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Full text of "The diary and letters of Gouverneur Morris, minister of the United States to France etc.,"

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PREFACE. 



THE desire which has been repeatedly expressed by 
persons cognizant of its existence, that the important 
and interesting manuscript left by Gouverneur Morris 
should be brought to light the portion buried in Mr. 
Jared Sparks s history as well as the large and more 
piquant part excluded therefrom induced me to under 
take the work of editing the diary and letters of my 
grandfather. 

The chief object I had in view was to put in such a 
form as might prove attractive to the public his letters 
and the notes which he daily jotted down during that 
most momentous epoch of modern history the period 
of the Revolution in France. 

With no political principles to advance or maintain, 
and with no hero of romance or of the sword upon 
whose merits to descant, my effort was simply to cull, 
from a voluminous manuscript, all the varied and striking 
incidents in the world of politics in the cabinet, and of 
society in the boudoir and salon ; and, by the light of the 
keen delineations of character, so full of the verve and 
essence of the moment, therein contained, to bring into 
strong relief the motives and actions of men and women. 




IV PREFACE. 

Americans will doubtless accord a ready sympathy to 
a man who was truly an American, and at a time when 
thus to proclaim his principles attested an independence 
careless of unpopularity. Possibly, too, our kindred over 
seas may find something of interest in the career of one 
who, though a rebel against England, spent the best 
years of his life assisting in the formation of a govern 
ment under which the poor of the earth might find an 
asylum, and whose views were consistently " favorable 
to the peace and happiness of mankind." 

ANNE GARY MORRIS. 

Old Morrisania, October, 1888. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Gouverneur Morris. Birth. Education. Graduates at King s College. 
Studies law. Licensed to practise. Early development of a taste 
for finance, Takes an active part in the events which ended in the 
Declaration of Independence. Elected a member of the first Pro 
vincial Congress in 1775. Speaks on finance. Leads in debates in 
the New York Congress. Draws up instructions for Franklin, then 
Minister to France. Reports to Congress on the subject of a treaty 
with the British Commissioners. Practises law in Philadelphia. Ap 
pointed assistant to the Superintendent of Finance. Practises his 
profession after the war. Becomes known to the French Ministry 
through a letter written to the Marquis de Chastellux. A delegate 
to the Convention which formed the Constitution. Sails for France 
in 1788, . ... . . ... i ". I 



CHAPTER II. 

Morris Lands at Havre. Goes to Paris. Letter to the French minister 
in America. State of Paris. Washington s commission. Letter to 
William Carmichael. Society life. Madame de Chastellux s salon 
and others. Paris on the eve of the Revolution. Madame de Beau- 
harnais at home. Presented to Montmorin. Meets the Duchess of 
Orleans. M. de Malesherbes. Letter to the Marquis de la Luzerne. 
Madame de Tesse s Republican salon. Hurry of life in Paris. Lafa 
yette s election in Auvergne. Paupers in Paris. Morris s busy life. 
Meets Madame de Flahaut. Pleasant days and evenings with charm 
ing women. Dines with Necker. Madame de Stae l. Supper with the 
Baron de Besenval. Interview with the Marechal de Castries. Visit 
to the statues at the Louvre. A day of misfortunes, . . 19 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER III. 

Dearth of wheat at Lyons. Morris offers Necker a cargo. Graciousness of 
the Duchess of Orleans. Ladies vexed by long arguments in the 
salons. Ten thousand troops ordered out. Swiss guards within the 
barriers. Necker 1 s fall desired. Tete-a-tete dish of tea with Madame 
de Segur. King and princes oppose liberty. Political talk with the 
Bishop of Autun. Makes a plan of finance for France. Advises the 
massing of the Swiss guards round the king s person. Election excite 
ments. A water-party on the Seine. An eventful day at Versailles. 
Meeting of the States-General. Magnificent spectacle. Mirabeau 
hissed. The Duke of Orleans applauded. Visit to Marly. Madame 
du Barry. Madame de Segur at her toilet. Petit-Trianon Gardens. 
Madame de Suze s lapdog, . . . . . . . 5 1 

CHAPTER IV. 

Morris surprised at Parisian manners and customs. Tea in the Palais 
Royal. Visit to Romainville. M. de Beaujolais. Morris writes 
verses to the Duchess of Orleans. Careless driving. Made a mem 
ber of the Club of Valois. Interviews with Judges. Note on the to 
bacco contracts. The Dauphin s death. States-General more than 
ever embroiled. Morris stands for Houdon s statue of Washington. 
Strictures on the Bishop d Autun. Visit to Raincy. The clergy 
join the Tiers. The Salle des Menus closed. Bath in the Tennis 
Court. Great excitement in Paris. Morris s sentiments quoted. His 
interest in France. Necker offers to resign. The mob at Versailles. 
Inflammatory publications at the Palais Royal. The nobles join the 
other orders. Revolt among the guards. The Abbaye broken open. 
The king terrified, . . . . . . . < . 85 

CHAPTER V. 

Grain under convoy. Tumult in Paris. Fourth of July dinner. Visit to 
Romainville. Bread scarce. Paris gay. The administration routed 
and Necker banished. M. de Narbonne. Mobs in the streets. Ar 
morers shops broken open. Scenes in the Palais Royal Gardens. Ter 
rible night in Paris. The Hotel de P orce broken into. Morris dons 
the green bow. No carriages allowed in the streets. Affairs at Ver 
sailles. A cry for arms. Carriages stopped and searched. The Bas 
tille taken. Madame de Flahaut s salon. M. de Launay. Carnival 
at Versailles. The Bastille in ruins. The king comes to Paris and 
dons the red and blue cockade. The procession, . . .ill 



CONTENTS. vii 



CHAPTER VI. 

Dinner at Madame de Flahaut s. Artists studios. Dinner with Lafay 
ette. Visit to the Bastille. The Club. Foulon s head carried through 
the streets. Making up a foreign mail. Madame de Montmorin. 
Ideas respecting a constitution for France. Asked to consult with the 
ministers. Passport for London. Journey to England. Beggars. 
Impressions of England, ........ 133 

CHAPTER VII. 

London. The Haymarket Theatre. The Marquis de la Luzerne. Trum- 
bull. The refugees. LadyDunmore. The Cosways. Hon. Mrs. 
Darner. Society duties. Strictures on society. Sail on the Thames. 
Downe Place. Returns to Paris. Critical state of affairs. Madame 
de Tesse. Lafayette. Public opinion sets against the National As 
sembly. Finances. Scarcity of bread. The Flanders Regiment. 
Social life. Prepares a memorandum on subsistence. The queen. 
Madame de Flahaut. The banners blessed. The opera. Resistance 
to authority among the bakers. Versailles. Question on the finances. 
Mirabeau speaks in the Assembly. Meets Madame de Stael. 
Conversation with Madame de Flahaut. Asked to furnish flour for 
Paris, . . . 145 

CHAPTER VIII. 

The feast at Versailles. Consternation at Paris. Morris urges Lafayette 
to attach himself to the king s party. Disturbance in Paris. 
Church property discussed. Expedition to Versailles proposed in 
the Palais Royal Gardens. Excited state of the people. Carriages 
stopped in the streets. Agonizing night at Versailles. The royal 
family brought to Paris. The heads of the Body-guard carried 
through the streets. The royal family installed at the Tuileries. De 
spatches opened by the mob. Clermont de Tonnerre. The Comte 
de Narbonne and Madame de Stael. Dinner at Lafayette s. Conver 
sation with Lafayette on the situation of France. Mirabeau. Madame 
de Chastellux s salon. The Duchess of Orleans. The Bishop of 
Autun reads a motion to be presented to the Assembly. A ministry 
arranged, . . . . . . . . . .168 

CHAPTER IX. 

Deputies demand passports. The streets alive with disorderly characters. 
Houses marked for destruction. Unsafe to walk about Paris. Necker 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

sombre and depressed. Madame de StaePs salon. The Duke of Or 
leans leaves for England. Morris calls on Necker, and suggests the 
idea of raising the price of bread. Letter to Lafayette. The Duke 
of Orleans is stopped at Boulogne. News of insurrections. Conver 
sation in Madame de Flahaut s salon about intended changes in the 
ministry. Lafayette commits a blunder in offering himself to Mira- 
beau. The Cardinal cle Rohan. Flour to be imported from America. 
Graphic letter to Robert Morris. Madame de Flahaut disconsolate over 
the reduction in pensions, 187 



CHAPTER X. 

Denis Frangois accused of secreting bread and beheaded. Paris aban 
doned to cruelty and violence. Martial law passed by the Assembly. 
The Duke of Orleans liberated. -He goes to England. At the club. 
Chit-chat in Madame de Flahaut s salon. Belgrade surrenders. Anec 
dote of the 5th of October. Clermont de Tonnerre proposes going 
to America. Morris asked his plan for restoring order to France. 
Necker unable to cope with the difficulties. Dinner at Madame 
Necker s. Talk about Lafayette s connection with Mirabeau and 
with Necker on plans for subsistence. News from Flanders. Asked 
to take part in the administration of affairs. Dines with the Duchess 
of Orleans. Takes the Bishop of Autun to visit Lafayette. The 
Assembly suspends the parlements. Criticisms on the society in Ma 
dame de Stael s salon. Lively dinner conversation with Madame de 
Stael, ..... . . 200 



CHAPTER XL 

Exodus from the ranks of society. Many closed salons. Changed state 
of feeling. Necker s "plan" for the Caisse d* Escompte. The Pope 
quarrels with the farmers-general. Opposition to Necker. Mirabeau 
describes the Assembly. Lafayette s ambition. A tedious session. 
Interview with Necker. Tea at Madame de Laborde s. Plan for 
dealing with the American debt to France. Necker converses on the 
constitution then preparing. The Bishop d Autun asks advice as to 
speaking in the Assembly. A rumor that he is to be appointed Ameri 
can Minister to the Court of Louis XVI. An evening in Madame de 
Sta 1 s salon. Tact of the hostess. Clermont-Tonnerre reads a dis 
course. Necker speculates as to the issue of one hundred and thirty 
millions of paper money. The Abbe Delille reads his own verses 
in Madame de Chastellux s drawing-room, . ..... 227 



CONTENTS. i x 



CHAPTER XII. 

The opera. Gardell and Vestris. Strictures on the character of the peo 
ple of France. The Caisse Patriotique opened. Paris gay with uni 
forms. People sacrifice their jewels for the public benefit. Morris 
disapproves of Necker s plan of finance. Resolutions passed in the 
Assembly which affect Protestants. The public debt. The king s 
brother goes to the Commons. Monsieur and the Favras conspiracy. 
Lafayette intriguing deeply. Morris makes punch for the society 
at Madame de Vannoise s. His first suggestion of settling the 
banks of the St. Lawrence. Asked for information about America. 
Ceremony of saluting the ladies with a kiss on New Year s eve, . 250 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Comparison between the newspapers of 1777 and 1789. New Year s salu 
tations. Scene at the Chatelet. Madame de Flahaut s boudoir. 
Stoppage of pensions. Lively discussion thereon in Madame de 
StaeTs salon. Visit to the Comte de Chastellux. Message from the 
Parlement of Brittany. Morris examines table - ornaments for 
Washington. Decree in the Assembly concerning office-holding. 
Adherence to the constitution required. Riot in Paris. A handsome 
surtout for the table sent to Washington. Need of cultivating the j^-^ 
taste of America. The Duchess of Orleans obliged to economize. 
The Cardinal cle Rohan. The Bishop of Orleans. Marmontel. 
Letter to Washington. Morris writes a note on the situation of 
affairs for the king. Delivered to the queen by her physician. Anec 
dote of the king. He goes to the Assembly. Conversation with 
Lafayette, 262 

CHAPTER XIV. 

* 

Journey to Antwerp. Brussels. Reflections on the state of Flanders. 
Vanderhoot s committee. Notes on the cathedral and galleries of 
Antwerp. Supper at M. Cornelison s. Agreeable society of Antwerp. 
Notes during the journey to Amsterdam. Evening in Madame Bost s 
salon. Political discussions. Force of the Dutch navy. Scene on 
the Merchants Exchange at Amsterdam. News from France of 
Necker s resignation. The Hague. The churches at Delft. Crosses /^ 
to England. Interview with the Duke of Leeds on the treaty and 
despatch of a minister to the United States. News from Paris. 
Pointed opposition to Necker. Visits Sir John Sinclair. Letter to 



CONTENTS. 

Colonel Ternant. Meets Fox at dinner. Mrs. Jordan at Drury Lane 
Theatre. Warren Hastings s trial. Criticism on Burke and Fox. 
Brilliant ball at Mrs. John B. Church s, 296 



CHAPTER XV. 

Reticence of the Duke of Leeds. Morris s letter to the duke. Letter to 
Washington. Undertakes to negotiate for the sale of American es- 
tates. Miss Farren. The impressment of American seamen. In 
terview with the Duke of Leeds. Presented to Pitt. Long interview 
with Pitt and the Duke of Leeds relative to the treaty of commerce, 
non-payment of money due by the English Government to American 
land-owners, evacuation of the frontier-posts, etc. The Hastings 
trial. News from Paris. The National Assembly vote the king an 
allowance. Abolition of the nobility. The Duke of Orleans in a 
" whimsical " situation. Great fete of the federation. Letter to Will 
iam Short at Paris. Strictures on the young men of London. Rise 
of the Jacobins in Paris. Lafayette s position insecure, . .321 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Various undertakings in Europe. Dulness of card-playing in England. 
Washington approves of Morris s communications with the ministers. 
Letter to Washington on French affairs. Interview with the Duke of 
Leeds. Continental tour before returning to Paris. Civilities from 
persons to whom he had letters. Difficulties of travel in 1790. Un 
comfortable inns and bad roads. Interview with Baron de Dolberg. 
Paris again. Flatteringly received by the Comte de Montmorin. 
Morris presents a dog to the Duchess of Orleans. The Due de 
Castries s hotel pillaged. M. de Flahaut wishes to go to America as 
minister. The play of Brutus." Much excitement in the theatre. 
Dines with the Garde des Sceaux. Apprehends a plot of the Em 
peror for liberating the queen and restoring the former government. 
Criticises the new constitution. Gives his opinion of the condition 
of affairs to Lafayette. The last months of 1790, . . . 342 






CHAPTER XVII. 

Another trip to London. Stiffness of English society. Annoying indiffer 
ence of the Duke of Leeds to American interests. Returns to Paris. 
Dines with the Duchess of Orleans. Ternant appointed Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the United States. Conversation with M. de 



CONTENTS. xi 

Segur. M. de Montmorin wishes Morris appointed Minister from 
the United States. Asked to confer wifh the Committee of Com 
merce. Dines with Lafayette. Dines with Marmontel. Lafayette 
vexed. Madame de Nadaillac. The "farm " abolished by the Assem 
bly. The tobacco decrees. Desired to write a letter on them. 
Letter to Washington thereupon. Some details of the affair of Octo 
ber 5th at Versailles. Disturbance in Languedoc. Trepidation of 
the Bishop of Autun. Great tumult in Paris. Conversation with 
Madame de Nadaillac. The Chateau during the riot. Lafayette 
confesses the guards were drunk. Morris s advice to him, . . 369 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

The queen intriguing with Mirabeau. Morris s impressions of the Abbe 
Maury. Madame de Nadaillac s salon. Madame de Tesse converted 
to Morris s political principles. Vicq d Azyr s eulogy of Franklin. 
Morris takes supper with Condorcet. Paris illuminated. First in 
troduction to Lady Sutherland. Conversation with the Abbe Maury. 
Death of Mirabeau. Discusses with Montmorin Mirabeau s succes 
sor. Mirabeau s impressive funeral. Strictures on his character. 
Robespierre comes to the front. Morris predicts to M. cle Mont 
morin the speedy dissolution of the present Assembly. A visit from 
Paine. Madame de Nadaillac talks of religion and duty. Madame 
de Flahaut asks advice as to marriage. Morris prepares a note for 
the king on the rations for the French marine. Madame de Stael 
reads her tragedy " Montmorenci." Morris gives her some advice. 
Brilliant society in her salon, 389 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Shows M. de Montmorin draught of a letter devised as an answer from the 
king to the department. The entours of the king resign. Resignation 
of Lafayette. Sketch of European politics in a letter to Mr. Inglis, of 
London. A republic becoming fashionable. Lady Sutherland s gra- 
ciousness. Lafayette accepts the position of head of the National 
Guards. Montesquiou asks Morris how to amend the constitution. 
Celebration of the suppression of the octroi. Conversation with 
Montmorin. Madame de Nadaillac s coquettish character. Morris 
suggests to several ladies positions near the queen. Madame de Fla 
haut expects one soon. Montmorin weary of the situation. Visit to 
Madame de Nadaillac, ........ 46 



xii CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XX. 

A visit to St. Cloud. Departure for England. Visit to the Duchess of 
Orleans at Eu. London. The escape from the Tuileries and capt 
ure at Metz. Morris returns to France. The Assembly intend to 
cover the king s flight. Madame de Lafayette greatly excited. Con 
versation with M. de Montmorin. Dinner with the Americans in 
Paris on the Fourth of July. The fete of Voltaire. The king s 
nature discussed. Decree passed declaring the inviolability of the 
king. Lady Sutherland s drawing-room. What passed in the Champ 
de Mars. The mob fired on. Society frightened and within doors. 
Letter to Robert Morris. The king s aunts harangue the people of 
Rome on the king s escape. Morris meets Lord Palmerston. Pro 
nounces the French Constitution ridiculous. Consultation between 
M. de Montmorin and Morris. Morris draws up a memoir e for the 
king. Madame de Stael and the Constitution. Her opinion of the 
memoir e Morris had prepared for the king. The Constitution pre 
sented to the king, . ... . . . . . 425 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Convinced that Montmorin withheld the memoir e until the king had ac 
cepted the Constitution. Lady Hamilton. Festival of the adoption 
of the Constitution. The opera. The king and queen received with 
applause. Paris illuminated. Letter to Washington on the king and 
the Constitution. A coalition dinner with Madame de Stael. The 
current of opinion against dropping the king s titles, Sire and Ma- 
jeste. A reaction in favor of the king. Supper at Madame de 
Guibert s. Long conversation with Montmorin, who says he can trust 
no one but Morris. M. de Moustier attests Morris s favor with their 
majesties. What passed between the King of Prussia and the Em 
peror at Pilnitz. The Duke of Orleans declares his bankruptcy. 
Much struggling for offices in Paris. Moustier thinks Morris mis 
taken about the Constitution. M. de Montmorin declares war 
against the newspapers, . . . . . . . .451 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Desired to converse about subsistence at a royalist dinner. M. de Molle- 
ville tells him he has proposed him as Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
Distress of the Montmorin family. Narbonne, Madame de Stael, 
and the ministry. Supper at Lady Sutherland s. Morris gives a 



CONTENTS. xiii 

dinner. M. de Narbonne finally appointed Minister of War. Vicq 
d Azyr says the queen wishes Morris s ideas in writing on the de 
cree against the princes. Dinner at the British ambassador s. Pre- 
ville at the Comedie Frangaise. Sketching a form of government 
for France. Writes a philippic against the chefs des rtpublicains. 
Letter to Robert Morris on the failure to effect a commercial treaty 
with Great Britain. Washington nominates Morris for the mis 
sion to France. Confirmed by a very small majority in the Senate. 
The king m high spirits. Letter to Washington on the paper circu 
lation of France and the general anarchy. The Bishop of Autun to 
go to England. The Jacobins discover a plan for violent change of 
the Constitution. Morris prepares for a journey to England. Mes 
sage from the queen, ......... 476 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Morris goes to England. Suspicions aroused by the suddenness of his 
departure. A political significance given to it. Letter to Washing 
ton from London. Morris hears in London of his appointment as 
Minister to France and receives his credentials. Letter to Robert 
Morris on the difficulties attending the mission to France. Dines 
with the Count de Woronzow. Paine s new publication. An even 
ing with the Duchess of Gordon. Conversation with Woronzow. 
Bishop of Au tun s mission to England. Letter to Washington on 
this subject. Mrs. Darner s studio. She is at work on a statue of 
the king. Morris writes a verse on her art, . . . .501 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

Morris returns to Paris. Hears rumors that he will not be received in his 
diplomatic capacity. Makes arrangements to fulfil the requirements 
of his position. News from the armies. Madame de Tarente asks of 
Morris advice for the queen. Interview with the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs. Conversation with Moustier. Disorder in the armies. The 
king disarms his guard. Morris is presented to the king. Letter 
to Jefferson. Dines with Dumouriez. Sudden change in the min 
istry. Jeu de la Reine. Much movement in Paris. Guard march 
ing under Morris s windows. Monciel asks his advice in this crisis. 
The deputation from the faubourgs fill the Chateau and insult the 
queen. Morris goes to Court. The king receives a part of the mili 
tia. Lafayette arrives at Paris. Addresses the Assembly. The 
queen polite to Morris, 529 



xiv CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Condition of Europe in July, 1792. Letter to Jefferson. Morris opens 
his house. Tells Montmorin that the king should leave Paris. Mor 
ris prepares me moires for the king. Paris terrified by riots. The 
king and queen distressed and in great apprehension. They expect 
to be murdered at the Chateau. Morris goes to Court. Very hot 
weather. Great agitation in Paris. Musketry ushers in August loth. 
The Chateau undefended is carried and the Swiss guards murdered. 
The king and queen are in the National Assembly. Morris s house 
filled with frightened people. The ambassadors leave Paris. Mor 
ris stays at his post. He tells Claviere that he has no powers to 
treat with the new government. Morris s house searched. Murders 
continue. Letter to Jefferson describing the Revolution, . . 551 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Lafayette refuses to obey the Assembly. Leaves France and is captured. 
King and queen are imprisoned in the Temple. Disorder reigns in 
Paris. Murders continue. Morris hears that the Brissotine faction 
desire to do him mischief. Letter to Washington. The dangers of 
living in Paris. Trials of Morris s position. Retreat of the Prus 
sians. Apprehension of a famine. Taking of Nice. Anxious un 
certainty of Morris s life. Letter to Jefferson on the state of affairs. 
Letters to friends assuring them of his well-being. Difficulty of send 
ing letters safely. Letter to Alexander Hamilton. Morris becomes 
aware that the French Government desire his recall, . . . 586 



THE DIARY AND LETTERS 

OF 

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS 



THE DIARY AND LETTERS 

OF 

GOLJVERNEUR MORRIS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Gouverneur Morris. Birth. Education. Graduates at King s College. 
Studies law. Licensed to practise. Early development of a taste 
for finance. Takes an active part in the events which ended in the 
Declaration of Independence. Elected a member of the first Pro 
vincial Congress in 1775. Speaks on finance. Leads in debates in 
the New York Congress. Draws up instructions for Franklin, then 
Minister to France. Reports to Congress on the subject of a treaty 
with the British Commissioners. Practises law in Philadelphia. Ap 
pointed assistant to the Superintendent of Finance. Practises his 
profession after the war. Becomes known to the French Ministry 
through a letter written to the Marquis de Chastellux. A delegate 
to the Convention which formed the Constitution. Sails for France 
in 1788. 

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was born at Morrisania 
to quote the record made by his father in the family 
Bible "On the 31 of January about half an hour after 
one of the Clock in the morning, in the year 1752, accord 
ing to the alteration of the style, by act of Parliament, and 
was christened the 4 of May 1754, and given his mother s 
name." Gouverneur s father probably discovered signs 
of unusual promise in the boy ; for in his will, which is 
dated November 19, 1760, is the following request : " It is 
my desire that my son, Gouverneur Morris, may have the 
best education that is to be had in England or America." 
Lewis Morris died when his son was twelve years old, and 
i 



2 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

the care of his education, in consequence, devolved upon 
his mother. Great pains were taken that his training 
should be of a kind to fit him for any career that might 
open for him. 

When quite a child he was placed in the family of Mon 
sieur Tetar, at New Rochelle ; and here he laid the foun 
dation of a thorough knowledge of the French language, 
which, in after life, he spoke and wrote with much fluency 
and correctness. In 1768 Morris graduated at King s Col 
lege (now Columbia), and immediately after graduating 
he studied law in the office of William Smith, afterwards 
Chief Justice of the Province of New York, but better 
known as Colonial historian of the State. 

The bar was undoubtedly the profession where the 
qualities of Morris s mind, his vigorous and penetrating 
intelligence, were most likely to excel. His elocution 
was animated and persuasive, his voice sonorous and 
pleasing, his figure tall and exceedingly graceful ; all the 
attributes of an orator seemed to have fallen to his share. 
Ambitious to excel, full of hope, with perfect confidence 
in his own powers, and therefore entire self-possession, it 
was possible for him to say, with all sincerity, that in his 
intercourse with men he never knew the sensations of 
fear, embarrassment, or inferiority. 

Licensed to practise as an attorney-at-law full three 
months before he was twenty, in 1771, his ambition was to 
make for himself a distinguished position at the Colonial 
bar. Two years before this a series of anonymous articles 
on finance, occasioned by a plan proposed^in the Assembly 
of New York to issue paper money, appeared in a news 
paper. They all attracted much attention but particu 
larly one deprecating the evil of a paper currency as 
mischievous in its effects and wrong in principle, and 
only a means of postponing the day of payment, which 



I77S-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 3 

should be met by substantial funds, collected from the 
province. 

His studies completed and his admission to the bar se 
cured, Morris s thoughts and desires turned toward Eu 
rope and foreign travel. " To rub off in the gay circles of 
foreign life a few of those many barbarisms which char 
acterize a provincial education ; to form some acquaint 
ances that may hereafter be of service to me, to model 
myself after some persons who cut a figure in the law," 
were some of the reasons he gave his friend William Smith 
for wishing to go abroad. In further excuse of the scheme 
he says : " I have somehow or other been so hurried 
through the different scenes of childhood and youth, that 
I have still some time left to pause before I tread the 
great stage of life, and you know how much our conduct 
there depends upon the mode of our education. It is 
needless to add that my inclinations have taken part in 
the debate." His friend evidently saw serious difficulties 
in the way principally pecuniary, for he told him that 
his mother must give up much before he could have his 
wish, and advised him, even when the guineas lay at his 
feet, to "think ! think ! think !" The voyage was aban 
doned for the time, and for the next three years Morris 
applied himself closely to his profession. 

These were stirring times, the colonies and the mother 
country were disputing, a rupture was imminent, the port 
of Boston was already closed. His aristocratic relations, 
rather than, as is generally supposed, his Tory antecedents, 
led him to advocate a reconciliation rather than a break with 
the mother country, and in June, 1775, when this question 
occupied a large share of the attention of the Provincial 
Congress of New York, he was made a member of a com 
mittee to draft a plan to settle all difficulties with Great 
Britain. In a paper written in 1774 he says : " Taxation is 



4 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

the chief bar, and a safe compact seems in my poor opinion 
to be now tendered internal taxation to be left with our 
selves. Reunion between the two countries is essential to 
both I say essential. It is for the interest of all men to seek 
reunion with the parent State. The spirit of the English 
constitution has yet a little influence left, and but a little. 
The remains of it will give the wealthy people a superior 
ity this time, but would they secure it, they must banish 
all schoolmasters, and confine all knowledge to themselves. 
This cannot be the mob begin to think the gentry be 
gin to fear this their committee will be appointed they 
will deceive the people and again forfeit a share of their 
confidence. And if these are instances of what with one 
side is policy, with the other perfidy, farewell aristocracy. 
I see, and I see it with fear and trembling, that if the dis 
putes with Britain continue, we shall be under the worst of 
all possible dominions the dominion of a riotous mob ! " 
When the crisis finally came, Morris, illustrating the 
justice of Madison s subsequent eulogy of him, namely, 
that "to the brilliancy of his genius was added what is 
too rare, a candid surrender of his opinions, when the 
lights of discussion satisfied him," came promptly for 
ward to aid his country in the struggle, and from that 
moment he was to be found among the patriots who were 
bravest arid most constant. ( He was already an expert in 
finance, and at once rendered most efficient service in 
drawing up a plan to raise money for the expenses of the 
army, and other military operations. This subject was 
one of the first and most important which occupied the at 
tention of the members of the first Provincial Congress of 
New York, to which he was elected a member in 1775. 
The extent of his knowledge of this exceedingly intricate 
subject surprised his fellow-workers on the committee, and 
when the report was read, before a large audience of in- 



1776.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 5 

terested persons, he spoke with a remarkable force and 
eloquence. His dignity and persuasive manner strongly 
appealed to the sympathy of his audience, and the young 
orator of twenty-three carried off the honors of the day. 
The report as it came from his pen was forwarded to the 
Continental Congress and adopted without amendment 
or change. ) 

^Matters had by this time come to such a pass, between 
England and her colonies, that in May of this year, 1776, 
the Continental Congress recommended to the various 
assemblies and conventions of the colonies, the adoption 
of such regular constitutions and forms of government as 
might best suit their several needs. In the third New 
York Congress, then assembled, Morris took the lead in 
the debates relative to the adoption of a new form of gov 
ernment. The Tory element in the Congress still feared 
to take any decided step that might show absolute disloy 
alty to the King. And among the many wealthy families 
owning large estates and with Tory proclivities, there 
was still a hope of at least a patched-up reconciliation 
with Great Britain. Up to this time, indeed, the question 
of independence had seemed scarcely a serious one. But 
Morris earnestly favored in the Congress the formation 
of a new government. He believed that the time had 
come to take such a step ; that the dignity of a free people 
had been outraged by the oppressions of England ; that 
to submit longer would be a crime against justice and a 
mockery of liberty. Fragments of a speech made by him 
during the course of the debates still exist, in which he 
touched upon the already hackneyed theme of reconcilia 
tion as the phantom which had long deluded the fancy 
of his associates in the Congress. "A connection with 
Great Britain cannot exist, and independence is absolutely 
necessary. . . . We run a hazard in one path I con- 



6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

fess, but then we are infallibly ruined if we pursue the oth 
er. ... Some, nay many, persons in America dislike 
the word Independence ; for my own part I see no reason 
why Congress is not full as good a word as States-General 
or Parliament ; and it is a mighty easy matter to please 
people when a single sound will effect it. . . . It is quite 
a hackneyed topic boldly insisted on, though very lightly 
assumed, that the instant an American independence is 
declared we shall have all the powers of Europe on our 
backs. Experience, sir, has taught those powers and will 
teach them more clearly every day, that an American war 
is tedious, expensive, uncertain, and ruinous. Nations do 
not make war without some view. Should they be able 
to conquer America, it would cost them more to maintain 
such conquest, than the fee simple of the country is worth." 
He made a strong appeal for the political liberty of the 
country, which he thought might be secured by the sim 
plest contrivance imaginable "dividing the country into 
small districts, the annual election of members to Con 
gress, and every member incapacitated from serving more 
than one year out of three. Why should we hesitate ? 
Have you the least hope in treaty ? Will you trust the 
Commissioners ? Trust crocodiles, trust the hungry wolf 
in your flock or a rattlesnake near your bosom, you may 
yet be something wise. But trust the King, his Ministers, 
his Commissioners, it is madness in the extreme. Why 
will you trust them? Why force yourself to make a daily 
resort to arms ? Is this miserable country to be plunged 
in an endless war ? Must each revolving year come heavy 
laden with those dismal scenes which we have already wit 
nessed ? If so, farewell liberty, farewell virtue, farewell 
happiness ! " 

With the crisis in the affairs of the colonies in 1776, pub 
lic sentiment in New York underwent a change, and five 



1776.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 7 

days after the Declaration of Independence the Congress 
of that Colony declared their intention to support that inde 
pendence at all risks. When the Constitution of the State 
of New York was made, in August, 1776, Morris labored 
to introduce into it an article prohibiting domestic slavery, 
but he was not successful. A letter to his mother in this 
year expressed the deep feeling with which the prospect 
of the war filled him. "What may be the event of the 
present war," he says, "it is not in man to determine. 
Great revolutions of empire are seldom achieved without 
much human calamity, but the worst which can happen is 
to fall on the last bleak mountain of America, and he who 
dies there, in defense of the injured rights of mankind, is 
happier than his conqueror, more beloved by mankind, 
more applauded by his own heart." 

After the new Constitution of New York had been 
adopted, Morris was elected a delegate to the Continen 
tal Congress, but owing to the critical state of affairs in 
his own State he was unable to attend. In October he 
was elected a second time. He had been in public life 
for nearly three years and had established a reputation 
for talents of no ordinary kind. Congress honored him 
the day he presented his credentials by appointing him 
one of a committee of five of great importance. The army 
with Washington at Valley Forge were discouraged and 
demoralized by the terrible winter, and there, in concert 
with the general-in-chief, a plan was prepared to reor 
ganize the army, clothe and feed them, and regulate the 
medical department. Approved and adopted by Con 
gress, the effects of the plan were soon manifest. Dur 
ing this winter which Morris spent at Valley Forge he 
formed a life-long and intimate friendship with Washing 
ton. After the occupation of New York by the British, he 
had been entirely cut off from his home at Morrisania ; 



8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

and the strong Tory proclivities of his friends subjected 
him to suspicion on the part of certain mischief-making 
persons. Mr. Jay wrote to him from Philadelphia : 
" Your enemies talk much of your Tory connections. 
Take care, do not unnecessarily expose yourself to cal 
umny and perhaps indignity." In reply Morris says, "As 
to the malevolence of individuals, it is what I have to 
expect, and is by no means a matter of surprise. But by 
laboring in the public service, so as to gain the applause 
of those whose applause is worth gaining I will have my 
revenge." It was whispered abroad by his enemies that 
Morris s letters to his mother, which had to pass through 
the British lines before they reached her, contained mat 
ter other than that intended for her and to the advantage 
of the enemy. 

A curious history is told of a letter written to Mr. Mor* 
ris, in 1775, by his brother-in-law in London, express 
ing his interest in Morris s career, bidding him deserve 
well of his country, and endeavor to insure peace and pre 
serve good order. " The most vigorous preparations," he 
continued, warningly, " are making to carry on the war. 
The nation is united, although the pulse does not beat so 
high as if they were waging war against a foreign enemy." 
Detained at New York because addressed to a rebel, then 
sent to Halifax, the letter was thence despatched to New 
York by a vessel which was lost off the coast of New 
Jersey. The mail-bag drifted on the coast, and the letter 
found its way to Burlington, N. J. Morris heard of its 
existence and asked for it, but a mystery surrounded it, 
and its contents had something suspicious about them in 
the opinion of those who had read it. Eventually it was 
forwarded to Morris by the President of Pennsylvania, 
who had been prejudiced after reading it, although, dur 
ing the three years that it had been drifting about, all 



I778-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 9 

Morris s energies had been given to resisting Great Britain 
and making the government secure. The letter is still 
preserved at Morrisania. 

His letters to his mother were few and unimportant. 
In 1778 he wrote to her that since he had left Morrisania 
he had never heard directly from her, and " never had the 
satisfaction of knowing that of the many letters I have 
written, you have ever received one. It would give me 
infinite pleasure," he adds, " to hear of my friends, your 
self in particular. But since it is my lot to know no more 
than the burthen of general report I must be contented. 
I received great pain from being informed that you are 
distressed on my account. Be of good cheer I pray you, 
I have all that happiness which flows from conscious rec 
titude. I would it were in my power to solace and com 
fort your declining years. The duty I owe to a tender 
parent demands this of me ; but a higher duty has bound 
me to the service of my fellow creatures. The natural in 
dolence of my disposition, has unfitted me for the paths of 
ambition, and the early possession of power has taught 
me how little it deserves to be prized. Whenever the 
present storm subsides I shall rush with eagerness into 
the bosom of private life, but while my country calls for 
the exertion of that little share of abilities which it has 
pleased God to bestow on me, I hold it my indispensable 
duty to give myself to her. I know that for such senti 
ments, which are not fashionable among the folks you see, 
I am called a rebel. I hope that your maternal tenderness 
may not lead you to wish that I would resign these senti 
ments. Let me entreat you, be not concerned on my ac 
count ; I shall again see you perhaps the time is not far 
off. Hope the best. Adieu." 

Three years after this Mrs. Morris was dangerously ill. 
He earnestly desired to go to her, and she as earnestly de- 



10 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

sired to see her only son. But public opinion of both 
friends and foes was so strong against his making the visit 
that it was never made. Indeed, in order that his motives 
for contemplating this visit might be publicly known, he 
published a letter in the Freeman s Journal in which he 
plainly stated what may be called his " position " in these 
difficult circumstances, as follows: "In the year 1776 I 
left all for the sake of those principles which have justified 
and supported the revolution. This sacrifice was made 
without hesitation or regret, but it gave me real concern 
to leave an aged parent at the mercy of the enemy. It is 
true, I was for some time honored by my countrymen be 
yond my desert and beyond my ambition. When our pros 
pects were very gloomy, I was deeply engaged in public 
business of an intricate nature, and placed in a variety of 
arduous and critical situations. I have thought much, 
labored much, suffered much. In return I have been cen 
sured, reproached, slandered, goaded by abuse, blackened 
by calumny, and oppressed by public opinion. I have de 
clined many pressing solicitations to visit my mother 
within the enemy s lines. But when a violent disease en 
dangered her life, and I learnt of her anxiety to see me 
before her eyes were closed forever, I promised to go. 
The necessary passport of the British general was ob-? 
tained, but not the permission of the President and Coun 
cil of the State of Pennsylvania. But since my intentions 
are disagreeable to you, I will persist no longer. Having 
already devoted the better part of my life to your service, 
I will now sacrifice my feelings to your inclinations." 
After an absence of seven years, and only when peace 
was concluded, did Morris return to his mother, and his 
home. He reached Morrisaniain time to help his mother 
prepare her claim of the estate for damages done there 
to by the British army. Besides the large number of 



1778] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. II 

animals taken for food, timber had been cut on four hun 
dred and seventy acres of woodland for ship-building, ar 
tillery, and firewood. The claim amounted to ^8,000, 
but it was not paid during Mrs. Morris s life-time. 

In October, 1778, Morris was intrusted with the task of 
drawing up the first instructions ever sent to an Amer 
ican minister. Dr. Franklin was then at the Court of 
Versailles. When the report of the American Commis 
sioners abroad came in 1778, Morris was elected chair 
man of a committee of five to consider and report upon 
the so-called conciliatory propositions of Lord North of 
fering to abandon the vexed point of taxation and to send 
commissioners to treat with the Americans. Morris drew 
up the report which declared that the United States could 
not treat with any commissioners from Great Britain un 
less British fleets and armies should be withdrawn and 
the independence of the United States acknowledged. 
This report, the most important during the war, was unan 
imously adopted by the Continental Congress and became 
the basis of the peace. As the time approached for the 
expiration of his term in Congress, rumors reached him 
that a scheme had been set on foot to defeat his re-elec 
tion, principally on the ground that he had neglected the 
interests of his State for those of the general Government. 
He was advised to make a visit to the State legislature 
and attend to his interests there. This he did, but too 
late ; he lost his election. 

It is much to be regretted that he has left no record 
of his relations with the Government during these years, 
but from the multiplicity of his labors it seems remarkable 
that he could have found time to devote to the necessary 
practice of his profession. Years afterward, when applied 
to for some written account of the events of the Revolu 
tion in which he personally took part, he says : " I have 



12 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

no notes or memorandum of what passed during the war. 
I led then the most laborious life which can be imagined. 
This you will readily suppose to have been the case when 
I was engaged with my departed friend Robert Morris, in 
the office of finance, but what you will not so readily sup 
pose is, that I was still more harassed while a member of 
Congress. Not to mention the attendance from n to 4 in 
the house, which was common to all, and the appoint 
ments to committees, of which I had a full share, I was at 
the same time Chairman, and of course did the business, 
of the Standing Committees ; viz., on the commissary s, 
quartermaster s, and medical Departments. You must not 
imagine that the members of these committees took any 
share or burden of the affairs. Necessity, preserving the 
democratical forms, assumed the monarchical substance of 
business. The Chairman received and answered all letters 
and other applications, took every step which he deemed 
essential, prepared reports, gave orders, and the like, and 
merely took the members of a committee into a chamber 
and for form s sake made the needful communications, and 
received their approbation which was given of course. I 
was moreover obliged to labor occasionally in my own 
profession as my wages were insufficient for my support. 
I would not trouble you, my dear sir, with this abstract of 
my situation, if it did not appear necessary to show you 
why, having so many near relations of my own blood in 
our armies, I kept no note of their services. Nay I could 
not furnish any tolerable memorandum of my own exist 
ence during that eventful period of American history." 

After five years of active work in public affairs, Mor 
ris could not entirely dissociate himself from the great 
events of the day, and although, when he lost his elec 
tion to Congress, he became a citizen of Philadelphia 
and settled down to the practice of his profession, his 



1780.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 13 

mind was still actively interested in the deplorable finan 
cial condition of the country, and he found time to write 
a series of essays in the Pennsylvania Packet, signed " An 
American." In these essays he discusses the currency, 
the coinage, the undesirability of a compulsory fixed value 
for paper money, and the banks of America ; and it would 
be difficult to find a more comprehensive view of the 
financial proceedings of the old Congress, and the effects 
of the paper currency, than these essays contain. 

In Philadelphia in May, 1780, while trying to control 
a pair of runaway horses, Morris was thrown from his 
phaeton, dislocated his ankle, and fractured the bones of 
his left leg. The two physicians who were called to him 
recommended an immediate amputation as the only means 
of saving his life, and, although this must have been 
a painful alternative for so young a man to contemplate, 
he submitted to the decree of the doctors with philosophy 
and even cheerfulness, and to the operation with extreme 
fortitude. The leg was taken off below the knee, and the 
operation has been cited by physicians knowing the par 
ticulars as most unskilful and hasty. The day after it 
took place a friend called upon him, full of sympathy and 
prepared to offer all the possible consolation on an event 
so melancholy. He painted in vivid words the good effect 
that such a trial should produce on his character and 
moral temperament, enlarging on the many temptations 
and pleasures of life into which young men are apt to 
be led, and of the diminished inducement Morris would 
now have to indulge in the enjoyment of such pleasures. 
"My good sir," replied Mr. Morris, "you argue the matter 
so handsomely and point out so clearly the advantages of 
being without legs, that I am almost tempted to part with 
the other." Morris seems to have felt the force of his 
friend s arguments in regard to the balancing effect on his 



14 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

character of the loss of a portion of his person, for to an 
other friend, also deeply sympathetic and full of regret 
that he should have met with so grave a misfortune, he 
remarked : " Sir, the loss is much less than you imagine ; I 
shall doubtless be a steadier man with one leg than with 
two." For the remainder of his life he wore a wooden 
leg, of primitive simplicity, not much more than a rough 
oak stick with a wooden knob on the end of it. 

This simple contrivance, however, suited him better 
than any of more elaborate construction which he after 
wards tried in Paris and London. Owing to this accident, 
when he was presented at Court at Paris he asked to be 
allowed to appear without a sword, and, though a serious 
departure from court etiquette, the favor was granted. 
During one of the years of his ministry in Paris, when 
carriages were abolished as being aristocratic, and the 
chances were against the escape of any person discovered 
driving in one, Morris, who seems always to have de 
fied the mob though by no means averse to saving his 
life, drove through the streets followed by hoots and 
cries of, " An aristocrat," and, quietly opening the door 
of his carriage, thrust out his wooden leg, and said : "An 
aristocrat ! yes, truly, who lost his leg in the cause of 
American liberty ;" whereat followed great applause from 
the mob. 

When Robert Morris was made Superintendent of Fi 
nance, and Congress provided for an Assistant Superin 
tendent, knowing intimately the character and abilities of 
his friend Gouverneur Morris, he at once made choice of 
him to fill the position. Together they labored to estab 
lish public credit and confidence, and with the small sum 
of four hundred thousand dollars they established, and 
Congress incorporated, the " Bank of North America." 
Gouverneur Morris says, in a letter to a friend not long 



1783-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 15 

before his death : " The first bank in this country was 
planned by your humble servant." 

The serious charge was made against Morris, during 
the years of his connection with the Finance Department, 
that he was a monarchist and had advocated using the 
army to establish such a form of government. In a let 
ter to General Nathaniel Greene, in 1781, he says : "Ex 
perience must at last induce the people of America if the 
war continues to entrust proper powers to the American 
Sovereign, having compelled that Sovereign reluctantly to 
relinquish the administration and entrust to their ministers 
the care of this immense republic. I say if the war con 
tinues or does not continue, I have no hope that the Gov 
ernment will acquire force ; and I will go further, I have 
no hope that our Union can subsist except in the form of 
an absolute monarchy, and this does not seem to consist 
with the taste and temper of the people. From the same 
attachment to the happiness of mankfnd, which prompted 
my first efforts in this revolution, I am now induced to 
wish that Congress may be possessed of much more author 
ity than has hitherto been delegated to them." He feared 
war between the States, " for near neighbors are very rarely 
good neighbors," and advocated a centralization of power ; 
but his actions, as well as writings, are his best vindication 
from any wish to forma monarchy in America. His creed 
was rather to form the government to suit the condition, 
character, manners, and habits of the people. In France 
this opinion led him to take the monarchical view, firmly 
believing that a republican form of government would not 
suit the French character. 

