ground of retribution to many emigrants, perhaps to all, Edition: current; Page: [186] and even obtain some valuable compensation to the Bourbons for the royal domain. Among the many circumstances which seem to call for decision, that which may principally interest you is the desire of France to preserve to herself one enemy, and that you should have that unpleasant preference; also the necessity which the government lies under of employing its armies until they shall be reduced to a safe insignificance. Your fleet may preserve you from invasion, or cutting off all supplies from the desultory corps thrown on your coast may operate their destruction. In so doing, you would not disserve the Directory. At the same time, I cannot but think that forty or sixty thousand victorious Frenchmen preaching republicanism in Britain would be very troublesome. But although you would preserve the kingdom free from injury, perhaps from attack, I do not see how you could preserve His Majesty’s Prussian dominions. If peace be dictated to Austria, France and Prussia will find employment for Russia in Turkey, in Poland, and in Sweden. Denmark will be awed into acquiescence or be robbed of her Holstein. You are cut off completely from all means of communication with your allies; in short, you must depend on the good will of Russia, when her interest is only secondary and, even as such, remote.

“If I were to dwell longer on these subjects I should write a dissertation instead of a letter, and weary you with details which will readily suggest themselves without my meddling. I pray you to believe, my lord, in my respectful attachment.”

“This morning [August 1st] I visit the Chevalier de Borghese and take him to Lord Elgin’s, where we dine. Marshal Möllendorf is there, and M. d’Alvensleben, with Edition: current; Page: [187] whom I had formerly a slight acquaintance in London at M. de la Luzerne’s. The old field-marshal feels as if he could give the French a dressing, provided he was let loose upon them.”

“This morning [August 2d], as I go down-stairs I am recognized by the valet-de-chambre of the Vicomte d’Orléans. This is lucky, for I wished to see him. I call (on foot) at Madame de Nadaillac’s by appointment. She is in bed indisposed, and her friends, of course, are with her. After they are gone I sketch out a letter for her, and vex and please her alternately. She says it is wrong, and I am of her opinion. The Baron comes in, and we consider the letter I wrote. It will probably be useless, for these poor emigrants are determined, from the highest to the lowest, that they will always act imprudently. Dine with Lord Elgin. He goes out of town again at night on one of his amorous expeditions. I suggest very gently to him that in the present critical situation it may be necessary that he should be here. This conversation takes place at M. de Heinitz’s, where I spend the evening, there being a great entertainment. From dinner I go to see the Baron d’Alvensleben, with whom I have a long conversation on the present state of things. He lets me see that he fears Russia, and wishes not to break with France, whose successes nevertheless alarm him. He, like all weak men, is seeking for a ground of future hope in the possible contingencies, without adverting to the means of commanding fortune by strong measures. I open to him fully the means which suggest themselves to my mind for pacifying Europe without danger, and with much gain to Prussia. He thinks France will not be prevailed upon to part with Flanders.”

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“The Vicomte d’Orléans consumes a great part of my morning [August 4th]. I dine at Charlottenburg with M. Schmidt, and am seated next to the Comtesse de la Marche, a natural daughter of the King. We have a very odd conversation. She tells me how she is closely watched by a grandmother, aunt, and governess, who are here, besides a great-aunt left at home; how the governess is harsh towards pleasures she never felt, having never had a lover, and her husband not calculated to inspire passion; how her aunt, who has had many lovers, is sly and cunning from her great experience; how her grandmother scolds for the pleasure of scolding, and the old woman at home is also very cross; how they have defied her to deceive them, and yet she has been for an hour together with a young man whom she loved, and (prodigious effort) allowed him only to kiss her, for which cruel coldness a companion she had found fault with her. After dinner I call on Madame de Nadaillac, where I see Madame de Sabran. She is much changed, and from a handsome woman has become coarse, masculine, with an air effronté which is very disagreeable. Can this be occasioned by her residence at Rhinesberg? Is vice so infectious? These and other questions might be curious in the solution.”

On the 5th of August Morris wrote the second of the series of letters to Lord Grenville, which contained all the information he had gleaned since the last one was written.

“They tremble here,” he says, “at the knout, so that, could they persuade themselves that the Empress of Russia would live ten years, her wishes would be their law. The success of the French excites apprehension, and if vigorous counsels prevailed you would probably hear of an army under Möllendorf as the prelude of an offer of mediation without consulting any of the belligerent powers. Edition: current; Page: [189] As far as I can judge, they have hitherto sought for little things by little means, but now await the proposals which may be made to them. Whatever these may be, the adherence of Russia will greatly facilitate the adoption of them. They try to persuade themselves that France, from internal divisions, the defect of finance, or pure good will, may leave them unmolested. It has been suggested to them that if she keep possession of Flanders, give up her colonies, and preserve a military marine, she will fear nothing from Britain, who can never afterwards be considered as a weight against her in the general scale of Europe. It would seem that this idea had not before presented itself, for it excited serious reflection. On their hope of quiet either from the interior quarrels or exterior good will of France, it has been observed that the former would (as in ancient Rome) become the constant motive to foreign war, and that France, like Rome, the enemy of all nations (especially those under kingly government), would grant to this, as to any other monarch, the blessings of her friendship till the moment marked for his destruction.

“In effect, my lord, I have no doubt that France, whether she fall under the dominion of an usurper (the natural termination to her present state), or whether she form herself into some tolerable shape of republic, may become dangerous to the liberty of all Europe. Should military despotism take place, that cheap, simple, and severe government will find abundant resources in the soil, climate, and industry of so fine a country. I cannot say absolutely that it is in your power to decide this Cabinet, but I believe so; I ought to have said somewhere (and will say it here) that the character of this people, formed by a succession of rapacious princes, is turned towards usurpation. The war with France was disagreeable to Edition: current; Page: [190] them, because it melted down the accumulations of old Frederick, and did not present an immediate accession of territory. But the war with or, rather, against Poland was not unpopular, because the moral principles of a Prussian go to the possession of whatever he can acquire; and so little is he the slave of what he calls vulgar prejudice, that, give him opportunity and means, he will spare you the trouble of finding a pretext. This liberality of sentiment greatly facilitates negotiation, for it is not necessary to clothe propositions in honest and decent forms.

“It is not impossible that the Imperial troops may be at length victorious, and in such case the French army, if hotly pursued, must be destroyed. Such, at least, is the opinion which common-sense dictates, and which in conversation with old Möllendorf he strongly confirmed. He went so far as to say that sixty thousand men, well commanded, could not fail to force the French back over the Rhine. With the weight of such an authority, I also am disposed to believe the same thing. But I do not believe in the well commanded, and, indeed, had made up my mind to a part of what has happened when Prince Charles was appointed to succeed Claerfayt. These reiterated misfortunes may perhaps impel the Imperial Cabinet to the nomination of an abler chief, with discretionary powers, and certainly the French, so far advanced without magazines, are in a critical condition. The fortune of war, therefore, may restore the affairs of the Allies, but how far it may be prudent to trust that capricious goddess is not for me to decide. I have said that this Court would accomplish their object unless their power could be reduced to a second order. I was impressed with the practicability of such a plan in the spring of 1795, and since I have been here my belief amounts almost to conviction. But the most favorable moment has gone by, and the difficulties Edition: current; Page: [191] are increased. Little can be expected from Austria, though everything may be hoped from the feebleness of the Prussian King and Cabinet. Is it to be attempted? On that question I may observe that you might count on the cordial aid of your imperial allies, who will not so readily concur to aggrandize the House of Brandenburg, and may oppose the exchanges mentioned in my last letter. These, however, are, to the best of my judgment, most advisable for England, because they furnish the probable means of wresting the Low Countries, and securing the independence of Holland; so far, at least, as Holland can be independent. The plan I contemplated for reducing Prussia was to erect a new but hereditary kingdom of Poland, with a constitution as free and energetic as the moral state of the people may admit; such kingdom to consist of the country ceded by the last partition to Austria, and the whole of the Prussian acquisitions, together with Prussian Silesia, a corner of Lower Lusatia, the New Marche, and that part of Pomerania lying east of the Oder. I have no question but that two hundred thousand Austrian and Russian troops would speedily have effected this, with the aid of Kosciusko and his Poles. With this, as with every other arrangement for permanent peace, I couple the possession of Bavaria by Austria. But, under such hypothesis, there would result a solecism in British politics. While, as Englishmen, you must seek and seize the means of reducing French power and influence, you must, as Germans, wish for their increase in order to secure your Hanover against the imperial pretensions. Hence an oscillation of measures dependent on personal character. It is sufficient to present this idea, improper to pursue it. Indifferent to the fate of the German Empire, you might choose your allies according to your immediate interest. The aggrandizement of the two empires on the Edition: current; Page: [192] side of Italy and Constantinople would be useful to you, by forming two naval powers in the Mediterranean to balance your constant enemies, France and Spain; for Spain seems irrecoverably attached to her neighbor by the relation of weakness to force. Whether your population could resist, through a long struggle, the weight of a people spread out from the Alps and the Rhine to the Pillars of Hercules is a question I will not presume to decide. Experience has taught me a sincere faith in the fallacy of human opinions, and more especially of my own. I am, my lord, your obedient servant.”

“Call after dinner [August 7th] on the Russian Minister, M. Kalitchoff. We have a long conversation on the means of restoring peace to Europe, and the influence which the Empress may have over this Cabinet to that effect. I explain to him how an exchange of Hanover for the Low Countries will tend to secure to Russia the unvarying friendship of England, and he is struck with the force of the observation. He tells me that the want of a proper minister here has greatly weakened the influence of his Court; that they were in the habit, before his time, of presenting an office, and, instead of discussing the subject of it, to hear the reasons against it and transmit them to Petersburg, which had the double mischief of creating delay and exciting the indignation of this Court by the air of superiority which resulted from it. He says that Catherine sent an agent to Brunswick as soon as the King of Prussia opened a treaty with France, to oppose the effect of it; that a Hanoverian who was here as a simple chargé d’affaires prevailed on Bischofswerder to obtain from the King a refusal to ratify, and consequent recommencement of hostilities, provided the arrears of the English subsidy be placed ready at his order in Hamburg. At that time Great Britain had no minister here. He complains Edition: current; Page: [193] that the English and Russian ministers at Vienna are not equal to their business, for that otherwise they might have prevented the Austrian Cabinet from committing many follies. He urges me to stay here a little longer to see what may be the state of affairs in Saxony and Bohemia, if not to learn the decisions of this Cabinet after the King’s arrival.

“I go from his house to visit Madame de Nadaillac. She tells me that the Chevalier de Borghese has told her the freedom of my conversation here on political subjects has given offence. She could not get out of him his informant, but from what he said, and which she repeats, I collect that if my ideas be not pushed by the powers which be, the ministers will be vexed at the attention they gave them. I mean not to stay here much longer, and during that time shall not say anything more unless solicited. Sooner or later they will find that my views are favorable to the peace and happiness of mankind. He has got his information by halves, and is certainly not in the secret of what passes here. Madame de Nadaillac tells me not to be surprised if my stay at Berlin should be irksome to the Cabinet. Sensible of their insignificance, and that they are only the clerks of their officers, they fear that the eye of a stranger should penetrate the arcana of their humiliating condition, etc. She, like all people of imagination, exaggerates; but there is a foundation of truth, and I place it in the apprehension that a stranger should discover the feebleness of their internal condition. They are sensible that it is too late to conceal it from me, for it formed one strong feature of my conversation with M. d’Alvensleben, and it could not but be disagreeable to him. I had occasion also to touch on the state of the Cabinet, respectfully but freely, so as to show that the decisive measures which might have marked the conduct of Edition: current; Page: [194] the King in circumstances like the present could not, perhaps, be safely recommended at this moment. This is also a bitter and unpleasant truth, which they must feel, but cannot like to hear?”

“To-day [August 8th] I dine with M. Schmidt, whose attentions have been unremitted and whose table is excellent. The Chevalier de Boufflers, who sees me from the street, comes up. He is just arrived from Poland. Time has worn him down since I last saw him. He puts on an infinity of warmth, and I preserve my natural coldness. In effect, I was not much pleased with his conduct before he left France, and still less with what I hear of him since. Call on Madame de Nadaillac. She has with her a Mayençais, and when he leaves her she tells me his conversation consisted in the history of his courtship and marriage. The first occupied several years, and at last the power of almighty love induced the yielding fair one to make the promise of her hand. They were married at eight in the morning, and, agreeably to the custom of the country, went immediately out of town; but the same custom rendering it improper for them to ride together, his brother accompanied the bride, who fell in love with her on the way, and thus deprived his brother of his newly acquired treasure. This brotherly conduct speaks highly in favor of the manners of Mayence. Madame de Nadaillac complains that I did not come sooner, and that I leave her so shortly after I arrive, to go and pass a dull evening with Madame la Générale—. Talk a sort of reason to her which no woman can bear unless pretty well touched by the wicked child, and take advantage of the little ill-humor thus excited to leave her abruptly. She repents before I am out of the door, and bids me adieu by way of bringing me back; but I pursue my route without a word or look, and in my way meet the Baron, who is, I presume, going Edition: current; Page: [195] thither, and will suffer under the crossness of which I am the cause. I come home early, so as to leave my fair friend time for reflection, having told her that I will leave Berlin in a few days.”

“This morning [August 9th], write, and dine at home. I received, as I expected, a note this morning from Madame de Nadaillac, to which I answered un peu lestement, but yet leaving room for what actually happened. According to her desire. I visit her this afternoon, but, as the devil would have it, I meet the Chevalier de Boufflers on the stairs, who has been denied admission. The arrival of my carriage has produced a change. Madame is at home, but the intended tête-à-tête does not take place.”

The result of this morning’s work was the following letter to Lady Sutherland, for whom and Lord Gower Morris cherished a sincere and lasting friendship.


Countess of Sutherland, London:

“I shall direct this letter to you, dear lady, in London, though I suppose you are enjoying the tranquillities of Wimbledon, where, if I had a certain wishing-cap, I should find myself sitting next to you, delighted to see and hear ‘you all the while, softly speak and sweetly smile.’ Luckily this same cap does not fit my head, otherwise I should have been to you a most troublesome guest. I will not say anything to you on public affairs, because (and here I might take the credit of discretion, but prefer the humble truth) I am not in the secret. But when you are Prime Minister and take me for your principal secretary, oh, then, we will have rare politics! We of the society in Berlin, which you will observe is a translation of la société, etc., are delighted at the misfortunes of the Austrian armies, which we attribute to the misconduct of that Cabinet, Edition: current; Page: [196] a circumstance which gives us additional pleasure. We cannot find words to express our astonishment that the French, whose armies do not altogether exceed 200,000 men, should hold Holland, conquer Italy, ravage Germany, and threaten the destruction of the House of Austria. I recollect telling you, when I last saw you at Wimbledon, that I expected no good on the Rhine, and now I will whisper in your ear that, if Claerfayt should be again sent to command the Austrian army, he would probably drive the French beyond the Rhine faster (if possible) than they have advanced; and that because, very gayly (à la française), they have thrown themselves precipitately forward without magazines or resources, so that, checked in front and a small body of troops thrown on their left flank, they would be obliged to make off, or to be cut off.

“This, however, is not what I meant to tell you; but that there is somewhere in this neighborhood a poor man who took it into his head to fall in love with you, which whim, after tormenting him a sufficient time in England, at length drove him hither out of his senses. I do not recollect his name, and you, I suppose, keep no account of such trifles; but truly, lady, if madness be the consequence, I am determined to get out of love, for I would not be mad, ye gods! not mad; no, not for all the pleasures which madmen only are acquainted with. It is not by way of whim, nor yet absolutely for the pleasure of meeting you at Vienna—though, indeed, such an idea would go far to sway my judgment—but for reasons which I will leave Lord Gower to guess at, that I wish he were appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to the Emperor. Perhaps your friend Dundas could tell you why; perhaps you may guess yourself, on reading over this letter. A person who talked tome lately on this subject mentioned Edition: current; Page: [197] my Lord Malmesbury. I have been asked if Sir Morton Eden was considered an able man (for my accent in speaking induces folks to believe I am an Englishman). I answered, as you may well suppose, that I knew nothing of the matter. Adieu, dear lady. Remember me to your lord, and say for me to yourself whatever you may like best, only observing that I won’t be mad.”

“M. le Comte Gasparé called this morning [August 9th]. He dashed into politics; is very desirous that Prussia should take part in the contest. He dines every day with Haugwitz; was scandalized at a conversation the other day with Prince Louis, when Haugwitz, Major Walker, and himself formed the whole of the society. The ministers here do not want ability nor intelligence, but the weakness of the monarch prevents them from acting a decisive part. Haugwitz and Bischofswerder are very well together, and it is understood that all propositions not made to the former must fall to the ground.”

Again, on the 10th, Morris sent to Lord Grenville a budget of suggestions and hints, as follows:

“Lord Elgin tells me that he shall send a messenger this evening. I will, therefore, trouble your lordship with some loose thoughts respecting this Court. You know that ever since the accession of his present Majesty there have been endless intrigues to possess him, and through him the power of the State. These still exist, and are pursued with unceasing attention, so that no great plan of conduct can be adopted, from the fear that some untoward incident should disgust the monarch before things could be brought to issue, in which case the advisers and supporters of the plan would be overturned. It is from this very circumstance that I think it possible to obtain from Edition: current; Page: [198] Russia the complete direction of this Cabinet. To that effect it would be proper to understand perfectly with Bischofswerder and his right-hand man, Haugwitz, so that their greatness should be intimately combined with your interests. Furnish them money when the success of their intrigue may require it, and let them feel that it is better, as well as safer, to put themselves into the hands of a monarchy instead of a republic. The Cabinet of Petersburg combined with you in such a plan, the King will be made to understand that both his interest and his quiet require a full confidence in those ministers. Then an efficient Cabinet will at once exist, and after, it begins to act and feel (to its astonishment, perhaps) that every great movement must be guided by your will. Observe that it is at present understood between Bischofswerder and Haugwitz that proposals not primarily addressed to the latter shall be unsuccessful. If I have a just view of the ground it will be in vain to try (by showing only public advantage) to lead this Court into the measures you might wish, and that for the reasons already mentioned. I do not conceive it possible to do anything if you wait for the assent of Austria, unless you have a complete direction and, indeed, dictation there. But, if I am rightly informed, this is not so much the case as it ought to be, all things considered. I will not say anything on that subject, for evident reasons. Propositions from England, supported by Russia, will meet with a readier attention than if the voice of the Emperor should be heard. This fact your lordship is well apprised of. I think the contents of this letter will try, if not tire, your patience, so I will proceed no farther.”

“To-day [August 11th] I write a while, then walk to Madame de Nadaillac’s, where I waste some time. In consequence I reach Lord Elgin’s later than I expected and Edition: current; Page: [199] intended, so that I have not a view of some letters he was to show me containing intelligence of the Austrian army. While we are at dinner the Prince de Reusse comes in, reads a letter brought by estafette which announces a victory gained over the French at Brescia by General Quasdanowiche, with some small advantages, under Würmser, in descending along the Adige, consequent upon which the French have precipitately retired from below Mantua, leaving their artillery, etc. This affair promises to be decisive in its consequences. After dinner the English mail arrives, and Lord Elgin receives a letter announcing the arrival of Mr. Hammond, who comes by Hanover and Minden. Mysteries which must explain themselves (says Sterne) are not worth a conjecture. I pass the evening at Prince Ferdinand’s; and give him these tidings, he finds very unpleasant. Sitting next to the Princess and conversing with her friend Schmittau, while the deals at whist permit it, we agree that the French in Germany are exposed to a similar coup, all which is more edifying than pleasant to her Royal Highness. After his game is over the prince asks me what I think of this affair and its consequences. I tell him truly what may, in my opinion, result from it, if the Austrians are able to push forward with vigor, and add that if the corps under Wartensleben receives sufficient re-enforcements to strike a blow on the Main, the French armies in Germany will be completely dissipated. He gives a melancholy assent.”

“This morning [August 12th] the Prince de Reusse breakfasts with me, and we have a long conversation on the state of public affairs, the means of remedying present Edition: current; Page: [200] evils, and a plan for future tranquillity. He tells me that Haugwitz, when he communicated the news from Italy, affected much joy. I walk out and call on Lord Elgin, who cannot receive me because he has much business. Qu.: Is Hammond arrived? I met in the street M. Giustiniani, who tells me that I disturb very much the Baron d’Escar. Afterwards meet M. de Rosencrantz, who walks with me to discuss a little the state of things. Leave him at the door of Madame de Nadaillac. She is pained by my departure, fixed for Monday. I dine at Lord Elgin’s. He says Mr. Hammond is not yet arrived, and he suspects that he is coming to replace him, on account of the leave of absence which he had requested. I cannot suppose this to be the case. He tells me that he could not receive me because he had a great many people with him. Qu.: At dinner we learn that the Prince de Hohenlohe succeeds General Wartensleben, which gives room to expect that something effective may be done. It seems to me that if he can move forward down the Main the French must be put in a very dangerous situation.”

“Lord Elgin takes me to dine at Marshal Möllendorf’s [August 14th]. After dinner I have some conversation with the old man respecting his campaign of 1794, in which he finds fault with the British administration; but on our return I mention it to Lord Elgin, who says the marshal’s representations are not just. Spend the evening with Madame de Nadaillac. Weather warm. She tells me that there has been a riot at Stettin, which having gone rather too far, the military were called on to disperse it, but refused to act against the citizens. This, if true, contrasts a little with the sentiments Count Haugwitz delivered to me this day. He said that he was not so apprehensive of insurrections here as in some other parts of Germany; that the military here is good and Edition: current; Page: [201] may be relied on. He observed that an increase of it tends to increase the revenue, because the quartering of troops in provinces where the culture is yet imperfect from the want of cattle and instruments of husbandry, by increasing the circulation, enables the peasant to procure those means, after which he can afford to pay higher taxes. I think he has too much understanding not to see where the fallacy of such argument rests; so I leave it untouched, but express the kind of consent which consists more in wonder than in conviction. He vaunts the principles of the monarchy, and tells me that however the King may have been led to abandon them the force of things will bring him back. Madame de Nadaillac wishes to go with me to Potsdam; but this would make a history hurtful to her. M. d’Anadia is to bring her back, but in going home together he shows me that he wishes to decline that journey.”

“This morning [August 15th] M. de Kalitchoff calls on me, and we have a conversation on the state of this country, its views, and its relations to others. He tells me that the Prince of Orange told him a new plan was in contemplation for bringing the old coalition again into activity on a new basis. He conjectures that Mr. Hammond comes forward on that subject. N.B.: The English newspapers say he is coming to set on foot a treaty of peace. Pay my bill and pack up; this house is dear and not good. The Baron d’Escar calls to take leave. I tell him that I shall wait Madame de Nadaillac’s orders all the morning, and will stay till to-morrow if she chooses to go to Potsdam. Set off at half-past one, and reach Potsdam in three hours. This evening I walk out to see the town, palace, and garden. A very dull, unpeopled place; it looks like the vulgar expression of ‘Would if I could.’ The weather is warm but pleasant.”

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Dresden. French emigrants fill the streets. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Manners and customs of Dresden. Goes to Court. Dines with the Duchess of Cumberland. Countess Loos. Leaves Dresden. Vienna. Baron Thugut. Sir Morton Eden. Is presented to the Emperor. News from the army. Letter to Lord Grenville. The Duke of Würtemberg. Is presented to the Archduchess. Madame of France. M. Rassoomousky. An evening at Madame Pergin’s. The French Directory answers Lord Malmesbury. Affairs in Italy. Death of the Empress of Russia. Accounts of the event. Conversation with Baron Thugut. Letter to Lord Grenville apropos of Lafayette’s release. Morris’s arrival at Dresden occasions inquiry. Madame de Colorath’s assembly. A little prince’s observations. Musicale at Mrs. Peploe’s. The levee. Prince Esterhazy. Tea with Sir Morton Eden.

Arrived at Dresden (August 19th), Morris made himself known to the various ministers to whom he had letters. The Hanoverian ambassador made arrangements to present him the next day at Court, and in the mean time sent out “half a hundred cards to the different ministers.” The number of French emigrants “which seemed to fill the streets of the town” painfully attracted Morris’s attention. Speaking of them, he says: “They are travelling eastward to avoid their countrymen. They are allowed to stay only three days. Unhappy people! Yet they are employed in seeing everything curious which they can get at; are serene, even gay. So great a calamity could never light on shoulders which could bear it so well; but, alas! the weight is not diminished by the graceful manner of supporting it. The sense, however, is less by all that Edition: current; Page: [203] spleen and ill-humor could add to torment the afflicted. Doubtless there are many among them who have a consciousness of rectitude to support them. This ground of hope in the kindness of that Being who is to all his creatures an indulgent father, with the cheerfulness of temper which nature has given to some of her favored children, may make their hearts beat lightly in their bosoms while those of their more fortunate oppressors shall sink and sicken; for surely the oppressor can never be happy. I flatter myself with the belief that a great majority of those in France would rejoice at an opportunity to call home their brethren wandering in proscribed wretchedness through a world which is to them almost a wilderness. But the day is yet perhaps at a distance.”

“We have to-day [August 20th], at the table d’hôte, a physician of the Electress Dowager of Bavaria, who takes refuge here. After dinner the Baron de Mestmacher calls on me. He says he believes his Court will interfere to support the Germanic body. Qu.: If he be not a German, and if his ideas are not tinctured by the prejudices of his birth? He gives, however, a reason which has some weight, viz., that the German mass, disunited as it is, can never be formidable to Russia, which it might be if united, or any part of it united, under one head. After he leaves me (by the by, he mentions a report that my friend Woronzow is to be transferred to Vienna) I go to walk; my route lies to the westward of the town, and at length sit down on the grass, in one of the finest situations I ever beheld. On my right, up the river, is the bridge; on one side of the river, the handsome Catholic church, on the other, the new Electoral Palace, are prominent features of the town-view, beyond which tower the hills, covered with forest, and that interspersed with villas and villages. In front I have the Elbe, and three large barges, deeply Edition: current; Page: [204] laden, which are sailing against the stream, and men on shore towing them; on the opposite side a continuation of the hills in amphitheatre, which stretch round to the left, and are there covered with vineyards; the extreme point to the left, at the termination of an avenue of trees, is a palace built by one of the Electors for a favorite mistress. At the foot of the hill on which it stands is the river, which makes a large bend round to my left. Take tea with M. de Schomberg, a nephew of Dumouriez, whom I had known at Paris. He testified much joy at seeing me, and gives me all he knows of the manner and manners of this place. The Elector is regularity itself, and a great economist. His Court copy him, the bourgeoisie copy the Court; a deep hue of religious superstition is cast over the whole, and, of course, much hypocrisy, for all cannot be religious; no gallantry, or very little, because there are no opportunities; but the girls are, he says, loose and lascivious and take up after they are married. They are especially venal, so that two or three ducats may obtain their favors. This he vouches only from hearsay, as they are thus free only to strangers by whom they are not known. I conclude, therefore, that it is a falsehood, and that women of the town, by way of getting a better price, personate to strangers young women of family.”

“This morning [August 21st] I go dressed to Mr. Grey’s and thence to Court, where I am presented to the Elector of Trèves, and afterwards to the Elector of Saxony. Dine with His Highness, who has an excellent table, very good wines, and I think the best tea I ever partook of. After dinner Mr. Grey presents me to Madame de Loos, and then to the Duchess of Cumberland. Return home and Edition: current; Page: [205] change my dress. Mr. Grey comes, and takes me to a kind of club or société which is in the same house with me, l’Hôtel de Bavière.”

To Lady Sutherland Morris wrote on the 22d to tell her that he had received her letter “of the 1st as I was stepping into my carriage at Berlin, and have not had time to write before. I do it now,” he continues, “by deferring till to-morrow my visit to the picture-gallery; I always preferred originals. I am very much obliged to you for everything you say about yourself and your lord, but you have forgotten the children. My plans have been greatly deranged by the progress of the French armies, for I did intend going into Switzerland, thence to Vienna, and finally to Naples. But I cannot get either into Switzerland or out of it without crossing the line of march of the armies, and I had rather be in a battle. But, what is worse, I should not, I believe, be able to get my horses through at all, so I shall go on to Vienna direct unless they stop me again upon that tack. Everything in this quarter of the world is à la débandade, and unless the Empress of Russia takes the thing in hand I see not what is to come of it. Intrigue and faction supply, as I am told, the place of that golden chain which was let down from the throne of Jupiter—to bind in orderly connection the different parts of creation. And thus the affairs of imperial Jove are sadly out of order. The Chevalier de Boufflers, however, has set everything to rights by a wretched pun: ‘Les affaires de l’Empire doivent être excellentes, car elles s’empirent toujours.’

“I will fold up in this a press copy of my last, because the original may have been drowned. Yesterday I dined with the Elector, and the conversation turned on your ladyship. You will not easily guess why; so I will tell you that a person sat opposite to me who had travelled Edition: current; Page: [206] with you in Italy, known you in Paris, and who introduced himself by talking of you to me, and that because he had heard me mention to M. Quimones that I had seen him in your house. You remember this M. Quimones, who seemed so well pleased with himself while in transit at Paris, and who used to play at hazard. He has been here en grand état, and, if one may judge from appearances, verily believes himself to be très spirituel et fort aimable, in which, by the by, he has the misfortune to be of a different opinion with his acquaintance. Well, your fellowtraveller spoke of you in such high terms that I began to feel an attachment to him, and the Elector was induced to inquire after you. We talked of you in Berlin because Lord Elgin, you know, is, quoad a part of his regiment, your protégé. Adieu, dear lady. Remember me to your lord, and believe me, ever yours.”

“To-day [August 22d] I dine with the Baron de Mestmacher, Minister of Russia. He takes pains to justify his Court, and lay on Austria the blame of what has happened. It is not my business to contest the matter. He is led into an explanation of the defensive powers of the Prussian monarchy which I cannot comprehend, but rather see from his explanations how it can be invaded with great facility. On the whole, I see that this jargon might impose upon a person totally ignorant of affairs, and that the Prussian Cabinet may yet find dupes.”

“Dine to-day [August 23d] with the Duchess of Cumberland, after visiting the notable collection of paintings in the Gallery. The Comtesse de Loos dines with us; she is a Danish lady, educated here, who is pretty and pleasing. There is a Polish princess, whose daughters come in after dinner, and these perform together a dance of their country which has infinite grace. I compliment the mother on it in such way that if I Edition: current; Page: [207] should see her in Poland I think she would receive me hospitably.”

“See to-day [August 26th] the Cabinet of Antiquities, and pass the evening at the Comte de Loos’s. He was formerly Minister to France. A very splendid party at a supper given to the Duchess of Cumberland. I am seated between the elder Comtesse, who has yet fine remains, and her daughter-in-law, whose husband seems already afflicted by jealousy, anticipating perhaps upon a fate which seems to await him, and in which, unfortunately, I shall not be an instrument. The Comtesse has already the impression of a sentiment which M. le mari could not, I am sure, excite.”

“We have news to-day [August 27th] of an important victory gained by the Austrians over the French in our neighborhood. If it be as it is represented and they follow up the blow, the French will find their retreat difficult.”

“Go to Court this morning [August 28th]. Dine with the Prussian minister, and as I express some doubts respecting the extent of the Austrian victory he magnifies it greatly, whereupon, after pushing him beyond the truth by my apparent infidelity, I remind him that he had assured me the other evening the Austrian army was so completely routed that they could not again make head against the French. This puts him to the blush deservedly, for he had wilfully exaggerated, with a view to deceive me, and although (being well informed) I was not the dupe it is but common justice to mark my remembrance. He gives an excellent dinner and very good wine. After dinner I visit the elder Comtesse de Loos, which is a thing en régle. The young one comes in, and in the shiftings from a new visitor I am seated next her, while the old lady is going over the routine of civilities Edition: current; Page: [208] to a decrepit sire. As they are seated on the sofa together I can say only indifferent things, but these being expressed in a gentle tone of voice and accompanied with a look in which extreme tenderness is mingled with humble respect, she utters, to my great surprise [erasure]. The old lady turns round with astonishment, and a tint of indignation which her good breeding cannot quite suppress. If I may trust to these indications, there is somewhat pleasant in the secret history of the family. At the club I learn some further details of the late battle, which, it seems, lasted three days. The French lost thirty-five pieces of cannon, which circumstance makes me believe in the success, and induces me to suppose that my way into Switzerland may be opened. Nous verrons.

“A Swedish gentleman calls on me, to whom I said the other day at Court that the King, at Petersburg, was in a good situation to learn the manner in which his minister has been treated at Paris. He tells me that he understood and could have answered me, but that he is adjoined by his Court in the Legation here, and therefore, being a public man, anything he might have said would have been misinterpreted. He goes on to tell me that he presumes I am acquainted with a number of circumstances which he recapitulates and which are, indeed, of public notoriety, and from thence he concludes that the situation of his Court is difficult and consequently that of its servants delicate, wherefore he thought my observation rather unkind, and wishes I would in future spare him upon such subjects. This expostulation proves to me that he is of the Gallican party in Sweden, and I thereupon enter into the situation of his unfortunate country, sacrificed ever since Charles XII. to the selfish policy of other courts—played off against Russia, to the annoyance, indeed, of that empire, but to their own ruin. Suggest to him that a Edition: current; Page: [209] much safer policy would be that of an alliance with so powerful a neighbor, and the cession of Finland for a valuable consideration to be obtained elsewhere, and instance Norway. He remains (though trying to conceal it) stanch to the French alliance, which, if persisted in, must at length render Sweden a province of Russia. He has taken up an idea which is, I find, pretty general, viz., that England fomented the French Revolution. This idea is strongly inculcated by the partisans of France and works well for them.”

“The post came in from Bayreuth, and we learn [August 31st] that the French have indeed been soundly beaten, but their retreat is not as yet so great as might be wished. They commit great excesses and the peasants destroy them. The details of the battle cannot be had, as the French stop all travellers. I dine with the Duchess of Cumberland.”

“To-day [September 1st] at the table d’hôte we have a gentleman from Amberg who saw from the steeple of that town the action of the 24th. He says that if Wartensleben had done his duty all the army of Jourdan would have been made prisoners. By his account this army is in such total rout that it must retreat to Düsseldorf. The advices from Frankfort are a sortie from Mayence which has done great mischief to the besieging army, and an assault, without success, upon the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein; also a note in the Leipsic gazette that there circulated a report on the Main that the magazines were to be removed from Frankfort to Wetzlaer.”

“Dine at the table d’hôte [September 2d], where our yesterday’s informant tells me he has received an estafette which announces the advance of the Austrians in every direction, and the defeat of General Moreau.”

Leaving Dresden on September 2d, Morris continued Edition: current; Page: [210] his journey to Vienna by the way of Pilnitz. “The château of the Prince, beautifully situated,” he says, “will long be memorable for the treaty signed between the King of Prussia and the Emperor Leopold, which has been the pretext (but according to the advocates of the French cause the motive), to the present war, whose consequences tend to change the political systems of Europe after laying waste a considerable part of it.” The slavery and poverty of the people in this region strongly impressed Morris, who mentions a conversation with the landlady of the house at Toplitz respecting the civil state of the inhabitants who are serfs. “She tells me (she being one of them, or, at least, her parents) that by the edicts of Joseph they may, if they please, pay to the lord twelve kreuzers per day in winter and fifteen in summer for the labor they owe, and that in general, by precedent conventions, this does not extend to above two days in the week, so that twenty-seven kreuzers is the average payment; and this, for the year, may amount to about fifty shillings sterling, for which they have as much land as will support their families. If so, their service, like that of the righteous, is perfect freedom. I must inquire a little further into this matter.

“From M. de Callenberg I collect that the situation of the serfs in the Electorate is still deplorable, although he thinks it quite simple and natural, for some of them belong to him. It is, however, a consolation to know that these miserable beings—at least, according to our conceptions—are better off than they were, and it seems probable that they will by degrees be all emancipated. Joseph did much towards it, and even established magistrates to hear their plaints and decide on them. What he could not do was to render such tribunals useful to the poor in contending with the rich. I know not any means of producing that effect except the temper and spirit of society, which is Edition: current; Page: [211] more the result than the cause of freedom. The progress towards freedom must necessarily be slow. The French nation jumped at once from a mild monarchy to a wild anarchy, and are now in subjection to men whom they despise. I think they will end by a military despotism.”

Prague was the next stopping-place, where the library was interesting, and the “young damsel of the house, Mademoiselle Lisette, sups with me and endeavors, with all the affectation of a coquette, to persuade me to make love to her. I do not care to do it, though she is very handsome, for she takes snuff.”

“The custom and military officers detain me outside the gate at Vienna [September 15th], and I have to get up two pair of stairs into a wretched room at the Three Axes Hotel. Go to see M. de Thugut, who gives me a very civil reception. His eye denotes a little, sparkling mind, better fitted to please the Prince than to conduct his affairs. Ride to the Prater, and walking there I see the Princess Potoska, with whom I take tea, and am then presented to the Prince de Nassau. Madame Potoska tells me that the Chevalier Eden is more attentive to whist than he is to his countrymen, who complain of his neglect. The next day, dining at Sir Morton Eden’s, where there is company, the dinner is scarcely swallowed before he sits down to whist, which seems wholly to engross his attention. J’ennuie myself looking on at the game, in the expectation that at last some moment might be left for Edition: current; Page: [212] conversation, but it is in vain. Walk to the Prater, which is, on the whole, a charming spot—superior to anything I have seen of the kind near a large city. It might be made celestial. It is very full of people. Walking there I meet M. Huë, the valet-de-chambre of Louis XVI., who is mentioned affectionately in the will of that unfortunate prince. I have a good deal of conversation with him. He is highly discontented with the treatment he meets with here, and thence disposed to view with a jaundiced eye the conduct of the Cabinet. With a false mysteriousness he lets me know that he conceives they have the idea of marrying the young princess to one of her cousins, brother to the Emperor, and setting up in that way a claim to the throne of France. This may be, but it is a very remote speculation, and, if I were to guess, such marriage would form an insuperable bar to her success. He speaks very highly of her, and I see her passing by. She is much improved in her appearance since I last saw her in France.”

“This morning [September 24th] Sir M. Eden calls, and we go to Court. He presents me to the Emperor, who is ready in conversation. He is in very good spirits, having received favorable advices from the Rhine. The Archduke has driven the French back beyond the Lahn, and relieved the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein. A body of Imperial troops is already up as high as Rastadt, in the view of cutting off the supplies of Moreau, who is still at Neuburg, on the Danube. The Emperor gives us his news, and expresses at the same time his hope that Moreau will not be able to effect his retreat. Indeed, this hope amounts almost to expectation. He tells me that in a month’s time my way will be opened into Switzerland, but observes that it will then be cold travelling. The ton of the young women here is to be men-haters. Lady Eden says the men are so peu aimable that they may in some sort be justified. Edition: current; Page: [213] Messrs. Huë and Thierry, the anciens valets de-chambre of Louis XVI. call on me. In the evening I go to the Prater to see the fireworks, which are indeed very fine.

“See here, among others, M. Marschal, who seems to be on the pick-up plan. Ask him if that be true which I heard, namely, that the women here profess to be menhaters. He says it is, because the young men are not amiable, and are very inattentive, preferring the easy pleasures to be had among women of inferior class to connections of gallantry. In the reign of Marie Therese things were on a different footing, for then women of the town were closely looked after and persecuted, so that men were obliged to attach themselves to women of quality. This may be a philosophic account of the matter, but I think it would not satisfy the fair sex in general, and for my own part I am apt to suspect that the existing system may depend on a want of sentiment among the men.

“I hear at the English minister’s, where I spend the evening, that General Moreau has left his position at Neuburg, where he had intrenched himself, and is on the retreat. On the 22d General Latour was to cross the Leck in pursuit of him. General Nauendorf is on the left side of the Danube, so that I think M. Moreau will be catched up near the sources of the Danube. Later, I hear that the French army under Moreau is retreating, and the peasants arm to pursue him, so that Germany is pretty well cured of the maladie française.”

“Spend the evening [September 28th] at the British minister’s. He tells me the latest advices, and shows me Jourdan’s account of his battles; tells me that he is recalled, and Beurnonville appointed in his stead. This bodes no good to France. Another insurrection lately in Paris by the Jacobins. The route will, I think, be soon open to Switzerland.”

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“Spend the evening [October 3d] at the British minister’s, where everybody is dressed, having been to dine with the Marquis del Gallo. I find from Sir M. Eden that this dinner was intended for me, but I did not accept the invitation, and tell him why. He assures me that I was mistaken, and so I am now convinced; but no matter. M. de St. Priest this evening mentioned to me a plan which he proposed to the Archbishop of Sens. By the accounts rendered of M. de Calonne and of M. Necker, it appeared, speaking in round numbers, that the debt of France, quoad the annual payments, consisted of one hundred millions of rentes perpétuelles and one hundred millions of rentes viagères (life-interest). Changing these last, which arose from capital advanced for a life-rent of ten per cent., some at nine, into the capitals and then putting all those capitals on a four per cent. interest, would have reduced the yearly interest on a redeemable debt to about forty millions; and a similar reduction of the rentes perpétuelles would have reduced them to eighty millions, together one hundred and twenty, saving, on the whole, eighty, from which, deducting the deficit of about sixty, there would have remained a sinking fund of twenty. It is very certain that this plan would have produced the effect, but it is also certain that the same effect might have been produced by a system of economy more quietly; and it is also clear that when once the revenue had been made equal to the expenditure the rentes perpètuelles might have been reduced to four per cent. with the consent of the creditors, which would have left a sinking fund of twenty millions for that debt, to be increased by the falling of the viagères, which must have determined in half a century of themselves. A fair operation on church property would have given an immense domain. In ten years the Minister might have proposed and carried plans for simplifying Edition: current; Page: [215] the taxes, lessening the expense of collection, etc., and then France would have been indisputably the dominating power of Europe. But Providence had willed it otherwise.”

In a letter to Lord Grenville, written from Vienna on October 5th, Morris says:

“I can venture to offer my congratulations that appearances have mended since I last took the liberty of troubling your lordship, and also on the success of the campaign. It is not, however, my object to conjecture probable events, or consider what has been done, but to communicate an observation I have frequently had occasion to make. Your enemies spread everywhere the idea that you oppose a pacification with a view to aggrandize yourselves in the two Indias, regardless of the blood lavished on the Continent of Europe. This, as you will easily suppose, excites ill-will; but yet from the nature of your government you are led to insist in Parliament on the advantages gained by the British nation, and to show that these result from diversions made by its allies. Such arguments are turned against you abroad, and become the excuse of those who have abandoned you. They are made use of here to render the war unpopular, and with such success that if public opinion were of much weight the Court would have been greatly embarrassed. You best can judge, my lord, whether it be prudent, after insisting that the war in its prosecution, as in its origin, has been defensive, to declare that the principal object of it now is to protect the German Empire and the Low Countries; that the dearest interests of Britain are eventually connected with that defence and protection; that, far from ambitious views, you look only to the security of yourselves as the result of that security you seek for others; that a faction, aided by French armies, having turned against you the resources of Holland, you had been compelled, for the Edition: current; Page: [216] defence of your Oriental possessions, to seize those posts from whence they would otherwise have been annoyed; that in like manner you had been obliged to attack the French islands for the purpose of saving your own, not merely from capture but from utter devastation. Such declarations would have a good effect through Germany, already undeceived with respect to the French professions. Moreover, should you be embroiled with Spain it would strengthen you in the North to declare, after dwelling on the unprovoked oppression of his Catholic Majesty, that it justifies you in demanding (as a condition of peace) that he open his American dominions to the commerce of all who now are or hereafter may be joined with you in the war against him. This kind of crusade will not, indeed, be so wonderful as that which was produced by the preaching of Peter the Hermit, but it may answer better purposes.”

“I visit at the Prince Coloredo’s [October 16th], and on my return home I find that I have been out, full-dressed, with a stocking wrong side outward. I remember to have heard, when young, that this portended good luck, and I remember also that, having gone out one morning early I broke my shin before I got back, and in taking down the stocking to look at it found it was wrong side outward. I bear the mark of that misfortune to this hour, a memento not to believe in such sayings.

“Spend the evening at Madame de Castelalfieri’s, where I meet the Baron de Groshlaer. The Marquis de Lucchesini says there is no instance of an army of forty thousand men laying down their arms, and thence concludes that Moreau will escape with the loss of his baggage and artillery. If, however, the defiles are properly occupied, he may still find it impracticable to get through. Those who wish well to Austria think he will be made prisoner, Edition: current; Page: [217] for thus it is that our wishes always lead our judgments, unless, indeed, our fears supersede our wishes. In both cases we may be misled, but the former, in taking us out of our road, gives us at least a more pleasant path.”

“To-day [October 20th] I dine at the English minister’s. A large dinner to the Duke heir apparent of Würtemberg, who is to espouse the Princess Royal of England. He has a monstrous belly, but seems to be pleasant. His pale-faced, dancing brother is here, whose want of ability or attention, or both, caused no little mischief to the Allies. There are six of them, of which one-half, including the eldest, were in the Prussian service, and the other half in the Austrian service.”

“It seems to be confirmed [October 21st] that Bonaparte has been obliged to raise the blockade of Mantua. He has, it is said, retired to Verona. If this be true he must speedily be placed in a most perilous situation. The fate of Moreau’s army is, I suppose, by this time decided.

“While I was at the Baron de Groshlaer’s a gentleman came in who, the Baron tells me, is one of the most intelligent men in Vienna. Shortly after I turned the conversation on Hungarian wines, expressing my wish to get some of the different kinds. He told me that it was extremely difficult, and mentioned, among other things, to show the want of good faith among the Hungarian nobles in their commercial dealings, that they had made formerly large consignments of wine which they called Tokay, to Vienna, but it was put into casks under size, contained a great many pebbles, and consisted in general of wines from the neighborhood of Tokay of inferior quality. On the whole, it seems unlikely that I shall be able to accomplish my object in that respect, which is to me of no consequence; but it is of much consequence to the country whose immorality has deprived it of a great resource.

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“Call in the evening on M. de Thugut, and mention some things to him which had occurred to me. He tells me that the Emperor has left the conduct of military affairs to the Archduke, wherefore he declines entering into the consideration of some points, but says in general that the Prince de Condé would not, he thinks, go at the head of a forlorn hope into Franche Comté. He acknowledges that the Low Countries may be repossessed this winter, but is apprehensive of Maestricht. He does not duly consider that this citadel would, from the moment the Imperial army should arrive at Liège, be in the middle of an enemy’s country. He is looking forward to another campaign, and seems to think that the Directory, grounding themselves on their former declaration, will insist on holding the annexed territory and so justify Great Britain in continuing the war. I think he will be mistaken, and, pressed by the incumbent danger, they will at last make such offers as will perplex greatly the British administration should they be rejected.”

“After dinner [October 23d] I visit at the English minister’s. Here I see several of my acquaintance. The Prince of Würtemberg makes up to me, and from what he says I conclude that his agent or envoy for making the match between him and the Princess Royal of England has told him that I was well received at St. James’s. I learn at Madame Arnstein’s that Monsignor Alberoni is expected in a day or two. He brings, they say, the declaration of a religious war by the Pope against France. Visit the Baronne de Groshlaer. The Baron carelessly says that he thinks the world must take refuge in America. I understand much more than is expressed, but may be mistaken; answer as carelessly that it is a very good country, but afterwards we are a little more particular, he in questions, I in giving information, mais il n’y a rien Edition: current; Page: [219] encore qui tire à conséquence. The Sardinian minister sends word that his supper is postponed for this evening. I learn afterwards that it is on account of the King of Sardinia’s death; an apoplectic fit has taken him out of all worldly trouble.”

“This morning [October 26th] Sir M. Eden presents me to the Empress. She speaks a little to Colonel Hope, who is presented at the same time, a few words to me, and has a long conversation with Sir M. Eden, who leans quietly against the wall. She seems to be a good sort of little woman, but in the course of her conversation she shows about the eyebrow something which bespeaks high spirit. She has the Austrian countenance a little. I visit Madame Oudenarde, who asks me if it be true that I am charged here with a mission from Congress to ask the liberty of Lafayette. I laugh at this a little, and then, assuring her there is no truth in that suggestion, say that it is a piece of folly keeping him prisoner. This brings her out violently against him, and to the same effect Count Dietrichstein, who, indeed, is as much prompted to defend the Austrian administration as to side with his friend. We examine the matter as coolly as their prejudices will admit, and on the point of right he takes the only tenable ground, viz., that the public safety being the supreme law of princes, the Emperor, conceiving it dangerous to leave Lafayette & Co. at large, had arrested them and keeps them still prisoners for the same reason. Lavaupalliere, who comes in during the conversation, shows still more ill-will to this unfortunate man than anyone else. He seems to flatter himself that there is still some chance of getting him hanged. He treats him not only as having been deficient in abilities, but as having been most ungrateful to the King and Queen, from which last charge I defend him, in order to see what may be the amount of Edition: current; Page: [220] the inculpation, and it resolves itself into two favors received from the Court: First, pardon for having gone to America notwithstanding orders given him to the contrary; and, next, promotion to the rank of maréchal de camp over the heads of several who were many of them men of family. To crown all, he accuses him of the want of courage, and declares that he has seen him contumeliously treated without resenting it. To this I give as peremptory a negative as good breeding will permit, and he feels it. Indeed, the conversation of these gentlemen, who have the virtue and good fortune of their grandfathers to recommend them, leads me almost to forget the crimes of the French Revolution; and often the unforgiving temper and sanguinary wishes which they exhibit make me almost believe that the assertion of their enemies is true, viz., that it is success alone which has determined on whose side should be the crimes and on whose the misery.”

“Sir M. Eden takes me [October 29th] to see the Archduchess, who is quite in alt, from the success of the Archduke Charles, who has had some sharp work lately with the French under Moreau. This last has, it is said, been driven back with great loss; but it might be called driven forward, because he was undoubtedly on the retreat.”

Among the letters to women which came from Morris’s pen (and there were not a few of them), those to the Countess of Sutherland most truthfully show the character of the man. More than any of his correspondents, she possessed the gift of drawing out his vivacity and causing him to betray his innate kindliness in most graceful and sprightly fashion. It is unfortunate that there only remains among the papers one short note from her ladyship, of no particular importance; but, however brilliant her letters may have been, to answer them was certainly Edition: current; Page: [221] to Morris a thoroughly congenial occupation, in which he frequently indulged himself.

“Your letter, dear lady,” he wrote from Vienna, November 2d, “has been long on its way; it is dated the 15th September, and reached me the 31st October. How can you ever make it a question whether it is worth while to read what you write? I am tempted to say, with the late King of France (when one of his brothers wanted to send off his cara sposa): ‘Ma foi, si nous étions tous aussi difficiles.’ I do better; without asking you whether it may please you to read, I sit down in the consciousness that it will please me to write to you. Well, here I am, in a country full of ‘state and ancientry’—how congenial to my taste and feelings you well know. In the daily commission of lèse décorum, I expect to be cut off from society and thrown into Gehenna. Think of this master Page obliged to live with people who, in the simplicity of their hearts, know not duly to estimate the differing dignities of a sofa and an elbow-chair. Think of that! and then to herd with the dull dogs who prefer conversation to cards and irreverently prize genius and good humor beyond stars and ribbons. You say you envy me my tour—while I only wish that you were here, and envy more those who had the good sense not to leave you. It would delight me to see your observations, for I think you would make them intelligible without speaking. I can sometimes see you, with that arch yet modest mien. I, alas! am like Noah’s dove. She fluttered over the face of the waters, not knowing where to set her feet, poor bird. I am still farther from the ark than she, yet no one pities me, though ‘I have nobody by me but myself.’

“You will not be visited by the bandes noires, and I am glad of it. Yet I believe that such an electric shock might purify the humors of the nation; but it would occasion Edition: current; Page: [222] great and various mischiefs, for England, swollen with dropsy-credit, is not so athletic as in earlier life. Would it be useful to tap the old lady? That is a question to be decided by her State surgeons. The thirst for foreign dominions is perhaps the worst symptom of her disease, but all this in your ear. You know I never liked your St. Dominique expedition. ‘Gold,’ says the proverb, ‘may be bought too dear,’ and sugar should lose its sweetness when bought with the price of blood. Moreover—but I spare you the ‘moreover,’ because I will not write either a system or a criticism. I long ago gave you my opinion that, if the French were checked in front and a body of troops thrown on their left flank, they would be driven out of Germany or be made prisoners in it. This, at least, was the idea, and how nearly realized it is needless to mention. That Moreau was not captured is not his fault, for he lingered long enough on the Danube. Neither is it the fault of the Archduke. Perhaps Madam Fortune was to blame, but, be that as it may, there is, I fear, all the difference between a good, speedy peace and another bloody, expensive campaign; should you persist, you must succeed most indisputably. But John Bull seems to grow restive, and his humor may cost him dear. I have remarked, also, that when a Minister is appointed he is apt to wish too warmly that his negotiation may succeed, whereby it happens that treaties are sometimes onerous, from the eagerness of those who make them. And now, dear lady, I bid you adieu, entreating my remembrances to your lord, and adding the I think-unnecessary assurance that I am, yours.

“P. S. Should Lady Louisa Macdonald see that compound epithet she may imagine I am making some progress in the German language. Truth is, I took a master this morning.”

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“It seems generally believed,” says the diary for November 3d “that the King of Naples has made peace with France. Moreau has gone over the Rhine, after another sharp action with the Archduke Charles. He has done everything possible and his retreat does him great honor. Dine at Madame Arnstein’s with a good deal of good male company; for here as in Holland it is, I find, understood that men may visit a Jew of good character, but women would consider it a derogation. All the world is in raptures with the Archduke.”

“There is a procession this day [November 6th] of an image said to have shed tears of blood a century ago. The Emperor assists at it. Qu.: Is this bigotry or policy? Visit at Coloredo’s where the heir apparent of Würtemberg gives me an anecdote of Canning, the under-secretary in Lord Grenville’s office, which falls a little heavy on His Highness, who had a courier waiting in London to bring despatches respecting his marriage with the Princess Royal of England. These were made up, but, by a qui pro quo, after Lord Grenville had gone to his house at Dropmoor, Mr. Canning sent the despatches God knows where, (probably to Mr. Wickham in Switzerland) and gave the Duke’s courier some letters for somebody else. He is not at all pleased at this piece of negligence, and, indeed, I am not surprised at his discontent. He tells me that he has intelligence late and direct from Paris which assures him the Directory will not be able to obtain either the men or the money they have asked for, and therefore he thinks a better peace can be made with France next March than at present. It is said that the troops are in full march for Italy, etc. M. de Gnostiz tells me the Emperor is to have sixty thousand Russians next campaign in the pay of England, who has undertaken Edition: current; Page: [224] to provide for them as soon as they come to a spot where they can be useful to the Allies.”

The letter written to Lord Grenville on October 5th for lack of a suitable opportunity had never been sent, but again writing to him on November 6th, and enclosing at the same time the former letter, Morris says:

“My letter to you, my lord, written a month ago, might now be suppressed, since a change of circumstances renders the greater part, if not the whole of it, impertinent; but it will serve to prove that I have not been unmindful of my promise. Were it evident that peace would take place what I am going to say might well be spared, but I believe in another campaign. In that case Spain will become a party against you, and the everlasting bone of contention, Gibraltar, may perhaps be her object of attack, unless she should adopt the plan proposed last year of conquering it in the West Indies. You will probably endeavor, on the other hand, to make serious impressions on her American dominions, and in so doing must contend with a climate more dangerous than your enemy. Two modes have presented themselves to my mind. One, which I mentioned cursorily to Sir Morton Eden, has probably occurred to your lordship, viz., transporting some Lascars from India to Mexico. These would indeed find an open country, but the extent of it and other causes would render the impression less permanent than you would desire. The other mode is more simple. The Emperor might furnish some troops from Croatia and other unhealthy places, who are inured from infancy to baneful exhalations. These, under the pretext of garrisoning Edition: current; Page: [225] Gibraltar and attacking Cadiz, would keep your enemy in alarm. But, once beyond the straits, they would rapidly run down the longitude and arrive at such point of attack as should be deemed most advisable. If, as is said, the Pope means to declare a holy war against France and her allies, he might give you a detachment of monks, supplied with the due quantity of bulls and such like ammunition from the Vatican. These, in the bigoted country you have to deal with, would produce great effect; and this, my lord, appears to me the cheapest and best mode of opening to yourselves the direct commerce of Mexico and Peru, which, added to the acquisitions already made, would fully indemnify you for the expenses incurred and to be incurred in the course of the contest. Before I close this letter I must testify the pleasure I felt in reading the King’s speech. It is excellent. I am, my lord, very truly yours.”

“To-day [November 7th], on my return from a walk, I find my valet-de-chambre in trouble; he has been summoned by the police, and thinks they mean to make a soldier of him. I write to the English minister and to the Minister of the Police, and finally give him a certificate, and all is settled. Mr. Scott tells me, de science certaine, that Sir M. Eden has received advices from Lord Mallory at Paris by a messenger. This thing is in itself indifferent, but Sir M. Eden takes pains to keep it a secret, which is an affectation of mystery much misplaced; for it is one of those things which cannot be concealed, and which the enemy must have known much earlier than he did. He has received this day, and wishes to circulate, the news that the evacuation of Corsica is countermanded.

“The courier whose arrival is to be kept secret walks about the town conversing with the English of his acquaintance. I visit after dinner the Count de Pergin, Minister Edition: current; Page: [226] of the Police, to thank him for not committing an act of outrageous oppression; for such it would have been to have taken up a stranger, the servant of a stranger, and forced him into military service. He has, however, made a very polite (though magisterial) answer to my letter, and this it is which induces me to leave a card at his door, for he is not at home.”

“Having begun this month with the study of German—a difficult enterprise especially at my time of life—I appropriate my mornings to it. Dine [November 12th] at M. de Schoenfeldt’s, whose cook was taken ill two days ago, when I was to have tasted the productions of his art. He is since dead, but the dinner seems not to have suffered by the demise of his authority and jurisdiction to a female successor. I learn that M. Pellin, who was the faiseur of Mirabeau, dines every day with M. Thugut. This M. Pellin has been painted to me as one of the most corrnpt men living. Voilà beau jeu pour les Français. I presume that, when Mirabeau came over to the Court, Pellin was so much let into the secret as that now they are obliged to treat him with attention.”

“This morning [November 13th] Sir M. Eden presents me to the Archduchesses, sisters of the Emperor, and Madame of France. The elder Archduchess, who is betrothed to the heir apparent of Naples, has a striking resemblance to the Queen of France, which I mention to her, and she tells me that others have observed it. God send she may not experience a similar fate; but she seems, at any rate, destined to a wretched life, if that be true which is reported, viz., that her intended husband is but just above idiocy. Madame of France strikes me by the strong resemblance she bears to her father, Louis XVI., and I cannot help observing, when we leave her presence, on the malignity which pursued her poor mother, and would Edition: current; Page: [227] have persuaded the world that this was an offspring produced by her gallantries. Every trait gives the lie to that aspersion.”

“Yesterday [November 14th] brought the account that the Austrian armies had advanced towards Italy, and this day two couriers arrive, one of which brings news that Davidovitch had beaten the French on the 7th, after an obstinate contest, a little beyond Trent, and taken a thousand prisoners, with five pieces of cannon. The other announces the advance of Alvinzi on the 7th, (after the repulse of the French on the 6th, which was announced yesterday) to Vicenza, which the enemy had abandoned, retreating to Montebello, which is, I understand, a very important post, and where, probably, M. Bonaparte will make his stand. If, as is most likely, his forces be already much diminished by disease, he will probably now meet the usual fate of French armies east of the Alps. Go to Madame Arnstein’s. Here I am told some anecdotes of M. Rassoomovsky, and his amour with the Queen of Naples, with whom he had been the predecessor of M. d’Alton; her asking then his recall, etc.; also a history of his preceding amour with the Grand Duchess; the discovery of it to the Duke, by way of consoling him for her death, which last was supposed necessary to the peace and quiet of the Russian Empire. The manner of it supposes the imperial Catherine to be superior to what are called the finer feelings. With this is connected a story how the King of Naples, a good sort of man, prevailed, after much entreaty, on the Grand Duke to see Rassoomovsky, then ambassador at his Court, to which he at length consented, but upon his entering turned his back upon him. The Edition: current; Page: [228] other, en vrai Russe, fell on his knees, and in that humble manner followed him about the apartment. Yet this man is considered here as haughty. There may be reason for it, too, because hauteur and bassesse are too frequently allied.”

“I learn to-day [November 16th] that Spain has declared war against Great Britain, and that Admiral Mann, flying from a superior force, took shelter under the guns of Gibraltar. This does not look like peace.”

“At Madame Pergin’s, to-night [November 20th], I happen to sit next to Madame Haften, a Marseillaise amie of M. del Gallo. The Cardinal Alberoni, who comes in and makes a trio with us, maintains a most liberal, or, as precise folks might not miscall it, a libertine conversation. He is said here to be très aimable, but he has un ton de beaucoup trop libre pour ce qu’on appelle, en France, la bonne société. This leads to conclusions on the taste of Vienna which I certainly shall not draw without further observation. Madame is assez gaie, but from that no unfavorable deductions can be made. The Prince Sapeiha comes in, and, in a general conversation on the beauty of a certain lady, it is inquired whether she be belle or jolie; and different persons opine different ways, till at length, the voices being equal, the Prince brings forward, to instance his distinctions, Madame Mostoska on one side, Mesdames Liniouski and Kinski on the other, giving decided preference to the two latter, who are certainly fine forms and figures. The former, with an open, ingenuous countenance and lively sweetness of expression, has pleased me much for the few times I have seen her, which Madame Haften has observed, and cites me as her advocate. Upon this I seize the occasion, and, addressing myself to him: ‘Mon prince, je ne me donne pas pour défendeur de Madame Mostoska, car elle n’en a pas besoin; encore moins Edition: current; Page: [229] me permettrai-je de faire des comparaisons, puisqu’il s’y trouve toujours quelque chose d’odieuse. Je ne ferai qu’une seule observation: que m’importe le plus beau palais du monde, si toutes les portes en sont toujours fermées?’ Should this saying circulate I should not be sorry, because it will strike someone whose stiff manner I might be offended at if anything of this sort could offend, but which I pity, because it is truly ‘pitoyable.’ The Prince is completely silenced, saying only he is glad the unhappy Poles have been able to preserve something in their general misfortune. He, as well as Madame Mostoska, is of that ci-devant nation.”

“News is received [November 21st] that Commodore Elphinstone has taken, in Saldanha Bay, the Dutch fleet, consisting of three ships, five frigates, and transports with four thousand troops, without firing a shot. This is very important, in that it secures the whole of the East Indies, of which the Cape of Good Hope is an essential out-work.

“Spend part of the evening at Madame Castelalfieri’s, whence I depart before supper, but having had, the rare thing for this country, some pleasant conversation. In speaking with Monseigneur Albani on the state of public affairs, my freedom brings forward his, and he tells me that his Court is so extremely feeble that nothing can be hoped from them. He acknowledges the ultimate apprehensions of Italy from the House of Austria, and, as to the present views of the French, says very justly that the temporalities of the Church are menaced, which, once gone, no moral force now remains by which to recover them.”

“There has been some severe fighting in Italy, and, to judge by the government account [November 26th], Alvinzi has been sadly beaten and his army dispersed. Bonaparte attacked him the 16th and 17th. The loss is Edition: current; Page: [230] said to have been great on both sides, which seems probaable, but it appears to me that, if great and unknown obstacles did not prevent it, Alvinzi should have marched to the right of Verona and formed a junction with Davidovitch, instead of marching to the left and increasing, by that means, the distance between the two armies, so as to render a co-operation impracticable. Davidovitch has, however, gained a considerable advantage, on the 18th having taken a thousand prisoners and some cannon, which last article proves that he has gained a complete victory. I conclude that Bonaparte fights thus obstinately in the hope of taking Mantua before it can be relieved. On that point seems to turn the fate of Italy. Sir M. Eden assures me that the loss of the French under Bonaparte was equal to that of the Austrians under Alvinzi.”

“To-day [November 29th] I see an English newspaper containing the address of the President of the United States to his fellow-citizens on occasion of the ensuing election, in which he declines being a candidate. This gives me very great pain. There are said to be news from Italy of a very unpleasant nature. The garrison of Mantua is in want of everything but bread. It will, I fear, be found that man liveth not by bread alone. M. de St. Priest assures me that the Empress of Russia is determined now to send troops against France. He says that Great Britain offered last year a million sterling as a subsidy to the Empress, who would not accept it then. He tells me that Lord Malmesbury is treated contemptuously at Paris, which conduct is, in his opinion, very absurd. I remember that my friend Woronzow rejoiced to the King of Great Britain over the haughty answer of the Directory to the propositions made through Mr. Wickham last year, considering it as the only false step which they had made in politics. He did not then, neither does M. Edition: current; Page: [231] de St. Priest, consider both sides of the question. The Directory consider the temper of their own nation, and, being determined to reject treaty, they do it in the way which can best raise the spirits of the French and give, at the same time, an air of éclat to their proceedings which may dazzle other nations. At present they count, I believe, on an alliance with the Turks as well as with Spain, and, if the Turks make an irruption into Hungary, the force of this Empire will be greatly shaken. The fate of the war seems to depend much on the relative marine forces in the Mediterranean. Will Great Britain be able to preserve the superiority there? This is a serious question for the Emperor. Mr. Scott lends me Burke’s pamphlet, which is strongly thought and in general well expressed, but the coloring too high. There was in the Frankfort paper an answer of the British Cabinet through Lord Malmesbury to the French Directory. This answer is well drawn, but the Directory, who answer with contemptuous brevity, have, however, the advantage in reserve of being able to say that Britain, though called upon, has not specified the conditions of peace which she means to propose, but only brought forward a vague, abstract proposition which, denied, would lead to long investigation and which, admitted, brings the questions to be agitated in concluding a peace to no nearer decision than before. It is evident, however, by the high tone of the Directory, that they wish to avoid treaty, otherwise they would have made this simple observation, and it is evident also that the British administration do not consider matters as ripe, or they would not direct the discussion of moot points. In effect, this Court is not yet, I believe, decided as to its object. Conversing with Sir M. Eden about Edition: current; Page: [232] general affairs, I express the idea that the misfortunes in Italy should induce this government to abandon it. He acknowledges that there is a kind of spell upon everything there, but thinks that, if Italy be abandoned, everything there will go to ruin. I fully agree with him, but insist that the Emperor had better leave the Italians to their fate than ruin himself in trying to save them. I find, however, that other ideas prevail here. Quem deus vult perdere, etc. I mention to him Lafayette’s detention, and find from what he says that there is not much likelihood that he will speedily be liberated. I state to him what has occurred to me on Lord M.’s negotiation at Paris, and he feels but tries to color the objections.

“The Marquis de Salinés dines with me [December 5th]. He mentions with some indignation the wretched conduct of his Court, but adds that nothing is left for an individual but silent concern. It seems clear that all Italy will be at the mercy of the French, and he thinks Naples will follow the example of Spain, and become the ally of France. I am inclined to the same opinion. This evening the Venetian ambassador tells me that Alvinzi has retired, and Davidovitch is beaten. The affairs of Italy seem to be very bad for this Court, to which it would appear that the French Court are still making overtures of peace. Madame Rassoomovsky, with whom I spend the evening, entertains much by the naïf histories which she gives of herself in her presentation here as ambassadress, and her reception at Moscow by her father-in-law. She admires much the Empress of Russia, not merely as a great sovereign but as a pleasant woman, and tells, among other things, a story of a sleighing party in which her coachman overset her and excused himself by saying that he had tried for an hour to overturn the sleigh of a page without effect, and could not have succeeded if he had not Edition: current; Page: [233] seized that opportunity, in doing which he had gone further than he had intended. She smiled, and begged him in future to play such tricks when there was nobody in the carriage. This woman is, however, accused, and I believe justly, of many acts of a most serious complexion. But such is human nature. Malcolm, I think, says, ‘A good and virtuous nature may recoil in an imperial charge.’ The nuncio tells me that the King of Naples, in rectifying his treaty with France, has included the Pope, but in such way as to leave a part of the papal dominions at their mercy; that the French have, indeed, retracted those articles which gave most uneasiness to the people of Rome in regard to the religious rights of His Holiness, but have left enough to destroy all his ghostly authority. The Venetian ambassador tells me that things go badly yet in Italy. It is said, however, that Würmser in a late sortie has taken some cattle and gained considerable advantage.”

“The news arrives this day [December 10th] that the Empress of Russia is dead. She felt an unusual heat in her head, to remedy which she put her feet in ice, and died instantly of an apoplectic fit. She certainly took the direct road to apoplexy. The new Emperor immediately discharged the life-guards, and sent for his own regiment to perform that duty. This event may contribute to change the face of Europe. He may perhaps find it for his interest to let the Emperor of Germany and England be reduced by France, while he applies balsams to the wounded population and finance of his immense dominions. On the other hand, it seems to me that so soon as Russia abandons her plans of conquest she risks being divided in her turn. I presume that, among the great effects to result from this sudden change, a small one will be to Edition: current; Page: [234] lower the tone of self-sufficiency and intolerable hauteur of M. l’Ambassadeur, which has, I find, greatly disgusted the people here.”

“It is said this day [December 11th] that the Empress of Russia lived thirty hours after the attack, but was speechless all the time; that it was in sea-water, not in ice, that she put her feet; that it was by advice of an Arminian physician in whom she had great confidence, and was to cure a swelling in her legs. It is said, also, that advices of several days subsequent to her decease announce that no changes had taken place at Court. A general expectation is raised that this sudden death will produce extensive consequences.”

“Spend the evening [December 12th] at Sir M. Eden’s. M. de St. Priest tells me here the accounts he has received from Petersburg of the late event. The old lady was, on the evening of November 15th, in very high spirits and retired at her usual hour. The morning of the 16th she, as usual, breakfasted, and employed herself in writing. M. le Prince Zubow (her favorite) came in as usual, and after some conversation retired to his apartment, and she went to the garde-robe. As she stayed a very long time her women became at last alarmed, and one of them ventured to go in. She was found lying on the floor. They got a mattress, laid her on it, and sent for medical assistance. She was bled repeatedly and vomits given, but she remained speechless, and died on the evening of the 17th at half-past nine, just six and thirty hours from the time of the attack. Her bowels, it appears, were mortified, supposed to arise from the sharpness of humors thrown back on the system by the use of a marine bath to her feet. Zubow sent off for her son, the present Emperor, then at his country-seat, who came immediately to town, etc. He has not only preserved to Edition: current; Page: [235] this favorite a place, but made him a marshal. He has given the regiment of guards to his sons. He has sent for the Princes Repsin and Romanzow, to consult them on the military affairs, in which he projects considerable changes. He told the Imperial envoy that he would strictly perform all his engagements to this Court. He gave a similar assurance to the English minister in presence of the Prussian minister, and then, turning to the latter, told him he should equally perform his engagements to the Court of Berlin. As all these engagements do not well consist together, under present circumstances, his professions amount to little or nothing, and leave him at liberty to shape his conduct according to his convenience. The mother had taken her measures to send a considerable force against France, and among them was the new levy of one hundred thousand recruits, but as he has counter-manded the order given for that purpose, it seems likely that the engagements made with the Emperor and England are not to be performed in that respect. It is, moreover, usual for sovereigns to adopt different measures from those pursued by their predecessors, and in all probability his début will be favorable to Prussia—perhaps to peace.”

“Spend the evening [December 17th] at Madame Potoska’s. Nothing new, only that the new Emperor of Russia has declared he will give audience twice a week to all his subjects, has abolished a little tax which was laid on them and which fell chiefly on the poor, spends three hours a day in exercising his guards, and courts the more potent nobles by bestowing great places on them; among others, that of marshal to a man who is paralytic. It is whispered at Petersburg that he means to make Moscow his residence, and this seems to accord with his veneration for the memory of his father, who was, it is said, disposed to throw Russia back to barbarism, from which Peter the Edition: current; Page: [236] Great had raised her. He has, it seems, ordered six months’ mourning for his father. The weather is as cold here today as man need wish, and would not greatly disparage Petersburg.”

“This morning [December 18th] I go by appointment to Baron de Thugut’s, and begin by announcing to him my departure, with the usual offer of service, and add that before I go it seemed proper that I should trouble him with some ideas on the present state of affairs. I premise the conviction that nothing is to be expected from the new Emperor of Russia, and then state what may be done if a victory in Italy be vigorously followed up without those ménagements which, in a war of this sort, must ever prove injurious. Mention what may be effected by forcing Spain to cede commercial privileges, and how that would tend to invigorate the finances, more especially if the communication by canals be effected; and on this head mention the kind of canal which appears to me best calculated for this country, with some reasons of policy, both civil and military, for adopting it. I state to him the reasons why, especially in the present moment, it is important to bring over the Prussian Cabinet—which point we discuss a little—and calm his apprehensions from the increased power of that monarch in case such ideas should be adopted. I state to him the certitude that Russia must sooner or later be the enemy of Prussia from geographical reasons, and add that Prussia is far from being formidable when compared with a country of real resources, such as the Austrian monarchy. I tell him that I am persuaded the French will, if they secure Italy, stimulate the Turk to war and break into Hungary in order to restore Poland. He smiles at this and tells me, first, that the Prussians, who in the case supposed would be allies of the Turk, cannot wish for the re-establishment of Poland; and, Edition: current; Page: [237] secondly, that the Turks, far from attending to an object which so nearly concerns them, view the fate of Poland with perfect indifference; that he was in Constantinople at the time of the first partition, and found them totally inattentive to it. I do not choose to observe to him, as I might, that the situation of Europe is now materially different, and that they will not want counsellors to point out the importance of the present moment. After having said as much as was proper, and received his thanks for the communication, I take out a letter I had received from Madame la Marquise de la Montague, sister of Madame de Lafayette. M. de Thugut contradicts the account of ill-treatment, expresses the wish that they had never had anything to do with him, and assures me that Madame de Lafayette may leave the prison whenever she pleases, but that she must not be permitted to go backwards and forwards. I solicit his release, but find it is in vain. He says that probably he will be discharged at the peace; to which I reply that I never had any doubt of that and had taken upon me long ago to give such assurances, but that I wish it were done sooner, and add that I am sure it would have a good effect in England, giving my reasons. He says that if England will ask for him they will be very glad to get rid of him in that way, and they may, if they please, turn him loose in London.”

“Spend the evening [December 19th] at Sir M. Eden’s, where there is a large company. The Duke of Würtemberg goes off to-morrow for Hamburg and London, to espouse the Princess Royal, on which subject we have a little badinage. They say he is ill-tempered, but he certainly has a good understanding. She also is said to be ill-tempered, and in that case they will have a rare ménage. Mr. Bacon, who is just arrived from London, says that the nation is still in good spirits, and fears little from the Edition: current; Page: [238] Spanish war. M. de St. Priest tells me his news from Petersburg. The Emperor took his son to the apartment where Kosciusko lay ill. He told the prisoner that he saw in him a man of honor who had done his duty, and from whom he asked no other security but his word that he would never act against him. Kosciusko attempted to rise, but the Emperor forbade him; sat half an hour and conversed with him, told his son to esteem the unhappy prisoner, who was immediately released—the guard taken away. At the same time expresses were sent off into Siberia, and ten thousand Poles confined there received passports and money to bring them home. This story is afterwards told to me by M. Lanskorenski, a Pole, who can scarcely restrain his tears as he relates it. They are all of them in ecstasy, and that single trait does more (in my opinion) towards securing the Russian part of Poland than an army of 20,000 men. But yet the character of the Poles is not such as may securely be trusted; the great are too corrupt, and the body of the people too much abased. M. de St. Priest tells me another thing which he says he is assured of; viz., that Spain has entered into the war with a view (from overtures made by the French Directory) of placing the King’s second son on the throne of France. I tell him, hereupon, that I have long suspected something still more important to the peace of Europe; viz., that the heir of the Spanish monarchy should be placed on the French throne. This would necessarily overturn Portugal, and, with the possession of the territory Edition: current; Page: [239] now in the hands of France, added to the greater part of America, go near towards that universal monarchy so long apprehended, though, indeed, in a different shape—a general influence instead of a general domination. This idea I was always cautious not to publish, and only mentioned it to one or two people whose discretion I could rely on. When the young Duke of Orleans and his brethren were invited to go to America, I considered it as a part of that system, and am still in the expectation that it will be somehow or other effected. To consolidate it, they should contrive to get the French princess here for his wife.”

In a letter to Lord Grenville, December 21st, written after his interview with Baron de Thugut, Morris says, à propos of Lafayette and the willingness of the government to liberate him if England should ask for his release:

“Now, my lord, I wish you to consider that when peace takes place he will, of course, be liberated, and go to America. He will have more or less influence there. I believe he will have a good deal. You may, if you please, send him thither under such a weight of notorious obligation that he shall be incapable of disserving you. And if you take him now, there are two supposable cases in which, if he were twenty times a Frenchman, he would be inclined to serve you, viz., a restoration of the titular monarch, or the full establishment of the present rulers of his country. In all cases, you would do an act agreeable to America which would cost you nothing; and I am sure you are not to learn that such things propitiate more the minds of men than more solid services, which, however they may promote the interests, seldom fail to wound the pride of the obliged party. Should you incline to this measure, the least hint would induce the American minister to request it on the part of the United States, unless, which I should deem the better mode, you did it of your Edition: current; Page: [240] own motive. The effect would then be great, even in France. For though he is now of no importance there, that nation is highly sensible to every act of nobleness and generosity.”

“To-day [December 21st] I visit many of my friends, and announce my departure. In the evening go to M. de Trautmansdorfe’s assembly. I have here an interesting conversation with the Cardinal Albani, or, rather, Monsignor Albani, for I believe he is not yet a cardinal. He tells me he is laboring to bring about an intimate connection between his Court and this. He has stated fairly that they have no longer any apprehensions from Austria, but, being compelled to choose between France, who menaces the rights of property, and Austria, who can only attempt changes in the political system, they naturally prefer the latter from the weightier danger to be feared from the other side. I suggest to him another idea, which he seizes and promises to make use of, thanking me for it; that the spiritual arms of the Pope—of little avail in times of tranquillity—may become dangerous in supposable circumstances; that the ignorance of the people, which forms here a principal support of the sovereign, is in some considerable degree to be attributed to the influence of religion, and that the Pope may find himself under a necessity of tearing that veil of prejudice which is now stretched before the eyes of the vulgar. These expressions, I observe, are too strong to fall from his lips, but I use them to a man of the world to avoid circumlocution, and he will convey the ideas in his own way. I also state to him what effect may be produced, according to my conception of it, in Spain by the papal thunders, should an invasion of the country take place. Mention to the Prince de Reusse, who is an intelligent man, brother to the Imperial Minister at Berlin, Edition: current; Page: [241] the conduct which strikes me as advisable in Italy, and which, indeed, I had suggested to M. de Thugut. The Prince tells me that he thinks something very like it will be pursued, and laments that it had not been adopted in the Empire; this would expose (for the present) to some difficulties, but will come forward in due season if the war continue, and more especially if it be attended with success. Ask Lucchesini if it be true that the King of Prussia is dropsical. He assures me of the contrary, from letters recently received which particularly mention His Majesty’s health—from which I infer that he has indeed received letters which relate to the object; they prove that some question exists respecting it, and then his known veracity leads me to believe that they contain about the reverse of what he announces. He enjoys that happy reputation that, in order to lie, he need only speak the truth. The nuncio tells me that the Imperial Court has given them General Colli to command the armies of His Holiness, and seems well pleased with the choice. M. Galitzin is arrived to announce the accession of the Russian Emperor. He is running amuck at popularity, and while all the badauds se pâment d’admiration, I cannot but reflect that such conduct marks more vanity than greatness. The Baron de Groshlaer comes to see me. He tells me that my arrival here occasioned much inquiry. People attributed to me different objects, and, finding none plausible, at last set my journey down to the account of M. de Lafayette. I understand that all this arises from what has passed respecting M. de Lafayette between M. Thugut and me. I finally tell him that the only difference between me and the young Englishmen of whom there is a swarm here is, that I seek instruction with gray hairs, and they with brown.

“Visit Madame de Stahremberg, where I meet the Russian Edition: current; Page: [242] ambassador, who is gravely disserting to the ladies on weepers—their different kinds, uses, origin, etc., all which is important and suitable to his situation, and, of course, becoming. Madame de Shoenfeldt catches my eye, and looks as if she thought it comical. M. Lanskorenski tells me that the new Emperor of Russia has made a great reform; he has separated the civil from the military power. I take him a little aside, and say, ‘Qu’il prenne garde à lui. Le despote quis’avise de remédier aux abus, doit se persuader, d’abord, qu’il en est lui-même le plus grand de son empire, et si une fois on se met à raisonner sur les abus, on monte facilement à la source de tout.’ Urge M. de St. Priest, who agrees with me in opinion that nothing is to be expected from this Emperor, who seems to have taken Joseph (ubicunque Secundus) for his model, to endeavor to reconcile the Courts of Vienna and Berlin as the only probable means of restoring peace to Europe. He seems to have no disposition for this, though he is obliged to acknowledge that it is the only resource. He mentions insurrections at Breslau, and a proclamation from the King of Prussia which proves that he is fully aware of the danger of certain principles in his dominions.

“The Bishop of Nancy calls on me, and I give him, as fully as I may, the statement of a concern in which the French Princess is interested. At Madame Colorath’s assembly I see the Prince de Reusse, and enter into conversation with him and an acquaintance of his whom I don’t know. He attributes the ill-success in Italy to the bad generalship in some degree, and also to the want of officers in that army and the consequent bad composition of the troops. The deficiency of officers he traces up to a system adopted at the close of the Seven Years’ War, by which the purchase of commissions was permitted. This brought into the army a great number of people who possessed nothing Edition: current; Page: [243] but money, and these, during a long peace, learnt only to manœuvre their troops on the parade. Time, however, naturally brought them on to the rank of general officers, and now they feel the want of those men of rank who, having made war a profession, would have sought knowledge and experience in foreign service while their own country was at peace. He tells me that Alvinzi, a brave, good officer, is crippled by the gout, and, of course, unequal in activity to his opponent. He says that Würmser’s misfortune, when he entered Italy, was owing to Quasdanowitch, who scattered his troops about so as to expose them to what happened, viz., being cut off in detail. I observe that this was in some measure the fault of Würmser, who, in digesting his plan, ought to have foreseen at least the case of success, and to have given orders for the conduct which was in that case to be pursued. He tells me that such orders as I suppose were actually given but not complied with. I reply that, if so, Quasdanowitch ought to have been punished. He says one of their great faults here is neither to put the guilty or negligent in the way of punishment, nor afford to others the means of exculpating themselves. He mentions the hard case of General —, who lost Italy, and assigns that loss to a very trifling incident. He had an inferior force to the enemy, being at most in the proportion of two to three. He determined to take possession of a river near Genoa, and, while he kept the enemy in check there, he gave orders to General — to attack them on the 14th. He made his dispositions accordingly on the 13th, and gave the proper orders to General —; but one of his aidesde-camp, not having finished copying the orders till twelve o’clock at night, thought it most regular to date them on the 14th, as, in fact, they were not sent off till the 14th. As they contained orders for the morrow, of course General Edition: current; Page: [244] — prepared himself to fight on the 15th. Attacked on the 14th, he was overpowered by numbers, but — on the 15th obtained the most brilliant victory, taking away, among other things, twenty pieces of cannon; but new troops coming on continually against him, he was at length overpowered by numbers, and beaten also. Thus Italy was overrun by the French armies because a stupid aide-de-camp misdated an order. I express to the gentlemen my surprise that Colonel Mack, who is, I find, considered here by professional men as being the best among them, is not sent to Italy. He says the Emperor has not so good an opinion of him, being surrounded by a very small circle who are Mack’s enemies; that the Council of War has recommended him, but the recommendation was not noticed. This reminds me of what Madame Arnstein told me last night; viz., that the government is in the hands of a very few persons devoted to the Empress, who keep her husband secluded from everybody who would give him useful information. People, I find, differ very much upon all these subjects. My friend the Baron de Groshlaer told me that M. de Lehrbach was by no means of so much ability as I supposed; had been educated to the magistracy, and is of an impetuous temper, which runs away with him. I pass a part of the evening with Madame Potoska, and go afterwards with the Prince de Reusse to the midnight mass. He is a Protestant and, of course, not diverted by any conscientious motive from observing with me the scene. A great number of women of the town are here; also some of higher rank, and lower principles. The principal object of a great part of the congregation seems to be the arranging of occasion for sensuality. The music is good, but I own that this mode of employing an edifice dedicated to sacred purposes does not accord with my feelings.”

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“At the Archduchess’s to-night [December 25th] one of the little princes, brother to the Emperor, and who is truly an Archduke, asks me to explain to him the different uniforms worn by the young English—of whom there are a great number here, all in regimentals. Some of these belong to no corps at all, and the others to yeomanry fencibles, etc., all of which purport to be raised for the defence of their country, in case she should be invaded; but now, when the invasion seems most imminent, they are abroad and cannot be made to feel the ridiculous indecency of appearing in regimentals. Sir M. Eden and others have given them the broadest hints, without the least effect. One of them told me all the world should not laugh him out of his regimentals. I bowed, and told him the greatest monarch in Europe was not strong enough to brave public opinion. I see him, however, this afternoon in his uniform. I tell the Prince that I really am not able to answer his question, but that, in general, I believe these dresses are worn for convenience in travelling. He smiles at this, and asks what can be the meaning of a blue coat worn by Lord Cowper, with gold lace and a red cape. ‘That,’ says he, laughing, ‘is, I suppose, a Court uniform.’ If I were an Englishman I should be hurt at these exhibitions, and, as it is, I am sorry for it. I observe, however, on this occasion, what has often struck me before. They cite as incontrovertible authority in England the general conduct of young men, from whence I am led to suppose that old men are in the habit of admitting the validity of such authority. And now I find that here they assume it as unquestionable that the young men of England have a right to adjust the ceremonial of Vienna. The political relations of the two countries induce the good company here to treat them with politeness, but nothing prevents their being laughed Edition: current; Page: [246] at, as I found the other evening at Madame Groshlaer’s, where the young women, as well as the girls, were very merry at the expense of these young men.”

“To-day [December 26th] I dine at the Archduchess Christine’s. They are very attentive to their guests, and do the honors of their house well. We have an odd ragout made of a bear’s paws, which are esteemed here as a great delicacy and would, I believe, be very good if the cook had done less for them. There is one plate of them in salad, and one in a kind of stew. Madame de Lita is here, and says I must not go away. I ask M. de Lita to present me to his wife, observing that I had never been presented. He does this, but has something in his air which looks as if by instinct he were informed that the introduction were quite unnecessary and our acquaintance already well made. Go to the Russian ambassador’s, and make my bow. I find that he is a little humanized by the idea that he may soon lose his place, a circumstance which occasions triumph to all around him, and which thereby inspires me with pity. It is not well done to insult the fallen, even in idea. After sitting a little while, go to Sir M. Eden’s. In conversation I mention to him the observations of the little Archduke. He tells me that this mania of his countrymen for wearing regimentals has long given him concern and now much pain; that he has told them how improper it is, how indecent, etc., but without effect. It originated, he thinks, in the economical views of their parents. He tells me that while at Berlin four Englishmen who appeared in that dress (not being officers) were turned away from Potsdam, and complained to him, but he told them they were rightly served; that they would not have presumed to appear in that way at St. James’s, and could not expect that a foreign prince would indulge them in greater liberties Edition: current; Page: [247] than their own monarch. Leave Sir M. Eden and go to Mrs. Peploe’s to a musical meeting which might well be called a screaming party, for a Madame de Hasfeldt, who resembles more a Wapping landlady than anything human, pours forth such yells as would little disparage a chief of the Mohawks. A Comtesse de Zoes plays to show her graces, I presume, certainly not her science, while poor Madame Peploe, boiling with vexation at the murder of her music, labors, but in vain, to harmonize these discordants. I am thrown into a violent convulsion of laughter which, without being noisy, is apparent in spite of my utmost efforts. Mrs. Scott catches the infection, and conceals as well as she may the effects of it by coughing, while the Prince de Reusse, whose good heart is alike solicitous for the singing and laughing parties, that one may not give or the other take offence, renders by his air, manner, and efforts the whole scene completely theatrical. After the company are gone and Mrs. Peploe has had a few moments to vent the expressions of her just indignation, she is so kind as to soothe my tingling ears (which feel as if something were scratching them) by a delicious air most sweetly sung.”

“Prepare to-day [December 31st] for my departure from Vienna. Visit Madame Arnstein, and send my carriage to pay visits. While I am at Madame Arnstein’s the Duc de — comes in and says, laughing, that Madame de Lita is very sorry I am going away. Madame Arnstein tells me I ought to delay my journey. ‘Huit jours suffiront pour commencer et finir le roman.’ ‘Comment, madame, huit jours?’ They are highly diverted at the surprise, amounting almost to astonishment, which is expressed in my countenance, and are far from supposing that the time they prescribe is just seven days more than was necessary. Go to Madame Potoska’s and see there Edition: current; Page: [248] a Saxon delicacy, viz., cockchafers (des hannetons) preserved in sugar (confits). These animals resemble in some respects what in America they call the locust, but are not so large, and have, besides, the hard cover of a bug to their wings, which cover is a bright brick-colored brown. How it should enter into people’s heads to eat them, unless driven to it by famine, one could hardly conceive, and the making them into sweetmeats is utterly inconceivable.”

“This morning [January 1st], immediately after breakfast, dress and go to Court. The levee is oddly arranged, all the males being in one apartment, through which the Emperor passes in going to chapel, and returns the same way (with the Empress and imperial family), after which they go through their own rooms to the ladies, assembled on the other side. The most brilliant thing here is the noble Hungarian Guard, a body (not numerous) of handsome, tall men, on fine fiery steeds, magnificently caparisoned. The captain of this guard, the Prince Esterhazy, who is but of medium size or, rather, under it, is in a Hungarian dress of scarlet with fur cape and cuffs, but the whole coat embroidered with pearls, as are also the cap, pantaloons, and boots of yellow morocco leather—four hundred and seventy large pearls and many thousands of inferior size. Notwithstanding this profusion, it is done in good taste, and cost but one hundred guineas for the workmanship. A collar of large diamonds, a very large solitaire in a ring, another in the head of his cane, a plume of diamonds, the hilt and scabbard of his sword set with diamonds, and even his spurs—in short, he and his horse, who is bejewelled also (though I did not see him), are estimated at a value of half a million guilders, or about fifty thousand pounds sterling. His revenue (for he is the richest subject in Europe) amounts Edition: current; Page: [249] to from sixty to seventy thousand pounds, and has, during the Turkish War, gone up to a million of guilders. He lives in great magnificence, but without that useful part of it—hospitality. Has now above one hundred and fifty horses in Vienna, but had run out considerably before he came to his estate, and his father had also been in debt. This last, in six weeks’ residence in Frankfort, where he was ambassador, during an imperial coronation, spent eighty thousand pounds. In short, the estate is now dipped to the tune of between six and seven millions of guilders; so that it is in the hands of creditors, who pay him a net two hundred thousand for his expenses, with which income he runs annually deeper in debt. Here is the history of the feudal system in its decline. Most of the great families are doing, as I am told, the same foolish thing, and the government rejoices at the consequent humiliation of a haughty nobility, without considering that the power which is to spring up in their stead—and which, being novel to the constitution, has, of course, no counterpoise provided, and is, moreover, increased by the impetus of progressing force—must at length, if it do not overturn the throne, give it at least the severest shocks. But who cares for posterity? If the minister of the day can but live through his day all is well with him, and throughout human life the pressure of the moment forces men out of all the line of prudence. Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor is a motto which might be annexed to almost all escutcheons.

“M. Mazenski, a Pole, and grandson to Augustus of Saxony, was at Court to-day with diamond epaulettes of very large stones. It is said that he has the finest diamonds of any subject in Europe. But a finer thing than his jewels, or those of any other man, was the conduct of his servant, who, when his master was made prisoner, during Edition: current; Page: [250] the late troubles in that miserable country, possessed himself of his valuables and whispered to him, ‘If you escape you will find me at Leipsic.’ Mazenski was under the gallows, and saved himself by haranguing the populace. At Leipsic he found the servant and the treasure. I pass the evening with Madame Arnstein, and she tells me that the Emperor and Empress are not only weak but also malicious; that he envies the glory acquired by his brother the Archduke, and, as I appear astonished, she gives me as a proof that when the people here were going to illuminate their houses in honor of Prince Charles it was forbidden by the police, and that Brown, Director of the Theatres, and a creature of the Empress, gave that night such a play as left the audience no room to applaud their favorite, who received, indeed, the honors of the faubourgs when the theatres were under no such control; whereas in the city they had no other mode left of expressing their sentiments but a dangerously joyful reception of the Archduchess Christine, who is known to be the particular protectress of the Archduke, and to have adopted him as her son. Another proof she gives is that when Prince Esterhazy, who went to congratulate the Archduke on the part of Hungary, returned, he told the Emperor that the army endured their extreme fatigue and distress only out of affection to the Archduke, at which His Majesty was much enraged. The Prince added that, as a faithful subject, he found himself bound in duty, both to His Majesty and the State, to entreat that he would command the Archduke not to expose his person so much. To this the Emperor answered coldly that he would write to him on the subject. She tells me as soon as Kehl is taken the Archduke is to come to Vienna, from whence she is persuaded he will not again go to the army. All this may be overcharged, but the old proverb, ‘No smoke without Edition: current; Page: [251] some fire,’ is perhaps not to be disregarded on this occasion.”

“I take tea with Sir M. Eden [January 4th], and he tells me it is true that the French Directory have ordered Lord Malmesbury to quit Paris in eight and forty hours. He gave in his proposals very fairly, and was told that they would listen to none which were incompatible with the laws and constitution of the Republic. I conclude that Prussia is to come forward next spring, unless means can be discovered to change the views of that Court. General Alvinzi is, it is said, advancing again. I discuss with him, a little, the French Constitution, maintaining a principle advanced by Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville, viz., that it is so far from preventing a cession of territory by the Directory that it by strong implication gives that power expressly, besides the general grant of powers, in which it is clearly included. He holds a different opinion, and I find at last that he grounds it on the circumstance that his brother, Lord Auckland, did not take notice of any such power in his pamphlet, but seemed to accede to the doctrine afterwards set up by the Directory. I walked out to-day to see the trousseau of the Archduchess. The crowd was very great, and the thing is good of its kind, said to cost about thirty thousand guineas.”

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Morris returns to Dresden. Rhyming letter written en route. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Sir Gilbert Elliot. Keeps Lord Grenville informed of his conversations with public men. The Duchess of Cumberland’s drawing-room. Takes leave of the Electoral family. Goes to Leipsic. Berlin. Madame César. Presented at Court. Countess Lichtenau. Madame Crayen. Ball at the Prince Royal’s. Baron Münchausen. Dines with the Queen. Conversation at Baron de Haugwitz’s. Presented to Bischofswerder. Confidential conversation with Count Schmittau. Leaves Berlin for Brunswick. Presented at Court. Dines with the Duchess of Brunswick. Plays whist with the sister of the great Frederick.

The long-looked for frfost which was needed to make bearable a journey of several hundred miles in January came on the 10th, and, immediately taking advantage of it, Morris returned to Dresden. The journey was too uneventful to record here, but, to judge from a letter, chiefly in verse, English, French, and German, which he sent to Mr. Scott at Vienna while en route, the bracing air of the high mountains, or the memory of the strains of Viennese music, inspired his muse to tune her “harp in divers tones.” Following are the opening lines:

Dear Sir:
  • While you in various talk or play,
  • The merry moments while away,
  • O’er lofty hills I clamber slow,
  • And round me keen winds whistling blow.
  • Et toi, Phillis, ma douce amie,
  • Que j’aime jusqu’à la folie;
  • Edition: current; Page: [253]
  • Toi qui, même le premier jour,
  • Reçus et rendis de l’amour
  • Les serments et la jouissance,
  • Toi, modèle de l’inconstance;
  • Je t’aime toujours et te jure,
  • Par les bienfaits de la nature,
  • Par la flèche de Cupidon,
  • Par la ceinture de sa mère,
  • Par ce que l’amour a de bon,
  • A jamais tu me seras chère;
  • A moins qu’une autre douce amante
  • Ne me fasse oublier tes charmes:
  • Tu sais (en pareil cas savante)
  • Comment on se sèche les larmes.

“And now,” he concludes in prose, “as I am at the bottom of page and paper, I bid you adieu, praying my remembrances to the circle of our friends. Thank Prince Reusse for his directions, which have been of singular service to me. Try to tell Mrs. Scott how much I love her, and believe that I have a just sense of your worth, and therefore feel for you a singular attachment.”

Morris arrived at Dresden on the 22d of January, and found a pleasant welcome awaiting him from the friends he had made during a previous visit. “Mr. Hugh Elliot, the brother of Gilbert Elliot, Lord Minto, calls on me to-day,” he says, “and is more free in his opinion of the ministers than I should have imagined. He tells me that the French army on the other side of the Rhine will next spring be in great force and fine condition, and also that the King’s ministers are very desirous of peace, and would, he is convinced, give in to any terms that should be plausible, hoping that France would then do her own business. Mounier comes in to see me, and gives me some information respecting the early part of the French Revolution and the part which he acted; also traits of M. Edition: current; Page: [254] Necker’s ineptie. Mr. Elliot speaks a little on the same subject. He tells me that the only man he met with of real ability among the French was Mirabeau. He says they were brought up together; he knew him intimately. He was incorruptible. To this I reply that the price of his assistance was perfectly known for every measure. He says that in such case the measure must have met the previous approbation of his own judgment. This is a nice distinction indeed. He allows, however, that he was corruptible enough on the side of his passions, which were violent, and which always could dispose of him. At the club to-day a gentleman whom I saw last summer comes up and tells me that he has often thought of me, inasmuch as events during the campaign have answered exactly to the predictions I then made. I tell him there is no ground of vanity in that circumstance, because the situation of things rendered the course of events inevitable. From the gazettes which within these two days I have had occasion to peruse, it would seem that the expedition fitted out by the French against Ireland has completely failed.”

“A courier from Sir Morton Eden arrives here this morning [January 27th]. He carries to England, I believe, the disagreeable intelligence that the Austrians have been severely beaten and that Mantua has surrendered. This gives all Italy to the French, and they will use it and abuse it. I fancy, notwithstanding M. de Thugut’s assurances, they will be able to stir up the Turks. Certainly the moment is favorable.”

Taking advantage of this courier, “who stays a quarter of an hour longer than he intended,” Morris had the opportunity of acknowledging a letter from Lady Sutherland which had been following him for some weeks.

“I will not touch on politics in this letter,” he says, Edition: current; Page: [255] “because I have not time to say anything of that sort; and as to news, those from Italy are bad. Could not you come to Berlin and persuade the King of Prussia (who is in his heart a royalist) to support the cause of good government against the revolution-mongers who would fain turn all the world topsy-turvy? I think you would do more than half a dozen ambassadors, because His Majesty’s ears are more easily touched by the sound of a female voice than by any other music, and because with that sound you would insinuate to him more sense than God has given. I do not propose that you should sacrifice yourself pour la patrie, but merely propitiate him a little towards the propositions which your lord might be charged to make. Ah çà! Laissons là les cours, le rois et toutes les bagatelles de cette espèce. Venons aux choses importantes. À cet effet, je vous envoie la copie d’une fable, or, if you please, a tale written in my carriage in coming from Vienna; perhaps it may amuse you. You tell me you were frequently tempted to write. If you would take my advice, you would not resist the temptation. As a good Christian I pray not to be led into it, but being there (with the consciousness of having done my duty), I make it a rule to fall as decently as may be. How the Comtesse de Thun was tempted and how she fell is at least one-half of a mystery. The latter part was doubtless a consequence of the former; but as to that, I think it would puzzle your ladyship, with all your genius, and you have a full share of it, to divine which of his lordship’s graces had inspired the tender passion. Certainly, from the constancy of her correspondence, one may presume that she was très éprise, unless the consciousness of writing well was an inducement. But, indeed, that sly dog vanity frequently lurks in the corner of the heart when love imagines himself in full Edition: current; Page: [256] possession of it. The countess has the remains of a fine woman who has employed her time well.”

“This morning [January 30th] I call on Mr. Elliot, with whom I have a long conversation. He tells me that during the time Pitt bullied Spain he got frightened at the idea that France would adhere to the family compact, and, sent him, Elliot, over to negotiate with the Diplomatic Committee; that everything was submitted to them, and the terms having been made agreeable to their taste, two couriers were despatched to Madrid, informing the Court that unless it acceded to them it must not count on the aid of France. This produced the treaty made by Lord St. Helen’s, and opened the door to a confidential communication between the British ministers and the leaders in France; viz., Mirabeau, Barnave, etc. On this occasion Mirabeau proposed to him that, in case a war should break out on the Continent, Flanders should, as in the Seven Years’ War, be declared neuter. Whether it was in the power of the King’s ministers to have carried into effect any such stipulation at a subsequent period I know not; but certainly, if it had been, they were very wrong to engage in the war. On the subject of Hanover he says the King is quite intractable. He has heard him say that a sovereign has no right to transfer the allegiance of subjects which God has given him. This was in answer to a proposition made by the Prussian Cabinet to exchange their territory in the vicinage of Holland for that part of Hanover which lies between Prussia and Hamburg. Mr. Elliot is convinced that this city is much coveted by Prussia, but thinks the possession of it would be injurious to Great Britain, and in that respect he is, I think, much mistaken. He tells me that the Ministers, separately considered, are indeed able men, but that the Ministry is incompetent to the situation in which they Edition: current; Page: [257] are placed, and that Pitt would, he is persuaded, submit now to almost any terms of peace in order to get out of the scrape. To this effect (as being characteristic of the man) he cites not only his squabble with Russia, but also the Spanish armament, and, in addition to his previous information on that subject, says that the King was exceedingly vexed at the step taken in that business, which frightened Pitt and led him to speak ill of the French Convention, and at length from step to step into a war with them. He says they will not either adopt or adhere to any great manly system of continental politics. As to the Hanoverian Regency, he considers them all as pensioners of Prussia. In short, he looks darkly at the dark side of things, with more truth perhaps than might be wished. He tells me that Count Eltz was hurt at the doubtful manner in which I spoke yesterday to the Elector respecting Mantua, but if the count knew what I do he ought to thank me for expressing only doubt and apprehension.”

In accordance with his promise to Lord Grenville, Morris continued to jot down all his thoughts and suggestions on the state of Europe, with the hope that some safe means might be found of sending the letters to London. In these notes waiting for transmission to his lordship under date of the 31st of January, Morris speaks of the Austrian minister as not being equal to the task he had imposed upon himself, and recorded that he had been early informed of the danger which threatened Italy, “but the needful succors were not sent, and we know the consequence. I have made inquiries about Thugut from persons who knew him intimately before he was Minister, and am sorry to say that none of them consider him as a statesman but rather as a man who joins profound dissimulation to the spirit of intrigue. There is one circumstance Edition: current; Page: [258] in his conduct which is extraordinary. Your lordship knows that from a dissipated man of pleasure he became all at once a sequestered man of business. He accepts not invitations and goes nowhere, but dines always at home (generally tête-à-tête with a M. Pellin—once the secretary, faiseur, and confidant of Mirabeau—a sly, sensible, profligate fellow. Sir Morton Eden, to whom I remarked on this strange connection and its dangerous consequences, told me Thugut was so discreet that Pellin could learn nothing from him.

“The French Directory have, it is said, perfect information of what passes in the Austrian councils, but that may be mere assertion. So far as my inquiries could extend, there is at Vienna no able man to assist or (in case of need) to replace the Baron, who, by the by, is much disliked, and who cannot or will not employ some of the few able officers in the Imperial service, because they have declared themselves against him. How far it may be in your lordship’s power to remedy this defect in the Austrian councils is a question I am incompetent to consider.

“It seems demonstrated that Italy must, for some time, be left to its fate, and that the Emperor must henceforward, in his own defence, keep a body of troops on the northeastern side of the Adriatic, and another in the gorges of Tyrol, Carinthia, and Carniola. Under these circumstances it would, I think, be wise to hold out the idea of an Italian campaign for the next spring, and to have transports collected at Trieste and Fiume for carrying troops across the Adriatic, under convoy of your fleet. These appearances would keep the fleet in check; and, in fact, an invasion of that sort seems now the only practicable mode of recovering Italy. The climate renders it imprudent to commence a campaign there before Edition: current; Page: [259] the month of September, but early preparations for it would oblige the French to keep a considerable force in the unhealthy part of that country, which in its consequences would be equivalent to a victory. A large body of troops might be assembled at Lintz, declaredly for Italy, but really for the Rhine, where the great efforts ought to be made. In what way and towards what objects I shall not permit myself to discuss, for many reasons, and particularly because the plan of a campaign should be squared to circumstances by the genius of him who conducts it. I will merely observe that it will cost you less to carry on the war in the enemy’s country than on this side of the Rhine. . . .