After the war was over, Morris retired from the position 
of Assistant to the Superintendent of the Finances of the 
United States and again betook himself to the practice 
of the law, intending to settle at New York ; but various 



l6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

ties of business kept him in Philadelphia and more or less 
associated with Robert Morris, sometimes acting as his 
agent, sometimes on his own account. Together they de 
vised plans and projects, new adventures of many kinds 
which promised success and pecuniary advancement. As 
early as 1782 Congress had instructed Robert Morris to 
report on the foreign coin then circulating in the United 
States. A letter with a full exposition of the subject was 
sent to Congress, officially signed by Robert Morris, but 
written, as Mr. Jefferson said, by the Assistant Superin 
tendent of Finance. The most interesting part of this 
report was a new plan for an American coinage, which 
originated with Gouverneur Morris, and which was, in 
fact, the basis of the system now in use. In 1784 it is 
worth noting that Morris became known to the French 
Ministry through two letters written to the Marquis de 
Chastellux in regard to the commercial relations between 
France and the United States, but particularly the West 
India trade. M. de Chastellux says : "Your letters have 
been communicated to M. le Marechal de Castries, Minis 
ter of Marine, who is delighted with them ; he told me that 
he had seen nothing superior or more full of powerful 
thought on the subject of government and politics." 

In 1786 his mother, who had been an invalid for several 
years, died. By his father s will the estate of Morrisania, 
after the death of Mrs. Morris, devolved upon the second 
son, Staats Long Morris, who had married in England 
the Duchess of Gordon, and was a general in the British 
army. Lewis, the eldest son, had received his portion be 
fore his father s death, and, under his father s will General 
Morris, when he should become possessed of the prop 
erty, was to pay a legacy of ^7,000 to the other children. 
Of this sum ^2,000 were to come to Gouverneur. Gen 
eral Morris was quite willing to part with Morrisania, 



1787-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1 7 

never intending to live there, and Gouverneur determined 
to make the purchase. By the aid of loans and accommo 
dations he became possessed of this estate and part of the 
general s lands in New Jersey. Commercial adventures, 
large shipments of tobacco to France, and other under 
takings had already laid the foundation of a fortune. 

In 1787, as a delegate from Pennsylvania, of which 
State he was, after a seven years residence, considered a 
citizen, Morris took his seat in the Convention assem 
bled for the great task of framing the Federal Consti 
tution. But here again he made no notes, and left no 
account of his personal action in the Convention. In a 
letter to Colonel Pickering, written two years before his 
death, he says : " While I sat in the Convention my mind 
was too much occupied with the interests of our country 
to keep notes of what we had done ; my faculties were 
on the stretch to further our business, remove impedi 
ments, obviate objections and conciliate jarring opin 
ions." President Madison, in a letter to Jared Sparks, 
bears testimony to his endeavor to preserve harmony, and 
to his active and able assistance in that difficult and 
momentous work. " He certainly," says Madison, "did 
not incline to the democratic side, but contended for a 
senate elected for life," the suffrage to be given only to 
freeholders, and property to be represented. He vigor 
ously opposed slavery, moved to insert the word "free" 
before " inhabitants," and denounced the slave system as 
a " nefarious institution, the curse of Heaven on all the 
states in which it prevails," boldly asserting that he never 
would concur in upholding the institution. In the same 
letter Madison says: "The finish given to the style and 
arrangement of the constitution fairly belongs to the 
pen of Mr. Morris. A better choice could not have been 
made, as the performance of the task proved. The talents 



1 8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. I. 

and taste of the author were stamped on the face of it." 
Morris speaks in a manly way of the Constitution in a let 
ter to a gentleman in France : "You will, ere this," said 
he, "have seen the Constitution proposed for the United 
States. I have many reasons to believe that it was the 
work of plain, honest men, and such I think it will ap 
pear. Faulty it must be, for what is perfect ? Should it 
take effect, the affairs of this country will put on a much 
better aspect than they have yet worn, and America will 
soon be as much respected abroad as she has for some 
time past been disregarded." 

During the winter of 1787 Morris was in Virginia super 
intending the mercantile affairs in which he and Robert 
Morris were jointly interested. It was necessary to have 
an agent on the spot who understood the business, to 
manage the shipment of tobacco to France, for which 
large contracts had been taken by the farmers-general. 
In November, 1788, Morris determined to take his "de 
parture from Philadelphia for the Kingdom of France," 
he wrote to General Washington, who supplied him with 
letters of introduction to many persons, giving him also 
several commissions to execute for himself. Among them 
was one to purchase in Paris a gold watch for his own 
use. "Not a small, trifling nor a finical, ornamental one, 
but a watch well executed in point of workmanship, large, 
flat, and with a plain, handsome key," were the instruc 
tions. Morris sailed from Philadelphia in the ship Hen 
rietta, and passed the Capes of Delaware on the i8th of 
December, 1788. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 19 



CHAPTER II. 

Morris Lands at Havre. Goes to Paris. Letter to the French minister 
in America. State of Paris. Washington s commission. Letter to 
William Carmichael. Society life. Madame de Chastellux s salon 
and others. Paris on the eve of the Revolution. Madame de Beau- 
harnais at home. Presented to Montmorin. Meets the Duchess of 
Orleans. M. de Malesherbes. Letter to the Marquis de la Luzerne. 
Madame de Tesse s Republican salon. Hurry of life in Paris. Lafa 
yette s election in Auvergne. Paupers in Paris. Morris s busy life. 
Meets Madame de Flahaut. Pleasant days and evenings with charm 
ing women. Dines with Necker. Madame de Stael. Supper with the 
Baron de Besenval. Interview with the Marechal de Castries. Visit 
to the statues at the Louvre. A day of Misfortunes. 

ON Tuesday, the 2yth of January, 1789, after a tem 
pestuous voyage of forty days, the Henrietta en 
tered the port of Havre. After landing, Morris at once 
sought out the persons who were engaged with Rob 
ert Morris in the tobacco and flour contracts, and the 
business he had undertaken for his friend was pushed 
forward with all the energy which was one of his strong 
est characteristics. Part of his work during the few days 
he spent at Havre was investigating the chances for specu 
lation in wheat, of which there was, at the moment, he 
wrote, "an actual scarcity and a still greater expected." 
He immediately conceived and communicated to William 
Constable & Co., of New York, with whom he was in spe 
cial partnership, a plan "for purchasing all the wheat on 
Hudson s river," and entered into arrangements by which 
it should reach France at the moment of the greatest de- 



20 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

mand " thereby raising the price on the other side of the 
Atlantic." By the 3d of February he was in Paris, and 
settled at the Hotel Richelieu, Rue de Richelieu. In his 
early letters and diary he says nothing whatever of his 
impressions of Paris his entire attention and time were 
given to finding out from the firms of Le Normand and 
Bourdieu the reason of their failure to accept large con 
signments of tobacco for which they had contracted, and 
why his friend should be placed in a " situation unex 
ampled for a man of his property." ) 

His first allusion to Paris and public affairs in France 
is in a letter to the Comte de Moustier,* then in America, 
in which he speaks of the cordial reception the count s 
letters had procured him. 

" The more I see of Paris," he wrote, " the more sensi 
ble I am of your sacrifice in leaving it to traverse a great 
ocean, and establish yourself with a people as yet too new 
to relish that society which forms here the delight of life. 
For devoting thus to the public service both your time 
and enjoyments, you have as yet been poorly recom 
pensed. Your nation is now in a most important crisis, 
and the question, Shall we have a constitution or shall 
will continue to be law ? employs every mind and agitates 

*Eleonor- Francois, the Marquis de Moustier, arrived in America as minis 
ter from France at the close of the year 1787. He was rich and close though 
lavish in display, and showed less tact in dealing with Americans than his 
predecessors had done, and was consequently less liked. His sister, Madame 
de Brehan, with her son, accompanied him to this country. A letter from 
John Armstrong to General Gates says of Moustier: "We have a French 
minister here with us, and if France had wished to destroy the little remem 
brance that is left of her, and her exertions in our behalf, she would have 
sent just such a minister. Distant, haughty, punctilious, and entirely gov 
erned by the caprices of a little singular, whimsical, hysterical old woman 
whose delight is in playing with a negro child and caressing a monkey." M. 
de Moustier illuminated his house (in Broadway, near the Bowling Green) 
splendidly in honor of Washington s inauguration, and gave a grand ball to 
the President and his suite. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 21 

every heart in France. Even voluptuousness itself arises 
from its couch of roses and looks anxiously abroad, at the 
busy scene to which nothing can now be indifferent. 
Your nobles, your clergy, your people, are all in motion 
for the elections. A spirit which has lain dormant for 
generations starts up and stares about ignorant of the 
means of obtaining, but ardently desirous to possess the 
object, consequently active, energetic, easily led, but, alas, 
easily, too easily, misled. Such is the instinctive love 
of freedom which now boils in the bosom of your coun 
try, that respect for his sovereign, which forms the dis 
tinctive mark of a Frenchman, stimulates and fortifies 
on the present occasion those sentiments which have 
hitherto been deemed most hostile to monarchy. For 
Louis the Sixteenth has himself proclaimed from the 
throne, a wish that every barrier should be thrown down 
which time or accident may have opposed to the general 
felicity of his people. It would be presumptuous in me 
even to guess at the effect of such causes, operating on 
materials and institutions of which I confess to you the 
most profound ignorance. 

" I feel that I have already gone too far in attempting 
to describe what I think I have perceived. But before I 
quit the subject I must express the wish, the ardent wish, 
that this great ferment may terminate not only to the 
good but to the glory of France. On the scenes which 
her great theatre now displays, the eyes of the universe 
are fixed with anxiety. The national honor is deeply 
interested in a successful issue. Indulge me also, I pray, 
in conveying the opinion that until that issue is known, 
every arrangement both foreign and domestic must feel a 
panic. Horace tells us that in crossing the sea we change 
our climate not our souls. I can say what he could not ; 
that I find on this side the Atlantic a strong resemblance 



22 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

to what I left on the other a nation which exists in 
hopes, prospects, and expectations the reverence for 
ancient establishments gone, existing forms shaken to 
the foundation, and a new order of things about to take 
place, in which, perhaps even to the very names, all for 
mer institutions will be disregarded. 

"To judge of the present turmoil I can give you no 
better standard than by telling you, what is seriously true, 
that when I took up the pen it was to give you news of 
your friends, and to describe the impression made on my 
mind by the objects which necessarily present themselves 
in this great capital, I will not say of France, but of 
Europe. And have I done it ? Yes, for the one great 
object in which all are engaged has swallowed up, like the 
rod of Aaron in Egypt, every other enchantment by which 
France was fascinated." 

It must have been a curious and melancholy spectacle 
which Paris presented to a thoughtful man and a for 
eigner ; one, too, just from a society very new and decid 
edly affected by the Quaker element. The convulsion 
which was already shaking society to its foundation every 
where disturbed the atmosphere. Intrigues, social and 
political, were rife ; the Court was sinking in a quicksand 
of pleasure. The king struggled, in a feeble way, to raise 
the moral standard, but not to any extent could he purify 
the Court, and only for the moment could he pacify the 
indignant and starving multitude who clamored outside 
the palace-gates. Fatigued with pleasure, bored with ev 
erything, the young men recklessly accumulated debts, 
solely, it would seem, in the hope of amusing themselves. 
But Paris was gay, full of men and things to interest and 
amuse. Philosophers, patriots, men of letters, rioters, 
beautiful women, clever and witty, leaders of society and 
politics, were all there. Everything, nearly, could be found 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 23 

in Paris, "but scavengers and lamps," as Arthur Young 
said. The streets were narrow and without foot-pave 
ments ; they were dirty and crowded. "To walk through 
them was toil and fatigue to a man and an impossibility 
to a well-dressed woman," says Young again. One-horse 
cabriolets abounded, driven recklessly by young men of 
fashion, endangering life and limb. Persons of moderate 
means, unable to own carriages, were forced by the mud 
and filth to dress in black, with black stockings. This cir 
cumstance alone marked strongly the line between the 
man of fortune and the man without. Public opinion had 
somewhat modified the dress of the ladies, and the enor 
mously high structure which had been supposed to adorn 
the female head during the Regency changed, in 1780, to 
a low coiffure, started by the queen, and called the "coif 
fure a 1 enfant." Four years later the chapeau " a la caisse 
d escompte, chapeau sans fond comme cette caisse," * came 
into fashion. Having lost the elevated head-dress, than 
which nothing could be more grotesque, the dress-makers 
proceeded to deform nature in another way, and the enor 
mous poches came into vogue which made a woman look 
like a " Hottentot Venus "f destroying nature s form. 
Extremely high heels, much rouge, and many mouches 
were supposed to heighten their beauty. The men, sword 
at the side, hat under the arm, with very trim, high-heel 
shoes, braided or embroidered coats, powdered hair caught 
together at the back in a small bag, called a bourse, and 
with two watch-chains, on the ends of which hung a vast 
number of charms, or breloques, were to be seen in the 
street carrying themselves with much stiffness and pride. 
This bearing, however, changed speedily on entering the 
antechamber. "A marvellous suppleness attacked their 
backs, a complacent smile succeeded the severe one, their 

* Dulaure : Histoire de Paris. t Ibid. 



24 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

conversation was full of adulation and baseness." * By 
the year 1791 the seriousness, not to say the terrors of the 
Revolution, had eradicated much of this nonsense ; etiquette 
and ceremonial lost their power ; the women abandoned 
high heels and powder, and the men put their hats on 
their heads, gave up powder, wore their hair naturally, 
and only carried swords in defence of their country. Even 
the form of ending a letter changed, with the levelling in 
fluence of the times, from the very adulatory and elaborate 
method to simple " salutations amicales " or "assurances 
d estime ; " "le respect" was reserved for women of high 
position and old people, f 

In strong contrast to the mincing fine gentleman, pick 
ing his way through the mire and filth of the streets, was 
the pauper element. This was enormously represented 
a stormy, riotous mob, ready for anything, and employing 
their time begging and singing rhymes in honor of the third 
estate. From the Palais Royal newspapers advocating 
the rights of the third party literally flowed, and found a 
large reading-public ready to receive them. In the month 
of June pamphlets were in all hands ; " even lackeys are 
poring over them at the gates of hotels." J "A little 
later, every hour produced something new. Thirteen came 
out to-day, sixteen yesterday, arid ninety last week." 

These tracts were spread through the provinces : and 
nearly all of them, teeming with levelling and seditious 
principles, advocated liberty, and violence against the 
nobles and clergy. Only two or three pamphlets on the 
other side had merit enough to be known. 

As early as February, 1789, Necker avowed that " obedi 
ence is not to be found anywhere, and that even the troops 
are not to be relied on." This state of things in Paris 

* Dulaure : Histoire de Paris. t Ibid. 

t Ibid. Arthur Young. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 25 

ushered in the meeting of the States-General, called, after 
the lapse of one hundred and sixty years, to work seem 
ingly impossible reforms, and to frame a constitution 
under which France should be free and happy. 

The commission with which General Washington had 
intrusted Morris was his first care, and he at once ap 
plied for information to Mr. Jefferson, then American 
Minister at Versailles ; and in a letter to Washington he 
tells him this, and that the man who had made Madison s 
watch was a rogue, and recommended him to another, 
namely, Romilly. "But as it might happen that this also 
was a rogue, I inquired at a very honest man s shop, not a 
watchmaker, and he recommended Gregson. A gentleman 
with me assured me that Gregson was a rogue, and both 
of them agreed that Romilly is of the old school, and he 
and his watches out of fashion. And to say that of a man 
in Paris is like saying he is an ordinary man among the 
Friends of Philadelphia. I found at last that M. L Epine 
is at the head of his profession here, and, in consequence, 
asks more for his work than anybody else. I therefore 
waited on M. L Epine and agreed with him for two watches 
exactly alike, one of which will be for you and the other 
for me." 

Turning to public affairs, he continues : " Our new Con 
stitution has greatly raised our reputation in Europe, 
but your appointment and acceptance would go far to fix 
the general opinion of the fact. By the bye, in the mel 
ancholy situation to which the poor King of England has 
been reduced, there were, I am told, (in relation to you) 
some whimsical circumstances. His first outset was to 
seize Mr. Pitt by the collar and with outrageous language 
addressed to the Rebel General, had nearly strangled him 
before he could get help. Afterwards the Defender of the 
Faith, in one of his caprices, conceived himself to be no 



26 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

less a personage than George Washington at the head of 
the American Army. This shows that you have done some 
thing or other which sticks most terribly in his stomach. 
And the Prince of Wales I am told intends, (no doubt from 
filial piety and respect) to be very good friends with the 
country and the man who have turned his father s head." 
His next letter was addressed to Mr. Carmichael, the 
American minister at Madrid and an old friend. He ex 
presses his attachment to him and desire to fly to him, 
if he were not restrained by important objects, to be at 
tended to at once. He says : " You intimate a desire to 
know my situation and intentions. For the former it is 
simply this : by acquiring property I have placed myself 
in the common situation of desiring more, but with the 
same frankness with which I avow that desire, let me as 
sure you that the thirst for riches has never yet vitiated 
my palate. I wish not to accumulate, but to enjoy. And 
age has pointed out a different path towards enjoyment 
from that which delighted my youthful footsteps. In a 
word, I w r ish to possess what I possess in peace, and for that 
purpose I want lively property. Various means are before 
me. You speak of becoming an American farmer, in the 
last result and as a last resource. I have ever viewed it as 
my great desideratum. But let it for both of us be otium cum 
dignitate. And to this end it is essential to possess a moder 
ate share of fortune s favors. As soon as I can I shall pro 
ceed to Holland. But I contemplate a return to this capi 
tal as speedily as possible, and from hence I wish to go to 
Madrid. You will calculate, however, that as the most im 
portant scene enacted for many years on the European the 
atre, will in the next months be displayed at this place, 
I, in common with all others, have curiosity to see it. 
You must also consider that I have motives stronger than 
curiosity, for until the States-General shall have decided 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2/ 

on the important objects for which they are convened, this 
government can take no solid arrangement for anything. 
Lafayette is out of town. He is gone to Auvergne to get 
himself elected either for the Noblesse or the Tiers Etat. 
I hope the former, for he would otherwise (in my opinion) 
be too desperately estranged from his own class. As he 
did not communicate to me his hesitation, I presume that 
he had determined, for he made some important communi 
cations just before his departure. Apropos a term which 
my Lord Chesterfield well observes all generally use to 
bring in what is not at all to the purpose apropos, then, 
I have here the strangest employment imaginable. A re 
publican, and just, as it were, emerged from that assem 
bly which has formed one of the most republican of all 
republican constitutions, I preach incessantly respect for 
the Prince, attention to the rights of the nobility, and mod 
eration, not only in the object but also in the pursuit of it. 
All this, you will say, is none of my business, but I con 
sider France as the natural ally of my country and of 
course that we are interested in her prosperity. Besides, 
(to say the truth) I love France, and as I believe the King 
to be an honest and good man I sincerely wish him well 
and the more so as I am persuaded that he earnestly de 
sires the felicity of his people." 

Letters to prominent people gave Morris at once an en 
tree into the different sets of society, and invitations to 
breakfasts, dinners, and suppers were not wanting. On 
one occasion only he mentioned not being perfectly mas 
ter of French, which he had not spoken since his school 
days, but it was not long before he acquired an uncommon 
facility both in writing and speaking it. One day which 
he mentions seems more than full. It began with a 
breakfast at M. le Normand s, where they discussed the 
tobacco subject, so deeply interesting to the speculator 



28 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

as well as the smoker. The same day he dined with 
Madame Dumolley, who included in her society the ex 
tremely noisy element, the men who came on foot, and with 
out the adornments of dress. Her Monday entertainments, 
and small intrigues were to her the sole end and aim of the 
week ; she lived for them, and the guests who were the 
special favorites of the moment. Madame Dumolley had 
a pleasant face and an agreeable varnish of politeness ; and 
this, added to the fact that she never failed to include a 
more or less vigorous love-making episode in her pur 
suit after happiness, rendered her salon attractive. She 
evidently exhibited a taste for horticulture, for Morris 
promised to send to America for seeds and plants for her. 
Later in the evening, after the play, a supper was to be par 
taken of with Madame de la Caze, at whose house he met a 
large party, absorbed in quinze. Here, he says : "M. de 
Bersheni, for want of something else to do, asks me many 
questions about America, in a manner which shows he 
cares little for the information. By way of giving him 
some adequate idea of our people, when he mentioned the 
necessity of fleets and armies to secure us against inva 
sion, I tell him that nothing would be more difficult than 
to subdue a nation every individual of which, in the pride 
of freedom, thinks himself a king. And if, sir, you should 
look down on him, would say, " I am a man. Are you any 
thing more ? " l All this is very well ; but there must be a 
difference of ranks, and I should say to one of these peo 
ple, " You, sir, who are equal to a king, make me a pair of 
shoes." Our citizens, sir, have a manner of thinking 
peculiar to themselves. This shoemaker would reply, 
" Sir, I am very glad of the opportunity to make you a 
pair of shoes. It is my duty to make shoes. I love to do 
my duty." This manner of thinking and speaking, how 
ever, is too masculine for the climate I am in." 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 29 

Most of the mornings were passed in receiving visits and 
writing not only keeping up a correspondence, daily ac 
cumulating, but in copying all his own letters into books 
and generally sending duplicates of them to America be 
sides. A letter to Robert Morris (March 2d) requested 
him to send Madame Dumolley s seeds, and begged his at 
tention to another object, which was to " obtain forme an 
account of the American tonnage that is, the number of 
tons of the vessels of U. S. I want this for the Marechal 
de Castries. This nobleman was so kind as to seek an 
acquaintance with me in consequence of some letters I 
had written to the late Marquis de Chastellux and which he 
had translated and shown to several persons. The last of 
these letters occupied him in the illness which proved 
fatal, about three months ago. I forget the contents but 
in my rash manner I had, it seems, given opinions about 
the situation and affairs of this country which (luckily) 
proved to be just. Shortly after my arrival here I received 
a message from Madame de Chastellux desiring a visit to 
the wife of my late friend, and speedily, as she was on the 
point of lying in. I waited upon her, and two days after 
received an intimation from M. de Castries that as he was 
already acquainted with me through the letters above 
mentioned he wished for an interview, etc. In conse 
quence I waited on him. He has since asked me to din 
ner, and promised to present me to M. Necker, to whom I 
have not yet delivered your letter. It is thought that M. 
de Castries will again be made Minister of the Marine. 
He both expects and wishes for it, and he is an intimate 
friend of M. Necker who, as I have already told you, 
holds fast to the farmers-general. But what is of more 
consequence in my eyes than situation or connection, they 
are men of honor and rectitude." 

The Marechal de Chastellux served under Rochambeau 



3<D DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

in the War for American Independence, in 1780. Madame 
de Chastellux, an extremely charming and accomplished 
Irishwoman, lady in waiting to the Duchess of Orleans * 
and her confidential friend and companion, drew round her 
those immediately connected with the Court. It was in 
her salon, very shortly after his arrival in Paris, that Mor 
ris met the Duchess of Orleans, the beautiful and charming 
daughter of the Due de Penthievre, whose love-marriage 
with the Due de Chartres, who became the Due d Orleans 
and, later, the notorious Philippe Egalite, had been hap 
py until about this time, when the duke s irregularities 
rendered her life sad and uncertain. With her Morris 
formed a sincere and lasting friendship. Here also he 
met the Comtesse de Segur, who told him at the first meet 
ing that she was afraid that he " might not arrive before 
she left the room." Among the six or seven grand salons 
of Paris, that of Madame de Segur mtre, the natural daugh 
ter of the Regent, had for years occupied a conspicuous 
place ; and she, notwithstanding her age, retained all 
her vivacity, charming young and old alike with her 
memories and tales of the Regent s time and of her own 
eventful life. Her daughter-in-law, the Marechale de Segur, 
who always aided her in doing the honors, added to the 
attraction of the salon by her gentle grace and charming 
manner. With these queens of the salon to instruct him, 
it was not long before Morris, being an apt scholar, 
found himself fully initiated into the mysteries of coquetry ; 
for these seductive court ladies never feared to follow 
their flattering words with the "look, manner, and tone 
of voice perfectly in unison with the sentiment." But 
Morris was wary of such flatteries, though admitting that 

* The Duchess of Orleans, wife of the Duke of Orleans, cousin to Louis 
XVI., daughter of the Due de Penthievre and sister-in-law of the unfortu 
nate Princesse de Lamballe. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 31 

"a pleasing error might be preferable to a disagree 
able truth." In March he wrote to Washington, and 
expressed his unbounded surprise at " the astonishing 
spectacle" which, he said, "this country presents to one 
who has collected his ideas from books and information 
half a dozen years old. Everything is a ranglaise, and the 
desire to imitate the English prevails alike in the cut of a 
coat, and the form of a constitution. Like the English, 
too, all are engaged in parliamenteering, and when we con 
sider how novel this last business must be, I assure you 
their progress is far from contemptible." 

On Tuesday (March 3d), the salon of Madame la Com- 
tesse de Beauharnais was opened to him, by an invitation 
of a week s standing, to dine at three o clock. Setting off 
in great haste, to be punctual, and arriving at a quarter 
past the hour, he found in the drawing-room " some dirty 
linen and no fire." While the waiting-woman takes away 
one, a valet lights up the other. Three small sticks in a 
deep heap of ashes give no great expectation of heat. By 
the smoke, however, all doubts are removed respecting 
the existence of fire. To expel the smoke a window is 
opened, and the day being cold I have the benefit of as 
fresh air as can reasonably be expected in so large a city. 
Towards 4 o clock the guests begin to assemble, and I be 
gin to suspect that as madame is a poetess, I shall have 
the honor to dine with that excellent part of the species 
who devote themselves to the Muses. In effect, the 
gentlemen begin to compliment their respective works, 
and as regular hours cannot be expected in a house 
where the mistress is occupied more with the intellect 
ual than the material world, I have the delightful pros 
pect of a continuance of the scene. Towards five, ma- 
dame steps in to announce dinner, and the hungry poets 
advance to the charge. As they bring good appetites 



32 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

they have certainly reason to praise the feast, and I 
console myself in the persuasion that for this day at 
least I shall escape indigestion. A very narrow escape, 
too, for some rancid butter of which the cook had been 
very liberal, puts me in bodily fear. If the repast is not 
abundant we have at least the consolation that there is no 
lack of conversation. Not being perfectly master of the 
language, most of the jests escape me ; as for the rest of 
the company, each being employed either in saying a good 
thing, or studying one to say, tis no wonder if he cannot 
find time to explain that of his neighbor. They all agree 
that we live in an age alike deficient in justice and in taste. 
Each finds in the fate of his own works numerous instances 
to justify the censure. They tell me, to my great surprise, 
that the public now condemn theatrical compositions be 
fore they have heard the first recitals, and to remove my 
doubts, the comtesse is so kind as to assure me that this 
rash decision has been made on one of her own pieces. 
In pitying modern degeneracy, we rise from the table. I 
take my leave immediately after the coffee, which by no 
means dishonors the precedent repast, and madame in 
forms me that on Tuesdays and Thursdays she is always 
at home, and will always be glad to see me. While I 
stammer out some return to the compliment, my heart, 
convinced of my unworthiness to partake of such Attic 
entertainment, makes me promise never again to occupy 
the place, from which, perhaps, I had excluded a worthier 
personage." 

On the 5th of March Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Morris went 
together to Versailles, the latter to be presented to the 
Comte de Montmorin,* then Minister of Foreign Affairs, 

* Saint Herene de Montmorin became Minister of the Interior in 1791. 
He was condemned by the Revolutionary Tribunal, and executed in Sep 
tember, 1792. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 33 

and to deliver his letters to him. He found him civil, but 
in a polite way he rather intimated that " he had already 
more trouble than he desires with strangers. Thence to 
the Comte de Caluzem, who receives me with a degree of 
hauteur I never before experienced. On reading my let 
ters of introduction from his brother the Marquis, his 
features and manner are at once softened into affability, 
and the gout in one foot takes the blame of the prece 
dent looks, which I believe had produced something cor 
respondent in my features. I render the visit as short as 
possible, and wait on the Comte d Angivilliers, whose 
politeness compensates in a great degree for the ministe 
rial atmosphere I have just now breathed. In spite of pre 
determination, my visit is too long, and thus by being 
troublesome I pay a compliment, whose value he cannot 
be sensible of. This visit, short as it is, and the first I 
ever made to a court, has convinced me that I am not 
formed to succeed there. Return to Paris and dine with 
Madame de Tesse republicans of the first feather. The 
countess, who is a very sensible woman, has formed her 
ideas of government in a manner not suited, I think, either 
to the situation, the circumstances, or the disposition of 
France, and there are many such." 

The evening of this rather eventful day was passed in 
the salon of Madame de Chastellux, where the Duchess of 
Orleans was also whiling away an hour. "Madame de 
Chastellux presents me to her Highness, informing me that 
she had the goodness to permit of my reception. In the 
course of the visit, her Royal Highness has the conde 
scension to speak to one who is only a human being. My 
morning s course has taught me the value of a few words 
uttered in a gentle tone from such a character." 

The reckless driving in the streets of Paris a peculiar 
ity remarked to-day by visitors to the French capital 
3 



34 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

Morris rather humorously ridicules in the following lines, 
entitled " Paris : " 

" A coachman driving furious on, 
For here, to fly is quite the ton, 
Thro the thick vapors of the night, 
Sees by a glimmering lamp s dim light, 
Some creature stniggling in the street, 
Which soon beneath his horses feet 
Is trod, and there in anguish feels 
The crushing of the chariot wheels. 
Villain ! exclaims the aged count, 
Stop ! ho ! the guard ; bougez, dismount. 
The law, pardieu, shall have its course. 
(Au Commits air e?) He has killed my horse. 
Seigneur, replies the poor cocher, 
Moi, humbly I your pardon pray. 
Had I supposed a horse lay there 
I would have taken better care. 
But by St. Jacques declare I can 
I thought twas nothing but a mau / " 

A dinner was given to Morris on the 7th of March by 
the Baron de Montvoissieu " at the request of M. de Males- 
herbes,* who is there a pleasant, respectable old man, 
whose daughter, Madame de Montvoissieu, has five fine 
children. It has the effect of rendering her happy. At 
least she has more the appearance than any other woman I 
have seen here. M. 1 Eveque d Arras tells me our new 
Constitution is the best that has ever yet been found, 
but has some faults which arise from our imitation of the 
English." 

M. de Malesherbes quite captivated Morris, who spoke 
enthusiastically of him in a letter to the Marquis de 

* Chretien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, a judge, philanthro 
pist, and man of letters. In 1775 appointed Minister of the King s Household 
and of the Police ; resigned in 1776. In 1792, when the king was arraigned by 
the Convention, Malesherbes offered his services, which were accepted, but his 
act was resented by the Terrorists, and he fell a victim to the guillotine. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 35 

la Luzerne, then ambassador at London. " I am in 
love," he wrote, " with one of your family, and this is 
not singular, for everyone else has the same passion, 
though not perhaps in so great a degree. I am sure you 
will not accuse me of want of taste, when I tell you that 
the person in question is M. de Malesherbes. He has so 
much goodness and so much serenity that it is impossible 
not to feel a very sincere affection for him. I must tell 
you how glad I should have been to have met you here, 
where there are a thousand things in which a stranger has 
need of advice, but although I much regret your absence, 
yet I have too much affection for you to wish you here. 
France seems to be in a situation which, terminate as it 
may with respect to public affairs, cannot fail eventually 
to produce dissensions in private circles. . . . Stay 
where you are a little while, and when you come back you 
will hardly know your country. As yet the spectacles 
hold some share in the conversation, but I hear as much 
politics among the ladies of Paris as ever you did among 
those of Philadelphia. Republicanism is absolutely a 
moral influenza, from which neither titles, places, nor even 
the diadem can guard their possessor. If when the States- 
General assemble their debates should be published, the 
Lord preserve us from a hot summer." 

Mr. Jefferson, the American minister, was just on the 
eve of departure for America, and no one had as yet been 
appointed in his place. "The Comte de Puisignieu," 
Morris says, " tells me that I must stay in France to fill 
Jefferson s place, by which I understand a wish to discover 
if I have any views and expectations. I assure him with 
great truth that I have no desire to be in that place even 
if it were vacant." It was not long after the evening 
spent in Madame de Tesse s republican salon that Morris 
was told by Madame de Lafayette that she considered him 



36 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

an aristocrat, and in consequence of his conversation with 
Madame de Tesse that enthusiast who had worked for 
years to make a constitution for France, and was ready to 
shed her last drop of blood if perchance she might see it 
accepted ; and it was doubtless not a little surprising to 
Morris to discover that " his ideas were too moderate for 
that company." 

Another surprise seems to have been the cold, uncom 
fortable weather which he found, instead of the " smiling 
European spring about which," he says, "so much has 
been said and sung." "To-day the face of the country is 
that of January, all white," he mentions in his diary, " and 
from present appearances one would hardly expect the 
genial spring ever to come." 

The hurry of life in Paris evidently troubled him, for in 
a letter to his brother (March nth) he says : 

" I have one great objection to Paris, which is that I 
have not a moment s time. The amusements I cannot 
partake of because my business in the morning and my 
engagements till midnight keep me in a perpetual hurry. 
I have seen enough to convince me that a man might in 
this city be incessantly employed for forty years and grow 
old without knowing what he had been about. This is a 
charming circumstance for those who, having nothing to 
do, would otherwise be obliged to study how best to kill 
old time, and who waste their hours in constant complaints 
that the days of man are short and few." 

During the spring the affairs of a certain Mr. Nesbitt, 
who seemed to be in a chronic state of hiding from 
his creditors, gave Morris more or less trouble, and no 
small share of amusement, owing to various contretemps, 
while seeking the presence of certain ministers " with 
whom," he said, " I am utterly unacquainted." One en 
counter he particularly mentioned, where he was to go to 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 37 

Versailles and call upon M. DeVille Delville, and where 
" I am to make the modest request that he will grant me 
the favor to stop the usual course of law and justice." 

A letter from Count Dillon* was to open the way to an 
interview with the Minister. But it is best to let Mor 
ns tell his own experience of approaching so high a per 
sonage. "Arrived at Versailles," he says, " the coachman 
sets me down at the door of M. de Puisegur, Minis 
ter at War. After waiting for my turn I address the Min 
ister by asking if he is M. DeVille Delville, to whom I 
have the honor of addressing myself. He informs me 
of my mistake, and as he is a man of the sword and not of 
the robe, this mistake is not a small one." Finally, when 
M. Delville is found and appealed to for help he refuses 
to understand reason ; and the next morning the unfortu 
nate Mr. Nesbitt woke Morris at any early hour, by 
rushing into his chamber to escape from the officer. " I 
get up," Morris says, " and endeavor to persuade this 
latter to go away ; but it will not do. He has already sent 
for the commissary and the guard. Presently they arrive 
in their respective uniforms, and as the door is kept 
bolted a locksmith is also sent for. He comes, and before 
the application of his tools I inform Mr. Nesbitt of what 
has passed, and he comes out. He contends that they 
cannot take him, because he has not been duly summoned. 
But the officer produces a certificate that he has. And 
although this is certainly false, yet justice must believe 
its own instruments. He sets off for the bureau and I go 
and make interest for his release. Nesbitt is nevertheless 
dragged to 1 Hotel de Force and detained there some 



* Count Arthur Dillon, a French general, chosen a deputy to the States- 
General in 1789. Later he served under Dumouriez, but was disaffected 
toward the new regime and was recalled in 1793, imprisoned, and perished 
on the guillotine in 1794. 



38 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

time. "I go to the Comte de Puisignieu to supper. Hear 
that Lafayette is like to lose his election in Auvergne a 
circumstance which gives great pleasure, I find, to some 
persons here. His conduct is much disapproved of, as 
indeed is naturally to be expected, by all those attached 
to the order of nobility. I believe he has mixed a little 
too deep, for I am very much mistaken if he is not, 
without knowing it himself, a much greater aristocrat than 
those of the party opposed to him. In effect, as the con 
stitution of this country must inevitably undergo some 
change which will lessen the monarchical power, it is 
clear that unless the nobles acquire a constitutional sanc 
tion to some of their privileges, if will be in the power of 
the ministry afterwards to confound them entirely with 
the people, (according to the strange doctrine supported 
by the Duke of Orleans) and the result must be either a 
tyranny of one in the first instance or as a consequence of 
the anarchy which would result from giving the wretched 
constitution of the Pennsylvania legislature to the King 
dom of France." 

As to the distress among the paupers of Paris during 
this spring, Morris, who fearlessly and harmlessly walked 
or drove through every part of the town, observing closely 
as he went, wrote to his brother, General Morris, then in 
England, as follows : 

" I believe your apprehensions of the sufferings of 
people here from cold are not unfounded. But they 
have in that respect an advantage which you did not 
think of ; viz., that they are stowed so close, and in 
such little cabins, that if they live through the first few 
months they have an atmosphere of their own about them. 
In effect, none of the beggars I have seen complain to me 
of cold. They all ask for the means to get a morsel of 
bread, and show by their countenance that by bread they 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 39 

mean wine. And if the vintners were to interpret this 
last word, the poor devils would find that it means a very 
different kind of liquor. Among the objects which pre 
sent themselves, doubtless some are deserving of charity, 
but these are scarcely to be noticed in the crowd of pre 
tenders. However, they get from me all my small change, 
and I must confess, to my shame, that I give rather for 
peace sake than through benevolence. The rascals have, 
I suppose, found out by studying human nature that each 
man loves himself better than his neighbor, and therefore 
make it his interest to give. The rich, in return, as pat 
rons of industry, are vastly inattentive to these importu 
nities, and by withholding their alms try to make it the 
interest of the others to work rather than to beg. The 
effects of habit on each are wonderful. Not long since I 
saw a gentleman of my acquaintance weep at an air of an 
opera, who had heard a beggar clatter his crutches in pur 
suit of him for the length of a street without turning 
round to look at him. Tis true there is a difference in the 
music. 

"You are right in your idea that our contest has given a 
confused notion of liberty to this country, but there are 
many persons here whose views are very clear and dis 
tinct. It is highly probable that a constitution will be es 
tablished, as free as is consistent with their manners and 
situation ; in which case the King will gain more abroad 
than he loses at home, if, indeed, it can be called a loss to 
part with the power of doing mischief and retain only the 
power of doing good. If the indisposition of the King of 
England should keep their politics a little more at home, 
the nation will be much happier. That preponderance 
which Britain had gained during the peace, from the cir 
cumstances in which other nations found themselves, and 
which has led to a very dictatorial conduct that by those 



4O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

same circumstances became successful, would, I fear, 
have soon set the world again on fire, and it is ten to one 
that her own feathers would have been singed in the gen 
eral combustion." 

"At supper to-night [March lyth] in the salon of the 
Baron de Besenval," * the diary mentions, " M. le Comte 
de Puisignieu, who has an estate in St. Dominique, 
asks me to speak to M. de Malesherbes on the com 
merce of the Islands. This apropos of the letter written 
some years before on this subject to the Marquis de Chas- 
tellux. I tell him that I have no wit to talk with their 
ministers on public affairs, but if he chooses to ask my 
ideas it will be my duty to give them, after his very par 
ticular attention to me. In effect, I had rather leave our 
affairs in the hands of our Minister, and give him my 
ideas." 

From this time Morris became deeply engaged in 
large affairs of public interest to America and France. 
In a long conversation on the i8th of March with William 
Short, Secretary of the United States Legation under Jef 
ferson, speculations in American bonds and the purchase 
of the debt of the United States to France, were discussed 
at length, and Morris expressed himself willing to take 
an interest for himself and his friends, in speculations 
of this kind " which are well founded provided always 
there be nothing in them prejudicial to the United States 
or inconsistent with personal honor or integrity." Din 
ing with M. de Malesherbes the evening of this same 
day, he hinted to him " the idea of supplying the garrison 
in the French Islands from America and of furnishing 

* Baron de Besenval, lieutenant of the Swiss. The women, owing to his 
gray hairs, had great confidence in him. He was considered the best racon 
teur in the salon of Madame Jules de Polignac. He was tried for his life on 
the charge of being an aristocrat and trying to fly from France, but was ac 
quitted in March, 1790. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 41 

salt beef to the fleet." Certainly Morris found no dif 
ficulty in filling the days with work and society duties, 
if paying thirteen calls on various ladies, besides having 
long conversations on the Nesbitt affair with Parker, on 
the purchase of the debt to France with M. Le Coulteux * 
the banker, a pleasant hour of gossip with Madame de 
Chastellux, and ending the day with a supper at Madame 
de Corney s, " when we have some good music," meant 
anything. 

" Colonel Laumoy breakfasts with me to-day," he says 
in his diary for March 2ist, and we go together to Versailles, 
invite ourselves to dine with the Count d Angivilliers, and 
look at the apartments in the Castle of Versailles. This 
is an immense monument of the vanity and folly of Louis 
Fourteenth. We see neither the King nor the Queen, but 
as we come not to look for them this is no misfortune. 
Like the other hangers on of the Court, we desire not 
them, but theirs with this difference, however, that we 
mean to gratify curiosity, not cupidity. The King is well 
lodged the Queen s apartments I cannot see because Her 
Majesty is there, but it is ten to one that I should like her 
better than any other part of the furniture. Her picture, 
however, by Madame Lebrun, will do as well, and perhaps 
better, for it is very beautiful, doubtless as much so as the 
original." 

It was at Versailles in the salon of Madame Cabanis, 
wife of the celebrated physiologist and physician, Pierre 
Jean George Cabanis, the personal friend of Mirabeau, 

*The firm of Le Coulteux de Cantaleu, bankers, of Rouen, was of great 
antiquity even in the time of Louis Fourteenth, who, desirous of encourag 
ing commerce and breaking down the barriers which prejudice had raised 
against it, offered to give the members of the firm letters of nobility. They 
refused the offer, saying that they preferred the reputation of old merchants 
to that of new nobles, and would rather be at the head of one class than at 
the tail of the other. 



42 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

and the ami de la maison of Condorcet, that Morris first 
met Madame de Flahaut, the romance writer, the friend 
of Montesquieu and of the Bishop of Autun. She was 
at this time in the glory of her youth and attractions, with 
possibly a touch of sadness about her and certainly a rare 
sympathy, which, added to her thoroughly trained mind, 
with its decidedly philosophical cast, gave her an uncom 
mon power over men. Hers had been a strange life. 
Married at fifteen to the Comte de Flahaut, then quite 
fifty who had denied himself no excess of dissipation 
she found herself coldly neglected. The Abbe Perigord, 
who had performed the marriage ceremony for her, be 
came her friend, companion, and instructor for to him 
she owed the opening and training of her intellect and 
he became also the father of her only child, who was 
named Charles, after the abbe. But to return to the diary. 
"Madame de Flahaut," Morris says, "entered the room 
with her sister Madame d Angivilliers, the wife of M. 
Bellarderie d Angivilliers, Director-General of the Navy. 
She speaks English and is a pleasing woman ; if I might 
judge from appearances, not a sworn enemy to intrigue." 
Madame Adele de Flahaut, during the dark days of the 
Revolution, received many substantial proofs of friendship 
from Morris. She was destined to fly for her life and to 
be made a widow by the guillotine in 1793. 

Those were pleasant days and evenings in the grand 
salons of the Palais Royal, and the lesser ones of Paris p 
generally, before the Terror came. A change had undoubt 
edly come since the time of Louis XV. There was no longer 
dancing, and fewer love-making couples scattered about 
the room ; large groups of people came together for more 
general conversation. The gaming table was always to be 
found, where one woman and an abbe tried their luck with 
the dice-box ; while someone reading a book by the win- 



1789.] - GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 43 

dow was not an uncommon sight. "The society was 
there," Goncourt says, " but not the pleasure of the salons 
of the time of Louis Fifteenth." But the ladies had not, as 
yet, lost their spirits by reason of the sorrows that came 
later, and their natural grace of manner and mind lent a 
charm to their conversation that nothing else could give. 
Morris surely counted himself born under a fortunate 
star to be the favored guest of such as they. In the bou 
doir of the lovely Madame de Duras-Dufurt, the friend 
of Madame de Stael and an authoress, he was one even 
ing wholly charmed by the surroundings. " For the first 
time," he says, " I have an idea of the music which 
may be drawn from the harp. In the boudoir of madame, 
adjoining the salon, I have the pleasure to sit for an hour 
alone by a light exactly resembling twilight, the temperature 
of the air brought to perfect mildness and the sweetest 
sounds. Later in the evening came a change of scene, and 
a bishop from Languedoc makes tea and the ladies who 
choose it stand round and take each their dish. This 
would seem strange in America, and yet it is by no means 
more so than the Chevalier de Louis who begged alms of 
me this morning after introducing himself by his own let 
ter." Going to Madame de Chastellux s one evening 
(March 25th) Morris found himself among the noblesse, and 
in a few moments after the Duchess of Orleans appeared. 
" The duchess," he says, "is affable and handsome enough 
to punish the duke for his irregularities. Madame de 
Segur goes away early, as the company seem determined to 
increase. The widow of the late Duke of Orleans comes 
in, and at going away, according to custom, kisses the 
duchess. I observe that the ladies of Paris are very fond of 
each other, which gives room to some observations from her 
Royal Highness on the person who has just quitted the 
room, which show that the kiss does not always betoken 



44 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

great affection. In going away she is pleased to say that 
she is glad to have met me, and I believe her. The reason 
is that I dropped some expressions and sentiments a little 
rough, and which were agreeable because they contrast with 
the palling polish she constantly meets with everywhere. 
Hence I conclude that the less I have the honor of such 
good company the better, for when the novelty ceases all is 
over, and I shall probably be worse than insipid. Every 
body complains of the weather and yet the weather don t 
mend. It could not be worse if we praised it." 

The diary notes that " on Friday [March 27th] the Mare- 
chal de Castries calls and takes me to dine with M. and 
Madame Necker.* In the salon we find Madame de Stael. 
She seems to be a woman of sense and somewhat mascu 
line in her character, but has very much the appearance of 
a chambermaid. A little before dinner M. Necker enters. 
He has the look and manner of the counting-house, and, 
being dressed in embroidered velvet, he contrasts strongly 
with his habiliments. His bow, his address, etc., say, / 
am the man. Our company is one half Academicians. 
The Duchess of Biron, formerly Lauzun, is one. I observe 
that M. Necker seems occupied by ideas whch rather 
distress him. He cannot, I think, stay in office half an 
hour after the nation insist on keeping him there. He is 
much harassed and madame receives continually memoires 
from different people, so that she seems as much occupied 

* Jacques Necker, Prime Minister of France, was a native of Switzerland. 
The first public exposition of the revenue and expenses of the State was 
made by him in his famous compte rendu published in 1781 and which was re 
ceived with great favor ; but, later, his reforms made for him many enemies at 
Court and elsewhere. He succeeded Brienne as Prime Minister or Comp 
troller of Finances about September i, 1788. He favored the Revolution by 
granting to the Tiers Etat a double number of deputies. On the I ith of July, 
1789, he was suddenly dismissed, but was recalled on the 2istof July, and re 
mained in office until September, 1790, when, becoming convinced that he 
was too conservative to satisfy the popular party, he resigned, and passed the 
rest of his life at Coppet. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 45 

as he is. If he is a really great man I am deceived, and 
yet this is a rash judgment ; but how can one help forming 
some judgment ? If he is not a laborious man I am also 
deceived. From dinner I visit Madame de Chastellux. 
After being there some time the Duchess of Orleans en 
ters. We have a trio for half an hour. She has something 
or the other which weighs heavy at her heart, perhaps the 
besoin d etre aimee, that painful void left aching in the 
breast. I make an apology for her husband s wildness, 
by advising her to breed her son, M. de Beaujolais, to 
business, because otherwise at five and twenty, having en 
joyed all which rank and fortune can give him, he will be 
unhappy from not knowing what to do with himself. She 
repeats that she is very glad to see me there. This is 
very kind, but I do not exactly know what it means." 

After a pleasant hour with the duchess and Madame de 
Chastellux, a supper with the Baron de Besenval claimed 
attention. " A large party," he says, " and his reputed son, 
the Vicomte de Segur, is one of the number, and if resem 
blances and caresses may be taken for evidence of the 
fact it must be admitted. This young man is the Lovelace 
of his day and as remarkable for seductions as his father. 
He does not want for understanding. The tone of the 
society here seems to be that it was not worth while to 
call the States-General for such a trifle as the deficit 
amounts to. The business of M. Necker therefore stands 
thus : If any mischiefs happen they will be charged to 
him. If he gets well through the business others will 
claim the reputation of what good is done by the States- 
General. He loves flattery for he flatters ; he is there 
fore easily deceived. He believes that many persons sup 
port him out of esteem, who I believe only use him, and 
will throw by the instrument when it can no longer serve 
their purpose. Necker is in blast till May, but will prob- 



46 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

ably blow out unless further means can be devised. The 
Caisse d Escompte is full of effets royaux (royal bills). 
Consequently both the means and the inclination to afford 
succor are wanting." 

Not yet entirely used to the manners and customs of 
Paris, "I find," Morris says, "that I have been guilty 
of a betise in answering a note of Madame de Corney by 
one addressed to monsieur. Although it was signed De 
Corney, I ought to have understood better the marks of 
the crow-quill. Dine [March 3oth] with Marshal de Cas 
tries.* Hint an idea to him respecting the debt and ex 
press a wish to converse with him on the subject. He 
appoints to-morrow. Call on Madame de Chastellux. 
After some time Madame de Segur comes in. Her visit 
is short, being engaged for the evening. After she has 
left us for a while the Duchesse d Orleans enters. A 
look from her Royal Highness opens the idea that M. 
Morris est tm peu amour eux de Madame la Marquise, but 
Madame la Duchesse is mistaken. However, this mis 
take can do no harm to anybody. The Vicomte de Segur 
comes in and a look which he takes great pains to conceal 
tells me that he believes I am inclined to take his advice 
of the other day, viz., to have an affair with the widow, 
and it tells me also that he means to console her for the 
loss of her husband. From thence I go to Madame de 
Flahaut s, an elegant woman, and a snug party. She is 
by no means deficient in understanding, and has, I think, 
good dispositions. Nous verrons" 

In a long conversation on April ist, which was solicited 
v by the Marechal de Castries, Morris stated his ideas 



"The Marechal de Castries, an able general of France, was Governor-Gen 
eral of Flanders at one time and afterward Minister of Marine. His hotel was 
among the first destroyed in Paris by the Revolutionists in 1789. He emi 
grated and found an asylum with the Duke of Brunswick. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 47 

with regard to the value of the debt from America to 
France, and proposed to purchase it with tobacco, flour, 
rice, and salt provisions part payment to be made with 
money, and part with the debt. But the Marshal ob 
jected to the salt provisions because they must encourage 
this commerce with Ireland, the Irish buying large 
quantities of Bordeaux wine. " He thinks," Morris says, 
"the tobacco may do, objects to the flour, and says noth 
ing about the rice, and thinks, on the whole, that the pay 
ment of the debt is of trifling importance in comparison 
with the greater object of French commerce. M. Necker 
will, on the contrary, I presume, be of opinion that the 
payment of the debt is of the utmost importance." Mor 
ris, however, was to submit his ideas on paper that the 
marshal might further consider them. 

M. de Lafayette had, in spite of Morris s fears to the 
contrary, just secured his election for his province in 
Auvergne, and on the second of April Morris called on 
Madame de Lafayette to congratulate her on the result, 
and talk a little politics. From there to Madame de 
Chastellux s, where Madame Rully, " another of the Du- 
chesse d Orleans s women of honor, comes in, and with 
very fine eyes which she knows very well how to make use 
of. Has no antipathy to the gentler passion. Nousverrons. 

Madame , sister to the late M. de Chastellux, joins 

us, and after some time the Duchess of Orleans. She 
complains of a headache, but is, I think, rather out of 
temper than in ill-health. M. Morris seems to me not to 
be such agreeable company as before. Take leave and 
go to supper with Madame de Corney. After a little 
while Madame de Flahaut enters. Presently, M. de 
Corney.* He has in vain contested for the rights of the 
Prtuotd of Paris. Reads us his speech. M. Necker is 

* M. de Corney, procureur de la ville. 



48 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

blamed, and the company do not appear inclined to mercy 
on his subject. I had learnt at Madame de Chastellux s 
that the King has received an express that M. de Calonne 
is at Douay, and will probably be elected a member of the 
States-General. This intelligence is not disagreeable to 
the company here. M. de Corney tells me he did every 
thing in his power for Nesbitt, but the bureau of M. De- 
Ville Delville are violently prejudiced against him. This 
Nesbitt ought to have known, for in his affair he met a 
beautiful woman, the sister or cousin of his creditor, and 
in the second affair M. le Secretaire treated him with the 
utmost politeness and showed no doubt of the success of 
his application, etc., whereas at Versailles I found very 
great obstacles. Thus a little negligence has involved 
him in a manner which I shall find very difficult to ex 
tricate him from. At going away Madame de Corney tells 
me, Et bien, je vous ai fait souper avec Madame de 
Flahaut, ne suis-je pas une bonne femme? * Oui, Ma 
dame. The rest of my compliment is conveyed by press 
ing her hand and a look of reconnaissance." 

" I go [April 3d] to keep an engagement with Madame 
de Flahaut, to see the statues, paintings etc., of the 
Louvre. She is in bed and her brother-in-law is sit 
ting witli her. So it appears she has, as she says, for 
gotten her engagement to me. M. de Flahaut comes in. 
She sends us forward, and is to follow. This is done. 
We walk over the court of the Louvre, through the mud, 
view the statues the paintings we cannot see, that pleas 
ure is for another opportunity. Return to her quarters. 
Monsieur, presuming that I was about to follow her up 
stairs merely out of politeness, apologizes for me. In 
consequence I take my leave, and thus a scene, which 
my imagination had painted very well, turns out good for 
nothing. The weather contributes to render it disagree- 



XJNIVEKSIT 

1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 49 

able wind, rain, and, of course mud without, and damp 
ness within. But this is human life. Monsieur, as I go 
away, expresses a hope to see me again soon, and requests 
to be commanded if he can be useful in anything. This 
politesse is always agreeable, though a man must be a fool 
to believe in it. 

This is a day of accidents. In going from hence I slip 
as I step into the carriage, and bruise my shin very much. 
Thus everything goes wrong. Visit the Comtesse Durfort. 
She has company and is but just risen. Pressed to dine, 
but decline it. She is going to sup with the Baron de 
Besenval, and I promise to be there if I can. She says 
if I do not go, it is because I will not. * On peut tout 
ce qu on veut. Stammer out a bald compliment in re 
ply. I am certainly good for nothing, and the only tol 
erable thing I can do is to go home. This is done, and, 
being out of humor with myself, I find the dinner very 
bad. Threaten to deal with another waiter extremely 
ridiculous. The waiter, who behaves with great humility, 
must, I think, despise me for talking angrily before I can 
talk French. At five o clock I visit Madame de Segur. 
Madame de Chastellux and Madame de Puisignieu are 
there. In conversing about public men and measures I 
am so weak and absurd as to express many opinions which 
I ought to conceal, and some of which I may perhaps find 
reason to alter. Two ladies come in, and as I am going 
away Madame de Segur, to whom I had mentioned my 
intention of visiting Mr. Jefferson, has the politeness to 
say, Nous vous reverrons, M. Morris ? and I have 
the stupidity to answer in the affirmative. Call on Mr. 
Jefferson, and sit an hour with him, which is at least fifty 
minutes too long, for his daughter had left the room on my 
approach, and waits only my departure, at least I think so. 
Returning in consistency with my promise, I call on Ma- 
4 



50 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. II. 

dame de Segur, and am shown into the room where she 
is with her father-in-law. He lies on a couch, or rather 
so f a the gout in his right hand, which is his only hand. 
Madame de Chastellux and another lady are there. I 
think I was wrong to come here, and for that reason find 
it difficult to get away vastly awkward. At length make 
a shift to take leave, and, to avoid all further folly for this 
day, determine to go home." 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 51 



CHAPTER III. 

Dearth of wheat at Lyons. Morris offers Necker a cargo. Graciousness of 
the Duchess of Orleans. Ladies vexed by long arguments in the 
salons. Ten thousand troops ordered, out. Swiss guards within the 
barriers. Necker s fall desired. Tete-a-tete dish of tea with Madame 
de S6gur. King and princes oppose liberty. Political talk with the 
Bishop of Autun. Makes a plan of finance for France. Advises the 
massing of the Swiss guards round the king s person. Election excite 
ments. A water-party on the Seine. An eventful day at Versailles. 
Meeting of the States-General. Magnificent spectacle. Mirabeau 
hissed. The Duke of Orleans applauded. Visit to Marly. Madame 
du Barry. Madame de Se gur at her toilet. Petit-Trianon Gardens. 
Madame de Suze s lapdog. 

IN the month of April the dearth of wheat at Lyons 
gave the ministers serious apprehension, and Morris 
proposed to the banker Le Coulteux to offer a cargo of 
grain which was then arriving. The plan was approved 
of and an express sent to Versailles to consult with M. 
Necker. " This evening [April 6th] at Madame de 
Puisignieu s," says the diary, " I am told that there is 
wheat enough in the kingdom, but that it is bought up by 
forestallers and that M. Necker is suspected of having 
engaged the funds and credit of government in the op 
eration, by which he will get for the crown one hundred 
and fifty millions. I cannot help expressing my detesta 
tion of this vile slander, and M. de Puisignieu seems 
ashamed of hinting it. How wretched is the situation of 
that man who is raised high above others. His services, 
the fruit of anxious solicitude, are attributed to chance, or 
pared down to the size of ordinary occurrences. But every 



52 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

public misfortune, even the interference of the seasons 
and the operations of human cupidity, are charged to the 
ignorance or injustice of administration. M. Le Coulteux 
wishes that I should go with him to one of the adminis 
tration about the cargo of the Russel, as he is fearful 
that an offer from him would be considered merely in the 
light of a private speculation. In the afternoon go to 
M. Le Coulteux s and take him up by appointment. 
We visit M. Montlieraiu, and Monsieur C. opens the 
business. I find he was right in his idea of the reception 
it would meet with, but I cut the matter short by putting 
it at once on its true ground without any of those com 
pliments that had already been brought forward and which 
might of course now be dispensed with. This induces 
M. Montlieraiu to think more seriously of the mat 
ter. The brother of the first magistrate of Lyons is sent 
for, who wishes it very much. After considering the sev 
eral difficulties the thing appears of such consequence that 
a letter is to be written to-morrow, to M. Necker. I 
desire pointedly that, if my name is used, M. Necker may 
know that this offer is made from a view to relieve the ad 
ministration, but above all to succor the distressed peo 
ple and without the slightest attention to pecuniary con 
siderations." 

The procession to Longchamp " took place on the 
8th of April, and Morris described it as " exhibiting a 
strange mixture of wretched fiacres and superb equipages 
with all the intermediate degrees. While visiting Madame 
de Chastellux this evening," he continues, " a message is 
brought from the Duchess of Orleans to the effect that 
she cannot pay her intended visit. Madame de Chastellux 
told me that the Duchess had observed on not seeing me 
there for some time, and said she would visit me chez 
Madame la Marquise this evening. This is a badinage 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 53 

which I begin to comprehend, and there is nothing in it to 
flatter my vanity. Tant mieux. I assure the marchioness 
of my veneration and affection, etc., for her Royal High- 
ness s virtues, in which there is much more sincerity than 
a person of her rank has a right to expect. She tells me 
that Madame de Rully is a slut. I assure her that this in 
formation gives me great concern, that I was becoming 
violently in love with her, and am totally palled by the 
communication. Tout cela s entend." 

The early spring attracted Morris toward the coun 
try, and he mentions visiting the country-seat of M. 
le Normand, where, with his true farmer s instinct, he 
carefully examined the farm, and expressed himself very 
much surprised to learn " that the sheep are housed in 
winter. I attribute it with other practices to want of 
knowledge in husbandry," he says, " for, in effect, this is a 
science very little understood in France. They will ac 
quire it by means of that Anglomania which now rages 
among them. If at the same time they should improve 
both their agriculture and constitution, it will be difficult 
to calculate the power of this nation. But the progress 
of this nation seems to be much greater in the fine arts 
than in the useful arts. This perhaps depends on a gov 
ernment oppressive to industry but favorable to genius. 
At Vieflis [the chateau of M. le Norrage] we have a 
thousand proofs that the master does not understand cal 
culation : a very large house not finished, a garden or 
park which, if ever completed, will at least have been ex 
pensive, and will perhaps be magnificent. A large com 
pany and a small dinner. An abbe declaims violently 
against moderation in politics. He will, he says, carry 
the post by assault. This will be somewhat difficult, as 
the King has already surrendered everything at discretion. 
I desire the Comte de Pellue to ask him what he wants. 



54 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

He says a constitution. But what constitution ? In ex 
plaining himself, it appears that he desires less than is 
already granted, and a part of the company differ with 
him because he does not desire enough. And so much 
for carrying everything by assault. A tedious argument 
is commenced, to which I pay no attention, but find that 
the ladies are vexed at it, because the orators are so vehe 
ment that their gentle voices cannot be heard. They will 
have more of this, if the States-General should really fix a 
constitution. Such an event would be particularly dis 
tressing to the women of this country, for they would be 
thereby deprived of their share in the government, and 
hitherto they have exercised an authority almost un 
limited, with no small pleasure to themselves, though 
not perhaps with the greatest advantage to the commu 
nity." 

" To-day [April i5th] I visit M. Millet. He is at play with 
a number of people who look like gamblers. Madame is 
abroad and probably engaged at a different game. Call 
on Madame de Durfort. She lets me know that she is go 
ing to pay a visit to a sick person, and she takes an officer 
of dragoons to support her under the affliction. Take tea 
with Madame de Chastellux. She gives me many curious 
anecdotes of this country. Two ladies come in and talk 
politics. One of them dislikes M. Necker so much that she 
seemed vexed with herself for being pleased with a little 
jeu d esprit which he composed several years ago and 
which Madame de Chastellux reads to us." 

"In a very long conversation with M. de Lafayette to 
day [April i yth] he gives me the history of his campaign in 
Auvergne. I find that his mind is getting right as to the 
business he has in hand. We consider of a revolt in Paris, 
and agree that it might occasion much mischief but would 
not produce any good, that in consequence it will be 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 55 

best to enter a protestation against the manner of canvass 
ing the city, etc., but to go on with the business and get 
the members elected. There is to be a meeting of the 
noblesse this afternoon and M. Clermont * will talk to. 
this effect. He is, if possible, to be made one of the rep 
resentatives and is therefore to be brought forward as a 
speaker immediately. Lafayette says he has genius and 
family though of small fortune. Go to dine with M. de la 
Breteche after dinner. M. de Durfort, comes in. He has 
been at the meeting. M. de Clermont s speech was very 
much admired and he carried his point by a large ma 
jority, contrary, says M. de Durfort to the wish of M. 
Necker s friends. I am very curious, and among other 
things ask if M. de Lafayette was there. Yes, and said a 
few words which were very well. As M. de Durfort is not 
the friend of either M. de Lafayette or M. Necker, I fancy 
things have gone very right. Ten thousand men are or 
dered into the neighborhood of Paris, and the French and 
Swiss guards are within the barriers, which makes the 
Mare chaussee, etc., six thousand more, so that if we have 
an insurrection it will be warm work. The revolution that 
is carrying on in the country is a strange one. A few peo 
ple who have set it going look with astonishment at their 
own work. The ministers contribute to the destruction of 
ministerial authority, without knowing either what they 
are doing or what to do. M. Necker, who thinks he di 
rects everything, is perhaps himself as much an instru 
ment as any of those which he makes use of. His fall is 
I think desired, but it will not happen so soon as his ene 
mies expect. It will depend much on the chapter of acci 
dents who will govern the States-General, or whether they 
will be at all governable. Gods ! what a theatre this is 

* Clermont de Tonnerre was elected by the noblesse to the States-General 
in 1789. Perished in the massacre of August 10, 1792. 



56 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

for a first-rate character. Lafayette has given me this 
morning the anticipation of a whimsical part of the drama. 
The Duke de Coigny, one of the Queen s lovers, is directed 
by his constituents to move that the Queen shall not, in 
case of accidents, be Regent, and he (Lafayette), who is 
hated by both King and Queen, intends to oppose that mo 
tion. I give him one or two reasons which strike me in 
support of his opinion, but he inclines to place it on a dif 
ferent ground. His opinions accord best with those of a 
republic. Mine are drawn only from human nature and 
ought not therefore to have much respect in this age of 
refinement. It would indeed be ridiculous for those to 
believe in man who affect not to believe in God." 

" This afternoon [April 28th] over a tete-a-tete dish of tea 
with Madame de Segur we have a pleasant talk. The tea 
is very good, and her conversation is better flavored than 
her tea, which comes from Russia. After this an hour 
spent with Madame de Chastellux at the Palais Royal, 
where I found her with her son lying in her lap. A 
mother in this situation is always interesting, and her late 
loss renders her particularly so. In the course of conver 
sation, asking after the health of her princess, she repeats 
a message formerly delivered. On this occasion I observe 
that I should be sorry to show a want of respectful atten 
tion or be guilty of an indiscretion, and therefore wish to 
know what would be proper conduct should I meet Her 
Highness anywhere else that my present opinion is that 
it would be proper not to know her. She says I may rely 
on it that in such case she would recognize me. I tell her 
farther that, although in my interior I have a great indif 
ference for the advantages of birth, and only respect in 
her Royal Highness the virtues she possesses, yet I feel 
myself bound to comply exteriorly with the feelings and 
prejudices of those among whom I find myself. Between 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 57 

nine and ten it is concluded that the Duchess will not 
make her evening visit, and I take my leave, returning the 
message I had received : I have visited Madame la Du- 
chesse chez Madame de Chastellux, and I am sorry not to 
have met her there. " 

Morris seemed to be impressed with his lack of the 
proper spirit of a traveller and sightseer, for in a letter 
[April i8th] to a friend at Philadelphia he confessed his 
shortcomings in that regard. 

" I am pretty well convinced," he wrote, " that I am not 
fit for a traveller, and yet I thought otherwise when I left 
America. But what will you say to a man who has been 
above two months in Paris without ascending to the top 
of Notre Dame, who has been but three times to Ver 
sailles, and on neither of those times has seen the King or 
Queen, or had the wish to see them, and who, if he should 
continue here twenty years, would continue in ignorance 
of the length of the Louvre, the breadth of the Pont 
Neuf, etc. ? A man in Paris lives in a sort of whirlwind 
which turns him round so fast that he can see nothing, and 
as all men and things are in the same vertiginous situation 
you can neither fix yourself nor your object for regular 
examination. Hence the people of this metropolis are 
under the necessity of pronouncing their definitive judg 
ment from the first glance ; and being thus habituated to 
shoot flying, they have what the sportsmen call a quick 
sight. They know a wit by his snuff-box, a man of taste by 
his bow, and a statesman by the cut of his coat. It is true 
that like other sportsmen they sometimes miss, but like 
other sportsmen they have a thousand excuses besides 
the want of skill. The fault, you know, may be in the 
dog or the bird or the powder or the flint, or even the 
gun, without mentioning the gunner. 

"We are at present in a fine situation for what the 



58 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

bucks and bloods would term a frolic and high fun. 
The ministers have disgusted this city by the manner 
of convoking them to elect their representatives for the 
States-General, and at the same time bread is getting 
dearer. So that when the people assemble on Monday, 
Tuesday, and Wednesday next, what with hunger and dis 
content the least spark would set everything in a flame. 
The state physicians have, by way of antidote, brought 
between fifteen and twenty thousand regular troops 
within and about the city ; so that at any rate the bans 
bourgeois may not have all the fun to themselves. This 
measure will rather tend to produce than to prevent a 
riot, for some of the young nobility have brought them 
selves to an active faith in the natural equality of man 
kind, and spurn at everything which looks like re 
straint." 

"This evening [April 2oth] while I am taking tea in 
Madame de Flahaut s salon, the Marquis de Boursac 
comes in fresh from the elections. He has been very busy 
all day in traversing the views of the ministry in the elec 
tion of the nobles, and thinks with success. There is to be 
a meeting to-morrow morning at the Provost s of Paris, 
to decide finally what they shall do. Madame goes to 
make her visit of condolence to Madame de Guibert, 
whose husband, a Neckerist, is dismissed from his place 
in the War Office, at which, by the bye, she is delighted, 
though Madame de Guibert will not be so well pleased, 
notwithstanding that she is of the party opposed to her 
husband. Promise Madame de Flahaut to return, and go 
to M. Millet s ;* sit a little while with him and his mis 
tress, and then call on Madame de Corney. She is in 
high spirits at the opposition like to take place among the 
nobles. She gives me an anecdote from the Baron de 

* One of the partners in the firm of Le Coulteux de Cantaleu. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 59 

Breteuil,* who had it from the mouth of M. Ma- 
chault, a minister. The King and Princes have united 
together to oppose the progress of liberty, the rapidity of 
which has at length given them serious alarm. The King 
applied to M. Machault to be premier, which he de 
clined on account of his age. Was asked his opinion of 
M. Necker. * I don t like his conduct, but I think it 
would be dangerous to dismiss him at present. Madame 
de Corney presses me to stay to supper, but I decline, tell 
ing her I am engaged to her friend the Comtesse de Fla- 
haut, which she of course admits to be a sufficient reason. 
Go to Madame de Flahaut s. Meet the Bishop d Autun.f 
Talk more politics than I ought. 

" I am of the opinion that if the Court should attempt 
now to recede, it is impossible to conjecture the event. 
The chiefs of the patriotic party have gone so far that 
they cannot retreat with safety. If there be any real vigor 
in the nation the prevailing party in the States-General 
may, if they please, overturn the monarchy itself, should 
the King commit his authority to a contest with them. 

* Baron de Breteuil, said by Madame Campan to have been the cause of 
the scandal and result of the affair of the diamond necklace, because of his 
hatred for the Cardinal de Rohan. The Abbe Vermond threw the entire 
blame on him. In August, 1789, he was nominated to fill M. Necker s place 
in the Finances. 

t Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, Prince of Benevento, a cele 
brated French diplomatist and wit, born at Paris, February 13, 1754. An 
accident made him lame for life ; and, in consequence, he was required to re 
sign his birthright and enter the church, which profession was very distaste 
ful to him. In 1788 he became Bishop of Autun, and in 1789 member of the 
States-General, and, enlisting in the service of liberty and equality, he joined 
the Third Estate. He was proscribed by Robespierre, and took refuge in 
the United States. In 1799 he co-operated with Bonaparte in the revolution 
of the i8th Brumaire. He was distinguished for his sarcastic wit and exquisite 
tact, his coolness and sobriety, and " masterly inactivity." He resigned from 
the cabinet of Louis XVIII. because he would not sign the humiliating treaty 
which was concluded with the Allied Powers. He died at Paris in May, 1838, 
leaving memoirs to be published thirty years after his death. 



6O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

The Court is extremely feeble, and the manners are so 
extremely corrupt that they cannot succeed if there be 
any consistent opposition. Unless the whole nation be 
equally depraved, the probability, I think, is that an at 
tempt to retreat at this late period of the business will 
bring the Court into absolute contempt." 

" After the Comdie Francaise to-night [April 2ist] I go 
to Madame de Chastellux s, and she gives me the news 
from Versailles. M. de Vauguyon* is not to return to 
Spain. M. de la Luzerne is to go there. Hope that 
M. de Segur will go to London. The nobles of Paris 
have agreed to elect, protesting against the Regle- 
ment. This is the best course they could take. Madame 
de Chastellux tells me that the Duchesse d Orlans had 
left, a little before my arrival, a message for me. She 
wishes me to see her son, M. de Beaujolais." 

Morris had been for some time engaged in forming a 
plan of finance for France. It had been translated into 
French, and presented to M. de Malesherbes. The morn 
ing of Wednesday, the 22d, Morris spent with Jeffer 
son, discussing the question of the finances generally, and 
particularly the plan which he had made. " Mr. Jeffer 
son," he says (April 22d), "likes much my plan of finance. 
We wait till after four for Lafayette, who then comes in 
deshabille, having been engaged in politics till that mo 
ment. The business we believe is going well. I advise 
that the Swiss guards should be removed from about the 
King s person by the States-General, and a compliment be 
at the same time made to the national troops. Mr. Jeffer 
son does not seem to think this important, but I urge it to 
the conviction of Lafayette. He wishes to have our opin 
ion whether he should take a great part in the debates of 

* The Due de Vauguyon had been the governor of the sons of the Dauphin, 
who became, respectively, Louis XVI., Louis XVIII., and Charles X. 



1798. J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 6 1 

the States-General. We agree that he should only speak 
on important occasions. Afterwards Jefferson and I .go 
to the Palais Royal to get our profiles taken." [The 
semi-silhouette substitute for the photography of to- 
day.] 

- To-night [April 24th] at supper at the Baron deBesen- 
val s, we are told of an express announcing the Emperor s 
death, and then again that he is not dead. It appears, 
however, that he is not long for this world. We hear a 
great deal also about the disturbances for want of bread. 
These give pleasure to the company here, who are all ad 
verse to the present administration. We hear also that 
there is to be a new administration ; that Monsieur is to 
be the chief, and all the present ministers are to go out 
except Necker. This arrangement is less agreeable to the 
company than it would have been to turn out Necker and 
keep the rest. For my own part, I do not believe in a 
change just now. Puisignieu tells me that the States-Gen 
eral will quarrel immediately about the question as to the 
votes, whether they shall be given par ordre or par tete. 
He asserts this with so much warmth as to show that he 
wishes it. He says, further, that the nation is incapable of 
liberty ; that they can bear nothing long and will not even 
stay at their regiments above three months. Thus he takes 
the noblesse for the nation, and judges the noblesse from 
those members who, from idleness and dissipation, are of 
the least consequence in revolutions except, indeed, so far 
as their numbers are concerned. It seems the general posi 
tion of those who wish the King to be everything that he 
must inevitably be so in a few years, let the nation do 
what it will in the present moment. In fact, the revolu 
tionists have but flimsy materials to work with, and unless 
some greater energy of character should result from their 
present doings, the friends of despotism must succeed." 



62 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

" All this morning [April 25th] I am employed in writ 
ing, and in the afternoon go to dine with M. Millet and 
his mistress, the Marquis de Brehan, an old lady and 
her daughter, beautiful and just coming forward, one 
married woman, a young and extremely handsome one, 
the husband of the former, and the friend of the latter, 
with a captain in the navy, who like myself is a bachelor, 
and a young man I know not who. The dinner (a la matelote] 
and the guests are of M. Millet s bespeaking. After des 
sert we are entertained by an old woman who plays on 
the vielle (hurdy gurdy) and accompanies her instrument 
with loose songs, to the great delight of the gentlemen, 
the mother, and the married lady, whose husband has an 
exhausted, disconsolate air. The child listens with infinite 
attention. The two young ladies are not well pleased. 
M. Millet proposes another such party for next week, 
which we agree to. He is to order the dinner and consult 
us. I tell him it shall be just what he pleases, but that we 
will, if he pleases, excuse the music. From thence we go 
to the Hotel Royal des Invalides, a most magnificent 
piece of architecture. The chapel and the dome are sub 
lime. In the kitchen we are made to observe, among 
other things, a little kettle with 2,500 pounds of beef for to 
morrow s soup ; another, with a smaller quantity, for mes 
sieurs les offiders. A spectacle which excited the great 
est effect in my mind was a number of mutilated veter 
ans on their knees in the chapel. The most sincere devo 
tion. Poor wretches ! they have no hope on this side of 
the grave. The women went on their knees when we 
came near the sacristy. At M. Millet s suggestion, I 
made a prayer for the two handsomest, which they liked 
quite as well as any in the Missal. M. Millet tells me 
that he heard a number of the "invalides " expressing their 
pity that so fine a man should have lost his lesr. He did 



I798-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 63 

not perceive me give one of them a crown, or he would 
have known how to appreciate the compliment and the 
compassion." 

On Sunday (April 26th) Morris was entertaining a 
friend, whereupon, he says, "I receive to my great surprise 
a billet from a lady containing a declaration of love, but 
anonymous. I write an ambiguous answer to the fair in 
cognita and send my servant Martin to dog the messen 
ger, a little boy, who delivers it to a waiting-woman. She 
goes to the house of M. Millet. It is therefore from his 
mistress, who certainly is worth attention. In the even 
ing I call on Madame Millet, but have not an opportunity 
to say a word to her en particulier. Call on Madame de 
Chastellux, and find that as usual the Duchess has just left 
her, and a little message for me. There is something 
whimsical in this, but I express a regret on the subject. 
This evening at Madame de Flahaut s they are in the 
midst of politics, of which I am tired. After supper the 
Bishop of Autun reads us the protest of the nobles and 
clergy of Brittany, and during the lecture I very uncivilly 
fall asleep. Madame is not well, and besides has met with 
something in the course of the day which preys upon her 
spirits. I enquire what it is and she declines telling me, 
which I am glad of." 

Paris was astir with the excitement of the elections 
during this month of April. On the 2ist the "Electoral 
Assemblies " had begun. The streets were full of electors 
of each degree. Besides, the town swarmed with beggars. 
Twenty thousand vagabonds infested the capital, sur 
rounded the palace, and filled the Hotel de Ville. The 
government, being forced thereto, kept twelve thousand of 
them digging on the hills of Montmartre and payed them 20 
sous a day. They were starving. Bread was very scarce. 
They surrounded the bakers shops and a bitter murmuring, 



64 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

gradually growing louder, arose from them. Irritated, ex 
cited, imaginative, they waited for some excuse for action,, 
however slight. It came on the 25th, in a rumor that Re- 
veillon, an elector and manufacturer, had " spoken badly 
of the people at an electoral meeting." What he actually 
said no one knew ; that he was a just man all knew ; what 
they imagined he said was that "a man and his wife and chil 
dren could live on fifteen sous a day," and he was a traitor 
and must die. All day Sunday the crowds, idle and angry, 
had time to talk and to encourage each other to violence. 
On Monday, still idle and drunk, the mob began to move, 
armed with clubs. Morris mentions going out to see the 
banker Le Coulteux. "His gate" [April 2yth], he says, 
" is shut and all the shops are shut. There is, it seems, a 
riot in Paris, and the troops are at work somewhere, which 
has given a great alarm to the city. I believe it is very 
trifling." By midnight the crowd was somewhat dispersed, 
but only to reassemble with renewed energy to do its wild 
work the next morning. The cause of the " Third Estate " 
was what they had come to defend, and not even when they 
faced the cannon and saw two hundred of their number 
killed did they relinquish their firm conviction that the 
cause of the Third Estate was righteous and would pre 
vail. 

Meantime the society of the Palais Royal in Madame de 
Chastellux s salon drank their tea quietly, and talked poli 
tics. "Madame de Chastellux tells me," writes Morris, 
"she expects the Duchess to-night. I therefore stay to 
meet her Royal Highness. She comes in pretty late, is 
vastly civil, refers to her several messages, extremely 
sorry not to have met me, etc., to all of which I answer as 
well as I can. In effect, it goes beyond my idea, though I 
must from necessity adhere to my original interpretation. 
She talks a good deal of politics with her friends about the 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 65 

assemblies, etc., and I congratulate her on this employ 
ment for her mind, which has contributed already to her 
health. She says her visit must be very short ; she is go 
ing to see her children. She came in late, and she should 
not have made the visit, but to see me. This is clearly 
persiflage, but it would be vastly uncivil in me should I 
appear to think so." 

In a letter written to Mr. Carmichael on the 27th, men 
tion is made of a visit paid to M. de Montmorin, who re 
ceived him civilly, but indifferently. He says : " Should 
the intrigue now carrying on be successful, they will all 
be turned out, and then I will cultivate the acquaint 
ance of M. de Montmorin, for the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs is too much occupied. I can say nothing to you 
about the politics of this country. I know I write under 
the inspection of those whose hands this letter may pass 
through in both kingdoms. Besides, there is nothing that 
can be depended on till the States-General shall have 
been some time assembled. The Emperor is, I suppose, by 
this time in the regions of the departed. This country is 
not in a condition to send an army of observation to the 
Rhine, and of course her ministers will be but little at 
tended to. The part which Britain and Prussia may take 
is uncertain." 4 

" On the way to see M. Millet [April 28th] I see some 
troops marching with two small field pieces towards the 
Faubourg St. Antoine. It seems there has been a riot 
there. Hear at M. Millet s a terrible account of it, 
which certainly is exaggerated. Later I find that the riot 
has been pretty serious." But the French theatre, and an 
endeavor to discover if Madame Millet was the fair hero 
ine of the anonymous billets, evidently occupied more of 
Morris s attention than the riots. " It would seem," he 
says, " that the billets are not from her and that I am 
5 



66 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

egregiously mistaken, and my curiosity is strong." M. 
Millet s party, planned the week before, was fixed for the 
ist of May. " I dress and go to M. Millet s, where 
the party are to meet. Madame is waiting for her bonnet, 
and afterwards we wait for some other persons of the com 
pany. Proceed to the Palais de Bourbon. See the small 
apartments and garden. They are very beautiful. From 
thence we go to the cabaret, and dine a la matelote the 
same company we had last week, except the captain in the 
navy. After dinner, the women propose to go on the 
Seine, to which I readily agree. We shall be less liable 
to observation there, which, considering my company, is 
of some consequence. M. Millet will not go and ma- 
dame is glad to get rid of him, which he seems to per 
ceive, and goes home alone to enjoy the reflection which 
such an idea cannot fail to engender. We embark in a 
dirty fishing boat, and sit on dirty boards laid across. 
Mademoiselle, who is dressed in muslin trimmed with hand 
some lace, adds much to the beauty of her dress, which is 
completely draggled. Her friend seems well pleased with 
my attentions to her, and she tries to be modest, but apes 
the character badly. After descending a considerable dis 
tance, we remount to the Barriere de Chaillot, but from a 
mistake in the orders, (which has been the loss of many 
battles) our carriages are not to be found. We walk to 
wards town. The women, as wild as birds let out of a cage, 
dispatch the men different ways, but yet no news of our 
equipages. Cross the river, and go to look for them where 
we dined. Not finding them, we return to recross it. 
Meet a servant, who tells me that carriages are at the 
Grille Chaillot. We recross. The scow is taken over by 
the course of the current, a rope being extended across the 
river, and a pulley moving to and fro along it, to which 
pulley the boat is connected by a strong rope, and that 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 6/ 

end of the rope which is fastened to the boat moves by 
means of a loop sliding along a bar at the gunwale such 
a distance towards the end of the scow from the centre as 
to present the side of the vessel to the current, in an angle 
of about forty-five degrees. By this means the scow is 
carried over with considerable velocity. After waiting 
some time for the carriages (during which time the women 
amuse themselves with running about), they at length 
arrive, and I come home. Dress and go to Madame de 
Flahaut s. A large company, a great deal of politics, and 
some play. I do not get home till one, having set down a 
gentleman who was unprovided of a carriage. Then I 
sit and read till near two, and go to bed, heartily fatigued 
with the day s amusement, if I may give that name to 
things which did not amuse me at all. I incline to think 
that Madame Roselle is my unknown correspondent, and 
I do not care sixpence who it is." 

On the 29th of April Morris wrote to General Washing 
ton giving him a description of M. de Lafayette s suc 
cess in his political campaign in Auvergne. " He had to 
contend," he says, "with the prejudices and the interests of 
his order, and with the influence of the Queen and Princes, 
(except the Duke of Orleans) but he was too able for his 
opponent. He played the orator with as much eclat as ever 
he acted the soldier, and is at this moment as much envied 
and hated as ever his heart could wish. He is also much 
beloved by the nation, for he stands forward as one of the 
principal champions for her rights. The elections are fin 
ished throughout this kingdom, except in the capital, and 
it appears from the instructions given to the representa 
tives (called here les cahiers] that certain points are uni 
versally demanded, which when granted and secured will 
render France perfectly free as to the principles of the 
constitution I say principles, for one generation at least 



68 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

will be required to render the practice familiar. We have, 
I think, every reason to wish that the patriots may be suc 
cessful. The generous wish which a free people must 
form to disseminate freedom, the grateful emotion which 
rejoices in the happiness of a benefactor, and a strong 
personal interest as well in the liberty as in the power of 
this country, all conspire to make us far from indifferent 
spectators. I say that we have an interest in the liberty of 
France. The leaders here are our friends ; many of them 
have imbibed their principles in America, and all have 
been fired by our example. Their opponents are by no 
means rejoiced at the success of our Revolution, and many 
of them are disposed to form connections of the strictest 
kind with Great Britain. The commercial treaty emanated 
from such dispositions, and, according to the usual course 
of those events which are shaped by human wisdom, it will 
probably produce the exact reverse of what was intended 
by the projectors. The spirit of this nation is at present 
high, and M. Necker is very popular, but if he continues 
long in administration it will be somewhat wonderful. 
His enemies are numerous, able, and inveterate. His sup 
porters are uncertain as to his fate, and will protect him 
no longer than while he can aid in establishing a con 
stitution. But when once that great business is accom 
plished he will be left to stand on his own ground. The 
Court wish to get rid of him, and unless he shows very 
strong in the States-General they will gratify their 
wishes. His ability as a minister will be much contested 
in that assembly, but with what success time only can 
determine. 

"The materials for a revolution in this country are very 
indifferent. Everybody agrees that there is an utter pros 
tration of morals but this general position can never 
convey to the American mind the degree of depravity. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 69 

It is not by any figure of rhetoric, or force of language, 
that the idea can be communicated. An hundred anec 
dotes and an hundred thousand examples are required to 
show the extreme rottenness of every member. There are 
men and women who are greatly and eminently virtuous. 
I have the pleasure to number many in my own acquaint 
ance, but they stand forward from a background deep 
ly and darkly shaded. It is, however, from such crum 
bling matter that the great edifice of freedom is to be 
erected here. Perhaps, like the stratum of rock which is 
spread under the whole surface of their country, it may 
harden when exposed to the air, but it seems quite as like 
ly that it will fall and crush the builders. I own to you 
that I am not without such apprehensions, for there is one 
fatal principle which pervades all ranks. It is a perfect 
indifference to the violation of all engagements. Incon 
stancy is so mingled in the blood, marrow, and every essence 
of this people, that when a man of high rank and impor 
tance laughs to-day at what he seriously asserted yester 
day, it is considered as in the natural order of things. 
Consistency is the phenomenon. Judge then what would 
be the value of an association should such a thing be pro 
posed, and even adopted. The great mass of the people 
have no religion but their priests, no law but their superi 
ors, no morals but their interest. These are the creatures 
who, led by drunken curates, are now in the high-road a la 
Liberte, and the first use they make of it is to form insur 
rections everywhere for the want of bread. We have had a 
little riot here yesterday and the day before, and I am 
told that some men have been killed, but the affair was so 
distant from the quarter in which I reside that I know 
nothing of the particulars." 

By the ist of May the elections in Paris were nearly 
over and the first victory of the people gained in the de- 



7O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

cision of the Government that the Third Estate should 
have a representation equal in numbers to that of the 
orders of the nobles and clergy combined. On Sunday, 
May 3rd, the Court and clergy at Versailles awaited the 
result of the audience to be given to the deputies on Mon 
day. A superb day dawned Talleyrand says, " A heav 
enly day." The beautiful lawn of the palace was crowded 
with groups of gayly dressed officers and high dignita 
ries of the church, each wearing the brilliant tokens of 
his rank. Ladies decked in the brightest colors and 
wearing the happiest smiles talked, sauntered about, and 
sat on the stone benches along the alleys underneath the 
delicate spring foliage. In striking contrast to these were 
the groups of the members of the Third Estate shunned 
as if they bore the seeds of a pestilence among them. 
They talked in whispers, hurriedly and earnestly they 
never smiled. Their costume of black hose and surtout 
and short black cloak, to which they had been condemned 
by the old sumptuary laws and which denoted the ple 
beian, made the contrast even greater. Proudly they 
carried themselves in this dress, but on their faces were 
care and gloomy foreboding, and a sudden ominous silence 
fell upon them whenever a stray member of the noblesse 
happened to pass near. 

On a balcony of the palace was the queen, surrounded 
by a bevy of beauties of the Court, all in high spirits, dis 
cussing the pageant of to-morrow, which to them had an 
interest almost solely spectacular, just as they valued the 
Salle des Menus as a room where their beauty could be seen 
to the best advantage because it was lighted from above. 
Mr. Morris speaks of visiting Madame de Lafayette and 
finding that " they are on the move to Versailles. Lafay 
ette is already there to pay his respects in quality of rep 
resentative. I go and sit a while with Madame de Puisi- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. /I 

gnieu at her toilet. Then go to see Madame de Segur, 
and amuse myself with the children, and leave her at her 
toilet, to meet her again to-night at Madame de Puisi- 
gnieu s, and she tells me she will stay the whole evening in 
consequence of my being there instead of keeping another 
engagement. . . . During the evening a gentleman enter 
tains the ladies with the description of the hanging match 
last Thursday. He is colonel of a regiment which was on 
duty to attend the execution. We drink a great deal of 
weak tea, which Madame de la Suze says very justly is du 
lait coupe. Madame de Segur comes in while the com 
pany are at supper, and I tell her very truly that I was 
just going away but will now stay. The conversation in 
our corner turns as usual upon politics, and among other 
things on the want of grain. M. Necker is a good deal 
blamed, but in my opinion very undeservedly. One fool 
ish thing has indeed been committed, and that is the only 
one which they do not find fault with. It is the order for 
searching the barns of the farmers. The riot, also, is dis 
missed. The Baron de Besenval, who gave the order for 
quelling it, seems vastly pleased with his work. He or 
dered, it seems, two pieces of cannon with the Swiss guards, 
and when preparations were made for firing them the mob 
took to their heels. It is therefore agreed that the Baron 
is a great general and as the women say so it would be 
folly and madness to controvert their opinion. If I were 
a military man I should incline to think that two four- 
pounders could not be of much use in a city like this, 
where the streets are in general so narrow as only to per 
mit two carriages to go abreast, where the same narrow 
streets are very crooked, and where the houses are in gen 
eral four to six stories of stone walls. But as I am not 
versed in the art of war it is my duty to agree with the 
rest that a man must indeed be a great general who, with 



72 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

only 1,500 troops, infantry and cavalry, and, above all, with 
only two pieces of artillery, could disperse ten or fifteen 
thousand, chiefly spectators, but the seditious, to the 
amount of three thousand, completely armed with sticks 
and stones." 

" Mr. Jefferson to-day [May 3d] tells me of a billet for the 
audience to-morrow which Madame de Tesse reserves for 
Mr. Short, and which he will get for me as Short cannot be 
here. I urge on M. de Lafayette, who dines with us, the 
election of the Duke of Orleans and give my reasons for 
it. He tells me he will be elected. Mention to him a way 
of placing M. Necker advantageously, which he thinks 
would be very useful. Visit Madame de Chastellux, who 
is so kind as to bring me the form of the ceremonial of 
to-morrow from the Duchess of Orleans, and at the same 
time a message. If she can, will pay a visit. Madame de 
Chastellux proposes to obtain through her a ticket for the 
audience for me. M. le Marechal de Segur comes in. 
After some conversation, a message from the Duchess. 
She cannot visit this evening, being too much engaged in 
writing. I come home to go early to bed, as I must set 
off early to-morrow for Versailles." 