“I must entreat your lordship to consider a little the actual and probable state of Germany. The constitution of this Empire is a bubble, and in reality there exist here two Emperors; one of the North, who commands under the name of treating, and one of the South, who treats under the name of commanding. The Northern Emperor possesses almost all Westphalia and the two Saxonies, Hesse, with Lusatia, Silesia, Prussia, and a part of Poland. The Southern Emperor possesses Bohemia, the two Austrias, a part of Poland, with Hungary, Carinthia, Carniola, Styria, and Croatia. On their jealousy of each other depends the sickly existence of the various German principalities not included in the districts just mentioned. But these must sooner or later be divided between them. . . . Two great powers are indeed interested to prevent it—Russia and France—but principally the latter. And one great power is interested in promoting it, Britain. The thing is not now practicable in its extent, but if it were, I should contend, my lord, that it would be for your advantage to bring both Austria and Prussia into direct contact with France, possessing yourselves at the Edition: current; Page: [260] same time of the Austrian Low Countries, and extending yourselves to the Rhine, from the mouth of the Moselle down to Gelderland; for in this way you would acquire, in the first instance, a mass of force sufficient to resist France without an ally, and, secondly, in the supposable case that Prussia should join France to wrest Holland out of your hands and divide between them the Low Countries, not only would your fleets do them much mischief at sea while they were besieging your fortresses, but your allies, Austria and Russia, would soon give you a decided superiority at land. Moreover, Austria and Prussia joined together would form a solid barrier against the further extension of the Russian Empire, a thing worthy of attention. But Germany, in its present situation, divided under little princes, presents nothing to France which can give her a moment’s uneasiness or procure for you any valuable assistance. Force her now to surrender Flanders, she will again return to the charge, and possess herself of it sooner or later by conquest or by a political transaction with Austria, in consequence either of the jealousies which exist between that power and Prussia or by some arrangement between the three. You will then be under the necessity of fortifying and garrisoning your eastern coast, at a most ruinous expense and with most precarious effect.

“I can conceive only two reasons why you should not pursue the measures above alluded to, so far, at least, as they are now practicable. One of them is that they involve the surrender of Hanover to Prussia. Now I will admit that Hanover may for a time continue to be (as at present) subject to His Majesty in name; but, even then, every essential of power must continue to be at the disposition of the Prussian Cabinet. Moreover, it is to be remembered that this Electorate might, in the case above hinted at, be the price paid to Prussia for consenting to Austria taking Edition: current; Page: [261] Bavaria in lieu of the Low Countries ceded to France; and it is self-evident that you cannot hold Hanover against Prussia, even in name, except as a boon, and during the good pleasure of France. Her interest will induce her to support the German constitution, unless she can get Flanders by sacrificing it; but still, whether she act in conjunction with or in opposition to Austria, her views and her operations must ever be hostile to Britain. I come now to the second reason which may be urged why you should not give Hanover in exchange for the Low Countries, viz., the expense of defending them. You will observe, by the by, my lord, that I do not accurately distinguish between the King of Great Britain and the Elector of Hanover. In effect, and according to the view I take of this business, the distinction is useless, because I contemplate giving to the same person one country for the other, the more valuable for the less valuable; and whether in the conduct of it the Elector would make a sacrifice to the King is a question which His Majesty would in his wisdom decide, and which I shall not meddle with. But to return to the objection last mentioned. I answer, first, that you must (in all supposable cases) be at the expense of defending the Low Countries against France, or of defending yourself against them, and your history since Queen Elizabeth proves this assertion. Secondly, I aver that with proper management they would be able to defend themselves in a very considerable degree. Cover them by good fortresses, arm and discipline the inhabitants, connect them with you by the ties of interest, language, manners, and, above all, by a mild and just government, and their neighbors would have more to fear from them than they from their neighbors. That country, intersected by many canals, to which others may be added, possesses the military advantage of bringing all its powers with facility and celerity Edition: current; Page: [262] to any one point of its frontiers. Its vicinage to England and numerous little ports enables you to pour in the force of your islands for its protection. The situation of Holland would obtain for you her cordial assistance in every war of defence, and you would thereby possess almost exclusively all pecuniary resources—an object of no small import in modern wars.

“So much on the head of defence from military force; but there remain two other considerations. First, I observe that those countries, in possession of France, would soon rival your woollen and iron manufactures, diminishing thereby your national wealth, and that a military port on the Scheldt would frequently, during war, put your capital itself in jeopardy, and always distress your coal and coasting trade, not to mention the supplies of naval stores drawn from the North, and which would also be exposed to capture. A second consideration, and turning upon a different pivot, is the advantage to be derived from the possession of that country. Flanders, my lord, is the military highway into France, and (so long as she keeps Alsace) the only way by which it can be prudent to attack her; even in that way she is not easily vulnerable, except by the aid of the maritime powers. But if her assailant be vulnerable at sea, and move with a large army along the coast, she will find resistance very difficult and very expensive. The attack, comparatively speaking, will be easy and cheap. It may be objected to the exchange proposed, that in losing Hanover you would weaken your influence and connection in the North. In some respects this is true, but in most respects your influence would be increased by the consideration that you could do injury or confer benefit. This consideration would go far towards rendering you the arbitrator of the North. I ought perhaps to beg your lordship’s pardon for taking pains to Edition: current; Page: [263] prove a self-evident proposition, but I have reason to believe that if the truth of it be generally felt it is not so generally acknowledged. Russia would see the proposed arrangements with concern. The jealousy of Austria might at first be alarmed, and Prussia may be induced to prefer receiving Hanover at the hand of France, should the Czar be quiet or the Turk be roused. Finally, in the various workings of this war, France may bring Austria and Prussia together at your expense. If she continue to offer territory and give money her scale may finally preponderate. In proposing the plan you allude to you could (under present circumstances) have considerable advantage. The Prussian Cabinet cannot but see that it is better to deal with His Majesty for Hanover than to take it from him, and must prefer the preservation of existing governments to their destruction. Should your lordship think of gaining Prussia, I have reason to believe that some attentions to their minister with you would be useful. I think also that pains should be taken at Vienna to soften down their feelings, to which effect some address would be necessary, because they have hitherto, I believe (to speak medically) been treated rather by stimulants than emollients. The conduct of the Czar offers a sufficient reason and fair occasion for changing your system, but care must be taken to prevent him from suspecting your intentions, because he would certainly try to counteract you. I have already hinted at the Austrian part of a campaign. The Prussian part becomes evident from the geography of the country; but I am persuaded that, a good understanding once established between the three courts, your objects might be obtained without striking a blow. The Elector Palatine might be compensated from the three electorates for Bavaria, given to the Emperor in lieu of the Low Countries. These, with Liège, might be Edition: current; Page: [264] given to the King in exchange for his German dominions, and, should His Majesty desire it, they might be annexed as an Electorate to the Empire. But I should suppose it best in every point of view to erect them into a separate kingdom. Prussia might receive the King’s German dominions, surrendering to the Stadtholder Cleves and Prussian Gelderland for something in the West Indies. The three ecclesiastical electors and the Bishop of Liège might receive from Britain a pension for life equivalent to the net produce of their respective dominions, which pensions might be considered as the price of those possessions which Britain should retain of her conquests in the East and West Indies. Thus could this war terminate with advantage, and the continuance of peace be better provided for than ever.

“Now let us take up the counter-supposition that Prussia should understand with France and Russia; for, in order to simplify, I will put the Turk out of the question: Russia takes Finland, Prussia takes Hanover, France keeps what she pleases in the Low Countries. If Austria does not submit, she has a Prussian army in Bohemia, a Russian army in Galicia, a French army in Hungary. Humanly speaking, my lord, they could not but succeed. Austria would be deprived both of Milan and Flanders, and you might see yourself obliged to purchase peace by the surrender of your conquests and the cession of Gibraltar to Spain, or else you might see Portugal overrun and reannexed to the Spanish throne. I will not pursue this subject. It is too painful to dwell upon, but the mention of it may not be improper, in order to show the importance of coming forward to Prussia (and that speedily) with such propositions as shall command her attention. I will trespass no further on your lordship’s patience than to entreat your pardon for the length and freedom of this letter, and so assure you of my sincere esteem and respect.”

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“I go this evening [February 1st] to Madame Pöhlen’s, whom M. Schomberg thinks a prude; but Inglis thinks that any woman in Dresden will succumb to any Englishman. A little national, this! I find the fair one is a little gone in pedantry, and am pretty certain that, with proper attentions, she might soon be brought into the right way; but as I do not mean to stay, I am rather brusque. She pardons the first kiss, taken rather forcibly; but as she obstinately refuses the second, and tells me that my insisting on it may oblige her to avoid a repetition of my visits, I rather imprudently reply that I shall consider her refusal as tantamount to a declaration that she will not see me again. This passes, though she is a little hurt at it, but I believe I shall quit, for the game is scarce worth the chase. Go from hence to the Duchess of Cumberland’s where I spend the evening. Her Royal Highness tells me she has information she can rely on that a corps of eighteen thousand Austrians, under Provera, has been totally cut off. There were but four thousand left to surrender with their general after a most obstinate resistance. Bonaparte has been beaten, but General — came to his assistance, recovered and changed the fortune of the day, so that Alvinzi was beaten back, and thereupon all the French army fell on Provera, who had crossed the Adige, and was pushing for Mantua. This is the second time that the Austrians have been beaten in detail, or, rather, the third. At the club I see the accounts of what has been suffered by the Austrians in Italy. They appear to have lost from twenty to five and twenty thousand men, and if to this be added the garrison of Mantua, which must now surrender, it will stand at a minimum of about forty thousand. On the whole, I estimate at not less than one hundred thousand men, what this campaign has consumed for them in Italy, exclusive of disease. No Edition: current; Page: [266] nation can long sustain such heavy drafts from its population. It appears, by the late French papers, that the far greater part of their armament is got back to their own ports, a circumstance not honorable to the genius of Lord Bridport.”

“Go to the ball of the English minister [February 3d]. Present to Count Eltz my compliments of condolence on the ill-success in Italy, and tell him I had intelligence of it last week, but could not with propriety communicate it to him. Mr. Elliot, who dined with me, spoke very freely of the British administration, declaring he is not hurt at the passe droit which he has endured, but yet there are, in the sharpness of his manner, no small indications of it. He insists that, in the Russian business, if Pitt had not been frightened he would have gone through. He says that in the beginning, viz., inciting the Turk to war, Pitt was the tool of Hertzberg, and afterwards was prevailed on by Lord Auckland to commit the treachery of abandoning the Turk. This, I have formerly heard, was the prime cause of coldness on the part of Prussia, who has ever since thought herself justifiable in retaliating upon England. He gives me a curious anecdote to show how little the British Cabinet attends to the business which it undertakes. Sir Sydney Smith had served in the King of Sweden’s galley-fleet, and had very gallantly contributed his share to the rashness by which it was ruined. Afterwards, when Britain was in high courtship to the Empress, Sir Sydney soliciting at St. James’s, the ministers, not knowing well what to do with him, thought it a lucky hit to send him to Constantinople to discipline the Turkish fleet. The Turks laughed at him, but with the gravity of Turks, and the Empress found in this trait a mark of the sincerity which the British minister was then professing. Mr. Elliot tells me that their ministry is individually Edition: current; Page: [267] so preoccupied as to have no moment in the four and twenty hours for considering plans, so that it is useless to talk or to write reason to them. The only chance is that at present they may fear for their heads; but this would rather lead them to patch up an ignominious peace than pursue wise and vigorous measures. He talks of a private and undue influence over the mind of the King; but here he is unintelligible, as, indeed, are all those that ever mentioned that subject to me, for none of them could ever say who were the persons exercising that influence. At one time, indeed, I had heard Lord Hawkesbury named, but he was a member of the administration, and could not therefore fall under that description. Lately the Queen was supposed to guide, but Mr. Elliot tells me that since the quarrel between the Prince and Princess of Wales, in which Her Majesty took part with her son, her influence is gone. Yet he speaks of this secret direction as of a thing certain, although its material parts do not seem to be defined or discovered. Now, as far as I can understand the matter, I take this to be nothing more than a species of obstinacy in the King’s character. He was bred a courtier and can mask his sentiments at pleasure; whenever, therefore, he has taken up an opinion, he can adhere to it without being either moved or convinced by the arguments of his ministers. They, believing their reasons uncontrovertible, and finding him of a different way of thinking, conclude it to be the effect of secret influence. His temper also jars with the situation in which he finds himself, as chief of a very limited constitution, where he is, in fact, only the elector of the real king. Sensible that he is under the control of those whom he has chosen, and must ever be so, he must feel a pleasure in being able to reciprocate the thwarts and checks which he receives. This temper is more particularly evident in what relates to Edition: current; Page: [268] Hanover, about which he is utterly unapproachable by his British ministers. And perhaps it is this little circumstance which, above all others, attaches him to that electorate.”

“This morning [February 5th] I go to Court, and take leave of the Electoral family. Dine with Count Eltz, and go after dinner to the Duchess of Cumberland’s. Brockhausen, who is here, talks with his usual pedantry, and mauvaise foi. Among other things, he says it was wise in Washington to resign while yet in place, inferring from thence that he would not have been re-elected. I see here a Gallican insinuation, and tell him gravely that no man in the least acquainted with American affairs can have the shadow of a doubt that he would have been reelected had he chosen it. I add my conviction that the manœuvres of the French Directory, so far from serving their friends, will have contributed more than anything to confer the Presidency on Adams. Elliot, who laughs along through the whole, expresses the hope that America will join England in the war, and take the French and Spanish possessions. Brockhausen expresses his doubts whether a scanty population of four millions, scattered over an immense territory like ours, can have an army sufficient to do anything. I tell him that, by withholding supplies of provisions from the islands, we should force them to surrender, and as to the Spanish continent, our settlers would take possession of it if the Government would permit them. By way of expressing his contempt for our force, he says he hopes we will let them alone. I tell him we shall gladly leave them in possession of their good turnips, but that the time will come when Prussia will find the friendship of America a thing of some consequence. If ever this man gets into power at home, his ignorance will go far to undo the work of Frederick.”

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“Mr. Elliot calls on me this morning [February 6th], and groans over the state of public affairs, training misfortune up to misconduct. He tells me that while he was in the North he saved the King of Sweden, acting in the name of his Court without orders. The Russian minister complained to Mr. Pitt, who said he could account for it only by supposing that Elliot was drunk; to which Elliot replied by a sharp letter, telling the Minister he had not been drunk since he had the honor of being so in his company. He tells me the history of Jackson’s mission to Constantinople. Jackson’s father, who is a dean, is patronized by the Duke of Leeds, who uses his house as a place of rendez-vous for his girls. His grace wished to bring forward this worthy prelate to the Bench of Bishops, and the Minister was willing to oblige his grace, but, finding the character too bad, he settled the matter by giving the son, a very stupid fellow, the embassy. This is the story told by Steele to Mr. Elliot, who asked him how they came to make so strange an appointment. I dine with the Baron de Brockhausen, and take him after dinner to ride. Go for a little while to the club, and then to Madame Angerstrom’s ball, where there are a number of handsome women. Elliot presses upon me again, for the dozenth time, his wish to establish himself in America so soon as he shall have fixed his legitimate daughter in life, having half a dozen illegitimate children and their mother to take care of. He is a manly fellow, and I wish he may come over; there is room for all his little ones, and I reassure him of it. Promise to correspond with him on the subject.”

“This morning [February 7th], I leave the Ange d’Or inn at Dresden, which is by far the best I have met with in Germany. Our way lies along the Elbe. This noble river, navigable from Bohemia to the sea, is almost useless Edition: current; Page: [270] to the inhabitants in consequence of the heavy duties and the restrictions imposed by Frederick and kept up by his successor. At Hubertsburg, which is a poststation in our road, is a large château, and round it an abundant forest, chiefly beech and oak. In this château was signed the treaty which terminated the Seven Years’ War. It is very magnificent, but, I think, oddly placed. When I reach Leipsic I find a letter from Mr. Elliot, enclosing one for Madame Crayen, the wife of the Prussian consul here. Send it to her, with a note, to know if she is at home, etc., and am told that she is much indisposed, and will go to bed at five o’clock. At five or, rather, a little before it, her servant comes to let me know that her valet-de-place had made a mistake—that she meant to let me know she would receive me at five. When I come in she apologizes for receiving me en déshabillé, but a fluxion in her cheek, etc. There is a petit bonnet of dress over a muffled face, and then a thick wrapper, and, finally, a gentleman with her. Is this indisposition? Is it the ami de la maison? I know not, but she is a Prussian, and has been well looking, with beaucoup d’esprit, so one may conclude anything. I make my visit short, and pretext writing, car il faut être discret. Besides, I respect the golden rule, and do not admire on some occasions the society of a third person. As I come down-stairs, however, I meet Monsieur le mari, I believe. She gave me a little of Elliot’s history with his wife. He married her privately before she was sixteen, out of pure love, went to England, and when he came back found she had run off with a Pole. He came on to this place in pursuit of this modern Paris, and was presented to him at her own house by Madame Crayen, who knew nothing of the matter. But the wrong-doer slipped off during the evening and quitted Leipsic, after which Elliot told her that he came thither to Edition: current; Page: [271] blow his brains out, and why. He was, however, reconciled to his cara sposa. She played him still other facetious tricks. Among them was one very pleasant. Very late one night she lamented pathetically that she was unworthy of his tenderness; that she had the misfortune to love the Chargé d’Affaires of Holland, who wished her to be divorced, and proposed to marry her. The angry husband rushes out of the house, orders his carriage, goes to the rival, calls him up, and, on his testifying surprise at seeing Mr. Elliot at so strange an hour, is still more surprised at being told his errand, viz., to kill him honorably. On hearing the reason he assures him there is no shadow of foundation for it, and at the request of the husband goes with him, and reasserts the same thing in the presence of the wife, who says if that be the case she must have been mistaken. Madame Crayen is a charming woman.”

“To-day [February 12th] I push on to Berlin, although the morning threatens a thaw, and the first part of our distance lies over a stiff soil.”

“At the gate of Belitz [February 14th] we are detained five minutes by a conversation between my valet-de-chambre and the gate-keeper which I suppose to relate to us, and that some formality is wanting; but, as I grow impatient and begin to growl, am told we may go in. It seems the old man took my baggage-wagon, which preceded me, for a puppet-show, and the servant, with whom he entered into conversation, for a strolling-player; which last I do not wonder at, for he generally gives himself an air of importance which strikes the most superficial observers as being assumed.”

“At Berlin [February 15th] I am stopped, and my baggage, in consequence of a new ordinance, is sent to the Custom House, notwithstanding the usual douceur at the gate.”

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“Go this morning [February 16th] to see Madame César, to whom Madame Crayen had given me a letter, and on coming in I find Madame Crayen herself. Cela s’entend. I appear to be much surprised, and she tells me how the receipt of a letter announcing that her sister was worse had determined her to set off. The health of her sister was known when I was at Leipsic, and I had urged her to make it a pretext for coming hither with me, etc. As it is late I make my visit short, and, after calling on the Russian minister, go to Lord Elgin’s and wait his return, when we go together and dine at the Casino, after which I visit again Madame de Crayen. She contrives to tell me her real errand here, which I had already guessed, but she is determined to gain my good opinion. This must, I think, depend on the opportunity we have of being together. Come home and dress, and go to Court, where I am presented to their Majesties. The King is a well-looking man. He inquires about the health of General Washington, who (as Moustier tells him) is in very ill health. I tell His Majesty that I cannot believe it; that when I left him he was a hale, robust man, as much as the King now is, and, of course, no reason to suppose that he is now seriously indisposed. This is calculated for the poor monarch, who has an air très épuisé. See several acquaintances here, and come away soon, to avoid an invitation to supper. The Queen points out to me a young Mademoiselle Reidesall, who was born in America and christened “America.” She is a fine girl, and, when she comes down the dance, I tell her, in the presence of Her Majesty, that I reclaim my countrywoman. After some time the King speaks to me again, and when on the subject of America I tell him that if the French persist in the present conduct, and drive us to extremities, Spain will not retain an inch of ground in the New World; that Edition: current; Page: [273] His Majesty has a direct interest in such events, and a considerable one, but a ball-room is not the fitting place to discuss such subjects. On the finances of Great Britain I repeat (as having already mentioned it to his ministers) that the resources of the country are immense; upon which he observes they were so much more to blame for having attempted to tax us, and this it was which led to what I have already noted. After some trifling things, I tell him that I have just seen his best friend. He asks who, and to his surprise I tell him the Emperor. He speaks of him well personally, and I observe that he is a very honest young man; to which his Majesty replies by asking, ‘Mais que pensez-vous de Thugut?’ ‘Quant à cela, c’est une autre affaire, sire.’ I had stated the interest which makes him and the Emperor good friends to be their mutual apprehensions from Russia. ‘But suppose we all three unite?’ ‘Ce sera un diable de fricassée, sire, si vous vous mettez, tous les trois, à casser les œufs.’ On the subject of Austria, I tell him they would do very well if he would lend them a few of his generals. ‘Mais nous en avons besoin pour nous-mêmes.’ ‘Pas à present, sire, vous êtes en paix.’ He finds that if this conversation continues he may commit himself, and so pauses. I retire a little, and His Majesty conducts the Princesse Henri out of the ball-room. During the course of the evening Countess Lichtenau makes acquaintance with me. She is bien pourvue d’esprit, and lets me see that I am welcome to make my approaches, but one must not have too many irons in the fire at once. More court is paid to her than to the Queen. The King retired before supper. I am told he is on a severe diet.”

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“Dine with General Count Schmittau [February 19th]; an excellent dinner and very good wines. After dinner I converse with him on public affairs. He sees the situation of his country in a true light, and laments, as a man of honor, that the weakness of the Cabinet deprives them of the advantage to result from it. He speaks of the King respectfully and with feeling, of his favorite with indignation and contempt. He tells me that this man, conscious of his own mediocrity, will do everything and submit to everything rather than put matters in a situation which may require men of abilities to conduct them. He tells me that on a late occasion he called on this favorite, and, after complaining of an injury, told him that he or the King must do him justice; that he might amuse silly and ignorant people by saying that certain things were of the King’s doing, but well-informed men knew that the King had given all authority into his hands, and therefore if he did not render him justice he would blow his brains out. This produced the effect. I ask him why Möllendorf does not take it on him to speak to His Majesty. He tells me that he is content to purchase honors by the sacrifice of honor. Why some lover is not provided for the Countess de Lichtenau? She had one, a certain Mr. Paget, for whom she would have done anything, but he was recalled, when in the height of his favor, to England. On the Duke of Brunswick, he says that the King in the beginning took pains to bring him forward to his assistance, but in vain; that he is too much a courtier and has too little character to be useful. He tells me that there is very little money in the treasury, and fears that the fluctuation of their councils would prevent anyone from treating with them now. I inquire the character of the heir apparent. He tells me it is difficult to know, but at length I perceive that he considers him as a médiocre Edition: current; Page: [275] sujet; and, in short, as of a harsh, imperious temper, attached to minutiæ, and constitutionally avaricious. Stay at the ball only long enough to pay my respects to the principal personages, and go to Madame Wolf’s, where I pass some time. Madame Crayen, who is here, seems desirous of showing her attachment, and when I caution her, she exclaims: ‘I have but one idea, I care for nothing else; why conceal my passion? I glory in it, I could wish to proclaim it to the whole world!’ She tells me also that I have been stated here as a grand democrat. I treat the subject with the merited ridicule. She tells me that M. Alvensleben has said that I am full of projets, and therefore less amiable than formerly. It is strange, and the fullest possible evidence of a most feeble administration, that the presence of a solitary individual throws them all into a fright. Madame Crayen obliges me to pass so much time en tête-à-tête with her that the master of the house observes to us upon it.

“The English mail brings advice that the French have offered to cede Flanders as the price of peace, they keeping Luxembourg and Maestricht, and Britain lending them eight millions sterling, to be hypothecated on the Cape of Good Hope and other conquests in India. Count Schmittau told me that the King is sensible of the dishonorable situation to which he is reduced, but is of too feeble temper to break his chains.”

“I go to the ball of the Prince Royal at six [February 20th], and do not get away till half-past eleven—all the time on my legs, except a few minutes that the Grande Maréchale made me sit before her, to tell me that France was overturned because the Queen laid aside etiquette; and, having obtained my civil assent to this proposition, the more readily from the circumstance that, indeed, the levity of Her Majesty’s conduct had contributed to the Edition: current; Page: [276] mischief which there happened, she desires me to preach this to her Princess Royal. I take occasion to tell her that it little becomes a stranger to meddle in the affairs of a country where he happens to be, and particularly in those of so delicate a nature. The old lady finds her young mistress too affable, and does not consider that the dry, harsh temper of her husband may render it necessary for his consort to take off the ill impressions. This young man carries in his countenance the marks of a mind which will make many men miserable when he is called to the throne. His brother seems of a quite different cast, mild and benign. The eldest son of the Princess Ferdinand has, I think, the appearance of a mauvais sujet, but yet of one who may figure well in history if he take a right turn. Madame de Nadaillac, to whom I mention the information I had received that he was très anti-français, tells me that it may be so within these three days, but that the King was obliged lately to speak to him very seriously on the subject, because of the extraordinary things he had said in the society of M. Caillard’s secretaries, with whom he is closely connected.”

“This morning [February 21st] I go to the Baron de Münchausen’s to hear him play on the harmonica, which he assured me last evening that he excelled in, and convinces me this morning that he was mistaken. Go from here to see Madame Crayen, who tells me an anecdote which Madame Retz, now Countess de Lichtenau, told some time ago to her husband. The King had accompanied Mademoiselle Levaux home on foot from a public place and afterwards went to see his chère amie Retz, whom he found at supper. She, who knew where he had been, Edition: current; Page: [277] saluted him by throwing a bottle of wine at his head, which wounded him severely. Madame Crayen, who had seen this Mademoiselle Levaux, and was present at the recital, asked Madame Retz how she could be guilty of such a criminal extravagance, to which the firm courtesan replied: ‘At a later date I would have done the same thing par ménage, but then I acted from the wrath of the moment.’ It seems she had early inspired His Majesty with apprehension, and to such a degree that he used to caution the women with whom he was intimate to conceal it from her, because she was capable of putting them to death.”

“At the Princess Ferdinand’s ball to-night [February 22d] there is a sort of petit opéra for the King. The Comtesse de Lichtenau tells me she hears I am very intimate with Madame Crayen, at which I express my astonishment, and then say some things on the subject of delicacy towards the female sex which she feels as highly commendable; in short, promise to visit her. Madame Crayen this morning tells me that if opportunity had served she thinks the King would have made her his mistress, and is the only man of whom her husband was ever jealous. His Majesty, then Prince Royal, waited on her in a servant’s dress at the tavern on the day of her marriage. It is the custom, it seems, to have a great dinner at a public-house on that day. He stood behind her chair, and she expresses to me, as well as she can, the horror of seeing on her side a man she detested, and to whom she was condemned for life, and feel every moment behind her a man she loved, and from whom she was to be eternally separated. At the bottom of her heart lies the regret that she is not now the Comtesse de Lichtenau.”

“Take Madame de Nadaillac [February 24th] to dine with the Queen, where is the best salmon, I think, that I Edition: current; Page: [278] ever tasted, and good small beer; for at this royal repast it so happens that, pour me rafraîchir, I do remember me of that pitiful creature small beer, and drink of it copiously, in preference to costly and, I suppose, delicious wines.”

“Walk out this morning [February 27th], and call on Lord Elgin. He tells me that measures had been taken to indispose the King against me. They have made him believe that in the service of England I pushed forward the French Revolution. This stuff comes from the apprehension that His Majesty might risk, in conversing with me, to have his eyes opened. Go to a ball given by M. and Madame —. Madame de Crayen is in extreme distress at quitting Berlin, and, as she observes some little attentions from me to the Comtesse Solmes, quits the room much agitated. I follow her out and find her in strong nervous affection. Her sister tells me afterwards that she goes to bed every night bathed in tears and wakes weeping at the idea of going away. Oh, woman, thou art a strange creature!”

“Sit awhile with Madame de Nadaillac to-night [February 28th]. She is going to the masquerade. All the world will be there, for it is given by the King and open to every mask, and the last frolic of the season—for tomorrow we must all be in mourning.”

“Sit awhile to-day [March 1st] with the Russian minister, who is not at all pleased with the situation of affairs. Dine at the Vicomte d’Anadia’s, where is Madame Vignano the dancer, with her husband and child. Madame César’s brother mentions the having given formerly pieces of eight-gros to the present Comtesse de Lichtenau for fetching oysters when the young men supped with her sister, then a singer at the opera. This is curious enough. I find, from several things which have happened here, that the nation is extremely indisposed to the King, which, Edition: current; Page: [279] indeed, I do not wonder at. I call on M. de Haugwitz, the Minister, where I meet Mr. Hoffman. He is quite à la française. In the course of a conversation which I am led into, I tell them that if the Emperor paid the supposed attention to his own private interests he would yield to the proffers of France, and, secularizing the ecclesiastical Electorates, accept of Bavaria in lieu of the Low Countries, giving the Electorates to the Elector of Bavaria, and then, resigning the Empire to its fate, leave England to rise or fall, as fate might order; an object of no consequence to him, though perhaps important to some other powers. At going away, however, I take care to tell Mr. Hoffman that I was unwarily led into this political discussion, a thing I avoid, from the conviction that when the administration of a country is able, it needs no hints from a stranger, and when feeble it is useless to give them; so that, in all cases, a prudent observer should be silent.”

“Dine to-day [March 4th] with Marshal Möllendorf; presented to Bischofswerder. Converse a little with the hereditary Duke of Mecklenburg, who is, I think, a fine young man. He repeats to me, what he had mentioned once before, that the Prince Royal of Prussia is of a temper extraordinarily just. Pass the evening at the Princess Henri’s, where, notwithstanding the load of my three hours’ dinner, I at length succeed with myself so far as to be amiable. The young Duke of Mecklenburg, who has pressed me to visit his father’s Court, tells me to-day that he has announced me.”

“Stay at home all the morning [March 7th]. Count Schmittau calls on me, and sits a good while. An interesting conversation, and on his part very confidential. He mentions the intimacy he had with the King before his accession to the throne, and how His Majesty was Edition: current; Page: [280] estranged by Bischofswerder & Co.; how, at the breaking out of the war, he offered his services by letter to the King, who civilly declined, and to the Duke of Brunswick, who made no answer—a mark of his ungrateful temper, seeing that in the time of the late King he had, on an important occasion, been greatly indebted to the good offices of Count Schmittau; how he let Bischofswerder know that, after the war was over, he would blow his brains out, and the steps he had taken to avoid that catastrophe, which had terminated in a letter to the King by which he was placed in the rank to which he was entitled and an apology made. This letter is published. How the Duke of Brunswick, from his truckling temper, had not only lost the opportunity which presented of governing the King and kingdom, but in the campaign of 1792 had sacrificed his reputation to please the King and gratify a host of paltry minions. He tells me that the embassy to Russia was offered to him, but he refused to hold any place in the gift of Bischofswerder, who solicited in vain that he would live upon friendly terms with him. On the embassy, after assigning that general reason for refusing every place, he added that in his opinion a man could never render himself master of more than one science, nor always that one. He had been bred to arms, had studied his profession for above thirty years, and if he knew any business it was that of a soldier. I take occasion to mention to him my conviction that the Prussian troops must, if well commanded, be greatly superior to those of France. He goes into some useful explanations to confirm my opinion, and as a conclusion from his premises adds that, if placed at the head of forty thousand of them, he would answer with his life for the success; but he would not suffer himself to be attacked. I mention to him the opinion which is entertained by some in France, viz., that the Prussian troops Edition: current; Page: [281] would not serve against them. He treats it with contempt, and assures me that the whole machine is in the hands of the King completely. On Prince Henry’s subject he (Schmittau) states it as a rare circumstance that this man, the most despotic on earth, both in his temper and conduct, should be an enthusiastic admirer of the French system of equality. This proves that my friend Schmittau has not studied human nature. So far as my observation goes, the case he considers rare is the most common; and, in effect, pride, and the impatience of control which prompt a subject to rebel, lead a sovereign to tyrannize. The more such a bad subject shall be elevated and the nearer he shall approach to the throne, the more will this temper display itself by hatred of those above and oppression of those below him. Burke has somewhere justly observed, in speaking of those free governments in which domestic slavery prevails, ‘That the habit of domination comes in aid of the spirit of liberty, fortifies it, and renders it invincible.’

“I dine at home. Go after dinner to see Madame de Nadaillac, and from thence to the Sardinian minister’s, where I pass the evening. Lord Elgin, in the course of conversation, mentions that no man in Berlin keeps his servants in such abject submission as M. Caillard, except the King, who keeps a large stick with which he belabors them on the slightest occasion. And yet the man is governed despotically, and in the daily habit of submitting to things which his mind abhors.”

“This morning [March 13th] I prepare for my departure from Berlin. M. Haugwitz comes, and brings me a letter of introduction for Brunswick. Dine at Lord Elgin’s.”

“This morning [March 14th] I start early for Potsdam. The weather has been as fine as fancy can figure, and the Edition: current; Page: [282] singing of the larks has somewhat softened the tediousness of the journey.

“At Magdeburg the inhabitants are looking out for the Prince and Princess of Hesse, who are to arrive this evening, which has the good effect of letting us into the town without difficulty. They are apprehensive that by examining us they should delay His Highness, whose marriage has given me already some amusement at Berlin. I did not think, some years ago, that I should derive any benefit from the Landgraf of Hessen-Kassel.”

“At Brunswick I meet a friend, a M. Dubois, who shows many attentions. On Sunday [March 19th] I go to Court, where I dine and pass the evening. The Duke and his family très prévenants. He desires a little conversation, which begins after dinner, but is interrupted by his mother, to whom he presents me—the sister of old Fritz, and very like him. She has some eighty odd years, but is still lively, with a deal of fun about her. The Duchess, who resembles the King her brother, is very affable and pleasant. The Duke is, I think, a candidate for the character of the omnis homo. He speaks to me preferably in English, but not being master of the language, or entangled by the matter, he hesitates very much. He makes professions which he considers as very dubious, and says, ‘You won’t believe me, but it is very true.’ I tell him that the Prussian Cabinet is afraid of him, and it is on that occasion that he declares his unwillingness to manage the affairs of Prussia. To help him in his delivery, I tell him that I conceive easily why he, a sovereign, should not wish to set the example of an imperious control over a sovereign. This he assents to, but his objection is stronger from the circumstance that a German prince could not do many things which would be suitable to an individual. I understand him to mean any Edition: current; Page: [283] dismemberment of the Empire, and so explain myself to him, or, rather, himself to me. He assents, and comes forward with another but; but the Duchess Dowager arrives and terminates our conversation, which is to be resumed this evening. This evening, however, we have two parties to it—M. de Limon and M. de Puisegur, the ancien Ministre de la Guerre when I arrived in France. The former is full of projets, and thinks he can ‘the Gordian knot of policy unloose familiar as his garter.’ People are apt to mistake on these occasions. He asserts pretty frequently and roundly that the Prussian Cabinet was bought—a thing possible enough; and, at any rate, the assertion pleases the Duke. Without assenting to or denying it, I observe that on every ground it will be difficult to take them out of the hands of France. But, according to him, nothing can be easier. Only give greater bribes. He will not admit that the corrupter has the advantage of threatening the corrupted with a discovery of the transaction. How easy to deny the fact, and appeal to the general profligacy of the French Government for proof of the little weight to be given to their assertions. I break off the matter here, because he is got far enough, and if he be not now struck with the almost insurmountable difficulties (resulting from his own hypothesis) in the way of his plan, nothing I can say will have any effect. The Duke grows weary of the bavardage, and so do I.”

“To-day [March 20th] I dine with the Duchess of Brunswick; conversation on public affairs. Elle est très anglaise. Tell the Duke that I see no mode of bringing forward Prussia but by changing totally the administration; that this can be done, I think, only by means of Madame de Lichtenau, and that a new administration, considering the feebleness of the King’s character, must have behind Edition: current; Page: [284] it the Duke of Brunswick or Prince Henry. Her Royal Highness told me she did not like the emigrants, spoke to me about the misconduct of the Prince of Wales, etc.”

“I dine to-day [March 21st] with the Duchess Dowager, who tells me she is very sorry her brother had not seen me. This, I am afterwards told, is a strong proof that she is pleased with the person to whom it is addressed. Her daughter gives me some late publications to read. I spend the evening there, and the Duchess tells me the emigrants are much alarmed at my arrival here. I reply that this is to me utterly unaccountable, unless they imagine that, recollecting their private character in France, I should say something too much for them on that subject; but they may make themselves easy, for it is possible I may never have heard anything, but certainly have forgotten all which may affect the moral character of individuals belonging to a country which was so generally corrupted.”

“Dine with the hereditary prince [March 22d], and go to a comédie de société, which is amusing. The Duchess, who is English from top to toe, in conversing on the state of manners, tells me that they are very corrupt in this country (meaning Germany), and particularly at Berlin. She mentions the depths to which their depravity goes, and I express my astonishment at a vice she mentions, which, though I have often heard of, I am not well able to comprehend. Her Royal Highness does not, of course, go into the explanation, but assures me of the fact. I observe that the Duke rather avoids conversation, having before sought it. Is he apprehensive of disclosing his secret?”

“Pass the evening [March 24th] with the Dowager Duchess, and play whist. It is a thing curious to have played whist with the sister of the Great Frederick for Edition: current; Page: [285] a gros (about three halfpence) a fish, so that a rubber of five was worth just eightpence sterling money of Great Britain—threepence each for card money. This arises from the miserable situation of the emigrants, of whom many of the first quality now here are in the greatest distress.”

“The Duchess of Brunswick at dinner to-day [March 25th] tells me she is sure I don’t like her. She thinks I hate the King her brother, and extend that dislike to the whole family. I assure her that she is mistaken, and that nothing is easier than for me, as an American, to be attached to the royal family of England, but nothing more difficult than for a person of that family to like one of my country. ‘Well, then, I have the more merit, for I like you.’ This conversation, which lasts during the dinner and before a numerous society, would be very embarrassing to most men, and I am afterwards complimented for getting through it so well. She said, among other things, that she had persuaded herself to forget that there was such a country as America. On the whole, I am well pleased with her franchise, and tell her truly that I am well pleased with her. Converse a little with the Duke confidentially, and give him some traits of Berlin which he was unacquainted with. Mention the only means which seem to me fit for bringing the Prussian Cabinet into his views. He tells me it is now too late, in which sentiment I agree with him.”

“I am to-day [March 26th] told the private history of Lord Malmesbury’s subsidiary treaty with Prussia. His lordship employed the Prince of Nassau to intrigue at Berlin, and after some time he obtained a kind of offer that the King would send a hundred thousand men into Flanders and besiege Lille if Great Britain would pay them. The British minister declined the great number, Edition: current; Page: [286] and proposed that sixty thousand should serve in Flanders, which the King refused, and thereupon his lordship, under the pretext that it would save time, transferred the negotiation to the Hague. After several pros and cons, he came at last to the sixty thousand and the campaign in Flanders. Count Haugwitz agreed to the former, but, in pursuance of his instructions, refused peremptorily the latter. It ended by an agreement that the troops should act according to the decision of a council of war. England delayed for a long time (considering the season) her ratification, and then proposed to Möllendorf. In the course of the evening M. de Reden, with whom I converse, observes that the Prussian ministry could go on very well with the war, so long as the treasury held out, but, the war being unpopular, they could not risk taxes. The Maréchal de Castries calls, according to appointment, and after some discussion we determine that when he shall have taken the needful informations he will write to me at Hamburg. Dine at Court, and pass the evening there. At taking leave I am treated with a show of regard which, whether real or affected, is highly pleasing. The Duke is too much engaged in his cabinet to pay the social attentions; au reste, he is so much a courtier that I cannot help considering him as insincere and cold, even to the extremes of falsehood and insensibility. Brave in the field and happy in seizing the moment he is, I am told, a very able officer, but all well-informed persons agree in considering him as deficient in political courage. I think he wants other important qualities of a statesman. Man can judge of man by no other standard than his heart and mind. He who is alive to every sentiment and passion can judge well of others by adding to or diminishing the result of his own emotions, for he differs from his fellows only in the degree; but he who is born insensible Edition: current; Page: [287] can never know mankind: he is blind to some things, deaf to others; in short, he wants some of the moral senses. The Duchess, who contrasts strongly with her husband on the score of sincerity, spoke to me feelingly and freely of her daughter and the Queen of England. She considers the latter as a very bad woman—a cold, cruel hypocrite. She sheds tears of affection when speaking of her brother, and tells me that but for the Queen she would never have left England. Of the nation she speaks in terms of rapture, and I saw before, from a conversation at table on national character, that she is too much an Englishwoman for the Duke. She tells me that, notwithstanding her rank as a sovereign, she never writes to her brother without subscribing herself his subject.”

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Morris goes to Hamburg. An armistice signed, April, 1797. Letter to Lord Grenville. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Prince Zubow. Information about Russia. Lafayette released. Dines at Neusteden. Lafayette means to avoid all interference in French affairs. Intends to go to America. Conversation with Duchess of Cumberland at Frankfort. Prince de Reusse. Fête at Offenbach. Mr. Crauford. The Duchess of Cumberland in a contradictory mood. Baron de Beaulieu. Mr. Wickham. Leaves Frankfort for Ratisbon. En petite société at the Princesse de Tour et Taxis’s. General Werneck. Dinner at the Prince Bishop’s. Communications of M. Aujard.

Morris left Brunswick the 27th of March and travelling directly to Hamburg, reached there on the 31st. “Last night,” he says, “at the inn I had two plagues—one a hare locked up over my head, who would have persuaded some people that the house was haunted, for he made no small racket; another was the company of mosquitoes, which, to my astonishment, were as busy as in July. Go after dinner to Altona to see Madame de Flahaut, and in the evening go to the French theatre at Hamburg to see a most miserable ballet, made up of shreds and patches of music and history vilely assorted. Madame de Flahaut tells me a little anecdote of the Princess of Lorraine, who has lost her friend of fifteen years’ standing for the pleasure of young Caraman’s society. There is nothing in this to surprise me, for I never thought well of her. I saw her last evening at the play, and her inquiries after Mr. Livingston proved an interest which, if it be not of the sincerest kind, the fault must lie with him.”

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“Advices have arrived [April 3d] of the taking of Trinidad by the English, and the destruction of the Spanish fleet—one ship taken and the rest of the squadron burned by them. The conduct of the French has, it seems, excited great disgust in America. My poor friend, Robert Morris, is ruined. A heavy stroke upon my bosom, and I fear the account is but too true. The Archduke has been beaten, and the French, it is said, are in possession of Trieste.”

“It is said [April 14th] that the Austrian Cabinet have declared officially that they are treating with France. Their affairs are very bad, and M. de Thugut will, I fancy, be overset.”

“The Emperor has made [April 15th] a kind of official declaration that he is in treaty for peace; an estafette is arrived, it is said, which announces a mob at Vienna clamorous for peace and the dismission of Thugut. The Emperor addressed them and promised peace, on which they dispersed.”

“The Prince of Waldeck tells me [April 16th] he is persuaded the preliminaries of a general peace are signed; that they have been already for some time treating.”

An armistice had been signed on the 7th of April, 1797, within sight of the spires of Vienna; but it was not until October 17th that the treaty of Campo Formio was made. The terms dictated by Bonaparte were that Austria should cede Belgium to the French Republic, and agree to the cession of the German provinces on the left bank of the Rhine; and she also consented that Lombardy and several adjoining States should become dependencies of the French Republic. Austria was given, in return for her immense losses, Venice as a spoil. This Bonaparte flung to her, notwithstanding a protest from the Directory.”

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“It appears from the papers to-day [April 18th] that Bonaparte is still rapidly advancing, and that the Austrians have gained advantages in Tyrol which, followed up, will enable them to get into his rear and perhaps hem him up in the mountains of Styria. Should this happen, the affairs of the world may take a turn entirely new.”

“Accounts have arrived [April 23d] by the last French mail that the Directory have ordered the several officers to pay no attention to passports or certificates given by American ministers or consuls. This is curious enough; but if, as is far from impossible, Bonaparte receives a severe check, they will grow less arrogant.”

Bonaparte seemed at this moment to the lookers-on “to be,” as Morris expressed it in a letter to Lord Grenville on April 25th, “completely in air; and, on the whole, my lord,” he continues, “I consider the situation of the Allies as being just now much better than it has been at any period since the commencement of the war. I repeat to you again, my lord, that the game seems to me to be in your hands, provided you have patience to play out the cards. If it is possible to send a strong naval force into the Mediterranean, it will perhaps prove of very great importance.”

“To-day [May 3d], while I am in a shop choosing some chintz for Madame de Nadaillac, Mr. Parish comes in, and tells me that the French Directory have issued letters of marque to capture American vessels going to and coming from Great Britain, and that Admiral Jarvis has blocked up the Spanish fleet at Cadiz.”

“M. Talon breakfasts with me [May 5th]. He gives a strange account of affairs in America, so far as regards the land speculations. He says the conduct of France towards America must be, in some measure, attributed to the Bishop of Autun, who, in a conference with the Directory Edition: current; Page: [291] and Minister for Foreign Affairs, told them America was to be considered in no other light than Geneva, and must follow implicitly the orders of France.”

“It is so long since I had the pleasure of conversing with you,” Mr. Morris wrote to the Countess of Sutherland on May 16th, “that I would seek the opportunity for novelty’s sake, were there no other charms but those of novelty to be found in your society. But, as things are, I find these last unnecessary. You will have seen that Austria has made peace in the critical moment, when her enemy was in the greatest danger. So Great Britain will save a subsidy; and now, unless they force America into the war, you will stand alone, for I do not count Portugal for anything. They will only, I presume, furnish some money to France and shut their ports against you by way of purchasing peace and what is called independence. The state of your finances, also, is far from encouraging, but yet I am convinced that (unless panic-struck) you will get through well. In effect, your enemy cannot employ against you that force in which she excels, and she cannot, I think, in some considerable time attack you on your own element. The return of her armies will not a little perplex her counsels, and if she succeeds in disbanding the greater part of them, she will thereby be reduced to the necessity of listening to the necessities of her own citizens and the friendly interposition of that power who must now begin to view her with a jealous eye. Do send me some good news from Cadiz. Tell me to an ounce how much silver you have taken in the Spanish galleons; but, above all, tell me that I still hold a place in your esteem. Such information is a treasure more precious than silver, for I love you very much. God bless you, dear lady. Remember me to your lord, and remember me.”

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“Dumouriez tells me, in a long conversation we have [May 26th], several things of the past, but one of the present which astonishes me. He says that to his knowledge Thugut is in the pay of France. He has the same opinion which I had of Bonaparte’s situation when he made peace with the Emperor. Dining with a large company to-day, I mentioned publicly what I had previously suggested in private conversation to Mr. Parish, that the city of Hamburg would do well to send an agent to the Congress for a general peace, with the view to obtain an article in it for the free navigation of the Elbe. This would naturally be suggested by the Emperor and Elector of Saxony; France would also be glad of the opportunity to interfere, with decided effect, in the affairs of Southern Germany. As Mr. Sieveking sits opposite to me, I conclude that my conversation will be written to Paris (a thing which was done on a former occasion), and that part of it, which relates to the interior, will not be offensive to them; for it contained my serious opinion that, barring the case of civil war, their late experience of anarchy will enforce the observation of law.”

“Dine at M. P. Godefroy’s [June 5th]; a company of four dozen in an elegant house, and good wine, but the smallest dinner for such a company that I ever saw. A tureen of soup, and one of curds and cream, succeeded by a ham and five boiled chickens; then a turbot, four dishes of vegetables, finally a leg of chevreuil, and half a dozen roasted pigeons. The last advices from England announce a continuance of riots among seamen, also that the affairs of Ireland are very alarming. The Baron Grum tells me a part of his history. The Empress, in sending him hither announced to him the march of sixty thousand men under Suwarrow, through Holstein to the Elbe. I think I know from this hint the whole plan. He agrees with me in Edition: current; Page: [293] opinion that the present Emperor of Russia goes too fast in his plans of reform. He thinks it probable that Austria may, by and by, enter into bonds of alliance with France. I question only as to the by and by.”

“I meet at dinner [June 18th] the Prince Zubow, late bosom friend of the Empress of Russia. He gives me much curious information. He says the Russian army, had the Empress lived, would have been early in March on the way to Lintz. I had thought they were to come through Holstein. He tells me that the Comte d’Artois, when he went first to England, was bearer of an offer of fifteen thousand men from the Empress, to act for restoration of the monarchy in France. He says that his brother, during his late campaigns in Mount Caucasus and Hyrcania, has discovered the plain which bounded the march of Pompey’s army, being filled with serpents of enormous size; that the ancient Guebres still exist there, and preserve the sacred fire, fed with a bitumen in which the earth there abounds; that the nations and the rivers bear yet the same names which distinguished them in the time of the Greeks and Romans, the people of those countries having never yet been changed by conquest, emigration, or other great moral phenomenon. He mentions the melons of a province bordering on Cashmere as being brought to Petersburg, to Delhi, and to Ispahan. He says it is not true that the Empress had formed a good opinion of the present King of Sweden, but the contrary. He is, of course, no friend to the present Czar. He says that he must adopt the conduct of his mother, as most consistent with the interior prosperity and exterior consequence of Russia, but that the same measures will no longer produce the same effect. Even the army will no longer perform the same things, because that spirit which animated the whole is fled. In this there is, I think, some exaggeration Edition: current; Page: [294] and some truth. As to Poland, he says it would be cruel to re-establish that kingdom. They are (according to him) incapable of governing themselves, and should be deprived of power, as men take knives from children lest they cut themselves. The peasants, he says, detest the lords by whom they are enslaved, and these again never know what they are about. Kosciusko, he says, is below his reputation: a good leader of ten to fifteen thousand men, but that is all; an enthusiast who, but for his ignorance of his own countrymen, would never have been led into the measures he pursued. He speaks of Prussia as owing everything to Russia, so that the latter, in possessing herself of the Prussias, would only, as it were, take back her own.”

Morris left Altona on June 19th for a short trip in Denmark; stopping en route for a day at a town near Ploen, to see his old friend Madame de Tessé; “with whom,” he says, “I have a conversation on the subject of M. and Madame de Lafayette. She finds that Louis XVIII. has behaved very foolishly, more especially in his conduct towards his nephew, M. de Poix. This is characteristic of the Noailles. Impartial people consider it as a foolish affair merely because he did not wait till he was restored to the throne, where he might have shown his resentment at what he considers as the ingratitude of that family with more effect; but nobody, I believe, except the members of that family, will put in comparison the proclamation and M. de Poix.”

On the return journey, at a small town, Morris was not a little surprised to find a servant of the Duchess of Cumberland waiting for him; “which,” he says, “gives an air of importance very improperly to a most trifling circumstance. She, by blunders, is at Leipsic without money, and asks me to raise some for her; so I send an order for it to Edition: current; Page: [295] Freis & Co. We have had again a rainy day, which makes the welcome of my friend Parish doubly welcome. On my return to Hamburg I call on Madame de Flahaut, and converse with Souza, who has returned from Berlin. He mentions having heard there, with surprise, that I was a great democrat, in the French sense of the word. He gives me some French gazettes, by which it appears that the Legislature are determined to force the Directory into a peace.”

“I learn with great pleasure to-day [July 4th] that the Duchess of Orleans has been restored to the possession of her father’s property. The two Houses in France have concurred in taking the command of the treasury out of the hands of the Directory, and the milliard for the army is brought on the carpet. This is, I believe, the rock which the Republic must split upon. A person from America brings a list of new diplomatic appointments which prove to me that our system is less nervous than it was. I fear we shall not gain much reputation by it. He says, however, that the spirit and resentments of the nation are high.

“Dine at Mr. Haynes’s [July 10th], where I meet Lord Wycombe. He comes home with me after dinner, and, chemin faisant, expresses himself with much warmth against his quondam friend, Madame de Flahaut. She had a design upon him, viz., to marry him; and he thinks she did much mischief to effectuate it. He is of those men who go far in the way which they once travel, and believes more than is just. At the time when I suspected their connection to be what I now find it was, and on his arrival in Paris, she sent her servant to him, with a letter full of all sorts of tenderness and dying sensibility. I find she had nearly catched him in the matrimonial noose, and he seems to be very angry at it, though, in fact, he has nothing to complain of. He seemed a proper subject to Edition: current; Page: [296] work upon, and therefore she exerted herself to get hold of him. We have a pretty long conversation on matters of a public nature, and his lordship begins to doubt some things which appeared to him to be certain.”

From Altona, July 11th, Morris despatched another letter to Lady Sutherland, acknowledging her letters, and, just touching on the all-absorbing political subject, he announced to her his intended departure for home.