On Monday, May 4th, the grand procession of the depu 
ties to the States-General formed and defiled through the 
streets of Versailles to the Church of St. Louis. The same 
costumes were enforced as in the last States-General, 
more than one hundred and seventy years before, and the 
same etiquette, but it was the last gala day of the old 
monarchy. All ranks and classes were astir this morning. 
All turned their faces toward Versailles the goal of all 
their hopes. Morris was among the number. He says : 
11 At six this morning I set off for Versailles. Am over 
taken on the road by M. le Normand and M. La Caze. 
We alight and walk together through the streets till the 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 73 

procession commences, except a little while that I sit with 
Madame de Flahaut, who was so kind as to send and offer 
me part of a window. While we wait for the procession 
the conversation turns on the bal de 1 opera. M. de la 
Ville Blanche tells me a story somewhat characteristic of 
national manners. His wife and a lady, her friend, went 
thither together. After a while they separated, and, meet 
ing again, conversed a long time, the lady being perfectly 
ignorant who the person was whom he had picked up, for 
she was with him. After the ball was over and all three 
had got home, they rallied the friend for being so taken 
in. She could give no other reason for being so much de 
ceived, but that madame was in company with monsieur 
and therefore she could not possibly suppose it was his 
wife." 

While the lookers-on thoughtlessly talked, laughed, and 
joked, careless of all but the gay scene, the procession 
moved on. The nobles glittered in gorgeous dresses and 
orders. The bishops, superb in violet robes, were followed 
by their humble cures in modest garb. The Commons were 
in black mantles, very plain, and hats without feathers. 
Louis XVI. , beautiful Marie Antoinette, with her rnaids 
of honor and the brilliant Court, completed the pict 
ure. Morris says: "The procession is very magnificent, 
through a double row of tapestry. Neither the King nor 
Queen appears too well pleased. The former is repeatedly 
saluted as he passes along with the Vive le Roi, but the latter 
meets not a single acclamation. She looks, however, with 
contempt on the scene in which she acts a part and seems 
to say : For the present I submit but I shall have my time/ 
I find that my conjecture as to the Queen s temper and the 
King s is right, when I make a short visit in the salon of 
Madame de Chastellux later, and, as she is going to the 
Duchess, she tells me that the King was vexed that the 



74 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

Duke of Orleans* should walk as representative and not 
as prince of the blood, and also that his consort received 
no mark of public satisfaction. She was exceedingly 
hurt. Her conversation on meeting the Duchess of Orleans, 
who, as well as the Duke, had been repeatedly applauded : 
Madame, il y a une demi-heure que je vous ai attendue 
chez moi. Madame, en vous attendant ici (at the Church 
of Notre Dame), j ai obei a 1 ordre qu on m a envoye de la 
part du Roi. Eh bien, madame, je n ai point de place 
pour vous, comme vous n etes pas venue. C est juste, 
madame. Aussi, ai-je des voitures a moi qui m attendent. 
I cannot help feeling the mortification the poor Queen 
meets with, for I see only the woman, and it seems un 
manly to treat a woman with unkindness. Madame de 
Chastellux tells me a sprightly reply of Madame Adelaide, 
the King s aunt, who, when the Queen in a fit of resentment, 
speaking of this nation, said, * Ces indignes Francais ! 
exclaimed, Dites indignes, madame. The Duchess of 
Orleans could not get a billet for me, but the Duchesse de 
Bourbon has promised to try, and if she succeeds will send 
it to the Palais Royal this evening, and in that case Ma 
dame de Chastellux will receive it from the Duchess of 
Orleans and send it to me. Return home, receive a note 
from Mr. Jefferson assuring me that I can get a ticket 
from Madame de Tesse who has reserved one for Mr. 
Short, who is not arrived. This has been so fine a day 
that walking about without my hat has got my face 
scorched exceedingly, and both my forehead and eyes are 
inflamed." 

The 5th of May, the day long looked for, had come, and 
royalty welcomed the national estates with all pomp and 

* Duke of Orleans, cousin of the king and afterward the celebrated revo 
lutionary Philippe Egalite. Never a favorite of the queen, he was tolerated 
at Court only on account of his wife. 



1789-1 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 



75 



splendor in the great Salle des Menus. The king, with 
his ministers of state in front, the queen and princes of 
the blood at his side, sat on a magnificent throne of pur 
ple and gold. Morris says he reached Versailles early, 
and at a little after eight got into the hall. " I sit there in 
a cramped situation till after twelve, during which time the 
different members are brought in and placed, one bail- 
liage after the other. When M. Necker comes in he is 
loudly and repeatedly clapped, and so is the Duke of Or 
leans ; also a Bishop who has long lived in his diocese, 
and practised there what his profession enjoins. Another 
Bishop, who preached yesterday a sermon which I did 
not hear, is applauded, but those near me say that this ap 
plause is unmerited. An old man who refused to dress in 
the costume prescribed for the Tiers, and who appears in 
his farmer s habit, receives a long and loud plaudit. M. 
de Mirabeau is hissed, though not loudly. The King at 
length arrives, and takes his seat ; the Queen on his left, 
two steps lower than him. He makes a short speech, 
very proper, and well spoken or rather read. The tone 
and manner have all the fierte which can be expected or 
desired from the blood of the Bourbons. He is interrupt 
ed in the reading by acclamations so warm and of such 
lively affection that the tears start from my eyes in spite 
of myself. The Queen weeps or seems to weep, but not 
one voice is heard to wish her well. I would certainly 
raise my voice if I were a Frenchman ; but I have no 
right to express a sentiment, and in vain solicit those who 
are near me to do it. After the King has spoken he takes 
off his hat, and when he puts it on again his nobles imi 
tate his example. Some of the Tiers do the same, but 
by degrees they take them off again. The King then takes 
off his hat. The Queen seems to think it wrong, and a 
conversation seems to pass in which the King tells her he 



76 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. ill. 

chooses to do it whether consistent or not consistent with 
the ceremonial ; but I could not swear to this, being too 
far distant to see very distinctly, much less to hear. The 
nobles uncover by degrees, so that, if the ceremonial re 
quires three manoeuvres, the troops are not yet properly 
drilled. After the King s speech and the covering and 
uncoverings, the Garde des Sceaux makes one much 
longer, but it is delivered in a very ungraceful manner, 
and so indistinctly that nothing can be judged of it by 
me until it is in print. When he has done, M. Necker 
rises. He tries to play the orator, but he plays it very ill. 
The audience salute him with a long, loud plaudit. Ani 
mated by their approbation, he falls into action and em 
phasis, but a bad accent and an ungraceful manner de 
stroy much of the effect which ought td follow from a 
composition written by M. Necker and spoken by M. 
Necker. He presently asks the King s leave to employ a 
clerk, which being granted, the clerk proceeds in the lect 
ure. It is very long. It contains much information and 
many things very fine, but it is too long, and has many 
repetitions and too much compliment, and what the French 
call emphase. The plaudits were loud, long, and incessant. 
These will convince the King and Queen of the national sen 
timent, and tend to prevent the intrigue against the pres 
ent administration, at least for a while. After the speech 
is over the King rises to depart, and receives a long and 
affecting Vive le roi. The Queen rises, and to my great 
satisfaction she hears for the first time in several months 
the sound of, Vive la Reine. She makes a low courtesy and 
this produces a louder acclamation, and that a lower cour 
tesy. As soon as I can disengage myself from the crowd, 
I find my servant and I go where my carriage put up, in 
order to proceed to Paris, being tolerably hungry and not 
inclined to ask anyone for a dinner, as I am convinced 






1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 77 

that more such requests will be made this day than will be 
agreeable to those who have dinners to bestow. I find 
that my horses are not harnessed, and that I am at a trai- 
teur s. I ask for dinner, and am shown into a room 
where there is a table d hote, and some of the Tiers are sat 
down to it. We enter into conversation, talk of the man 
ner of voting. Tell them that I think when their new 
constitution is formed it will be well for them to vote/^r 
ordre, but in forming it to vote par tete. Those who best 
understand the thing incline to this opinion, but they are 
from Brittany, and one of them inveighs so strongly 
against the tyranny of the nobles, and attacks his brother 
so warmly, that the others come about, and one, a noble 
representing the Tiers, is so vociferous against his order 
that I am convinced he meant to rise by his eloquence, 
and finally will, I expect, vote with the opinion of the 
Court, let that be what it may. I rise, wish them very sin 
cerely a perfect accord and good understanding with each 
other, and set off for Paris." 

A week later the weather grew hot, and the dust and 
dirt became unbearable ; even the garden of the Palais 
Royal "is," says Morris, "as dusty as a highway and 
absolutely intolerable." Of the other intolerable nui 
sances of the Palais Royal, the lawlessness and vice, and 
the oratorical efforts of the agitators, Morris makes 
little mention ; but evidently Paris had lost some of its 
attraction, and, glad to escape from it to the cool of the 
country, he went to the home of M. Le Coulteux. "The 
country through which I drive to reach Lucennes," he 
says (May 9th), " is highly cultivated, and on the sides of the 
hills under the fruit trees I observe currant and goose 
berry bushes, also grape vines. Probably this mode of cul 
tivating the vine would succeed in America. M. Le Coul- 
teux s house was formerly the property of a prince of 



78 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

Conde, built in the old style but tolerably convenient, and 
the situation delicious. His mother and sister arrive in 
the evening, and his cousin De Canteleu. The Tiers con 
tinue to meet and to do nothing, as they are desirous of 
voting par tete, and the other orders do not join them. 
Sunday morning [May loth] we drive to the aqueduct of 
Marli and ascend to the top. The view is exquisite the 
Seine winding along through a valley very highly culti 
vated, innumerable villages, at a distance the domes of 
Paris on one side, the Palace of St. Germain, very near, 
on the other, a vast forest behind and the Palace of 
Marli in the front of it embowered in a deep shade, the 
bells from a thousand steeples at different distances mur 
muring through the air, the fragrance of the morning, 
the vernal freshness of the air oh, how delicious ! I 
stand this moment on a vast monument of human pride, 
and behold every gradation from wretchedness to mag 
nificence in the scale of human existence. We breakfast 
between ten and eleven, and walk over the garden, and 
upon our return ride to Marli. The garden is truly royal, 
and yet pleasing, the house tolerable, the furniture in 
different. We are told by the Swiss that they are prepar 
ing for His Majesty s reception. Return to the house of 
M. L. Le Coulteux and dress. On entering the salon our 
company is increased by the representatives of Normandy. 
We had already received an accession of a banker and his 
two sisters at breakfast. At dinner we have a political 
conversation which I continue with the Normans after 
dinner, and we finally agree in our opinions. Discuss, by 
way of an episode, the propriety of an India company. 
This afternoon we visit the Pavilion of Madame du Barry.* 

* After Louis XV. died the young King Louis XVI pensioned Madame 
du Barry, besides allowing her the free use of her ill-gotten wealth. She 
was excluded from appearing at Court and virtually exiled from Paris to the 
"Chateau aux Dames." His forbearance was noticed by her following as 






1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 79 

This temple is consecrated to the immorality of Louis 
Quinze. It is in fine taste and the finish is exquisite ; 
the view most delightful, and yet very extensive. In re 
turning from thence we see Madame du Barry. She is 
long passed the day of beauty, and is accompanied by an 
old coxcomb, the Prevot des Marchands.* They bend 
their course towards the Pavilion, perhaps to worship on 
those altars which the sovereign raised. From the Pa 
vilion we ascend the hill and go between the house and 
the fishpond, which smells abominably, to see the villagers 
dance. Returned to the house I have a talk with Laurejit 
Le Coulteux on the subject of the purchase of the debt 
due to France. He wishes me to have an interview with 
M. Necker. This matter has hitherto met with great 
obstacles and difficulties, from the peculiar temper of M. 
Necker, who is what may be called a cunning man, and 
therefore those acquainted with him do not choose to 
come forward at once openly, because they are certain 
that he would first assume the merit of having previously 
known everything which they communicate, and, secondly, 
would take advantage of such communications to defeat 
their object if he could get by any means any better terms 
from others to whom he should start the idea. To deal 
with such a person requires caution and delicacy. Lau 
rent says he cannot get M. Necker to finish the business 
they already have to do with him, but will, if I please, get 
me an interview with him. He thinks it must be man 
aged merely as a matter of finance, in which I own that 
my opinion has from the first accorded with his. I take 

more than could have been expected by her, owing to the levity with which 
she had always treated the Dauphin. 

* The Prevots des Marchands were officers of the highest antiquity. The 
appointment was made by the king, sometimes for two years, or renewed 
every year at his pleasure, and their jurisdiction extended over the revenues 
of the Hotel de Ville, the quays and wharves of the river. 



So DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

M. Laurent with me, and on our return to Paris he vents 
a good deal of ill humor on M. Necker, who has kept him 
a long time in play and now, as he suspects, (I believe 
with truth) keeps De Canteleu in the same position. He 
tells me that their object is to get an order for money 
acknowledgedly due. He has an invitation to dine with 
M. Necker and is then, if the conversation be turned upon 
that topic, to recommend to M. Necker an interview with 
me. After a pleasant ride of two hours we reach Paris." 

Back again in Paris, the old routine commenced, writ 
ing, receiving innumerable visitors, and making calls in 
return. "In the evening [May nth] I go," he says, "and 
sit with Madame de Chastellux. She receives a message 
from the Duchess and sends her answer that I am with 
her, and have charged her with a commission, etc. This 
is to make my thanks for her Royal Highness s kind at 
tention in sending to Versailles for a ticket of admission 
to the opening of the States-General. In a few minutes 
she comes in, tells me that she came on purpose to see me, 
observes that I have been out of town, hopes to see me 
frequently at Madame de Chastellux s, is sorry the pres 
ent visit must be so short, but is going with Madame de 
Chastellux to take a ride and make some visits. To all 
this I can make no reply, but by look and manner expres 
sive of deep humility and a grateful sense of the honor 
done to me. In fact, my tongue has never been sufficiently 
practised in this jargon, and always asks my heart what 
it shall say, and while this last, after deliberation, refers to 
my head for counsel, the proper moment has passed. As 
I think I understand her Royal Highness, and arn toler 
ably safe on the side of vanity, there remains but one port 
to guard, and that is shut up. She has perhaps the hand 
somest arm in France, and from habit takes off her glove, 
and has always occasion to touch some part of her face so 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 8 1 

as to show the hand and arm to advantage. Call on Ma 
dame Dumolley, who is at chess. Madame Cabarus* comes 
in. I tell her that it is the fault of La Gaze that I have 
not paid my respects at her Hotel. She tells me I need 
no introducer. She has a beautiful hand, and very fine 
eyes. These in a very intelligible manner say that she 
has no objection to receiving the assurance how fine they 
are. She goes soon to Madrid, and will be glad to see me 
both here and there. Slip away without staying to sup 
per and return home. The weather is extremely warm 
and like to continue so. The spring of Europe, which has 
been much vaunted by the natives from affection, and the 
prejudices which it occasions, and by travellers from the 
vanity of appearing to have seen or tasted or smelt or felt 
something purer or newer or sweeter or softer than their 
neighbors the spring of Europe has reduced itself, this 
year at least, to one week, namely, the three last days of 
April and the first four of May, and in this short spring 
Parker, by changing his waistcoat, has taken the rheuma 
tism." 

Thursday, May i4th, Morris spent at Versailles ; called 
on several of his fair friends, and "in my way about the 
town," he declares, " I wander to the Queen s apartments, 
which are furnished in very good taste. Pass from thence 
to the chapel, in which there is just as much devotion as I 
expected. Call on Madame de Segur and sit a while at 
her toilet. She says she is heartily tired of Versailles, 
which I believe. She shows me a declaration of the clergy 
of Paris highly monarchical, and which will do them no 
good. After leaving her, a shower of rain arising, I take 
refuge in the antechamber of M. de Montmorin, who asks 

* Madame Cabarus was the wife of Count Francois Cabarus, who in 1782 
established the bank of San Carlos, at Madrid. Cabarus was arrested in 
1790, but was released, and in 1797 appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at the 
Congress of Rastadt. 
6 



82 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

me if I am come to dine with him, tq which I reply in the 
negative. He tells me I must come some day, which I 
promise to do. Dine with M. de Lafayette we have here 
the politics of the day. Call on Madame de Montvoisseux, 
who asks me to go with her party to the Queen s gardens 
at Petit Trianon. We walk about the garden a good deal. 
Royalty has here endeavored at great expense to conceal 
itself from its own eye. But the attempt is vain. A dairy 
furnished with the porcelain of Sevres is a semblance too 
splendid for rural life. The adjoining muddy pond, on 
the other hand, but poorly resembles a lake. On the 
whole this garden is handsome, and yet the money applied 
in making it has been but badly spent, and would be 
not badly spared. I observe a number of representatives 
to the States-General walking about in it. Perhaps there 
is not one of them who thinks of what ought to strike 
them all, that this expense and others like this have occa 
sioned their meeting. Return pretty late to town and sup 
with Capellis and his fair aunt, Madame de Flahaut. An 
other lady is there, who derives much pleasure from the 
sound of her own voice. The day has been extremely 
hot ; a shower in the evening does not render the air much 
cooler." 

"This morning [May i6th] is windy, cold, rainy, and 
disagreeable ; but in consistence with my arrangements in 
concert with M. Le Coulteux, I set off for Lucennes, and 
arrive there a little after two o clock. He and his family 
have been expected for two days, but none are come, and 
as the cook has not made his appearance it is evident that 
he will not be out to dinner. Go to a tavern where, with 
very promising appearances, the utmost the house can 
aiford is a mackerel, a pigeon, fresh eggs, and asparagus. 
The first has probably been too long on his travels and ac 
quired too much of the haut gotit for a plain American. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 83 

This circumstance occasions the death of the solitary 
pigeon, who is thereby released from the confinement in 
which he was starving. The cookery and the provisions 
are worthy of each other so that this day at least I shall 
run no risk of indigestion. Mine host, in a laudable zeal 
for the honor of his house, makes up in the bill what was 
deficient in the dinner. By this means the dishes make a 
very respectable figure. The poor little pigeon is rated 
at something more than a shilling, and the bunch of spin 
dled asparagus at about three shillings, which is not un 
reasonableconsidering the eggs are at about threepence 
apiece. After this repast, go to Malmaison, where all is 
topsy-turvy, a strong smell of paint in the house, and add 
ed to that a dish of cabbage and vinegar boiling, which 
gives another smell not a whit more pleasant. Walk over 
the garden, which is agreeable. Madame Dumolley takes 
me in her whiskey, and we have a mighty pleasant ride 
in one of the Royal parks. I take tea with Madame, and 
return to town after a very pleasant day." 

Going a few days later to call on Madame de Suze, he 
found her "in a scene of great distress" which he de 
scribes with a touch, at least, of humor. " Her lapdog be 
ing very ill, the pauvre bete has suffered now for a long 
time. At first it had the maladie napolitaine ; for this it 
was sent to the doctor of dogs, who by a course of mercu 
rials eradicated this disease, and returned him as complete 
a skeleton as ever came out of the powdering tub. The 
kind mistress, by her care and assiduity, soon brought him 
up to a tolerable embonpoint, when, lo ! another indispo 
sition. This is tres grave, et voila Madame, la fille de 
chambre et un des valets, qui ne s occupent que de cela. 
At three different times in my short visit: Jevous de- 
mande bien pardon, M. Morris mais c est une chose si de- 
solante que de voir souffrir comme ca une pauvre bete. 



84 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. III. 

Ah ! Madame, ne me faites point de vos excuses, je vous en 
prie, pour des soins si aimables, aussi merites que toutes 
vos attentions. At length, by peeping into his back, she 
discovers a little maggot. Ah, mon Dieu ! Mais, voyez 
done! I leave them to go to dine with M. la Breteche. 
We have the envoy of Saxe-Gotha and M. de Durfort 
of the guards. After dinner, walk to the pavilion and 
sit some time. The tutor of the son of M. de Durfort, 
who was with her husband some time at Florence, gives 
us a long account of Italy, during which I am so unfortu 
nate as to fall asleep, sitting next to Madame. Among 
other things, he mentions the want of cleanliness among 
the Italians as very shocking, and speaks of it with the 
same air of horror which some people put on when they 
notice a similar defect in the French." 



J789-J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 85 



CHAPTER IV. 

Morris surprised at Parisian manners and customs. Tea in the Palais 
Royal. Visit to Romainville. M. de Beaujolais. Morris writes 
verses to the Duchess of Orleans. Careless driving. Made a mem 
ber of the Club of Valois. Interviews with Judges. Note on the to 
bacco contracts. The Dauphin s death. States-General more than 
ever embroiled. Morris stands for Houdon s statue of Washington. 
Strictures on the Bishop d Autun. Visit to Raincy. The clergy 
join the Tiers. The Salle des Menus closed. Bath in the Tennis 
Court. Great excitement in Paris. Morris s sentiments quoted. His 
interest in France. Necker offers to resign. The mob at Versailles. 
Inflammatory publications at the Palais Royal. The nobles join the 
other orders. Revolt among the guards. The Abbaye broken open. 
The king terrified. 

IT is impossible not to see the eyebrows slightly raised 
and the look of surprise on Morris s face as he notes 
the manners and customs of the ladies of Paris. " What 
would have induced one of my countrywomen to place 
herself in such a position ? " he says, on one occasion, 
when a very extraordinary request was made to him, hardly 
suitable for ears polite. While sitting one evening with a 
friend in the Palais Royal, drinking lemonade and tea, 
" the waiter comes to tell me that two ladies are without who 
wish to speak to me. These, I find, are Madame de Bour- 
sac and Madame d Espanchall, whom we had met before at 
the Tuileries. A good deal of light, trivial conversation, 
in which these ladies intimate to me that their nuptial 
bonds do not at all straighten their conduct, and it would 
seem that either would be content to form an intrigue. 



86 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

As they can have no real want of lovers, and as they can 
have no prepossession in my favor, this conduct evidently 
resolves itself into some other motive probably a view to 
somej 0/is cadeaux. As I have a vast fund of indifference on 
the subject, I say a number of handsome nothings, and as 
the ladies are relieved by my presence from the scandal of 
being alone and the ennui of a female tete-a-tete, I shall 
have the credit with them of being more agreeable, et 
plus homme d esprit, than I am, by a great deal." 

To fulfil an engagement made with Madame de Chastel- 
lux to visit the Marquis de Segur, Morris went to her 
apartments on the day appointed and found her in at 
tendance upon the Duchess at her prayers. She brought 
a message from her Royal Highness of regret that Mr. 
Morris had not gone to see her at her apartment, and that 
she would be glad to see him any morning. " I agree t6 
pay a visit to her with Madame de Chastellux. We get 
into my carriage, and go to Romainville, the seat of 
M. de Segur. The view is very fine from the house and 
from different parts of the garden, at the foot of which is 
a charming little cottage. In the garden I remark an 
obelisk dedicated to friendship. It is erected by the 
Baron de Besenval (I suppose), who was most intimately 
the friend of Madame de Segur as well as with the Mare- 
chal. She, with an unusual degree of candor, avowed her 
passion to her husband, and all three lived very happily 
together until her death. The present Vicomte de Segur 
is son to the Baron, and his elder brother is supposed to 
be son to the Marechal. The Comtesse de Segur does 
very well the honors of the house, being a very sensible 
and, indeed, a lovely woman. The Prince and Princess 
Galitzen* dine this day at Romainville. He tells me he 

* Prince Dimitri Galitzen, a Russian diplomatist and author, at that time 
Resident Minister at the Hague. 



1789-1 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 8/ 

has been from home now about seven years. We return 
to town and I visit Madame de Flahaut, who insists on my 
spending the evening with Madame de Boursac, which I 
agree to. A good deal of chit-chat, and after supper M. 
de Boursac comes in, and then M. d Espanchall, whose 
lady is also there, and the conversation degenerates into 
politics. The women prattle a plenty of nonsense about 
the election of Paris, which it seems is to be disputed, and 
thereby put their two husbands out of patience." 

The promised visit to her Royal Highness, the Duchess 
of Orleans, was accomplished on Saturday, May 23d. "At 
ii o clock," he says, "with Madame de Chastellux I go to 
her apartments. She is at breakfast, the Vicomte de Se- 
gur sitting next to her. If I guess right his attentions are 
more agreeable to her than she is aware of. His inquisi 
tive eye asks how I am with Madame de Chastellux, to 
which I answer by a firmness of insipid countenance per 
fectly in harmony with the fact that I have never yet har 
bored an idea respecting her which would derogate from 
a vestal, and this not from virtue entirely but very much 
from indifference, and yet she is young and handsome and 
sensible. What is the reason of this? The Duchess also, 
by an insinuating glance, seems to say, I find you are vast 
ly attentive there and I am glad of it. She is vastly mis 
taken and I am glad of that. Her younger son comes in, 

M. de Beaujolais, a fine, sprightly boy. Madame de , 

one of her women, enters limping. She had something on 
the toe which she has been extracting and has cut to the 
quick. I tell her, Madame, quand on est touche au vif 
on s en repent longtemps. An old devout lady who is 
present, taking the thing with great simplicity in the lit 
eral sense, adds, in the true matron tone, et surtout au 
pied. There is a conserve on table which the Duchess 
offers, but I decline, as not liking 4 les choses sucrees. " 



88 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

There was keen enjoyment to be got out of a drive with 
a charming, gay companion like Madame de Flahaut, 
"through the unfrequented parts of the Bois de Boulogne, 
where a number of deer skipping about contrast very 
finely with the belles and beaux who are grouped together 
in different parts." Again, to wander, as he says, " alone in 
the garden of Malmaison before dinner, and dream of my 
country and converse with my absent friends, and by soli 
tude to bring my mind back to its natural tone. Then in 
the evening I go to see Madame de Chastellux and write 
for her some lines that occurred to me whilst driving to 
day, but which I tell her are not an impromptu, though I 
might give them the air of one. She thinks, or at least 
says she thinks, them very handsome. I agree very hon 
estly that they are well turned and musical, but I cannot 
agree that they have so much merit as she seems to allow. 

" If Beauty so sweet in all gentleness drest, 

In loveliness, virtue, arrayed ; 
By the graces adorned, by the muses carest, 
By lofty ambition obeyed ; 

"Ah! who shall escape from the gold-painted dart 

When Orleans touches the bow ? 
Who the softness resist of that sensible heart 
Where love and benevolence glow ? 

"Thus we dream of the Gods, who with bounty supreme 

Our humble petitions accord. 
Our love they excite, and command our esteem, 
Tho only at distance adored." 

"A few days later," he says, "when I call at the Palais 
Royal to say good-bye to Madame de Chastellux, who is 
going to Raincy for the summer, she tells me she gave 
my verses to the Duchess, who was much pleased ; found 
them very handsome, but not just. She does not merit, 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 89 

etc. In reply, I beg her Royal Highness to be informed 
that she has at least the security that they were not a pre 
meditated compliment but the result of my reflections 
during a solitary ride, and that I shall not think so well of 
her as I have done if she is not convinced of the justice of 
my verses, which in my opinion forms their principal, if 
not their only merit, for she must know better than any 
other person whether she merits the good opinion there 
expressed." 

" A day in the country [May 24th]. Very warm weather 
and dusty. A large company at Lucennes. Among them 
M. Delville, who speaks of the bad quality of the tobacco 
sent to him by Mr. [Robert] Morris. I explain to him 
the nature of the inspection laws, etc., and I tell him that 
I do not complain of the conduct of the farm, which has 
been candid and generous, but that the Committee of 
Berni has occasioned all the mischief. In the evening I 
drive to Malmaison. Madame Dumolley is very civil, but 
I must go to see her, I find, only sur les jours de fete, Qu. : 
Is that because she has not at other times a dinner she 
would wish to exhibit, or wishes not, at other times, to be 
broken in upon, or wishes to save the risk of a visit when 
she is not at home ? The last is the reason assigned, but 
the second is that which I believe iru At a little before ten 
I set off for Paris ; and my coachman, being asleep, I am 
nearly overset in one of the ditches. After several efforts 
to make him awaken, he still continuing to drive wild, I 
stop him and ask if he is drunk. Tell him if he is, then to 
get down from the box and let my servant drive ; but, if he 
is sober, then to go on and to pay more attention, for that 
if he oversets the carriage I will instantly run him through 
the body. This has the desired effect, and brings him to 
the use of his senses. How idle to suppose that man is a 
reasonable creature. If he had run into the ditch, which 



90 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

is dry, and about six foot perpendicular, it is a thousand 
to one that I should have been in a condition not to act, 
and he not to suffer, but this is a danger to which by habit 
he is familiarized. The other by its novelty makes im 
pression, and he does not consider, at least until he is 
fairly awake, that I have no weapon but my cane to exe 
cute the threat." 

Morris s clear views on general subjects, and his par 
ticular knowledge of the politics of Europe as well as of 
France, had already won for him a reputation which was 
not always to him a wholly agreeable one, for his time was 
valuable, and yet the interruptions to it, springing from 
his popularity, were incessant. "To-day" [May 2yth], 
he says, " I am disturbed immediately after breakfast by 
General Sir How Whitford-Dalrymple and a Mr. Davis. 
They stay a long time, and enter with much solicitude into 
politics. As far as their symptoms may go they indicate 
great attention of the British Cabinet to what passes here 
regarding the States-General, etc. I tell them that if the 
King of Prussia were worth a farthing, the English might 
on the death of the Emperor play a very good game ; viz., 
upon the election of the Archduke, put up the Electors 
of Bavaria and, giving Saxony to Prussia, take for the Stad- 
holder the Austrian Netherlands, which with some of the 
little Bishoprics in the neighborhood would form a re 
spectable monarchy, and by this means Britain would 
form for herself an extensive barrier, including Hanover, 
and would hem in her enemy on every side almost. 
Whereas if France establishes a free government, she may 
easily exchange with the house of Austria for something 
to be acquired elsewhere, or for money, the right to Flan 
ders and then, annexing both Flanders and Holland, she 
will become indisputably mistress of the fate of Europe ; 
that Holland (that is, the United Netherlands) is now in a 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 91 

position that cannot endure, and her fate depends on the 
measure of the moment ; that if France disposes herself to 
act, the first step will be to secure an alliance with us at 
any rate, because on our European ally will depend the 
fate of the West Indies, etc. We shall see at a future day 
what will be the effect of such suggestions. Go to dine 
with Madame Faucault, the daughter of my old friend 
James Leray de Chaumont. She is at her toilette and is, 
I am told, a woman of gallantry. Dine and chatter poli 
tics. Madame Leray de Chaumont* talks to me very 
sensibly, considering that she is said to be crazy. After 
dinner I walk in the Champs Elysees, and meet M. de 
Durfort, who tells me the number of troops in the neigh 
borhood of Paris is to prevent tumult if the States-General 
are dissolved ; laugh at this idea, which shows only the 
wishes of himself and his friends. After leaving him I 
call on Madame de la Suze. She is just going to dress, 
but that is nothing. * M. Morris me permettra de faire 
ma toilette? Certainly. So we have the whole perform 
ance of undressing and dressing except the shift. Finish 
the evening in the salon of Madame de Flahaut, where 
I meet Madame de Boursac, who tells me that I am in 
scribed a member of the Club de Valois on the nomina 
tion of M. de Boursac." 

With unabated energy Morris continued his efforts to 



* Madame Leray de Chaumont was Miss Grace Coxe of Philadelphia. M. 
Leray de Chaumont met her while he was in America after the peace. She 
is reported to have fallen in love with the Frenchman, and declared that if 
he refused to marry her it would break her heart. He thereupon told her 
tnat his attentions to her were marked by no more fervor than were those he 
paid to others of her sex, but that if she felt so strongly on the subject, he 
would write to his parents for permission to marry her. Morris escorted 
her back to America in 1798, and the subsquent history of her peculiarities 
would be amusing if it were not that she subjected her children, and Mor 
ris, who was by their father, during his absence in France, appointed guar 
dian, to ceaseless annoyances. 



92 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

bring about an accommodation with the farmers-gen 
eral and Robert Morris in the affair of the tobacco. But 
the dreaded suit became inevitable, and, in order to urge 
it forward, he was advised to visit his judges. This he 
accordingly did, and in the course of the day obtained 
assurances from the grocer, that the court was " impartial, 
and alike uninfluenced by farmers and grand seigneurs, 
that he would do everything in his power for the cause, 
etc. ; " from the vender of skins, who was so surprised by 
a chariot stopping at his door "and a servant in livery in 
quiring for him, without anything of the humble suitor 
in his countenance," that his " honor was brought into 
the street " by the unusual proceeding, a promise to 
do everything in his power ; and from the amiable M. 
Levi, the vintner, a promise to mention the matter to 
his brethren at the earliest opportunity, with many assu 
rances that " he believes my suit to be good, and that they 
desire to give the best reception to strangers, etc.; that of 
course a winter passage of a thousand leagues is not un 
dertaken on light ground by a man of common under 
standing, etc. I of course assure him that there is doubt 
less every reason for confiding in the justice of the French, 
yet a stranger opposed to a powerful company is at a dis 
advantage." After interviews with the bookseller, the 
woollen draper, the goldsmith, and the furrier, Morris 
says he was quite overcome by the ludicrous side of the 
picture, " which is so strongly painted to my own eyes 
that I cannot forbear laughing at myself, and having at 
length brought this disagreeable scene to an end, as a 
means of refreshment I utilize a ticket which I have for 
the Pare Monceau, where I walk a considerable time. It 
has merit, and has cost at least as much as it deserves. 
The gardener, an Englishman, and believing me to be one, 
is so kind as to direct a sentinel to find me out, and then 



1789] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 93 

comes himself and offers to show me the hot-house, etc. 
This is vastly polite and, indeed, kind, but perhaps the 
expectation of a little French coin from an English pocket 
may have had some influence. As this, however, would 
be an ungenerous suspicion, I leave him the full gratifica 
tion of the patriotic sentiment, lavish a profusion of com 
pliments, but not a single sou. After a very magnificent 
supper and a game of whist at the house of M. Bontin, I 
propose to him the supplying of the marine with provi 
sions, and offer him a concern. He objects his office, to 
which I reply that he need not appear in it, but that, be 
sides, it is a most honorable and praiseworthy pursuit to 
obtain supplies for the Crown upon easier terms, and 
thereby to cement more strongly an alliance of infinite 
consequence to France. We are to talk further on this 
subject." 

The promised visit was paid to M. de Montmorin at 
Versailles on Friday, the 2pth of May. " His porter in a 
surly tone tells me I am come too late, just when the Count 
is going to dinner, to which I reply by desiring he will 
tell his master I wish to speak to him. Stay in the ante 
chamber pretty late. At length dinner is announced, and 
I deliver the letter which I have kept so long, with an 
apology, which is well received. Go up to dinner. Com 
mon States-General chit-chat. The dinner lasts long, 
as we wait for a gentleman who is in session of the no 
blesse. On quitting the Count he very kindly regrets that 
he sees so little of me this day, which compliment might 
have been spared, as it depended on him to have had more 
particular conversation. He desires a repetition of my 
visit, and that I would consider his house as my home 
whenever I am there." 

" This morning [May 3oth], being rather broken to pieces 
by business interruptions, I applied the fragments of the 



94 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

day to seeing curiosities with Madame de Flahaut as my 
companion. First the Gobelins, which, after all that 
has been said in their favor, are an idle kind of art, be 
cause they produce pieces which are more costly and less 
beautiful than paintings, and though in one sense they 
last long, yet in another they do not, because the colors 
fade. For the rest, it is a wonderful operation. From the 
Gobelins, in the gallery of which are some excellent paint 
ings, we go to the King s botanical gardens. Having no 
knowledge of botany except to distinguish onions and 
cabbages from oak trees, I can pretend to no judgment of 
this garden, which is, I daresay, excellent. It is in some 
respects handsome, and, taking the whole together, plants, 
buildings, etc., must have cost a great deal. Our exami 
nation is very cursory. From thence we go to Notre 
Dame. The altar piece is exquisite, as are several of the 
paintings. This reverend Gothic building is well worth 
examination. Dine with the Marechal de Castries and 
explain to him the affair of the claim set up against the 
farm, and I am to make a note out and give it to him. I 
tell him that a man of sense, decision, and firmness is 
necessary to the King in the present moment to extricate 
him from the difficulties in which they are plunged. 
Also make some rough sketches of the means. After 
dinner I call on Mr. Jefferson and sit a good while. 
General conversation on character, politics, etc. I think 
he does not form very just estimates of character but 
rather assigns too many to the humble rank of fools, 
whereas in life the gradations are infinite and each indi 
vidual has his peculiarities of fort and feeble. Go to 
Madame de Flahaut s, spend the evening, and talk a good 
deal of loose, light nonsense." 

"On my way to Malmaison to-day [May 3ist], passing 
along the Champs Elysees, I stop a moment to speak to 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 95 

Mr. Jefferson and General Dalrymple. They tell me that 
the Conciliatory Commission at Versailles have parted 
without doing anything, notwithstanding a very florid 
harangue of M. Necker. This man s vanity must be ex 
cessive, to think that he can influence by his eloquence, 
and especially when the esprit et intfret de corps are in 
such powerful operation. At Malmaison meet De Can- 
teleu as I expected. I impart my intention of submitting 
the decision of the tobacco claim to M. Necker himself, 
which, under all circumstances, he thinks well of. He 
thinks the indecision of character which marks M. Necker 
will prevent him from agreeing to our plan about the 
American debt. Says the treasury is in blast for June and 
July ; that M. Necker knows nothing of administration, 
is, in effect, ignorant of mankind, etc." 

The note on the subject of the tobacco contracts, and 
a future contract for the French claim on America, 
Morris prepared on the ist of June. "This is a laborious 
task," he says [June ist], "for me, as it is in French. One 
of M. Le Coulteux s principal clerks comes to examine the 
work and see if it is French. He finds but little to cor 
rect." The next day the note was presented to M. de 
Castries. "He finds it very well. He distinguishes be 
tween the debt for which France is or was guarantee and 
that which arises from actual advances, and it seems that 
on the former they would make no abatement. Evidently 
he has conversed on this subject with M. Necker. He 
will have the note copied with a small alteration and will 
give it to the minister. Thinks that, beginning with the 
pros and proceeding afterwards to the other points, we 
may finally have the whole connected together. " 

Dining, June 2d, with the Marechal de Segur at his 
country-place, Morris met the Archbishop of Bordeaux. 
" He is, they say, an intimate friend of M. Necker s. 



96 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

Converse with him a little on politics, and propose that 
the King should cut the knot which the States cannot 
untie ; viz., that he should prescribe to them the future 
constitution and leave them to consider it, etc. He says 
he thinks it must end in some such way. Return to town 
and in my way take a view (from the heights) of this vast 
city. It covers an immense tract of country indeed. 
Take a turn in the Palais Royal and go to supper with 
Madame de Flahaut. Confoundedly bored and find it ex 
tremely difficult to keep myself awake." 

" This afternoon [June 3d] I go to see Mr. Jefferson. 
We have some political conversation. He seems to be out 
of hope of anything being done to purpose by the States- 
General. This comes of having too sanguine expectations 
of a downright republican form of Government. The 
literary people here, observing the abuses of a monarch 
ical form, imagine that everything must go better in pro 
portion as it recedes from the present establishments, and 
in their closets they make men exactly suited to their sys 
tems. But unluckily they are such as exist nowhere else, 
least of all in France. I am more than ever persuaded 
that the form which at first appeared to me most fit for 
them is that which will be adopted, not exactly according 
to my idea, but probably in some better manner. After 
refreshing myself with a cup of tea at the cafe in the 
Palais Royal, I go to the Club Valois, of which I have 
been chosen a member. There is nothing remarkable 
here. Call on Madame de Flahaut, where I am engaged 
to sup. Find her with her feet in hot water, sick, and has 
had an ague and fever, and her head is very heavy. She 
desires me to prescribe for her. I recommend a grain 
and a half of tartar emetic and after that bark is to be 
taken." 

" To-day [June 4th] the news of the Dauphin s death was 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 97 

announced, and Mr. Short tells us that the States-General 
are more embroiled than ever. Mr. Jefferson, with whom 
I take a drive, requests, on the part of M. Houdon,* that I 
would stand to-morrow for the figure of General Washing 
ton, to which I consent." 

Houdon was working at this time on the statue of Wash 
ington which now adorns the City Hall at Richmond, Vir 
ginia, but there seems to have been no particular reason, 
other than that of friendship and the fact of his being 
a countryman of Washington s, that Morris should have 
been called upon to make a vicarious victim of himself. 
The fact of his devoted friendship for Washington, however, 
was reason enough to obtain his consent to stand for the 
statue, "although," as he says, "it, being the humble em 
ployment of a manikin, was rather irksome. This is 
literally taking the advice of St. Paul to be all things 
to all men. Promise M. Houdon to attend next Tues 
day morning at half-past eight to have my bust taken, 
which he desires, to please himself, for this is the answer 
to rny question what he wants with my bust a question 
dictated with a view to obviate any future demand of pay 
ment on my part. Later in the afternoon I go to the 
Palais Royal, and pay a visit of respectful inquiry to Ma 
dame de Flahaut. She is better. From there go to the 
Club Valois. The Tiers have agreed to proceed to the 
verification of the powers, * par ordre sauf a considerer 
par des commissaires les doutes qui . This is une petite 
victoire remportee par la noblesse, qui s en glorifie beau- 
coup. From the club go to supper at the Baron de Be- 

* Jean Antoine Houdon, a French sculptor, was born at Versailles in 1741. 
About the year 1785 Dr. Franklin gave him a commission to execute the 
marble statue of Washington which is now in the State House at Richmond, 
Virginia. He came to Philadelphia to obtain the model of this work. His 
reputation was increased later in life by his statues of Voltaire and Cicero, 
and his busts of Rousseau, Franklin, Napoleon, and Ney. He died in 1825. 

7 



98 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

senval s ; nothing worth notice, except that in the salon we 
have a fire, which seems disagreeable to nobody." 

"The States-General seem to approach a little more 
toward accommodation, I hear to-night [June 6th], in Ma 
dame de Flahaut s salon, from 1 Eveque d Autun, who is one 
of our company and an intimate friend of Madame de Fla- 
haut. He appears to be a sly, cunning, ambitious, and 
malicious man. I know not why conclusions so disadvan 
tageous to him are formed in my mind, but so it is, and I 
cannot help it." 

" At three o clock [June loth] I set off for Versailles and 
visit some of my friends among them Mesdames d An- 
givilliers and Tesse. The former is as angry about the 
presumption of the Tiers as the latter was at the intem 
perance of the nobles ; both are equally right and wrong. 
See here two sisters, who show by their gentle glances 
that they like to have tender things said, at least. . I don t 
know them. Call on Madame de Flahaut, but find her too 
unwell to go abroad this evening. A good deal of chit 
chat with her. She tells me that I suit the taste of this 
country, etc., which is a vast compliment to a stranger I 
really apprehend much more than I deserve." 

The expressions of regard and friendship made by the 
Duchess of Orleans for Morris were not wholly fafon 
de parler, and Thursday, June nth, was the day appoint 
ed for him to visit her Royal Highness at Raincy, where 
he arrived at eleven o clock. "Nobody yet visible," he 
says, "and after some time the Duchess appears and tells 
me she has given Madame de Chastellux notice of my ar 
rival. This consists with my primitive idea. Near 12 
before the breakfast is paraded, but as I had eaten mine 
before my departure this is no present inconvenience. 
After breakfast we go to mass in the chapel. In the trib 
une above we have a bishop, an abbe, the Duchess, her 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 99 

maids, and some of their friends. Madame de Chastellux 
is below on her knees. We are amused above by a num 
ber of little tricks played off by M. de Segur and M. de 
Cubieres* with a candle, which is put into the pockets 
of different gentlemen, the Bishop among the rest, and 
lighted while they are otherwise engaged (for there is a 
fire in the tribune), to the great merriment of the spec 
tators. Immoderate laughter is the consequence. The 
Duchess preserves as much gravity as she can. This scene 
must be very edifying to the domestics who are opposite 
to us, and to the villagers who worship below. After this 
ceremony is concluded we commence our walk, which is 
long and excessively hot. Then we get in bateaux, and 
the gentlemen row the ladies, which is by no means a cool 
operation. After that more walking, so that I am exces 
sively inflamed, even to fever-heat. Get to the Chateau 
and doze for a little, en attendant le diner, which does not 
come till after five. A number of persons surround the 
windows, and doubtless form a high idea of the company, 
to whom they are obliged to look up at an awful distance. 
Ah, did they but know how trivial the conversation, how 
very trivial the characters, their respect would soon be 
changed to an emotion extremely different. Madame de 
St. Simon is the subject of an epitaph by the Vicomte de 
Segur, the purport of which is that she is lewd, and that 
idea is tres fortement prononce. She attacks him in a se 
rious discourse on the folly of his pursuits, which, having 
only vanity for a motive, tend to inspire a passion where 
none has hitherto been felt, and merely because of that. 
He defends himself by observing that a thing of that sort 
cannot affect his vanity, because the pursuit of a woman 

*The Marquis Simon Louis Pierre de Cubieres was attached to the person 
of the king as equerry and served him faithfully at the risk of his own life in 
the Revolution. 



100 DIARY AND LETTERS OF CHAP. IV. 

is like a game of chess, when in consequence of a certain 
set of moves the success is certain. She agrees in this 
idea, and thence draws more certainly her conclusions 
that such pursuits are ridiculous. I think I understand 
this conversation in its full latitude, for my own observa 
tion had already pointed at the object, not named but, if I 
mistake not, clearly understood. After dinner the weath 
er, which had been hot, becomes cold, and the fire is by no 
means disagreeable. More walking, but I refuse to par 
take of it, being fairly winged, to use the sportsman s 
phrase. A little before 8 set off for town, having the com 
pany of Madame de Chastellux s nurse and child. The 
request to take them would have looked odd in America, 
but I conclude that it is quite in the order of things here, 
and readily comply, but indeed for a better reason. I am 
glad in this kind of way to repay attentions which my 
heart will not let me meet in any other." 

"This morning [June i2th] Mr. Jefferson, just from Ver 
sailles, tells me that the Tiers had called on the noblesse 
and clergy to join them and proceed to business, which 
has thrown the former into a rage. He considers the 
affairs of this country as being in a very critical situation. 
They are so, but the royal authority has great weight, and, 
if brought in to the aid of the privileged orders, may yet 
prevent their destruction. However, he and I differ in 
our system of politics. He, with all the leaders of liberty 
here, is desirous of annihilating distinctions of order. 
How far such views may be right respecting mankind in 
general is, I think, extremely problematical, but with re 
spect to this nation I am sure it is wrong and cannot 
eventuate well." 

"To-day [June ipth], I call on Madame de la Suze. 
She is embroidering with the tambour needle. Is quite 
out of temper with the politics of the times, but is deter- 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. IOI 

mined to be of the party which will furnish money, be 
that which it may, because the husbands of herself and her 
sisters ont beaucoup sur le Roi. Voila les opinions poli- 
tiques qui sont bien motivees. From thence go to the club, 
and read the papers. The clergy have this day by a small 
majority determined to join the Tiers. This stroke is fa 
tal to the noblesse, for the Tiers having already consti 
tuted themselves the National Assembly as representing 
96 percent, of the nation, they will now have the claim to 
be a majority of orders as well as heads. Unless the 
royal authority be interposed to save the nobles, they are 
gone, and of this there seems to be but slender probability. 
From the club go to Madame d Espanchall s (an invita 
tion which I would gladly have evaded) to supper. I am 
assailed for the copy of an extempore epitaph written at 
Raincy on the Vicomte de Segur, which is wretchedly bad. 
I evade the request till after supper, when I am again so 
licited by Madame de Boursac to repeat it, and Madame 
de Warsi, who is a very beautiful and accomplished woman, 
entreats me to write it, because she understands English 
only by the eye having learnt to read, not to speak it. 
Having her promise to return the scrap of paper, I write 
for her the wretched lines in question, which had the sin 
gle merit at the moment of having been written sur-le- 
champ as a petite vengeance for Madame de St. Simon, on 
whom he had written an epitaph at breakfast not too 
delicate. 

Here lies a merry, wicked wight, 
Who spent in mischief all his life, 
And, lest the world should do him right, 
Determined not to take a wife. 

The applause it met with arose from the pleasure man 
kind always feel at seeing a tyrant galled. Madame de 



102 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

Warsi begs leave to keep them, which I refuse. She says 
she remembers them, and, to convince me, sets about writ 
ing them from memory, and convinces both herself and 
me that she cannot. I then take the pencil and write for 
her: 

To one like you, divinely fair, 

On nothing but yourself I ll write, 
Nor will I own another care, 

Than what may give to you delight ; 
If that delight I might convey, 

At every gentle, kind caress, 
I d own the force of beauty s sway, 

And you what blessing tis to bless. 



M. de Boursac tells me (which is the aristocratic conso 
lation) that the King has called a council on the present 
state of affairs, in which each is to deliver his opinion in 
His Majesty s presence. I do not believe that this will 
produce any effect whatever : for the decision this day will 
awe those who two days ago were loud against M. Necker, 
and probably those who called, or prompted the call of 
this council, will find the event to be in direct reverse of 
their wishes and expectations." 

It was on the iyth of June that the Commons, after a 
long and ominously patient waiting for the other two or 
ders to unite with them, decided " to begin the work of 
national regeneration," and declared themselves the Na 
tional Assembly of France. Three days after, when about 
to assemble to begin their great work, Morris speaks in 
the diary of the fact "that the different corps of the States- 
General were prevented from meeting, the chamber being 
surrounded with guards. The reason assigned," he con 
tinues, "is that the King intends to have a Seance Royale 
on Monday, and that some alterations are necessary to the 
salon. After driving and walking a while, go to the club. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. IO3 

Meet the Comte de Croix, Due de la Rochefoucault,* Vi- 
comte de Noailles,f Segur, young Dillon, and sundry 
others. Various conjectures about the object of the Se 
ance Royale to be held on Monday. I believe that this 
step would not have been taken if the Court had foreseen 
the step of the clergy yesterday. They have very inflam 
mable materials to handle, and must take great heed. 
The general idea seems to be that the seance is conse 
quential upon what passed in the Tiers, when they as 
sumed to themselves the title of National Assembly. But 
I conjecture that, however this incident may have pre 
cipitated that event, it originates in the idea of arranging 
the different corps in such a way as that they may act, in 
stead of being as at present an useless horde." 

The schemes of the court and king were not furthered 
by closing the doors of the great hall against these men 
determined upon a new order of things. Several of the 
more courageous among them led the others to an old 
tennis-court, where they solemnly swore the great oath, 
called the Jeu de Paume, "not to separate until a consti 
tution for France had been adopted." 

"At the club this evening" [June 2ist], Morris says, 
"it is said that the Seance Royale intended for to-morrow 
is postponed. At 5 o clock on the 2oth M. Necker wrote 
a letter to the lieutenant of police, assuring that it is not 
intended to prevent the further session of the States. 
When there is apprehension on one side and determina 
tion on the other, it is easy to see how things will eventu- 

*Duc de la Rochefoucault, a patriot and active member of the States- 
General in 1789. He favored the popular cause in the Revolution, but was 
massacred at Gisors in 1792. 

t Vicomte de Noailles was a deputy to the States-General in 1789, and pro 
posed, on the 4th of August, the suppression of feudal rights and other privi 
leges of the aristocracy. Soon after the commencement of the Reign of Terror 
he emigrated to the United States. In 1804 he was killed in a naval engage 
ment with the English. He married a sister of Madame de Lafayette. 



IO4 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

ate. For my part, I presume that the Seance Royale is 
postponed that they may come to a new determination 
consequent on the resolution of the clerge." 

When the news of the Jeu de Paume reached Paris, 
the Palais Royal, says Arthur Young, " was in a flame ; 
the coffee-houses, pamphlet shops, corridors, and gardens 
were crowded alarm and apprehension sat in every eye : 
nothing was so glaringly ridiculous but the mob swallowed 
it with indiscriminating faith. It was, moreover, curious 
to remark among people of another description that the 
balance of opinion was clearly that the National Assembly 
had gone too far had been too violent and had taken 
steps the mass of the people would not support." 

" Before starting for Versailles to-day [June 23d] I sec 
the Duchess of Orleans, who says she w r ould ask me to dine 
if I had not declared that I was going to Versailles. 
When I arrive at Versailles I call upon Madame de Tesse, 
who gives me a cordial reception, complaining, however, of 
my politics. Lord and Lady Camelford, with their daughter, 
come in. Mr. Jefferson tells me that on the strength of an 
acquaintance with an acquaintance of Madame de Tesse s, 
without being themselves known to her, they had sent and 
asked a dinner. This is quite as free and easy as the French 
themselves can be. The King has to-day, in his Seance 
Royale pleased the nobility and very much displeased the 
Tiers. I find it difficult to learn exactly what has passed, 
but it seems to rne the nobility have less cause for exulta 
tion than they imagine. At dinner I sit next to M. de 
Lafayette, who tells me I injure the cause, for that my sen 
timents are continually quoted against the good party. I 
seize this opportunity to tell him that I am opposed to the 
democracy from regard to liberty ; that I see they are 
going headlong to destruction, and would fain stop them 
if I could ; that their views respecting this nation are 



1789] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. IO5 

totally inconsistent with the materials of which it is com 
posed, and that the worst thing that could happen would 
be to grant their wishes. He tells me that he is sensible 
his party are mad, and tells them so, but is not the less de 
termined to die with them. I tell him I think it would be 
just as well to bring them to their senses and live with 
them. He says he is determined to resign his seat, which 
step I approve of, because the instructions by which he is 
bound are contrary to his conscience. Before we part I 
take an opportunity to tell him that if the Tiers are now 
very moderate they will probably succeed, but if violent 
must inevitably fail. From Madame de Tesse I go to see 
Madame Montvoisseux, where the party is aristocratical 
delighted with the King. In the course of conversation 
they tell me some anecdotes which convince me that the 
King and Queen are confoundedly frightened, and I am 
thence led to conjecture that the Court will still recede. 
M. Necker yesterday offered to resign, but the King re 
fused to accept his resignation. This afternoon he waits 
on His Majesty, surrounded by the common people, who 
attend him with shouts of applause to the door of the 
chateau. At half-past seven, when I leave Versailles, he 
is still with the King." 

During the last days of June, the mob, composed of 
idlers, strangers, the leaders of the coffee-houses of the 
Palais Royal, and disorderly persons of all kinds, swarmed 
into Versailles. Daily those whom they called aristocrats 
were grossly insulted. The Archbishop of Paris was hoot 
ed through the streets. The king s secretary and the 
Keeper of the Seals were insulted until they were in fear 
of their lives, and the secretary died in consequence of the 
excitement. 

In the hall where the Assembly sat, nominally with 
closed doors, Bailey says there were always more than 

c/ 



106 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

six hundred spectators noisy, active, and disrespectful, 
often taking part in the deliberations by applause and 
hisses. When the result of the Seance Royale was known 
in Paris, Arthur Young says, " the ferment is beyond de 
scription ; 10,000 people have been all this day in the Palais 
Royal. It is plain to me, from many conversations I have 
been witness to, and the constant meetings, united with the 
inflammatory publications that hourly appear, that nothing 
the King or Court could do would now satisfy the people." 

By Thursday, the 25th, a majority of the clergy and a 
minority of the noblesse had joined the Tiers. " Going to 
Versailles to visit the Due de Vauguyon, on a matter of 
business," Morris writes, "I hear that the minority of 
the clergy have constituted themselves into a body, and 
agreed to the King s propositions. The majority of the 
noblesse, who of course continue to be the body, have 
(it is said) determined also to accept the same proposi 
tions, but with some modifications. The National Assem 
bly, or whatever else they may now choose to call them 
selves, have agreed on a deputation to the King. The 
question is whether His Majesty will receive it, because 
thereon depends the ultimate state of the noblesse." 

The opposition of the nobles was fruitless. The flood, 
sweeping everything before it, brought them nearer and 
nearer to the ranks of the National Assembly, and on 
Saturday, June 27th, they took their place among them. 
Morris says : " The nobles have this day, agreeably to a re 
quest of the King s, joined the other two orders. So that 
at length the great question is determined, and the votes 
will be par tete. It remains only for them to form a con 
stitution, and as the King is extremely timid, he will of 
course surrender at discretion. The existence of the mon 
archy therefore depends on the moderation of the Assem 
bly. For the rest, I think they will soon establish their 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. IO/ 

credit, which, among other things, will bring the exchange 
between France and foreign nations to be more favorable. 
If the money of this country is brought into free circula 
tion, I think it will lower interest everywhere. The sum 
is immense, and its effects must be commensurate to its 
activity and mass. At present it lies dead and is poorly 
supplied by the paper Caisse d Escompte." 

Since the 23d of June there had been rioting and insub 
ordination in the ranks of the French guards. They de 
clared their intention not to act against the National As 
sembly. Eleven of the leaders had been confined in the 
Abbaye, and on the 3oth of June these men sent a letter to 
their comrades, asking assistance. The mob in the Palais 
Royal, on hearing this letter read aloud, took fire at 
once and started for the prison. " I go," says Morris, "to 
the Palais Royal to see what is doing, and from thence 
to the club. Find that the mob have broken the prison 
and released some soldiers, who were confined for their late 
breaches of military discipline, consequent on their in 
ebriation by those who are debauching them from their 
duty. This makes, as it ought to do, a serious impression. 
Probably to-morrow will produce similar and greater ex 
cesses. Mr. Jefferson tells me, from the large camp which 
is forming under the Marechal de Broglie, and from the air 
of many who are unfriendly to the present measures of 
the Tiers, and from the influence of the Comte d Artois in 
the Council, very serious events are apprehended, that 
perhaps the King will be prompted to attempt a resump 
tion of his authority. All this is very well, but, under the 
existing ideas of the moment, it is very doubtful whether 
he could prevail on his soldiery to act, and if not, his ful- 
minations will become as contemptible as those of the 
Church, for in both cases it is the secular arm of flesh 
which alone renders the anathema terrible." 



108 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

The following letter, written [July ist] to the Hon. 
Mr. Jay, gives a comprehensive view of the situation in 
Paris. Morris says : " I am too much occupied to find time 
for the use of a cypher and in effect this government is 
so occupied with its own affairs, that in transmitting to 
you a letter under an envelope there is no risk. This, 
however, I am pretty certain will go safe. The States- 
General have now been a long time in session and have 
done nothing. Hitherto they have been engaged in a dis 
pute whether they shall form one body or three. The 
commons, who are represented by a body equal to both 
the others, and who besides have at least one half the 
representatives of the clergy, insist on forming a single 
house. They have succeeded, but the nobles deeply feel 
their situation. The King, after siding with them, was 
frightened into an abandonment of them. He acts from 
terror only. The soldiery in this city, particularly the 
French guards, declare they will not act against the peo 
ple. They are now treated by the nobility, and parade 
about the streets drunk, huzzaing for the Tiers. Some of 
them have, in consequence, been confined not by the 
force, but by the adroitness of authority. Last night this 
circumstance became known, and immediately a mob re 
paired to the prison. The soldiers on guard unfixed their 
bayonets and joined the assailants. A party of dragoons 
ordered on duty to disperse the riot thought it better to 
drink with the rioters and return back to their quarters. 
The soldiers, with others confined in the same prison, were 
then paraded in triumph to the Palais Royal, which is 
now the liberty pole of this city, and there they celebrated 
as usual their joy. Probably this evening some other 
prisons will be opened, for Liberte is now the general 
cry, and Autorite is a name, not a real existence. The 
Court are about to form a camp in the neighborhood of 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 109 

Paris of 25,000 men, under the command of the Marechal 
de Broglie. I do not know him personally, therefore 
cannot judge what may be expected from his talents, but 
all my information goes to the point that he will never 
bring his army to act against the people. The Garde clu 
Corps are as warm adherents (in general) to the Tiers as 
anybody else, strange as that may seem, so that in effect 
the sword has slipped out of the monarch s hands without 
his perceiving a tittle of the matter. All these things, in a 
nation not yet fitted by education and habit for the enjoy 
ment of freedom, give me frequently suspicions that they 
will greatly overshoot their mark, if indeed they have not 
already done it. Already some people talk of limiting the 
King s negative upon the laws ; and as they have hitherto 
felt severely the authority exercised in the name of their 
Princes, every limitation of that authority seems to them 
desirable. Never having felt the evils of too weak an ex 
ecutive, the disorders to be apprehended from anarchy 
make as yet no impression. The provincial assemblies or 
administrations in other words, the popular executive of the 
provinces which Turgot had imagined as a means of mod 
erating the royal legislative of the Court, is now insisted 
on as a counter- security against the monarch, when they 
shall have established a democratical legislative, for you 
will observe that the noble and clerical orders are hence 
forth to be vox et p renter ea nihil. The King is to be limited 
to the exact sum necessary for his personal expenses. 
The management of the public debt and revenue to pro 
vide for it will be taken entirely out of his hands, and the 
subsistence of the army is to depend on temporary grants. 
Hence it must follow that his negative, in whatever form 
reserved, will be of little avail. These are the outlines of 
the proposed constitution, by which, at the same time, let- 
tres de cachet are to be abrogated and the liberty of the press 



IIO DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IV. 

established. My private opinion is that the King, to get 
fairly out of the scrape in which he finds himself, would 
subscribe to anything, and truly from him little is to be ex 
pected in any way. The Queen, hated, humbled, morti 
fied, feels and feigns, and intrigues to save some shattered 
remnants of the royal authority ; but to know that she 
favors a measure is the certain means to frustrate its suc 
cess. The Comte d Artois, alike hated, is equally busy, 
but has neither sense to counsel himself nor choose coun 
sellors for himself much less to counsel others. The 
nobles look up to him for support, and lean on what they 
know to be a broken reed, for want of some more solid de 
pendence. In their anguish they curse Necker, who is in 
fact less the cause than the instrument of their sufferings. 
His popularity depends now more on the opposition he 
meets with from one party than any serious regard of the 
other. It is the attempt to throw him down which saves 
him from falling. He has no longer the preponderating 
weight in counsel which a fortnight ago decided every 
thing. If they were not afraid of consequences he would 
be dismissed, and on the same principle the King has re 
fused to accept his resignation. If his abilities were equal 
to his genius, and he were as much supported by firmness 
as he is swayed by ambition, he would have had the ex 
alted honor of giving a free constitution to above twenty 
millions of his fellow-creatures, and could have reigned 
long in their hearts and received the unanimous applause 
of posterity. But as it is, he must soon fall whether his 
exit be physical or moral must depend on events which I 
cannot foresee. The best chance which royalty has is that 
popular excesses may alarm. At the rate at which things 
are now going, the King of France must soon be one of 
the most limited monarchs in Europe." 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. Ill 



CHAPTER V. 

Grain under convoy. Tumult in Paris. Fourth of July dinner. Visit to 
Romainville. Bread scarce. Paris gay. The administration routed 
and Necker banished. M. de Narbonne. Mobs in the streets. Ar 
morers shops broken open. Scenes in the Palais Royal Gardens. Ter 
rible night in Paris. The Hotel de Force broken into. Morris dons 
the green bow. No carriages allowed in the streets. Affairs at Ver 
sailles. A cry for arms. Carriages stopped and searched. The Bas 
tille taken. Madame de Flahaut s salon. M. de Launay. Carnival 
at Versailles. The Bastille in ruins. The King comes to Paris and 
dons the red and blue cockade. The procession. 

IN the beginning of July of this eventful year wheat 
was scarcer than ever. Some towns had none at all, 
and such grain as could be bought was musty. But even 
this bad bread was the object of envy to starving creat 
ures, who robbed the fortunate possessors of it on the 
high-roads. " The grain supply of Paris must be guarded," 
Morris says, " or it would be robbed and exhausted before 
reaching the town. While I was out this day I met a con 
voy of grain coming into town under the guard of a party 
of troops. For several weeks, all of the grain and stores 
brought to this town has been escorted in like manner. 
I hear of an intended attack on the Hotel de Force." 

The evening of July 3d Morris spent with M. Le 
Coulteux, discussing the offer of the farm to take a cer 
tain amount of the tobacco about which there was so much 
trouble. " Cantaleu, who is there, is full of politics," 
he says, " and tells me I am frequently quoted by the aristo 
crats as being of their party. This leads to an explanation 
of my opinions, in which we perfectly agree, and he ap- 



112 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

pears glad of it. The conciliatory point is an abolition 
of the parlements, which I think necessary to the estab 
lishment of freedom, justice, and order." 

Surrounded by tumult and disorder on his own nation 
al holiday, Morris endeavored to find some consolation 
in reminding himself of the blessings of peace, and in a 
letter to a friend he spoke of the day as " demanding our 
filial acknowledgments a day now at length auspicious, 
since by the establishment of our new Constitution we 
have the fair prospect of enjoying those good things for 
which we have had so hard a contest." Mr. Jefferson 
celebrated the day by giving a dinner to the many Amer 
icans in Paris, among whom were " M. and Madame 
de Lafayette. We have," Morris says, "some political 
conversation with him after dinner, in which I urge him 
to preserve, if possible, some constitutional authority to 
the body of nobles, as the only means of preserving any 
liberty for the people. The current is setting so strong 
against the noblesse that I apprehend their destruction, 
in which will, I fear, be involved consequences most per 
nicious, though little attended to in the present moment." 

It was a continuously cold and uncomfortable season 
which Morris encountered this year in France. " Un 
til this month," he wrote in July to Mr. Carmichael, " fire 
has been a companion not only agreeable but even neces 
sary. So much for that charming vernal season of Europe 
which I have often heard celebrated by many of our coun 
trymen, whose principal merit lies in having twice crossed 
the Atlantic. . . . You ask me if Mr. Jefferson is gone 
to America. He is not, but is ready to depart at a moment s 
warning, having staid some time expecting his conge, but is 
still in the same expectation. I conclude that it will not be 
expedited until the arrangement of the ministerial depart 
ments shall have been completed. Probably the Secretary 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 113 

of Foreign Affairs will decline acting until appointed under 
the new government. It is probable also that the ques 
tion of the conge will not be agitated till another question 
is determined, viz., who shall act here in the interim ; 
and also I doubt not but the secretary, Mr. Short, will be 
empowered. You suppose that the minister has intro 
duced me to the Corps Diplomatique. I hinted that mat 
ter to him shortly after my arrival. He told me they were 
not worth my acquaintance. I have a set which I have 
made myself, and these are not, you will easily conceive, 
among the worst company of Paris. As to the ministerial 
dinners, I have not been at them. It has never been pro 
posed to me. The ministers, you know, give no invita 
tions themselves, and we are bashful. By the bye, I some 
time since went and asked a dinner of the Comte de 
Montmorin, who very kindly assured me at parting that I 
must in his house consider myself perfectly at home, and 
this you know from him is not an unmeaning compli 
ment. I am tout bete that I have not since profited by 
these kind assurances. But what can I do ? Versailles is 
the most triste sejour on earth, and though I am tempted 
by the strong passion of curiosity to go thither and attend 
the debates of the Etats-Generaux, I have not yet pre 
vailed on myself to do it. I believe no man ever made 
less use of strong recommendations to ministerial peo 
ple. Probably I am wrong, but I cannot help it. Apro 
pos, do you know Lafayette ? Should you reply by ask 
ing me, Whence so strange a question ? I answer, in the 
words of the great Montesquieu, My object is not to make 
men read but to make them think. There are great in 
trigues against the administration here, but hitherto with 
out any effect. I have steadily combated the violence and 
excess of those persons who, either inspired with an en 
thusiastic love of freedom, or prompted by sinister designs, 
8 



114 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

are disposed to drive everything to extremity. Our 
American example has done them good, but, like all nov 
elties, Liberty runs away with their discretion, if they have 
any. They want an American constitution, with the ex 
ception of a king instead of a president, without reflect 
ing that they have not American citizens to support that 
constitution. Mankind see distant things in a false point 
of light, and judge either more or less favorably than they 
ought this is an old observation ; another as old, perhaps, 
but which all are not in the position to feel, is, that we try 
everything by the standard of preconceived notions, so that 
there is an impossibility almost of knowing by description 
a distant people or country. Whoever, therefore, desires 
to apply in the practical science of government those rules 
and forms which prevail and succeed in a foreign coun 
try, must fall into the same pedantry with our young 
scholars just fresh from an university, who would fain 
bring everything to a Roman standard. Different consti 
tutions of government are necessary to the different so 
cieties on the face of this planet. Their difference of po 
sition is in itself a powerful cause their manners, their 
habits. The scientific tailor, who should cut after Gre 
cian or Chinese models, would not have many customers 
either in London or Paris ; and those who look to Amer 
ica for their political forms are not unlike the tailors in 
the Island of Laputa, who, as Gulliver tells us, always 
take measure with a quadrant. He tells us, indeed, what 
one would naturally expect from such a process, that the 
people are seldom fitted. The King, who long since de 
clared for the people, has since been wavering. He is an 
honest man, and wishes really to do good, but he has not 
either genius or education to show the way towards that 
good which he desires. In the contest between the repre 
sentatives of the people and of the nobles, he has by those 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 115 

about him been induced to give support to the latter ; but 
he came forward too late, and not in the proper manner. 
The result is that he has retreated, and the nobles have been 
obliged to give way. . . . The noblesse, who at this day 
possess neither the force, the wealth, nor the talents of the 
nation, have rather opposed pride than argument to their 
assailants. Hugging the dear privileges of centuries long 
elapsed, they have clamored about the Court, while their 
adversaries have possessed themselves fully of the public 
confidence everywhere. Knowing and feeling the force of 
that situation, they have advanced with a boldness which, 
to those unacquainted with all the facts, has looked like 
temerity. But this hardihood has imposed those who are 
at the head of the opposition to them are not possessed of 
talents or of virtue. The chief has not even courage, 
without which you know that in revolutions there is noth 
ing. 

"The French troops, as far as can be ascertained, would 
not serve against their countrymen, and the foreign troops 
are not sufficiently numerous to make any serious impres 
sion. The people of this city are going (by that invincible 
instinct which produces in every animal the conduct pe 
culiar to his situation) in the same road which marked 
the aurora of American opposition. Three months ago the 
sight of a soldier excited awe now they speak of attacking 
whole regiments, and in effect there are not infrequently 
some scuffles with the foreign troops. Thus opinion, 
which is everything, becomes daily fortified. While I 
write I consider the sovereignty of this country as being 
effectually lodged in the hands of the Assemblee Nationale, 
for you will observe that this name is assumed instead 
of Etats-Generaux, which is tantamount to an American 
legislature resolving itself into a convention. They mean 
immediately to form a constitution, and I have no doubt 



Il6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

but that they will obtain the King s consent. The parti 
sans of the ancient establishments have contrived to have 
a very large body of troops assembled in this neighbor 
hood, but, if I conjecture rightly, those troops will soon be 
dispersed. The National Assembly have already marked 
their disapprobation, but the matter will not stop here, 
and sooner or later the King must send them away. In 
deed, I am induced to believe that this measure will cause 
the kingdom to be cleared of foreign troops, for, not be 
ing able to rely on the French regiments, they have se 
lected principally the foreigners. The probable object of 
those who are at the bottom of the business is to surprise 
some order from His Majesty s fears, which are now con 
tinually excited, so that he is constantly the sport of ap 
prehensions. But they have a more difficult and danger 
ous business than they are at all aware of. The Assembly 
have determined that all taxes shall cease, when they 
separate, except such as they continue to impose. This 
provides for as long a term of existence as they may choose 
to take, and if dispersed, France will certainly refuse to 
pay. An army will never break a general combination to 
that effect ; so that either sooner or later they must submit, 
and every show of authority now will weaken it without 
producing any other effect. Such, then, is the state of this 
country, in which I think the crisis is past, without having 
been perceived, and now a free constitution will be the 
certain result. If they have the good sense to give the 
nobles as such some share in the national authority, that 
constitution will probably endure ; but otherwise it will 
degenerate into a pure monarchy, or become a vast re 
public. A democracy can that last ? I think not I am 
sure not, unless the whole people are changed. In any 
event, however, of the business it bids fair to change the 
political face of Europe. But whither am I going?" 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1 1/ 

"Walk to-day [July 8th] in the Champs iClysees, where I 
meet Mr. Appleton and Mr. Jefferson, who tell me the 
news of Versailles. There will be on Saturday night 
25,000 men in and about Paris. Some talk of a Seance 
Royale on Monday, but this not founded. Go to M. Le 
Coulteux s. They have sad news : that the Etats-Generaux 
are to be dissolved, a bankruptcy declared, and the pay 
of the troops decreased, etc. While at dinner De Norraye 
comes in from Versailles and assures the company, from 
the mouth of M. de Montmorin, that there is to be no 
Seance Royale on Monday." 

The next day (July pth) Morris was in the hands of the 
doctor, "who says I must stay eight days longer in Paris. 
He is certain I shall soon be very well. I should more 
readily adopt this opinion if I were anywhere else than in 
so large and foul-smelling a city as Paris. As soon as I 
can get my business done I am off directly for London. 
Visit Mr. Jefferson, who shows me his letter to M. de 
Lafayette on the subject of M. Mirabeau s misinformation 
to the States-General. To my surprise, it contains nothing 
like what M. de la Norraye yesterday at dinner told the 
company it did contain, having had it at M. de Mont- 
morin s. An excellent lesson this, to be cautious of be 
lieving." A note this morning from Madame de Flahaut 
summoned Morris to her apartment during the impor 
tant and mysterious ceremony of the toilet. Here usu 
ally in attendance was the abbe, without whom the 
hour of the toilet was not complete, who told the latest 
scandal and read the latest brochures. At this hour, po 
etically called la jeunesse de la journe e, the arrangements 
of the day were made the affiche of the theatre was ex 
amined, graceful scented notes of tenderness were received 
and sent, gowns to be inspected and flowers to be sold, 
temptations in the way of laces and articles de luxe all 



Il8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

found their way into my lady s boudoir during the hour of 
the toilet. And her caprices and fascinations charmed 
the particular favorite who was admitted to the intimacy 
of this informal morning hour. There were several visit 
ors with Madame de Flahaut on this occasion, and, a pleas 
ant chat ended, Morris drove to Romainville to bid adieu 
to the Marechal de Castries and his daughter-in-law. 
" Madame Lebrun is there, the famous painter, who is as 

pleasant a companion as she is artist ; Madame de 

the friend of the Vicomte. We walk about the garden. 
The Marechal very kindly asks me to stay at his country- 
house for the re-establishment of my health. Approach 
ing the house we find Mesdames de Segur and Chastellux, 
and are presently joined by M. de Puisignieu. He assures 
me that the scarcity of corn is excessive, which he is the 
better able to judge of as his regiment of Chasseurs are 
employed in the escort of provisions and protection of 
grain now standing. Take a walk with Madame de Segur 
and converse on the situation of their public affairs, which 
she understands as well as anybody. Take leave, with 
promises to return speedily. Promise also to write to her. 
Return to town. This day has been hot. I observe that 
the potatoes which I see growing are what we consider 
the worst kind, at least if one may judge from their tops. 
I go to the club when I return to town and hear that the 
King, in answer to the address of the Etats respecting the 
troops, has told them that he had no intentions that will 
affect them, and if their apprehensions continue he will re 
move the session of the States to Soissons or Noyon and 
go himself to Compiegne. This is an artful reply. If he 
can get them far from Paris he will weaken that impulse 
which at present creates such alarm. But the evil lies 
deeper than his counsellors are aware of, and the business 
now broached must have its complete course. While at 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 119 

the club receive a message from Madame de Flahaut, who 
begs I will come to supper to tell her the news. Go. A 
partie carrte, when I arrive and make the fifth. Stay late, 
and reconduct an abbe, one of her favorites. He is hunch- 
. backed, and far from an Adonis in other respects ; it must 
therefore be a moral attachment. This day has been hot, 
but the evening is pleasant and I feel no small pleasure 
to smell the ripening grain. There are now, in and about 
this city, above a million of human creatures whose only 
resource for bread is in the vigilance and attention of 
government, whose utmost exertions, however, can but just 
keep pace with the necessity." 

Daily this great necessity grew more terrible the great 
army of the unemployed increased and clamored for bread. 
Rumor announced the approach of a large army from 
Versailles to the capital, and that the Baron de Breteuil 
had said, " If it is necessary to burn Paris, burn Paris." 
Gayety meanwhile reigned at Paris. Fetes and dinners 
enlivened the frequenters of the Palais Royal Gardens, and 
a ball in the Champs Elysees kept up the spirits of the 
fishwomen and the dwellers in the Faubourg Saint Antoine. 
Everything and everybody in Paris seemed ready for civil 
war. In the council-room Necker and his friends saw the 
king sleep his false sleep, which was a ruse of His Majesty 
to cover his embarrassment, and they shrewdly suspected 
what it meant. July i2th, Morris dined with the Mare- 
chal de Castries. " As I am going away he takes me aside 
to inform me that M. Necker is no longer in place. He 
is much affected at this intelligence, and, indeed, so am I. 
Urge him to go immediately to Versailles. He says he 
will not, that they have undoubtedly taken all their meas 
ures before this moment, and therefore he must be too 
late. I tell him he is not too late to warn the King of his 
danger, which is infinitely greater than he imagines ; that 



I2O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

his army will not fight against the nation, and that if he 
listens to violent councils the nation will undoubtedly be 
against him ; that the sword has fallen imperceptibly from 
his hands, and that the sovereignty of the nation is in 
the Assemblee Nationale. He makes no precise answer 
to this, but is very deeply affected. Call, agreeable to my 
promise, on Madame de Flahaut ; learn that the whole ad 
ministration is routed out and Necker banished. Much 
alarm here. Paris begins to be in commotion, and from 
the invalid guard of the Louvre a few of the nobility 
take a drum and beat to arms. M. de Narbonne, the friend 
of Madame de Stae l, considers a civil war as inevitable, 
and is about to join his regiment, being, as he says, in a 
conflict between the dictates of his duty and of his con 
science. I tell him that I know of no duty but that which 
conscience dictates. I presume his conscience will dic 
tate to join the strongest side. The little Abbe Bertrand, 
after sallying out in a fiacre, returns frightened because 
of a large mob in the Rue St. Honore, and presently comes 
in another abbe, who is of the parliament, and who, rejoic 
ing at the change, is confoundedly frightened at the com 
motions. I calm the fears of Madame de Flahaut, whose 
husband is mad, and in a printed list, it seems, of the furi 
ous aristocrats. Offer to conduct the abbe safely home, 
which offer Bertrand accepts of. His terror as we go along is 
truly diverting. As we approach the Rue St. Honore, his 
imagination magnifies the ordinary passengers into a vast 
mob, and I can scarcely persuade him to trust his eyes in 
stead of his fears. Having set him down, I depart for Mr. 
Jefferson s. In riding along the boulevards, all at once 
the carriages and horses and foot passengers turn about 
and pass rapidly. Presently after we meet a body of 
cavalry, with their sabres drawn and coming half speed. 
After they have passed up a little way they stop. When 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 121 

we come to the Place Louis Quinze, observe the people, to 
the number of perhaps an hundred, picking up stones, and 
on looking back find that the cavalry are returning. Stop 
at the angle to see the fray, if any. The people take post 
among the stones which lie scattered about the whole 
place, being then hewn for the bridge now building. The 
officer at the head of the party is saluted by a stone, and 
immediately turns his horse in a menacing manner to 
ward the assailant. But his adversaries are posted in ground 
where the cavalry cannot act. He pursues his route, and 
the pace is soon increased to a gallop, amid a shower of 
stones. One of the soldiers is either knocked from his 
horse or the horse falls under him. He is taken prisoner, 
and at first ill-treated. They fired several pistols, but 
without effect ; probably they were not even charged with 
ball. A party of the Swiss Guards are posted in the 
Champs Elysees with cannon. Proceed to Mr. Jefferson s. 
He tells me that M. Necker received yesterday about 
noon a letter from the King, by the hands of M. de la 
Luzerne, in which he orders him to leave the kingdom ; 
and at the same time M. de la Luzerne is desired to exact 
a promise that he will not mention the matter to anybody. 
M. Necker dines, and proposes to Madame Necker a visit 
to a female friend in the neighborhood. On the route he 
communicates the intelligence, and they go to a country- 
seat, make the needful arrangements, and depart. M. de 
Montmorin immediately resigned, and is now in Paris. 
In returning from Mr. Jefferson s I am turned off to the 
left by the vedette posted on the road to the Place Louis 
Quinze. Go to the club. A gentleman just from Versailles 
gives us an account of the new administration. The peo 
ple are employed breaking open the armorers shops, and 
presently a large body of the Gardes Francaises appear, 
with bayonets fixed, in the garden, mingled with the mob, 



122 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

some of whom are also armed. These poor fellows have 
passed the Rubicon with a witness. Success or a halter 
must now be their motto. I think the Court will again re 
cede, and if they do, all further efforts will be idle; if they 
do not, a civil war is among the events most probable. If 
the representatives of the Tiers have formed a just estimate 
of their constituents, in ten days all France will be in a 
commotion. The little affray which I have witnessed will 
probably be magnified into a bloody battle before it reaches 
the frontiers, and in that case an infinity of corps bourgeois 
will march to the relief of the capital. They had better 
gather in the harvest." 

In the beautiful garden of the Palais Royal, among the 
flowers and fountains, the news-venders and the gamblers 
in this place, which had been described by the anti-revolu 
tionists as the image of the Chimera, with the head of a 
beautiful prostitute, the tongue of a serpent, the hands 
of a harpy, with eyes throwing forth flames and a mouth 
distilling poisonous and patriotic words all of revolu 
tionary Paris had assembled this Sunday, the i2th of July. 
The news of Necker s dismissal came, and was greeted 
with a cry of rage. Camille Desmoulins, mounted on a 
table, cried, "Aux armes ! " and announced that the Court 
meditated a " St. Bartholomew of patriots." Women dis 
tributed green cockades, the favorite color of the hour, and 
at midnight the big bells of Notre Dame and of the Hotel 
de Ville rang out their alarm. That night, in Paris, none 
but children slept. At Versailles the day passed in anx 
iety ; communication with Paris was cut off, and when 
the Assembly began its sitting, the morning of the i3th, 
Versailles was still in ignorance of events at Paris. But 
they knew that the old ministry had been ordered to quit 
the Court, and that in the new one they had small confi 
dence. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 123 

The next morning Morris hears from Martin, his ser 
vant, that the Hotel de Force is broken into, and all the 
prisoners liberated. " Presently after," he continues, " a 
letter is brought in enclosing one for me from Mr. Nes- 
bitt, who is at the Temple and wishes to see me ; but my 
cocker tells me he cannot bring my carriage, having al 
ready been stopped and turned back. In effect, the little 
city of Paris is in as great a tumult as any could wish. 
They are getting arms wherever they can find any ; seize 
600 barrels of powder in a boat on the Seine ; break into 
the Monastery of St. Lazare, and find a store of grain which 
the holy brotherhood has laid in. Immediately it is put 
into carts and sent to the market, and in every cart a 
friar. The Garde-Meuble du Roi is attacked, and the arms 
are delivered up to prevent worse consequences. These, 
however, are more curious than useful. But the detail of 
the variety of this day s deeds would be endless. I dine at 
home, and after dinner go to the Louvre, having previ 
ously ornamented my hat with a green bow in honor of 
the Tiers, for this is the fashion of the day, which every 
body is obliged to comply with who means to march in 
peace. It is somewhat whimsical that this day of violence 
and tumult is the only one in which I have dared to walk 
the streets, but as no carriages are abroad but the fiacres, 
I do not hazard being crushed, and apprehend nothing 
from the populace. Madame de Flahaut is under a great 
apprehension, which I endeavor to appease. Capellis 
comes in, and when we are about to set off for the Palais 
Royal, we meet on the stairs monsieur, from Versailles, who 
tells us the news. Go to club. Sit a while chatting on 
the state of public affairs. M. de Moreton tells me that 
the present ministers are a set of rascals and tyrants, 
that he knows them perfectly well, and one of them, it 
seems, is his relation, for whom he exhibits no partiality. 



124 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

After a while Monsieur de arrives from Versailles, 

and tells us that the fashion at Court is to believe that the 
disturbances at Paris are very trifling. The National As 
sembly have advised the King to recall the former minis 
try, and to permit the Assembly to send a deputation to 
Paris to recommend the forming des corps bourgeois for 
the maintenance of order in the city. To the first, he 
replied that the executive power is his, and he will ap 
point whom he pleases to be his ministers ; and he disap 
proves the second measure. In consequence of this, the As 
sembly make some sharp resolutions, whose purport seems 
to be the devoting to public infamy the present admin 
istration, and declaring His Majesty s advisers to be guilty 
of high treason. Thus the Court and popular party are 
pitted against each other. In ten days I think it will be 
decided whether the retreat of the monarch will be imme 
diate and only ruin his counsellors, or whether it will be 
remote and his own ruin involved in that of his ministers. 
Some horses are brought into the Palais Royal. We go 
to see what they are, but cannot learn. We are told, 
however, by one of the orators that they have received a 
deputation from the two regiments quartered at St. Denis, 
offering to join the Tiers if they will come out and receive 
them ! My companions urge them by all means to go. 
But this manoeuvre must at least be deferred till to-mor 
row. The leaders here, I think, err in not bringing about 
immediately some pretty severe action between the for 
eign and national troops. The consequences would, in 
my opinion, be decisive." 

"Arms and bread!" is the cry on Tuesday, the i4th. 
The wine and bread shops have been pillaged ; now arms 
are wanted. The mob rushed to the Hotel de Ville, hear 
ing from an elector, the Abbe d Ormesson, that arms 
were stored there ; then to the Hopital des Invalides, and 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 125 

forced the garrison to give up arms. Then came the cry, 
"We want the Bastille." Nearly 80,000 men, with scarce 
ly the semblance of a leader, had been got together. A 
horde of these men, armed and desperate, filled the avenues 
leading to this fortress, prison, and tomb. Morris men 
tions being stopped twice while driving, " to see if there 
be any arms in my carriage. While I am visiting M. Le 
Coulteux a person comes to announce the taking of the 
Bastille, the Governor of which is beheaded, and the Pre- 
vot des Marchands is killed and also beheaded. They 
are carrying the heads in triumph through the city. The 
carrying of this citadel is among the most extraordinary 
things I have met with. It cost the assailants 60 men, it 
is said. The Hotel Royal des Invalides was forced this 
morning, and the cannon and small arms, etc., brought off. 
The citizens are by these means well armed, at least here 
are the materials for about 30,000 to be equipped with, 
and that is a sufficient army. I find that the information 
received last night as to the arrfae of the Assemblee 
Nationale is not correct. They have only declared that 
the last administration carry with them the regret of 
the chambers that they will persist in insisting on the 
removal of the troops, and that His Majesty s advisers, 
whatever their rank and station, are guilty of all the con 
sequences which may ensue. Yesterday it was the fashion 
at Versailles not to believe that there were any disturb 
ances at Paris. I presume that this day s transactions will 
induce a conviction that all is not perfectly quiet. From 
M. Le Coulteux s go to visit Madame de Flahaut, who is in 
much anxiety. Her husband, she tells me, is foolhardy, 
and she apprehends much for his safety. I am present at 
a family scene in which she plays her part extremely 
well, and appeals to me for my opinion on one of the 
points. I answer that in discussions of such a delicate 



126 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

nature it is a rule with me not to interfere. The question 
is whether he should leave the city. I advise him, if he 
does, to go at noonday, etc. While he is sitting with us, 
madame having on her lap an ecritoire, by way of exciting 
his curiosity I scribble some wretched lines, which he asks 
me to translate for him. Nothing is easier ; but, unluck 
ily, one of the ideas is not calculated to please. It was 
thus : 

In fever* on your lap I write, 

Expect, then, but a feeble lay ; 
And yet, in every proverb s spite, 

Tho tis in verse, believe, I pray. 

No lover I ; alas ! too old 

To raise in you a mutual flame. 
Then take a passion rather cold, 

And call it by fair friendship s name." 



She tells me that he looked rather foolish at the declara 
tion of being too old to excite a passion. I assure her my 
object was only to excite curiosity. She observes that I 
succeeded in my wishes, but that it was ridiculous in mon 
sieur to ask an explanation, because I could have given 
him the same translation if the lines had been entirely 
different." 

During the hours of fright, tumult, and horror in Paris, 
when the body of De Launay, after being kicked and 
dragged through the gutter and his head carried on a pike 
through the streets in triumph, was left lying, with many 
other victims, in the Place de Greve, the Comte d Artois 
at Versailles held high carnival in the orangery and, 
with dances, songs, feasting, and wine in abundance, en 
tertained the foreign soldiery. The morning of the i5th, 

* Morris had been ill with a chill and fever. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 

Morris says, "La Caze comes from Le Normand to tell 
me that it is impossible to do business this day, which, 
I fear, is true enough. He also tells me the King is com 
ing to town this day [July 15 th], which J do not believe a 
word of. Dress and wait long for my carriage. Receive 
a message from Madame de Flahaut. Walk to the Louvre, 
and order my carriage to follow ; later I go to Mr. Jeffer 
son s, and am stopped near the Pont Royal and obliged 
to turn into the Rue St. Honore. Stopped again at the 
Church St. Roch, and a number of foolish questions asked. 
Colonel Gardner comes to me ; is very happy to be in 
Paris at the present moment. So am I. Considers, as I 
do, the capture of the Bastille an instance of great intre 
pidity. A few paces from the church I am again stopped, 
and a vast deal of self-sufficiency in the officer brings 
on an altercation with my coachman. As everything is 
turned into this street and interruptions of the kind I ex 
perience are so frequent, the embarras is very great. I 
therefore turn back, and come to the Hotel to dine. 
While I am at dinner La Caze comes in. Fie contradicts 
his news of this morning, but says a deputy is just arrived 
from the States-General who brings an account that the 
King has retreated, etc. This I expected. We shall see. 
Go, according to promise, to Madame de Flahaut s, with 
her nephew and the Abbe Bertrand ; we proceed along 
the quay to the Tuileries, walk a little, and sit some time. 
She wants to see the deputies of the Assemblee Nationale 
come to town, owns that it is foolish, but says that all 
women have the same folly. There is much rejouissance 
in town. After placing madame at home, her nephew 
and I go to the club. I send away my carriage, and pres 
ently after receive a message from her desiring the loan 
of it. Send the servant after the coachman, but it is too 
late. His horses are put up, and he is patrolling as one of 



128 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

the garde bourgeoise. The Due d Aguillon* and Baron de 
Menouf are at the club, both of them deputies of the no 
blesse. I learn through and from them the secret history 
of the revolution of this day. Yesterday evening an ad 
dress was presented to the Assembly, to which His Maj 
esty returned an answer by no means satisfactory. The 
Queen, Comte d Artois, and Duchesse de Polignac had been 
all day tampering with two regiments, who were made al 
most drunk, and every officer was presented to the King, 
who was induced to give promises, money, etc., to these 
regiments. They shouted Vive la Reine, Vive le Comte 
d Artois, Vive la Duchesse de Polignac, and their music 
came and played under Her Majesty s windows. In the 
meantime, Marechal de Broglie was tampering in person 
with the artillery. The plan was to reduce Paris to famine, 
and to take two hundred members of the National Assem 
bly prisoners. But they found that the troops would not 
serve against their country. Of course these plans could 
not be carried into effect. They took care, however, not 
to inform the King of all the mischiefs. At two o clock 
in the morning, the Due de Liancourt went into his bed 
chamber and waking him, told him all ; told him that he 
pawned his life on the truth of his narration, and that un 
less he changed his measures speedily all was lost. The 
King took his determination. The Bishop d Autun (they 
say) was called on to prepare un discours, which he did. 
The orders were given for dispersing the troops, and at 
the meeting of the Assembly the King, accompanied by 

* Due Armand de Vignero d Aguillon was the second of the noblesse to re 
nounce his privileges in the session of August 4th, warmly supported the 
popular cause in the States-General, and later took command of one of the 
armies ; was prosecuted in 1792, but escaped by flight. 

t Jacques Francois Baron de Menou. Served in the Republican army in 
1793, in the Vendean campaign, and commanded the National Guard which 
suppressed the insurrection in the Faubourg St. Antoine. 