“It has for some time been my opinion,” he wrote, “that you would have peace this year, and the negotiators being now met, I presume you will soon know the happy issues of their labors. As to the conditions, I think them of little consequence, for the state of Europe seems to me similar to what it was previous to the Grand Alliance, and, if so, you will have only an armed truce whose duration must depend on contingencies; unless, indeed, the internal commotions of France should give to neighboring nations a security they could not derive from their arms. Quand on se trouve au parterre il faut attendre le dénoῦment de la pièce, quelque mauvaise qu’elle soit. Ainsi, quoiqu’en route pour mon foyer, je reste ici encore quelques jours. But for trifles not worth mentioning, I should have been by this time in America; and I think it wisest to go without visiting England, because I shall leave this hemisphere with less reluctance than if I saw you at the moment of my departure. Still, there is something which tells me I shall see you again, and the idea is so pleasant that I can’t find it in my heart to drive it away. Wouldn’t it be whimsical if, in the shufflings of time and chance, we should meet under the auspices of a bonnet rouge at Paris? You ask my plan of operations. I float, dear lady, like all light substances, on the stream of time, too indolent to row, too ignorant to steer, and trusting fate for a future haven. You, more provident, are buying and repairing a house, Edition: current; Page: [297] on which I felicitate you, because it will (till finished) give you the pleasure of employment, and then you must seek some other object. Whatever may be your pursuit and with whatever success, my warmest wishes will still attend you—still like

  • Thy guardian sylph shall hover near,
  • With cheerful smile and blooming joy to greet;
  • Or, in life’s weariness, thy spirit cheer,
  • And scatter roses underneath thy feet.

Adieu. My best remembrances await his lordship. Tell him so, and believe me ever and truly yours.”

Morris never lost his keen interest in the sufferings of the émigrés, and always held himself ready to supply a deficiency in money, or to send them a word of hope or of advice. In a letter to the Maréchal de Castries, then living at Wolfenbüttel, under date of August 2d, he says:

“Les événements en vérité ont été si rapides et extraordinaires que les calculs sur le passé ne peuvent plus s’appliquer au présent; et, quant à l’avenir, il est couvert d’un nuage impénétrable. Si j’osais me permettre de hasarder un conseil, ce serait de ne rien faire, absolument rien, puisqu’ alors on a des chances pour soi. D’ailleurs, on peut choisir librement quand on ne s’est engagé envers personne. Je marque bien ce que vous me faites l’honneur de me dire sur le changement du ministère français. Il ne me paraît être qu’un symptôme dans une maladie où il faut s’attendre encore à des crises multipliées. Je n’en tire, donc, aucun indice. En général, je persiste à croire que le despotisme d’un usurpateur doit être le précurseur d’une autorité légitime. Je ne suis pas même persuadé qu’il ne soit pas nécessaire à l’établissement solide d’une pareille autorité. L’homme, animal raisonnant mais non pas raisonnable, ne s’instruit que par l’expérience et ne se corrige Edition: current; Page: [298] que par le malheur. Il faut donc que le cercle soit complet, afin de démontrer à chaque novateur l’ineptie de son système. Mille pardons pour ce galimatias. Croyez toujours à mon respect et à mon sincère attachement.”

“This afternoon [August 11th] I see Dumouriez. Hatred of England seems the order of the day here. He says he has no doubt of being able to make a successful descent on England. He has much commonplace on that subject, but the particulars of his plan are a secret. This secret must consist in the knowledge of a convenient landing-place and the means of eluding British cruisers. In a word, it must be a coup de main, and supposing (gratis) the safe landing of a considerable force with needful artillery, etc. A further postulatum is that the English will not fight to defend their country. He says he has offered the Directory to communicate his plans to any affidé of theirs, but they have not asked anything from him. They have formed plans to act in concert with the revolution societies of England. I give him some hints, which I am sure he will seize, because he wants to bring himself forward again on the French theatre. As they will, if brought to effect, tend to the general good of mankind, I shall not be sorry to see them acted upon. It seems that Mantua is to be Edition: current; Page: [299] delivered up to the Emperor, so that Bonaparte’s transalpine schemes are a little lamed.”

“Advices from England [August 13th] show that the disputes between the legislative and executive bodies at Paris are not yet settled. The military are excited against the former.”

“To-day [August 15th] the post from Holland brings accounts that the definitive treaty is concluded with the Emperor, but the conditions are yet secret.

“By every account [August 20th] from France it would seem as if trouble were preparing again there. The Directory have the army in their favor for the moment. There seems to be a contest between them and the Legislature for fixing on each other the blame that hostilities continue, and that the finances are deranged. As taxation is the right of the latter, they will probably succumb.”

“The Baron Buol de Schauenstein, the Imperial minister, with his lady, dine at Neusteden with Mr. Parish today [September 3d]. After dinner, speaking of the English diplomacy, he mentions a trait of the famous Lord Auckland, which is curious. After the treaty of Reichenbach, by which Prussia, England, and Holland had agreed to aid in bringing back the Flemish and Brabanters to their ancient submission, he, being then minister from the Emperor there, was informed of Vanderhoot’s plan (called afterwards his crusade, which cost the lives of more than fifteen thousand men, wantonly thrown away) and went immediately to Lord Auckland to request that he would interfere to prevent attempts which must have bad consequences, without at all affecting the great object fixed by the treaty. His lordship told him that he could not, for that if Vanderhoot and Van Eupen were to ask his advice he could not in conscience recommend it to them to lay down their arms, seeing that they would then obtain unfavorable Edition: current; Page: [300] terms. ‘My lord, if you suppose I come to hold a friendly and confidential conversation you are mistaken. I speak to you as a minister, and I beg you will give me such an answer as I may transmit to Court in your official character.’ ‘Why, really, sir, my instructions from the British Cabinet will not permit me to comply with your request.’ The Baron remarks properly that this is the first time, perhaps, that the minister of a country has openly avowed the patronage of revolt.”

“The French mail brings advices this day [September 15th] of an attack made under the auspices of three Directors against the other two, and the majority of the two councils. The consequence is that several members are arrested and condemned to banishment. The pretext is a conspiracy to establish the throne on the ruins of the present glorious fabric of Gallican freedom. It seems as if the definitive treaty with the Emperor is near to a conclusion. I presume that the victorious Directors will make peace by way of proving that the continuance of the war is to be attributed to their opponents. They have taken the estate of the Duchess of Orleans and banished her.”

To his friend, Baron de Groshlaer, at Vienna, Morris wrote, on Tuesday, the 19th of September, to felicitate him on the dangers they had safely passed through, as follows:

“En effet, votre danger a été extrême; vous jouissez à présent de la lumière, car il n’y a rien de si beau que de voir le soleil quand on revient des bords du tombeau. Dans l’ignorance absolue de votre sort, je n’osais écrire, ni à vous ni à madame la baronne, mais je me persuadais toujours que vous vous en tireriez. On croit facilement ce qu’on désire avec ardeur. Je m’imagine que la paix sera conclue avant que cette lettre-ci n’ait l’honneur de vous être présentée. L’Empereur aura reçu le territoire de Venise en échange de Mantoue, et la France se sera créée une Edition: current; Page: [301] voisine formidable dans la soi-disante République Cisalpine. Je ne vous parle pas de la dernière révolution parisienne, puisqu’il leur en faudra encore et encore, jusqu’à ce qu’ils retombent sous le gouvernment d’un seul. C’est leur dernier espoir, c’est leur unique azazel; après de longs transports, c’est un sommeil tranquille. En attendant leur rêve, je fais celui d’un voyage à Francfort, car je suis retenu dans votre maudite Europe par des circonstances triviales, qui me fâcheraient moins si je pouvais espérer vous revoir.”

“The news from Paris [September 20th] go to a confirmation of the conspiracy, of course; they go also to the establishment of dictatorial power in the Directory, which is also of course. The Rump Parliament deliberates under the bayonet. Qu.: How long before the army shall dismiss the Directors?”

“The Imperial minister [September 21st] has announced that the prisoners of Olmütz are at liberty.”

In a letter (September 22d) to Lord Elgin, Morris mentioned his intention of making the journey to Frankfort if the proposed peace should afford him the opportunity, the season being rather late to cross the Atlantic.

“We hear constantly and with great pleasure that the Edition: current; Page: [302] King’s health mends daily. As I know the interest you take in it, I cannot omit to offer my congratulations. The French Revolution has taken one step more towards a conclusion. In a little time they will, I think, have completed the circle. Meanwhile they go on generating young republics, which, like puppies, are born blind, yet can yelp, and if not strangled will not fail to bite when the season comes. So let those look to it whose legs may be in the way.”

“Mr. Parish calls [September 27th]. He has adjusted with the Imperial minister how Lafayette is to be delivered over. The minister communicated M. de Thugut’s letter, which says expressly that M. de Lafayette is not liberated at the instance of France, but merely to show the Emperor’s consideration for the United States of America. This looks very like a continuation of the war.”

“Every account [September 29th] seems to confirm the idea that hostilities are to recommence, and the Imperial minister tells me that there is every probability the war will continue.”

“The officer accompanying the Olmütz prisoners [October 3d] left them on the way to Hamburg and called on Mr. Parish yesterday. He comes by the worst road, and to-morrow these unfortunate people are to cross the Elbe in an open boat, be the weather what it may; now it is very fine.”

“Dine to-day [October 14th] with M. le Baron Buol Schauenstein, the Imperial minister, who gives me some letters of introduction and a passport. Madame also gives me some letters, and very politely wishes that, by determining to stay here, I may render them useless. The minister is vexed that M. de Lafayette and his companions do not arrive. It is not till after five that Mr. Parish sends us word that they are come, and then I take the Baron Edition: current; Page: [303] down to perform the ceremony of delivering them over. His expressions are très mesurées, and he goes through his part with dignity. The prisoners, instead of coming to town in the ferry-boat, in which case they would have arrived between nine and ten o’clock in the morning, embarked on board the boat of an American ship, dined on the ship, and so wasted their own time and everybody else’s. Of course they cannot go to the lodgings provided for them, etc. I find also that visits are to be paid to the French minister, to Archenholz, etc. In short, Horace is perfectly right: Cœlum non animam mutant qui trans mare currunt. Mr. Parish takes tea with me, and I accompany him to Neusteden, his country-seat, and spend the night. The next day the whole society of prisoners dine at Neusteden. There seems no intention of going to America. Lafayette assures me that he means to avoid all intrigue and every interference in the affairs of France; but, if I judge right, he is mistaken. I applaud his resolution, tell him that he can do France no good and may do himself much mischief; that a perfect nullity is the safer game for him and leaves him the choice of what side he will take afterwards, etc. He professes much gratitude for my services, but this I do not expect, and shall indeed be disappointed if it ever goes beyond profession. The young gentleman who went from the French army in Italy to Vienna in order to procure M. de Lafayette’s release tells me he doubts still whether hostilities will be recommenced. He seems to think that the French armies are too powerful to be resisted, and also that the practice of making young republics behind them will give security to their conquests. This must, in my opinion, depend merely on the success of their advancing armies, for, if driven back, the conquered countries will certainly rise against their oppressors.”

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“Mr. Parish and I have some conversation to-day [October 6th] on the subject of Messrs. Lafayette & Co. He sees with concern that they are running into great and useless expense, according to all appearances, by going foolishly to an inn at Hamburg instead of coming out to lodgings prepared for them at Altona. They have run out fifty guineas in two days. I prepare for my journey to-day, and say farewell to my friends. Go to Poppenbüttel to see M. and Madame de Lafayette, and bid them adieu. As he mentions to me his intention of going to America, I urge him to decide on it seriously and to mention it now to Mr. Adams, the President. I tell him that neither the present Directory nor the Constitutionalists, as they call themselves, wish to see him in France; that I believe America will make a proper provision for him. I think they ought to offer, and he to accept, what will put him in easy circumstances. He says that if his wife can sell her property in France she will, after paying her debts, have some little left, and very little will satisfy him. Here I think he is much mistaken.

Mr. Parish comes this afternoon while I am writing, and brings me the letter Lafayette has written stating the impracticability of going out this autumn to America. Mr. Parish, to whom it is addressed, finds it well enough, so I don’t object, though the style is not just what it ought to be, and I think will not be so pleasing or satisfactory to the Imperial Cabinet as Mr. Parish might wish and of right expect. I fancy M. Archenholz will come out with a smart philippic against the Emperor, for I saw him out at Poppenbüttel, and, as I suppose, for the purpose of collecting materials. The late prisoners will not be unwilling to furnish all they can. They were, in my opinion, confined unjustly; no wonder that the loss of liberty should, coupled with the sense of wrong, have greatly exasperated Edition: current; Page: [305] them, but I am persuaded that nothing has happened which can bear a comparison with the cruelties inflicted on many innocent persons in France. Being now at liberty the public commiseration will be much diminished, and it would, I think, be prudent to preserve a profound silence. If, leaving the prudential path, he wishes to act a heroic part, it would, I think, consist in a silence prononcé. On an application to him to tell his story he might say: ‘While so many nations suffer, the past miseries of an individual can find no place in the public attention; mine are already obliterated from my memory by the view of those which my poor country is doomed to undergo.’”

“I leave Altona to-day [October 8th], and am detained at the Hamburg gate five and twenty minutes by the ridiculous practice of shutting the gates during the time of divine service. I suppose it is to prevent an enemy from surprising them.”

“At Esche Mr. Möller, my compagnon de voyage, and I meet a gentleman and lady [October 10th] who come from the baths of Schwalbach and Wiesbaden. They tell us that the people, who are much disturbed by the war, prefer the company of the French to that of the Austrians, which last are sulky and will do nothing but smoke their pipes, while the French lend a hand to assist in whatever business may be going forward.”

“On the way from Cassel to Friedenwalde, at an inn [October 22d], I meet in the landlord an old Hessian soldier who served in America, and who speaks very good English. He tells me he worked very hard at cutting down the wood at Morrisania, and he is very sorry he did not stay in America. I make a détour to see the Duchess of Cumberland, but find that she is gone to live at Frankfort, which town we reach on Thursday, October 26th. Walk first to the post-office and then call on the Duchess Edition: current; Page: [306] of Cumberland, with whom I sit awhile. She gives me information of various sorts. Says that the Prince Royal of Prussia, who is probably by this time King, his father’s death having been expected daily for some weeks, is a man of very moderate abilities, pacific temper, and avaricious disposition; that he hates the émigrés, fears the French, and, so far from entering into a coalition against them, will pay court to the Directory. She says that at Pyrmont they were endeavoring to take in Prince Adolphus to marry the Princess Louis, sister to the Princess Royal, who is the mistress of Louis Ferdinand. The Duchess describes her as a woman of very loose deportment who was coquetting in the style of a courtesan with Adolphus, and the King of Prussia prayed him to ménager his belle-fille, qui était éperdument amoureuse de lui. At the same time, he could not think of agreeing to the marriage, without the previous consent of the King of England. The Duchess thinks that if, on the King’s death, Louis can get the survivance of his father’s place on condition that he marry his mistress, he will readily do it. She mentions the marriage of the Prince of Würtemberg with the Princess Royal of England as a thing which the latter would never have consented to but to get out of the Queen’s clutches. The Duchess of Brunswick, mother to his former wife, had done everything in her power to prepossess the King against him. The Duke of Brunswick said publicly that he had poisoned his daughter. ‘But,’ says the Duchess of Brunswick, ‘this I do not believe, because the Empress of Russia had the exclusive privilege of poisoning everybody in her dominions, and as the Duchess of Würtemberg was her favorite, from having betrayed her husband’s secrets, and those of his sister the present Empress of Russia, it is improbable that she would have Edition: current; Page: [307] suffered anybody to poison her.’ The Prince of Würtemberg, she says, beat his wife two days after their marriage, because she persisted in wearing a cap which he did not like. Notwithstanding all these things, the Duke of Brunswick went over from his residence to Hanover to invite the Prince and Princess to his Court, which invitation they accepted. This, says my informant, is in the hope that his grandson, future Duke of Würtemberg, will be made an elector. She says they live in a miserable style at Stuttgart; see nobody, etc.; her husband of such violent temper that he beats his chamberlains and, in particular, the Count Zippelin.”

Estafettes have arrived in the night which announce the news of peace [October 27th]. There is much joy among the Austrians on account of the peace. The Prince de Reusse breakfasts with me. He tells me that in the great battle which Alvinzi lost, his brother had carried the posts on the left, had got round in the rear of Bonaparte, and was marching up in order of battle. It would have been fortunate if he had fired a few shots to alarm the French troops. Alvinzi had carried the Montebello by storm, with eight and twenty battalions, in the most splendid manner. Nothing remains but to range them again in order of battle, and Bonaparte was not beat but destroyed. Nothing could have escaped. In this moment fifty to a hundred French horse, in their fright and not knowing what they did, came galloping round the right of the Austrians; some twenty men took fright and cried ‘Tournirt, tournirt,’ we are turned, i.e., surrounded, and instantly the cry became general; the victorious battalions were panic-struck and ran down the mountain, throwing away their arms. In their rout down the steep which they had just ascended, above eight hundred were killed and wounded without any molestation whatever Edition: current; Page: [308] from the enemy. Thus a trivial incident (humanly speaking) changed the face of Europe. Had this not happened, the Austrians would have marched victorious into the country of Nice in all probability. The Prince tells me he is apprehensive that the Emperor has made a bad peace.

“I dine at the Duchess of Cumberland’s. The Prince de Reusse takes me in the evening to Madame Sullivan’s. Here are the Baron de Deuxpont, Comte de Fersen, Mr. Crauford, and M. de Simolin—all people whom I have formerly known. M. de Deuxpont tells me he has learnt from the secretary of Barthélemi that he constantly betrayed the French Republic. He has received advices from Paris that Barras and Reubell are at enmity, each wishing to be chief. The Prince de Reusse tells me, also, that persons lately arrived mention great discontents among the people. Simolin says he has received a very civil message from the Bishop d’Autun, and he tells me a thing which surprises me; viz., that the Bishop used to beat Madame de Staël. He says St. Foix, having heard it, asked the Bishop, who acknowledged it. He says that Talon and Semonville had obtained large sums from Louis XIV., under pretext of serving him, and had applied it to their own use. Simolin does not believe in the articles given out, which are, in brief, that the Emperor gets Dalmatia, Istria, etc., to the Piave, and from the upper part of the Piave along round by Peschiera to the Lago d’Iseo, so as to keep the communication open with Tyrol; also that the Emperor gets Bavaria in exchange for the Low Countries, including Liège, but exclusive of Flanders and Hainault, which are to be given to the Elector of Bavaria or Elector Palatine.”

“To-day [October 29th] we dine at a tavern with a large society of the first people of this place. A merchant here Edition: current; Page: [309] has just received a letter from Udine, which informs him that on the 17th the conferences were so warm that the negotiators were heard disputing by people out of doors. At length Cobenzel stated his ultimatum and the negotiators separated, war being concluded on, but after a little time Bonaparte wrote a note to Cobenzel telling him that on further consideration he had determined to accede, and accordingly the business was settled.”

“This morning (or, rather, noon) [November 2d] I go off to Offenbach to breakfast with the Prince de Reusse. The fête is given to the Duchess of Cumberland. There are here the Prince d’Yessemburg with his wife (sister to the Prince de Reusse), Prince and Princess de Wirt, a brother of the Landgrave de Hesse; a Baron Lupel, who reminds me that we dined together at Mr. Hope’s at Amsterdam; the Baron and Baroness Vrinz and M. Gazeyn, conseiller intime to the Prince de Wirt. There is nothing here beyond the chit-chat of good company. Go to the play. There is an actor here of the name of Schmidt, formerly Möller, who was the lover of the King of Prussia’s first wife, and father, as she said, of the Duchess of York. Whether this affects my imagination or not I cannot say, but I think he looks very like the Duchess of York. When I see the Duchess of Cumberland I mention to her the M. Möller, alias Schmidt, whom I saw last night. She tells me that the King of Prussia well knew that the Duchess of York was not his daughter, and had an intrigue with her; that the Duke of York knew it, and married her on that account, hoping to get with her the means of paying his debts, in which he was disappointed; that the Duchess is a diseased woman; that the Prince of Wales treats all these things as bagatelles, and used to laugh at what he called her prudery.”

“M. Henri arrives from Liège [November 7th], and says Edition: current; Page: [310] the inhabitants of Limbourg and Luxembourg are in the deepest distress at being abandoned by the Emperor. A great number are literally sick. This is an overcharged picture, though the groundwork may be exact. Call on the Duchess of Cumberland. In the course of a conversation resulting from her cross-grained observations, the Prince de Reusse mentions interrupted letters from the Directory to Bonaparte in which they state the improbability of reuniting their armies. Mr. Crauford mentions to me as having learned it at the time from the Prussian minister that the siege of Mayence was delayed six weeks because the Austrian Cabinet would not specify their objects in the war and the Cabinet of Prussia was determined not to aggrandize Austria without receiving more than their rival should acquire. The British ministers were apprised of this, he says, very early, and if so they ought, I think, to have brought about the needful explanations, or retired in season from the coalition. Mr. Crauford tells me that he, in retiring from the Low Countries, travelled with Thugut in the same post-chaise, and was told by him that he had given it as his opinion the Low Countries should be retained as long as the revenue or a little more would suffice to defend them, but from the moment that they called for great expense and exertions they should be abandoned. This opinion was, I think, sound, but it was not, perhaps, very wise to declare it. Certain it was that the Low Countries were abandoned voluntarily by the Imperial armies; but this, I believe, was owing in some degree to ill-humor. The British Cabinet had insisted on the Dunkirk expedition, which was indisputably unwise, otherwise than by a diversion of a coup de main, which would, I am sure, have Edition: current; Page: [311] been successful. It failed because the movements towards it alarmed the French, who, by throwing in a re-enforcement, disconcerted the plan of the inhabitants and others for surrendering it. This expedition, by extending too much the line and weakening the impressive force of the Allies, frustrated entirely the grand object of the campaign. The retreat from the Low Countries was made also in the view to alarm Britain and Holland, and bring them forward to greater exertion.”

“The Duchess of Cumberland, when I call on her today [November 18th], is, as usual, mighty in the spirit of contradiction. I believe that, if Pitt should gravely found an argument of state policy on the position that two and two make four, rather than not controvert his conclusion she would deny his premises.”

“It seems to-day [November 19th] as if the French Government meant really to extend their territory to the Rhine. The Major Baron de Beaulieu calls, and says he is persuaded that a war will break out between the Emperor and Prussia. He begins to give me a history of the campaigns in Italy, beginning with the year 1795, when the Austrian General—, by not following up his successes against Scherer and possessing himself of Nice, the true point of defence against France, left the road open to invasion; the subsequent action, in which the Austrian army was beaten by the French, re-enforced with the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, because the Austrian general, unable to command, had not the good sense to invest his inferior with the authority and consequent responsibility. This last, M. Wallis, was not unwilling, according to the Major, to lose a battle which must ruin his chief and thereby pave the way to his own advancement. Scherer, however, did not improve his victory, and the Austrians were permitted to go into winter-quarters in the end of November. Edition: current; Page: [312] M. de Beaulieu, first sent to Italy as a kind of counsellor, and then in the spring appointed to the command of an army quite out of condition, but with orders to act immediately, advanced to the river of Genoa and took possession of the shortest line of defence now remaining, from which he drove the French, leaving the Piedmontese, under the command of General Colli, to defend the passes on his right. Attacked by Bonaparte and beaten, from causes which he has not time to go into, he retired, and the Piedmontese, after defending themselves bravely, and repelling the enemy, were ordered back, and the whole course of the Po left open. In this state of things, Beaulieu requested the King to throw garrisons into his fortresses, particularly Turin, so as to gain time, and promised to come to his assistance. The King, with profuse expressions of gratitude, requested him to advance, and while he was on his march concluded the treaty with Bonaparte. Beaulieu, informed of this by a spy in time to escape the snare, retired precipitately to Alessandria, but not in season to possess this place, whose gates were already shut against him, and he had the mortification to defile under the Piedmontese cannon. Here the Major is obliged to conclude, being pressed for time. The next morning, however, he comes, and proceeds with his history. General Beaulieu might by stratagem have made himself master of Alessandria, but in so doing he would only have justified the conduct of Sardinia and precipitated the alliance with France; but he must have diminished his small army by a garrison which could not be relieved, and Tortona, a post of equal consequence, would be neglected; or else he must garrison both, and then his whole remaining force would not have been sufficient to defend Mantua. He determined therefore, wisely, to retire across the Po. This was effected at Valenza, and he had still a bridge Edition: current; Page: [313] of boats at Rotto. Bonaparte took the road to Piacenza, where he had no bridge, but only a large ferry-boat. In this situation it was proposed to the General by the Major to cross at Rotto and attack Bonaparte, who, if beaten, must be totally destroyed. But the General, an old man having not the sufficient bodily vigor (and, I presume, deficient also in strength of mind), observed that a defeat would be nearly as fatal to him as to Bonaparte, that his troops were discouraged, and that he must, above all things, not lose sight of Mantua. I think the counsel was as wise as vigorous, and as Beaulieu could have brought a superiority of force against the part of the French army, besides the advantage of the attack, and that unexpected, I cannot but believe that the success would have been complete, and then the defensive would have been changed into offensive, with every probability of a glorious campaign. Beaulieu retired over the Ticino, and here fortune seems, in my opinion, to have presented him again a glorious opportunity. He might have suffered the French vanguard to cross the Po, and then have fallen upon them between that river and the Adda. Instead of that, a small force was detached towards Piacenza, and the timid, negligent officers ran away at the first appearance of the enemy, whom they might have cut to pieces, as not more than two hundred men at a time could cross the river. The General then determined to cross the Adda, and the Major, who was left with General Zebuttendorf, who commanded on the right, and had the care of the artillery and baggage, retired also over the Adda, having made forced marches for the purpose. The Major, who covers as much as possible the faults of his chief, attributing them either to the misconduct of his inferior officers or to false intelligence transmitted to him, leaves it, however, very evident that he had crossed the Adda without giving any due Edition: current; Page: [314] information or orders to the troops under Zebuttendorf, which formed, however, a large third of his army. These effected their tumultuary retreat through Lodi, and then a party was detached, at the instance of the Major, to reconnoitre and annoy the enemy in his advance to that place from Piacenza. This party ran away at the first appearance of the French, their commander setting them the example. The little time which remained was employed in putting the troops into some sort of order, to oppose the passage over the Bridge of Lodi, and in sending off the train of artillery and the baggage. A few pieces were kept to enfilade the bridge, and their fire kept back the enemy till the cartridges, being nearly spent, the Major ordered the fire to cease for a moment. This moment was seized, and the column of French rushed forward, and being once on the bridge, which was very long, and pressed forward continually by those behind, their passage became unavoidable, though the few discharges of artillery which could be made in the five or six minutes of their crossing made a terrible havoc. The Austrian force consisted chiefly of Croats, who ran off immediately, and two battalions of Austrians, who did their duty, were overpowered and nearly destroyed. The rout was now complete. General Beaulieu in consequence abandoned Pizzighettone and took post, after crossing the Oglio, at Rivalta, where he threw bridges over the Mincio to secure his retreat to Mantua, and began to take measures for throwing in provisions, etc. Bonaparte here committed a capital fault. Instead of pushing forward after Beaulieu, he turned off to his left, and went to enjoy at Milan the incense of his victories, gained, in effect, not by the skill of the general, nor even by the vigor of his troops, but by the feebleness and poltroonery of his opponents. As he had above fifty thousand men to oppose against less than Edition: current; Page: [315] five and twenty, and as his troops were in general far better than those of his adversary, there can be no doubt that he would, by well-concerted manœuvres, have reached at length the point proposed, of driving Beaulieu out of Italy. But this general might certainly have prolonged his stay, and made much more effectual opposition to such manœuvres; or, if Bonaparte had persisted in those adventurous steps which left everything to fortune, he might have been made to pay dear for his rashness and thrown far back from his object. In the mean time, Mantua might have been so well provided as to render the taking of it impossible. The Austrians would have had time to collect a force sufficient to relieve it and drive the French back into Piedmont, when, collecting the whole force of Italy against them, they would have been completely destroyed. But if these ideas be just, if Beaulieu was so much in fault, what shall be said of the Minister who appointed a feeble old man to so important a post? Prince de Reusse comes in, and they stay with me till dinner-time.”

“I call on Mr. Wickham, late Minister of England to the Swiss Cantons [November 22d]. He tells me the people of Switzerland, in consequence of the various revolutions in France, have returned to their former fondness for their own institutions, but the government is weaker than ever. He has reason to complain of this weakness. He thinks they mean, by attentions to Bonaparte, and money to him or some of the Directors, to purchase peace. He says the discontents in France are universal. He thinks the Austrian Cabinet have not acted fairly to Sardinia, nor, indeed, to England; says that the employment given to Pellin necessarily made him acquainted with the secrets of the Austrian Government, and enabled him, of course, to betray them. I mention to Mr. Wickham an Edition: current; Page: [316] idea which has struck me as to their negotiations with France; viz., that they might have offered to return all their conquests made as well upon Holland as upon France, provided France would, by surrendering Flanders to the Dutch, give them the means of becoming an independent power; that in this case it should be stipulated that neither France nor England would interfere in the affairs of Holland, but the people be left to choose a government for themselves, etc. He thinks this plan would have been very beneficial, and seems as if he wished to communicate it to the Cabinet.”

Having made his adieus at Frankfort, Morris left, on Friday the 24th, for Ratisbon, provided with letters to various persons of importance there; among them, the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis.

“My horses have suffered by the rain through which they were driven, so I determine to stay at Anspach a day, and rest my servants and horses,” says the diary on November 29th. “Dine at the table d’hôte, where I learn that the new King of Prussia has put the Countess of Lichtenau in prison, and conferred on Bischofswerder the Order of the Black Eagle. This is curious enough. It is said that the Prince Henri is in a very low condition. A young man mentions to a Brabançon, who is here, as a general opinion, that the weakness which the Margrave of Anspach was reduced to was brought about by his surgeon, at the instigation of old Fritz. The Margrave is supposed to have wished, by way of revenge, that his Margravine should take other hands to her assistance, but, notwithstanding his direct wish, and the indirect attempts of others, her virtue and religion stood in the way of his wishes. Perhaps it was a disgust at the obstacles raised by a wife of Edition: current; Page: [317] virtue which threw him, after her death, into the arms of one devoid of it. As far as I can judge from light symptoms, the people of this country regret their subjection to Prussia.”

“Leave Anspach to-day [November 30th], and push on to Nuremberg, where, at the gate, stands a Prussian sentry, to show the extent of jurisdiction claimed by his Prussian Majesty. The question is yet to be decided whether this claim will be admitted. The view of the valley in which Nuremberg stands is very fine—encircled by distant hills of moderate height crowned with firs, and filled with villages which lie scattered about in abundance. The people of the Anspach territory seem everywhere displeased with the Prussian Government. At the table d’hôte of the Red Horse (which, by the way, has been the noted inn of this place for more than half a century) we have but an indifferent dinner; but last night I was well provided in my chamber, and not dear. During my walk I met a little procession for the conducting of an imperial commissary, who is come hither to settle the affairs of the town. It seems that the council, consisting of patricians, have not rendered any accounts for the last hundred years, during which time the debt of the city has gone on accumulating and threatens them now with bankruptcy. They expect some reform. The King of Prussia has offered to take the debt on his shoulders if they would submit to his dominion, but this they don’t like; and they are in hopes of being soon relieved from what they call his usurpation of their dominion.”

“We jog on to Ratisbon, which place we reach December 3d. Our road lies over a high hill, and then along the Danube under the hill to where we cross that river on an excellent bridge. The road is execrable. In looking from the tops of hills I see, every way, mountains piled up Edition: current; Page: [318] in abundance on the frontiers of Bohemia and Bavaria—a country little inhabited, and through which as yet there are no high-roads; perhaps there never will be. I think, as far as appearances go, the inhabitants of the Upper Palatinate are worse off than those of Bohemia. The hovels are poor, even at the door of Ratisbon, and the peasantry are ragged and filthy. This part of Germany is a long century behind Saxony. If the government would introduce some Saxons it would enhance the value of their possessions; but then the Lutheran religion must be tolerated, which does not suit the present ideas. I do not recollect to have noted in Bohemia what I remark again, viz., that on the hovels, covered with shingles without nails, stones are laid to keep them from blowing away. This, in a country full of iron, is a sad object, and proves the almost savage state of the inhabitants in a striking degree. They are in the first stage from savage life, or a state of nature, towards civilization. Driven to labor from fear and necessity, their exertions stop at the point to which they are driven by those motives. If freedom were given to these people they would, I think, sink back to the level of our American copper-colored brethren, unless, indeed, they were subdued by their more civilized neighbors, which would indeed certainly happen. A further degree of oppression, viz., heavier taxes, would draw forth more efforts of body and mind, and such taxes, spent among them in establishments of various manufactures, by holding forth new objects of desire, and consequently exciting the desires which they create, would probably introduce industry, upon permanent principles, provided a security of property were firmly established by law. Then on these two pillars, property and luxury, or, to call them by apposite but not gentle names, avarice and sensuality, firmly fixed, the arch of national wealth would be Edition: current; Page: [319] reared high by the hand of labor; it would be polished by science, decorated by the arts, and fitted for the footstool of freedom. To speak in plain language, this seems to be the natural course of human affairs.”

“This morning [December 4th] I deliver some of my letters; but everybody is at the Diet. In the evening M. le Chanoine Comte Sternberg calls, and takes me to the assemblée at Madame de Diede’s, lady of the Danish minister who has been handsome and has yet good remains. Her daughter is pretty well, and seems to have beaucoup d’esprit et d’instruction. I asked the Count Sternberg why the people here are so near to savages, and he tells me the fault is in the government, which has taken no measures to mend them. The country, he says, is not half peopled, and it requires vigor of mind to bring in subjects from Saxony and Suabia, and to protect them in the enjoyment of their religion against the prejudices of the people. He says that Bischofswerder is dismissed; even his regiment taken away. Madame de Lichtenau is arrested because she plundered the King’s cassette, and even possessed herself of his papers while he was in the last agony. Her husband—Rietz—fearful that he should be rendered accountable, went and denounced her, on which the King put the business into the hands of the Minister of Justice. A M. — is also arrested. He is said to have been concerned with her in sundry tripotages, and is also suspected of having, in the King’s life, betrayed to foreign courts many things which he became possessed of by undue means. He was an imperial chamberlain, but had behaved oddly in the Low Countries, and lately resigned his key and was noticed by the King of Prussia.”

“Go this evening [December 5th] to the assemblée of the Count de Hohenthäl. A report that the Genevans have Edition: current; Page: [320] come to blows, in order to determine whether they should pay honors or not to Bonaparte.”

“Dine to-day [December 7th] with the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis, en petite société. We hear that Napoleon has quitted the congress at Rastadt and gone off suddenly to Paris, in consequence of advices received from there. Three couriers in one day.”

“A Mr. Howe calls on me [December 8th]. He is a Scotch priest. Has been employed by Mr. Walpole in some sort of capacity—as secretary, I suppose—and is possessed of several facts respecting the conduct of Austria and Prussia during the war, which he communicates. Among other things, he says that Möllendorf, pressed by Lord Cornwallis, who was sent to review his army, acknowledged that he had but forty odd thousand instead of eighty-two thousand effectives. He says that Lord Cornwallis immedately stopped the subsidy, and thereupon Möllendorf, being in great distress, the house of Bethman, in Frankfort, undertook to supply him with the needful money, and twenty-one millions of livres passed through his hands. He mentions the Pitt diamond, sent to Berlin, under the pretext of borrowing money on it, as a present to the King. We have fine weather to-day. Spend the evening at the Princess’s, and stay till one o’clock. We have a petit souper, a little music, and pleasant society. The Prince, I am told, lives with the Scotch priests, and amuses himself shooting at a mark.”

“General Werneck comes to see me this morning Edition: current; Page: [321] [December 9th], and sits a long time. He speaks of Beaulieu as a man who never had talents to command four thousand men; considers the conduct of the war on the part of the Austrian Cabinet as very bad; says they are very deficient in generals—few have the needful instruction. He says the French speak contemptuously of the Prussians; that the Austrians would gladly engage in a war against Prussia.

“I hear a report that Barras is to mount the throne of France by the aid of his friend Bonaparte. I take tea with the Princess, who gives us music, and, when the company are gone, I read her a scene out of Julius Cæsar.”

“General Werneck comes to see me to-day [December 12th]. He tells me that if the Duke of York had given him timely support they would, on the 24th of—, have been masters of Dunkirk. He had several grenadiers killed in the covered way. Flanders (that is, the Low Countries) was not abandoned, he says, by order of the Emperor, but lost through the incapacity of the officers he employed to command his armies. The Prince de Coburg, acknowledgedly unfit, had, for his grand faiseur, the Prince de Waldeck, the most irresolute creature on earth, of which he gives two instances: the first when he, Werneck, was posted to the westward of Tirlemont, and the army along by that in a good position, and it was not only agreed to hazard a battle, but the Prince declared publicly that whoever thought of abandoning it was a scoundrel; and yet, upon the first appearance of the enemy, moving towards his left, he fell back to Maestricht. In like manner he quitted Maestricht, to take post behind Edition: current; Page: [322] the river, in order to cover his magazine at Cologne and secure his retreat. In this situation Claerfayt took the command, with Beaulieu as his quartermaster—two mortal enemies; the latter stupid, the former undecided, from a want of military knowledge. It was here determined to take post, with the right at Reevemonde, and to fall back with the left to opposite Düsseldorf, with a vast plain in front. They had then ninety thousand men, the enemy about eighty-four; but the Austrians were far superior in cavalry. The consequence seems clear, especially as the species of cavalry was also far superior. But here again, after having communicated this plan to the Elector of Cologne, who had gone off to make his arrangements in consequence, the resolution was suddenly taken to retreat, and he, Werneck, received at five in the morning orders to march at midnight. Luckily he had, as on former occasions, foreseen, from his knowledge of those to whom he owed his obedience, that such orders would come, and had made his dispositions in consequence. Still, however, he was exposed in that plain of Juliers to the repeated charge of superior numbers of cavalry, and two columns of the French army, which were sent to cut him off, but from the superiority of his horse, got off with scarce any loss. A victory in that position would not only have saved Flanders, but proved, in all human probability, destructive to the French army. If these did not attack, then the Austrians effectually covered Holland, and rendered it impracticable for the French to cross the Rhine.”

“Learn to-day [December 15th] that the congress at Rastadt is in great confusion. The Emperor has declared that he can no longer carry on the war; so, if the Empire means to persist, he will send his contingent, saving the rights of his family, which saving, say the commentators, Edition: current; Page: [323] amounts to nearly as much as the contingent. The ecclesiastical Electors and Princes are, it is said, throwing themselves into the arms of Prussia. It seems understood that Bavaria, or at least an important part of it, the Bishoprics of Salzburg and Passau, are to go to Austria. I go to see the Princess, and assist her in the recitation of a song she is to act to-morrow evening, in celebration of Madame de Hohenthäl’s birthday. General Werneck is of the party, and we take a petit souper there, which is very pleasant.”

“This morning [December 16th] go with the General to attend the recitation of the Princess. He is to take to Madame de Hohenthäl a bouquet of flowers. The Princess performs her part well in the concert which succeeds the recitation. After supper there is dancing, so that I do not get to bed till one o’clock. In bringing General Werneck home, his vanity lets me into the secret of his intimacy with the Princess. She has confided to him that she has little to do with her husband, being disgusted with his filthiness. Luckily, as Marmontel says, she has a grande maîtresse who gives her but little opportunity to gratify her feeling for General Werneck.”

“I take General Werneck to dine [December 19th] at the Prince Bishop’s, where we have a large dinner, at which the Prince and Princesse de la Tour assist. During the dinner the Count Sternberg, who sits next me, takes occasion to say that he should not feel easy if he saw me next to his friend, Madame de Diede. Though this is a compliment, it smells of a foreign conclusion; so I reply by assuring him that he would be perfectly safe, as I am by no means disposed to begin now the trade of an homme à bonnes fortunes, which I never liked in my younger days. In the evening, at Madame Görtz’s, Madame de Diede comes in, and I perceive why the Count Edition: current; Page: [324] made this observation. I think also that my friend General Werneck would be as well content that I were away, but he is wrong.”

“Having only two of her confidential officers and grande maîtresse present to-night [December 22d], the Princesse de la Tour expresses in strong terms her resentment at the conduct of the Imperial Cabinet, which she attributes to M. de Thugut. There is certainly no small degree of perfidy in the declaration that the Emperor had stipulated with France for the integrity of the Empire, inviting afterwards the deputation to go and treat on that subject at Rastadt, and then all at once leaving the poor Empire in its present condition. At Madame de Seckendorf’s assembly, the Marquis de Vérac mentions to me the great hauteur of the French, which is, indeed, sufficiently evident, but the particular instance which he cites to prove it is whimsical enough. The deputies of the Directory at Rastadt, to whom Monseigneur de Cobenzel had paid a visit in grand gala, returned it on foot, and in complete déshabille. But M. de Vérac has grown gray in the Corps Diplomatique.

“M. Aujard told me he wished to see me and communicate many things respecting the Court of France with which I must be unacquainted, and which it may be useful to me to know. I told him that I am at home always in the mornings.”

“This morning [December 24th] M. Aujard calls on me. I hear his story, which is, in a great measure, his own history. M. de Maurepas had offered him the direction of the finances, which he had declined because M. de Maurepas was old, and he had no confidence in the abilities, while he saw also the corruption, of the Court. M. Necker was appointed, and in a great measure on his report, but he soon said that M. Necker was incapable, Edition: current; Page: [325] apprised M. de Maurepas of it, gave him the proofs, and M. Necker was dismissed. He was in a chamber adjoining the Queen’s cabinet when the Baron de Breteuil and the Polignacs labored with Her Majesty for two hours to prevail on her to recommend M. de Calonne. At length she promised to bring the King to an interview with them the next day, and then, after above two hours, they wrung from him his consent to that appointment—source, says M. Aujard, of all the evils which France groans under. This Minister squandered vast sums among the courtiers. M. de Breteuil broke with the Polignacs on his account, perceiving that he had been their dupe in that appointment. The Queen, apprised of his malversation, ordered Augard to collect the proofs and give them to the Bishop of Nancy, her confessor, who was member of the Notables. When Calonne was dismissed, and notoriously by the Queen’s agency, the Comte d’Artois, to whose profusions he had administered, became her mortal enemy. The Duke of Orleans was also her enemy, first, because of his exile, which was, in fact, says Augard, unjust, because he had properly represented to the King that the voies should, on a certain occasion, be publicly given. But the chief cause of enmity arose from having broken the marriage agreed on between the Comte d’Artois’s eldest son and the Duke’s daughter. M. de Lafayette says he was at the head of the republican faction, which considered the Queen also as their greatest enemy. He speaks of him as of a card-cut figure moved by the strings which others pull. He gave the Queen advice, shortly before the attack on the Château at Versailles, to quit it and go to Compiègne, because she was exposed to the rage of three different factions; namely, the Princes, the Orleanists, and the Republicans. She told him M. de Lafayette had told them they had nothing to fear, for he Edition: current; Page: [326] would place some cannon so as to command the bridge of Sèvres, and, by destroying a couple of the arches, prevent the populace of Paris from crossing the Seine. After the horrid scenes which passed at Versailles, and which terminated by bringing the royal family prisoners to Paris, Aujard advised the Queen to leave the kingdom, which she agreed to but afterwards declined, assigning as a reason that the voyage of the Duke of Orleans to London removed the principal danger by which she was threatened, and that it was her duty to stay with the King, and perish, if needful, at his feet. The Queen of Naples, he says, told him afterwards that the Queen was afraid she should be divorced, the King married to the Duke of Orleans’s daughter, and her children declared bastards. This seems to have been a strange fear.

“Aujard, having emigrated, saw the Elector of Cologne, who told him that, in his opinion, no sovereign had a right to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation, and dictate a form of government. The Emperor Leopold, whom he saw at Frankfort, repeated the same thing, and added, if she adopts a good government so much the better for her, and if not, her neighbors will profit by it. He declared he would not make war on France; that the King was, by his weakness, the cause of the mischiefs which had happened; that he had no notion of proclaiming revolutionary principles in his own dominions by a manifesto against France, but to prevent their extending themselves to him by a mild and parental administration; that he could not conceive nor pardon the conduct of the French Princes, who had taken into their confidence M. de Calonne, a person stigmatized by the tribunals of their country, and reprobated by their King and brother. Leopold refused to see them or him. Yet the Comte d’Artois went with Calonne to Vienna. He arrived at seven Edition: current; Page: [327] o’clock. The Emperor heard it at ten, and before twelve they had received his orders to depart immediately. He tells me the Emperor Francis assured him he cared nothing about the Low Countries; that the English had never supported him, and he would, by abandoning the Low Countries to France, punish them. He says Calonne intrigued with the Court of Berlin, who told him they would do nothing but in concert with England; that he afterwards suggested the plan, which was adopted, of sending an army of fifty thousand men against France, taking twenty thousand Austrians as auxiliaries, in all which M. Aujard gives me, I think, his dreams for realities. After he is gone the Marquis de Vérac comes; seems to think that a war will break out between Prussia, supported by Russia, and France. This might be if there were time for those powers to concert their measures, but they are caught so much on the sudden that I much doubt of their action.

At a little supper at her table ronde, to-night, the Princess begged me not to mention her sortie of last evening, and I truly assure her that the caution is unnecessary.”

“This morning [December 25th] M. Aujard comes again. Interrogating him about M. Necker’s appointment, I find I am mistaken. He says it was a M. de Pesey who got him up, and who received for it 300,000£ He says that, though he has been invited by the Emperor Francis to come to Vienna, he has not been able to obtain a passport from M. de Thugut, and mentions as a fact that M. de Thugut, who had received a pension of 30,000£ from France by the Queen’s bounty, had placed money in the French funds to the amount of 12,000£ annual income, and receives regularly the interest and pension in coin, all which I disbelieve; because that, if we admit his being corrupted by the Directory, they would certainly avoid such manifest Edition: current; Page: [328] grounds of suspicion, and if we doubt, as we should, the charge of corruption, there can be no reason for believing in a preference so uncommon of M. Thugut. M. Aujard’s conversation this day is a repetition of what he said yesterday, for the most part; he reads a part of his memoirs, in which are some circumstances of little moment. I had asked him to bring me the proof of Calonne’s dilapidations of which he spoke with such certitude, and of which he had made a collection for the Queen’s use and by Her Majesty’s order; observing to him that, as the present French Government were possessed of all the accounts of the late King’s reign, including the red book where His Majesty entered the sums for which he gave general warrants on the treasury, it followed that, the whole of the receipts into the public treasury being accounted for, no such dilapidations could have existed, and if M. de Calonne made largesses to the hungry courtiers, it must have been from his own funds. He promised me these proofs, but, instead of them, brings me the sketch of discourses from the King to the Assembly which he had prepared, and whose object was to propose an emission of three hundred millions of paper money, to be redeemed by an annual payment of fifteen millions for twenty years. Had these discourses been adopted, the King would have been brought forward on the stage of Europe to maintain a polemic controversy with M. Necker on the details of finance. The attitude would not be majestic, though M. Aujard’s remarks are not void of weight. He gives me a history of his interviews with the Emperor and Prince Charles, in which I think I can see the desire to get rid of him decently, but from which he deduces the Emperor’s determination to abandon the Low Countries because he had found out that the British Cabinet was resolved to sacrifice him to their views, and the Duke of York refused, Edition: current; Page: [329] in consequence, to second his operations. This, he says, was directly communicated to him. That such communication was made I cannot believe, though I am well-disposed to believe that the Emperor left the Low Countries to their fate partly with a view to draw forth more vigorous exertions from Britain and Holland, partly to avenge the revolt in the time of his uncle Joseph. Dine at the Court, take tea with Madame de Görtz. She tells me that France had offered to Prussia the cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen; but the King, communicating this information to those cities, has assured them that he would not invade their liberties. She says she does not believe the French will march to Hanover. She thinks the King will not submit to it. I tell her that if they possess themselves of that electorate they will be in a position to render his efforts unavailing, and may perhaps dispose of it in his favor as they had done of the Venetian dominions, to compensate the Emperor for what he had lost. The forced marches of the Austrian army towards Bavaria prove to me that, in concert with his new ally, the Emperor is determined to awe Prussia into a compliance with the terms which have been agreed on at Udine.”

“M. Aujard calls this morning [December 26th], and brings me his history of Favras’s conspiracy. Being confined in the same prison, he found means to communicate with Favras and his wife, through the key-holes of their apartments, and to carry on a correspondence between them, as also to transmit to their friends the needful information from them. Among other things, Madame de Favras had hid behind a pier-glass some papers the evening her husband was taken, being alarmed at his staying abroad beyond his usual hour. Her sister was informed of this, and had the good fortune to burn them. Both Favras and his wife, separately, assured him that they Edition: current; Page: [330] had been offered 48,000£ to accuse Monsieur, the King’s brother. They both told him the plot had been betrayed by M. de Luxembourg; but I prove the contrary to him, for it had fallen in my way to know that the scheme was discovered early, and I had urged Luxembourg to keep himself clear of the intrigues he was engaged in, lest they might prove fatal to him. I recollect Madame Talon told me that her husband had been possessed of several pieces tending to convict Monsieur, and was urged by M. de Lafayette to institute a criminal procedure against him, but had, instead, thrown them in the fire, telling the General he would never be guilty of traducing before a criminal tribunal the brother of his sovereign. M. Aujard certainly was useful to Monsieur on this occasion, for Favras might have been induced to save himself by declaring what he knew. After leaving France he went to Coblentz, and there he was received by the royal brothers, and particularly the elder, with all the coldness of ingratitude. Madame gave him a long interview, and told him of the follies they were daily committing; that they were determined to ruin the Queen, which she prayed him to tell, or write rather, to His Majesty; that they had formed a council in which M. de Calonne was First Minister and Minister of the Finances, the Bishop d’Arras Chancellor, M. de Vaudreuil Minister of War; and they had resolved then, when their brother should be by them reestablished on the throne, no important measure of administration should be adopted without their consent. This wild, and—according to their own principles, if they had any—this treasonable conduct seems almost too extravagant for belief; but many reasons concur to render it probable. Aujard tells me several facts respecting their pecuniary transactions which would in England be called swindling. Among others, the Marshal de Broglio, having Edition: current; Page: [331] some property in Piedmont, his agents sent him a sum of money by the stage, which the servant of the stage was bringing to him; and M. de Calonne undertook to deliver it, but some days after mentioned the affair to his friend De Broglio, and, as the thing must be quite indifferent to him, paid the sum in assignats which were counterfeit of the princely manufacture.”

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Morris sees the society of various towns on the Continent. Count Rumford. Conversation with him. The Elector of Bavaria. Presented at Court. Ratisbon. Affairs of Switzerland. Stuttgart. Frankfort. Conversation with Mr. Crauford. A drive with Count d’Aspre. Movements of the armies. M. de Görtz and the citizen Trielhard. Mr. Crauford’s interesting communications. Riot in Vienna. General Holtze. Bonaparte goes to Rastadt. Cobenzel made Austrian Minister of State. Count Cobenzel goes to Rastadt to negotiate for peace with Bonaparte. Information received from Prince de Reusse. Conversation with the Elector. Dines with the Duchess of Cumberland. Ukase of the Russian Emperor. Mr. Crauford’s history of how he became acquainted with Simolin. Affairs in Paris in 1792 of which Crauford was cognizant.

Seeing thus from within the society of the towns in the various countries of Europe, and thoroughly enjoying life and his friends, Morris whiled away the months, it would seem, with rather a dread of the necessary effort it required to cross the Atlantic. He had let the pleasant months of the previous summer go by, and, now that winter had again set in, he concluded to gain all the information and see all the places of interest possible, and watch the progress of events for some months longer. Late in December he left Ratisbon and went to Munich. Here again he fell in with friends.