1789] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. J2Q 

his two brothers and the captain of the guard, came in and 
made his speech. This produced very enthusiastic emo 
tions of joy, and he was reconducted to the Chateau by 
the whole Assembly, and by all the inhabitants of Ver 
sailles. They tell me that the Baron de Besenval * is de- 
noncd by the Assemblee Nationale, which appellation the 
King recognizes in his discours ; that they will pursue the 
present ministry. I give my opinion that after what is 
passed the Comte d Artois should not be suffered to stay 
in France. In this they agree. They say that they will 
* faire le proces of the Marechal de Broglie, and probably 
of the Baron de Breteuil. Sup with them, and, the claret 
being better than any I have tasted in France, I give them 
as a toast the liberty of the French nation and of the city 
of Paris, which are drunk with very good will. Return 
home. This has been a very fine day. It is said that the 
King is to be in town at n o clock to-morrow. But for 
what ? Bon mot : The Baron de Besenval is denonce on 
account of some letters he had written which were inter 
cepted. The Due de la Rochefoucault, appointed one of 
the Assemblee Nationale by the city of Paris, meets the 
baron coming out of the King s cabinet. Eh bien, Mon 
sieur le Baron, avez-vous encore les ordres a donner pour 
Paris ? The baron takes it as a politcsse. Non, Mon 
sieur le Due, excepte qu on m envoie mavoiture. Appa- 
remment c est une voiture de poste, Monsieur le Baron. 
Another : In the procession yesterday the King and Comte 
d Artois, walking together, were much crowded. One 
of the deputies said to another, Voyez comme on presse le 
Roi et Monsieur le Comte d Artois. The other answered, 
II y a cette difference pourtant, que le Roi est presse par 
1 amour de son peuple. To which the King, not hearing 

* Baron de Besenval was tried by M. Deseze, a celebrated advocate, and 
discharged, March, 1790. 

9 



130 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

more than the last words of the conversation, replied, in 
turning round, Oui, c est juste. " 

This was the last successful day for the king. Among 
the deputies who, taking hands, made a chain around him 
even amid the cries of " Vive le Roi ! " there lurked 
suspicion. A woman in the crowd dared press by the 
Comte d Artois to the king and say to him, " Oh, my king, 
are you sincere ? Will you not change within a fortnight ? " 
"No," said the king, "I shall never change." 

On the i6th a committee was held in the king s apart 
ments, to discuss the important question whether His 
Majesty should quit Versailles with the troops, or go to 
Paris to calm the people. " The queen was for depart 
ure," Madame Campan says, but it was decided that the 
king alone should go to Paris. The king accordingly 
went to Paris on the i7th, accompanied by the Marechal 
de Beauvau, the Due de Villeroy, the Due de Villeguier, 
and the Comte d Estaing.* "The queen restrained her 
tears," says Madame Campan, "and shut herself up with 
her family in her private rooms. She scarcely expected 
that the king would return ; a deadly terror reigned 
throughout the palace, and fear was at its height." 

"This morning" [July iyth], says the diary, "my coach 
man tells me there are placards up forbidding any car 
riages to run, as the King is in town this day between ten 
and eleven. Here is another day in which nothing will be 
done. Dress immediately, and go out. Get a window, 
through the aid of Madame de Flahaut, in the Rue St. 
Honore, through which the procession is to pass. In 

* Count Charles Hector d Estaing, commandant of the National Guard at 
Versailles, was intimate at Court. Madame Campan says he us ed to dine 
with the butchers at Versailles, and nattered the people by the meanest con 
descensions. He worked hard to save the king and queen, and was himself 
guillotined in April, 1794. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 131 

squeezing through the crowd my pocket is picked of a 
handkerchief, which I value far beyond what the thief 
will get for it, and I should willingly pay him for his dex 
terity could I retrieve it. We wait from eleven till four. 
It seems that His Majesty was escorted by the militia of 
Versailles to the Point-du-Jour, where he entered the 
double file of Parisian militia which extends from thence 
to the Hotel de Ville. Our friend Lafayette, elected 
general of the militia of Paris, precedes his sovereign. 
They move slowly, amid the acclamations of, Vive la na 
tion ! Each line composed of three ranks ; consequently 
it is a body six deep extending that distance. The Assem- 
blee Nationale walk promiscuously together in the proces 
sion. The King s Horse Guards, some of the Gardes du 
Corps, and all those who attend him, have the cockades of 
the city, viz., red and blue. It is a magnificent procession 
in every respect. After it is over, go to dinner at the 
* traiteur s, and get a beefsteak and bottle of claret. A 
deputy from Bretagne comes in, whom I met yesterday at a 
table d hote at Versailles. We seat him at our little table. 
He tells me that the King yesterday sent the Assembly a 
letter of recall for M. Necker ; that the ministers have all 
resigned, except the Baron de Breteuil, who says he never 
accepted ; that the Comte d Artois, the Due and Du- 
chesse de Polignac, M. de Vaudreuil, and, in short, the whole 
Committee Polignac, have decamped last night in despair. 
I tell him that travelling may be useful to the Comte 
d Artois, and therefore it may be well that he visited for 
eign parts. We have a conversation on the commerce of 
their islands, in which I state to him what I conceive to be 
the true principle on which their system should be found 
ed. He desires a further conversation, when that matter 
shall be agitated. Tell him I am going to London. He 
desires to have my address, that he may write to me. I 



132 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. V. 

promise to let him have it. He mentions something which 
interests my friend the Comtesse de Flahaut. I tell him 
sundry truths the communication of which will be useful 
to her, and omit certain others which might prove injuri 
ous, and thus make an impression different from what he 
had received, but I fear the folly of her husband and the 
madness of his brother will ruin them both. It is impos 
sible to help those who will not help themselves. I call 
on her, and tell her what has passed in the government. 
Sit a while with her and the Abbe Bertrand, and then go 
to the club. The King this day confirmed the choice made 
by the mayor ; gave his approbation of the regiment of 
city guards. He put in his hat a large cockade of the red 
and blue ribbons, and then, and not till then, received the 
general shouts of " Vive le Roi! " This day will, I think, 
prove a useful lesson to him for the rest of his life, but he 
is so weak that unless he is kept out of bad company it is 
impossible that he should not act wrongly." 

"The weather [July i8th] is pleasant, and the town be 
gins to be a little quiet. I go to the club and take tea. 
Kersaw tells me that the Augean stable of Versailles is 
now quite clean. The Abbe Vermond, and the King s 
valet de chambre De Thierry, and the Comte d Angivill- 
iers,* of his buildings, are departed. De Thierry he dis 
missed, with many execrations. There are places in abun 
dance to bestow now, and, of course, there will be an 
abundance of intrigue to get them. In short, the whole 
conspiracy against freedom is blown up to the moon." 

* Count Charles Claude d Angiviliers, a patron of arts and sciences, a favor 
ite of Louis XVI., who made him Director of Royal Gardens, Manufactures, 
and Buildings ; died in 1810. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 133 



CHAPTER VI. 

Dinner at Madame de Flahaut s. Artists studios. Dinner with Lafay 
ette. Visit to the Bastille. The Club. Foulon s head carried through 
the streets. Making up a foreign mail. Madame de Montmorin. 
Ideas respecting a constitution for France. Asked to consult with the 
ministers. Passport for London. Journey to England. Beggars. 
Impressions of England. 

THAT jolie intrigante, Madame de Flahaut, who never 
failed to pull the strings that moved the puppets 
high in authority, had probably some scheme in her clever 
little head when she hospitably entertained her satellites 
in the persons of the Abbe Bertrand, the Due de Biron, the 
Eveque d Autun, and Mr. Morris at dinner, soon after the 
Augean stable at Versailles had been cleansed and there 
were places in abundance to bestow. "Very agreeable," 
Morris says he found this society. It would not be 
difficult to imagine the wit and abandon of the conversa 
tion ; the spirituel and delicate repartee which fell from 
the lips of the fair hostess ; the sarcastic and subtle wit, 
joined with immense tact, which characterized the Bishop 
of Autun ; the careless, daring indifference to conse 
quences which seemed to belong to that Don Juan, the 
Due de Biron ; the Abbe Bertrand, whom Morris always 
found agreeable ; and, last of the number, Morris him 
self, not very much behind the Frenchmen in wit and ap 
preciation. It is matter of regret that none of the conver 
sation found its way into the pages of the diary ; but "we 
all go," Morris says (July ipth), "after dinner, to visit a 
painter and see three pieces, in one of which the actual 



1 34 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VI. 

execution of perspective goes beyond the power of my 
imagination, particularly in the right hand of the princi 
pal figure, which stands out so completely from the can 
vas that one absolutely sees all round it, a thing scarce 
credible, but which is not the less true. The subject is 
Love escaped from his cage and leaving by his flight the 
ladies in anguish and despair. The expression does not 
come up to my ideas of the power of this art, but the 
light and shade are distributed through the piece in a most 
astonishing perfection. He (the painter) shows us a piece 
he is now about for the King, taken from the ^Eneid : 
Venus restraining the arm which is raised in the temple 
of the Vestals to shed the blood of Helen. I tell him he 
had better paint the Storm of the Bastille ; it will be a 
more fashionable picture, and that one trait will admit of 
a fine effect. It is of the garde fran$aise who, having got 
hold of the gate and unable to bring it down, cries to his 
comrades of the populace to pull by his legs. And this 
man has the force and courage to hold while a dozen of 
them pull him like a rope and bring down the gate, so 
that he actually sustains the rack. To represent him 
drawn out of joint, with his head turned round, encourag 
ing them to pull still harder, must, I think, have a fine 
effect. L Eveque d Autun agrees with me entirely in this 
sentiment. Returning, we find M. de Rouille, who, I find, 
is writing a history of the present revolution. He prom 
ises to meet me at the club and give me the news of M. 
Necker. Take the abbe home, and then go to the club. 
M. de Rouille tells me they have yet no news of M. 
Necker, but expect an express to-night, and that if he is 
not yet farther than Brussels he will be in to-morrow 
night. Recommend a subscription to collect the various 
papers found in the Bastille, and then to employ an able 
hand in writing the annals of that diabolical castle, from 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 135 

the beginning of Louis Fourteenth s reign to the present 
moment. Something of this sort will, I believe, be done. 
Give the hint also of forming the Garde Franeaise into a 
city guard, with very high pay, and keep up the corps by 
putting with it all those who, by good conduct, shall have 
merited something more than the rank of a common sol 
dier, without being qualified for that of a sergeant. They 
know not what to do at present with this corps." 

" This morning [July 2oth] I go to the Hotel de Ville. 
With much difficulty find out the Marquis de Lafayette,* 
who is exhausted by a variety of attentions. Tell him I 
will send his letters to America, and he must give me a 
passport to visit the Bastille. Agree to dine with him, on 
condition that I may bring my own wine. Return home, 
write, and at four go to the Hotel de Lafayette. Find 

there Madame and the Due de la Rochefoucault, M. , 

etc., to dine. He gives me my passport for the Bastille. 
Suggest to him my plan respecting the Garde Francaise 
which he likes. Advise him to have a completed plan for 
the militia prepared, and to submit it to the committee. 
Ask him if he can think of any steps which may be taken 
to induce the King to confer on him the government of 
the Isle of France. He tells me that he would prefer that 
of Paris simply ; that he has had the utmost power his 
heart could wish, and is grown tired of it ; that he has 
commanded absolutely an hundred thousand men ; has 
marched his sovereign about the streets as he pleased, 
prescribed the degree of applause which he should re 
ceive, and could have detained him prisoner had he 
thought proper. He wishes therefore, as soon as possi- 



* Lafayette had done most efficient work in Paris as commandant of the 
National Guard. From the i4th to the 226. of July he, at the risk of his life, 
saved seventeen persons from hanging and other violent deaths in different 
quarters of the city. 



136 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VI. 

ble, to return to private life. In this last expression he 
deceives himself or wishes to deceive me, or both, per 
haps. But in fact he is the lover of freedom from am 
bition, of which there are two kinds : one born of pride, 
the other of vanity, and his partakes most of the lat 
ter." 

"At half-past one [July 2ist] I call for Madame de Fla- 
haut, who expressed a wish to accompany me to the Bas 
tille. Capellis and the Abbe Bertrand are waiting. Pres 
ently after Madame appears, with Mademoiselle Duplessis. 
We get all together into the coach of Capellis, and go to 
the Bastille.* Some difficulty in getting through the 
guards, notwithstanding my passport. We meet in the 
architect employed in the demolition an old acquaintance 
of the abbe s, who is glad to be useful. He shows us 
everything more than I wish to see, as it stinks horribly. 
The storming of this castle was a bold enterprise. Re 
turn to the Louvre with Madame de Flahaut. Make a 
long visit, at first tete-a-tete. Give her some verses, and 
with infinite coolness tell her that I am perfectly my own 
master with respect to her ; that, having no idea of in 
spiring her with a tender passion, I have no idea either of 
subjecting myself to one ; that, besides, I am timid to a 
fault that I know it to be wrong, but cannot help it. She 
thinks it a very strange conversation, and, indeed, so it is ; 
but I am much mistaken if it does not make an impression 
much greater on reflection than at the present moment. 
Nous verrons. The Duke of Orleans is at the club to-day. 
I am as cold with respect to him as an Englishman. A 
thousand to one we are never acquainted, but, if we are, 
he must make au moins la moitie du chemin" This was Mor 
ris s first sight of the duke, for, although he had been so 

* The demolition of the Bastille was begun at once, and some of the pris 
oners were found buried among the stones. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 137 

much with the duchess her lord had never appeared. 
Possibly near her was the last place to look for him. 

"To-day [July 22d] I go to the club to meet a gentle 
man. At a table d hote we have a good dinner for three. 
Coffee, etc., included, the price of the dinner is 48 francs. 
After dinner walk a little under the arcade of the Palais 
Royal waiting for my carriage. In this period the head 
and body of M. Foulon * are introduced in triumph, the 
head on a pike, the body dragged naked on the earth. 
Afterwards, this horrible exhibition is carried through the 
different streets. His crime is to have accepted a place in 
the ministry. This mutilated form of an old man of sev 
enty is shown to Berthier, his son-in-law, the intendant of 
Paris, and afterwards he is also put to death and cut to 
pieces, the populace carrying about the mangled frag 
ments with a savage joy. Gracious God ! what a peo 
ple ! " 

With the Seance Royale on the 226. of July the crisis 
passed, and the destructive work of the revolution was 
complete. As Taine says, " It is no longer a government 
which falls that it may give way to another, it is all gov 
ernment which ceases to exist." It was well to be able to 
turn from such revolting spectacles as those which were 
presented to the public gaze in the streets of Paris, and 
forget for a moment scenes so atrocious, even if for- 
getfulness were only attained by spending the entire night 
making up a mail for America an arduous task when the 
grandfathers of the present generation sent letters across 
the sea. " I wrote all night," Morris says (July 23d), 
"and went to bed at seven this morning. Waked up at 
eight to seal my letters. Take some more sleep, and be 
tween one and two respond to a wish of Madame de Fla- 

* Foulon was conseiller d etat. His anti-popular opinions cost him his 
life. 



138 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VI 

haul s that I should go to see her, as she does not go as 
she intended to Versailles. She keeps me to dine, and 
after dinner we glide into a confidential conversation. To 
cure me of any sentiment she might inspire in me, she 
avows a marriage of the heart. I guess the person. She 
acknowledges it, and assures me that she cannot commit 
an infidelity to him. I leave her, and go to Jefferson s. 
Sit and chat and take tea." 

Of Jefferson s standing in Paris Morris wrote to Robert 
Morris (July 22d) in the following terms : " He commands 
very much respect in this country, which is merited by 
good sense and good intentions. The French, who pique 
themselves on possessing the graces, very readily excuse 
in others the want of them, and to be an Granger (like 
charity) covers a multitude of sins. On the whole, there 
fore, I incline to think that an American minister at this 
Court gains more than he loses by preserving his original 
ity. Mr. Jefferson lives well, keeps a good table and ex 
cellent wines, which he distributes freely." 

On the eve of a journey to England, then a formidable 
undertaking, Morris mentions going out to Versailles to 
say good-by to his friends there among them, Madame 
de Montmorin. " I desire to be favored with her com 
mands for London," he says. " To my compliments on 
the Count being restored to his place, she replies that she 
wishes to be a good way off, that she is shocked at the 
scenes acting in Paris." The terrible catastrophe which 
later overtook her and her family cast its shadow before 
it and over her very early in the Revolution. M. de Mont 
morin perished in the September massacres. She and one 
son died on the scaffold. One daughter died in prison, 
and Madame de Beaumont died of grief. "After dining 
with the Montmorins," Morris continues, " among other 
things I speak to monsieur of M. de Moustier. Tell him 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 139 

confidentially that he is not agreeable to the people of 
America, and that he must send us such a man as the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne. He tells me in confidence the 
person he intends to send over, but makes me promise 
not to mention it to anybody. Visit at De la Luzerne s. 
He reproves me for not dining with him. I find he is 
taking a great deal of pains to show that he is well with M. 
Necker, which proves beyond all things to me the prepon 
derance which Necker will have in the council. I presume 
the place of Garde des Sceaux is kept vacant until his 
pleasure shall be known." Later in the evening, "visit 
Madame de Tesse. She is deeply engaged in a political 
discussion. I find that the high democrats begin to cool 
a little, and I think that by degrees they will feel, though 
they would not understand reason." 

Morris had been requested by a member of the States- 
General to " throw together some thoughts respecting 
the constitution of this country. I am occupied all Sat 
urday morning [July 24th], in this work. While I am 
about it, Dr. McDonald comes in. I read to him what I 
have written, and see him forcibly struck with the thoughts 
and with the manner. This serves as an evidence to me 
that there is some weight and truth in my observations." 

The following evening (July 25th) he dined with Mr. 
Jefferson, who gave him several letters of introduction for 
use in London, and a passport. Sunday morning (July 
26th), he received a note "from Madame de Flahaut, who 
has something to communicate. Visit her at one. She 
desires to know whether I will go to Versailles to confer 
with the committee who are to report a constitution. She 
is charged by one of them to make this request. I reply 
that if it will not delay my departure for London I shall 
consult, conceiving it my duty to render any service I 
can to this country. I explain to her the paper written 



140 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VI. 

yesterday, that she may translate it afterwards. Have a 
little chit-chat, and dine with her partie carree, and after 
wards drive and walk in the Bois de Boulogne. Received 
while I was dressing a note from Madame de Chastellux, 
desiring me to interest Lafayette in favor of a protege of her 
late husband, who wants to be placed in the Regiment Natio 
nal. At five go by appointment to Madame de Flahaut s. 
She is at her toilette. Monsieur comes in. She dresses 
before us with perfect decency, even to her shift. Mon 
sieur leaves us to make a long visit, and we are to occupy 
ourselves in making a translation." 

" See Lafayette to-day [July 28th], to ask a commission 
for the protege of Madame de Chastellux, and I desire 
him to give the King some consolation which may make 
him easy, as it is of the last importance to France. I 
cannot tell him my reasons, because they are founded 
on a secret intrusted to me, but I am most serious. As 
we cannot have conversation now, he desires me to dine 
with him. Return home and set about the translation of 
what I wrote yesterday afternoon. Interrupted by visit 
ors. As soon as completed, go to Madame de Flahaut s. 
Monsieur not gone, as was intended, to Versailles. This 
is unfortunate. He comes in and chats a while, but it is 
clear that he means to give us the pleasure of his com 
pany, that we may not have the pleasure of his absence. 
This is very absurd. People who wish to please should 
never be troublesome. Go to Madame de Fouquet s. A 
lively conversation ; pressed to stay to dinner. Cannot. 
Promise on my return to visit her immediately. Make 
various visits, and go to M. de Lafayette s and dine. After 
dinner mention again M. Martin s affair, and he prom 
ises to do all in his power. Urge again the taking meas 
ures to put the King at ease (note Madame de Flahaut 
gave me yesterday the communication), upon which he is 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 141 

desirous of knowing my reasons. I tell him that they arise 
from a secret communication, therefore cannot go farther. 
Propose an association to protect the Prince, and to de 
clare those who may insult him enemies, both public and 
private. Propose a plan to get rid of the difficulty of the 
Assemblee Nationale, which is bound not to tax till the 
constitution is completed, and which is pressed in conse 
quence for time. Then urge strongly the danger of a con 
stitution too democratical, and leave him. Go to Madame 
de Segur s ; take leave, with an engagement to correspond 
together ; thence to Madame de Flahaut s. Monsieur is 
there, and Vicq d Azyr, the Queen s head physician. The 
latter goes away presently. The former is called down, 
and she communicates a request for my thoughts on the 
subject of education for the French. Monsieur enters 
again is obliged to go abroad. This is right. Take sup 
per with Madame de Flahaut. Some conversation with 
her and Monsieur, who returns, which is on the interest 
ing subject of their public affairs. He seems well pleased 
with me, which is uncommon. Make arrangements for a 
correspondence with Madame." 

All preparations for the journey to London were fi 
nally completed except the passport to obtain which 
required a visit to Lafayette at the Hotel de Ville. "I 
do this," Morris says, "on the principle that if I do not 
take care of my own business, I cannot expect anyone 
else to do it for me. Mankind are in the constant prac 
tice of believing in the attention of others, and of neglect 
ing those who believe in them. // faut fare juste. I find 
that I was right. At the Hotel de Ville there are a world 
of difficulties, but they are at length all surmounted. 
From thence I go to take leave of Madame de Flahaut, 
and thence to Madame de Corney ; a number of gentle re 
proaches for neglecting her, which I had well merited." 



142 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VI. 

The next day, with post books and maps, Morris started 
on his journey. Outside of Paris many convoys of wheat 
and flour going to Paris, escorted by troops, and large 
droves of cattle and pigs, which he mentions as being 
" the worst formed animals I ever saw ; long, narrow, and 
meagre, they seem more fitted for the race than the table," 
had possession of most of the road. The weather was fine, 
and " the mind and eye," he says, "are delighted by the 
exuberance of the approaching harvest." At the entrance 
to Dieppe a number of questions were asked, owing 
to the fact of a number of refugees having lately passed 
into England. While waiting for a calm sea and a favor 
ing wind to take him to the shores of England, Morris 
availed himself of the opportunity of a vessel sailing di 
rect to New York, to write to Washington an account of re 
cent events at Paris. He told him as private news that 
"the Comte de Moustier has his conge and Colonel 
Ternant will be his successor as charge d affaires, and 
possibly as minister later. The important trait in this ap 
pointment is that he is named as a person who will be 
agreeable to us. You may rely on what I am about to 
mention, but which I pray you not to disclose. It is 
known to very few in this country, and may perhaps (as it 
ought) be buried in oblivion. The King has actually 
formed the design of going off to Spain. Whether the 
measures set on foot to dissuade him will have, as I hope, 
the desired effect, time only can discover. His fears govern 
him absolutely, and they have of late been most strongly 
excited. He is a well-meaning man, but extremely weak, 
and probably these circumstances will in every event se 
cure him from personal injury. An able man would not 
have fallen into his situation, but I think that no ability can 
now extricate him. He must float along on the current of 
events, being absolutely a cypher. If, however, he should 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 143 

fly, it will not be easy to predict the consequences, for 
this country is at present as near to anarchy as society 
can approach without dissolution. There are some able 
men in the National Assembly, yet the best heads among 
them would not be injured by experience, and unfortu 
nately there are a good number who, with much imagina 
tion, have little knowledge, judgment, or reflection. You 
may consider the revolution as complete ; that is to say, the 
authority of the King and of the nobility is completely 
subdued, but yet I tremble for the constitution. They 
have all that romantic spirit, and all those romantic ideas 
of government which, happily for America, we were cured 
of before it was too late. They are advancing rapidly. I 
pass over those facts which you cannot but know, to men 
tion in one word that the whole army of France have de 
clared for liberty, and that one reason why His Majesty has 
not taken the step above mentioned is that he does not 
know a single regiment that would obey him." 

The usual vicissitudes of weather and the usual discom 
forts of the Channel awaited Morris when he started for 
England on the ist of August, and it was not until the 3d 
that he finally landed at Brighthelmstone. Three miles 
from shore the vessel was met by a small boat, and the 
passengers were landed on the beach, and "got on shore 
dry, a thing which does not always happen," he says. 
Lodgings were difficult to find owing to the races, and 
the traveller did not linger longer than to notice that the 
"cleanliness of the place forms a reverse of the place I 
quitted yesterday, although that is the cleanest town, 
except Versailles, I have seen in France." After many 
detentions and failures to provide post-horses, the races 
at Lewes being the absorbing interest of the moment, 
Morris at length started for London. " In descending a 
hill," he says, "we arrive at a seat of Lord Abergavenny. 



144 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VI. 

The old castle, which was once, I suppose, the residence 
of the feudal tyrant of this soil, becomes now simply an 
object of ornament to the grounds. The house is neat, 
and the clumps of trees which are strewed upon the wav 
ing ground of vivid green derive an additional beauty by 
contrast. At Croydon they are holding the sessions, so 
that we have great difficulty to get anything. In the last 
ten miles I see some fine forest-trees, but not before. 
Those which had met my view were small and low, so that 
I actually, in one instance, took the forest for a large 
orchard till I came very near. I have as yet seen no land 
in Europe equal to our best soil in America, and very lit 
tle as good as our second quality. All the difference of 
product arises from culture. With perpetual rains they 
have but little water, and, to my great surprise, in this hilly 
country, I have found no springs or rivulets." 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, 145 



CHAPTER VII. 

London. The Haymarket Theatre. The Marquis de la Luzerne. Trum- 
bull. The refugees. Lady Dunmore. The Cosways. Hon. Mrs. 
Darner. Society duties. Strictures on society. Sail on the Thames. 
Downe Place. Returns to Paris. Critical state of affairs. Madame 
de Tesse. Lafayette. Public opinion sets against the National As 
sembly. Finances. Scarcity of bread. The Flanders Regiment* 
Social life. Prepares a memorandum on subsistence. The queen. 
Madame de Flahaut. The banners blessed. The opera. Resistance 
to authority among the bakers. Versailles. Question on the finances. 
Mirabeau speaks in the Assembly. Meets Madame de Stael. 
Conversation with Madame de Flahaut. Asked to furnish flour for 
Paris. 

AS the traveller neared London, the absence of " those 
fine trees which give," he says, " an air of mag 
nificence to the approaches to Paris " surprised him. 
" The last stage brings me to the Adelphi Hotel, and 
early next morning Mr. Parker comes to breakfast. He 
is to get me good lodgings and a chariot, and will send 
out his servant for these purposes while I dress. He has 
found lodgings, according to Mr. Parker s directions, in 
the same street with him. Cela s entend. Do not observe 
it, even by a look. The dealer in carriages enters, and we 
agree for a carriage and horses, which will cost me four 
guineas a week, besides a shilling a day for board wages 
for the coachman. This is pretty well. Go to look at the 
lodgings. They are very indifferent, at two guineas per 
week. Go from thence to Frome s Hotel, Covent garden, 
where I take rooms at six shillings per day, and one shil 
ling for my servant. This is dear ; however, it will do till 

10 



146 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

I can get in a better position. After dinner Mr. Parker 
goes with me to the Haymarket Theatre. This, it seems, 
is a benefit night. The pieces and performers, one only 
excepted, are alike wretched. From the applause lavished 
by the audience I am led to question their taste, or give 
entirely up my own. In the box adjoining to us is Lady 
Dunmore and family. With the aid of rouge she looks as 
well, I think, as when I saw her in America, near twenty 
years ago, and then she was pretty well advanced, and 
rather to be admired for grace than beauty." 

A visit to the Marquis de la Luzerne, * the French am 
bassador, was among his first duties. " His reception," 
Morris says, " is perfectly good." The next visit was one of 
business, to Mr. Bourdieu. " I talk to him about a loan. 
He tells me that nothing of that kind can be done in the city; 
that perhaps I may meet with people at the west end of 
the town who are better disposed, but that the name of 
America terrifies the mercantile part of the community. 
I receive some letters here, but none from Holland, so that 
I cannot go to work for relief of Robert Morris s affairs. 
Madame de Flahaut, in a letter, gives me an account of 
poor Besenval s capture and detention." 

Next day (August jth) he goes to see R. Penn, who re 
ceives him quite en famille. " He tells me the state of the 
family claims and his own, and desires me to consider 
myself at home at his house. Call on Sir John Sinclair f 
at Whitehall. He is out of town. Later go to dine with 
the Marquis de la Luzerne ; several of the Corps Diploma 
tique. The Marquis de la Luzerne informs me of the or- 

* Anne Cesar, Chevalier de la Luzerne, ambassador to London in 1788. 
He had been sent in 1779 to the United States as minister, and, without in 
structions from his government, performed the responsible duties of the posi 
tion with credit. He died at London in 1791. 

t Sir John Sinclair originated the Board of Agriculture, and wrote many 
valuable books, essays on agriculture, etc. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 147 

ganization of their ministry : M. de la Tour du Pin, Min 
ister of War ; 1 Archeveque of Bordeaux, Garde des 
Sceaux, which Malesherbes refused. I am sorry for this 
refusal Tell the Marquis that I understood the Bishop 
of Autun was thought of for it. He says that he has not 
the right kind of head for this office. Thence I conclude 
that he is rather visionary in his ideas, and perhaps he is, 
for that is the common misfortune of men of genius who 
do not sufficiently mix in the affairs of the world." 

"To-day [August 8thJ I call on Mr. Trumbull the painter. 
He shows me a small piece he has copied from his original 
Sortie of Gibraltar, which I think very fine. Return home 
and dine on a composition called turtle-soup, with which 
I drink a composition called claret. The latter is prefer 
able to the former." To the refugees who were always 
to be found in considerable numbers in the drawing-rooms 
of the Marquis de la Luzerne, Morris tried to admin 
ister a little comfort. He says of them : " The refugees 
talk a little refugee, which is natural. I tell them that all 
the little commotions burning castles, etc. though pain 
ful and distressing, are but specks in the great business, 
and will if they get a good constitution be soon forgotten. 
M. de Fitzjames inquires of me the news from Paris, 
but I find that we left it about the same time. I did not 
recollect him, but it seems that we had met at club. The 
Marquis de la Luzerne takes me aside, and we converse a 
little on their politics. I think his object is merely to show 
an attention before his company which may be useful to 
me. In going in to dinner M. Gate, the Lieutenant de 
Police, takes hold of me, and says he will not be parted. 
Seats himself next me, and at dinner tells me his story. 
All this requires polite attention on my part, which is paid. 
Dine on a very fine trout, or rather a part of one, which I 
think must have weighed about eight pounds. Observe 



148 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

that I am somewhat a favorite with Madame la Vicomtesse. 
This must be kept up, et pour cause. Inquiries are made, 
I find, by Lady Dunmore and her daughter about the 
jambe de bois. Lady Dunmore makes acquaintance after 
dinner ; asks the opinion of my countrymen about his lord 
ship ; I tell her candidly. We have a conversation which 
she is pleased with, and to my surprise, and I dare say her 
own, we are on terms of great familiarity. La Luzerne 
and Capellis, I find, remark on it, so that I am obliged to 
join them and stop the laugh. The French tell him a 
world of wonders and confusions, upon which I take him 
aside and tell him to believe nothing of what they say ; 
that it is refugee news, and he knows well what sort of 
thing that is. The Princesse Galitzen, who shares in the 
conversation with Lady Dunmore, is, I find, like others to 
tally mistaken with respect to the troubles in France. They 
all supposed, as was supposed in the American Revolution, 
that there are certain leaders who occasion everything, 
whereas in both instances it is the great mass of the peo 
ple. At going away her ladyship thanks me for answer 
ing her questions." 

Among other letters, Morris had one to Mrs. Cosway, 
the wife of the distinguished miniature-painter. By ap 
pointment, one evening was spent in her drawing-rooms, 
where were a "very genteel company," he says, " the 
Dowager Duchess of Bedford among them. Music very 
good. The arrangement of the company, however, is 
stiff and formal. There must be in this, as in other coun 
tries, the ways of bringing people together, even to in 
timacy, but it appears at the first aspect to be rather 
difficult. We shall see. I observe to the Hon. Mrs. Da 
rner * that the French, having no liberty in their govern- 

* Anne Seymour Darner, the sculptress, was born in 1748, and was the only 
child of Field Marshal Conway. Her family connections were of the very 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 149 

ment, have compensated to themselves that misfortune 
by bestowing a great deal upon society ; but that I fear 
in England it is confined to the House of Commons. She 
seems to suppose the latter part of this observation ironi 
cal, and tells me, with an animated smile, that we enjoy 
liberty in my country. This lady is a great statuary, and 
is doing the King. Quaere, if she copies after nature, for 
she does it as large as life. Her taste is justly considered 
as extraordinary, but I doubt whether she is the single 
instance within these three kingdoms of a fair one who 
keeps at home a block to work upon. Visit at the assem- 
blee of Madame de la Luzerne. The Duke and Duchess 
of Luxemburg are there, and the Duke and Duchess of 
Leeds. After some time the Duke of Leeds makes up 
and inquires of Mr. Adams. A light conversation ensues. 
After the Duke and Duchess of Leeds retire, Lady Dun- 
more, whom I had seen at Mrs. Cosway s, comes in. A 
little sociable chat in the small circle until late." 

Together with his very important and difficult business 
affairs, Morris found that his rapidly increasing society 

best blood in England, and her birth and beauty entitled her to a life of ease 
and luxury, but she early developed a taste for art and studies, which taste 
her cousin, Horace Walpole, took great pleasure in directing. David Hume 
seems to have given her the first impulse toward the art of sculpture when, 
on one occasion, while walking together, they met a vender of plaster casts. 
Hume stopped to speak to the lad, looked at his wares, and gave him a shil 
ling. The lively Miss Conway laughed at him for wasting time on such pal 
try images ; whereupon the historian gently reproved her, telling her not to 
be so severe, that it had required both science and genius to make even such 
poor imitations, and, he continued, "with all your attainments you cannot 
produce such works." After this conversation she set herself to model in 
wax, and finally to cut the marble. Mrs. Damer was one of the trio of beau 
tiful women who canvassed London during the bitterly contested election of 
Charles James Fox for Westminster. On the death of Horace Walpole Mrs. 
Damer found herself the possessor of his Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill, and 
here, amid the splendid confusion of things valuable and otherwise, and sur 
rounded by her chosen companions, Mrs. Berry, Mrs Garrick, Mrs. Siddons, 
and, last but not least, Joanna Baillie, she passed the last years of her life. 
She died in her eightieth year, after an eventful and interesting career. 



I 50 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

duties kept him more than agreeably occupied. " From 
the necessity of being my own clerk," as he wrote to 
Robert Morris, August 26th, "and the interruptions to 
which I am constantly exposed, you will easily perceive 
that my moments are few and precious. Indeed, in the 
way I now live, I might pass five years in London and yet 
know but little more of it than when I left Philadelphia." 
He regretted much that he had been able to make so 
little progress in Mr. Robert Morris s affairs. " But I 
have had," he wrote, " the wind ahead of me ever since I 
left the Capes of Delaware. It will be favorable by and 
bye." 

The London " rout " was evidently not in accord with 
Morris s taste, and he expresses an ever-fresh astonish 
ment at the stiffness of the drawing-rooms and the la 
dies. " I go to-night to Mrs. Cosway s," he says. " She is 
vastly pleasant, but her ladies are all ranged in battalia 
on the opposite side of the room. Discuss a little with 
her .the froideur anglaise, and, while she is in conversation 
with them, throw the pith of that discussion into these 
stanzas, which I leave with her, being a kind of address 
to the ladies. 

By nature s various beauty blest, 

Ah ! why your wealth conceal, 
And why, in cold indifference drest, 

Her blessings not reveal? 

Vast treasures in a heart confined 

No pleasures can impart ; 
And so the treasures of the mind, 

And feelings of the heart. 

Your conversation, like your coin, 

Is gold, but yet tis strange 
How oft, when social circles join, 

You want a little change. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. I5l 

Observe that she is about to communicate this for their 
edification, and therefore take Capellis off with me." 

Notwithstanding the multiplicity of his engagements, 
Morris found time to see a few of the sights of London. 
He speaks of taking a wherry at Westminster Bridge and 
going down the Thames. " The Bridge of Blackfriars is 
crumbling to pieces, and London Bridge does not seem 
formed in a manner to last forever. The famous building 
of Somerset House, which I had heard vaunted highly, 
seems to be built in a paltry style, and the front of stone 
accords but illy with the sides of brick. The shipping are 
the really curious object here. These give to the reflect 
ing mind a high idea of the commerce and wealth of this 
great city. Having gone down to the farthest of those 
which can properly be said to lie in the port of London, 
we ascend the river again to the Tower stairs, where my 
carriage is waiting. The wherries of this river are admi 
rably calculated for stemming rapid currents." 

A visit to Downe Place, the country-seat of John B. 
Church,* Member of Parliament from Wendover, proved 
most interesting. One day (September 6th) was delight 
fully employed visiting Herschel. " He receives us," 
Morris says, " in a manner which is, I think, peculiar to 
men of his kind of greatness : simplicity, modesty, mild 
ness. He shows and explains his great telescope ; a 



* John B. Church had been Commissary-General under Lafayette in Amer 
ica during the Revolution ; an Englishman of very high social position and 
great wealth, he made himself prominent as a citizen of New York, and while 
there married Miss Angelica Schuyler, a member of a family who warmly es 
poused the cause of America. On his return to England Mr. Church found 
himself out of favor with the Tories, but thoroughly independent in politics as 
in purse, he soon found friends among the Pitt and Fox party, and was elected 
to Parliament from Wendover. Mr. Church s house in London, was the 
frequent resort of Pitt, Fox, and Burke. Talleyrand sought refuge under 
his roof, and through Church s exertions, when ordered by government to 
leave London in twenty-four hours Talleyrand was enabled to flee to America. 



152 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

speculum now polishing for it weighs 1,400 Ibs. that 
in present use, 2,500. The polishing at present is per 
formed by a machine, but formerly it was done by hand, 
and twenty-two men were engaged in that work twenty 
weeks. The concavity of this speculum is about two- 
tenths of an inch, the diameter about three feet, I think. 
The substance is a composition of metals. From thence 
we go to Windsor Castle," the view from which especially 
impressed him. 

Arrived in town on the 8th, Mr. Parker communicated 
intelligence which, Morris says, "affects deeply our plan 
about the purchase of the American debt to France. I 
must in consequence set off immediately for Paris." For 
this M. de la Luzerne provided him with a passport, and 
Mrs. Penn gave him a guinea to buy rouge for her, and 
on Wednesday, the pth, he left London. This return 
journey was made by the way of Canterbury and Dover, 
at which place he arrived on the loth, and hired a cutter 
to take him across the channel. "After much higgling," 
he says, "by the boatman over the price, and having got 
outside the harbor, find that there is as little of cleanliness 
as of morality on board. At eight o clock, being much fa 
tigued, I go below and lie down on a blanket spread on 
the cabin floor. The bed is hard but wholesome. The 
vermin, however, have not yet supped and I must furnish 
them entertainment. The hope of slumber is, from this 
and other circumstances, soon over." By two o clock in 
the morning, however, he was safely on shore "at a clean 
house and between clean sheets without the walls of Cal 
ais." While he is preparing to depart thence on the mor 
row, " a friar comes in to beg, with an air that shows his 
conviction how improper a thing it is to lay me under that 
kind of contribution. I tell him it is a bad trade which 
he follows, and that I understand the National Assembly 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. I S3 

are about to reform such institutions. He has heard so, 
but as this is the only mode they have to get a living they 
must continue at it as long as possible. I give a shilling, 
and in return for the usual routine of good wishes, (which 
he runs over with the same easy air which distinguished 
my friend Dr. Cooper, of King s College, in reading the 
Litany) I wish him a better business. This wish is more 
sincere than his, by a shilling at least. At eleven leave 
Calais, duly provided with a passport from the new gov 
ernment. Cross the Oyse. Near Clermont, on its banks, 
is the chateau of the Due de Liancourt, to whose inter 
position is attributed the timely retreat of poor Louis 
Seize upon the taking of the Bastille. 

" Being obliged to stop at Chantilly to repair the linch 
pin of the carriage, I examine the stables ; a magnificent 
habitation, indeed, for twenty dozen horses, who have the 
honor to dine and sup at the expense of Monseigneur le 
Prince de Conde. From thence I take a view of the chateau 
on the outside, but have not time for examination. It must 
have been strong before the invention of cannon. At pres 
ent the wide, deep fosse which surrounds it, and which is 
well supplied with good water, furnishes an agreeable 
habitation to a variety of carp, white-spotted, etc., who 
come at a call and eat the bread thrown to them. My 
conductor is a politician, but he is not of the fashionable 
sect. He is a chasseur of the Prince and finds it very 
wrong * que tout le monde ait le droit de chasser. On 
the way I observe a very uncommon mode of hunting par 
tridges. The chasseurs, armed with clubs, are spread every 
where over the fields. When a bird lights, it is pursued 
until it is so fatigued it falls a victim to pursuers. Mar 
tin thinks it is a sin and a shame, but while he utters his 
lamentations the postilion turns round to me : C est un 
beau privilege que les Francais se sont acquis, monsieur. 



154 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

* Oui, monsieur, mais il me parait que ce privilege ne 
vaudra pas autant 1 annee prochaine. " 

"On Tuesday [September i3th], about seven, I arrive at 
the Hotel de Richelieu, at Paris. Dress and go to the club. 
I learn that the Assemblee Nationale have agreed to a single 
chamber of legislation, and a suspensive veto in the King. 
This is travelling in the high-road to anarchy, and that 
worst of all tyrannies, the despotism of a faction in a popu 
lar assembly. I am led into a little discussion on this 
subject, and stay to supper, after which taste some Hun 
garian wine presented by a Polish colonel, whose name 
ends with whisky, but his liquor is delicious. By one 
means or another seven bottles are consumed, and two 
more being ordered, I rise and declare that I will drink no 
more, which puts an end to the business. The Duke of 
Orleans comes in during this match, and from some little 
circumstances I perceive that I may be well acquainted 
with his Royal Highness if I please." 

"Writing to-day [September i6th] till noon. Then call 
on Mr. Jefferson. He engages me to dine to-morrow in 
company with the Marquis de Lafayette and the Due de la 
Rochefoucault. I then start for Versailles, and call on 
Madame de Tot. She is at her toilette but visible. Some 
conversation on their affairs, by which I find that opinions 
change. Return to M. de Montmorin s to dine. Madame 
is much afflicted by the state of affairs. Madame de Segur 
comes in with her brothers. She is in great anxiety ; ap 
prehends that the King will fly. I tell her that his flight 
appears impracticable. She thinks it will set Paris in a 
flame. There is no conjecturing the consequences. A 
prince so weak can influence very little either by his pres 
ence or absence. After dinner we have a conversation on 
politics with some of the deputies, in which P endeavor to 
show them the absurdity of their suspensive veto, and the 




1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 



probable tyranny of their single chamber. I had better 
let this alone, but zeal always gets the better of prudence. 
M. de Montmorin expresses a wish to see me often, which 
I promise, but think it will not be possible to perform this 
time." 

Calling on Madame de Montvoissieu, he found her 
" very indignee" and adds that " she, as well as Madame de 
Segur, wishes to be in America." Thence he went to see 
Madame de Tesse. " She is a convert to my principles. 
We have a gay conversation of some minutes on their af 
fairs, in which I mingle sound maxims of government with 
that piquant legerete which this nation delights in. I am 
fortunate, and at going away she follows me and insists 
that I dine with her next time I come to Versailles. We are 
vastly gracious, and all at once, in a serious tone, Mais 
attendez, madame, est-ce que je suis trop aristocrate ? 
She answers, with a smile of gentle humiliation, Ah, mon 
Dieu, non. From thence I regain my carriage, to go to 
the Assemblee Nationale to find De Cantaleu. While wait 
ing there -I see, among others, young Montmorency, who 
takes me round and procures admittance to the gallery. 
Chance places me next to Madame Dumolley and Madame 
de Cantaleu. We recognize each other suddenly, with a 
very pleasant surprise. Madame Dumolley asks me the 
question which I have already been obliged to answer a 
hundred times: Et que disent les Anglais de nous au- 
tres? With a significant tone, Ah, madame, c est qu ils 
raisonnent, ces messieurs-la!" 

" Dine to-day [September iyth], according to my prom 
ise, with Mr. Jefferson. One of his guests, the Due de la 
Rochefoucault, is just come from the States-General, and 
at half-past four Lafayette arrives. He tells us that some 
of the troops under his command were about to march to 
morrow to Versailles to urge the decisions of the States- 



156 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

General. This is a rare situation, for which they must 
thank themselves. I ask him if his troops will obey him. 
He says they will not mount guard when it rains, but he 
thinks they will readily follow him into action. I incline 
to think that he will have an opportunity of making the 
experiment. Mention to him my desire to confer on the 
subject of subsistence. He says I must come and dine 
with him ; but this is idle, if I am rightly informed, because 
he generally has a crowd and is but few minutes at home. 
After dinner go to the club. The opinions are changing 
fast, and in a very little time, if the Assemblee Nationale 
continue their present career, a majority of this nation 
will, I think, be opposed to them. Their adherents, how 
ever, are zealous, and if a civil war does not take place it 
must be from some circumstance which escapes my con 
jecture. There is, indeed, one thing which promises peace ; 
viz., that from the King s feebleness of character nobody 
can trust themselves to him or risk themselves in support 
of his authority. But if he escapes from Versailles and 
falls into different hands from those now about him there 
must be a struggle. A slight circumstance will show how 
well the present rulers are fitted to conduct the affairs of 
this kingdom. Lafayette is very anxious about the scarc 
ity of bread, and holds out that circumstance for conversa 
tion and discussion. The Due de la Rochefoucault there 
upon tells us of some one who has written an excellent 
book upon the commerce of grain."* 

It would be unnecessary to enlarge here upon the unique, 
and at the same time pathetic, impulse of the nobles in the 
Assembly at Versailles on the night of the 4th of August. 
It seemed a sudden awakening to a sense of love and jus 
tice, and a devastating battle ensued between self-interest, 
the traditions of years, and the great inspiration which, 

* The Abbe Galiani, who wrote the Dialogues sur le Commerce des Bles. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1 57 

born in that moment, threw a lurid light upon the rotten 
ness of the feudal system and the pressing needs of the 
people. The decrees and regulations which followed the 
resolutions of that night are matters of history. Taine 
says they were but so many spiders webs stretched across 
a torrent. There was excitement and joy in the ranks of 
the mob, but deep depression and gloom followed the al 
most hysterical generosity and self-abnegating spirit of the 
nobles during that memorable night. Louis XVI. ap 
peared to receive with gratitude the title of Restorer of 
French Liberty, which after much wrangling was offered 
to him en masse by the Assembly, on the i3th of August. 
They chanted a Te Deum and struck off a medal, but the 
homage offered reduced to nothing the kingly power. 

To-night [September iSth] at the club, where I take 
supper, the king s letter to the Assembly on the subject of 
the resolutions of the nobles on the famous Fourth of 
August is introduced. It is very moderate and, like the 
rest of M. Necker s writings, too long and flowery, but it 
will excite much sensation, I believe. It holds out the 
idea of retreating if pushed hard, which is a sort of invita 
tion to the aggressor. But one thing that perhaps the 
ministers are not aware of is, that from this moment the 
King will derive force from every instance of disrespect 
which is shown to him. Nothing can save the National 
Assembly but modesty and humility, their share of which 
is not too abundant. The current of opinion begins to 
set strong against the Assemblee Nationale. Many who 
looked on with anxious silence six weeks ago now speak 
out, and loudly." 

Again, at this time, Morris pressed on Lafayette the 
question of subsistence for the army. But he was slow 
to make arrangements, and complaints came to Morris of 
failures on Lafayette s part to keep promises. He says of 



158 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

him : " I have known my friend Lafayette now for many 
years, andean estimate at the just value both his words and 
his actions. If the clouds which now lower should be 
dissipated without a storm, he will be infinitely indebted 
to fortune ; but if it happen otherwise, the world must 
pardon much on the score of intention. He means ill to 
no one, but he has the besoin debriller. He is very much 
below the business he has undertaken, and if the sea runs 
high he will be unable to hold the helm." 

Necker had declared in August that the treasury was 
empty. The Due d Aiguillon showed among the expenses 
of the State, the debts of the Count d Artois alone, which 
amounted to one hundred and twenty thousand francs : the 
items gardens, horses, dogs, and mistresses. The August 
and September receipts were thirty-seven, and the expen 
ditures seventy millions. The finances were at the mo 
ment the all-absorbing topic of conversation. "At the 
club to-day [September 2oth] they are in violent discus 
sion about the finances, which seem to be going fast to 
the devil. Opinions are changing fast, and in about fif 
teen days we shall hear somewhat of the sentiment the 
provinces entertain of their present rulers." 

These last days of September were full of terror. There 
was no money, and there was no bread. At Versailles the 
king, and those in authority under him, struggled feebly 
to meet the emergency, with what success the horrors of 
the 5th of October give a melancholy proof. At Paris 
the mob struggled against hunger and misery, and died in 
the struggle. In the midst of their trouble they were told 
that the king, whom they looked on as their only friend, 
was to be taken to Metz. Simultaneously the streets filled 
with foreign uniforms. Green trimmed with red, and black 
cockades were seen. Enemies seemed to encompass Paris. 
There was movement and excitement everywhere ; a cer- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 159 

tain ominous agitation as of impending peril. Since the 
i5th of September some members of the Assembly had 
known, through warning letters, that the 5th of October 
was fixed for a decisive blow. On the i8th came the news 
of the inarch of the Garde Francaise to Versailles ; on 
the 23d the Flanders Regiment arrived. Meanwhile the 
other life of Paris went on. The gayety seemed to grow 
more giddy and reckless, as if impelled by some unseen 
force to its destruction. "Indeed," Morris says, "pleas 
ure is the great business ; everybody has his country-seat, 
and comes to town to do business once in three or four 
days, and then works not to finish but to get rid of work, 
that he may again go out of town, making business deal 
ings with them extremely uncertain." People dined and 
drank plentifully, and went to the theatre or opera, to 
forget all care. Morris mentions Marmontel s " Didon," 
which, he says, "is given as well as an opera can con 
veniently be." And so in various ways society, so called, 
closed its eyes to what was enacting in real life, outside 
the walls of the theatre, at its own doors. 

In the midst of constant and varied demands upon his 
time for the fair dames of Paris were exacting of the 
devotion of those who had been admitted to the boudoir 
and bedroom Morris found time to prepare for M. de 
Corney a memoir e on the subject of subsistence. Lafayette, 
when told by M. de Corney of the note, said that he would 
push it with all his power that a plan from Mr. Morris 
on subsistence merited every attention. 

" At the club to-night [September 22d] there is nothing 
worthy of remark," the diary says, "except that everyone 
seems now to be of opinion that queens should be exclud 
ed from the regency, on like principles to those by which 
they are excluded from the throne, viz., la lot salique ; and 
further, that no stranger should be in the regency. This 



l6o DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

last article is not amiss, if the first can be excepted out of 
the provision. I tell them my opinion, which is generally 
disliked, but they will change. One of the company waits, 
as I am going out, to whisper that he is of my opinion." 

Madame de Flahaut, who was deep in the secrets of the 
government, chiefly through her intimacy with the Bish 
op of Autun, was also the confidante of Morris in his 
plans for the public benefit. " This morning I go by ap 
pointment to see Madame de Flahaut. She is at her toi 
lette with her dentist. Show her a list of the Committee 
of the Finances and take her opinion of some characters ; 
finally, I tell her that I have a project respecting them in 
which she must participate and must aid in the execution 
of. She gives me reason to expect that M. de Montes- 
quiou will be Minister of the Marine, and that in such case 
good things may be done. We shall see. At the club I 
hear a sketch of Necker s propositions to the States. They 
appear to me strange. However, no judgment can be 
formed till we have the details." 

" Madame de Flahaut has the latest news from Versailles 
to-day [September 25th]. She says that Necker has made 
a wretched discourse filled with self-applause ; that the 
Marquis de Montmorin will to-morrow report from the 
Committee of Finance upon his propositions, and therein 
will detail his own plan ; asks if I will go, as in that case 
she will procure me a ticket, and for Monday also, when 
the Bishop d Autun is to report from the Committee on the 
Constitution. I agree to both propositions. She has con 
veyed to Montesquioti an expression of mine, which by the 
manner of relating is turned into an elegant compliment. 
She says he was well pleased, and that if he is brought 
into the ministry I may boldly visit him with the certainty 
of a good reception ; that if he is Minister of the Marine 
we may do valuable business, in which, as in other objects 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. l6l 

where she may be useful, she is to participate. At noon 
take her to the convent to visit her relt gieuse, and am to call 
for her again at four. In the mean time I go to see the 
Marquis de la Billarderie, the brother of the Comte de 
Flahaut, to tell him how turtle is to be dressed ; but we 
fall on the subject of politics and the question about the 
tortue is postponed ad inferendum. Going back to my 
hotel I am delayed by militia, who are going, or have been, 
to church to obtain a blessing on their banners. Later I 
visit Madame de Chastellux, and excuse myself for not 
drinking tea with her. She tells me that the Duke of 
Orleans is plunging himself into debts and difficulties to 
support the present faction s temper, and that the Duchess 
will demand an appropriation of the revenue to her separ 
ate use. The sum fixed on by her is half a million. Many 
compliments from M. Lafayette ; he has not placed Ma 
dame de Chastellux s protege, and she is extremely vexed. 
This conduct, which flows from the same source with those 
things which have brought him up, very naturally tends 
to bring him down. After a drive with Madame de Flahaut 
and two young ladies to the Bois de Boulogne, I go to 
the opera, according to my promise, and arrive toward the 
close of the piece at the loge of Madame Lavoisier. The 
dancing after the opera is prodigiously fine. Vestris* and 
Gardell, who are upon the stage together, are both won 
derful ; Gardell is second only because Vestris is first. 
Go to the arsenal and take tea with Madame Lavoisier en 
attendant le retour de monsieur, who is at the Hotel de 
Ville. Monsieur comes in and tells us of the obstination of 
the bakers. This corporation threatens the municipality 

* Vestris, an Italian dancer, had made his debut in Paris in 1748. He was 
popularly styled the " God of dancing." His vanity was excessive, but 
amusing, as is attested by the familiar anecdote that he was once heard to 
observe, that Frederick, King of Prussia, Voltaire and himself were the only 
great men of the century. He died in 1808. 
II 



l62 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

of Paris with a discontinuance of their occupation, unless 
a confrere justly confined is released. Thus the new au 
thority is already trampled on." 

The question of the finances came on in the Assembly 
on Saturday the 26th. A start at five in the morning and 
a rapid drive to Versailles brought Morris to the door 
of the Assembly at eight. "By this means," he says, "I 
am still in time and get well seated immediately behind 
my friend Madame de Flahaut. At ten the session is 
opened ; some trifling matter of presents to the Assembly 
called the gifts of patriotism, but more properly the sacri 
fices to vanity ; after these a tedious verbal controversy on 
the reduction of yesterday s minutes, much heat and noise 
and impatience, by which means half an hour is employed 
in what ought to have been settled in half a minute. The 
Marquis de Montesquieu makes his report ; vast respect 
for the Premier Ministre des Finances, and then sundry 
details and combinations, which show that the committee 
understand the business much better than the ministers. 
At the close, however, of the report, there is a feebleness 
which they are perhaps not fully aware of, or perhaps it 
was unavoidable. They appeal to patriotism for aid, but 
they should, in money matters, apply only to interest. 
They should never acknowledge such want of resource as 
to render the aid of patriotism necessary. After the re 
port is read the Comte de Mirabeau objects to the consid 
eration of it, and insists that they should immediately take 
up M. Necker s proposition, in which he has a motion to 
make. He is called to the tribune, and in a tone of fine 
irony urges the adoption of the plan proposed by the 
Premier Ministre from the blind confidence which the As 
sembly have in him, and from that unbounded popularity 
which he enjoys. These, says he, in that dreadful situ 
ation which he has exposed, and in the imminency of 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 163 

danger which produces debate, urge, nay, command us to 
adopt without examination what the minister has devised 
for our relief. Let us agree to it literally {fextuellement\ 
and if it succeeds let him, as he ought, enjoy the glory of 
it ; if it fails, which heaven forefend, we will then exercise 
our talents in trying to discover if yet there remains any 
means to save our country. To my great astonishment 
the representatives of this nation, who pique themselves 
on being the modern Athenians, are ready to swallow this 
proposition by acclamation. The President, Clermont- 
Tonnerre, who perceives its tendency, throws into a differ 
ent form the style of adoption. Mirabeau rises and very 
adroitly parries the stroke by showing that this form is 
not consistent with his view, which the Assembly seemed 
willing to comply with ; that certainly a subject of such 
magnitude should not be carried by acclamation without 
having the specific form before them, and that if he were 
to propose a form it would require at least a quarter of 
an hour to consider it and prepare it. He is immediately 
(by acclamation) ordered to redact his proposition, and 
while he is about it the Bishop d Autun retires. We re 
mark it. My friend Madame de Flahaut acknowledges 
that they are in league together. The world already sus 
pects that union. During their absence there is a great 
deal of noisy debate on various subjects, if indeed such 
controversy can be dignified with the name of debate. 
At length Mirabeau returns and brings his motion forward 
in consistence with his original idea. The Assembly now 
perceive the trap, and during the tumult Lally de Tollen- 
dal proposes that the motion be sent to the Committee of 
Finance to frame as an arret e. Here again Mirabeau man 
oeuvres to evade that coup, and while the house are hung 
up in their judgment, or rather entangled from want of 
judgment, d Espresmenil makes a motion coincident with 



1 64 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

that of Mirabeau in substance, though contrariant in form. 
There is not sufficient confidence in him, and therefore 
the proposition drops. But it would seem from hence 
that he is in the faction with Mirabeau and Autun, or that 
the same principle of hatred to Necker has operated a 
coincidence of conduct on the present occasion. After 
this, tumult and noise continue to reign. Mirabeau at 
length, in another speech, openly declares his disapproba 
tion of Necker s plan. It is moved to postpone the con 
sideration of the subject at three o clock, but that motion is 
lost. At half-past three Madame de Flahaut goes away, 
and at four I retire, extremely fatigued, in the belief that 
Mirabeau s motion cannot possibly be adopted, and that 
they will postpone at last the consideration. Go to Ma 
dame de Tesse s. She is at the Assemblee. Madame de Tot 
is so kind as to order some bread and wine for me en at 
tendant le diner. At length the Corntesse de Tesse arrives 
at five. Madame de Stae l is with her. I had nearly told 
this last my opinion of Necker s plan before I knew her. 
The Assembly are aux voix on the adoption ; the propo 
sition not essentially different from that of Mirabeau, and 
thus they are the dupes. He has urged, they say, a deci 
sion with the eloquence of Demosthenes. While we are at 
dinner the Comte de Tesse and some members arrive. 
The adoption is carried hollow, at which Necker s friends 
rejoice and Madame de Stae l is in raptures. She is 
pleased with the conduct of Mirabeau, which she says was 
perhaps the only way of bringing such a wrong-headed 
body to act rightly ; that the only thing they could do was 
to comply with her father s wish, and that there can be no 
doubt of the success of his plans. Bravo ! After dinner, 
Madame de Tesse having told her that I am un homme 
(T esprit, she singles me out and makes a talk; asks if I 
have not written a book on the American Constitution. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 165 

Non, Madame, j ai fait mon devoir en assistant a la forma 
tion de cette Constitution. Mais, Monsieur, votre con 
versation doit etre tres interessante, car je vous entends 
citer de toute part. Oh, Madame, je ne suis pas digne 
de cet eloge ! How I lost my leg ? It was, unfortunately, 
not in the military service of my country. Monsieur, 
vous avez 1 air tres imposant, and this is accompanied 
with that look which, without being what Sir John Fal- 
staff calls the leer of invitation amounts to the same 
thing. I answer affirmatively, and would have left the 
matter there, but she tells me that M. de Chastellux often 
spoke of me, etc. This leads us on ; but in the midst of 
the chat arrive letters, one of which is from her lover (De 
Narbonne), now with his regiment. It brings her to a lit 
tle recollection, which a little time will, I think, again 
banish, and, in all human probability, a few interviews 
would stimulate her curiosity to the experiment of what 
can be effected by the native of a new world who has left 
one of his legs behind. But, malheureusement, this curios 
ity cannot now be gratified, and therefore will, I presume, 
perish. She enters into a conversation with Madame 
de Tesse, who reproves most pointedly the approbation 
she gave to Mirabeau, and the ladies become at length 
animated to the utmost bounds of politeness. I return 
to Paris much fatigued ; the day has been prodigiously 
fine." 

" To-day [September 27th] I read M. Necker s proposi 
tions ; they are wretched, and I think he is certainly 
ruined. See Madame de Flahaut, who tells me the plan of 
the Bishop d Autun respecting finance, which is in some 
respects defective. She wishes me to have an interview 
with him and the Marquis de Montesquiou, and will en 
deavor to arrange it. Chatting with her upon various sub 
jects we arrange a ministry and dispose of several per- 



1 66 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VII. 

sons Mirabeau to go to Constantinople, Lauzun to 
London. I tell her that this last is wrong, as he does not 
possess the needful talents ; but she says he must be sent 
away because without talents he can influence in some 
degree the proposed chief, and a good secretary will sup 
ply the want in England. We converse a great deal about 
the measures to be pursued, and this amiable woman 
shows a precision and justness of thought very uncommon 
indeed in either sex. After discussing many points, 
Enfin, she says, mon ami, vous et moi nous gouverne- 
rons la France. It is an odd combination, but the king 
dom is actually in much worse hands. This evening she 
is to confer with the Queen s physician, and set him to 
work to remove some of Her Majesty s prejudices. I tell 
her that she may easily command the Queen, who is weak, 
proud, but not ill-tempered, and, though lustful, yet not 
much attached to her lovers, therefore a superior mind 
would take that ascendency which the feeble always sub 
mit to, though not always without reluctance." To this 
Madame de Flahaut replies, " with an air of perfect confi 
dence," that she would take care to keep the queen sup 
plied with an alternating succession of gallants and 
masses, and Morris comments : " It is impossible not to 
approve of such a regime, and, I think, with a due propor 
tion of the former medicine she must supplant the pre 
sent physician." 

Morris grew rather wearied of Lafayette s procrastin 
ation in the matter of the memoir e respecting subsistence. 
No attention had been paid to it ; but while Morris was 
waiting for his answer, several other men in authority 
applied to him for aid in supplying flour; indeed M. 
Cretel," he says, "asks me if I would not furnish some 
flour. I tell him that if Laville will appoint some person 
to treat with me on that subject I will do anything in my 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. l6/ 

power, and that I think I can be useful, but that I will 
not throw myself at their heads. I then tell Lafayette 
that a vessel had been detained some days waiting for the 
answer to the memoire ; that in a few days more I will 
have nothing to do with the affair ; that some of the 
persons of the committee have, I presume, been casting 
about for the ways and means to make money out of the 
present distress, and are easy as to consequences because 
certain they shall not be victims ! " 



1 68 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The feast at Versailles. Consternation at Paris. Morris urges Lafayette 
to attach himself to the king s party. Disturbance in Paris. 
Church property discussed. Expedition to Versailles proposed in 
the Palais Royal Gardens. Excited state of the people. Carriages 
stopped in the streets. Agonizing night at Versailles. The royal 
family brought to Paris. The heads of the Body-guard carried 
through the streets. The royal family installed at the Tuileries. De 
spatches opened by the mob. Clermont de Tonnerre. The Comte 
de Narbonne and Madame de Stae l. Dinner at Lafayette s. Conver 
sation with Lafayette on the situation of France. Mirabeau. Madame 
de Chastellux s salon. The Duchess of Orleans. The Bishop of 
Autun reads a motion to be presented to the Assembly. A ministry 
arranged. 

ON Thursday, the first of October, the feast was pre 
pared at Versailles for the Flanders Regiment. 
This superb entertainment had been conceived in an un 
fortunate moment by the court to bring the loyal regi 
ments to feast together. The queen with all the ladies of 
the court graced the scene by their presence in the boxes, 
and increased the brilliant effect. Her Majesty descended 
from her box, and with her son and husband, graceful and 
tall, with a truly queen-like dignity, walked through the 
ranks of soldiers. Excited by wine, by music, and by the 
presence of their queen, they drank her health, cheered 
her, dragged the tricolor cockade from their hats, trampled 
it under foot, and donned the white cockade. Quickly 
the news of the sumptuous banquet at Versailles reached 
Paris. It spread like fire among the famishing crowds. 
Aristocrats had trampled their colors under foot. They 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 169 

had bread and to spare ; they feast while we starve. Let 
us go to Versailles and demand bread. If we once have 
the king, queen, and dauphin in the midst of us they will 
be obliged to feed us. We will bring back with us the 
Baker, Bakeress, and the Baker s Boy ! 

The first of October found Morris and M. de Corney 
at work making estimates for Lafayette for the purchase 
of provisions at reasonable rates to be served out to the 
poor of Paris. Fresh pork which was selling at sixteen 
sous per pound, they offered to transport to Paris and sell 
at half the price. Next day : " I go to-day to Lafayette s 
and ask a dinner," he says. " I find that even among his 
military family, there are some who at least wish well to 
the noblesse. After dinner I take him aside and tell him 
some of my sentiments on his own situation ; that he 
must immediately discipline his troops and make himself 
obeyed ; that his nation is used to be governed and must 
be governed. That if he expects to lead them by their 
affection he will be the dupe. So far he accords ; but on 
the subject of discipline his countenance shows the self- 
accuser, for he has given the command to officers who 
know nothing of their business. I mention to him the sub 
ject of subsistence. He wishes me to appear before the 
new committee on Monday, and that Mr. Short should also 
be there, so as to give it the appearance of a diplomatic 
affair. This is not overwise, but I desire him to write to 
me what he wishes, and to write also to Short. We will 
see how feebleness will manage in arduous circumstances. 
I tell him the serious truth, that if the people of this me 
tropolis want they will send their leaders to the devil at 
once, and ask again their bread and their chains ; that 
Paris is, in fact, the dupe of this business at any rate, be 
cause her splendor is owing entirely to despotism, and 
must be diminished by the adoption of a better govern- 



I/O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [[CHAP. VIII. 

ment. I then urge him, in the great division of parties, 
to attach himself to that of the king, being the only one 
which can predominate without danger to the people. 
He is startled at this assertion. I proceed to demonstrate 
it, but Mazzie comes in and with his usual self-possession 
makes a third person in the conversation. Therefore I 
quit it. Chat a little with Madame de Lafayette, who 
receives me much better than she used to do. I know 
not why, but perhaps I have contracted more of that 
tournure to which she has been habituated. I go to the 
club. De Noailles tells us that Necker s proposition as 
modified will take. Kersau says that letters from the 
provinces assure the same thing. I am, however, still 
incredulous. Laborde gives us the fourth of his income 
(400,000 f.), and the Due d Orleans 600,000. I ask Kersau 
who is the fittest man in this kingdom for military Minis 
ter of the Marine. He tells me it is Marignan, his brother- 
in-law, or himself. Mirabeau s address to the nation on 
the subject of the new imposition is said to be superb. 
Those who contribute their fourth are to receive an in 
terest of four per cent., and the contribution is to be paid 
in three years. Those who have less than 400 per annum 
are not to pay but at their pleasure." 

" Much disturbance in Paris," is chronicled by the diary, 
October 4th. " The foolish story of the cockades at Ver 
sailles and the serious suffering for the want of bread have 
collected from eight to ten thousand wretches, who go to 
the Hotel de Ville. How it will end I know not, but this 
is certain, that unless they contrive to obtain food for the 
people they will be constantly embroiled. Bailly, the 
mayor, is, they say, inept and wishes to resign. They 
talk of Mirabeau as a successor. Thus every country has 
its John Wilkes. It is no common combination, that of a 
heart to devise, a head to plan, and a hand to execute. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. I? I 

Dine with Madame de Flahaut and the Bishop d Autun 
at the Louvre. She is taken ill at dinner. We converse 
about the public affairs, and she tells us that if he is min 
ister we must make a million for her. He has many just 
ideas on the subject of finance, but a defect which he is 
not aware of. To correct it I tell him that he must get 
men about him who understand work and who love work. 
Mention De Corney as the kind of man who would suit 
him, and observe that there are very few of the kind in 
this country, to which he heartily agrees, but is not willing 
to acknowledge that he does not love work himself. He 
says the present ministry will last forever ; that is, longer 
than he wishes ; but Necker s health and the difficulties he 
is already plunged in seem to me to augur differently. 
We cannot even sketch the outlines of a future plan dis 
tinctly, but in general we agree as to what ought to be 
done. On the subject of the church property, I urge that 
it should be obtained by consent of the Clergy, and only 
mortgaged at first, but sold afterwards by degrees so as to 
obtain the full value. State this as security for the prin 
cipal, and the dimes [tithes] as security for the interest, of a 
loan which is to be subscribed instantly by means of for 
eign aid ; and then, instead of insisting on the right to 
repay to the owners of the rentes viaglres their capital ad 
vanced (which is his idea), to invite them to a change, by 
giving the principal which the rente is worth, calculated 
at an interest of five per cent that principal reimbursa 
ble, and bearing an interest of six per cent.; then begin 
to pay the principal with money obtained at four per cent., 
and force all the public creditors who will not take four 
per cent, to accept their capital. This scheme is not only 
practicable but easy. Urge the propriety of obliging the 
Caisse d Escompte to settle their accounts before any fur 
ther extension is given their establishment, and that in 



1/2 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

future the management should be part by commissioners, 
to prevent the present mischief ; which is, that the minis 
ters who are in the administration make use of it merely 
as the means to support circulation, by which they raise a 
fictitious capital and gamble at the risk of the community. 
This idea he approves of, but does riot relish my further 
idea of having subordinate banks in the great cities. I 
did not sufficiently explain it, but I have a general idea 
which might, I think, be executed with great advantage in 
this country. If opportunity offers for execution I will 
detail it, but for the present I must think of other affairs." 
In the Palais Royal this Sunday (October 4th), possibly 
for the first, certainly not for the last time, a woman used 
her voice to extinction proposing the expedition to Ver 
sailles and denouncing the " plaster-of- Paris bread, sacri 
legious opera dinners, green uniforms, and black cock 
ades." Danton " roared " his denunciations, and Marat, 
equally condemnatory, made "as much noise as the four 
trumpets on the Day of Judgment." Acts of violence and 
cries of " A bas ! " were the result of seeing the black cock 
ades, which men ruthlessly dragged off and crushed under 
foot. So passed Sunday. Monday morning, " the town 
is in alarm," Morris says. " I go towards Chaillot to see 
what is doing, but am stopped at the Pont Royal. Go 
into the Tuileries. A host of women are gone towards 
Versailles with some cannon. A strange manoeuvre ! 
Walk up to Mr. Short s ; he is just going to dine. We re 
turn together to the Place Louis Quinze. This tumult is the 
continuation of last night ; a wild, mad enterprise. Go to 
the arsenal. Admitted with difficulty. They are at din 
ner. Madame Lavoisier is detained in town, as all car 
riages were stopped and the ladies obliged to join the 
female mob. While we si: at table, we learn that the mi 
litia and the Regiment National are marching towards 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1/3 

Versailles. Return home and dress. At eight o clock go 
to the Louvre to take Madame de Flahaut to sup with 
Madame Capellis. Capellis is with her. He says the 
Regiment de Flandre, the Milice de Versailles, and the 
Garde du Corps are determined to give the Parisians a 
warm reception. Lafayette has marched by compulsion, 
guarded by his own troops, who suspect and threaten him. 
Dreadful situation ! Obliged to do what he abhors, or suf 
fer an ignominious death, with the certainty that the sac 
rifice of his life will not prevent the mischief. I go to 
supper. Much discourse about what is to happen at Ver 
sailles, and we agree that our Parisians will be beaten and 
we consider it as fortunate that they are gone. I venture 
the assurance that from this day forward the French army 
will return to its sovereign, presuming, always, that the 
Regiment de Flandre will, as it is said, do its duty this 
night. A gentleman here tells us an anecdote which 
shows how well this nation is adapted to the enjoyment of 
freedom. He walked near a knot of people collected to 
gether, where an orator was haranguing. The substance 
of his oration was : Messieurs, nous manquons du pain, 
et voici la raison. II n y a que trois jours que le Roi a 
eu ce veto suspensif, et deja les aristocrats ont achete des 
suspensions et envoye les grains hors du Royaume. To 
this sensible and profound discourse his audience gave a 
hearty assent. * Ma foi, il a raison. Ce n est que ca. Oh 
rare ! These are the modern Athenians alone learned, 
alone wise, alone polite, and the rest of mankind barba 
rians ! I learn this evening that several of the provinces 
are become discontented at the acts of the Assembles 
Nationale, but principally with the city of Paris. At 
Madame de Flahaut s the company at supper was reduced 
almost to a tete-a-tete. The guests all decline, from the 
public confusion." 



1/4 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

At Versailles by eleven in the morning the Comte de 
St. Priest knew of the approach of the mob, with its ad 
vanced guard of seven or eight thousand women women 
in the guise of Amazons : the Queen of the Halles, dressed 
in scarlet, with eyes flashing and hair flying ; and sad 
women, with starving babies in their arms. It was a mob 
with many unexpressed intentions, but with a fixed, unal 
terable resolve to find bread. The king, strangely infat 
uated, hunted that eventful day, and must be reminded of 
his duty. And even in the face of approaching calamity 
he found time to make an entry in his journal and to note 
the forty-one birds killed, and to comment on the interrup 
tion occasioned "par les evenements." The queen, while 
taking a walk the last she ever took in the pretty gar 
dens of Trianon, was called to a realization of " les evene 
ments," to which she was more keenly alive than the king. 

In the Assembly they squabbled over the king s response 
relative to the Rights of Man, quite unmindful or ignorant 
of the fact that men had come to settle the debated ques 
tion in their own way. Through the wild gale and the 
deluges of rain, the darkness adding to the general misery, 
the mob came. The tocsin sounded, and mingled its 
voice with that of the tired, wet, hungry mob in the 
streets. In the chateau, the Comte de Luxembourg begged 
the king for orders. "What orders?" asked Louis XVI. 
"Against women ? You mock me." 

Hasty preparations were making to take the royal fam 
ily to Rambouillet, but the king refused to go, and the 
queen refused to leave him. Fear and apprehension grew 
insupportable as the night dragged slowly on. The queen 
heeded nothing ; not even the cries of the Dauphin, 
" Mamma, I am hungry," elicited any response. Sudden 
ly, about four o clock in the morning, the agony was in 
creased, if possible, by blood-curdling proposals made con- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1/5 

cerning the queen among the mob. Then the chateau 
suddenly filled with armed men, who found access through 
the door of the Cour de 1 Opera, which in the confusion 
had been left open. They followed the passages which 
led to the queen s chamber, where she, exhausted by the 
confusion of the day, slept. Brave Miomandre de Sainte 
Marie met the mob on the great staircase, and pleaded 
with them to desist from their mad purpose, but unavail- 
ingly ; on they went. Then he shouted to the guards, " Save 
your queen ! " Rudely awakened, she rushed, scantily clad, 
to the king s chamber by a secret passage, and for a mo 
ment she found a refuge ; but the crowd demanded that 
she should show herself, and with her children she ap 
peared on the balcony. " No children," came the cry; 
and she stood alone before them, heroic and queen-like. 
The king must go to Paris, the crowd decreed ; and he 
promised to go "on condition," he said, "that I shall not 
be separated from my wife and family." At one o clock 
the melancholy procession set out a hundred of the 
deputies and the bulk of the Parisian army, the royal 
family, and in the midst the heads of the two body-guards 
murdered during the night, carried on poles. The day 
was one of rare beauty. It was on such a day and in 
such a manner that Versailles ceased to be the home of 
kings. 

"Tuesday morning, October 6th, Paris is all in tumult," 
Morris says. " Two heads of the gardes du corps are 
brought to town, and the royal family, who are in posses 
sion of the Regiment National, late Gardes Fra^ais, 
are to come this afternoon. I go to see Madame de Fla- 
haut. She \vants to visit at the Place Royal. We take 
her fille de chambre along (to save appearances). The 
gentleman, M. de St. Priest, is not at home, but is returned 
from Versailles. On our return we find that among other 



1/6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

visitors the Bishop has been there. Madame is alarmed ; 
sends after him. She wants to know the news from Versail 
les. Presently after, asks if she shall send for Capellis to 
know the news of Paris. I agree. While at supper Capellis 
comes in. The Bishop is not to be found. Capellis gives 
a recital of what has passed. Many circumstances of in 
sult to the royal personages. The Queen obliged to fly 
from her bed in her shift and petticoat, with her stockings 
in her hand, to the King s chamber for protection, being 
pursued by the poissardes. At the Hotel de Ville M. 
Bailly, in reading the King s speech, omitted in some part 
the words avec confiance. The Queen corrected him, 
which produced a shout of, Vive la Reine! They are to 
lodge in the chambers fitted up in the Ttiileries (as slander 
says) for her amours. These will now present her but bit 
ter remembrances. Oh virtue ! thou art valuable, even in 
this world. What an unfortunate prince ! the victim of 
his weakness, and in the hands of those who are not to be 
relied on even for pity. What a dreadful lesson it is for 
man that an absolute prince cannot with safety be indul 
gent. The troubles of this country are begun, but as to 
the end, it is not easy to foresee it. The National Assem 
bly is to come to Paris, and it is supposed that the inhabi 
tants of the Louvre will be deniches. Madame de Flahaut 
declares she willgo off on Monday. I am very heartily tired 
of myself and everything about me, and return home, with 
the one consolation that, being very sleepy, I shall in that 
sweet oblivion lose a thousand disagreeable thoughts. 
This day has been rainy and windy, and I believe (at sea) a 
high gale if not a storm. Man turbulent, like the elements, 
disorders the moral world, but it is action which supports 
life." 

"The King forbade all resistance, Madame de Flahaut 
hears [October yth] from Versailles, and the Queen, on re- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1/7 

tiring to her own chamber, told her attendants that, as the 
King was determined to go to Paris, she must accompany 
him, but she should never leave it. Poor lady, this is a 
sad presage of what is too likely. The King ate a very 
hearty supper last night. Who will say that he wants 
fortitude? At the club there is a good deal of random 
conversation about public affairs. Most men begin to per 
ceive that things are not in the best train. There are 
still, however, a number of the enrages who are well pleased. 
If my calculations are not very erroneous, the Assemblee 
Nationale will soon feel the effects of their new position. 
There can be no question of the freedom of debate in a 
place so remarkable for order and decency as the city of 
Paris. I told O Connel that they must give discharges to 
all the soldiers who asked them, if they want to have an 
obedient army, and recruit next winter when they are hun 
gry and cold, because misery will make them obedient. I 
think he will circulate this idea as his own, because he has 
a good dose of what is called by different names, but in a 
soldier is the love of glory. A curious incident has hap 
pened this day. The district of St. Roch have opened the 
despatches to the ministers and read them to the black 
guards, to see if they contained anything against the na 
tion." 

M. Le Coulteux, on the 8th of October, again suggested 
that Morris should have an interview with M. Necker, 
and propose to him the purchase of flour and wheat. " I 
receive the proposition very coldly," says the former, "and 
tell him that I am going to England, being heartily out of 
humor with everything in France. Later I proceed to M. 
de Lafayette s. He is surrounded. In conference with 
Clermont de Tonnerre, Madame de Lafayette, M. de Stael, 
and M. de Semien his friend, are en comit^ in the salon. 
This is all petit. I take a few minutes to tell Lafayette 

12 



1/8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

what appears necessary as to a change of administration. 
He has spoken to Mirabeau already. I regret it ; he 
thinks of taking one minister from each party. I tell him 
that he must have men of talents and firmness, and for the 
rest it is no matter. Am to dine with him to-morrow and 
converse on this matter. Visit Madame de Flahaut. M. 
Aubert is there, and before he goes Mr. O Connel arrives. 
He stays till nine o clock. I then tell her that I want to see 
her Bishop, and that he pledge himself to support Lafay 
ette ; wait for his arrival, but as he does not come in, and 
M. St. Priest and his daughter arrive, I go away. At M. 
Le Coulteux s Cantaleu tells me of what has passed with 
Necker. They see their way to a supply till March next, 
but then they must have aid. In conversing with him 
on the means, he proposed an interview with me, and 
mentioned that I wished to see him on the subject of the 
debt from America. Necker immediately observed that 
perhaps I would take the debt in payment of supplies. 
Thus we stand. I am to see him between five and six on 
Saturday afternoon. Lafayette is to desire him to speak 
to me on the subject this evening. Nous verrons. At eleven 
I receive a note from Madame de Flahaut. The Bishop 
is just arrived and wishes to see me. I go to the Louvre. 
Capellis is there. Madame takes the Bishop and me out, 
which surprises Capellis not a little. We converse pretty 
fully on the arrangement of a ministry. The getting- rid 
of Necker is a sine qud non with the Bishop, who wants his 
place. Indeed, I am of the same opinion. He gives me 
every assurance I can wish respecting Lafayette. After 
arranging the new ministry, we come to finance: the 
means of restoring credit, etc. Consider his plan respect 
ing the property of the church. He is bigoted to it ; and 
the thing is well, but the mode not so well. He is attached 
to this as an author, which is not a good symptom for a 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 

man of business. However, our friend insists with him 
so earnestly that she makes him give up one point. She 
has infinite good sense. After the Bishop d Autun leaves, 
Count Louis de Narbonne, Madame de StaeTs lover, 
comes in ; a lively scene of raillery between them, upon 
an affair of the Bishop d Autun s with Madame de Stael. 
It seems that he and the Bishop are intimate friends. Fie 
at bottom is much hurt at the conduct of his friend, and 
very gayly proposes to her a pleasant vengeance. Asks 
for dinner. She desires me to stay longer, but my hour is 
come, and therefore we must postpone reflections till this 
afternoon. Leave her and go to see De Corney. He 
shows me his letter to the King on the subject of subsist 
ence. I approve of it, for he has delivered it this morn 
ing. His wife, I find, is acquainted with the whole affair. 
This is the woman s country. Go to Lafayette s. A large 
company to dine. After dinner go into his cabinet and 
talk to him about a new ministry of more ability than the 
present. Mention the Bishop of Autun for the Finances. 
He says he is a bad man and false. I controvert the 
proposition, upon the ground already given to me. I tell 
him that with the Bishop he gets Mirabeau. He is sur 
prised at this, and assures me they are enemies. I tell him 
that he is mistaken, and as my information is the best, he 
is thrown into the style of a man greatly deceived. I tell 
him the idea of the Bishop, that the King should immedi- 
atelv have given him (Lafayette) a blue riband. This 
goes farther towards convincing him that he is an honest 
man than many good actions. Montesquieu as Minister 
at War might do. He does not much like him, but he is 
the friend of M. de Montmorin. Propose Touret for Garde 
des Sceaux. He owns that he has talent, but questions as 
to his force of mind. I ask him what he intends to do 
with Clermont-Tonnerre. He says he is not a man of 



1 80 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

great abilities. I add that he is a man of duplicity (faux). 
He agrees that he is ; therefore no difficulty with respect 
to him. I tell him that the coalition I propose will drive 
Necker away by the very populace which now support 
him. Necker is already frightened, and sick of the busi 
ness he is engaged in. The Due de la Rochefoucault comes 
in. He tells us that the Assembly are to come to Paris, 
and that the motion of the Bishop respecting the prop 
erty of the church is postponed till to-morrow, when he 
expects to have the clergy with him. I am to see Lafay 
ette again on Sunday morning at nine. I cannot dine 
with him to-morrow ; besides, it is nonsense to meet at 
dinner in a crowd. Ternant and I have a little conversa 
tion. He tells me he is sure of his regiment, and can 
bring with him six hundred chasseurs from the skirts of 
the Bois de Boulogne. I ask him if I shall name him as 
one who can be relied on to a person of my acquaintance. 
He desires that his name may not be used, unless in the 
houses where he visits ; but that I may say I know an 
officer who can be relied on, etc., without naming him. Go 
to Madame de Flahaut s. Madame de Corney is with her. 
After she is gone she asks the result of our conversation 
at Lafayette s. I give the amount in few words. She 
tells me that Louis de Narbonne, who, with infinite wit, is 
un assez mauvais sujet, will be the enemy of the Bishop 
on account of the amour. I am tired and vexed ; there 
fore come home, take tea, and go early to bed. This has 
been a rainy, disagreeable day." 

" I am to meet the Bishop at Madame de Flahaut s this 
evening," says the entry for October loth. " I see M. Le 
Coulteux this morning, and confer about the debt to 
France. In speaking about the mode in which we are 
to treat with M. Necker, I mention my determination to 
act very openly, etc. Laurent le Coulteux wants to higgle, 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. l8l 

and as I treat this mode of dealing with contempt, we 
have a pretty smart conversation ; in the course of it he 
discovers how much he is hurt by my indifference. I pur 
sue, however, my straightforward line, and Cantaleu agrees 
with me in sentiment. We have soon some more company, 
and go to dinner. His attentions and those of Madame 
are marked. At five call on Cantaleu, and we visit M. 
Necker. Madame asks us to dine next Tuesday. We go 
to the cabinet of monsieur, and after some chat proceed 
to the consideration of the debt of the United States to 
France. I tell him the whole truth with respect to it, and 
assure him that I will not engage in a purchase with 
out such a view to profit as will save me from all risk, 
and that he must make a sacrifice. Cantaleu reads the 
note I gave to the Marechal de Castries, and we finally 
come to consider between sixteen and twenty millions. 
He proposes the latter sum, and on Tuesday we are to 
talk farther about it. Visit Madame de Flahaut, who 
leaves me reading " La Pucelle " and goes out in my 
carriage. She returns after a short visit. Stay till near 
eleven, but the Bishop does not appear, so I quit the 
field." 

"I go this morning [October nth] to keep my appoint 
ment with Lafayette. He keeps me waiting a very long 
time. Find that he wishes to avoid coming to any points as 
to a new administration, therefore carelessly ask him if he 
has thought on the subject of our last conversation. This 
letids us on. I state to him the present situation of France, 
and the necessity of combining men of talents who have 
principles favorable to liberty ; that without talents the 
opportunity of regaining executive authority will be lost, 
and that without the proper principles the authority when 
recovered will be abused ; that he cannot possibly act 
both as minister and soldier still less as minister of 



1 82 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

every department ; that he must have coadjutors in whom 
he can confide ; that as to the objections he has made on 
the score of morals in some, he must consider that men do 
not go into administration as the direct road to Heaven ; 
that they are prompted by ambition or avarice, and there 
fore that the only way to secure the most virtuous is by 
making it their interest to act rightly. He tells me that 
he means to introduce Malesherbes as Garde des Sceaux, 
and to the objection that he will not be induced to accept, 
the reply is, that he will accept from M. de Lafayette. I 
have a stronger objection, which I do not choose to make ; 
viz., that he is not sufficiently a man of business, although 
certainly well informed and possessed of a great deal of 
understanding. He mentions Rochefoucault as Minister 
of Paris, and to the objection that he has not the needful 
talents, he answers that he will give him a premier commis 
who has. The Minister of War is in the same situation, 
but they cannot carry the commis into the council to delib 
erate and judge. He will himself be in council, and will 
take care to manage everything there. Unluckily he does 
not reflect that he himself wants both talents and informa 
tion. He again mentions that he will have Mirabeau, to 
which I reply that a man so profligate will disgrace any 
administration, and that one who has so little principle 
ought not to be trusted. I do not, as I might, retort on 
the subject of morality. I know pretty well the man I am 
speaking to, and therefore can estimate his reasons. He 
is very desirous to get rid of me, and I take my leave. I 
am vexed to find that by littleness the little are to be 
placed where greatness alone can fill the seat. He keeps 
Necker, whose talents he despises, because Necker is hon 
est and he can trust him, as if it were possible to trust a 
timid man in arduous circumstances. Visit Madame de 
Flahaut. She is with her physician, but Deceives me a lit- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 183 

tie after one, and begs me to dine tete-a-tete with her. 
The Queen is coming round. This morning the King s 
dentist fell dead at his feet. The poor King exclaimed 
that he was devoted to experience every kind of misfort 
une. He had, however, presence of mind enough to de 
sire Vicq d Azyr, the physician, to go and break the matter 
gently to the Queen, who was not well and might suffer 
from such a shock. She is highly pleased with the Bish 
op s motion. Visit Madame de Chastellux. She is in 
bed and, I think, very ill ; a dreadful cough, which must 
terminate fatally if not soon relieved. The Duchess 
comes in, and makes some kind reproaches for not visiting 
at Raincy. Return home, write and dress, and then go 
to club. Stay but a few minutes. Go to Madame de 
Flahaut s. She is abroad ; I wait her return, which is not 
until after three. She tells me that she has repeated to 
the Bishop my conversation with Lafayette, of which, by 
the bye, I told only such parts as could by no means con 
vey his intentions, although they were not communicated 
to me in express confidence. Mirabeau is to have an in 
terview this evening with the King (private, and unknown 
to anybody but ourselves). 

" I leave her and visit at M. de Montmorin s. M. de la 
Luzerne is there. Both very glad to see me, and as they 
have been at a conversation duly serious, I animate it with 
a gayety which produces very good effect. It is a pity that 
these people have not the needful abilities ; however, I 
have labored to keep Montmorin in place, and I think it 
possible still to succeed. He is very honest, and his situa 
tion with Florida Blanca * renders him a desirable mem- 



* Count Florida Blanca, a Spanish statesman, and prime minister in 1777. 
He made great efforts to recover Gibraltar, in which attempt, however, his 
plans were frustrated but the Spanish captured Florida, Minorca, the 
Bahamas, and a fleet of fifty-five merchant-vessels. 