“The Baron de Closini is’ here,” he says, in the diary for December 30th, “whom I knew in America, where he served as aide-de-camp to General Rochambeau. He gives me un peu la carte du pays. I call on Count Rumford. Edition: current; Page: [333] I ask him how it happens that the country I rode over remains uncultivated. He tells me that there are vast forests of pine throughout Bavaria which bear the marks of precedent cultivation; that this is beyond question the finest country in Europe, but ever since the Thirty Years’ War everything possible has been done to ruin it by unwise laws and administration, as one proof of which, among many which he might mention, he gives this: That there are some thirty odd thousand farms in Bavaria, many of which are considerable; whenever a farmer becomes bankrupt and quits the farm, before another can take it he must subject himself to the payment of all arrearages, so that every year which the farm is unoccupied the reason for leaving it waste becomes stronger, so that now there are above four thousand of these farms without tenants. The Count goes on to tell me his situation here as to the confidence reposed in him by the Elector. He brought him into his views of reform by holding out that history never fails to do justice to sovereigns—recording their acts of beneficence and branding them for the neglect of their important duties. According to the Count, it is from the love of honest fame that the Elector has been stimulated to the amelioration and embellishment of his country, to which he had but little personal attachment, and, being without heirs and not too well disposed to his successor, Edition: current; Page: [334] could not, from any regard to posterity, be led into the labor and vexation of reform. He states to me how, by degrees, since the commencement of the fourteenth century, the existing nobles, or rather ennobled, who are by no means descendants of the ancient nobility (all of whose privileges, with a single exception, have, by purchase or escheat, merged in the ducal crown) have arrogated, from the weakness of the chief, privileges and exemptions to which they are not entitled, and under the name of the States oppress and defraud the people; so that at length the abuses are become equally numerous and enormous, from whence has resulted the impoverishment and depopulation of this excellent country. Among the abuses, he mentions as one that on his arrival here there was a regiment of cavalry which had five field officers and only three horses. The Elector’s ministers are so much sold to the States that in his own private chancery he could not get, during six weeks, a paper copied which he was to sign. The States, in the mean time, were informed of its contents, and came forward with an impeachment against the minister who had framed it for high treason. The Elector, whom he describes as timid, being informed that they were arrived in procession to present the address containing the impeachment, rode out, by Rumford’s advice, a-hunting, to gain a day. Rumford immediately went into the chancery and threatened the secretary that, if the papers were not copied and on the Elector’s table ready for his signature by eight o’clock next morning, he should lose his place. The secretary represented the impossibility, for it was not yet begun. Rumford ordered in the clerks, caused it to be distributed among the number necessary, and then reiterated his threat, with the addition that if it were not ready at eight he should be no more secretary at nine. To the Elector’s surprise this paper, which, addressed to the Edition: current; Page: [335] States, demonstrated the nullity of the claims they made and pointed out their various and manifest usurpations, was ready at the hour, and was immediately signed and transmitted, so that their impeachment (calculated to prevent the blow, seeing that the Elector could not sign and transmit the work of one accused as a traitor) lost its object. Next day, by Rumford’s advice, the Elector, as Vicar of the Empire, ennobled the minister, who was of plebeian extraction, for his important services rendered to the public.

“M. de Werneck speaks to me of Count Rumford as a man with much genius and information, and the zeal and activity of a projector; is apt to neglect a business when once he has brought it to its point of maturity; moreover, as of a man extremely vain, who is the hero of his own panegyric. Indeed, I could not help remarking this morning that the Count takes his full share of the praise which history is to lavish on the Elector for all the good things done and doing in Bavaria. M. de Werneck lets me see that his brother has an inclination to get placed here, and considers the Count as an obstacle. He tells me that the Count had told him he had, in the expectation of being snatched away by death before his operations should be completed, prepared and printed a few copies of his vindication. In this he proves, according to his account of the matter, that he had, in his management of the military, increased the effective force, mended the condition of the soldier, and yet lessened the expense. He had expressed a desire to see this performance, and received a promise that it should be communicated; but this promise, though repeatedly renewed, has not yet been complied with. The Count’s enemies say that when he came into office there were nine hundred thousand florins in the military chest, that the effective force has been greatly reduced, that the Edition: current; Page: [336] chest is in debt, and all the magazines are empty. Rumford told me this morning that he is perfectly well with the successor to the Electorate.”

“This morning [January 1st] Count Rumford calls, and takes me to Court, to assist at the grand couvert of the Elector, which, like all other things of that sort, is dull. Go again to Court in the evening, which is its grand gala—a concert and cards. The Elector, notwithstanding his age, goes through the representation very well. Rumford tells me of the great marks of attachment shown to him by the people, and how well he has deserved them. I believe more of the latter than of the former. My valetde-chambre tells me, after I get home, that as yet he has heard nothing about him but abuse, and mentions the deficit in the military chest, etc., which M. Werneck stated yesterday. He says, moreover, that he is accused of selling, for his own private emolument, the produce of the labor performed by poor people maintained at the public expense.”

“Count Rumford calls this morning [January 3d], and takes me to see the English garden he has made adjoining to this city. He began by draining a piece of ground belonging to the Elector, which he has since laid out with great judgment, and has some things in petto as an additional improvement which will be equally ornamental and advantageous. He has in the farm which he has established as part of this garden some handsome cattle, which he has bred from Swiss stock. He shows me two projected entrances to the town, one of which is to be cut through the palace some years hence. The other will be finished in a year or two, and is very handsome. Round the town he has made a very fine esplanade, the history of which is curious. Before his last journey to England he had confided his intention to some one, who let it out, Edition: current; Page: [337] and his enemies, determined, though to the public injury, to do him an unkindness, built several things of slight material in the way, so that when he returned he found his plan effectually frustrated. But when the French came hither, the Regency, finding themselves reduced to great straits, applied to him, according to orders they had received from the Elector at his departure. Rumford took advantage of that circumstance to execute his scheme, while at the same time he kept the French and Austrian troops from entering the town; everything round was knocked down and levelled, so that now the approaches are much better, and the whole is more clean and airy. We go then to the Military Academy, which is on a good establishment. Young people are here lodged, fed, clothed, and educated for fifteen guineas per annum. They learn Latin, German and French, geometry, and other branches of the mathematics needful to military men; dancing, fencing, drawing and music. The kitchen is very curious, and very worthy of imitation. I see several dinners sent out to officers and citizens, who are supplied from hence at the rate of fifteen kreuzers or one forty-fourth of a louis d’or, say, of a pound sterling, or about five to five and a half pence. This is a kind of perquisite to the cook, who supplies the students at the same price per day, receiving gratis the use of the kitchen and utensils with the needful fuel. Rumford tells me the price was some time ago only half a louis per month, or eleven kreuzers per day. The articles sent out for these eleven kreuzers were a beef-soup, with three dumplings made of flour, crumbs of bread, egg, and chopped ham, each about the size of a very large hen’s egg; a portion of turnips cut fine and stewed in a brown gravy, on the top of which was about half a pound of boiled beef, or bouilli. Another dish consisted in near half a pound of bœuf à la Edition: current; Page: [338] mode, with a very rich, thick sauce in abundance; finally, there was a good cut of apple tart, large enough to cover the quarter of the inside of a common plate. In short, there was more food, excepting bread, than I could, I think, eat in a single day, much less in one dinner. Count Rumford gives orders to prepare for our reception at the workhouse to-morrow. M. de Werneck calls on me in the evening, and we read together part of a printed account made by Rumford of his four years’ administration of the army. Notwithstanding this account, which is perfectly clear and correct, certified after full examination to the council, to whom it was submitted for that purpose, his enemies circulate busily the whisper of maladministration. At dinner, speaking of General Werneck, an officer who is present says he is certainly a man of talents, but not so attentive as he might be to duty, being much given to play, and thence led to too great intimacy with people of a certain sort, and instances that the bank at Frankfort, the croupiers, etc., most of which are très mauvais sujets, are his property. His fondness for and success in play, I knew. This keeping of a table I don’t at all like. It is said that the Austrians, in general, play, etc., but the circumstance of a public bank seems to be peculiar to him.”

“This morning [January 5th] Count Rumford calls, and we go out together. By way of avoiding a crowd of market-people in the direct road, we make a circle round part of the town, by which means I see the mountains lying between this and Tyrol, which are very cragged, and deceive me much, for the air happens to be so clear that they appear like broken ridges of moderate height in the neighborhood; but my companion tells me that they are sixteen leagues’ distance, and adds that the finest country on earth is that which lies at the foot of them. The river Edition: current; Page: [339] is very rapid here, and the water of a greenish color but very clear. Count Rumford mentions contrivances for muskets by which he can load and fire fourteen times while the Prussian troops load and fire four. To prove the astonishing velocity, he cites a thing which happened in the presence of the Elector and his Court at a hunt. He fired at a hare and missed it, then loaded, fired, and killed the same hare with the same gun. He says further that he has invented a gun from which he shoots an arrow, and by calculation it can, with an elevation of forty-five degrees, be projected three miles. He drove it through twelve inch-boards, one behind the other, which, says he, is all that can be done by a six-pound shot. These inventions he will not communicate to the world, particularly the latter, being too dangerous. We arrive at the workhouse and see the kitchen, which is wonderful. In general, the regularity, cleanness, and economy of this house surpass anything I ever saw. The poor who are maintained here are employed busily, and have cheerful countenances. These people earn their living and they are happy. Long may he be happy who has made them so. I taste of the soup given to the poor. It is very good, and I see the crowd sit down to eat it with good appetite. The portion of bread, he tells me, is generally taken home by them for their supper. There are about one thousand people fed here, at the annual expense of about four hundred guineas, including everything. The contrivances for saving cloth, linen, leather, etc., in making clothes, the arrangements to prevent fraud, and to keep the accounts for the regiments, etc., are all admirable. We go from hence to a hospital for old poor people, from whence there is a fine view of the town. The chambers here are so warm that I cannot stand them. We go on to the house fitting up, under Count Rumford’s direction, Edition: current; Page: [340] for poor children. This house was built by the States for ladies to live in privately, and is the most superb building in Munich. The idea is the most extraordinary that I ever remember to have met with. It was further intended for the education of those young scions of nobility which had been furtively taken from the noble stock. In England this would be called a strong legislative declaration of unchasteness. Whatever may have been the intention of these wise men of Gotham, it will certainly afford an interesting spectacle when filled up with poor children receiving good raiment and good education at the expense of—their own labor well applied.”

“Dress and go to Court, where I dine [January 6th]. Mention to the Elector, who converses with me on my yesterday’s excursion, that His Highness ought to have consigned to some record the state in which he found this country, lest posterity should, on seeing the improvements, doubt of the situation in which he found it. This is like flattery, but, in the first place, it is founded on fact; secondly, it is no small instance of benevolence to have labored for the amelioration of a country for a successor whom he dislikes. Neither of these, however, though they justify, would have induced this observation. I meant to encourage him in the pursuit of laudable objects, and if anything I can say should have the smallest tendency to produce that effect it is well said. At dinner I sit next to the Electress, who has a clear, ready comprehension and a good share of genius. She is not happy, and is well content that her dissatisfaction should be known. After dinner, the Elector inquires about Lafayette, and I set his character in what I think the fair light. Go from Court to see Count Rumford, and sit with him a good while. He reads me his day’s labors, in which he has reasoned himself into a belief that the life Edition: current; Page: [341] is, as Moses says, in the blood, and that it consists, which Moses does not say, in the operation of heat and cold and the movement which, as a fluid, must be produced in it by the distribution and succession of these accidents. My solution of all such abstruse questions is that things are so and so because God pleases that it should be so. The ladder of Science is infinite, and the steps which man can mount are few and uncertain, but could he get even to the top it would only lead him more immediately into the presence of the Almighty. So that the most acute of all philosophers must end, with Newton, where I begin. We at length fall on politics. He tells me the French are assembling a considerable force along the former line of demarcation, and that the Prince of Hesse has quitted Berlin in high dudgeon, and sent back all his orders, dignities, etc.; ‘which,’ says Rumford, ‘I consider as a game to preserve his neutrality, and therefore as a sign of war. Russia, moreover, has ordered the recruiting of one hundred thousand men, but the Emperor, says he, is a madman. He seems to take pains, in his rage for reform, to do unpleasant things in the most disagreeable manner.’”

On the 9th of January Morris returned to Ratisbon, and remained there until the 23d of February. During the journey to Ratisbon he fell in with a train of wagons of the reserve artillery of the Austrian army. This delayed him some time; but, “on the whole,” he says, “I am well off to have got safely here, for it wanted but little to have thrown me into the Danube in trying to pass the train of wagons. Pass the evening with the Princess. It is said the French have possessed themselves of Basle, and declared war against the Swiss Cantons. The French Government have ordered the seizure and confiscation of all English goods in France, and also the capture and condemnation of all vessels coming from an English port, Edition: current; Page: [342] or having English goods on board. This is a premium to British navigators, and an attack upon all neutral powers.”

“At Madame de Hohenthäl’s assembly [January 19th] I learn that the Swiss are determined to assert their independence, and have proposed anew the oath of Union, discussed since two centuries; also that they have demanded a categoric answer from the Directory as to the kind of neutrality which they are to expect from France.”

“Pass the evening [January 25th] at Court, where there is, as usual, a concert. The rabies politica sets people’s tongues going, so that the murmur almost drowns the voice of Madame de Hohenthal during her song. On the whole, there seems much dulness in our social atmosphere. The Comte de Pfaffenhosen tells me here some anecdotes of the Director Barras. At the request of his uncle he had made up a match for him with a young lady who, being sister to the unfortunate Madame de la Motte, lost her future husband by the affair of the collar. He then, at the renewed request of the same uncle, negotiated another marriage for him, and took the Vicomte de Barras down into the country to see and be seen. Here a too great intimacy was discovered with his servant, and the projected marriage broken off. Last June my relater went to Paris in pursuit of a paymaster who had robbed him, and addressed himself to Barras, who received him well, and assisted him, and who finally pressed him to remain in Paris. ‘Here,’ says Barras, I have no friend, and I much want one.’ The ci-devant payeur is now an officer of the Directorial Guard and eats at the table of his master, Edition: current; Page: [343] patron, lover—who, notwithstanding that connection, to which he is faithful, indulges in licentious frolics with the other sex most freely. Barras is led by his secretary and faiseur, one Lombard, being himself a very shallow fellow—so much so that my informant used to write letters for him to his intended wives. The stories told of his Asiatic luxury are false, and, as to his circumstances, he was so poor as not to be able to pay fifty louis which Pfaffenhosen had formerly advanced for him. He lives by running in debt. My informant says that he took great pains to discover the sentiments of the people in Paris, from the Directory downwards, and that, with the exception of Barras and Charles de la Croix, they were universally royalists; that is to say, all those with whom he conversed. Letters from Italy state the condition of Rome to be deplorable; a general consternation prevails, and the people are, if not attached to their sovereign, at least indisposed to his enemies. The news from Rastadt purport that the King of Prussia and the French are perfectly well together. It seems evident that the French mean, if they can, to overturn the Swiss Constitution, or, rather, the separate constitutions and the general league. Insurrections, their usual precursors, have taken place in the Pays de Vaud. It is said that the new French agent sent to Hamburg is to demand of them and the other Hanse towns fourteen millions of livres, and also the confiscation of all British goods, and, generally, of all British property in their dominion.”

“To-day [February 2d] we are informed that Austria, Prussia, and France are agreed to the manner in which Germany shall be disposed of, and that in consequence of it the congress at Rastadt will soon be dissolved. General Werneck tells me that M. de Metternich has received an anonymous letter informing him that, if the left bank Edition: current; Page: [344] of the Rhine is ceded to France, the Emperor and King of Prussia will not survive that cession a fortnight. The Grand Doyen Comte de Thurn tells me that Berne had presented a long mémoire to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin on the situation and views of France, with the means of reducing her power, now become dangerous to all Europe. These Courts have sent that memorial to the Directory, which occasioned the order to the commissaries from Berne to quit Paris.”

“The affairs of Switzerland seem to be [February 7th] in a bad way. At supper, last Sunday, Mr. Bacher told me that they had no idea of joining the Pays de Vaud to France, but meant to make of all Switzerland a new Republic (une et indivisible), like the Cisalpine.”

“Accounts from Switzerland [February 9th] show that the French force and French intrigues have produced their effect, so that Switzerland will henceforth be melted into a single representative democracy. This, by concentring their councils and force, will make them a dangerous, or, at least, a troublesome neighbor to France.”

“Dine at Court [February 18th]. Mr. Alopus tells me the King of Prussia has made advances to the Imperial Cabinet on the present crisis, to which a complimentary reply has been made. He thinks that Austria is completely exhausted, and, from the sense of weakness, reduced to a stanch dependence on France. He thinks that this weakness, however, results rather from the imbecility of the Cabinet than any defect of means in the country. I believe that a more vigorous Cabinet would adopt more vigorous measures, but I incline to think that, in the present Edition: current; Page: [345] good understanding with France, interest has as much to say as apprehension. Be that, however, as it may, peace is of more consequence to that monarchy than anything which can be got by war. Pass the evening at Court.”

“Dine at the Comte de Hohenthäl’s [February 20th], and announce my departure to the society. Take tea at the Princess’s, and go to a masquerade, where I express to the Princess my regret at taking leave of the society here; that I am really affected by the necessity of leaving, but that my heart remains behind.”

“Last night I reached Stuttgart, and this morning [March 2d] walk out and call on the Baron de Rieger. He has just come through France, and gives a description of it as very highly cultivated, full of abuses, Paris more brilliant and more vicious than before, the same exterior politeness and prévenance to strangers, the posts well served, the roads out of repair, the innkeepers more extortionate than ever. Mr. Arbuthnot lodges in the same inn with me. He is waiting to carry the news of the delivery of the Duchess to England. He tells me that our minister at the Court of St. James’s is very much liked; that the King speaks to him more than to anybody else. Cela s’entend.”

“Attend a concert at Court [March 4th], and play at commerce with the Duchess.”

“This morning [March 5th] we go in one of the Duke’s carriages to Ludwigsburg, and take a déjeuné dinatoire prepared in the palace for Mr. Arbuthnot, who is to see everything in order that he may give a good account of it to the King—the King; for his daughter, who is much attached to him, is far from being so great an admirer of her royal mother. Most of the children are fond of him, which in my opinion proves in his favor. This palace of Ludwigsburg Edition: current; Page: [346] is large, and like to become the ducal residence. He means to build an English garden, and he has grounds which will suit for that purpose. Walk a good deal, and on our return sit down about five o’clock to a second dinner at Mr. Arbuthnot’s.”

“There is no company at Court to-day [March 8th], on account of the illness of the Duchess Dowager.”

“The Duchess Dowager is dead [March 9th], and my horse continues lame. The latter is the greater misfortune, and both may be perhaps attributed to the doctor. He said that to cure the horse radically he must make him apparently worse. The Court doctor related to us yesterday evening a conversation with the Duke, who, having asked him to declare on his conscience what he thought of his mother’s situation, answered: ‘If Her Highness were a citizen’s wife I should say that she might live two months, or die in two hours. The last is quite as likely as the first.’”

“They had advices here yesterday [March 10th] that the French had been defeated in Switzerland, but it appears to-day that they are in possession of Berne. They have then accomplished the task of extending themselves from the German Ocean to the head of the Adriatic, including everything round by the British Channel, the Atlantic, and Mediterranean, except Portugal and Naples. They are in full march for the former, and the latter cannot exist one moment after their will to crush them shall be declared. This empire is too rapidly and widely extended to put on a solid existence, but there is every means of extensive mischief. The North and South of Europe must now stand marshalled against each other; resource is in favor of the latter, but the former have, if united, more means of exertion.”

Morris journeyed (March 12th) on through the Black Edition: current; Page: [347] Forest to Heidelberg, and thence to Frankfort, where he arrived on March 16th. “Take tea,” he says, “with the Duchess of Cumberland. She has had bad news of her sister, who had lost every farthing at play, and a letter from Mayence has come which announces her suicide. She cut her throat, but it was expected she would recover. She, by virtue of the powers confided by the Duchess, had made away with her plate to the amount of £12,000. The estimated loss is £20,000. The Duchess receives company, to keep up the appearance of gayety.”

“Mr. Crauford tells me [March 23d] that when Marshal Claerfayt left this place to go to Vienna he proved to him, by the map on the table, that if the French were prevented from coming into Italy they would be obliged to submit to the terms of peace which might be offered to them, and that the Austrians, by opening the campaign on the Rhine in the month of April, would have great advantages over the French, who could not begin till May. Speaking of the French campaign in Germany, he says that they expected a co-operation of Prussia. This may be, but I do not believe that it was promised. The Prince de Reusse, who is of the society to-night, criminates Prussia for all that is past. I undertake to exculpate that Court, by observing that the origin of the dissension between them and Austria was the refusal of the latter to declare its eventual objects in the war. After some conversation Mr. Crauford, in confirmation of what I had said, relates a conversation he had at Brussels with Lord A—, then returning from the combined armies, which he had quitted from the conviction that nothing would be done, because the Prussian ministers had all told him that the immediate object, whatever it might be, could easily be effected, but that nothing decisive could take place, from the obstinate silence of Austria as to its views, which Prussia could not Edition: current; Page: [348] blindly assist in furthering without being told what they were. The Prince de Reusse hereupon (to exculpate the Austrian Cabinet) tells us that he saw all the despatches and was privy to the whole affair, in which the blame must be laid to Count Lehrbach. Comparing this with what Mr. Alopus told me of his conduct at a subsequent period, it seems to follow either that he betrayed the interests of his Court, or that his instructions were dictated by the most profound perfidy. All those who know M. de Thugut intimately agree in declaring that he is cunning, indolent, and false in the extreme. His countenance confirms this idea, and perhaps gave rise to it. Time and facts must decide on the justice of it.”

“Take Count d’Aspre to ride to-day [March 30th], and during the ride the conversation turned on General Werneck. D’Aspre acknowledges that he dislikes him very much, and gives as a reason that he is not only a gambler, but a dishonest gambler; that he is meanly avaricious, that he is a petty intrigant, false, deceitful, profoundly immoral. He acknowledges that he is brave as a soldier, but wants the firmness and decision of a general. He says that he is a vain boaster of female favors, and that he may attribute his ruin to the liberties his vanity took with the Queen of Naples, which her daughter the Empress resents in a high degree. He says Alvinzi is the best general they have, but is unfortunate. The retreat of the army under Claerfayt is mentioned, and the part which Werneck had in it. D’Aspre, who commanded the rear-guard tells me that Werneck’s disposition was very bad; and that he owed to accident only that he was not cut to pieces; that he, D’Aspre, lost the greater part of his rear-guard; that Werneck was guilty next day of a breach of orders, in which he risked the loss of all his baggage without reason, and that he, D’Aspre, retired by Edition: current; Page: [349] the route which Werneck ought to have taken without any loss, and saved the baggage, which would otherwise have fallen into the enemy’s hands. D’Aspre’s account is so accurate that he forces my belief. He speaks (as, indeed, do all who know him) very highly of Mack. He tells me that he has been assured by French officers that Bonaparte is deficient in courage, and that in the great affair where he gained such a miraculous victory against Alvinzi he had already called a council to consider whether his army should lay down their arms, when a negro, galloping off at the head of four hundred horse, either from the effect of terror or in a fit of desperation, struck a panic into the Austrian irregulars, who had performed acts of heroic bravery and were already chanting victory. This communicated itself to the whole line, etc.”

“Dine at the table d’hôte at home to-day [April 11th]. General Gontreuil sits next me, and tells me that he escaped the pursuit of the Municipaux in Brussels by the accident of having been delayed a day longer than he expected at Mons. He came as a fugitive through Flanders, etc., and brought with him only two shirts and the coat on his back, having left carriage, cash, clothes, etc., behind. He says that until he declared his intention to continue in the Austrian service all went well, but from that moment the officers of government did him all kinds of mischief. He says the people both of France and Flanders are very miserable and unhappy, the peasantry not ill off, the country of France better cultivated than before, the oppression of the government great beyond all idea which can be formed of it. He inveighs against the French.

General Hotze, whom I meet at Mr. Crauford’s, tells Edition: current; Page: [350] me [April 12th] that the Emperor has only forty-three thousand men along his Italian frontier, but that they may be easily re-enforced to one hundred thousand from Tyrol and Dalmatia. Mr. Crauford mentions the demand of the French on the King of Savoy for permission to march thirty thousand men through his country into Italy. The Imperial court is now occupied in trying to obtain from the French an execution of that part of the treaty which relates to the Brabanters. After dinner Mr. Crauford and I take an airing together, and while we are driving he complains of the conduct of Sir Morton Eden during the war. His want of ability has proved materially injurious. He has even neglected and contemned the advice given him. When Beaulieu was appointed to the command in Italy, an express was sent to request he would prevent it, because of the utter and acknowledged incapacity of that officer. His answer was that he knew the party opposed to Beaulieu and was well aware that envy was the inseparable companion of superior merit. When he was requested to oppose the subsequent appointment of Würmser, as a man who had outlived the very moderate share of abilities he once possessed, he answered that the appointment of so able and gallant a soldier must be considered as a proof of his Imperial Majesty’s determination to prosecute the war with vigor. He remarks on the incapacity of Lord Elgin to conduct the affairs committed to him at Berlin, and states to me that Mr. Whitworth, the minister at St. Petersburg, is a very gallant soldier, and totally unqualified for a diplomatic character. He says he is quite out of spirits from what General Hotze has told him respecting the French intrigues for two years in Switzerland, and the evidence of similar intrigues in this quarter. He mentions to me what Gontreuil has told him, viz., that in a conversation with St. Foix and Beaumarchais Edition: current; Page: [351] at the Bishop d’Autun’s, St. Foix said that if the greater powers of Europe should form a league against France, they might yet put a stop to the torrent which would otherwise overwhelm them; but Beaumarchais contended that it was now too late, and they recommended it to Gontreuil to continue in France, and send back his commission.”

“Mr. Crauford comes [April 16th], and tells me he is informed from very good authority that the day before yesterday a smart altercation took place between M. de Goertz and the citizen Treilhard. M. de Goertz called, and opened the conversation by observing that the French procrastinated so much the conclusion of the definitive treaty that it gave ground to the assertions of some persons pretending to be well informed, that they had views to the subversion of all the governments in Germany. Treilhard replied that such persons were liars and unworthy of all credit. Goertz affected to be pleased with this declaration, but, as if not quite thoroughly convinced, drew from his pocket a paper containing the plan in detail for revolutionizing the Empire. Treilhard, surprised but not abashed, asserted that it was a vile forgery, upon which the other expressed great pleasure and requested a written declaration that it was false. Treilhard now hesitated, and declined. When pressed he refused, and, Goertz declaring that his master would be under the necessity of exerting all the means in his power to counteract the attempts of France, Treilhard, whose choler was now fully roused by the wrathful manner of his antagonist, told him haughtily, ‘Monsieur, nous ne sommes pas, à cette Edition: current; Page: [352] heure, à craindre ce que pourra faire votre maître.’ ‘Monsieur,’ replied Goertz, ‘j’ai donc ma réponse.’ The sovereigns of Europe seem to have the choice of risking all upon the great game of war, or perishing like rats drowned in their holes. General Gontreuil, who sat next me at dinner gave a different version of the conversation which Crauford repeated to me. He stated the conversation as between St. Foix, Beaumarchais, and himself only, and that they agreed it was now too late for a coalition to do anything against France. Mr. Crauford also communicated to me an anecdote on the subject of M. de Lehrbach which is important in various points of view. M. de Hardenberg, after he had concluded the treaty of Basle, had an interview at Huningen with Barthélemy, Pichegru, and Merlin de Thionville, and, he thinks (but in this he must be mistaken) Tallien. It was agreed to put the Dauphin on the throne and constitute themselves a Council of Regency, to consist of themselves and their friends; to maintain all the existing laws against emigration, etc. Hardenberg made the most solemn promises not to communicate this secret except to the King his master, but on his way to Berlin gave a rendezvous to Albiné, the favorite and probable successor of the Elector of Mayence, to whom he communicated it in confidence. Prussia, being very desirous at that time of having the vote of Mayence, Albiné, who had always tried to keep fair with both Austria and Prussia, asked an interview with De Lehrbach, who unfortunately reached Frankfort the same day with Hardenberg, and told it to him, also in confidence. Lehrbach, outrageous, asked an interview for the next day with Crauford, and told it to him, desiring he would immediately transmit the intelligence to the British Court, and observing that this council, appointed under the influence of Prussia, would throw the whole Edition: current; Page: [353] power of France into the hands of the Court of Berlin; that he had already dispatched a courier with the intelligence and his observations on it to Vienna, and would take care to make it known to all the cabinets of Europe. Crauford told him that he was not surprised at his warmth, thought he had done right in transmitting the intelligence to his Court, and, having some connection with the ministers of Britain, would, since he requested it, give them the same information. In respect to the thing itself, Crauford observed to him that he could not but view the matter in another light; that as to the future influence of Prussia on the French counsels it must depend on circumstances, but beyond all question the Regency would not feel themselves bound any longer than might be necessary to their own views. Consequently the danger apprehended by M. de Lehrbach appeared to him both remote and uncertain, but the projected change would be attended with great and immediate advantage to all Europe; that it would be a complete and effectual answer to all those wild principles of anarchy which the French had propagated. The demonstrated necessity of returning to a monarchic form of government, in order to rescue themselves from the miseries inflicted under the pretence of liberty and equality, would form a better security to the thrones they had attempted to overturn than a thousand victories. For these reasons he thought that if the apprehended danger were much greater than it appeared the advantage more than overbalanced it. After these observations Lehrbach became convinced, and promised not to divulge any further the secret, but that very afternoon communicated it to the Russian minister, and the next morning to Schwartzkopf, the Hanoverian resident, desiring him to transmit it to the Regency. The French, finding themselves betrayed, were of course Edition: current; Page: [354] obliged to renounce their project; but the measures they had taken could not be recalled, so that the sudden death of the child became necessary, and M. Hardenberg may thank his own weakness, Albiné’s duplicity, and Lehrbach’s madness for all the mischief resulting from that second murder, which cannot in fairness be laid to the doors of those by whom it was commanded. This conversation was in the month of June, 1795.”

“Mr. Crauford [April 18th] tells me that the Duke de Biron came hither disguised to request that the King of Prussia would re-establish the King of France. Perhaps it was this visit which brought him to the guillotine. It is indeed not improbable that, among the many executions which took place under what is called the reign of Robespierre, some were just. On the present occasion the Committee, convinced of the Duke’s treason, might have found it impossible and, at any rate, highly impolitic, to bring forward the proof of it.”

“The post from Vienna brings accounts [April 20th] that the French ambassador, Bernadotte, has left the city in consequence of a riot among the people in which the standard planted before his door was pulled down and destroyed. The police had entreated him not to give this cause of offence or, at least, to give them time to reconcile the people to it, but he refused in a high tone. One of his aides-de-camp advanced, it is said, with his sword drawn. against the mob, and but for the timely interference of the military the whole of them might have been destroyed. He demanded satisfaction of the Court, and the Emperor replied that he, who had a right to demand, could not think of giving satisfaction, upon which Bernadotte asked for passports, and set off the next morning. His obstinacy on this occasion implies that he acted from the impulse of his government, and hence is to be Edition: current; Page: [355] drawn the conclusion that they wish to renew the war as a pretext (I presume) for attacking Naples. Mr. Crauford tells me that M. de Hohenlohe has been some time at Vienna, and held frequent conferences with M. de Thugut.”

“General Hotze calls on me this morning [April 28th]. He has deferred his departure in consequence of a letter received last night from Switzerland. The Cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwald are determined on defending themselves, and have requested him to come and command them. Instead of setting off, therefore, he comes to ask my advice. He considers their efforts as unavailing, unless they can be supplied with bread and salt. I recommend it to him to write to the Baron de Thugut, and, informing him of the state of things, urge an immediate supply of these articles; to reply to the invitation of his countrymen that he will come as soon as he shall have been able to obtain means needful for their defence, in the procuring of which he is occupied, and then to set off immediately for Vienna; to state to the Imperial Cabinet the vast importance of the object, and, should they fear to compromise themselves, obtain what he wants from the English minister. He likes every part of this advice except going to Vienna, to which he objects from the feebleness of that Cabinet and the necessity he was under before of keeping himself concealed. He agrees, however, to go as far as Würzburg, in the way to Vienna, instead of going to Fulda, in the way to Hamburg. I think he is a little undecided in his character, and certainly does not feel that high spirit of freedom which renders all difficulties light to him who, hearing, feels the voice of his country. Dine at home in consequence of some expressions dropped by Colonel Malcolm, who desires an interview. He tells me his mission from the Court of St. James’s, Edition: current; Page: [356] which is a strange, disjointed thing. He is coupled with M. Jolivé, a young Geneva merchant, who holds the purse-strings which may be opened only to the Government of Berne, now dissolved. He also desires my advice. I tell him that the first object is to secure £10,000, then to set off for Augsburg, and confer there with the avouè Stiger; to contract with traders for the delivery of grain and salt at different places in the resisting cantons, and inform the persons to whom it is delivered that the King of England, as first magistrate of a free people, has seen with great sensibility those efforts which are worthy of their ancestors, and learned at the same time that the want of necessaries might render their courage unavailing; that His Majesty had in consequence taken immediate measures to send them a small present supply, as a proof of his affection, until measures can be taken for their more effectual relief. As the colonel is in a state of anxiety and indecision, I propose to bring Crauford into council, which he seizes with eagerness. Crauford approves highly of the measure, and says if it were an object of only £3,000 he would himself advance the money. So the Colonel goes out to look for M. Jolivé, and see if he can be induced to come forward on this occasion with the needful credit. I doubt whether he has the credit. After this I call on the Elector of Cologne, who considers a renewal of the war as unavoidable, though the period may be removed for some months. He tells me it is not true, as I had been made to believe, that Claerfayt’s indecision proceeded from the orders of the Court; that his conduct in Flanders arose from a phrase in the Emperor’s letter to the Prince de Cobourg, in which he was desired to deliver over the command of the army to General Claerfayt or other senior officer, whence he concluded that he did not enjoy the confidence of the Cabinet, and Edition: current; Page: [357] would, if unfortunate, be sacrificed. Afterwards the Elector saw a letter from the Emperor to Claerfayt directing him, even at any great risk, to cross the Rhine and relieve Luxembourg, which Claerfayt declined, fearing the Prussians under Hohenlohe, and sent an officer to expostulate.”

“Colonel Malcolm calls [April 29th], and says that M. Jolivé cannot take on him the needful advances; so this falls to the ground. Go after dinner to Offenbach, and find the Prince de Reusse in bed with a fever.”

“It is said [May 3d] that the party of Barras is now uppermost in France, and Bonaparte goes in consequence to Rastadt. This comes in a letter from a well-informed person to M. de Vrinz. The French Government, I hear, grows uneasy at the prospect of an alliance between Prussia and the two Emperors, and a letter from Berlin mentions a regular demand made by the Directory on the Prussian administration to declare what part the King would take in case of a rupture between France and Austria, adding that under present circumstances the Directory could not permit Prussia to preserve an apparent neutrality.”

“Colonel d’Aspre calls [May 8th], and tells me that Thugut is appointed commissary of the newly annexed territories, and Cobenzel is placed at the head of the administration, from which he augurs pacific intentions at the Imperial Court. He confirms an account I had formerly heard, viz., that Cobenzel showed great firmness in the conclusion of the treaty at Campo Formio, and had actually sent off a courier with orders to commence hostilities after Bonaparte had left him in wrath, and after Edition: current; Page: [358] his return and the final agreement a counter-order was despatched, but D’Aspre and his Court were already two hours on their march before this counter-order reached them. Dine at the Sandhoff, and pass the evening at Madame de Vrinz’s. M. de Formé, who comes in, has received letters which announce great loss by the French in forcing the passes at Appenzell, and that the Swiss peasantry are in general rising against them; also that the French have not at present more than twenty-five thousand men in Switzerland. Sup at Mr. Crauford’s. He tells me that M. de Cobenzel showed (as he has been told) condescension towards the French deputation at Rastadt, amounting even to meanness, wherefore he apprehends his appointment to be a Commissioner to the Directory. M. Chamôt, who comes in, tells us that this appointment is announced already in the Moniteur, which arrived yesterday, and Thugut’s attachment to England assigned as the cause. D’Aspre told me that when Cobenzel left Rastadt he was extremely embittered against the French commissioners for the indignities they had heaped upon him.”

“To-day [May 9th], after dinner, I visit the Elector of Cologne. He has received official advice of the appointment of M. de Cobenzel, ad interim, but he reserves his place of ambassador at Rastadt. The Elector considers this an indication of pacific sentiment. Is it not an indication of weakness, and of the Christian virtue, poorness of spirit? Advices are received that the Swiss, after great slaughter of their enemies, shut up in one of the valleys, reduced them to a capitulation, by which the French agree to leave them masters of their own conduct and the liberty to adopt such form of government as they may think proper. Mr. Crauford told me this morning that while Jourdan was on his march into Franconia the aide-de-camp Edition: current; Page: [359] left behind, and who, a high Jacobin, was charged with the secret service, used to boast that he did as much for the Republic as any of her generals, and one day read to a person who called on him the extract of a letter from Vienna which announced the continuation of the war as the result of a conference between the Baron de Thugut and the Emperor, in consequence of a courier which had arrived from London. This person, casting his eye on the letter, saw that it contained information of the views and intentions of the Cabinet. At a previous period advice was received from Basle, said to come from the Chancellerie of M. Barthélemy, that orders were issued for the march of twenty-five thousand men under Würmser. The Prince Charles, then in Frankfort, was asked whether this was true. He said that he knew nothing of it, and did not believe it. Next day he received the advice by a carrier from Vienna. To all this he adds another anecdote, viz., that such convincing proofs were given to M. de Mercy of the treachery of General Fischer, adjutant-general of the Prince de Cobourg, that he waited on the Prince and laid them before him. This weak man, instead of putting the traitor under arrest and bringing him to trial, contented himself with sending the intelligence to Vienna, and the Court thereupon removed Fischer from the adjutancy in Flanders to that of Italy. Some time after he had been there he shot himself, finding, as Crauford supposes, that his tricks were again discovered. Crauford tells me, in the evening, that he has had this afternoon a long conversation with the Elector on the subject of the present change at Vienna. His Highness thinks it important that Thugut should continue in the Council, because he possesses a degree of firmness which some others want. He attributes the ill-success of the war to bad military appointments, and these to the zeal of Edition: current; Page: [360] Thugut, who, ignorant in that line, and ardently desirous to bring matters to a speedy termination, had taken up men hastily on the recommendation of others without consulting the Maréchal de Lacy, who alone could be a competent judge of their abilities. Crauford does not seem to have been struck with the irony of the word zeal. Colonel D’Aspre said to me this morning that, in consequence of reiterated applications from Bonaparte, Count Cobenzel is to meet him at Rastadt for the purpose of terminating the negotiations for peace; that the Directory post-pone till that be settled their demand of satisfaction for the affair of Bernadotte, and that the Emperor is resolved to risk all consequences rather than give any such satisfaction. Advices are received of the submission of the little cantons. They agree to adopt the constitution on condition that they pay no contributions, and that no French troops come among them. It is said that M. Cobenzel, who is arrived at Rastadt, and expects Bonaparte in a very short time, is directed to recur to the principles of the treaty of Leoben. He is to object to the cession of the left bank of the Rhine. A positive refusal is to be given to the late demand of a post opposite Huningen, of Rehl, of Cassel, and Ehrenbreitstein, and, in case the French recalcitrate, war is to be the consequence, the Courts of Vienna and Berlin being come at length to a good understanding together. I incline to think that this is rather the wish of those who relate it than the history of facts. The Duchess of Cumberland says, in reply to the whole, that the Landgrave of Cassel has lately purchased Imperial paper; sufficient proof that he, who is very well informed, does not believe in war, which could not but depreciate it.”

“It stands confirmed [May 14th] that the deputation of the Empire are determined to refuse the last demand Edition: current; Page: [361] made by the French. This looks more like a good understanding between Berlin and Vienna than anything which has yet appeared. The Prince Repnin has been prevented from going to the former by his bad health. The sending of one in such high confidence seems to augur on the part of Paul a disposition to be busy.”

“I take Mr. Crauford to ride with me after dinner [May 15th], and he tells me the purport of information received from the Prince de Reusse. His correspondent at Vienna told him that, the majority of the Council being opposed to Thugut, he told the Emperor that the French meant to attack him as soon as they should have got rid of what now occupies them, wherefore it would be proper to prepare for war; that since His Majesty was induced to entertain a different opinion his continuance in office could not be useful, and might be pernicious. Upon representations of this sort, frequently repeated, the Emperor consented to receive his resignation. I read this thing a little differently. I conclude that Cobenzel had been told by the French deputation at Rastadt that the Directory could not consider the Emperor as disposed to be on good terms with them so long as he kept in his service Thugut, whom they consider as sold to England; that, of course, until he should be dismissed they could not act towards the Imperial Court as they otherwise might, etc.; that upon a representation of this to the Emperor by Cobenzel His Majesty has asked Thugut whether, in effect, he was (as represented) disposed to a war with France, and then, Thugut declaring he was and assigning his reasons, the Emperor has signified to him that unless he would adopt a different opinion he could not retain him in his service. The conversation given out to the public is, I presume, an arrangement to save the Emperor’s dignity (an object which is not effected), and contrived by Thugut, who is a Edition: current; Page: [362] very cunning fellow, to answer the double purpose of securing the support of England and the pension, if he receives one, while he has all the chances of a future misunderstanding with France, in spite of the submissions which may be made to avoid it. On the whole, it seems pretty clear that Hotze’s idea of his Court is perfectly just, and that the leading feature is weakness.”

“After dinner [May 16th] I go to Offenbach to visit the Prince and Princess de Reusse. He takes me a ride through the forest of Yssenburg. His letters from Vienna announce that the Courts of Vienna and Berlin are well together. The first act of Cobenzel’s administration (or, rather, the first step after his arrival at Vienna) was to send the Prince de Reusse full powers to treat with the Prussian Cabinet. Cobenzel has orders to insist that the Pope have an establishment somewhere; that the French do not hold an inch of ground on the right bank of the Rhine, and that they evacuate Switzerland. These the Prince considers as sine qua non of treaty. While we are walking a person overtakes us, and I am not a little surprised to see the Chevalier de Graave. He comes from Switzerland, where he has been, as I had heard, a commission-man of British merchants, which he denies, and yet, from what he afterwards says, it seems to be the fact, for he tells me he is waiting here to receive and despatch some goods. He says the Directory were (as he was informed) much alarmed, at the time the affairs of Switzerland were in suspense, lest Austria and Prussia should interfere. This I think likely, though I do not consider the Chevalier’s means of information as the best, nor his mind as the most distinguishing. I call on the Elector, who shows me a copy of a circular from Thugut announcing that His Majesty, having thought proper to employ the Comte de Cobenzel in an important mission, he has resumed the conduct of Edition: current; Page: [363] affairs during the Count’s absence. The Elector tells me that Cobenzel had a conference with Mack, to prepare the military operations in case the negotiation should fall through, and has brought with him the presents to be made to the French mission on the conclusion of the peace. Utroque paratus.”

“At supper, at Madame Sullivan’s, we have the Marquis de Grimaldi, a Venetian, who spent some time at Petersburg, and knew M. de Cobenzel there. He speaks of him as a lively, pleasant, weak man; totally unfit to be charged with the affairs of a country as first minister. Madame Sullivan, who knows Thugut intimately, says that he will not return to the helm; that he has no motive to induce him, being neither avaricious nor ambitious, but very lazy. Mr. Crauford tells me some anecdotes of Cobenzel’s conduct at Rastadt little suited to the dignity of his master. Mr. Duff, Lord Fife’s son, who was there, used now and then to embarrass him by making up in the presence of the French deputation. Cobenzel had the weakness to express to him and his companion his regret that he could not, under the existing circumstances, show them all the attention which he wished. Metternich, who was always a poor creature, was, and is, equally servile. Trielhard, who learned and observed what was doing, and who is not remarkable for his gentleness, said of them: ‘Ce sont de plates betes; ils nous craignent et nous haïssent.”

“Go [May 19th] to Wilhelmbad, and dine with the Duchess of Cumberland. A cook she had borrowed from the Elector is taken ill, so we dine from the gargotier, and our dinner is better than when prepared by the faiseur of his Royal Highness. This leads to a conversation respecting the quantum which the Elector swallows in the space of four and twenty hours. Miss Lawley recounts Edition: current; Page: [364] sundry surprising coups de goutte; that which strikes me as most simple and easy to be remembered is taken from a breakfast he gave lately, and at which he ate up a lamb. Go after dinner to visit the Princesse Héréditaire of Cassel. Her insipid husband is at his regiment. It is said from Rastadt that the Austrian and Prussian ministers hold in concert a firmer language to the French deputation. Conversing with Mr. Crauford on the state of past affairs, he tells me of a proposition made by leading men in the Low Countries to furnish every means in their power for the purpose of taking Lille, which was alone to cover their country. The offer was rejected with wanting haughtiness amounting to insult. In the battle of Tournay, where the French left ten thousand men on the field, the Duke of York, who commanded the left wing, sent there repeated messages begging permission to attack, but the Emperor repeatedly refused, so that the enemy were permitted to retire quietly to Lille; and during the action General — proposed to Mack, as a thing which could not have escaped him, the placing a battery of heavy cannon at a spot which would enfilade the French, but Mack, who was nominally quartermaster-general, shrugged up his shoulders, the meaning of which was that, in effect, he had no command; and it appeared afterwards that the Prince de Waldeck was charged with his department. In the battle of Fluenes the Austrians gained a victory, but Prince Charles was not permitted to advance and push the French into the Sambre, a thing unavoidable, and in the night the Austrians were ordered to retreat. In short, it appears evident that the Imperial Cabinet was resolved to abandon the Low Countries, preserving always the appearance of being forced into that measure. It is not probable that they were bribed by the French, but it is certain that a conduct more treacherous Edition: current; Page: [365] to their allies, their subjects, and their army can hardly be imagined.”

“Mr. Crauford calls [May 26th], and shows in a newspaper the ukase of the Russian Emperor by which a fleet of ships and galleys is to be sent to the Belt to protect the free commerce of the Baltic against the attempts of France to bully Denmark. He mentions to me, also, a failure of the British, which is announced in the gazettes, but which I can scarcely believe, as it purports a descent near Ostend, where they must have been morally sure of meeting a considerable force of their enemy. The Abbé Delille is at Mr. Crauford’s. He is, as usual, gay, simple, and good-humored.”

“To-day [May 29th] it is reported that the English have done their enemies great mischief at Ostend and Dunkerque. It is also published, since two days, that they have been repulsed with a loss of near two thousand men. Quœre. A person in the service of France, who dined at the table d’hôte, entered into conversation with me, and told me that Bonaparte, at the head of forty thousand men, takes possession of Egypt, ceded by the Grand Seigneur, and then marches by Arabia over the desert to Bassora, at the head of the Persian Gulf, and so across Persia to India. He has secured proper intelligences on his route, etc. M. Cobenzel goes to France to meet M. François Neufchateau, a new step towards the putting off of Imperial dignity. It is said that the English have blown up part of the dike and laid a considerable district of West Flanders under water.

“In various conversations M. Faugas has given me to understand that, in his opinion, France can only be happy under a monarchical form of government, and that her long convulsions must terminate there; that no peace can be expected for her or for other nations so long as the great Edition: current; Page: [366] criminals are in possession of power; and these he afterwards explains to mean those who voted for the death of the King. Sarivilliere Lepaux, who was one of them, and with whom he is in habits of confidential intercourse, he describes as an honest man stung with remorse. Carnot called on him, knowing his intimacy with Lepaux, to entreat he would use his influence with his friend and prevent him from joining the other two Directors against him and Barthélemy. ‘Tell him,’ says Carnot, ‘it is impossible that he should consider me as a royalist; tell him that, by their present persecution, they labor to make Europe forget my crimes.’ Lepaux, after the great stroke of their 18th Fructidor, heard of Carnot’s visit and inquired about it; Faugas acknowledged the fact, and related the subject of the conversation, declaring that he had refused meddling and had not, for that reason, repeated it. Lepaux told him he ought to have charged himself with that commission. ‘In effect,’ says he, ‘I do not believe in the pretended conspiracy, but our conduct was dictated by a sense of self-preservation; had we remained quiet we were undone.’ To this Faugas replied: ‘Have you reflected that in violating the Constitution you impose on yourselves the necessity of frequent violations? Do you consider that the Jacobins, whom you have made use of on this occasion, are your mortal enemies, and should they, by these or other means, get into power they will accomplish your ruin?’ ‘We would not give place to secondary considerations—the great object was to save ourselves. Should the dangers arrive which you seem to apprehend, we must take such measures as prudence may dictate under the existing circumstances.’ Faugas tells us that the Directory is, in fact, divided into two parties, mortal enemies to each other; that Rewbell has far more Edition: current; Page: [367] understanding and address than his opponents, but is covered by the general contempt and detestation of his countrymen. Barras, he says, is now well advised by Bonaparte, whom Faugas considers as a very able man. The expedition he has just undertaken will, says Faugas, if successful, cover him with glory, and at any rate secure him against a new Fructidor, should any such arrive.”

“The British gazette to-day [June 8th] gives an account of the expedition sent against Flanders, which has produced its effect by destroying the Canal of Bruges, but the troops are lost because the weather was such that they could not re-embark. They were therefore surrounded by a host of enemies, and compelled, after a gallant resistance, to surrender. Mr. Crauford gives me the history of how he became acquainted with M. Simolin, in answer to a question of mine to that effect. Mr. Crauford says he came to Paris in December, 1791, and continued there till April, 1792. By the by, this is nearly the time in which I was absent from it. He endeavored to persuade the King and Dauphin to leave France—a thing which he says the British Government desired as a means of saving the King, and even the monarchy. Crauford saw the royal consorts two or three times a week regularly, and the plan of the flight was arranged; but the Queen changed her mind, as usual, and declared she would never separate her fortunes from those of the King. This determination, so often resumed or, rather, as I think, instilled, proved her ruin. While that affair was in agitation the King expressed a wish to send some person to the Emperor and Empress of Russia to request they would not listen to the wild project of his brother’s, which Edition: current; Page: [368] could not but terminate in his ruin and that of his family. His Majesty wished also to send off various papers which might, if discovered, prove ruinous to individuals, and which, nevertheless, he wished to preserve. Crauford mentioned Simolin as a proper person; was charged to sound him on the subject. Simolin promised, had an interview on the subject, and was penetrated by the affecting manner in which the King mentioned the necessity he was under of applying on so delicate a subject to the minister of a foreign court. In effect, it was a hard measure. Simolin went to Vienna, and Leopold adopted the plan chalked out to him. Simolin spent two hours in his cabinet the evening on which he was attacked by his last illness. The Empress approved of his conduct in charging himself with the commission, directed him to come on to Petersburg, and received him most graciously. She read the affecting letters which the King and Queen—especially the latter—had written, but without showing the least emotion; neither did she, in consequence of them, or of anything Simolin could say, alter her conduct in the least. Crauford says he has often thought on this subject, and lost himself as to the cause of her pertinacity. Sometimes he is led to attribute it to a story told her of offensive expressions used on her subject by the Queen; sometimes to a desire that France might be incapacitated from opposing her ambitious views on the side of Constantinople, etc. I tell him that there seems to be a much simpler reason, parallel to cursory observation. She could not but have observed that weakness was the predominant trait of character both in the King and Queen. She knew, also, in common with all Europe, that His Majesty’s brethren contended for the principles of divine, indefeasible right in kings. The Empress, from her character and from the circumstances in which she was placed, had less Edition: current; Page: [369] disposition than any other person to admit the rights of subjects to modify the supreme power. This seems to me the sufficient clew for unravelling not only that part of her conduct, but, indeed, her whole system as to the French Revolution.

“We have to-night, at Madame Sullivan’s birthday party, a large number of guests, among whom is an Italian improvisatore, who is great in his art. He spouts verses on any subject extempore, in a kind of recitation where the measure of the lines may easily (I think) be lengthened or shortened. He has, however, considerable genius, and gives to Bethman a sharp reprimand for indecorous treatment, two days ago, at his house.”

“A report is in town [June 13th] that Admiral Nelson has beaten the French fleet in the Mediterranean, and taken Bonaparte prisoner.”

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Morris bids farewell to his friends in Europe. Returns to America. Difficulties of the voyage. Rebuilds his house at Morrisania. Pressed by friends once more to enter public life. Hamilton especially solicitous that he should do so. Death of Washington. Morris pronounces his funeral oration. Elected United States Senator in April. Journey to Northern New York. Niagara. Letter to James Parish. Enthusiastic description of the climate and prospects of America.

The time Morris had fixed for his return to America drew near, and regretfully he bade a final farewell to the society at Frankfort. “The Prince de Reusse, Mr. Crauford, and M. Simolin call to take leave of me,” he says, June 14th. “The Prince and Crauford, are strongly affected, and even Simolin is more so than I should have suspected.”

From Frankfort he went to Altona, there to make preparations for crossing the Atlantic; for it required time and much judgment to find and examine a ship, proper in its appointments and condition, for so long and perilous a voyage. Madame Leray and her children were to be Morris’s companions on shipboard—making the choice of a vessel even more than ordinarily important. But although annoyed by much tiresome preparation for his journey, Morris still continued the entries in his diary, recording the public news, the kindness of friends, and various more or less interesting items of gossip; among them, the news that Baron d’Escar “has married Madame Edition: current; Page: [371] de Nadaillac, who has gone back to France, leaving the Baron at Hamburg.” “The Baron,” Morris says, “tells me that the Court of Berlin will submit to anything rather than quarrel with France.” “The French have taken Malta [July 12th], the news of which arrived yesterday morning. There are flying reports that hostilities are to begin again in Germany.”

“M. de Lafayette called on me [July 24th], and asked my advice whether he should go out immediately to America, or stay a while longer. I tell him that he had made up his mind to stay; this he blushingly acknowledges. I then tell him that it would have been well to have gone out immediately, but as he has staid so long I don’t think it can make any difference should he remain a little longer. He again consults me as to his future motions, but as I know that this is more the effect of habit than anything else, I take little heed as to the answer. Always declaring his resolution to lead a private life, he sighs still for an opportunity of appearing again on the public theatre.”

“It is said [August 1st] that the news from Rastadt are pacific. The French Directory seem a little alarmed at the state of things in America, and desirous of reconciliation. There has been an embargo laid in France on American ships.”

“All the letters from Italy [August 10th] announce a victory over the French in the Mediterranean.”

“A newspaper from Philadelphia has been shown to me [August 15th] with the form of a law now in agitation (i.e., when the paper was printed), being a declaration of war against France. Captain Barclay tells me that General Washington takes command of the American army of fifty thousand men. Some privateers are already brought in.”

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“To-day [August 20th] the accounts from the fountain-head in France show that they wish to avoid a war with America. It seems certain that Nelson has overtaken Bonaparte and had a successful action, but the particulars are yet unknown.”

“It appears now [August 29th] that the French, under Bonaparte, have reached Alexandria without accident and taken possession of it. The Directory have taken off the embargo on American vessels, but that is not publicly known. They have also applied to the Dutch to become mediators with America. By accounts from Frankfort it would seem that a war is like to take place between the Emperor and France.”

“To-day [August 31st] Mr. Parish and I go on board two ships. The one called the Ocean we shall go in for America; examine the accommodations for ourselves and horses, and see the captain of the ship, who recommends a man to furnish me with stores. The captain is rather an assuming man, who must be kept off. On further acquaintance he shows himself off as a most disagreeable and impertinent fellow; so we break with him, and must look out for another ship. Mr. Parish goes to look at other ships and finds none which are convenient, and, as the captain is coming to and offers for thirty guineas additional to accede to our terms, it is finally decided that the Ocean is to receive us.”

“The news to-day [September 14th] are that the French, who had landed from eight to twelve thousand men in Ireland early in September, have made some progress in Ireland and repulsed General Lake, but Lord Cornwallis was collecting in force to surround them. The people have not joined them in any numbers. Call on the Duchess of Cumberland to-day. She is, as usual, sharp as vinegar. She seems to have been born in the Opposition.”

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“We hear [September 19th] that the French troops in Ireland have surrendered at discretion.”

“There is an account arrived [September 21st] that Nelson has destroyed the French fleet in the Bay of Alexandria, that Bonaparte’s army has suffered both from the Arabs and by an inundation of the Nile, and that the Grand Seigneur has declared war against France. All this taken together (though possible) is too much to be believed. The first article is not unlikely, and, should it be verified, may have given ground for the last, but the overflowings of the Nile are phenomena so regular that Bonaparte cannot be ignorant of them, and the Arabs are too far from the Nile to render credible a catastrophe in which both take a share.”

“The account of the destruction of the French fleet is confirmed [September 22d] and of the war between the Turks and the French.”

“The English mail [October 1st] brings no news except the sailing of the Brest fleet, destined unquestionably for Ireland. It came out after the gale of the 12th, which drove Admiral Bridport from his station.”

“The German paper [October 2d] contains the details of Admiral Nelson’s victory. The attack was one of the boldest and the victory one of the greatest ever obtained or made. The French, though beaten, were not dishonored. Their resistance was exceeded only by the assault. The Turk has declared war. Naples is to be invaded, and thus the east of Europe is leagued against the great nation—great in her enterprise, great in her resource, and great in crime. Whether she will be great in her fall remains to be decided.”

“The gale which has blown for several days has subsided [October 3d], and the sea grown smoother. All our effects are sent on board of the ship, and at ten o’clock I Edition: current; Page: [374] receive notice that we must go on board early to-morrow morning.”

“This morning at nine [October 4th] we go on board a boat, and follow the ship down to the road of Gluckstadt. Very fine weather, with easterly wind. The ship gets under way, and we part with our friend Leray, which is, after all preparation, a painful thing for his wife. We deceive her, therefore, and he is off before she knows a word of the matter. We come to a little to the eastward of Cux-haven, as the darkness prevents us from seeing the buoys.”

By the 7th of October the Ocean and her small party of passengers fairly started on the voyage, which, with all the changes of wind and weather, the high-running seas, which “tumbled everything topsy-turvy and made sleep and rest impossible,” was to last until the first day of December. On Sunday, October 14th, the sea was so rough that Morris says: “I am obliged to keep my bed to-day and yesterday, because of its being impossible to conveniently quit it. One of my horses is dead. They had placed the poor animal in such a situation that one of the ship’s bolts was directly behind his rump, and at every send of the sea it gored him, and that for several days before it was discovered, so that his mangled flesh mortified. A few days later another of my horses dies of his bruises, and is committed to the waves.”

“At noon to-day [October 30th] we are stopped by the Agincourt for about an hour and a half. The Admiral is out cruising, with a number of frigates. He tells us there are a great number of cruisers, British and American, along our coast, to protect the commerce against French privateers. We get an observation this day, and find our latitude 46° 48′. The longitude, by my computation, is 42° 28′ 37″. The Agincourt is three days from St. John’s. The officer who came on board would not tell us their Edition: current; Page: [375] reckoning of longitude, but they had light winds the first two days. One of the boat’s crew says they had soundings yesterday at three o’clock on the bank. This must be the outer bank, and as that is in 47° N. and 45° W., it would agree with my reckoning.”

“Yesterday [November 11th] we had scarce wind enough to keep the ship steady, and it kept veering about till, towards evening, it got to the north-northeast, and we went on till near midnight, when it had risen so high that the captain laid the ship to. This morning there is a heavy sea going, and a Frenchman, who had shipped as a seaman, fell from the shrouds into the sea and was drowned; for, though they threw him a rope and he got hold of it, he had not strength to keep his hold. On examining his chest they find a great deal of clothes of a kind much finer than is generally used by seamen. His manners, they say, were mild and gentle, and that he was not a good sailor; from all which it is to be conjectured that he had seen better days, and adds one more to the numerous victims of the French Revolution.”

“I find [November 15th] that the captain has not above twenty days’ provisions left for his crew, and we have something more than five hundred miles before we are up with the Hook.”

“At midnight [November 29th] the mate told me we were on soundings, and from the account of the currents we ought to have been so, but this morning we can get no bottom. I am therefore determined to trouble myself no more with keeping a reckoning, since either currents, or, what is more probable, the inability of the men at the helm, render all calculation little more than mere conjecture.”

“To-day [November 30th] we see a schooner from Block Island, so we stand on for Montauk Point, with a view of getting into Rhodes Island Harbor.”

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The question on the 1st of December was whether to run blindly on and try to make Montauk Point, with a view to getting into Rhode Island Harbor, or be surprised by a change of wind to the northwest, which would “oblige the Ocean to seek refuge in the West Indies.” Quite uncertain where he was and what to do, the captain applied to Morris for advice. “I tell him that if I were in his situation, wanting provisions, I would certainly run into the first port or place where I could secure myself against being blown off; that I think, moreover, the passage through the Sound is a very safe one.” Just at this moment a schooner from Baltimore informed the captain of the Ocean of his position regarding Montauk Point, and that evening the vessel was safely anchored in Rhode Island Harbor. Dirty weather, snow, and rain made the voyage through the Sound for some days impossible; and it was not until the 12th of December, after innumerable worries and anxieties, that the party, having transferred themselves and their luggage to another vessel, started for New York. Here again the delays, by reason of the weather and inefficient and drunken seamen, were to the last degree harassing.

“We had hopes of getting off last night, but were deceived, and so must build up a new fabric of hope for the night to come. Patience, patience,” Morris says, in the diary of the 12th, but the hope was again futile, for after reaching Point Judith, “a tedious and dangerous business,” they were obliged to put back to Newport, there to remain till the 19th, when they made a new departure.

“This morning [December 26th] is employed by me in sleeping, as I was awake all last night, partly from the tempest and partly from my care of little Poupon, Madame Leray’s child, whose nurse brought him to me to keep out of the water with which her bed was overflowed.”

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“We have a tumbling night. Friday and Saturday [December 21st and 22d], we make some progress, but come to anchor each night, owing to snow-storms and darkness. On Sunday the 23d we get off Throgg’s (or Frog’s) Point, and, the wind serving us, we reach New York at half an hour after two. Many of my friends come on board to see me. With Mr. Constable I go and take lodgings in the Government House. After dinner many friends come, and it seems as if I were not an unwelcome guest in my native country. Colonel Hamilton, now General Hamilton, comes, whom I am very glad to see. I take occasion to let them know early my intention to lead a private life.”

“I sit down to write [December 25th], but am interrupted by a succession of visitors. My farmer, Gibson, comes to state in some degree the situation of my farm. Dine with Mr. Church. General Hamilton comes with me, and tells me the state of our affairs. He wishes me to take a share in the administration.”

“Dine at Colonel Troup’s [December 29th], who is still, as ever, a pleasant, laughing fellow. Stay late and sup, which is not wise.”

“Mr. Low calls this morning [December 30th], and takes me to his seat in Trinity Church, where Mr. Bache preaches a theological sermon. The news is come that the French Brest fleet has been defeated without effecting a landing in Ireland, that Bonaparte’s transports are destroyed, and that his army is reduced to ten thousand men. This last part is, I fancy, premature.”

“To-day [January 5th] I dine at home and go after dinner to my house at Morrisania, where I arrive at dusk, after an absence of above ten years.”

With apparently no regret for the gay life of foreign courts, in which he had moved so long, Morris threw himself with all his natural energy into the affairs of his farm. Edition: current; Page: [378] He rebuilt his house, which he found in an unfit condition to receive the many articles of furniture he had brought home with him, and personally inspected the stones for the house as they were taken from the quarry on his farm. He laid out roads, superintended their construction himself, and in the course of the summer made himself quite familiar with the large farm of fifteen hundred acres which he sometimes said he had “rashly” undertaken to improve. In the spring of 1799 (April 16th) Morris journeyed to Philadelphia, stopping along the route to visit various friends. His object in Philadelphia was to visit his old friend Robert Morris, the financier—then in prison for debt—with whom he had been so closely associated before he left America, and whose affairs had taken him to Europe.

“I am strongly affected,” Morris says, “by the situation of my poor friend, and he seems equally so. Mrs. Morris, who is with him, puts on an air of firmness which she cannot support, and was wrong to assume.” The next day Morris dined with his friends in the prison. “Morris and his family,” he says of them, “are in high spirits, and I keep them so by a very lively strain of conversation, but see, with infinite concern, that, his mind is more made up to his situation than I could have believed. Mr. Ross speaks to me of Robert Morris’s situation, and says he behaved very ill. Mr. Fitzsimmons tells me that he is completely ruined by advances to Robert Morris. Another man has sunk $80,000 in the vortex. Mr. Morris tells me that my share of the Genesee lands has swept off what I owed to him, without which I should have been considerably in his debt.”

“The Chevalier d’Orléans comes to me [May 2d], and I deliver him a blank form of attorney and a certificate of citizenship. General Dickinson, with whom I dine, Edition: current; Page: [379] seems desirous of knowing whether I intend to marry. I am told that Miss Dickinson’s family wish me to espouse her. She is spoken of as a very fine young woman, and I answer, in general terms, that such a thing is not impossible.”

Here was an opportunity most congenial to the match-making mamma, and not to be lost, if possible. But this courtier was proof for some years longer against the beseiging friendly enemy, and the charms of Miss Bayard and of Miss Schuyler failed to carry the fortress that had already resisted the blandishments of the ladies of France. Morris quietly went on with his work at Morrisania, and kept his house open to all comers, from the Chevalier d’Orléans and his suite to the poorest man who wanted a dinner. A propos of M. d’Orléans, Morris makes an entry in his diary to this effect:

“Yesterday my coachman overturned M. d’Orléans’ chair, so I must dismiss him.”

Morris’s friends pressed him hard to engage in public life; “which I decline,” he says, “though they assure me it is deemed necessary by all my friends. Hamilton tells me I must take an active part in our public affairs, for that the Anti-Federalists are determined to overthrow our Constitution. This is a painful idea, every way.” But, apparently, superintending the gathering in of the apples, the cutting up of hogs and beef and storing them, wholly occupied Morris’s time, and the novelty of the work satisfied his ambition, for the moment at least. It was, however, not for long that he was allowed to indulge in these bucolic pursuits, so congenial to his taste, for on Thursday, December 19, 1799, the news of Washington’s death came, and at the same moment a request from the corporation of New York that Morris should pronounce the funeral oration. “This request,” he says, “is distressing, and I pray time till to-morrow to consider.”

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“On Sunday [December 29th] Mr. and Mrs. Hammond and the Chevalier d’Orléans and his brethren pass the evening here. I read my oration for them, as I am told no tickets will be given.”

“At eleven o’clock this morning [December 31st] I go to St. Paul’s Church. The procession does not arrive till after three, and we do not get away till six. Pronounced my oration badly.”

“To-day [January 1st] I have a number of visitors, among them a deputation from the ‘Cincinnati,’ to request a copy of my oration for the press. This morning I had already sent it, on a request of the Common Council, to the Recorder. Dine at General Hamilton’s. I hear that the anti-federal faction are to consider my oration as too cold.”

The condition of public affairs very deeply interested Morris, notwithstanding his disinclination to take an active part in them, and it was his earnest hope that Washington might still be induced to leave the quiet of Mount Vernon and resume his place in the fore rank. Although thoroughly understanding and appreciating Washington’s desire for rest and tranquillity after his stirring and responsible life, Morris still thought it hardly right that he should leave the helm of the State at such a stormy moment. With the desire, therefore of modifying, if not altering Washington’s determination to abandon public life, Morris urgently appealed to him to reconsider his decision. This letter, the last Morris wrote to his life-long friend, was dated at Morrisania, December 9, 1799, scarcely two weeks before Washington’s death, and is as follows:

“During a late visit to New York I learnt that the leading characters (even in Massachusetts) consider Mr. Adams as unfit for the office he now holds. Without pretending to decide on the merits of that opinion, which will operate alike, whether well or ill founded, it appeared necessary to Edition: current; Page: [381] name some other person. You will easily conceive that his predecessor was wished for and regretted. Nor will you be surprised that the doubt whether he will again accept should have excited much concern, for you are so perfectly acquainted with the different characters in America, and with the opinions which prevail respecting them, that you must be convinced, however painful the conviction, that should you decline no man will be chosen whom you would wish to see in that high office. Believing, then, that the dearest interests of our country are at stake, I beg leave to speak with you freely on this subject.

“No reasonable man can doubt that after a life of glorious labor you must wish for repose; and it would not be surprising that a wish so natural should, by frequent disappointment, have acquired the force of passion. But is the retirement, in the strict sense of the word, a possible thing? and is the half-retirement which you may attain to more peaceful than public life? Nay, has it not the disadvantage of leaving you involved in measures you can neither direct nor control? Another question suggests itself from another view of the subject. Will you not, when the seat of government is in your neighborhood, enjoy more retirement as President of the United States than as General of the Army. And in the same view, again, another question arises. May not your acceptance be the needful means of fixing the government in that seat? There is a more important consideration. Shall the past treasure of your fame be committed to the uncertainty of events, be exposed to the attempts of envy, and subject to the spoliation of slander? From envy and slander no retreat is safe but the grave, and you must not yet hide yourself behind that bulwark. As to the influence of events, if there be a human being who may look them fairly in the face, you are the man.

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“Recollect, sir, that each occasion which has brought you back on the public stage has been to you the means of new and greater glory. If General Washington had not become member of the Convention, he would have been considered only as the defender and not as the legislator of his country. And if the President of the Convention had not become President of the United States, he would not have added the character of a statesman to those of patriot and hero. Your modesty may repel these titles, but Europe has conferred them, and the world will set its seal of approbation when, in these tempestuous times, your country shall have again confided the helm of her affairs to your steady hands. But you may say that you stand indirectly pledged to private life. Surely, sir, you neither gave nor meant to give such pledge to the extent of possible contingencies. The acceptance of your present office proves that you did not. Nay, you stand pledged by all your former conduct that, when circumstances arise which shall require it, you will act again. These circumstances seem to be now imminent, and it is meet that you consider them on the broad ground of your extensive information. Ponder them, I pray, and, whatever may be the decision, pardon my freedom and believe me, truly yours.”

Morris was not long left to enjoy the tranquil and congenial pleasures of Morrisania. The presidential election was impending, constant demands were made on his time for opinions and advice, and in the month of April, 1800, he was elected United States Senator; “which,” he remarked when told of his election, “is unfortunate.” On the subject of the forthcoming election he wrote on January 16th to Alexander Hamilton the following letter, in which he stated his opinion that “the idea that the division of the votes would bring on the aristocrats Edition: current; Page: [383] who call themselves democrats to vote for Burr is unfounded.” And he continues:

“Were it otherwise, a number of federalists, that is, of republicans, would urge the experiment. The conviction that they will not abandon their man may induce the republicans to unite with the adversary and give Mr. Jefferson an unanimous vote. I have hinted that, should they find the opposition to him ineffectual, it might be advisable openly to declare that, ‘unable to estimate the respective merits of the candidates, whose virtues they are equally ignorant of, the republicans will join in the choice of the person whom they may designate.’ Under present circumstances this appears to me the best expedient for avoiding all responsibility at the bar of public opinion, and that is important. For, let the choice fall as it may, many will be displeased. The present moment is indeed of high interest, but prudence seems to be more necessary than anything else—not the cold quality which avoids mistakes, but the active virtue which corrects the evil of mistakes already made. Nil desperandum.”

During the year that Morris had been at home he seems to have found no leisure for his correspondence, which had always before so fully re-enforced his diary. However, making his oration at Washington’s funeral the excuse for communicating with his friends in Europe, to the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis he wrote, in January, expressing the hope that “the lovely Princess will perhaps recollect der gute Engländer, who retains a deep sense of her kindness. He takes the liberty of sending her a piece which has the merit of truth, and may convey some idea of a man of whom it may be truly said, ‘Take him for all in all, we ne’er shall look upon his like again.’ Will you, lovely princess, remember to his Ratisbon acquaintance the man of t’other world, and do him the justice Edition: current; Page: [384] to believe that he loves you sincerely. Mille et mille choses des plus amiables à S. A.”

To the Duke of Montrose he also wrote later, begging his acceptance of the enclosed oration; “not,” he says, “as a piece of fine composition, but as a picture of the man it describes, and as a slight testimonial of my respect and attachment. If I supposed Her Grace to have any recollection of me, I would entreat you to present her mes hommages. Say a thousand things for me to Colonel Graham when you see him, and believe me, my lord, etc.”

Sending his oration to Count Woronzow, he begged him to accept “la copie ci-jointe d’une oraison funèbre que j’ai prononcée il y a quelque temps. Que d’événements depuis que j’ai eu le bonheur de vous voir! Dans ce pays-ci, on ne se lasse point d’admirer votre Souwarow et les milliers de héros qu’il mène à la victoire. En regardant un prince, juste et magnanime, à la tête d’une nation dont la fidélité dispute à la bravoure, on ne peut plus nier que dans les monarchies les plus confirmées, comme dans les républiques les mieux organisées, on trouve des vertus et de grandes qualités. Dans les uns pourtant comme dans les autres, il est rare, mon cher comte, de rencontrer cette amitié qui vous distingue et qui vous fait aimer par ceux qui vous entourent presqu’ autant qu’on respecte vos talents, votre génie et votre caractère. Adieu; croyez à tout mon attachement.”

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During the winter of 1800, Morris, previous to his election to the Senate, made a journey to Albany, and through the northern part of New York State, to investigate the condition of large tracts of lands owned by him and others, and to make arrangements for selling the farms. Leaving Albany he pushed on toward Glens Falls, through a part of the country which he had not seen since the year 1777, when it was almost a wilderness.

“And now,” the diary mentions, “they begin, I am told, on some farms to feel the loss of wood. It is now very thickly settled, and the banks of the river are covered for miles with timber and boards. All day I see a number of the settlers on my lands. We fix the terms of purchase, and they are to decide in May or June next. We put up at McMaster’s Inn, at or near Ballston. There is here also a mineral spring, which has more of fixed air in it than the Saratoga spring, which, of course, has more reputation. It is, moreover, nearer to the settlements. There are already several houses built here for the accommodation of visitors. Our landlady tells me they had at one time last summer eighty lodgers in this house. At dinner we have oysters, which are brought hither by traders from Connecticut. It is not yet twenty-seven years since I attended the sale of land in this place at auction in New York. It was then a wilderness. The American War broke out shortly after, and it was not until the year 1785 that the settlements commenced. In this short space of fifteen years a whole region is converted from a wilderness into a settled country. Already in this neighborhood fuel is beginning to grow scarce, and already industry ministers to luxury by bringing oysters near two hundred miles from the sea. This is indeed wonderful. Had imagination pictured anything like it twenty years ago, he who would have ventured to express an idea so fanciful Edition: current; Page: [386] would have been deemed a madman. Yet here is a reality which exceeds the most extensive sketch to which imagination could have soared. As we descend, southward, we cross various roads by which the people of New England roam into the Western world, and on every road they are met with.”

Early in March Morris was at home again, busily forwarding the building of his house, but not neglecting to note in the diary of March 15th, that “the new French Constitution has arrived, which, as far as we can understand it, is the government of a single man, who is said to be Bonaparte.”

On Friday the 2d of May, 1800, Morris left Morrisania for Philadelphia, to assume his duties in the Senate of the United States. The last drawing-room of the season was held by the President’s wife the day of his arrival. “I go,” he says, “and there is a good deal of company. I find that my office of Senator attracts a good deal of that respect which, in my opinion, it does not deserve; but it is so far pleasant as it shows the Government to be well in the opinion of the public. Possibly, also, the persons in whom I remark it are in office, or wishing to be so. I am already tired of it. On my return from the drawing-room we stop at Meredith’s, and then, at the request of my nephew Lewis, who accompanied me, I go to his lodgings, where Mr. Sedgwick is smoking and swinging in a seat with his heels on the table. He continues his attitude and occupation, which to a man of European ideas would appear a marked contempt. I know it is not so, but if my head were in the way of being turned by respect this would be a wholesome check to it.”

“To-day [May 3d] I go to the Senate. The New York election has been carried by the democrats, and it is from thence concluded that Jefferson will be the President.”

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“It is said [May 13th] that Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams have made a coalition. Liston tells me that Adams is the most passionate, intemperate man he ever had anything to do with. His imprudence is as notorious. Burr, they say, is to be appointed Minister of War.”

On May 14th, the Senate adjourned, to meet next at Washington, and Morris went back to his quiet life at Morrisania, where fishing and sailing were among his keenest pleasures. In July he again made a journey into the wilderness of New York State, and, by river and lake through miles of forests, he travelled until he came to Montreal. The possibilities of the soil for high garden-cultivation, the climate, and the scenery all united to inspire him with hopes for the brilliant future of a State which, he says, “will probably take a foremost place during the present century.” After a few days at Montreal, spent among friends, Morris pushed on, up the St. Lawrence and up the Genesee River, far into the wilderness to inspect his lands; “through a country which is, on the whole,” he says, “the finest I ever saw. A river whose banks are composed of the richest land, a sky bright, an atmosphere brilliant, fish and game in abundance and of the best quality, what more could one ask?”

Morris reached Niagara Falls the 29th of August, following the river from its mouth, “over steep hills and through morasses, under a broiling sun, till we attain the Table Rock. This is a continuation of that through which or, rather, over which, the river is precipitated, and like that, too, is excavated by its waters. Judge Hamilton, who is with me, tells me that he and Mr. Stedman have observed that in the course of twenty-seven years, during which they have resided here, the river has worn away Edition: current; Page: [388] about twenty yards of the rock, retiring the falls so much farther westward; and he concludes, from various appearances, that originally it was at the place where the landing now is. It is a stupendous object; I do not pretend to judge the quantity of water, but it is a large river and falls from a great height.”

The return journey to Montreal, made in much the same way, by the lake, was not without a spice of danger from shipwreck. On the 20th of September “we find ourselves,” says the diary, “at Montreal, having had a wet time from Lachine to this place.”

“Dine at Sir John Johnston’s [September 24th], and I dance (i.e., hobble) in the evening. The party is so small as to excuse a part of the ridiculousness of this attempt. On Thursday we dine at the Beaver Club, a society composed of persons who have travelled far into the country to purchase furs. We have from one of the members a speech in the Indian language. They all understand, and many of them speak it. We have also some of the songs of the voyageurs and boatmen. I am seated next to Mr. Henry, who is by seniority the president. He tells me he was at Detroit in the year 1761, and has followed that business ever since. When he first became acquainted with the Indians they were cleanly both in their persons and in their houses, but now they are very filthy, being depraved by the use of rum. Mr. McGillivray has frequently observed to me that the attempt to tame and civilize them is vain, for that they are always the worse for it, and the Christian Indians the worst of all. He says that in their commerce they keep them as much as possible from rum, and that the nations who have not got the habit of it are not fond of it at first. He has a high opinion of the Indians in their natural state; but Mr. Henry tells me to-day that those who know the Indians best like them Edition: current; Page: [389] least; that it is common to be pleased with them at first, but in the event they are found to be perfidious.”

Leaving Montreal, Morris journeyed through the woods to the head of Lake George, where he arrived on October 3d, and heard the first news that had reached him in many weeks, some friends telling him that “the negotiation between France and America is suspended in consequence of the high demand of M. Bonaparte.” Reaching Albany on the 9th, the latest news which had been brought from New York the night before was to the effect that “the French do not come into such terms as our commissioners can offer and, the negotiation is said to be finished. I am told that the Anti-Jacobin reviewers in London speak very ill of my oration.”

The memory of this visit to what was then the Far West lingered long with Morris, who was always an enthusiastic lover of nature, and months afterward [January 20th] he gave to his friend John Parish, then in London, a glowing description of the climate and of the country, with a sort of prophetic insight into the future.

“There is,” he wrote, “a brilliance in our atmosphere you can have no idea of, except by going to Italy, or else by viewing one of Claude Lorraine’s best landscapes, and persuading yourself that the light there exhibited is a just though faint copy of nature. I believe there is much more water in the St. Lawrence than in the Danube at Vienna. Of the rapids I can say nothing; still less can I pretend to convey to you the sentiment excited by a view of the lake. It is to all purposes of human vision an ocean: the same majestic motion, too, in its billows. . . . To form a faint idea of the Cataract of Niagara, imagine that you saw the Firth of Forth rush wrathfully down a steep descent, leap foaming over a perpendicular rock one hundred and seventy feet high, then flow away in the semblance Edition: current; Page: [390] of milk from a basin of emerald. A quiet, gentle stream leaves the shores of a country level and fertile, and along the banks of this stream we proceed to Fort Erie. Here again the boundless waste of waters fills the mind with renewed astonishment, and here, as in turning a point of wood the lake broke on my view, I saw riding at anchor nine vessels, the least of them above a hundred tons. Can you bring your imagination to realize this scene? Does it not seem like magic? Yet this magic is but the early effort of victorious industry. Hundreds of large ships will, in no distant period, bound on the billows of these inland seas. At this point commences a navigation of more than a thousand miles. Shall I lead your astonishment up to the verge of incredulity? I will. Know, then, that one-tenth of the expense borne by Britain in the last campaign would enable ships to sail from London through Hudson’s River into Lake Erie. As yet, my friend, we only crawl along the outer edge of our country. The interior excels the part we inhabit in soil, in climate, in everything.

“The proudest empire in Europe is but a bubble compared to what America will be, must be, in the course of two centuries—perhaps of one. Forty years ago all America could not, without bills of credit, raise one million of dollars to defend themselves against an enemy at their doors. Now, in profound peace, the taxes bring into the treasury, without strain or effort, above ten millions. In the year 1760 there was not, perhaps, a million of specie dollars in this country. At present the banks of Philadelphia alone have above ten millions to dispose of beyond the demand.

“I heard it remarked, many years ago, as wonderful that in 1760 there were in privateers sailing from America as many seamen as there had been on board of the Royal Edition: current; Page: [391] Navy of Elizabeth. Is it less wonderful that our present tonnage should be equal to that of all the British dominions at the accession of George the Second? . . . If we go forward, not with sextuple but merely quadruple ratio for two more periods of twenty years, beginning with two millions sterling we have, for 1820, eight millions, and for 1840 more than thirty millions sterling of revenue, raised from a population which may then amount to near thirty millions of souls. This, indeed, seems impossible, but did it not seem equally impossible at the close of the Seven Years’ War that the net revenue of British America should exceed two millions sterling by the end of the century? Had this been asserted on the Exchange of London in the year 1760, would it not have been laughed at? In 1780—but whither am I going?

“If you were on this side the Atlantic I should greatly rejoice, but you won’t come. You will shiver along through German and Scotch summers, consoling yourself for the tediousness of June by the long, snug, comfortable evenings of January. You tell me, my friend, that I must join you, and, particularly, must take up my residence in London. But have you reflected that there is more of real society in one week at Neusteden than in a London year? Recollect that a tedious morning, a great dinner, a boozy afternoon, make the sum total of English life. It is admirable for young men who shoot; hunt, drink, and—but for us! how are we to dispose of ourselves? No. Were I to give you a rendezvous in Europe, it should be on the Continent. I respect, as you know, the English nation highly, and love many individuals among them, but I do not love their manners. They are perhaps too pure, but they are certainly too cold for my taste. Edition: current; Page: [392] The Scotch are more agreeable to me, but, were the manners of those countries as pleasant as the people are respectable, I should never be reconciled to their summers. Compare the uninterrupted warmth and splendor of America from the 1st of May to the last of September, and her autumn truly celestial, with your shivering June, your July and August, sometimes warm but often wet, your uncertain September, your gloomy October, your dismal November; compare these things, and then say how a man who prizes the charms of nature can think of making the exchange. If you were to pass one autumn with us you would not give it for the best six months to be found in any other country, unless, indeed, you should get tired of fine weather.”

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Morris goes to Washington. Sits in the Senate. Presidential election. Treaty with France. Letter to Hamilton. Letter to James Leray. Jefferson elected President. Disconcerting proposition from Lafayette in regard to a loan. Letter to M. Labarte. A most unpleasant episode with the Lafayettes.

On Tuesday, November 11th, Morris left Morrisania for Washington, to occupy his seat in the United States Senate. It required no ordinary patience, and, one might even add, pluck, to make the journey to Washington in the year 1800. To travel in the ordinary stage-coach—a wretched vehicle like a box, mounted on springs, to be sure, but without doors, windows, or any protection from wind and weather but heavy leather curtains, which were rolled up when the day was fine—was anything but a pleasure. To travel in one’s own carriage was at least to be free from the companionship of ten other passengers, but the discomforts of the inns and the terrors of the bad roads were none the less to be dreaded. The road between Philadelphia and Baltimore seems to have been more than ordinarily dangerous. The ruts appeared to be nearly bottomless; and so much danger was there of the coach upsetting that the driver would, before entering one of the holes, request his passengers to move, first to the right then to the left, to prevent a catastrophe. Morris made the journey in eleven days, with only a short stop at Philadelphia. Having finally arrived at the seat of government, through an interminable forest with Edition: current; Page: [394] only a few log-cabins scattered here and there, he found the town scarcely habitable. A traveller who had seen Washington in 1796 declared that, but for the President’s house and the Capitol, he never should have supposed it could be a city. There seems to have been one good inn, and here Morris put up, having first taken the precaution to make a bargain with the innkeeper to furnish him two cords of hickory-wood at eight dollars per cord. “This,” he says, “the landlord promises to do, if he can get a team to hire.” This was a most important “if,” for, although there were endless forests up to the very doors, no one could be got to cut and haul wood to the unfortunate public servants who found themselves doomed, for a time at least, to live in such a wilderness. Graphically, but in a playfully satirical vein, Morris describes the future capital of the United States in the following letter to the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis, written, December 14th, from Washington:

“Je fais ici,” he says, “le métier de sénateur, et m’amuse nonchalamment à voir les petites intrigues, les folles espérances et les vains projets de l’animal fier et faible qui s’appelle homme. Il ne nous manque ici que maisons, caves, cuisines, hommes instruits, femmes aimables et autres petites bagatelles de cette espèce, pour que notre ville soit parfaite; car on peut s’y promener déjà tout comme dans les champs et les bois, et, vu la forte gelée, I’air en est très pur. J’en jouis plus qu’un autre, puisque ma chambre se remplit de fumée dès qu’on ferme la porte. S’il vous prenait donc envie de venir vivre à Washington, pour vous confirmer dans un projet aussi beau, je m’empresse de vous assurer que la pierre de taille y abonde, qu’on peut y cuire d’excellentes briques, qu’il n’y manque pas d’emplacements pour des hôtels magnifiques, que des canaux projetés pourront y amener un Edition: current; Page: [395] grand commerce, que la richesse qui en est la suite naturelle doit y attirer les beaux arts; enfin, que c’est la ville du monde où on peut le mieux vivre—dans l’avenir. Comme je ne suis pas, pourtant, de ces bonnes gens qui seront la postérité, j’aimerais assez changer pour la ville de Ratisbon, puisque j’aurais alors le bonheur de vous voir et de vous réitérer, de vive voix, les assurances de mon respect et de mon attachement.”

Writing to another friend of the peculiarities of life in Washington, he says: “The society of this capital would be pleasant if the communications were less difficult;” and in his diary he speaks of going to dine with Colonel Borroughs. “The weather clouds up; in the evening, coming away, my horses refuse to draw, and as I cannot get a hack I am obliged to stay all night. So much for dining out in a town where a man finds himself four miles from home, and a road not merely deep, but dangerous, to drive in the dark.”

His duties as senator were begun by Morris immediately on his arrival, with the assistance of Mr. Liston and Mr. Thornton. These gentlemen put in an appear Edition: current; Page: [396] ance, “and,” says he, November 21st, “we reach the Capitol in season, and the arrival of a senator from the southward at the same time enables us to make a house.” The President then made his speech. Morris was one of the committee to answer it. Five days later the address was agreed to; and “I go,” he says, “to the levee, and also, as a member of the committee, to know when and where he (the President) will receive the address. On asking him after the when, where, ‘In this chamber, sir,’ was the answer, with such tone and manner as develop fully the old man’s character. The Germans would call it unbiegsam.”

On Wednesday the 20th of November the address was delivered to the President; the next day a chaplain was chosen. On Friday the Vice-President arrived. “Accounts from different quarters,” Morris says, “seem to show that he will not be chosen either President or Vice-President. After a small time spent in the Senate we adjourn, according to custom.”

“On Thursday [December 11th] I attend the committee on the question of exercising jurisdiction over the seat of government. The advices from Carolina put it now out of doubt that Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Burr are to be the President and Vice-President. Mr. Jefferson calls this evening, and we have some conversation on public affairs. He seems apprehensive of opposition in the Senate.”

“It seems to be the general opinion [December 2d] that Colonel Burr will be chosen President by the House of Representatives. Many of them think it highly dangerous that Mr. Jefferson should, in the present crisis, be placed in that office. They consider him as a theoretic man, who would bring the National Government back to Edition: current; Page: [397] something like the old Confederation. Mr. Nicholay comes to-day, and to him I state it as the opinion, not of light and fanciful but of serious and considerable men, that Burr must be preferred to Jefferson. He is, as I supposed, much wounded at this information.”

“To-day [December 27th] Mr. Harper calls, and Mr. Latimer. The former is, he says, an intimate friend of Burr, and thinks it advisable for the House of Representatives to give him their voice, without asking or expecting any assurances or explanation respecting his future administration. He thinks Burr’s temper and disposition give an ample security for a conduct hostile to the democratic spirit which Mr. Harper considers as dangerous to our country, while Mr. Jefferson, he thinks, is so deeply imbued with false principles of government, and has so far committed himself in support of them, that nothing good can be expected from him. I give him some reasons why it would be better for gentlemen in his House to suspend their determinations until they can have more light as to the merit and probable conduct of the candidates.”

“Begin, to-day [December 31st], the discussion of the ‘treaty.’ On reading it I find it very bad. Mr. Adams told me that he has a letter from Mr. King telling him that the Lord Chancellor, Lord Grenville, and the King, have assured him of their satisfaction with our treaty with France.”

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On the 5th of January Morris wrote of the treaty to Alexander Hamilton as follows:

“The convention with France will be ratified sub modo; such, at least, is my opinion. I wish to strike out the second and third articles; secondly, to fix a limitation of time. The second article, by suspending the operation, admits the existence of former treaties. The restitution of our trophies, stipulated by the third, may damp the spirit of our country. That nation which will permit profit or convenience to stand in competition with honor is on the steep descent to ruin. If, with the exception of those articles and a limitation of time, the convention be mutually ratified, I shall think it no bad bargain. Will the French Consul ratify it when so curtailed and limited? Perhaps, if his affairs are prosperous, he will not. Some gentlemen propose adding a clause to declare that it shall not prejudice former treaties. This appears dangerous, because, if afterwards ratified without that clause, such ratification may be construed as an assent to the conclusion which the declaration was intended to obviate. On the election between Messrs. Jefferson and Burr there is much speculation. Some, indeed most, of our Eastern friends are warm in support of the latter, and their pride is so much up about the charge of influence that it is dangerous to quote an opinion. I trust they will change, or be disappointed, for they appear to be moved by passion only. I have, more at the request of others than from my own mere motion, suggested certain considerations not quite unworthy of attention; but it is dangerous to be impartial in politics. You, who are temperate in drinking, have perhaps noticed the awkward situ Edition: current; Page: [399] ation of a man who continues sober after the company are drunk. Adieu, my dear Hamilton. God bless you and send you many happy years.”

The treaty with France was the absorbing interest in the Senate during the early days of 1801.

“I go through the treaty in the House to-day,” Morris says, January 15th, “and agree to the amendments of the committee; some sharpness of debate. Report the form of a ratification; consideration postponed.” On the 23d the Senate rejected the convention with France, “by the intemperate passion of its friends.” By the 26th there was a general desire in the House “to recede from the vote as it stands on the convention. As I all along suspected, it will be reconsidered. A debate on the bill for erecting a mausoleum to Washington. Speak on it a little, but with little effect.”

“The Aurora,” Morris wrote to Alexander Hamilton, on the 16th of January, “will have shown you the result of our deliberations on the convention; at least, of those which went to a division worth noting. If it sticks in France, it will be respecting points on which the vote was unanimous, or nearly so. As to the induction, from the words of the second article, that the old treaties subsided though their operation was suspended, I think it undeniable that that, taken in consideration with other things, would have involved us in serious difficulty. To Britain was given certain rights, limited by those of a similar kind previously given to France. In abolishing our treaties with the latter, that which we had made with the former obtained an actual extension, which we might rightfully restrain: for, as she was no party either to our treaties with France or to the abrogation of them, she could not rightfully complain had we thought fit to re-establish those treaties. When, therefore, acknowledging their Edition: current; Page: [400] existence by suspending their effects generally, we particularly stipulate, and literally renew a part; might not the French demand for the part so renewed a priority? In fact, might not France demand that a British ship should not bring into our ports a French prize, and insist on bringing in a British prize? The privileges granted being incompatible and exclusive, the question of priority involves everything. So much for that.

“Those articles (the second and third) being left out, the convention must be considered merely as a treaty of peace. The pre-existence of war is admitted, and from the moment of that admission there is an end to treaties and to claims of restitution and indemnity. Nothing, therefore, can make the matter more clear than to be perfectly silent. Our negotiators huddled up a treaty because there was to be a general peace, and you, my good friend, seem to think we should gulp it down because there is to be a general war. I took occasion early to declare in the Senate that we need not hurry the matter through, because, in my opinion, there would not be a general peace. Circumstances rush on to support my conjecture. Doubtless the First Consul, if the dice run against him, will agree to our offer. If they run in his favor he may reject it, and in like manner he might, under such circumstances, have freed himself from any cobweb fetters. His whole conduct is a comment on that text.

“But you seem to fear for Britain because she has brought paper money into fashion. This reason, my dear sir, is stronger against trusting her in commerce than it is against confiding in her system of politics or war. Paper money, like ardent spirits, increases for a while the strength, though it consumes by degrees the fat, the muscles, and the viscera. At present Britain tallows finely, and presents a plump carcass for the poison to prey upon. Edition: current; Page: [401] With tolerable management she may last at least ten years, and make during that period tremendous exertions. Rely upon it, Denmark and Sweden will be sick of their bargain before midsummer next, and as to Paul Peter, remember what I told you of his fickle character. He cannot last long, and, deprived of commerce, will find his paper rubles run down hill much faster than the paper guineas of his adversary. His mother was a different being, and yet, even with her gigantic talents, she must have failed in the prosecution of her schemes had she not obtained money on loan in Holland. As to the Continental war, I think France has pushed as far as reason will justify. Should she go farther south in Italy and farther east in Germany, the Austrians, by rapid movements to a central position, may give the Consul a blow he will never recover.”

Again, writing to Hamilton on January 26th, he says:

“I have now lying before me your letter dated the—inst. It contains important facts, with many of which I had previously been acquainted, but I dare not communicate the contents, because the idea that two States will, on a second ballot, come over, forms already a reason with the federal members in the House of Representatives for supporting Mr. Burr. They now seriously and generally, after much advisement, prefer that gentleman to Mr. Jefferson. They consider the candidates as equal in worth, or (if you like the other mode of expression best) as equally void of it; with this difference, that Burr’s defects do not arise from want of energy and vigor. They believe that to courage he joins generosity, and cannot be branded with the charge of ingratitude; but they consider Mr. Jefferson as infected with all the cold-blooded vices, and as particularly dangerous from the false principles of government which he has imbibed. They look, moreover, with abhorrence Edition: current; Page: [402] at a Chief Magistrate of America who shall be the slave of Virginia. They consider it as indisputable that immediately upon Mr. Burr’s election he will be abandoned by many of the Southern demagogues; and, however they may be mistaken in other points, in this I believe they are right. On counting over the Senate, after March next it appears that, out of thirty-two, there will be fifteen of each party, with two feeble members on whom no dependence can be placed. Under these circumstances it is conceived that Mr. Burr will be able to decide, as Vice-President, all questions in that body, and, of course, that the appointment to all offices will be completely in the hands of Messrs. Jefferson and Burr. The majority in the House of Representatives will be clear. Of course the legislative authority must be alike unchecked, and subject to their control. It seems, on the other hand, to be certain that if the Ancient Dominion be deprived of her favorite chief she will continue her opposition to Government, and that several of her dependents will join her; of course, that the federal men, if united, can decide during the next two years’ administration. They believe, moreover, that, whatever may be Mr. Burr’s conciliatory disposition, it will be impossible for him to assuage the resentment of the Virginians, who will consider his acceptance as a treachery, for Virginia cannot bear to see any other than a Virginian in the President’s chair. You know my opinions, but I believe, unless something new turns up, Mr. Jefferson will not be chosen. I hear both parties, and cannot help being amazed by the certainty of success which is declared by each. If Burr be chosen President of the United States, and Clinton Governor of New York, without opposition, the anti-federal party with us must fall to pieces, and we may take up such of the fragments as we like best.”

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“I attend the House to-day,” says the diary for January 30th. “In a joint committee of the other House I find they have taken up false notions about the mode of electing a President, if none should appear to be chosen by the Electors. Some stretch the word immediately not only to leaving the Senate Chamber but even to adjournment and the doing of other business intermediately.”

“Two gentlemen call to-day [February 1st], before I am up, to settle an administration for Burr; laughable enough, under the circumstances which now exist.”

The Senate agreed on the 3d of February to the ratification of the treaty with France. “On condition,” Morris wrote to his friend James Leray at Paris, “that the second article be struck out and that it be limited in its duration to eight years. I now make up my letters to go with the ratification. There will, of course, be no difficulty on your side of the water as to the expunging of the second article, for this will close forever the question of indemnification, and as the term of eight years carries this treaty beyond that with Great Britain, it is presumed that the limitation will be unexceptionable. It is important to us to get clear as fast as possible from an intimate connection with any of the powers of Europe. . . . It is impossible to determine which of the two candidates will be chosen President; rumors are various and intrigues great. I do not meddle in this business, and am perhaps not so well informed as those who do, but I can see that it will be a tight race, and have good reason to believe that Mr. Burr has more friends and many more well-wishers than is generally imagined.”

The two Houses met on Wednesday, February 11th, to count the ballots. “As was before understood,” Morris says, “it appears that Messrs. Jefferson and Burr have equal votes. The Representatives cannot agree.”

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“The House of Representatives continued balloting all night without the least change [February 12th]. We do the routine business.”

“Still cold [February 13th], and another snow-storm. No president yet chosen.”

It was not until Tuesday the 17th, after long, wearisome hours spent in balloting, that the federalists at last gave way, and Thomas Jefferson was chosen President, and Aaron Burr Vice-President of the United States. In a letter to Robert Livingston at Clermont, written on the 20th, Morris, referring to the incidents of the last weeks, says: “I greatly disapproved and openly disapproved the attempt to choose Mr. Burr. Many of my friends thought differently. I saw they would be disappointed, and there fore looked on with perfect composure. Indeed, my dear friend, this farce of life contains nothing which should put us out of humor. . . . If, as you suppose, I had the helm of the ship, I should steer differently; but whether better or worse it is not for me to say. No man keeps himself more, and very few, if any, so much aloof from headquarters. No one has so pointedly expressed his disapprobation of those things which tend to debase the office and degrade the dignity of government. As to the convention, you will have seen that it is ratified. . . . If it should not now be agreed to by the French Government, and that will depend on the state of affairs when it arrives, the real objection will be the limit of its duration. The commercial interest has gone, as you say, with the administration, and I believe it will go with the new administration. It certainly will, if they govern tolerably well. Not being a leader, nor in the secret of those who lead on either side, and neither meaning nor wishing to be so, I can judge with tolerable impartiality of what passes. I have agreed heartily and cordially to the new Judiciary Bill, which may Edition: current; Page: [405] have, and probably has, many little faults; but it answers the double purpose of bringing justice near to men’s doors and of giving additional fibre to the roots of government. You must not, my friend, judge of other States by our own. Depend on it that, in some parts of this Union, justice cannot be readily obtained in the State courts.

“That some improper appointments may take place under the law I can readily suppose; but in what country on earth are all appointments good? That the leaders of the federal party may use this opportunity to provide for friends and adherents is, I think, probable, and if they were my enemies I should not condemn them for it. Whether I should do the same thing myself is another question; I believe that I should not. They are about to experience a heavy gale of adverse wind. Can they be blamed for casting many anchors to hold their ship through the storm?”

“Our new President makes his inaugural speech to-day [March 4th]—too long by half, and so he will find it himself before he is three years older.”

“Visit the President [March 6th]; very friendly. In the evening the Vice-President calls, and takes tea. We have news from Europe which communicate the victories of the French and the armistice of the 25th of December, 1800; also the declaration of Bonaparte stating the Rhine as the eastern boundary of France and the Adige as the western boundary of the Austrian dominions; the guarantee of the Swiss and Dutch Republics. The Cisalpine not being mentioned, I presume that the King of Sardinia is to be restored to his dominions. I conclude, also, that this peace has been previously settled between him and the Courts of Berlin and Petersburg. I am confirmed by General Dayton in the idea I took up from the conversation Edition: current; Page: [406] at the President’s, that our monarch and his heir apparent will not be well together.”

“Pack up and leave Washington to-day [March 8th]. We find the road most execrable, and in consequence get stalled and set fast in the mud. We are about ten hours coming twenty-four miles to Annapolis, and our baggage-wagon repeatedly sticks fast. The people through the country are, in general, democrats, and the store-keepers, we observe, have sign-boards to say that they deal only for cash. These boards were, we are told, put up on the first day of this year. The merchants could no longer go on giving credit. This accounts for the democratic principle better than the boasted efforts of influential men. We hear of cock-fighting. The whole country is full of fox hounds, and all the churches have the windows broken.”

“Reach Philadelphia [March 14th]; the roads very bad. Go to the jail, and dine with my poor friend Robert Morris. Accounts from the Federal City seem to show that our new President is making some improper appointments.”

Arrived at Morrisania, Morris put aside the “métier de sénateur” and betook himself to the pruning-hook and the business of the farm, laid out a garden, actively superintended the men working on his house, and entertained numerous guests. “I am so much fatigued every day with work,” he says, “as to take no particular note of what passes.” The difficulties of house-keeping were great, and he wrote to his friend M. Leray at Paris that if he could send him “a chasseur who understood fishing he would be useful to me, and a cook is a physical necessity. No good domestics can be had here, not even women. None of those imported can, I think, be depended on unless they be somewhat advanced in years.”

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No public affairs especially attracted Morris’s attention until the autumn of 1801, when the news came that the First Consul had ratified the amended treaty.

“I suppose,” he then wrote to John Parish (October 5th) at London, à propos of this subject, “you have not attended to those amendments which, though of little apparent consequence, have the great and salutary effect of terminating our intimate alliance with France, and, of course, leave us in a state of equality with all nations. It is true we paid for it by giving up our claim for damages by the spoliation of our commerce; if, indeed, that claim can be supposed to be of any value. . . . I conclude that the affairs of the First Consul are not very splendid. He would not otherwise have let go his hold of us, for though we are but as a feather in the great scale of power, yet when that scale is nearly poised the weight of a feather is something.”

Just at this time the proposition of M. and Madame de Lafayette, to take advantage of a law in France the letter of which made it possible for them to avoid paying the interest on a sum of money he had readily furnished them with in the days of their adversity, very painfully disconcerted Morris. “I own to you,” he wrote to his friend James Leray, who had indignantly refused to comply with the terms proposed by the Lafayettes, “my dear friend, that this stickling for depreciation is quite shocking. It is worse to my feelings than the loss I must sustain. A necessary consequence of their action is that, to put themselves in the right, they must put me in the wrong, to which effect they must grossly misrepresent. This, however, is easy, for the maxim, ‘Les absents ont toujours tort,’ is never more true than in the societies of Paris.” A settlement of this matter was not arranged until the spring of 1804, and then Morris was obliged to content Edition: current; Page: [408] himself with 53,500 livres, instead of 100,000 livres, which was the amount of the original debt.

M. Henri Labarte, at Paris, had charge of this extraordinarily disagreeable affair, and the following letter to him explains the state of the case: “Jai eu l’honneur de vous écrire sur l’affaire de M. de Lafayette. Vous y trouverez, peut-être, l’indignation que m’inspiraient des démarches auxquelles je ne devais certainement pas m’attendre, je vous en rends juge. La sœur de Madame de Lafayette est venue me dire que M. de Lafayette manquait du nécessaire dans les prisons de Magdebourg. Je lui fis payer sur-le-champ dix mille florins, au nom des États-Unis, mais de mes propres deniers. Je dis de ‘mes propres deniers,’ parce que non seulment je m’en suis rendu responsable, mais encore, j’en ai laissé le montant entre les mains des banquiers des Etats-Unis à Amsterdam jusqu’à ce que le Congrès eῦt décidé qu’on payât les appointements que M. de Lafayette, dans les jours brillants de sa fortune, n’avait pas voulu toucher, et qu’on eῦt remboursé aux banquiers les 10,000 florins que, d’après mes ordres, ils lui avaient remis. Bientôt après on est venu encore, de la part de Madame de Lafayette, me dépeindre ses angoisses de ce que l’honneur de son mari était compromis à cause de 100,000 livres de dettes que, faute des formalités requises, ne seraient pas payées du produit de ses biens, et me prier du les cautionner à l’Assemblée Nationale, de la part des États-Unis. Quoiqu’il lui parut très simple qu’on fît une affaire d’état des détails de son ménage, il eῦt été facile de lui faire sentir l’inconséquence d’une pareille demande. Mais elle était malheureuse. Ainsi, loin de m’enfermer dans les formes de ma place, je lui promis les 100,000 livres et, quoique des circonstances imprévues m’en rendissent le paiement difficile, je lui tins parole. Or, dans ce moment, cette somme m’eῦt valu, au prix courant, Edition: current; Page: [409] près de deux mille marcs d’argent, et Madame de Lafayette, alors prisonnière, allait, selon toute apparence, être victimée. Mais pour épargner à sa sensibilité la peine de voir ternir l’honneur de son mari, j’en fis l’avance qu’on veut actuellement me rembourser avec 53,500 livres. Soit, j’y consens; car je ne veux pas, par un procès éclatant, avoir l’air de me faire valoir aux dépens de la réputation de M. de Lafayette. Ainsi, je vous prie, monsieur, de terminer cette affaire, et qu’il n’en soit plus parlé. Je vous prie, même, de ne point ébruiter les détails que je viens de vous confier.”

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To Madame de Lafayette Morris wrote the following letter in August, 1802, replying to a letter of hers in which she had said that M. de Lafayette could not charge himself with her debt to him:

“Vous me parlez, madame, du profit que j’eusse pu tirer d’un secours pécuniaire que j’étais assez heureux de pouvoir vous fournir dans un moment critique. Il n’en a jamais été question, mais s’il eῦt fallu faire un pareil calcul, je vous aurais fait observer que j’aurais pu, avec les cent mille francs que je vous ai prêtés, acquérir un bienfonds dans le centre de Paris de dix mille livres de rente. Vous me fîtes entrevoir votre état de besoin. Alors, madame, il ne fut plus question de calculs. Ma sensibilité me porta, dans un moment terrible, à vous faire une avance sans penser aux risques, ou plutôt à la presque certitude, de n’être jamais payé. Le sentiment qui m’a rendu votre créancier m’a défendu d’accepter l’hypothèque que vous aviez bien voulu m’offrir lors de votre premier séjour dans la ville de Hambourg. Le même sentiment, madame, ne me permet aucune observation dans le moment actuel. Il me parait, d’après votre lettre, qu’il convient à M. de Lafayette de s’acquitter de cette créance en me payant cinquante-trois mille livres. M. Labarte, qui aura l’honneur de vous remettre celle-ci, est chargé, de ma part, de les recevoir, de vous en passer quittance et de vous donner celle pour cent mille francs que votre agent m’a fait il y a sept ou huit ans. Il n’en serait donc plus question, sans l’espoir qu’on a donné à M. de Lafayette de faire payer ses dettes par les États-Unis.

“Vous sentez bien, madame, que, vu les circonstances où je me trouve, la délicatesse me défend de prendre part aux délibérations sur cet objet. Je me borne à l’assurance que, dans le cas où je serais payé ici, je m’empresserais de rendre à monsieur votre mari la somme qu’il aura Edition: current; Page: [411] comptée à M. Labarte. Dites, je vous prie, madame, mille choses de ma part à M. de Lafayette, et soyez persuadée du respect et de l’attachement avec lesquelles j’ai l’honneur d’être . . .”

“From the last advices I have received,” Morris wrote to Mr. Parish in February, 1803, “it appears that M. de Lafayette means to liquidate what he owes me by something less than the interest of it. To do this he reduces the principal down pretty low by a scale of depreciation. God forgive him, and, if possible, reconcile him to himself. He must have odd notions if, with the consciousness of facts, some mediation be not necessary between his mind and his conscience.”

On the termination of the affair Morris wrote to M. Henri Labarte (May 12, 1804) to congratulate him on the Edition: current; Page: [412] ending of so unpleasant an episode. “Vous avez bien fait,” he says, “de terminer avec mes débiteurs, et je désire maintenant qu’ils en aient la conscience nette. Malheureusement, cela ne leur arrivera pas, et, par conséquent, ils me porteront toujours une inimitié sincère. L’ingrat ne pense guère à son bienfaiteur sans peine, et comment ne pas haïr l’objet qui nous fait souffrir et, surtout, celui qui nous avilit, même à nos propres yeux? Leur ayant pardonné le premier tort, je pardonne, d’avance, le second.”

“There is no drawing the sound of a trumpet from a whistle,” was almost the severest stricture Morris passed on the conduct of the Lafayettes.

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Yellow fever at New York. Morris describes his home life to Countess Hohenthäl. Letter to Parish on public affairs. Washington. The Senate opposes a motion to repeal the law respecting the Judiciary. Opinion of the Administration. Letter to Alexander Hamilton. Letter to Robert Livingston. Work in the Senate. Letter to the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis. Strictures on the Jefferson administration.

During the autumn of 1801 New York was smitten with the scourge of yellow fever. The inhabitants fled terrified from the plague-stricken town. Morris mentions the case of a young man who, he says, “dined with me on Wednesday, and was taken ill on his way to a friend’s house the next morning with the malignant fever.” But only occasional reports of the suffering and misery seemed to reach Morris in his remote and peaceful corner of the world, to judge from the following letter to the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis (October 30th) giving her an account of his life.

“J’y suis,” he wrote, “entouré de maçons et de charpentiers, dont depuis deux années je suis l’esclave. J’espère en être bientôt quitte, et je jouis en attendant de la plus belle saison que j’aie vue de ma vie. Vous en jugerez par la circonstance que nous avons cueilli hier des petits pois en plein vent. Ma maisonette s’élève sur les bords d’un bras de mer, six fois plus grand que votre fleuve, ou il passe tous les jours quelques douzaines de vaisseaux de toute grandeur. Cette vue anime beaucoup Edition: current; Page: [414] un paysage d’ailleurs riant. Enfin, pour tout dire en un mot, c’est le sol natal.”

Morris’s interest in European politics was as keen as ever, and he watched with that sympathy which was a prominent feature in his character the varying fortunes of his friends on the Continent. To Madame la Comtesse de Hohenthäl at Dresden he wrote early in November, and after sympathizing with her on a family affliction which had befallen her, he branched off upon that unfailingly interesting subject, the condition of Europe. . . . “Vous avez raison, madame, la géographie est à présent une étude inutile. J’attends pour faire mes cartes le moment d’une paix; je ne puis pas donner le nom de paix à la trêve qu’on a faite. Sans doute les petites puissances seront mangées, tôt ou tard; il ne s’agit que des grandes. Il reste à savoir ce qu’elles deviendront lorsque, se touchant de toutes parts, elles auront autant d’occasions et de moyens de se nuire qu’elles en puissent désirer. La solution de ce problême me paraît digne de l’attention de ceux qui gouvernent les états.

“Quant à nous, madame, nous sommes, jusqu’à présent, spectateurs peu instruits mais passablement tranquilles de la pièce qui se donne sur votre grand théâtre. Le dénouement doit nous intéresser, puis qu’en notre qualité d’hommes le sort des humains ne peut nous être indifférent. Au reste, l’énumération qu’on vient de faire, nous donne une population de cinq millions, ce qui, dans la position Edition: current; Page: [415] avantageuse que nous occupons sur le globe, ne laisse pas d’être quelque chose.”

Of the condition of public affairs in America Morris constantly informed his friend John Parish, and in a letter dated November 13th, speaking of the doings of the new administration, he says: “You will have seen by our gazettes that a complete change has taken place in the arrangements of our domestic and most of our foreign ministers and officers, and this, which to us federalists proves very disagreeable, is not so to me, who am in the habit of considering natural consequences and ultimate effects. The democrats will push the Constitution forward more rapidly than the federalists dared to do, and will wind up its powers as high as they ought to go, and perhaps a little higher. The result of this will be some clashing, by and by, with their friends in the States; and if we have good sense enough not to make too much noise we shall by and by be called in to take the business up in a much better condition than when we were forced (and deservedly, too) to lay it down; I say, deservedly, for we have done some foolish things as a party, over and above the many wild ones for which we are indebted to the unsteady temper of the late President.”

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But to return to the entries in the diary, and Morris’s public life at Washington during the struggle over the repeal of the Judiciary law.

“I pack up to-day [December 8th] and set off for Washington. Reach Philadelphia on the 13th, and Wilmington on the 15th. Doctor Latimer calls on me, and I visit Mr. Dickenson. State to him the object which stands prominent in Jefferson’s message, viz., the destruction of the General Government. He is, of course, alarmed. Reach Washington on the 18th.

“Attend in the Senate; a foolish question about the ratification of the convention with France. Mr. Jefferson, instead of publishing the treaty, has sent it to the Senate, and we have a deal of idle talk. However, we decide that the ratification is complete, and they pay him a very bad compliment (at the instance of his friends) by directing him what to do. In the evening call on Judge Patterson, and see there the Bench. Mr. Bayard, I find, is the cause why this day the Delaware delegation in the Senate voted somewhat wildly.”

“Visit [December 24th] the President and M. and Madame de Pichon, who seem to think the society of our capital dull. M. Pichon tells me that he finds the attachment of the democrats to France was a mere party pretext to get into power. He tells me that Bonaparte would not have ratified the amended treaty if the affairs of Copenhagen and Egypt had not happened. He says the people about him, and particularly Talleyrand, are indisposed to America.”

“The Senate resolves this day [January 5th] to admit a Edition: current; Page: [417] short-hand writer on their floor. This is the beginning of mischief.”

“Motion made in the Senate for repeal of the law passed last session respecting the Judiciary [January 8th]. Oppose it in a speech of near an hour, which is much approved by those who think with me; a large audience, which is not common in that House. Late tea this evening at the President’s. Many of the opposite party there, who are much vexed at my speech; the President very civil, but with evident marks of constraint. Mrs. Madison, who takes Mrs. Robert Morris and her companions to this tea-party, has good dispositions, which, from the shrivelled condition of the Secretary, are the less to be wondered at. Mr. Smith came just after dinner to ask my aid in preparing my discourse for the press.”

“Debate on the Judiciary continued [January 14th]. I take a large portion of the morning; the auditors are affected, but the question will be carried against us.”

“On Friday [January 15th] the debate still continued; Mr. Baldwin argumentative, subtle, and plausible; Mr. Hillhouse, as usual, keen, discerning, and forcible, though unpolished. Mr. Burr calls on me. Is disposed to go with us on the Judiciary. Cannot, however, openly break with his party. Must modify the resolution.”

“An accident to Logan, one of our Senators—an apoplectic fit or something like it [January 20th]; a very insolent note on Smith’s pages this evening. Attend to executive business. Jefferson has got into a scrape.”

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“The Judiciary Bill gets on one step [January 26th], and a motion to commit fails by this management. On executive business, persons are approved of who are stated by the senators from the country to which they belong to be men of no character, and men of bad character. This is thumping work. Dine with the President. His constrained manner of reception shows his enmity, and his assiduous attentions demonstrate his fear.”

Of the difficulty of sustaining the work of the administration Morris speaks, in a letter to Nicholas Lowe, at New York, dated February 12th:

“You know, my friend, that I came hither determined to support the administration, if I could do so honestly. They are mad, and so you will all see before the first day of January, 1803. . . . The Judiciary Bill keeps moving on. People of all parties begin to be alarmed at this wild measure, which, to get rid of a few obnoxious judges, (obnoxious to the ruling party) under the pretext of saving a little money, renders the judicial system manifestly defective and hazards the existence of the Constitution. This is the true state of the question, distinct from all party views, and so it will stand on the impartial page of history. It will, nevertheless, be carried, on the triumphant vote of a great majority, (many of them inwardly cursing their leaders) because the President has recommended it. They will try, before long, to make him the scape-goat, unless I am much mistaken; but I do not see how a member is to excuse himself, either to his conscience or to his constituents, for such excessive complaisance.”

To his friend James Parish he wrote [February 16th], on the same subject:

“As to this country, we have indeed a set of madmen in the administration, and they will do many foolish things, Edition: current; Page: [419] but there is a vigorous vegetative principle at the root which will make our tree flourish, let the winds blow as they may. Some stiff gales we shall certainly have, and if so I shall be perhaps obliged to keep the deck. My friend, I fear it is my fate to work as long as I live. I had rather not, but we are not masters of our road in travelling toward the grave. No, I have built no castle, but a pretty good house at Morrisania, on the foundation of that in which I was born and in which my parents died. There I believe my wanderings must end. I have a terrace roof (by the by, I will send you a receipt how to make one) of one hundred and thirty feet long, to which I go out from a side or, rather, a back door, and from whence I enjoy one of the finest prospects while breathing the most salubrious air in the world. Tell your son that if he has a mind to come and shoot some of my partridges he may embark with his dogs as soon as he pleases. He will at any rate find good living, and pass his time without much ennui. I think you were right in selling out of the British funds, and experience shows that you were right in trying it again. Had the affairs of that country been in the hands of able men, your temerity would have cost you dear. But they have made peace, and may the Lord in his mercy sanctify it to them. It was no doubt in the pious reliance on His protecting care that they signed that ominous treaty which has reduced them to the rank of a second-rate power, and will oblige them, at no distant period, to take up arms again to fight for independence. The ball was at their feet; they had got over all difficulty. Paper money was established, spread through the nation, and depreciated. These were the three great points; everything else followed of course. Edition: current; Page: [420] Had they gone on to borrow this year £100,000,000; £300,000,000 the next; then £900,000,000, they were masters of everything in the country, and would, (always understanding that their counsels should be both wise and vigorous) after three or four years of victorious warfare, come out of the contest without a shilling of debt and fresh as a bridegroom. By the time the national debt had amounted to two thousand millions the pound sterling would have sunk down to about a penny. Then a scale of depreciation would have placed it justly under ten million real pounds, and as much above that mark as national generosity might have thought proper. The moneyed interest would, indeed, have been ruined by the war, but there would not have been a sucking-pig the less in the country. Their mines, their soil, their shops and ships, would still have existed and been unencumbered. You see their present situation in its true point, but there is a little circumstance which seems not to have met your notice, and which appears to me of importance. France commands with sovereign sway from the mouth of the Etsch [Adige] round to the mouth of the Ems; but there is a space from thence to the mouth of the Eider, or, if you please, to that of the Baltic, which must somehow or other be brought under the same influence. And there is a certain Marquis of Brandenburg, who must henceforth revolve in the orbit which the First Consul may think proper to prescribe. What negotiations may be carrying on for this effect I know not, but I incline to think that you will one of these days have busy work of it.”

“Attend in the Senate [March 5th]. We pass the bill for a peace establishment, 16 to 10. I am of the minority. Dine at the President’s. It seems to be confirmed that the blacks of Santo Domingo resist the French; several circumstances of horror.”

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“We have this day [March 10th], by adhering to an amendment in the Senate, carried a small compensation for the disbanded officers. Colonel Burr called this morning. He tells me the ruling party are at fault, not knowing well what to do. Light reports from different quarters say that the ruling party begin to dislike each other.”

“As to our Senate,” Morris wrote to Alexander Hamilton, March 11th, “it is much too feeble, and, indeed, when we consider the manner of its composition, we cannot expect that it should be a dignified body; yet at present it is the only part of our Government which has the semblance of dignity. The House of Representatives have talked themselves out of self-respect, and at head-quarters there is such an abandonment of manner and such a pruriency of conversation as would reduce even greatness to the level of vulgarity.

“As to the state of parties, the federalists are become a column of steel, and have such a sense of their strength that there is no danger of desertion. The democrats feel their weakness. Many of them begin to stagger, and will fly at the first shock. As yet they have only heart-burnings among them, but murmurs will be heard before the session closes. I do not think much can be done at the ensuing election, but even a small change will work wonders; for, being of the courtier tribe, these patriots, as soon as his majesty the people shall signify that he is about to fancy a new whim, will, as usual, show their obsequiousness by outrunning his desires. The apparition and the toast you heard of are accurately stated. I see little chance for him as a leader of any party. Those he is with hate him, and though he has among them a few adherents they will not follow his lead just now. He has, I think, considerable talents for government, but I do not Edition: current; Page: [422] think the course which his situation compels him to pursue will command respect or excite confidence. Time and circumstances do much.”

The Senate bill for the repeal of the Judiciary law passed the house by a majority of 59 yeas to 32 nays, on the 3d of March. On the 20th Morris spoke of it as follows in a letter to Robert Livingston, Minister to France:

“We have here as yet nothing of importance except destroying the Constitution by repealing the Judiciary law of last session, and reducing the military establishment of the United States—at this moment so propitious to the reduction. We are, moreover, going to repeal the internal taxes, because overwise ones think we have too much revenue and that taxes give too much patronage. It is contemplated by the administration to cobble up some holes they have made by repealing the Judiciary. The chief seems to me in wretched plight. He is in the hard necessity of giving offices to the unworthy and turning good officers out to make room for them. He will soon be completely entangled in the meshes of his own folly. Your appointment is not a favorite thing among them. When the “Beau” messenger returned, he said the French thought it very extraordinary that to succeed a minister who could not speak their language, we had sent one who could not hear it. This will give what doctors call a symptomatic indication; for, though straws and feathers be light things, they show which way the wind blows. Our administration have received with coldness, and treated with little attention, sundry applications made by Pichon which ought to have been otherwise received and treated. You Edition: current; Page: [423] will, I think, feel this where you are. In fact, they know not how to govern, and cannot possibly last. They begin already to want confidence in themselves, and as the seeds of division sprout we shall have them come over to us. The shrewdest will be the first. Burr is trying to place himself well with us, and his measures are not without some success. His friends the democrats fear and hate him, and he knows it. He intends making a visit to South Carolina; this will excuse him from any special steps in his own State and leave him free to take a position according to circumstances. I have not learned whether your friends continue active in support of the administration. I think it is probable that they will, but I doubt whether they will eventually have cause to rejoice at it. For my own part, I wish to get out of this galley and live for myself. I shall then frequently laugh where now I must frown. It is perhaps well for you, who wish to be engaged in public life, that you are in a position not to take immediate part either way. You seem to think that if a certain treaty were in existence it would have a salutary effect; but I think you will, in due time, discover that treaties are frailer things than you have hitherto esteemed them. Good fleets and armies, directed by prudent and vigorous counsels, are the treaties to be relied on. ‘The rest is all but leather or prunella.’

“In reply to what you tell me in the close of your letter, I can only say that your talents, if not your virtue, entitle you to the rank of an American citizen. To be born in America seems to be a matter of indifference in New York, an advantage in New England, a disadvantage in Pennsylvania. You say I must be more a favorite than you are. I believe that I am much less a favorite. When the democrats got into power, I ventured to foretell that they would do more to exalt the Executive in six months Edition: current; Page: [424] than the federalists would in so many years. The fact has verified the prediction. They who have constantly cherished State sovereignty have, by their repeal of the Judiciary law, laid the broad foundation for a consolidated government, and the first national scuffle will erect that edifice. I acknowledge to you that I do not like it, and though I have always seen that it must come unless we should lose our national existence, yet I hoped its progress would be so gentle as that our manners and materials would be reasonably fitted for it.”

“News has reached our administration [March 22d] of the cession of Louisiana to France. Appearances of a storm brewing. Attend in the Senate; find that the advices the public have received of the intentions of France to occupy Louisiana are only contained in a letter from the American Minister at Paris to Mr. Clinton of the Senate. Mr. King has, it would seem, adjusted amicably our differences with the Court of St. James’s.”

Morris worked very diligently during the rest of the session on the different bills before the Senate. He amended and got passed a light-house bill, “so as to provide for security of the Sound navigation,” spoke against the repeal of the internal taxes, and, with others, labored hard over the proper steps to be taken respecting the repeal of the Judiciary.

On the 6th of April he dined with the President. “He is Utopia, quite,” was his only comment on the occasion.

On the 24th of April Morris opposed in the Senate a “foolish appropriation for the public debt.”

On the 4th of May he mentions calling on the President, “who is as cold as a frog. Can get nothing from him respecting the loans to be made in Europe. Visit M. Pichon, who is tired of Washington and those who preside in it.”

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Congress having adjourned, Morris sought the retirement and pleasures of Morrisania, where he passed the summer entertaining all sorts and conditions of people, who accepted with alacrity his free hospitality. His friends in Europe were not forgotten, and to the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis and the Comtesse de Hohenthäl and various other friends he sent copies of some of the debates in which he had taken part in the Senate.

“I send you, charming Princess,” he wrote, June 20th, “these things because, knowing as you do what passes everywhere else, you may perhaps wish to see what we are doing in this little corner of the universe. Like those who play more important parts, we sit on the chariot-wheels of time and wonder at the dust, attributing it, with delectable self-complacency, to our special efforts. Do not from this debate imagine that we are on the brink of civil war, or even agitated by violent commotions. On the contrary, no republic was ever more quiet. This, you will say, gives no assurance of tranquillity, and I acknowledge the justice of your remark. Freedom and tranquillity are seldom companions. He, therefore, who wishes to glide through life on a smooth surface should seek the capital of some large monarchy where an individual is of too little importance to occupy the attention of that government by whose power he is protected and by whose law he is secured. The result of this mild state of being is mildness of manners, but it occasions also a want of energy. Thus there is compensation everywhere and in everything. To be happy we must learn to be content with our lot where it is cast, and our condition, whatever it may be. In studying this lesson I shall never forget that I once enjoyed the charms of your conversation, lovely Princess, and while I remember the sweets of your society I will endeavor not to regret. It is not permitted Edition: current; Page: [426] to listen to my wishes and make you a visit, but, considering the changes and chances of human life, it seems not impossible to see you again, and again assure you of the respectful attachment with which I am, ever yours.

“P. S. My respectful compliments to the H. P. [Hereditary Princess] and my affectionate remembrances to the society of Ratisbon. Should both the copies of the little book arrive, will you have the goodness to give one of them to Count Rumford.”

The following letter, with some strictures on the Jefferson administration as well as on the administrator himself, was sent to Mr. Livingston by private hand in August:

“This letter [August 21st] will be delivered to you safely. I shall not, therefore, use a cipher. I shall ask the bearer of it to take charge of two copies of our debates in the Senate on the judiciary system—send one of them, with my compliments, to M. Talleyrand, who may perhaps recollect that we were once acquainted. If you read the newspapers, as I suppose you do, you will have observed that the Vice-President is violently attacked by certain violent partisans now devoted to Mr. Jefferson, and that this latter gentleman has outlived his popularity and is descending to a condition which I find no decent word to designate. Without entering into unpleasant questions, it is sufficient to say that his administration is too weak to prosper. His attack on the Judiciary was rash and splenetic, and you will, I think, be surprised to learn that they calculated on an easy victory. Of course, when the contest was engaged, they were astounded. The result has been important. There was a moment when the Vice-President might have arrested the measure by his vote, and that vote would, I believe, have made him President at the next election; but there is a tide in the affairs of men which he suffered to go by. That debate Edition: current; Page: [427] gave us such conviction of our force as to render the fear of any defection quite visionary. We did not, indeed, apprehend any, notwithstanding the means which may be derived from executive patronage in a government like that of the United States. I do not think they could have been used to effect, but we certainly are now invulnerable; indeed, some officers have resigned because they felt a kind of dishonor in remaining as exceptions to the proscription. The schism among your political friends is, I believe, but beginning. No man knows better than you do how little of cordiality there is, and ever must be, among the discordant materials of which your party is composed. You cannot therefore be surprised at an explosion. The employment of and confidence in adventurers from abroad will sooner or later rouse the pride and indignation of this country. In the mean time, I think you must feel where you are that an administration which is not supported by the first characters at home will not preserve, much less command, the respect of foreign powers.

“The French Government cannot, I think, respect either the Government or people of the United States. What is it which renders a nation respectable? power, courage, wisdom. Put out of view, for a moment, both France and America, and suppose yourself in the administration of Austria. What would be your estimation of the Turks? of the Russians? of Prussia? You would not, I think, inquire whether in those countries they have a Habeas Corpus Act, a trial by jury, a house of representatives, etc. You would seek information as to their fleets, their armies, Edition: current; Page: [428] and, above all, the talents of those who are at the head of affairs. Now suppose, for a moment, that a European statesmen (M. Lucchesini, for instance) should make inquiries of you respecting such things in this country. Would your answers impress his mind with anything like respect? I hope, as you do, that we may long continue free, but this hope involves the double idea of continuance and freedom. The duration of a government is perhaps the first consideration; for, be it ever so good in other respects, if its texture be too frail to endure it can be of little value. Now it appears to me that the duration of our government must, humanly speaking, depend on the influence which property shall acquire; for it is not to be expected that men who have nothing to lose will feel so well disposed to support existing establishments as those who have a great interest at stake. The strongest aristocratic feature in our political organization is that which democrats are most attached to, the right of universal suffrage. This takes from men of moderate fortune their proper weight, and will, in process of time, give undue influence to those of great wealth. I know that this effect has not yet been produced, and I know the reason why; but a different state of things seems to be approaching, and slight circumstances will perhaps decide whether we are to pass through a course of revolutions to military despotism, or whether our government is to be wound up, by constitutional means, to a tone sufficiently vigorous for the conduct of national concerns. Much will depend on the union of talents and property. There is a considerable mass of genius and courage, with much industrious cunning, now at work to overturn our Constitution. If these be not met by a phalanx of property under the guidance of our ablest men, I think there will be a scuffle, and that in the course of it many large Edition: current; Page: [429] estates will be put into the melting pot. The engine by which a giddy populace can be most easily brought on to do mischief is their hatred of the rich. If any of these supposes he can climb into power by civil commotions, he will find himself mistaken. It seems, however, probable that the property in this country will continue to be divided on political questions, and if so we may expect mischief.

“This letter will be delivered to you by a very worthy priest who is returning to the care of souls in his parish, blessing God that he hath redeemed his chosen seed by the hand of his servant Napoleon.”

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Morris resumes his duties at Washington. Letter to Parish. Opinion of the appointment of Monroe to France and Spain. Question of the purchase of Louisiana. Letter to Necker. Morris describes his quiet life at Morrisania. Letter to Livingston, Minister at Paris. Journey to the Northern lakes.

Morris resumed his duties as senator on the 24th of December. “I find,” he says, as soon as he reached Washington, “that our Executive are disposed to an intimate connection with Britain, being, as the vulgar say, spited by France. I tell Mr. Smith, my host, at dinner that I have no confidence in the administration and therefore have no opinion or advice to give. They are, I believe, much embarrassed. I tell him roundly my idea of the contemptible farce of finance which is playing.”

“I dine with the President [January 3d], who seems terribly out of spirits. Is it the desertion of his friend Duane, or a knowledge of the publication shortly to be made of his letter to Mr. Walker?”

It was during the winter of 1803, that Jefferson appointed James Monroe to represent the United States at the Courts of France and Spain, and in conjunction with Livingston in France and Pinckney in Spain, to form any treaty or convention that extended and secured the rights of the United States on the Mississippi. Of this appointment Morris very forcibly gives his opinion in the following letter to James Parish at Neusteden, January 14th, just after the nomination was approved by the Senate.

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“The project of our Executive is weak and bad,” he says. “It is the fashion with those discontented creatures called federalists to say that our President is not a Christian; yet they must acknowledge that, in true Christian meekness, when smitten on one cheek he turns the other, and, by his late appointment of Monroe, has taken special care that a stone which the builders rejected should become the first of the corner. These are his works, and for his faith, it is not as a grain of mustard but the full size of a pumpkin; so that, while men of mustard-seed faith can only move mountains, he finds no difficulty in swallowing them. He believes, for instance, in the perfectibility of man, the wisdom of mobs, and moderation of Jacobins. He believes in payment of debts by diminution of revenue, in defence of territory by reduction of armies, and in vindication of rights by appointment of ambassadors. I note what you say on the chapter of French exactions, and your retort on the score of national humiliation, which is a good hit. In truth, there is just now so much of what we call philosophy among our rulers that we must not be surprised at the charge of pusillanimity; and our people have so much mercantile spirit that, if other nations will keep their hands out of our pockets, it is not a trifling insult that will rouse us. Indeed, it is the fashion to say that when injured it is more honorable to wait in patience the uncertain issue of negotiation than promptly to do ourselves right by an act of hostility. These sentiments, you will say, are novel; but would you deny the use of new principles to a new world, and govern new states by old maxims? The converse of the proposition, viz., governing old states by new maxims has been tried in France, and the result does not encourage to further experiment. I take it for granted, therefore, that Bonaparte will not follow the example of our President. Edition: current; Page: [432] Indeed, he seems in all things to take the opposite course, and yet continues to succeed in his undertakings. But the children of this world, that is, your Old World, are wiser in their generation than the children of light or, which is tantamount, the enlightened children of our New World. Speaking of the Baron de Breteuil and Bonaparte, they are two characters nearly opposed to each other. The Baron, after a life of intrigue, has reduced himself to a state of dependence, and the other has raised himself, as it were, to the top of the world. . . .

“Many thanks my friend, to you and to Mrs. Parish for your kind invitations. I am, I think, fairly anchored on this side the Atlantic, and therefore can visit you only in spirit, with my greetings and good wishes. If, as you suppose, the city of Hamburg shall continue free, and no convulsions shake the House of Denmark, your position will continue to be pleasant, and as happy as consists with the lot of humanity. I fervently wish, therefore, that you may be right in your conjectures, but the neighborhood of a rapacious prince at the head of two hundred and fifty thousand men is not a good neighborhood. I cannot compare my prospect of the Sound with yours of the Elbe. Things of this sort are rarely so much alike as to admit of a comparison, and I am not an impartial judge. I would trust the matter to your decision if you could spend this summer with me as your old acquaintance Robert Morris did the last. He came to me lean, low-spirited, and as poor as a commission of bankruptcy can make a man whose effects will, it is said, not pay a shilling in the pound. Indeed, the assignees will not take the trouble of looking after them. I sent him home fat, sleek, in good spirits and possessed of the means of living comfortably the rest of his days. So much for the air of Morrisania.”

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The evening session of the 3d of March lasted till within one minute of twelve; and “thus,” Morris congratulated himself, “I have fully performed my duty.” The next day, evidently with a sense of relief, he left Washington, having discharged his arduous duties, surrounded by men he had little confidence in, and an administration which he found contemptible. The question of the purchase of Louisiana, was one which agitated the country during this winter. Mr. Livingston, at Paris, had for months striven to persuade the First Consul to make the sale. But it was not until serious complications arose between France and England, owing to the latter having set her affections on Malta, and, moreover, demanding an attack on Louisiana, that Napoleon, perhaps fearing the coveted property might be taken from him, determined to sell it to the United States; and in the spring of 1803 the United States became possessed of Louisiana, an enormous tract of country extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the British possessions. The probable consummation of this purchase was the subject of a letter to M. Necker, at Coppet, which was evidently an answer to one from Necker expressing his ideas on the question. Morris wrote from Washington, February 13th, as follows:

“Vous avez bien raison, monsieur, dans ce que vous dites, et dans ce que vous pensez sans le dire, sur la Louisiane. Oui, si notre administration permet aux Français de s’y nicher, on n’en sera quitte que par des guerres et des convulsions affreuses. Nous avons actuellement le malheur d’être gouverné par l’esprit de vertige que, dans le siècle ridicule où nous sommes, on est convenu de nommer philosophie. Savez-vous, monsieur, que cette philosophie est une coquine qui prodigue ses caresses sans avoir jamais senti l’amour? Eh bien, cette misérable peut se vanter, Edition: current; Page: [434] qu’en flattant avec son air tartufe et son langage patelin, l’égoïsme de la richesse et les prétentions du peuple, elle a engourdi et nos âmes et nos esprits. Oui, monsieur, l’Amérique dort pendant qu’on aiguise le poignard pour lui porter un coup mortel. Mais on se trompe. Les flots d’une mer immense roulent et grondent entre le projet et son exécution. Les grands arbitres des affaires humaines, le temps et le sort, ont prononcé la séparation des deux mondes. Et que vaut la politique contre les décrets de l’Éternel! Mais, que dis-je? Est-ce à moi, chétif, d’en parler? Non, je les respecte et me tais. Le sentiment intime de ma faiblesse, en vous épargnant mon bavardage ennuyeux, me dicte les assurances du respect que, etc.”

With this letter was sent the “discours que nous avons tenu, au Sénat américain, M. Ross et moi, sur l’affaire de la Louisiane. L’impression en est défectueuse et cela doit être, puisque nous ne sommes pas (comme les membres de votre ci-devant Assemblée nationale) dans l’habitude de préparer des discours par écrit. On en lisait de fort beaux dans cette assemblée, mais on n’y discutait rien. Chez nous, au contraire, on discute tout, et, par conséquent, on répond à l’improviste aux raisonnements de l’adversaire. Des sténographes s’occupent à prendre note de ce qu’on dit, et puis ils livrent à l’impression, tant bien que mal, ce qu’ils ont ramassé. J’ai cru devoir vous faire cette explication, afin de vous mettre au courant, mais nous nous recommandons toujours à votre indulgence.

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In the following letter to John Dickenson, of Wilmington, Del., dated April 13th, Morris makes a pleasing picture of his home-life and pursuits, and mentions the fact that he no longer held the position of United States Senator.

“You had the kindness,” he says, “to express a wish that I would occasionally write to you, but I shall prove a wretched correspondent. Busied in rural occupations, I forget, as fast as I can, that there is in the world any such thing as politics—more than a week has elapsed since I heard from the city or saw a newspaper. Leading thus the life of a hermit, it is not possible to write anything which, to you who live in the world, would be worth a perusal. Being, moreover, a bachelor, we have no family occurrences, but every day is like every yesterday, with a probability that to-morrow will be like to-day. This even course of life is not unpleasant to me who have toiled in the storms of the world; to many others it would be insipid. If any one of the million incidents to which Edition: current; Page: [436] life is liable should prompt you to travel northward, have the goodness to participate in the resources of my cottage. It offers salubrious air, pure water, plain food, simple manners, and frank hospitality. As to my line of life, it must ever depend on events, because it will always be governed by principles adopted long since. It was my early determination never to seek office, and to accept of none but with a view to the public service. After spending the prime of life in labors for the public, I thought myself justifiable in preferring private ease to public cares, but yet, having accepted the place of senator, would not have resigned it—at least, in a moment of difficulty. My political enemies have had the goodness to relieve me, and although from their motives I cannot be thankful, yet I must be permitted to rejoice in the event. In adopting a republican form of government, I not only took it as a man does his wife, for better, for worse, but, what few men do with their wives, I took it knowing all its bad qualities. Neither ingratitude, therefore, nor slander can disappoint expectation nor excite surprise. If in arduous circumstances the voice of my country should call for my services, and I have the well-founded belief that they can be useful, they shall certainly be rendered, but I hope that no such circumstances will arise, and, in the mean time, ‘pleased let me trifle life away.’”

Morris felt very keenly the discourtesy that he considered was shown to Livingston, then minister at Paris, when Monroe was sent out by Jefferson as Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France, and Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Spain, to effectuate the purchase of Louisiana, and in a letter to Livingston, April 23d, he gave expression to his feelings on the subject. “I did not write to you by Mr. Monroe, because he and I are not on such terms of intimacy as to ask his care Edition: current; Page: [437] of a letter, because I did not choose to put one in his care, and because I wished you to judge of things without any bias from comments on my part. Before this arrives you will have made your own interpretations. You will have seen, too, that your brethren of the Corps Diplomatique consider Mr. Monroe as the efficient and confidential man. Not being in the confidence of our Cabinet, I cannot account for a conduct which, in every point of view, is so strange. Setting aside the sacrifices you have made to promote the cause which brought them into power, I cannot help thinking that your rank in society, the high offices you have held, and, let me add, the respectable talents with which God has blessed you, all required more delicacy on the part of your political friends than has on this occasion been exhibited. It is possible that I am unjust to Mr. Monroe, but really I consider him as a person of mediocrity in every respect. Just exceptions lie against his diplomatic character, and, taking all circumstances into consideration, his appointment must appear extraordinary to the Cabinets of Europe. It is, in itself, a most unwary step, and will lower our government in public estimation. I was therefore just so much the more vexed at it on your account. I trust it will not be pretended that the application of money could not be as safely intrusted to your care and intelligence as to those of Mr. Monroe. The pretext that he is only joined with you in the commission is mere pretext, and every discreet man with you will naturally consider him as the principal and the chief, and, in fact, the sole minister. It will therefore excite much speculation. I shall say nothing on the measure and its other aspects, because you will find my opinion pretty much at large in the pamphlet which is enclosed.

“I shall say nothing on the public opinion in this country, because you will, I think, perceive the bent of it from Edition: current; Page: [438] our gazettes, and because my view may be a partial one. This appears to me certain, that if democracy—that disease of which all republics have perished except those which have been overturned by foreign force—should increase among us, we cannot expect a long period of domestic repose. But a thousand and ten thousand things happen in the world which the wisest men would never have conjectured.”

“I hope [May 24th] to leave this soon for my Eastern tour,” Mr. Morris wrote in May to his friend Robert Morris, “and, if I should meet that enchanting Yankee whom you speak of, will endeavor to oppose the power of reason to the fascinations of the enchantress. I have, you know, in my drawing-room the picture in tapestry of Telemachus rescued from the charms of Circe by the friendly aid of old Mentor. In truth, my friend, marriage, especially at my time of life, should be more a matter of prudence than of passion. Good sense and good nature are of more importance than wit and beauty and accomplishments. Everybody here says I must marry, and, indeed, they seem determined that it shall be done whether I will or no.”

No such complication arose, however, during the Eastern tour, which was made in July with M. Leray as his companion. “We have made a journey of five hundred and seventy miles,” Morris notes (August 3d) in his diary after his return home, “besides some rides while in Boston and Vermont; since the 11th of July, in a broiling sun.”

Late in August Morris started on another journey to the lakes and the St. Lawrence. He left home in his own boat, he says, “with stores for our journey,” and a light northeast wind blowing. “We have a long tug to get into the North River, where the ebb still runs strong. We do not approach the town to take advantage of eddies Edition: current; Page: [439] and the young flood, because of the yellow fever. This disease is caused, in my opinion, by putrid exhalations from the wharves, but an idea that it is infectious shuts the door against those who have been near it. Sloops from the city must perform a quarantine at Albany. The view of New York as we came along was distressing—the wharves deserted, the houses shut, and where the busy hum of men once prevailed, a solemn, melancholy silence.”

The vicissitudes of contrary winds and contrary tides in the Hudson River were difficult to overcome, even in “our sloop,” which “is a prime sailor,” Morris says, and “beats everything we see;” and it was not until August 30th that the travellers reached Albany—and then on by stage to Schenectady, when another boat took the party down the Mohawk, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, through a fever-stricken country but through beautiful scenery. The scheme which Morris had so long contemplated, of opening the State to commerce by means of the lakes and rivers, connected by canals, was one of his motives in making this rather perilous journey. “It seems to me,” he says, “that a canal should be taken from the head of the Onondaga River and carried on the level as far east as it will go, and, if practicable, into the Mohawk River; then, in as direct a course as circumstances will permit, to Hudson’s River, making locks as the descent may require. This canal should, I think, be five feet deep and forty five feet wide. A branch might easily be carried to Lake Ontario; the fittest harbor would be, I believe, at Oswego. The voyage down the Oswego River, where in parts the passage was almost impracticable, owing to the lowness of the water, and in parts the sea ran so high as to greatly alarm my ship’s company, was dangerous and exciting. Mr. Brevoort was frightened even to roaring, and, when he got on shore, declared he Edition: current; Page: [440] would rather return home on foot than go again on board of the boat with me.”

Morris formed camps in different eligible places, where his servants stopped, and to which he returned after various expeditions, voyaging about the rivers and creeks, inspecting the land, catching fish—a very favorite pastime with him—and finding out for himself the resources of the country. Sometimes he stopped with friends, but generally preferred the free life of the camp. Leaving the Catfish River, September 25th, the voyagers, with a head wind and lowering sky, put out into Lake Ontario, the pilot too ill with fever to hold up his head. The sea running very high, and with every prospect of being cast on a lee shore with the surf of the whole lake tumbling on them unsheltered, Morris took the responsibility of the pilot, “with no other resource,” he says, “than my recollection of a former voyage, and, having fixed what I believe to be the spot, we luckily enter the harbor we were making for through a very high surf and by a rocky point, which we narrowly escape.”

Enjoying the dangers by water, lulled to sleep by the sighing of the wind among the trees, digesting plans for making roads through the country, seeking proper sites for towns, and inspecting his lands, taking care of his men ill with the fever, and rejoicing over the settlement of a country which three years before had been a wilderness, Morris passed two exciting and refreshing months. The party of voyagers turned their faces homeward on October 31st, and, after many perils by flood and field, Morris reached Morrisania on November 14th.

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Morris appealed to for political advice. Question of the constitutionality of the Louisiana purchase. Letter to Robert Livingston. Letter to James Parish. Letter to Mr. Tracy. Discusses the cession of Louisiana. Entertains M. and Madame Jerome Bonaparte. Duel between Burr and Hamilton. Goes to Hamilton’s death-bed. Stays with him until he expires. The duel occasions much excitement in New York. Morris pronounces the funeral oration.

Although Morris lived tranquilly at Morrisania this winter, the sound of the political battle reached him in various ways, but particularly was the quiet of his life invaded by urgent appeals from his friends at Washington for his views and counsel on the questions of the moment; his friends in the Government not being willing that his experience in diplomatic and political affairs should go for naught in his own country.

The question of the constitutionality of the Louisiana purchase was agitating a portion of the community during the autumn of 1803; and, in answer to a question from Mr. Henry W. Livingston, relative to the purposes of the framers of the Constitution on this point, Morris replied as follows, under date of November 25th:

“It is not possible for me to recollect with precision all that passed in the Convention while we were framing the Constitution; and, if I could, it is most probable that meaning may have been conceived from incidental expressions different from that which they were intended to convey, and very different from the fixed opinions of the Edition: current; Page: [442] speaker. This happens daily. I am very certain that I had it not in contemplation to insert a decree de crescendo imperio in the Constitution of America, without examining whether a limitation of territory be or be not essential to the preservation of republican government. I am certain that the country between the Mississippi and the Atlantic exceeds by far the limits which prudence would assign if, in effect, any limitation be required. Another reason of equal weight must have prevented me from thinking of such a clause. I knew as well then as I do now that all North America must at length be annexed to us—happy, indeed, if the lust of dominion stop there. It would therefore have been perfectly utopian to oppose a paper restriction to the violence of popular sentiment in a popular government.

“Already the thing has happened which I feared. The judges, not being, as in New York, an integral branch of the Legislature, the Judiciary has been overthrown because the judges would, it was foreseen, resist assaults on the Constitution by acts of Legislature. The Constitution is therefore, in my opinion, gone. The complete sovereignty of America is substantially in the House of Representatives. The Senate form no check, because (hopeful theories notwithstanding) they are, like the other branch, representatives of a prevailing faction de facto and the States de jure only. Now, as in political affairs fact supersedes right, the Senate will not, generally speaking, have even the wish to oppose the House of Representatives. The States will, by degrees, sink more and more into insignificance, because the little talents which faction possesses will be shoved into the General Government. Moreover, the State legislatures, being under the immediate view of their constituents, will find the truth of the old adage, ‘Too much familiarity breeds contempt.’ The present Edition: current; Page: [443] amendment of the Constitution is urged by Virginia and New York for the purpose of dividing between them, at the next election, the two first offices of the Union. Virginia was almost in open revolt against the national authority during Mr. Adams’s reign because a Yankee, and not a Virginian, was President, and laws are passed in conformity with fine maxims, assumed from the British constitution, which give to a Virginia President royal power. Not by mere inference, but by downright demonstration, it is shown that the republican party were not dissatisfied because the power of the Government was too great, but because it was not in their hands. The false principles which they have dignified with the name of republican principles—hostile to all government, and immediately fatal to all republican government—were only assumed to lead honest men by slow but sure degrees to abjure the principles of our Constitution, and co-operate in their own subjugation to the aristocracies of Virginia and New York. You may, from what I have said, be inclined to set me down as a croaker, but in this you would be deceived. There is always a counter-current in human affairs which opposes alike both good and evil. While the republican form lasts we shall be tolerably well governed, and when we are fairly afloat again on the tempestuous sea of liberty, our Cromwell or Bonaparte must so far comply with national habit as to give us an independent judiciary and something like a popular representation. Like the forked, featherless bipeds which have preceded them, our posterity will be shaken into the political form which shall be most suitable to their physical and moral state. They will be born, procreate, and die like the rest of creation, while here and there some accomplished scoundrels, rari nantes in gurgite vasto, will give their names to the periods of history.”

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“I like well your treaty with France,” Morris wrote to Robert L. Livingston, November 28th, “and have declared to my friends, some of whom are not pleased with the declaration, that it is in my opinion one of the best we have made. Our party, though with numerous exceptions, opposed it; for one reason, that it cost money the greater part of which we to the northward must pay, and it gains territory which will, in their apprehension, by giving strength to the Southern representation, diminish the Eastern influence in our councils. They dislike it, also, because it has strengthened an administration which they abhor. To tell you an important truth, my friend, you have saved that administration, who, in return, will never forgive you for performing, without orders and without power, such great public service. Your conduct is a satire on theirs, for you have gained what they did not dare ask.

“I agree with you in the opinion that the late negotiation was conducted miserably on the part of Britain. But mark how the affairs of this world run: the King’s Ministers, having bungled themselves into a miserable peace, bungled themselves out of it into an expensive war, and have thereby roused the national spirit, depressed before; and now it is well within the circle of probabilities that events to which they are but solemn witnesses shall get them gloriously through the contest, and place their country foremost in the rank of nations. Britain, by continuing the war, may break the power of France; for even if the First Consul get over with fifty thousand men, his condition will be perilous. While hemmed up in Britain, his affairs on the Continent may run wild. If he be successful, the greater powers of Europe may perceive that they must immediately attack France to secure their own independence; and, if he be unsuccessful, they may fall on in general concert to share his spoils. If he Edition: current; Page: [445] fail in his attempt to land, it must cost some of his best troops, and this to a nation as hasty as the French may be a signal for revolt among those which remain. If he declines the attempt to invade England, his reputation, which to men in his situation is everything, will be materially injured. As to the conquest of ten millions of men determined to maintain their freedom and independence, it is quite out of the question, if they be but tolerably managed. These, you will say, are my dreams, and, when it is considered that ere they reach you events will have tested their truth, I must acknowledge it would be more prudent to suppress than to communicate them; but I never consult prudence when I write to you. Adieu.”

Morris always kept his friend James Parish au courant with affairs in this country and his own well-being. In his letter dated November 29th, he says: “You are very good in the regret you so kindly express that I cannot partake of the produce of your seven hundred feet of glass. God grant that you may long in peace enjoy the position you embellish. If, however, those storms and tempests which shake the moral world shall set your bark afloat, come, my good friend, and share with me my quiet harbor; you shall see the rapid growth of a new world, for I have often told you that, with respect to this country, calculation outruns fancy, and still fact goes beyond calculation. The resolution of the cession by France of Louisiana to the United States was grounded, of course, on the conviction that war would take place, as it has already done, between France and England. You tell me that you had already begun to tremble for the trade of your place. In my letter of the 14th January, then before you, I had said: ‘I consider the peace lately patched up with France as of very short duration.’ The Peace of Edition: current; Page: [446] Amiens was, in my opinion, the most wretched blunder ever committed by men having the smallest pretence to common-sense. It placed Britain in the necessity of recommencing the war to preserve her independence. It gave to France a certainty, if it was preserved, of ruining her rival in no distant period. It tended, in its consequences, completely to subvert the liberties of Europe. Now, although it was not given to Messrs. Addington & Co. to foresee, it was presumable that, when events should arise, they would be able to see, and, even should their visual faculties be obtuse, I had no doubt that they would be made to feel the condition of their country. The cause of the war, then, is to be sought in the treaty of peace. Indeed, I stated to you that result in my letter of February, 1802, to which I now refer, instead of taking up your time with observations which might now be called after-wit, seeing that there is no difficulty in showing some reason or other for what has actually happened. Your port will, I suppose, be blockaded by the British fleet till it shall be barred by the bolts and chains of nature. Before this reaches your hands, you will know the result of the First Consul’s invasion. My opinion is that, if Britain continues the war properly, she will break to pieces the power of her adversary. Gods! what a moment for a great man to step into the place of Mr. Addington. But, when I look at the course of events, I am led to believe that little men may succeed where great men might fail, and thus, folding my arms, submit serenely to the will of Heaven.”

Again, on December 13th he wrote to Parish, expressing a profound satisfaction that he no longer occupied a position in public life.

“Thank God,” he says, “I am no longer in the situation you deplore. Not being in either House of Legislature, I am, of course, no member of a minority. In effect, my Edition: current; Page: [447] friend, had our country been in a condition so quiet as to justify me to my own feelings, I would have resigned my seat. This would, however, have been disagreeable, because it would have been unpleasant to my friends. Luckily my political enemies, finding no hope of bringing me into an alliance with them, saved me the trouble of a resignation by electing in my place another man. Luckily, also, I terminated my career in a manner gratifying to my friends, and respected by my foes; so that I can devote myself wholly to the pursuits of private life. This is the point at which I have always aimed; and, having thus got safely to my desired haven, no light or trivial cause will force me again upon the troubled ocean. Luckily we have in our party men of ability for every station, so that, if we get the upper hand, which is not improbable, they can dispense with the services of one whose ambition is satisfied.

“Apropos of Bonaparte, the position to which he had raised himself was to me a sufficient proof of his talents; but even while he was in Italy I considered him as the future master of France. Circumstances rendered a master not only needful but certain. Reasoning in like manner on circumstances, I knew that his yoke must be painful and odious to the conquered countries. Indeed, I not only foresaw, but foretold the present state of Europe in the early stages of the French Revolution. Twenty millions of men thrown into so wild a condition must, after doing great mischief to themselves and others, become the subjects of a military despotism. But though this result is, humanly speaking, inevitable, it can only be completed by a great man. Such men, however, are always formed in such circumstances; or, to speak more accurately, such men always exist, and such circumstances give them the means and opportunities. Now it followed of necessity Edition: current; Page: [448] that a great man, at the head of a warlike nation and raised into power by the sword, would feel the necessity of occupying ardent spirits abroad to prevent them from doing mischief at home. Thus France, disciplined and ably commanded in necessary war with her neighbors, was the object ever present to my mind, and I sought in vain the talents which should oppose her. They did not exist in the Cabinets of Europe. Feeble minds must, from the nature of things, pursue trivial objects by feeble means. I think, however, that England is saved by a series of most egregious blunders.”

The great event of the session of Congress, during the winter of 1807, was the trial of Samuel Chase, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, charged with arbitrary oppression and intemperate conduct on various occasions, and impeached by the House of Representatives before the Senate. He was acquitted, but his acquittal produced much irritation, and John Randolph moved to submit an amendment of the Constitution to the effect that the Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other courts of the United States, should be removed by the President on the joint address of both Houses of Congress. In a letter to Uriah Tracy, dated January 5th, Morris deals with the constitutional restrictions to such a measure. “The idea,” he wrote, “that two-thirds of the whole number of senators and of the whole number of representatives is required by the Constitution to propose an amendment is certainly correct. There are, I believe, only six cases in which the majority of a quorum cannot act. In one of these cases, namely, the choice of a President by the House of Representatives, a majority of all the States is required—and the reason is evident. In two other cases, which respect only the Senate, two-thirds of the members present are required. One of them is the case of treaties. Edition: current; Page: [449] To have bound the whole Union by the act of a mere majority of senators present would, in effect, have given the power of making treaties to the President, since, by watching opportunities, he would always have secured such majority; and to have demanded a majority of the whole number might have occasioned delay, dangerous in many cases, and especially when a treaty of peace should be under consideration. By a provision of that sort absentees would have given an efficient negative, without direct responsibility. Of course, cunning men, some of whom will always be found in legislative bodies, would frequently have lain by to approve or disapprove, according to subsequent circumstances, which, in affairs so urgent as the ratification of a national compact, might have proved fatal. In the case of impeachments, the same reasoning applies. If a mere majority could convict, public officers might be made victims of party rage. If a majority of the whole number were required, members might, by absenting themselves, screen the guilty without incurring direct reproach. In the one case faction would have too much, and in the other justice would have too little, power. There remain three cases in which two-thirds of the whole number are required. These are, first, the expulsion of a member; secondly, the passage of a law disapproved of by the President; and, thirdly, amendments to the Constitution. In these three cases a provision is carefully made to defend the people against themselves—or, in other words, against the violence of party spirit—which has hitherto proved fatal to republican government. The constitutional restriction presumes that, in a measure of indispensable necessity, or even of great utility, two-thirds of the whole number of senators and representatives would agree, and that, if they should not, no great danger would ensue. The public business might go Edition: current; Page: [450] on, though a member of the Legislature should be unworthy of his seat. Neither would the nation materially suffer from the want of a particular law, especially of a law rejected by the First Magistrate. The case of war may indeed be supposed, and the additional case of corrupt opposition by the President to the organization of public force; but even if it were allowable to reason from extreme cases, which, as everyone knows, would be fatal to all legal and constitutional provisions, yet in this extremest case the corrupt President could (with less danger of detection) do more evil by a misapplication of the public force than by opposing its existence. So, in the case of amendments to the Constitution, it was presumed that America might enjoy a tolerable share of felicity under the existing compact, and that, if a case should arise to point out the necessity of amendment, two-thirds of the whole number of each legislative body would concur in the recommendation. It has been somewhere truly said that frequent change of the law is a serious evil, and frequent change of the constitution a most afflicting calamity. That evil and this calamity we probably are doomed to experience. Our fellow-citizens were dissatisfied with things done by those to whom they had intrusted authority, and who adopted measures recommended by political opponents, in the vain hope of estopping them by their own confession. Since the prostration of the judiciary, my anxiety about the Constitution is not so great as in former times. That mortal stab was but the beginning of a system—the more dangerous because it is not the result of a conspiracy among ambitious men, for that might be detected, exposed, and thereby frustrated. But the mischief lies deeper, and the agents are actuated more by instinct than reflection. There is a moral tendency, and in some cases even a physical disposition, among the people Edition: current; Page: [451] of this country to overturn the Government. Such noxious humors can no more be cured by argument than the gout. With some, as in Virginia, they are hereditary; with others they are generated, as in Pennsylvania, by the intemperate use of ardent spirits, imprudently imported. In one case, aristocracy groans under that law of equality which forms the fairest feature in our Constitution; in another, bad subjects of a monarchy have broken loose and run mad. Everywhere prosperity had made men wanton, and thereby they have become wicked. The habits of monarchic government are not yet worn away among our native citizens, and therefore the opposition to lawful authority is frequently considered as a generous effort of patriotic virtue. Add to this the host of moody beggars starving for a time of pell-mell, havoc, and confusion. There is, therefore, much reason to fear that all attempts to save the people from their most dangerous enemy will fail, and, in consequence, the wishes of those who long for a monarchy will be gratified. The repeal of the Judiciary law battered down the great outwork of the Constitution. It has been followed up vigorously by the assailants, and those who have on this occasion thrown themselves into the breach to defend our rights merit the warm applause of a grateful nation. But what are we to think of that nation in whose Senate a member can boldly avow the design to make an inroad on the Constitution, merely and expressly to secure the power of a ruling faction? He who, ten years ago, had ventured to predict this, even as a possible case, would have been viewed as a mad man; and so, perhaps, may he who now declares that the reign of terror will follow the domination of a single House of Representatives as surely as light follows the sun. The dangerous doctrine that the public will, expressed by a numerical majority, is in all cases to be Edition: current; Page: [452] obeyed, arises from a perverse confusion of ideas and leads to horrible results. That numerical majority not only may, but frequently does, will what is unwise and unjust. Those, therefore, who avow the determination strictly to comply with it, acknowledge themselves the willing instruments of folly and vice. They declare that, in order to please the people, they will make the profligate sacrifice of public right on the altar of private interest. What more can be asked by the sternest tyrant from the most despicable slave? Creatures of this sort are the tools which usurpers employ in building despotism. They are the direct counterpart of him who is described by the poet, with such inimitable force, elegance, and perspicacity: ‘Justum et tenacem proposito virum non civium, ardor prava juventium non vultus instantis tyranni mente quatit solida.’ Horace had seen the chameleon race of his day change from demagogues to courtiers, or, rather, preserving their cameleon substance, take the color of the thing they feed on.

“This letter has grown too long, and will show, perhaps, more of indignation than becomes a man who has imposed on himself the law to bear, without murmuring, the course of events. But minds in unison are responsive, like the strings of instruments exactly tuned, and I cannot behold the struggle made to preserve the peace and happiness of our country without feeling keen sympathy.”

“As to the cession of Louisiana,” Morris wrote to Jonathan Dayton, on January 7th, “I should indeed have lost all shame, as well as pretence to understanding, if I did not approve of it. A few millions more or less in the price might be a fit subject for democrats to bawl about, if the treaty had been made by their opponents, but it really seems unworthy of notice when the subject is taken up on a great scale. I see, with you, that Edition: current; Page: [453] it will not be easy to find a proper governor for the newly acquired territory, supposing always the administration to know the kind of man necessary for the office, and to seek him without any motives of party or partiality. Let me add my belief, that no man, without the support of at least one thousand American bayonets, can duly restrain the inhabitants of that region. Time, however, will unfold many things not dreamed of in the philosophy of our rulers. There are two points which do not meet my approbation. One of them is, indeed, of little consequence—the want of some restrictive designation of the amount of French grants. This defect may seriously injure hereafter the title to landed property in that quarter. I consider the amount of those grants, however great, as a trifling object of national concern; indeed, I should not be sorry that the ministers of every nation in Europe had a large landed estate in America, believing as I do what is written, that where a man’s treasure is there will his heart be also. My other objection is more serious: the stipulation to admit the inhabitants into our Union will, I believe, prove injurious to this country. I do not consider whether the admission be constitutional nor whether it be advisable, for, at the rate things go on, the Constitution cannot last, and an unbalanced monarchy will be established on its ruins. Although I seriously deprecate that event, yet, as I am not now called on to take any part in our councils, I have made up my mind to float along as gently as I may. When the catastrophe of our tragi-comical drama shall have arrived, questions on the right of citizenship will be merged. These, therefore, no longer command my attention. But, whatever may be our form of government, I consider it as of the last importance to resist every attempt which foreigners may make to interfere in our domestic concerns. Much more Edition: current; Page: [454] ought we, in my opinion, to take care that our treaties be so formed as never to furnish them with the slightest pretext. I thank you for Tracy’s speech, which is, I think, a very good one, but I fear it will not save our social compact even from the present stroke.”

But to return to the diary. “On Wednesday, January 18th, I dined,” Morris says, “at King’s, with General Hamilton, in trio. They are both alarmed at the conduct of our rulers, and think the Constitution is about to be overturned; I think it is already overturned. They apprehend a bloody anarchy; I apprehend an anarchy in which property, not lives, will be sacrificed. That it is the intention of those gentlemen who have engaged themselves in the notable business of pulling down the Constitution to rear a monarchy on its ruins, I do not believe; that such is the natural effect of their measures, I am perfectly convinced.”

It was strongly Morris’s opinion that Louisiana should have been treated consistently with the general interest of the South—New Orleans strongly fortified, and the whole territory kept as a province; but he felt that it might seem to have the appearance of vanity to attempt any advice on the subject. To Mr. Dayton, however, he expressed the following opinion on the question, in a letter of February 19th: “From the moment when the citizens of Louisiana were made members of our Union, they became the natural and political allies of the Northern and Eastern States. We have with them no competition of interest; on the contrary, our shipping and mercantile capital are essential to their wealth and prosperity, and equally indifferent is it to us whether the produce of our skill and industry be vended to those who speak English or to those who gabble the provincial dialects of France and Spain. As the spirit of policy has no passion, so that of commerce feels Edition: current; Page: [455] no attachment; both are governed by interest. The Government have defeated themselves as to their main object, and they will, I believe, equally commit themselves in every detail. The question of domestic slavery must operate against our rulers, let them decide it how they may. If you prohibit the introduction of slaves, you attack the private interest of almost every man in the country. If you countenance the introduction of slaves, you sign and seal the ruin of the Southern States. To replace black labor by white at once, you must persuade the planters to be poor till tobacco-grounds and rice-swamps shall be peopled by the sons of St. Patrick, and fortified by the blessings of liberty and equality. Think not, neither let any of our friends think, of a separation. The acquisition of Louisiana and the philanthropic system of government must throw the political power of America where the physical power now resides. Oh, how I admire those wondrous statesmen who cry out, ‘Perish a world to save a principle!’ When the principle is, as usual, false, the maxim is perfectly sublime.”

In May of this year the diary mentions, among Morris’s guests at dinner at Morrisania, M. and Madame Bonaparte and “a young Englishman of genius named Moore, a young man who has translated well several odes of Anacreon. He is said to be a favorite with the Prince of Wales.”

The entry in the diary for July 11th is the news which Mr. Wilkins came to relate, that, “General Hamilton was killed in a duel this morning by Colonel Burr.”

“I go to town [July 12th], but meet (opposite to the hospital) Martin Wilkins, who tells me General Hamilton is yet alive at Greenwich, and not, as I was told this morning, Edition: current; Page: [456] in Greenwich Street. Go there. When I arrive he is speechless. The scene is too powerful for me, so that I am obliged to walk in the garden to take breath. After having composed myself, I return and sit by his side till he expires. He is opened, and we find that the ball has broken one of his ribs, passed through the lower part of the liver, and lodged in the vertebræ of his back: a most melancholy scene—his wife almost frantic with grief, his children in tears, every person present deeply afflicted, the whole city agitated, every countenance dejected. This evening I am asked to pronounce a funeral oration. I promise to do so if I can possibly command myself enough, but express my belief that it will be utterly impossible. I am wholly unmanned by this day’s spectacle.”

“Take Mr. Harrison out to dine with me [July 13th]. Discuss the points which it may be safe to touch to-morrow, and those which it will be proper to avoid. To a man who could feebly command all his powers this subject is difficult. The first point of his biography is that he was a stranger of illegitimate birth; some mode must be contrived to pass over this handsomely. He was indiscreet, vain, and opinionated; these things must be told, or the character will be incomplete, and yet they must be told in such manner as not to destroy the interest. He was in principle opposed to republican and attached to monarchical government, and then his opinions were generally known and have been long and loudly proclaimed. His share in forming our Constitution must be mentioned, and his unfavorable opinion cannot therefore be concealed. The most important part of his life was his administration of the finances. The system he proposed was in one respect radically wrong; moreover, it has been the subject of some just and much unjust criticism. Many are still hostile to it, though on improper ground. I can Edition: current; Page: [457] neither commit myself to a full and pointed approbation, nor is it prudent to censure others. All this must, somehow or other, be reconciled. He was in principle opposed to duelling, but he has fallen in a duel. I cannot thoroughly excuse him without criminating Colonel Burr, which would be wrong, and might lead to events which every good citizen must deprecate. Indeed, this morning, when I sent for Colonel Smith, who had asked an oration from me last night, to tell him I would endeavor to say some few words over the corpse, I told him—in answer to the hope he expressed, that in doing justice to the dead I would not injure the living—that Colonel Burr ought to be considered in the same light with any other man who had killed another in a duel; that I certainly should not excite to any outrage on him, but, as it seemed evident to me that legal steps would be taken against him, prudence would, I should suppose, direct him to keep out of the way. In addition to all the difficulties of this subject is the impossibility of writing and committing anything to memory in the short time allowed. The corpse is already putrid, and the funeral procession must take place to-morrow morning.”

“A little before ten [July 14th] go to Mr. Church’s house, from whence the corpse is to move. We are detained till twelve. While moving in the procession I meditate, as much as my feelings will permit, on what I am to say. I can find no way to get over the difficulty which would attend the details of his death. It will be impossible to command either myself or my audience; their indignation amounts almost to frenzy already. Over this, then, a veil must be drawn. I must not, either, dwell on his domestic life; he has long since foolishly published the avowal of conjugal infidelity. Something, however, must be said to excite public pity for his family, which he Edition: current; Page: [458] has left in indigent circumstances. I speak for the first time in the open air, and find that my voice is lost before it reaches one-tenth of the audience. Get through the difficulties tolerably well; am of necessity short, especially as I feel the impropriety of acting a dumb show, which is the case as to all those who see but cannot hear me. I find that what I have said does not answer the general expectation. This I knew would be the case; it must ever happen to him whose duty it is to allay the sentiment which he is expected to arouse. How easy would it have been to make them, for a moment, absolutely mad! This evening Mr. Coleman, editor of the Evening Post, calls. He requests me to give him what I have said. He took notes, but found his language so far inferior that he threw it in the fire. Promise, if he will write what he remembers, I will endeavor to put it into the terms which were used. He speaks very highly of the discourse; more so than it deserves. Mr. Hammond, who dined with us, desired me to think of some means to provide for poor Hamilton’s familty. Mr. Gracie and Mr. Wolcott called for the same purpose. I had already mentioned the matter to Mr. Low, who seems to think a subscription will not go down well, because the children have a rich grand-father. Mr. Hammond mentions certain engagements in bank, indorsed by Ludlow and David Ogden. The same thing probably exists as to him, Gracie, and Wolcott. Be motives what they may, I will use the occasion and freely pay my quota. Clarkson will unquestionably do as much. David Ogden says he, Clarkson, will do more than he ought. He is a worthy fellow, as, indeed, he always was, and is extremely wounded. He said to me on Thursday, just after our friend had expired: ‘If we were truly brave we should not accept a challenge; but we are all cowards.’ The tears rolling down his face gave strong effect to the voice and Edition: current; Page: [459] manner with which he pronounced this sentence. There is no braver man living, and yet I doubt whether he would so far brave the public opinion as to refuse a challenge.”

Together with others of General Hamilton’s friends, Morris spent much time endeavoring to arrange his affairs, which were in sad disorder. “Our friend Hamilton,” he wrote to Robert Morris, “has been suddenly cut off in the midst of embarrassments which would have required several years of professional industry to set straight: a debt of between fifty thousand and sixty thousand dollars hanging over him, a property which in time may sell for seventy thousand or eighty thousand, but which, if brought to the hammer, would not, in all probability, fetch forty; a family of seven young children. We have opened a subscription to provide for these orphans, and his warm-hearted friends, judging of others by themselves, expect more from it than I do.”

“I attend to-day,” Morris notes in his diary for July 17th, “a meeting of the Cincinnati. Order letters to be written by a committee to the Vice-President, General, and the Presidents of the State Societies; also to Mrs. Hamilton. Order a monument to be raised in Trinity Church; also desire Mr. Mason to pronounce a funeral oration. There is a question whether Mr. Pendleton should appear and answer, being summoned before the coroner’s inquest. It is finally settled that it is not necessary. The declaration of the dying man is sufficient.”

“Go to town [July 31st] to attend the Cincinnati, and to hear the funeral oration made at their request by Dr. Mason.”

For many years Morris had maintained silence on the subject of calumnies, mentioned in a former chapter, which Mr. Dean had published in the columns of the Aurora against him at the time of his mission to France. Edition: current; Page: [460] But in August, 1804, it became necessary to take steps with regard to them, and also that he should have friends in France to vouch for his good name. When asking M. Leray de Chaumont and M. J. C. Mountflorence to act for him, he spoke of the affair in a letter to the letter, dated August 22d, as follows:

“The publisher of the Aurora thought proper, some years ago, to publish, among other scurrilities against me, that I had been recalled because of an illicit correspondence with England. For this calumny I instituted a prosecution, and now, when the cause is near to maturity, he has asked a commission to examine witnesses in France, and has named as commissioners General Armstrong, our new minister, and Mr. Joel Barlow; and I have named you and my friend Leray de Chaumont. It will, I presume, be attempted to support the vile calumny by the testimony of false witnesses, or by the proof of what someone or other on some occasion may have said. I confidently rely that both you and Leray will do what may be proper to protect the reputation of an absent friend. General Armstrong ought in prudence to repel the vile attempt of a common libeller to tarnish the character of a predecessor—the chance and change of all human things may place him hereafter in a similar situation. Doubtless he counts on the good will of those men towards him and on their sense of his influence in the councils of our degraded country. I am sure that neither of you will see with indifference the attempt to blast my reputation. The profligate and the perjured, who will believe all that is said, and swear to all that is asked, may indeed give the required testimony. The attempt is not made, I am convinced, in any hope to establish the fact he had the audacity to charge, but with the desire to procure materials for new defamation.

Edition: current; Page: [461]


Letter to Mr. Parish. Reflections on Bonaparte’s intervention in Germany. Ideas on the re-election of Jefferson. Letter to John Penn, of London. The political world of America. Takes no active part in politics. Letter to Aaron Ogden. Believes the Constitution has received a mortal wound. Letter to the Duke of Orleans. Gives his opinion on the chances of the Bourbon restoration. Comments on European affairs.

Morris never ceased, naturally, to take an active interest in the affairs of the Continent of Europe, as well as in the political condition of Great Britain, and from time to time gave Mr. Parish the benefit of his reflections. Bonaparte’s intervention in Germany called forth a long letter on October 2d, in which he says: “In reflecting on the misfortunes which have befallen your city of Hamburg, I am forced to recollect a reproof I gave to one of your merchants for a want not only of Christian charity and national sentiment but, as it seemed to me, common humanity, when, the neutrality of the North being secured, Frankfort-on-the-Main was greatly distressed. I told him the time would probably come when Hamburg would, in her turn, experience the same distresses from the same cause. He seemed to suppose, and that opinion was indeed pretty general among you, that you were all safe under the protection of Russia. On all this subject I have had for many years of my life but one opinion. Ever since Frederick put himself at the head of the North to protect the rights of the Germanic body, there have, in my opinion, been two German Edition: current; Page: [462] Emperors, and the fault which I have perceived in Austrian politics was not to see the affair in that simple light, and agree at once to a partition. This alone would, in my poor opinion, have saved that country from France.

“It is now organized in such a way that of three parties, the Austrian, the Prussian, and the French, this last must be the strongest and, playing off the two first against each other, will govern the whole. Russia cannot, I think, act efficiently so far from home without deriving great resource from Britain or making the scene of war support her troops. Both may be needful, and France will certainly pursue those plans by which she has hitherto succeeded. If, therefore, you are to be protected you must pay for that protection, and if you are conquered you must pay for being conquered, and if you are plundered alternately by both parties you must pay liberal contributions for the honor thus conferred upon you. After all, you will find that you are depending on a dream, which for people wide-awake is a strange economy. This dream is what you call the Constitution of the Empire; in other words, the Treaty of Westphalia. Now when the constitution of a State exists only in and by a treaty it has, in effect, no constitution at all. Its fate must ever depend on its neighbors. Thus the condition of Germany depended on the relation of force between Austria and France till Prussia rose to a certain degree of eminence. Then the balance was destroyed; France had an ally to whom she could give the North whenever sufficient objects elsewhere might require it.

“The incidental circumstance that a King of Great Britain should be at the same time Elector of Hanover threw a small wheel into the machine which could only embarrass its progress without altering essentially the results. His Britannic Majesty, in his royal capacity, was Edition: current; Page: [463] the natural enemy, and in his electoral capacity the natural friend, of France. This single reflection will go further to unravel the policy of the Cabinet of St. James’s since the accession of the Brunswick line than half a volume of sterile facts. That we may come, then, to your situation, you are a fine prize to the neighbor to whom you may be allotted; but, if you remain a sovereignty, it must be owing to incidents so much out of the way in which events usually proceed that it will appear to me as a miracle. Those who find fault with the politics of Berlin are not, I believe, well acquainted with the interior of that country. Prussia has grown up so fast that, like all other plants of rapid growth, there is a want of solidity. A metaphor, I know, is not a reason; and I know, also, that to quote the text, ‘Those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword,’ will not, in the present temper of mankind, be considered as a sufficient proof of any worldly proposition. I must, therefore, say that a French army would wholly disjoint that monarchy. Poland is indignant at her present condition, and especially at the policy (which she calls perfidy) by which she was reduced to it. The chief blame is laid by the Poles on the late King of Prussia. There exists another interior cause of weakness. Frederick the Great was, in one respect, a very little and short-sighted politician. His vanity led him to sacrifice the power and safety of his successors to purchase the incense of a few wits who had undertaken to destroy the Christian religion; and here that hath happened which is written, ‘The fathers ate sour grapes which hath set the children’s teeth on edge.’ The destruction of religion has loosened the bonds of duty, and those of allegiance must ever be weak when there is a defect both of piety and morality. Frederick maintained his philosophy on the enthusiasm which his talents and Edition: current; Page: [464] good fortune had inspired. But when the talents went to the grave the blaze of enthusiasm naturally sank from the want of fuel; and I see no such fuel in the ministers of His Majesty.

“When I was at Berlin, the fate of Europe was in the hands of that Cabinet. I mentioned to one or two what, in my opinion, might be done. Among others, I detailed it to old Haugwitz. He pressed my hand, the tears rolling down his cheek, and cried out, ‘Oh, my dear sir, if the great Frederick, my old master, were alive, this conduct would indeed be as wise as it is great, but, alas!’ The time, I think, is now gone by, and can only return by some heavy misfortune to the French Emperor. If that should happen, feeble counsellors would take advantage of it to show the wisdom of remaining quiet before, and thence deduce the wisdom of still remaining quiet. I suppose, throughout, that there is no corruption. If there be, and you wish to know it, you must apply to M. de la Forêt and M. Talleyrand.”

Of the democratic principles and the politics of his own country Morris gave a short but pungent description, November 20th, in a letter to a friend in which he says: “Democratic principles are in the high-road of successful experiment, and we seem to be sailing before the wind in the old track towards monarchy, which has ever been the termination of mob government. Something may happen to arrest this progress to anarchy and stop us short of the abyss, and I indulge flattering hopes, but should be puzzled to assign any rational ground.”

To Madame de Staël he wrote in December, to congratulate her on her return to France: “J’ai vu par les gazettes allemandes, madame, qu’il vous est permis d’habiter la France, et sachant votre amour pour la patrie, je vous en fais mes félicitations. Vos affaires sont en si bonnes mains Edition: current; Page: [465] ici qu’elles ne peuvent que s’en bien trouver. [A certain Mr. Cooper had charge of the lands Mr. Morris had purchased for her.] Les détails, pourtant, ne peuvent vous être nuisibles, puisque le canton où sont vos terres est de plus en plus recherché par les colons de la Nouvelle Angleterre que nous appelons Yankees et qui sont, en effet, des meilleurs. Ainsi le prix ne manquera pas de devenir plus élevé.”

Affairs of various descriptions occupied Morris during the winter and summer of 1805. His business correspondence was large, and he was, besides, deeply engrossed in large land-schemes which required always the utmost knowledge and tact to successfully develop, and were rendered all the more difficult because many of the holders of land were foreigners, living in different parts of Europe, and communication was slow and uncertain.

Letters supply the history of this winter and spring better than the diary, but not before June 2d was there a letter of any particular interest written. Morris gives his friend Mr. Parish in this letter his ideas on the re-election of Mr. Jefferson, “who,” he says, “notwithstanding your conjectures, has been re-elected without opposition, although the talent of the country and most of its property is opposed to him. But his party thrive by sacrificing permanent public interest to a fleeting popularity. Their opponents therefore cannot expect favor from the people until the mischiefs that result from misconduct shall be felt. Mr. Jefferson’s supporters (the knowing ones, I mean) are Edition: current; Page: [466] all aware of his incapacity, but they have no person whom they can run, and their present object is to find out some new idol for the people to worship for the benefit of his priests. This party is split into two unequal portions: those who call themselves the moderates, and those who call themselves the genuine republicans; in other words, the few who enjoy, and the many who covet emolument. The former think as such folk always think, that measures which brought them into power deserve the name of reform, but that a continuance of such measures, annoying them in the exercise of power, is a flagrant abuse. They, of course, cry up the advantages of moderation, while their opponents point out their well-known vices and acknowledged defects. These folk have agreed to speak well of Jefferson, abuse the federalists, and disagree about everything else. This honorable compact has hitherto been adhered to and, except the first article, will not be violated. But notwithstanding that gentleman’s timid cunning, he will hardly be able so to trim for three years to come as not to be openly attacked before his time expires. If those who egged him on to violate his duty should hereafter punish him for it, you must not be surprised; for this, also, is in the natural order of things. Remember me affectionately to Voght, and tell him he had better come and purchase a barony in America; for if we should get revolutionized we must, in our turn, be be-starred and begartered, but if not, property must acquire its due weight, and, when joined to ability, secure to the possessor all that the world covets, so that he has a sure game to play.”

The following letter to the Honorable John Penn, Esq., M.P., of London, was written in consequence of a request from Mr. Penn for information of his ancestor, William Penn.

Edition: current; Page: [467]

“Your ancestor,” Morris wrote, “was a truly great man whose qualities are not so well known as they ought to be. I have written to a son of my uncle Robert Hunter Morris, to examine his father’s papers, and collect such materials as he may find among them suited to your purpose. The plan you mention is in every respect laudable. Our families have been connected in friendship from the reign of Charles the First, and when your father received the resignation of my uncle, he, in testifying his concern, said he had hoped, as long as there existed any of the name of Penn and Morris, the former would be the proprietors and the latter the governors of Pennsylvania. I cannot give authentication to many facts of a delicate nature, which I therefore forbear to mention. In general, there rests in my mind a conviction that your family was about that time betrayed by some in whom they reposed confidence, and whom, unfortunately, they continued to trust after unquestionable evidence of perfidy. Your good sense and humanity will, I trust, lead you to tread lightly on the ashes even of those men.

“I am glad that a personal acquaintance has enabled you to know the justice of that favorable opinion which I had formed and expressed of your royal family. The King is not only a well-bred gentleman, but (if I am able to form an opinion from conversations, not infrequent, at his levee) a man of much valuable information and sound sense. He is, moreover, religiously attached to his duty, and perfectly well knows what is required from a King, and from a British King. . . . In the art of government we supposed ourselves adepts, but time and experience will show, and perhaps remedy, our defects. . . . In effect, our population is too sparse for much mischief, and Edition: current; Page: [468] it is evidently the interest of a majority, as it is certainly the general interest, to maintain order and support justice. When some storm shall arise from abroad, and who, in the changeable climate of political life, can expect a continued calm? the mischiefs of our system will show themselves so clearly as to compel the most unwilling to submit to proper alterations. In short, my dear sir, men, like other animals, discover instinctively what is fit for them, and thus government becomes the result of character, manners, and condition. By the by, you mistake in supposing that I hold an office. I am in what Mr. Madison calls the post of honor, viz., a private station.”

To Mr. Mountflorence Morris wrote on June 22d, rather despondingly, of the political world of America: “Our democrats are split (from New England southward) under various appellations, amounting, in effect, to the difference between the Modérés and Jacobins in France, or between those who have got into power and those who are getting into power on the shoulders of the mob. By this word mob I mean not so much the indigent as the vicious, hot-headed, and inconsiderate part of the community, together with that numerous host of tools which knaves do work with called fools. These folks form the majority of all empires, kingdoms, and commonwealths, and, of course, when not restrained by political institutions or coerced by an armed force, possess the efficient power. And as power so possessed must needs be abused, it follows, in direct consequence, that the affairs of a democracy will ever be in the hands of weak and wicked men, unless when distress or danger shall compel a reluctant people to choose a wise and virtuous administration. From this you will perhaps infer that democracy is a bad species of government; but there we shall disagree, for I hold that it is no government at Edition: current; Page: [469] all, but, in fact, the death or dissolution of other systems, or the passage from one kind of government to another. What the new system may be time alone can discover.”

That philosophy which was one of Morris’s strong characteristics he clearly showed in the following letter to Robert R. Livingston, in which he made a mild remonstrance against an imputed indifference to the public welfare from the fact of his not holding office under the Government.

“I have always found,” he says, “that the enmity of my enemies could be counted on with more certainty than the friendship of my friends. That I and my friends take no part in the politics of the day is not only natural but necessary, for if we should support either faction of a party whose point of union was their enmity to us, we should acknowledge as true the false and foul charges they brought against us. . . . But, my dear sir, when you speak of my indifference you do not sufficiently consider my situation. I never sought, avoided, or resigned an office, but continued at my last post to the latest moment, and was then replaced by a gentleman who was, I presume, more worthy of the public confidence.

“It becomes me, in submission to the will of my fellow-citizens, to doubt of my talents, for I cannot, neither can they, doubt of my integrity. Unworthy, then, of the honors and offices of our country, what remains but to cultivate quietly my farm and bring my sentiments to the level of my condition? My future conduct must be governed by circumstances which cannot now be foreseen, but as the people have thought proper to sever those ties by which I was formerly bound to their service, they have conferred a right to accept or refuse any future offer. I am connected with the members of my party by their worth and by their kindness. If I could for a moment Edition: current; Page: [470] suppose they harbored designs unfriendly to our country, that moment the connection would be dissolved. But I have all the evidence which the nature of the case admits, that their views are honorable, just, and patriotic. I believe this, also, of many among your party and among your present adversaries. It is my wish that every such man were numbered in our fold, that so we might stand and fall together. I shall not, however, preach politics in the vain hope of making converts; for a mind cooled by the winters of half a century has no disposition to become a moral Quixote. It is my duty to accept with resignation what the will of God has offered, and this becomes less difficult from a conviction that few men or things are worth one anxious thought.”

“To-day I dine with the corporation,” the diary for November 25th mentions. “After dinner Mr. King and I visit a party to which we were invited—a large dinner given to General Moreau. It seems certain that our Government will adhere to the resolution of doing nothing. Great Britain will probably increase the depredations on our commerce. Spain will perhaps give the Floridas for the country west of the Mississippi, provided we give boot. Miranda has been down, and, as we expected, met with no encouragement. He is now engaged in a project which would be wise if backed by this country, but appears wild in its present form.”

Being appealed to by Mr. Jonathan Dayton, during the autumn of this year, to enlighten the public, through the medium of the gazettes, on the foreign and domestic concerns of the country, Morris objected to this request the fact that the newspapers already abounded in articles Edition: current; Page: [471] which “few,” he wrote, December 18th, “take the trouble to read, and it is not easy to enlighten those who are not already possessed of more information than men in general can spare time to acquire. And, after all, it would be presumptuous in me to obtrude the reflections and experience of only thirty years on a community every member of which is a statesman born. That our administration is too feeble is, I believe, too true. What you say of their chief is curious. When he told you we have the choice of enemies, he stated a fact applicable at all times to all countries, since any blundering blockhead can make a war; but when he acknowledged that we have not a choice of friends, he pronounced the severest satire on himself, since this misfortune can be attributed only to a series of false and foolish measures. The position of our country enables her, in general, to take the part which may best suit her interest; and the state of Europe for several years past has been such that the exercise of a little common-sense would not only have preserved us from our present ridiculous condition but placed us perfectly at ease both at home and abroad.”

“You ask me a question,” Morris wrote, December 28th, to Mr. Aaron Ogden, of Elizabethtown, “telling me, at the same time, that it can be answered by none but a prophet. I hope you do not mean to confer that title on me, who pretend only to compare present events with what happened in the ancient days. Those who will not believe Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe though one should rise from the dead; and those who will not trust the experience of history are incapable of political knowledge. Your question is a kind of dilemma. If by the former part you mean to ask whether the power of our Federal Constitution will be committed to able, respectable men—I answer, no. That Constitution received, Edition: current; Page: [472] through the judiciary, a mortal wound, and has declined more rapidly than was apprehended by the most fearful. To the second part of your dilemma I say that, if the morals of our country were sound, we might foster high hopes; but, thanks to the present administration, we have travelled farther in the road to corruption during three years than England did in half a century. British corruption has, indeed, been greatly exaggerated. It is far from general, either in the House of Commons or in the election of members to that house. A choice in the counties being made (as you know) by free-holders, is, generally speaking, out of the reach of corrupt influence, and it is to be noted, in reasoning on English affairs, that the ministers always, on important questions, consult the wishes of county members; so that a measure is abandoned if disagreeable to them. With us corruption begins where, by the analogies of England, it should have ended. Our people are deeply corrupted by that licentious spirit which seeks emolument in the prostration of authority. The outwork of respect has long since been carried, and every new election presents a more hideous picture of the public mind; so that, if the character of the people is to be estimated by the objects of their choice, we shall find it difficult to support a claim to wisdom or virtue. No parallel can perhaps be found to such morbid affection, unless among the Athenians, and even the mob government of that extravagant tribe was in some respects preferable to representative democracy. A mob is, indeed, a whimsical legislature and a wild tribunal, but it has, in the midst of its madness, some sense of national honor and some regard for justice. A body of representatives, when influenced by Faction, will do acts of cruelty and baseness which the most profligate among them would, in his personal character, be ashamed to avow.

Edition: current; Page: [473]

“You conclude, perhaps, that I adopt the second part of your dilemma. If so, you are mistaken. Our population is sparse and (pardon a coarse allusion), like small beer, more susceptible of acetous than spirituous fermentation. It is probable that the relaxation of morals will operate chiefly on the judicial department, be more characterized by fraud than violence, and terminate rather in baseness than tyranny. But there is, as you know, a point of depression from which things return in a contrary course. There are also chances which may befall us before we reach that ultimate point. Being in the great family of nations, our family cannot be ignorant of our condition. They must perceive that, without force to protect a territory and commerce widely extended, without wisdom or vigor in our councils, we present a fair object to their cupidity. If, then, we do not receive a broad hint within ten years it must be numbered among the moral phenomena. Nations, like individuals, are not to be reasoned out of vice much less out of folly, but learn wisdom and virtue in the school of affliction. . . . America, my good friend, will at length learn some of those things which an attentive study of the ancients long since taught you. The people of the United States will discover that every kind of government is liable to evil; that the best is that which has fewest faults; that the excellence even of that best depends more on its fitness for the nation where it is established than on intrinsic perfection. . . . How far the influence of habits, manners, and opinions will permit them to pursue the best road is a problem of no easy solution. One thing is certain, democracy cannot last. It is not so much a government as the dissolution of government, being, indeed, the natural death of republics; so that, in reality, there are but two forms, monarchy and aristocracy. That either should exist Edition: current; Page: [474] unmixed is next to impossible. The despot must employ many who will both check and direct his power, and the most cunning senate cannot avoid giving to individuals a considerable share of authority. Moreover, be the complexion of a government monarchic or aristocratic, it can do little when unsupported by popular sentiment.

“Our poor friend Hamilton bestrode his hobby, to the great annoyance of his friends and not without injury to himself. More a theoretic than a practical man, he was not sufficiently convinced that a system may be good in itself and bad in relation to particular circumstances. He well knew that his favorite form was inadmissible, unless as the result of civil war, and I suspect that his belief in that which he called an approaching crisis arose from a conviction that the kind of government most suitable, in his opinion, to this extensive country, could be established in no other way.

“When our population shall have reached a certain extent his system may be proper, and the people may then be disposed to adopt it; but under present circumstances they will not, neither would it answer any valuable purpose. Statesmen are frequently obliged to acknowledge that the things which they consider as best are unattainable. It would be a misfortune, under present circumstances, to be chosen member of a convention for the purpose of mending our Constitution. A man may easily put his finger on its faults: but let it be remembered that nothing human is perfect, and that every change is hazardous.

“When a general question is raised as to the best form of government, it should be discussed under the consideration that this best, being presupposed, is, if unable to preserve itself, good for nothing; wherefore permanency is an essential object to which minor advantage must be sacrificed. Edition: current; Page: [475] But an absolute, that is, an unmixed monarchy, would hardly last three lives. Perhaps, on impartial in quiry, it may appear that a country is best governed (taking for a standard any long period, such as half a century) when the principal authority is vested in a permanent senate. But there seems little probability that such a body should be established here. Let it be proposed by the best men among us, and it would be considered as a plan for aggrandizing themselves. Experience alone can incline the people to such an institution. That a man should be born a legislator is now among unfledged witlings the frequent subject of ridicule. But experience, that wrinkled matron which genius contemns and youth abhors—experience, the mother of wisdom—will tell us that the man destined from the cradle to act an important part will not, in general, be so unfit as those who are objects of popular choice. But hereditary senators could not long preserve their power. In order to strengthen the body it might be needful to weaken the members, and, fixing the office for life, fill up vacancies from (but not by) the people. When a general abuse of the right of election shall have robbed our government of respect, and its imbecility have involved it in difficulties, the people will feel what your friend once said, that they want something to protect them against themselves. ‘Is thy servant,’ said the Syrian general, ‘a dog, that he should do this thing?’ Put down the names of fifty leading democrats from the North. You will, on a change of times, see them as obsequiously cringe to individuals as they now servilely flatter the populace; for a courtier and demagogue differ only in forms, which, like clothes, are put on and off as suits the occasion. Interiorly there is the same rottenness, the same duplicity, the same fawning, the same treachery, the same baseness. Hold up to each his picture and each will, like Edition: current; Page: [476] the Syrian, exclaim, ‘Is it possible thy servant should be such a dog.’ Yet dogs, vile dogs like these, possess themselves of power under despotic or democratic rule.”

Just at this time, while looking over and adjusting his affairs, Morris found “some articles,” as he expressed it, “at the debit of his Royal Highness the Duke of Orleans;” but, with his accustomed delicacy in dealing with those among the émigrés who had appealed to him for sympathy in former years, in advising the Duke of his indebtedness he wrote: “I send a note to my friends Messrs. Inglis and Ellice on the subject. These gentlemen will do themselves the honor of applying to your Royal Highness on the subject. The payment must depend entirely on your Royal Highness’s convenience, for although it would, under present circumstances, be very convenient to me to receive—the principles which first led to the advance will ever prevent me from pressing the payment at a moment unsuitable.”

The principal and interest of the debt amounted at this moment to upward of seven thousand dollars. “I hope,” Morris wrote to Messrs. Inglis and Ellice, “it may suit the Duke of Orleans to pay; but if not, it will be right to have the account settled and take a note for the amount.” The Duke of Orleans finally, and after much reluctance, paid the original debt, but the interest never reached Morris. Whether it was ever paid, and the money kept back by some agent employed in the affair, will remain always uncertain.

In January, 1806, Morris made occasion to write to the Duke, and, first giving him his opinion in regard to the chances of a restoration of the Bourbons to the throne of France, he further said:

“Si je ne me suis pas permis d’écrire souvent à votre Altesse Royale, ce n’est pas que j’aie perdu de vue ses Edition: current; Page: [477] intérêts ou ceux de son auguste famille, mais dans la conviction qu’il m’était impossible de lui être utile. J’ai cru devoir déplorer en silence ses malheurs et ceux de la France—malheurs qui ne m’étaient point inattendus et que j’avais même prédits il y a quinze ans. Les circonstances actuelles, suites nécessaires de celles qui les ont précédées, me frappèrent fortement l’esprit lors du traité d’Amiens. Je supplie votre Altesse Royale de vouloir bien me permettre d’y jeter un coup d’œil rapide.

“Il me semble que les grandes puissances n’ont aucune envie de remettre sur le trône la Maison royale de France. À commencer par l’Autriche, il n’est pas douteux que les Bourbons, qui se sont opposés à son agrandissement, en Italie comme en Espagne et lui ont arraché l’Espagne, seront toujours les objets de sa haine; au ressentiment du passé se joindra la crainte de l’avenir. Je ne crois pas non plus que l’Angleterre désire une révolution en France. Le moment d’enthousiasme passé, la saine politique lui défend maintenant de réunir la France à l’Espagne. Il est de son intérêt que les royaumes en deçà et au delà des Pyrénées soient rivaux. La France, dans sa qualité de protectrice de l’Allemagne, est la ressource des princes faibles contre l’Empereur. Ils comptent d’autant plus sur elle qu’il est de sa politique d’éloigner les armées autrichiennes du Rhin, et d’y entretenir de petites puissances lesquelles lui seront dévouées par la relation de leur faiblesse avec sa force. Sous ce point de vue, il est indifférent à la Prusse que Louis ou Napoléon soit assis sur le trône; mais il ne lui est pas indifférent que la France soit ouverte du côté de l’Espagne, de l’Angleterre et de l’Italie, puisque plus ses dangers sont grands plus elle recherchera l’alliance de la Prusse. Si Bonaparte s’est permis, en dernier lieu, de négliger la cour de Berlin, Edition: current; Page: [478] c’est par la seule conscience de sa propre force. Aussi la prépondérance de cette force a-t-elle fait ouvrir enfin les yeux de Sa Majesté prussienne aux dangers de l’Europe. Mais elle renouera ses anciennes liaisons au moment où Napoleon ne pourra plus attenter aux droits des autres nations.

“La Russie, par suite de son éloignement et de sa force colossale, peut se dispenser de prendre un vif intérêt à la politique intérieure de la France; mais, vu l’instinct naturel aux souverains, elle ne sera pas fâchée de voir une puissance médiocre à la place d’une très grande. Il est vrai qu’un mouvement passager, soit d’indignation soit de générosité, peut déranger pour un moment les calculs politiques qui, à la longue pourtant, dirigent les cabinets.

“Ainsi je crois, Monseigneur, que dans les circonstances actuelles on ne doit pas espérer la rétablissement de la famille royale en France, et j’ose bâtir, sur cette considération même, son agrandissement éventuel. À cet effet, voyons un instant le but poursuivi par l’alliance et les Alliés. On cherche, d’abord, à diminuer la force d’un conquérant redoutable—but d’ordre général provenant d’un intérêt tout aussi général. Aussi, c’est l’objet unique de la Russie du côté de l’occident. L’Autriche convoite la Bavière dont l’Électeur, en s’alliant à la France, lui donne beau jeu. Elle désire, aussi, se réhabiliter en Italie, mais ses alliés n’ont point le même désir. La Prusse veut acquérir l’Électorat de Hanovre, avec les Villes Hanséatiques, Hambourg, Lübeck et Brême. Il me semble que le roi d’Angleterre doit s’y préter, pourvu que les Pays-Bas autrichiens, y compris l’Évêché de Liège, lui soient accordés en échange. La Hollande tomberait alors en échange du pays de Fulde, en partage à la Maison d’Orange, sous le titre de duché-principauté ou tel autre Edition: current; Page: [479] qu’on voudra. Dans tout état de choses, les Alliés seront d’accord pour prendre à Bonaparte ses possessions en Italie; et voilà, je crois, ce qu’il faut demander pour le roi de France, en y comprenant la Savoie. Les Alliés, à l’exception de l’Empereur, doivent le désirer, puisqu’on s’assurera par ce moyen une barrière contre la France et contre l’Autriche; choses utiles à l’Angleterre, à la Prusse et à l’Espagne, mais essentielles au pape et au roi de Naples. Il me semble que l’Autriche même n’en sera pas très éloignée, parce qu’il lui vaudra mieux renoncer à ses projets sur l’Italie que de s’exposer à être envahie par la France. Je suis même persuadé qu’elle y consentira de bonne grâce si on lui accorde la Bavière. Dans ce cas pourtant, il conviendrait de prendre en échange pour le roi de Sardaigne le territoire de Venise et que le roi de Prusse fasse la cession d’Anspach et de Bayreuth à l’Électeur de Bavière.

“Au reste, on ne peut pas plaire à tout le monde, et on ne doit pas faire dépendre les plus grands intérêts des plus petits. Or, le plus grand intérêt, ou (ce qui revient au même) celui qui paraît l’être, est d’ériger une forte puissance dans le nord de l’Italie, pour en fermer les portes aux voisins.

“La renonciation du roi au trône de France pourra bien le révolter, mais cette renonciation me paraît l’unique moyen de s’en assurer. Un acte de ce genre est nul, par la constitution de la monarchie, et lorsque les Français rappelleront leur roi, il ne sera plus le maître de différer; or, il m’est démontré qu’ils lui adresseront cette invitation, surtout s’il se trouve en état de leur faire cadeau du Piémont, etc. En supposant que Bonaparte soit vivement pressé par ses ennemis—et certes, il doit à la longue fléchir sous le poids de leurs armes—il sera fort aise de céder le royaume d’Italie pour s’assurer de la France. Edition: current; Page: [480] Mais la France, réduite à ses anciennes limites et voyant se dissiper le prestige dont on l’a bercée, ne souffrira plus le régime actuel. Les ambitieux qu’elle recèle dans son sein s’entredéchireront jusqu’à ce qu’il se trouve un chef assez sage pour rechercher la famille de Bourbon, qui seule peut rétablir le calme et le bonheur. Mais il est de la dernière importance qu’au moment où les vrais Français reviendront à leurs anciens sentiments, leur roi soit dans une position où il pourra les appuyer d’une force considérable. À cet effet, s’étant ménagé, par une économie sage, de quoi faire marcher un corps de troupes suisses et s’étant assuré d’une puissante diversion du côté de l’Espagne, le coup sera frappé avant que les grandes puisances ne s’en mêlent; et, la chose faite, elles enverront à Sa Majesté des ambassadeurs, lui témoigner une satisfaction qu’elles ne ressentiront pas. Je vous demande mille pardons, Monseigneur, d’avoir tant abusé de votre patience, et vous prie de croire que je suis, avec le plus respectueux attachement, de votre Altesse Royale le très humble serviteur.”

Edition: current; Page: [481]

Accounts from Europe were at this moment unfavorable to the Allied Powers. Napoleon was over the Inn, and marching against the Austrians; the Russians were not yet collected to oppose him with effect. Commenting on this state of affairs, January 3d, 1806, to Messrs. Inglis, Ellice & Co., his bankers in London, Morris says:

“By activity alone Bonaparte can avoid being crushed Edition: current; Page: [482] by the weight of the Allies, if, as I take it, both Prussia and Denmark, with Saxony and Hesse-Cassel, are opposed to him. This contest must terminate by reducing the power of France, or leaving the world at her mercy for some time to come.

“Your glorious sea-combat under Lord Nelson shows Edition: current; Page: [483] what those who attended to the subject were long since convinced of—that you are completely masters of the ocean. In the consciousness of power you will, I fear, overleap the bounds both of prudence and justice, of which we, in the first instance, and you in the last, will be victims. I know it must be unpleasant to your mercantile spirit to see a large, and, we may add, a disproportionate share of the world’s commerce under the American flag, and the cupidity of your seamen may cast a longing eye at the spoil which might be torn from us almost without an effort. But it would be wise to consider that now, as heretofore, the results of our industry are poured into your lap, and that in the vicissitude of human affairs you may find it needful to invoke principles which it may now be convenient to neglect. I will not make this letter a treatise on national law, but simply observe that, if to carry to your enemy the implements of war be unjustifiable, it is certainly justifiable to supply him with bread; and if it is justifiable to supply him with necessaries, it is more than justifiable to supply him with luxuries. Far from blaming, you should praise us for sending tea and coffee to France and Spain, taking from them as we do, in return, their money—the sinews of war. That our administration and their friends and servants have not treated you with the friendship and respect which good men among us wish is true; but we ought not, on that account, to be embroiled, for in the course of a contest the cause is frequently forgotten. Irritation supplies the place of reason and lasting enmities arise from accidental circumstances. I hope this will not be.”

“I have just read the memoirs of Talleyrand,” Morris wrote to his friend Mr. Parish, February 18th, “in which I find some truth with a great deal of falsehood. Everything is exaggerated, even his wealth of talents. Edition: current; Page: [484] His character, also, is mistaken. He is not exactly of criminal disposition, though certainly indifferent between virtue and vice; he would rather do right than do wrong, and would not, I believe, perpetrate a great crime. The story of poisoning, and the like, cannot be true. Many similar publications have lately fallen into my hands, and the French Revolutionists are painted in them as black as the devil. Unquestionably there has been more of crime acted within the last ten years on the French theatre than is usually to be found in the records of history; and as unquestionably the systems reared on such abominable foundations must soon crumble into ruin. Such is the unalterable law of God, attested by the undeviating experience of past ages, but it will not be by hands perfectly pure that the present powers will be overthrown, or new ones raised. Crime begets crime, and one abomination succeeds to another, until mankind are driven back towards innocence by the sore experience of guilt. From the banks of the Elbe, now alive with navigation, you will look calmly at the storm of nations.”

Again on March 19th he wrote to Mr. Parish: “We have not sufficient information to decide on the actual or probable state of things in Europe, but it would seem that the power of Austria lies prostrate at the foot of France. If this be so, Napoleon will consult merely his own interest. To make up a judgment of this sort, more talent and more intelligence are required than I pretend to possess; of course, my best calculations are but guess-work. I guess, however, that the territory of Venice, and perhaps the Tyrolese, will be taken from Austria, together with everything which belongs to it in Suabia. I guess that Poland will be again formed into a kingdom, and perhaps Prussia may be compensated by Hanover for the loss of territory elsewhere. Perhaps Silesia may be restored to Edition: current; Page: [485] Austria. I will not make any further guesses, but I conclude that the peace will be terminated just in season for the operations of the next campaign, and that in the mean time the French armies will subsist on the conquered countries. Prussia will hardly contend single-handed against France, and Napoleon will probably reserve his decisions as to his friend in Prussia till he has finished his enemy in Austria. Whether he will do more than threaten us will, I presume, depend on the counsel of Britain. Mr. Pitt will perhaps be removed and an administration be formed from the friends of Fox and Grenville in spite of the King, and any new administration must adopt something new in its conduct. Fox, to preserve anything like consistency, must try to make peace; and Grenville must, for the same reason, insist on war till a better peace can be made than the Treaty of Amiens. Thus the facts which regard us are purely conjectural, and, of course, the conclusions to be drawn from them. We are not even a secondary consideration in the councils of France. If, to get a breathing spell, some new compact be patched up with England, Napoleon will certainly be troublesome to us, and he will push Spain forward (as the injured party), reserving to himself the game of a faithful ally to Spain.

“There, my dear sir, I have given you the best result of my speculations.”

Edition: current; Page: [486]


The summer of 1806. Letter to Samuel Hunt. Morris fears war. Conduct of the administration. Letter to Madame de Staël. General Moreau. Letter to Chief Justice Marshall. Washington’s character. Details relative to Lafayette’s liberation in 1796. Waiting for European news. Begs Madame de Staël to come to Morrisania. Napoleon’s victory at Friedland. Letter to Madame Foucault. Letter to the Marquis of Stafford.

Several short tours through New York and New England occupied and interested Morris during the summer of 1806. The pretty farms and picturesque country through which he passed, over hills, and down into valleys along the banks of streams, made a charming variety. “I do not remember,” he says, “to have seen anywhere so beautiful a country.” At home again by the 24th of September, he once more resumed the thread of his daily routine. That war was an inevitable consequence of the conduct of the administration Morris was at this time fully convinced, and, writing to Samuel Hunt, of Marietta, on October 3d, he gave vent to his impressions of the general demoralization in high places, as follows:

“It is to be noted that sound heads are rarely found in the company of rotten hearts. Vice corrupts alike the judgment and the will; whereby it happens that bad projects are seldom well matured. . . . Let us take up certain suggestions respecting plans agitated in your quarter. It seems far from impossible that some foreign powers should wish to see a severance of our Union, and that they would, at a suitable moment, take under their Edition: current; Page: [487] protection the ultramontane republic. It is not therefore impossible that their agents should listen attentively to propositions tending that way, and it is not improbable that, if a scheme of this sort should be in agitation, communications would be made by leading characters with a view to foreign aid. Disobedience would be encouraged, and the noise of needy retainers to conspiracy would be called the voice of the people, and then, by blasphemous transition, the voice of God. But these subtle contrivers will find themselves egregiously mistaken and find, to their cost, that they have merely given to the body politic a sufficient stimulus to throw off its foul humors. Our politicians have been much alarmed, I hear, by the apprehension of a peace between England and France, which will, they suppose, be followed by such measures on the part of the latter as may compromise our independence. Our rulers, like the sluggard, ask a little more sleep and a little more slumber, but sooner or later they will be awakened in no pleasant manner. The war between France and England cannot be eternal. It seems to me that sundry untoward circumstances are like to arise, and, considering the divided and defenceless state of our country, no common firmness, skill, and dexterity will be required in the management of our most important concerns. Perhaps these ideas flow from the timidity incident to age. At any rate, I will not, by publishing them, become an alarmist. That Jefferson should lose his popularity is natural enough, but those who were wedded to his opinions should not now be permitted to claim a divorce. He, poor creature, could have done nothing had he not been supported by others. If, indeed, he had, after getting into power, displayed any glaring and enormous vice, his adherents might be allowed to plead their ignorance and his hypocrisy. But his folly is the great evil Edition: current; Page: [488] under which America groans, and his adherents boasted of his wisdom. Let them be reminded of this, and take to themselves the resulting alternative.”

A yearly letter, at least, to M. Necker and Madame de Staël kept them informed of the state of their property in America, and of the sales, when the agents were fortunate enough to make any. Morris’s letters to Madame de Staël were, however, not wholly devoted to the discussion of acres and tenants and rents, as the following epistle, in answer (October 7th) to one from her, will testify. From her letter he quoted the initial sentence.

“‘Si je n’avais que vingt-cinq ans au lieu de trente-cinq, je crois que j’irais vous voir. Vous ne me croyez, donc, propre qu’à la société des jeunes demoiselles. Soyez persuadée, je vous prie, du contraire. Croyez, aussi, que l’âge de raison est celui qui convient aux voyages. On en profite mieux, on y risque moins. Bâtir des châteaux en Espagne, est une folie amusante: en bâtir aux États-Unis, serait une folie ruineuse; la main-d’œuvre est trop chère. Mais faire un petit établissement d’été dans un pays neuf qui avance rapidement, y passer trois à cinq mois de la belle saison, séjournir quatre autres mois, soit à Philadelphie soit à New York, et employer en voyages ce qui reste de l’année: voilà, je crois, une manière de vivre qui ne manque pas de sens commun, surtout par le temps qu’il fait. Votre petite lettre du 3 juillet m’a fait d’autant plus de plaisir, madame, que votre cœur y parle aussi bien que votre esprit. Heureux celui qui peut jouir de votre société. Ne frondez pas, cepe