\ 



1 84 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

ber of the ministry, because, so long as these two con 
tinue in office, they may count upon Spain with certainty. 
From hence go to Madame de Chastellux s. The Duchess 
is there, and Mr. Short. A light, pleasant conversation ; 
among other things, her picture at the salon, which Mr. 
Short thinks is perfect. I tell her Royal Highness : 
Madame, ce portrait-Id n a qu un defaut d mes yeux. Et 
qu est-ce done, ce defaut? C est qu il ne m appartient 
pas, Madame. The Due de Penthievre is in town, and 
Madame de Chastellux tells me she is sure I should like 
him. II passe sa vie a bien faire. Oui (pointing to the 
Duchess), elle est bien faite, etc. The Comtesse de Segur 
comes in, and afterwards the Chevalier de Bouflers ;* then 
the Abbe St. Phar. Madame de Segur asks my opinion 
of the affairs. Talk to her sensible observations, but I 
cannot go farther. She gives me her information, that 
the Due de la Rochefoucault is to be brought into the 
ministry. At half-past nine go to the Louvre to supper. 
Madame de Rully had come in before I left. She gave 
us some anecdotes, and also the state of Corsica, where 
her husband now is with his regiment. At Madame de 
Flahaut s we have Colonel O Connel and Madame La- 
borde his friend, with her husband. After dinner the 
Bishop comes in, and the rest go away. I tell him what 
has passed with Lafayette, as far as is proper, and my 
future intention, which is to tell him that, having done my 
duty to him and to his country, I quit the matter and leave 
him to the course of events. I urge an union with those 
who are to form the new ministry, and that they avow 
themselves to the people as candidates and let the Court 
know that they will come in together or not at all. He 
thinks this right, and also that the present circumstances 

* Marquis Stanislas de Bouflers, a mediocre French writer. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 185 

have sufficient force to consume another administration 
before things are entirely fixed. He reads us his motion ; 
it is well done. Afterwards we talk about the best ways 
and means to effect the intended objects, and I give him a 
few hints on general principles tending to the wealth and 
happiness of a nation and founded on the sentiments of 
the human heart. He is struck with them, as men of real 
talents always are with the disclosure of real truth, and 
this, by the bye, forms a principal charm of conversation. 
Oh, it is dreadfully tiresome to explain down to the first 
principles for one of those half-way minds which see just 
far enough to bewilder themselves. Leave the Bishop 
with Madame." 

" Monday [October i2th], I visit Madame de Flahaut by 
appointment. She shows me a letter to the Bishop, which 
is perfect. A deep knowledge of human character, an 
acquaintance with the world which arises from reflection 
on the hearts of those who live in it, and the most just 
conclusions of the regulation of his conduct, enforced by 
the tenderness of female friendship all this join to render 
a hasty production perfect. I thought well of myself, but 
I submit frankly to a superiority which I feel. She told 
me some days ago, after seeing Mr. Jefferson s counte 
nance, Get homme est faux et emporteV The arrange 
ment talked of at present for an administration is to 
make Necker Premier, the Bishop d Autun Minister of Fi 
nance, and Liancourt Minister of War. Mirabeau (who 
had yesterday four hours conversation, not with the King 
but with Monsieur, and who is to see the King this day) 
wishes to be in the ministry ; an embassy will no longer 
content him. I leave her and go to Madame de Chastel- 
lux s. At about eight the Duchess comes in with the 
Vicomte de Segur. About fifty members of the Assem- 
blee Nationale, it is said, have retired ; among them De 



1 86 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. VIII. 

Mounier * and Lally-Tollendal.f This will excite some sen 
sation, if it be true. Go thence to Madame de Laborde s, 
and sup. After supper make tea for them." 

* Mounier was a man of strong judgment and inflexible character, who 
considered the system of the English constitution as the type of representative 
government and wished to effect the revolution by accommodation. 

t Marquis de Lally-Tollendal, a deputy from the noblesse to the States- 
General in 1789, was one of the minority of his order who united with the 
Tiers Etat and favored reform. He emigrated to England in 1792. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 1 87 



CHAPTER IX. 

Deputies demand passports. The streets alive with disorderly characters. 
Houses marked for destruction. Unsafe to walk about Paris. Necker 
sombre and depressed. Madame de StaePs salon. The Duke of Or 
leans leaves for England. Morris calls on Necker, and suggests the 
idea of raising the price of bread. Letter to Lafayette. The Duke 
of Orleans is stopped at Boulogne. News of insurrections. Conver 
sation in Madame de Flahaut s salon about intended changes in the 
ministry. Lafayette commits a blunder in offering himself to Mira- 
beau. The Cardinal de Rohan. Flour to be imported from America. 
Graphic letter to Robert Morris. Madame de Flahaut disconsolate over 
the reduction in pensions. 

T)EFORE many weeks had passed, three hundred depu- 
JD ties demanded passports. An indisposition attacked 
them, which Louis Blanc calls the "maladie de la con- 
tre-revolution avortee." Among the two parties which 
formed the counter-revolutionists, there were differences 
of action. The one endeavored to shun events, the other 
strove to ferment new agitations. The streets were alive 
with women of no character, dressed as for the masquer 
ade, who entered houses and demanded money. Later, 
houses marked for more or less destructive purposes were 
everywhere to be seen. Red indicated fire, white signified 
pillage only, but the black mark proclaimed the house 
doomed, and its inmates subjects for death. Malet-du- 
Pin * wrote to some one that moderation had become a 
crime, and Mirabeau told the Comte de la Marck that, " given 

* Malet-du-Pin was said to be the sole newspaper man in Paris during the 
Revolution who, without insult or flattery, gave correct analyses of the de 
bates. 



1 88 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IX. 

up to itself, Paris in three months will probably be a hos 
pital, and certainly a theatre of horrors." Honest women 
were no safer than courtesans from arrest and insult, and 
hardly dared to cross their own door-sills. Loustolot 
wrote that there was not a citizen in Paris who dared to 
say, " To-night I shall sup with my children." 

During these days, Morris employed himself with the 
necessary calculations and estimates for the purchase of 
the debt to France, preparatory to an interview with M. 
Necker. "I go this evening" [October i3th], says the 
diary, " with M. Le Coulteux to dine with M. Necker. 
He is sombre and triste, and so engrossed by the affairs of 
subsistence that I cannot speak to him upon the other sub 
ject. At dinner Madame de Stael seats herself next to me, 
and repeats part of the conversation of the other day at 
Madame de Flahaut s. The Count Louis de Narbonne has 
told it to her. I apologize for my share in it, and add 
that I had rather say twice as much to her face. My 
apology, which is the reverse of an excuse, is accepted, and 
she asks why I do not come to see her. II y a longtemps, 
madame, que je desire avoir cet honneur-la ! Some civil 
things are said on both sides, and I am to visit this even 
ing." 

Quite the first salon of Paris at this time was that over 
which Madame de Stael presided. Her regular Tuesday 
evening supper, when not more than a dozen or fifteen 
covers were laid and her chosen friends were admitted 
into the little salon, the " chambre ardente," was the great 
feature of the week. Here, the candles extinguished to 
heighten the effect, the Abbe Delille declaimed his " Cata 
combs de Rome," and here Clermont-Tonnerre submitted 
to the criticism of his friends his discourse before deliver 
ing it in public. Near the chimney Necker stood, en 
tertaining the Bishop of Autun, who smiled but avoided 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 189 

talking. Here was to be found the Duchesse de Lauzun, 
of all women the most gentle and timid ; and in the midst 
stood the hostess, in her favorite attitude before the fire, 
with her hands behind her back, a large, leonine woman, 
with few beauties and no grace of gesture. She neverthe 
less animated the salon by her masculine attitude and pow 
erful conversation. When Morris entered the charmed 
circle on this particular Tuesday, he found, he says, " De 
Narbonne, who is of course with Madame de Stael this 
evening. M. de Montmorin is also there, with his daughter, 
and a madame de Coigny, said to have beaucoup d esprit. 
I feel very stupid in this group, which by degrees goes off 
and leaves madame, three gentlemen, and myself. As soon 
as supper appears I make my exit, promising her to come 
again. Much anxiety is felt about the situation of public 
affairs. Le Coulteux owned to me this afternoon that he 
has no hopes of a constitution but from the hand of the 
King." 

" This morning [October i4th] General Dalrymple * 
spends two hours with me. Tell him he must introduce 
me to the King s banker, who, he says, is very rich. 
Tell him that I desire such an introduction because 
I think I shall possess information as to things in this 
country from which money may be made. He asks im 
mediately if I would advise speculations in their funds at 
present, to which I reply in the negative. He tells me 
that the Duke of Orleans is off for England ; he wants to 
know my opinion as to his journey. I am surprised at 
this, but conclude that some transactions of his Royal 
Highness have been discovered which would involve dis 
agreeable consequences, and that the King has desired 
him to go off by way of avoiding inquiry. It is said that he 

* General Sir Howe Whiteford Dalrymple, a British general, fought in sev 
eral campaigns in the war against France. 



DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IX. 

has gone on business of a public nature, but this, I think, 
must be an excuse, because no man in France is more per 
sonally disagreeable to the King of England. Go to dine 
at Madame de Flahaut s. She receives a note from the 
Bishop d Autun. He is to be with her at half-past five. 
She insists that I shall leave her at five. I put on a de 
cent share of coldness. Go to the club and inquire a little 
about the departure of the Duke of Orleans, who certainly 
is sent by the King in a diplomatic capacity, but there 
must be some reason not diplomatic. Go from thence to 
General Dalrymple s, where two gentlemen of this coun 
try are drinking hard. A lady of a certain sort is at the 
table. Later I see Madame de Flahaut ; she tells me that 
the Bishop will not accept of the Finances under Necker. 
She is leaving soon, and we are to dine a trio with the 
Bishop at four to-morrow." 

" To-day at four [October i5th] T go to the Louvre as 
arranged. We wait till near five before the Bishop comes 
from Versailles, and then sit down to an excellent dinner. 
She engages us to sup at Madame de Laborde s.* I go 
away and visit Madame de Segur, who begins a conversa 
tion which is broken in upon by the arrival of two visit 
ors. Go from thence to Madame de Corney s. She is in 
bed and has a very disagreeable cough. Go to Madame 
de Chastellux s : the Duchess is there, as usual ; also the 
Vicomte de Segur. Some politics with him. Madame de 
Segur comes in late ; has been detained by her visitors. 
Requests me to visit Lafayette and pray him not to go 
into the Council. I decline, but at last, upon her urgency, 
promise to write him a letter to-morrow. Go thence to the 



* The most sumptuous table, perhaps, in Paris was that of M. de Laborde, 
over which presided his wife, a sensible woman, who, wiser than many others 
of the financial set, took with pleasure and graciously the advances of the 
grandes dames, but withal maintained her dignity. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 191 

Louvre ; madame is dressing ; is much fatigued. The 
Bishop arrives ; I tell him my intention of writing to La 
fayette. He approves of it, and observes that he must be 
preserved because he is useful. He tells me that he will 
not accept of a place in the present administration, and I 
approve of that determination. He is received with in 
finite attention at Madame de Laborde s, which proves that 
they expect he will be somebody. Madame de Flahaut s 
countenance glows with satisfaction in looking at the 
Bishop and myself as we sit together, agreeing in senti 
ment and supporting the opinions of each other. What 
triumph for a woman. I leave her to go home with him." 
"To-day [October i6th] I call upon M. Necker and 
mention to him the idea of raising the price of bread in 
Paris by making the difference fall on those who employ 
workmen ; so that, estimating it at two sous, the master 
should be obliged, when bread is at four, to allow, say, two, 
three, or four sous additional. Also start to him the idea 
of asking the Assembly to appropriate a sum to the sup 
ply of Paris. To the first he replies that there is no wheat 
to be got, and he treats responsibility to the nation for 
such use of public money with contempt. I tell him that 
he must not count on supplies from England ; at this he 
seems alarmed. I offer my services to obtain it from 
America. He thanks me, but has already given his 
orders, which I knew, or I should not have said so much. 
He makes no mention of the debt, nor I either. Go from 
thence to the club, and hear a little of the sentiment en 
tertained, of the Duke of Orleans. His friends appear 
chopfallen and defend him, which is absurd, for they 
know not enough of the matter to make an able defence, 
or, if they know, conceal that knowledge, which comes to 
the same thing. Visit at Madame de Chastellux s. At 
eight the Duchess comes in, and remarks to me upon her 



IQ2 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IX. 

punctuality ; afterwards Madame de Segur, who tells me 
that M. de Lafayette does not go into the Council, at least 
for the present. After making tea, etc., I visit Madame 
de Flahaut, who has just returned from the opera. The 
Bishop comes in and I read my letter to Lafayette, she 
translating, but Capellis comes in before it is finished and 
stays till twelve, when we all take leave." 

The letter referred to, after a careful revision by Ma 
dame de Flahaut and the Bishop of Autun, Morris sent 
to Lafayette on the iyth of October. It is as follows : 



PARIS, October 16, 1789. 
MY DEAR SIR : 

I took the liberty, in some late conversation, to give my sentiments on 
public affairs. I know the folly of offering opinions which bear the ap 
pearance of advice, but a regard for you, and the sincerest wishes for the 
prosperity of this kingdom, pushed me beyond the line which caution 
would have drawn for one of less ardent temper. 1 do not wish you to 
consider this as apology ; on the contrary, I desire you to recollect, both 
now and hereafter, the substance of those conversations. In that progress 
of events which rapidly advances, you will judge my judgment. 

I am convinced that the proposed constitution cannot serve for the gov 
ernment of this country ; that the National Assembly, late the object of 
enthusiastic attachment, will soon be treated with disrespect ; that the 
extreme licentiousness of your people will render it indispensable to in 
crease the royal authority ; that under such circumstances the freedom 
and happiness of France must depend on the wisdom, integrity, and firm 
ness of His Majesty s councils, and, consequently, that the ablest and best 
men should be added to the present administration ; that, so far as regards 
yourself, you should take care that those who come in be sensible of the 
obligation they owe you, disposed to repay it, and of a temper neither to 
desert you nor their sovereign nor each other, in the moment of danger 
or for the sake of advantage ; I consider the present time as critical, and 
that if neglected, many irreparable mischiefs must ensue. Such are the 
bodings of a mind not easily ruffled nor alarmed, but feelingly alive to the 
interests of friendship and devotedly attached to the liberties of mankind. 
Certainly, you have much better means of information than I have. Cer 
tainly, you have that intimate knowledge of your own nation which it is 
impossible for a stranger to acquire, and most certainly you have perfect 



1789] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 193 

acquaintance with the characters which stand forward for public observa 
tion. 

Let what I have said, therefore, go for nothing ; I have repeated it here 
as being in some sort the needful introduction to what I am now to com 
municate. Last evening, in company with some of your friends who sup 
posed me to enjoy a share of your confidence, in which I assured them, 
with great truth, that they were mistaken, I was urged to visit and entreat 
you not to go into the Council. Knowing how much you are occupied and 
how improper it is for me to interfere, I declined the visit, but was at 
length prevailed on by earnest entreaty to promise that I would in a letter 
assign the reasons which influence them : r. That your present command 
must of necessity engross your time and require undissipated attention ; 
and in consequence, that you must fail in the duty either of minister or 
general. 2. That when in Council your opinions will not have more weight, 
and perhaps less, than they have at present, because at present they are re 
spected as coming from you, but will only be received in Council accord 
ing to the reasons adduced in their support, and it is not always that the 
wisest man is the most eloquent. 3. If your opinions do not prevail, you 
will have the mortification to sanction by your presence the measures which 
you disapprove, or quit in disgust the seat which you have taken. 4. If 
your opinions prevail, you will then, in your quality of general, be called on 
to execute what, in your quality of councillor, you had ordained. In this 
situation the public opinion will revolt unless it be subdued. The one 
will ruin you and the other your country. 5. The jealousy and suspicion 
inseparable from tumultuous revolutions, and which have already been 
maliciously pointed against you, will certainly follow all your future steps 
if you appear to be too strictly connected with the Court. The founda 
tions of your authority will then crumble away, and you fall, the object of 
your own astonishment. 6. The retreat of the Duke of Orleans is attrib 
uted to you, and if you go into the Council immediately after what is called 
by some his flight, and by others his banishment, the two events will be 
coupled in a manner particularly disadvantageous and disagreeable. 7. 
If you go into the ministry with Mirabeau, or about the same time, every 
honest Frenchman will ask himself the cause of what he will call a very 
strange coalition. There are in the world men who are to be employed, 
not trusted. Virtue must ever be sullied by an alliance with vice, and 
liberty will blush at her introduction if led by a hand polluted. Lastly, I 
am earnestly, most earnestly, requested by those who love you well to add 
one caution as to your friends : Trust those who had that honor before 
the 1 2th of July. New friends are zealous, they are ardent, they are at 
tentive, but they are seldom true. 

Excuse the liberty of an old one, who is, truly yours, 

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 



194 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IX. 

" Laurent Le Coulteux dines with me to-day [October 
1 7th], and we enter into conversation about the shipment 
of wheat and flour from America. I give him informa 
tion, and tell him if he chooses to take an interest in such 
business he may have it. My indifference makes him de 
sirous of it. He proposes a concern in thirds, to which I 
assent, and desire him to prepare his letters and send them 
to me. We then speak of the tobacco business. He is 
very unwilling to give the credit I require, hesitates, and 
tries to evade it. Luckily my carriage arrives, and I tell 
him that a pressing engagement obliges me to leave him. 
Drive to the Louvre and take Madame de Flahaut to the 
convent to visit her religieuse, Maman Trent, who is as 
much of this world as one devoted to the other can be. 
The old lady admires her looks, and will not believe that 
she has been indisposed. We return again ; I leave her 
to receive the Bishop. She drops an expression, for the 
first time, respecting him which is cousin-german to con 
tempt. I may, if I please, wean her from all regard to 
wards him. But he is the father of her child, and it would 
be unjust. The secret is that he wants the fortiter in re, 
though he abounds with the suaviter in modo, and this last 
will not do alone. Visit Madame de Chastellux ; the 
Duchess is there, the Marechal and Vicomte de Segur ; 
make tea. A person comes in and tells the Duchess that 
her husband is stopped at Boulogne. She is much af 
fected ; we undertake to assure her that it cannot be 
though there is every reason to suppose that, in the pres 
ent disordered state of the kingdom, he would not pass. 
She is very solicitous to know the truth, and I go to M. 
de Lafayette s to inquire it. He is not at home, or, rather, 
if I may judge from appearances, he is not visible. 
Thence to M. de Montmorin s, who is abroad. Return to 
Madame de Chastellux s ; the poor Duchess is penetrated 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 195 

with gratitude for this slight attempt to serve her. It is 
very hard that a heart so good should be doomed to suffer 
so much. Take leave ; she follows me out to express 
again her thankfulness. Poor lady ! Go to Madame de 
StaeTs ; a pretty numerous company ; a great deal of vi 
vacity, which I do not enter into sufficiently. She asks 
me, while I sit next to Narbonne, if I continue to think she 
has a preference for M. de Tonnerre. I reply only by ob 
serving that they have each of them wit enough for one 
couple, and therefore I think they had better separate 
and take each a partner who is un peu bete. I do not enter 
enough into the ton of this society. After supper some 
gentlemen come in, who tell us that there is a riot in the 
Faubourg St. Antoine. We have had a great deal of news 
this evening ; a number of insurrections in different 
places. It is affirmed by madame, on good authority, 
that the Duke is stopped. Go from thence to the club, 
where we learn that the supposed riot is a false alarm. 
But my servant tells me that they expect one to-morrow, 
and have ordered out a large body of troops at eight 
o clock in the morning. The grenadiers of the late 
French guards insist on keeping possession of the 
King s person. This is natural. It has been a fine day 
something like what we call in America the second 
summer." 

"At the club [October i8th] M. , who is one of 

the entours of M. de Lafayette, tells me that the friends 
of the Duke of Orleans will (it is apprehended) denounce 
him tp the Assemblee Nationale, so as to oblige him to 
return, they expecting that his popularity in Paris will 
make him triumph over his enemies. He wishes me to 
go and dine with Lafayette, but this cannot be ; besides I 
will not again trouble him with advice unless he asks it, 
and perhaps not then. At three visit Madame de Flahaut 



196 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IX. 

The Bishop is with her. Converse about the intended 
changes in administration. I insist that Mirabeau be not 
brought into the Council, that they are mistaken in sup 
posing he can after that elevation preserve his influence 
in the Assembly ; that introducing a man of such bad 
character will injure them in public opinion, and that 
everything depends in the present moment upon the pres 
ervation of that opinion. The Bishop tells me that in 
his opinion no administration can work well in which M. 
Necker has a share. After he is gone Madame tells me 
that Lafayette is determined not to let Montesquieu into 
the war department. This Mirabeau told the Bishop, and 
Montesquieu told her that Necker declares the calcula 
tions in the Bishop s motion are pitiful. This accounts 
for his opinion delivered to me. Lafayette has committed 
a great blunder in opening himself to Mirabeau. If he 
employs him it will be disgraceful, and if he neglects him 
it will be dangerous, because every conversation gives 
him rights and means. She tells me that the Bishop has 
invited himself to dine with her every day. We laugh 
and chat. I go to General Dalrymple s to dinner. The 
General says he is well informed that the Due d Orleans 
was on his knees to entreat pardon of the King. De 
spatches are sent off to urge his dismission from his 
keepers at Boulogne. The conversation is turned by de 
grees to American aifairs, and I tell them (which is true) 
that they have committed an error in not sending a minis 
ter to America. They are vastly desirous of convincing 
me that an alliance with Britain would be for our inter 
est, and I swallow all their arguments and observations 
in such a way as to induce the belief that I am convinced, 
or at least in the way of conviction. The young man 
thinks he has done wonders. From thence I go to the 
Louvre, though I had determined not. The Cardinal de 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 197 

Rohan * is with Madame. We talk among other things 
about religion, for the Cardinal is very devout. He was 
once the lover of Madame s sister, and much beloved. He 
says the King is not the fool he is supposed to be, and 
gives instances to prove it ; but the Cardinal is not the 
man of sense he was supposed to be, and therefore his 
evidence is not to be taken blindly. Shortly after the 
Cardinal goes, M. de St. Venau comes in and I take my 
leave." 

After much discussion and trouble, Morris and M. Le 
Coulteux finally agreed to import 30,000 barrels of flour 
from America as soon as possible "having," as Mor 
ris says, "in contemplation the relief of those wants 
which I foresee will take place here the ensuing spring." 
"I am persuaded," he wrote at this time, in a very graphic 
letter to Robert Morris, "for my own part, that this gov 
ernment must feel secure in the article of subsistence be 
fore they take the measures needful for the order which 
is indispensable. Everything now is as it were out of 
joint. The army without discipline or obedience. The 
civil magistracy annihilated. The finances deplorable. 
They have no fixed system to get through the difficulties, 
but live upon expedients, and are at the mercy of projec 
tors. A country so situated may starve in one province 
while another suffers from its abundance. There is no 
order anywhere. I have only once attended the delibera 
tions of the National Assembly since September. Indeed 
that once has fully satisfied my curiosity. It is impos 
sible to imagine a more disorderly Assembly. They 
neither reason, examine, nor discuss. They clap those 
whom they approve and hiss those whom they disap 
prove. But if I attempted a description I should never 

* Cardinal de Rohan, so famous for his complicity in the affair of the dia 
mond necklace. 



198 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. IX. 

have done. That day I dined in company with the Pres 
ident, and told him frankly that it was impossible for such 
a mob to govern this country. They have unhinged ev 
erything. The executive authority is reduced to a name. 
Everything almost is elective, and consequently no one 
obeys. It is an anarchy beyond conception, and they will 
be obliged to take back their chains for some time to come 
at least. And so much for that licentious spirit which 
they dignify with the name of Love of Liberty. Their 
Literati, whose heads are turned by romantic notions 
picked up in books, and who are too lofty to look down 
upon that kind of man which really exists, and too wise 
to heed the dictates of common-sense and experience, 
have turned the heads of their countrymen, and they have 
run-a-muck at a Don Quixote constitution such as you are 
blessed with in Pennsylvania. I need say no more. You 
will judge of the effects of such a constitution upon peo 
ple supremely depraved." 

"To-day [October ipth], I hear the purport of Cantaleu s 
conversation with M. Necker about the debt of the United 
States to France. This last demands a million louis, which 
I think too much, and says that he cannot think of pre 
senting to the public view a bargain in which he gets less 
than twenty-four millions [francs]. This afternoon I drive 
with Madame de Flahaut to the Bois de Boulogne, but we 
are stopped for want of a passport at the barriere. We 
make a short visit at the convent. Madame is in much grief 
over the loss of her income. The reduction of her broth 
er s affairs, who is superintendent of the King s building, 
takes some of her support from her ; and 4,000 which was 
due by the Comte d Artois vanishes with his Royal High- 
ness s person. Thus there remains but 12,000, and those 
badly paid, being a rente viagere. With this little income 
it is impossible to live in Paris. She must then abandon 



1789.) GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 199 

her friends, her hopes, everything. Shortly after we ar 
rive at the Louvre M. de Montesquieu comes in, and dis 
cusses the motion of the Bishop d Autun. He disapproves 
of the calculations. He is right in his observations, which 
are precisely those which I made to the Bishop previous 
to his motion. However, good may be drawn from the 
business eventually. Leave them, promising to return. 
Go to Madame de Chastellux s, and, as usual, make tea 
for the Duchess. Nothing here but the usual chat. Ma 
dame de Segur is here and Mr. Short. Return to the 
Louvre. The Marechal de Segur tells us at Madame de 
Chastellux s that Mirabeau was to be in the ministry. 
Madame de Flahaut tells me that Montesquieu says he is 
false to the Bishop, and is to go with Necker conjointly 
into the finances. She is anxious to see the Bishop this 
evening ; she is ill and apprehends a fever, but I restore 
her considerably by the aid of a little soup." 



200 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 



CHAPTER X. 

Denis Frangois accused of secreting bread and beheaded. Paris aban 
doned to cruelty and violence. Martial law passed by the Assembly. 
The Duke of Orleans liberated. He goes to England.. At the club. 
Chit-chat in Madame deFlahaut s salon. Belgrade surrenders. Anec 
dote of the 5th of October. Clermont de Tonnerre proposes going 
to America. Morris asked his plan for restoring order to France. 
Necker unable to cope with the difficulties. Dinner at Madame 
Necker s. Talk about Lafayette s connection with Mirabeau and 
with Necker on plans for subsistence. News from Flanders. Asked 
to take part in the administration of affairs. Dines with the Duchess 
of Orleans. Takes the Bishop of Autun to visit Lafayette. The 
Assembly suspends the parlements. Criticisms on the society in Ma 
dame de Stael s salon. Lively dinner conversation with Madame de 
Stael. 

IT was on Wednesday, the 2ist of October, that a wom 
an started the cry that Denis Francois, the baker, had 
secreted bread. The shop was mobbed, and a few loaves 
were found put aside for the family consumption. 

"There has been hanged a baker this morning by the 
populace, and all Paris is under arms," says the diary. 
"The poor baker was beheaded according to custom, and 
carried in triumph through the streets. He had been all 
night at work for the purpose -of supplying the greatest 
possible quantity of bread this morning. His wife is said 
to have died of horror when they presented her husband s 
head stuck on a pole. Surely it is not the usual order of 
Divine Providence to leave such abominations unpun 
ished. Paris is perhaps as wicked a spot as exists. In 
cest, murder, bestiality, fraud, rapine, oppression, base 
ness, cruelty ; and yet this is the city which has stepped 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2OI 

forward in the sacred cause of liberty. The pressure of in 
cumbent despotism removed, every bad passion exerts its 
peculiar energy. How the conflict will terminate Heaven 
knows. Badly I fear ; that is to say, in slavery. The 
court of the Louvre is occupied by cavalry. Go to the 
Champs Elysees where I see General Dalrymple. He tells 
me some additional circumstances of what is passing in 
Austrian Flanders. There is great reason to believe that 
the Stadtholder, supported by Prussia, will possess himself 
of that valuable territory. While they are about it they 
may as well take some of the strong posts which France 
holds there, with some of the little principalities upon the 
eastern quarter, and then these Low Countries will form a 
very powerful state. Discord seems to extend itself more 
and more through this kingdom, which is remotely threat 
ened with a disunion of its provinces. 

" There is nothing new at the club this evening, but the 
Bishop of Autun brought the latest news to Madame de 
Flahaut. He tells us that the Assembly have passed 
what they call the law martial, but which is, properly 
speaking, a riot act. The Garde des Sceaux has defended 
himself this day before the Assembly tolerably. The 
Bishop seems to have no great desire for a post in the ad 
ministration at present. I think this arises partly from 
disappointment and partly from apprehension. I urge 
again the necessity of establishing among the candidates 
for places such arrangements and good understanding as 
may endure when in office, and contribute to the attain 
ment of it. After dinner the Bishop goes away and Ca- 
pellis comes in with Madame d Angiviliers. Some inci 
dents related in the conversation to show that M. de Nar- 
~bonne, Madame de StaeTs friend, is un fort mauvais 
sujet, which accords well with a certain obliquity of as 
pect that distinguishes a countenance otherwise good. 



2O2 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

Go from hence to Madame de Chastellux. The Vicomte 
de Segur gives me a book he has written, and desires that 
I will give him my candid opinion of it. It is a supposed 
correspondence between Nifion de 1 Enclos and her lover, 
the Marquis de Villarceaux. The Duchess receives a note 
from the Due de Biron that the Due d Orleans embarked 
yesterday at nine in the morning with a fair wind for 
England. It is said that three persons are to be hanged 
to-morrow, by due course of law, for putting the baker to 
death. They are wrong to defer the execution." 

"At the club to-day [Oct. 22d] I enter into some discus 
sions with a member of the iStats-Generaux or Assemblee 
Nationale, who shows his own imbecility. At leaving the 
room the company almost commit the indecency, so com 
mon in the Assemblee, of clapping the speaker they ap 
prove. One of them follows me out to mention that it is 
in vain to show light to the blind. N importe. Go to 
Madame de Flahaut s. She has with her the Due de 
Biron, who soon leaves her. She tells me an anecdote of 
Lafayette, not much to his honor ; he had said in his lit 
tle society of Madame de Simiane, in speaking of the Due 
d Orleans, Ses lettres de creance sont des lettres de grace. 
The Due de Biron who knows all the steps taken with the 
Due d Orleans (his friend), wrote to Lafayette on this sub 
ject, and has received an answer in which he tells him, 
1 Je n ai pas pu me servir d une telle expression puisqu il 
n y a aucun indice contre le due d Orleans. She says 
she has seen the letter. Undoubtedly the Due de Biron 
will make it tolerably public. I leave when the Marquis 
de Montesquiou comes in, and visit Madame de Chas 
tellux. The Duchess arrives late, having been to visit the 
Queen. Madame de Chastellux tells me the position of 
affairs in this family. We discuss the line of conduct 
which the Princess ought to pursue, and as she is in the 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 203 

hands of the Vicomte de Segur and of Madame de Chas- 
tellux, I think she will act with a degree of understanding 
and firmness not natural to her. From thence return, ac 
cording to my promise, to supper at Madame de Flahaut s. 
A good deal of random chit-chat, in which she plays the 
moqueuse on my bad French. This is not amiss. Stay till 
twelve and then we all quit. Two persons have been 
hanged this afternoon for murdering the baker, and there 
are two or three more, it is said, to be hanged to-mor 
row." 

" Write all the morning [October 23d], and then take 
Madame de Laborde and Madame de Tour to walk in 
the Champs Elysees. General Dalrymple, who joins us, 
tells me that Belgrade has surrendered ; and he also 
tells me of certain horrors committed in Arras, but to 
these things we are familiarized. Leave Madame de 
Laborde and I go to M. Le Coulteux s. After a few min 
utes M. de Cubieres comes in. He gives me a ludicrous 

account of the conduct of the Due de on the famous 

night of the 5th, and afterwards mentions the interview 
between Lafayette and his sovereign the former pale, 
oppressed, and scarce able to utter the assurances of 
his attachment ; the King, calm and dignified. The first 
request was to give the custody of the royal person to 
the former Gardes Franeais, now Milice Nationale. 
This was conveyed in the form of an humble prayer to 
be admitted to take their ancient post. Cubieres was 
then obliged to retire, as some persons had entered who 
had no right to be present, and in leaving the room he 
was obliged to retire with them. From thence go to 
Madame de Chastellux s. The Marechal and Comtesse 
de Segur are there, but a fifth person is present, which 
prevents conversation of any interest ; at a quarter after 
eight I retire, leaving a message for the Duchess, who has 



204 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

not kept her appointment. By the bye, Madame de Fla- 
haut hinted this morning a wish to be among the women 
of the Duchess. I think this cannot be, mais nous ver- 
rons s il y a une place qui viendra de vaquer. Visit Ma 
dame de Stae l. Clermont-Tonnerre is there, and asks 
whether he can be decently placed in America for 60,000 
francs. I observe that he is despondent. I give scope to my 
ideas respecting their situation, and he feels from thence 
no small remorse, for, in fact, the evils they feel arise from 
their own folly. Madame gives some little traits of re 
proach for the weakness of mind which induces an idea of 
retreat. I tell him that I have abandoned public life, I 
hope, forever, but that if anything could prompt a wish for 
a return it would be the pleasure of restoring order to 
this country. I am asked what is my plan. I tell them 
that I have none fixed, but I would fix my object and take 
advantage of circumstances as they rise to attain it ; as to 
their Constitution, it is good for nothing they must fall 
into the arms of royal authority. It is the only resource 
which remains to rescue them from anarchy. Madame 
de Stael asks me if my friend the Bishop will sup with 
her this evening. Madame, peut-etre M. d Autun 
viendra, je n en sais rien, mais je n ai pas 1 honneur 
de son amitieV Ah, vous etes 1 ami de son amie. A 
la bonne heure, Madame, par cette espece de consan- 
guiniteV The Bishop, it seems, has invited himself and 
M. de Tonnerre to sup with her. Go from thence to Ma 
dame de Laborde s. A table of tric-trac, and a good deal 
of chit-chat after it, keep us till one o clock. 

In a conversation on Saturday, the 24th. M. de Cantaleu 
told Morris " that Necker had sent him word that I may 
make my propositions regarding the debt on a quar 
ter of a sheet of paper. Cantaleu, like the rest, is very 
desponding about their public affairs. He says Necker 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 20$ 

has not abilities enough to get through his business, and 
that there is equal danger in holding and abandoning his 
post. This is very true. The Ministry and Assembly are 
on the eve of a squabble, whose object will be to deter 
mine which of them is to blame for the miserable situation 
to which France is reduced. There is to-night at Madame 
de Chastellux s the usual society. The Duchess tells 
me I must come and dine with her. I tell her I am al 
ways at her orders for any day she pleases. She tells me 
to come when I please. I promise. After the rest of the 
company is gone, the Chevalier de Foissy and I stay with 
Madame de Chastellux and chat a little. She says she 
will make her don patriotique by presenting me to the 
King for one of his ministers. I laugh at the jest, and 
the more so as it accords with an observation made by 
Cantaleu to the same effect, which I considered as bor 
dering on persiflage at least, and answered accordingly." 

Mr. Morris mentions on Sunday, the 25th, spending 
the evening in Madame Necker s salon. " M. Necker," 
he says, "is much occupied, and I cannot speak to him. 
See for the first time since I arrived in Europe Count- 
Fersen, whose merit consists in being the Queen s lover. 
He has the air of a man exhausted." 

On Tuesday, October 2yth, an invitation came to dine 
with Necker, and converse about the French debt. " I go 
thither," Morris says. " M. de Stael is very polite and 
attentive. After dinner we retire to the minister s cabi 
net. Cantaleu and I open the conversation. Tell M. 
Necker that the terms he seems attached to differ so ma 
terially from what I had thought of, that no definitive bar 
gain can be made, and therefore, after fixing the terms, I 
must have time to consult persons in London and Amster 
dam ; that he is the best judge as to the sum below which 
he cannot go ; that I will not attempt to bring him lower 



2C>6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

than what he thinks he can justify, but if it is too high, 
I am off ; that, having fixed the sum, we will then fix the 
terms, and finally he must be bound and I free ; that it 
is necessary to keep the transaction secret, because, 
whether we bargain or not, if my name be mentioned, it 
will destroy the utility of my friends in America, who 
have been and will continue to be firm advocates for doing 
justice to everybody ; and further, that if it be known in 
America that France is willing to abate, it will be a mo 
tive with many to ask abatements on the part of the 
United States. He feels the force of these observations, 
and desires to consider how far he and M. de Montmorin 
can treat this affair without the Assembly. He does not 
like the idea of being bound, and leaving me free. I ob 
serve to him that nothing is more natural. He is master 
of his object, and can say yes or no. But I must apply to 
others, and it cannot be expected that rich bankers will 
hold their funds at my disposal upon the issue of an un 
certain event, much less withdraw those funds from other 
occupation. He agrees that there is force in this obser 
vation. He then talks of ten millions per annum for three 
years as being a proper consideration. I tell him that I 
cannot agree to such sum. He says he has been spoken 
to about it, and is informed that he can discount it in Hol 
land at twenty per cent. I tell him that I doubt the last, 
because, having been in correspondence with two capital 
houses in Holland relative to a loan which I am author 
ized to make, they both inform me that the several loans 
now opened for different powers, and the scarcity of 
money, renders success impossible. De Cantaleu presses 
me to offer terms. I mention 300,000 f. a month, to begin 
with next January, and continue till the 24,000,000 f. are 
paid. Here this part of the conversation ends. He is to 
confer with Montmorin. He then asks me about the ex- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2O? 

port of wheat and flour from America this season. I re 
ply that my answer must be much hazarded, but at length 
estimate that it may amount to a million bushels of wheat 
and 300,000 barrels of flour. He proposes the question 
whether there be not goods in France which, sent out to 
America, may serve for the purchase of flour. I tell him 
no, for that goods will sell on credit, and flour for cash. 
He asks whether it would not be well to send ships to 
America for flour on the part of the King, for such a 
scheme has been proposed to him from Bordeaux. I tell 
him no, because the alarm would be spread, and prices 
thereby greatly raised ; that the ships should be char 
tered in such a way as to be bound to take wheat, flour, 
or tobacco, and then they might proceed in the usual line 
of mercantile speculation. Finally I drop the idea that 
six weeks ago I would have contracted for the delivery of 
one hundred to one hundred and fifty thousand barrels of 
flour, at a fixed price. He asks with vivacity why I did 
not propose it. I reply that I did not choose to push my 
self forward, which is a slight hint that he might, if he 
pleased, have applied for information. He asks why not 
propose such a contract now. I tell him that the order 
he has already given will, I fear, raise the prices too high 
in America. He says it is a trifle, only 30,000 barrels. I 
tell him it is 60,000, but he says the last 30,000 is very uncer 
tain. Rather presses me to make an offer. I tell him I 
will consider of it. 

"Leave M. Necker and go to Madame de Chastellux s. 
She is in bed and in tears ; fears that her brother is killed, 
or rather dead of the wounds he received at the capture 
of Belgrade. I give her all the comfort which the case 
admits of ; viz., a hope that it is not so, for, by suspending 
the stroke a little while, its eifect is less forcible. The let 
ter she has received, and which she shows me, looks ill. 



208 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

Converse a little with Madame de Segur about our friend 
Lafayette s connection with Mirabeau. She wishes to know 
what I would have him do. I tell her that if he did me 
the honor to ask my advice, I could not give him any 
good ; that he has reduced himself to the situation of 
making Mirabeau a dangerous enemy by neglect, or still 
more dangerous friend by aiding him in his views ; that it 
is M. Necker who now plays the handsome part. He will 
not stay in the ministry if Mirabeau be admitted. Mira 
beau insists on coming in, and if he succeeds, M. Necker 
has the desired opportunity of retiring from a post which 
at present it is equally dangerous to keep or leave. Being 
forced out, Mirabeau will be obliged by the general opin 
ion to abandon the place he has acquired, and then a 
ministry will be chosen entirely new. She wishes much 
to know who I think would be proper, and mentions the 
Bishop d Autun as having a very bad reputation. I tell 
her that I doubt the truth of what is said against him, 
because there are facts which show that he has some virt 
ue, and merits confidence; that he has talents, but that, 
without being attached to him or any other person in par 
ticular, I am persuaded that France can furnish men of 
abilities and integrity for the first offices ; that M. de 
Lafayette should discipline his troops, because his friend 
Mirabeau may otherwise turn that weapon against him." 

" Dine at the Palais Royal [October 28th] with Madame 
de Rully, who sits for her picture in crayons. She has a 
mind to coquet with me, because she has the same mind 
as to everybody else. A madame de Vauban who is here 
is a disagreeable looking woman. The interior of this 
manage is very much like the Castle of Indolence. Go 
from thence to the Louvre. The Bishop is with madame; 
he asked a dinner with her son, who is arrived this day. 
Quite a family party. He goes away, and I tell her that 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, 209 

I am sorry to have interrupted such a scene. She dwells 
much upon her child and weeps plenteously. I wipe away 
the tears as they fall. This silent attention brings forth 
professions of endless affection. She means every word 
of it now, but nothing here below can last forever. We 
go together to Madame de Laborde s and make a short 
visit, the child being in company. Set her down at the 
Louvre, and go to Madame de Chastellux s. The Duch 
ess, who was not well at dinner, is very little better now, 
or rather she is worse ; the usual case with those who suf 
fer from the lassitude of indolence. Sleep becomes neces 
sary from the want of exercise as well as from the excess 
of it." 

" After dining with M. Boutin, I go to Madame Necker s 
[October 29th], where I speak to M. Necker on the sub 
ject of subsistence. He catches at the idea of a con 
tract for 20,000 barrels of flour, but will not make the 
kind of contract which I proposed. He asks me what the 
flour will cost. I tell him it will cost about 3o/ sterling, 
and I offer to deliver it at 3i/ ; he wishes it at 3o/, and 
desires me to write him a note on the subject, that he may 
communicate to the King. He will not listen to the idea 
of importing pork and rice, and giving them to the poor. 
I endeavor to show him that by doing this and letting the 
bread be sold at what it costs, the treasury would save, be 
cause few would accept the donation, but all derive advan 
tage from the loss on bread. He is wrong, but humanum 
est errare. Go to Madame de Chastellux s. Her brother 
is dead. The Duchess comes in late and the tea is delayed, 
and finally I am obliged by the various delays to leave 
them abruptly. At the Louvre madame is waiting for me. 
We go to Madame de Laborde s to sup, and M. d Afry and 
I are, it seems, each to drink a bottle of wine. I perform 
very nearly my task, but he declines entirely. The wine is 



210 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

good, but the strongest I ever tasted. After eating an en 
ormous supper to accompany the liquor, I make tea and 
then chat with the ladies." 

" At dinner I hear [October 3oth] the news from Flan 
ders. The Austrian Netherlands seem to be in a fair way 
of shaking off the yoke, and it is said that they have a 
great number of deserters, both officers and soldiers, from 
the Prussian army. It is to be concluded that Prussia is 
concerned in the business, and if so England may proba 
bly be also for something. Indeed, this opportunity is 
most inviting. There appears to me no good reason why 
all the Low Countries should not be united under one sov 
ereign, and why they should not possess themselves of all 
the strong places on the French frontier, Calais, Lille, 
Tournay, Douay, Mons, Namur, and even Cambray, in 
which last place there is absolutely no garrison, for the 
milice bourgeoise have insisted on doing the duty, which 
they are now heartily tired of. Namur, which is in the 
Emperor s dominions, is absolutely dismantled. Go, after 
dinner, to Madame de Chastellux s and make tea for the 
Duchess. She presses me to come and dine with her soon, 
with Madame de Segur. I promise for Monday, to which 
Madame de Segur agrees. Go to Madame de StaeTs ; a 
conversation too brilliant for me. Sup and stay late. I 
shall not please here because I am not sufficiently pleased." 

" Saturday afternoon [October 3 ist] I go to the Louvre, 
and get Madame de Flahaut to correct my letter to M. 
Necker. Capellis mentions to me the supplying of Brest, 
Rochefort, and Toulon with flour, and says he believes they 
have already ordered it from America. I tell him that M. 
de la Luzerne would have done well to consult me on the 
subject ; that the different departments sending separate 
orders to different people necessarily raised the prices 
upon each other. Take tea with Madame de Chastellux. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 211 

The Duchess comes in. M. de Foissi tells us that the debate 
on church property is postponed till Monday, at the in 
stance of Mirabeau, and that it was thought the motion 
would have been negatived had the question been put 
this day. The Duchess reminds me of the promise to dine 
on Mcfnday and then departs." 

"A large party at Madame de Flahaut s on Sunday [No 
vember ist] ; a very excellent and a very pleasant dinner. 
After dinner Madame s physician comes in and tells her 
that a M. Vandermont has said of rne that I arn an in 
trigant, un mauvais sujet* and a partisan of the Due d Orleans. 
He insists not to be named ; she tells me that this man is 
very dangerous, being a mauvais sujet, and wishes me to speak 
to Lafayette. There is but one thing to be done, if I stir at 
all, and that is to call on him and tell him that if he 
speaks disrespectfully of me again I will put him to 
death ; but in times like the present such conduct would 
only give an air of importance to what must otherwise 
fall of itself, for I am not of sufficient consequence to oc 
cupy the public attention. This man, she says, would not 
scruple to bring me to the lanthorn, in other words, to 
have me hanged. This would be rather a sharp retribu 
tion for the remark which has excited his rage. On the 
fifth of last month he dined with me at M. Lavoisier s, and 
observed that Paris maintained the kingdom of France, 
to which I answered, Oui, Monsieur comme moi je nourris 
les elephants de Siam. This excited the choleric humors 
of a pedant, and he takes his revenge by saying things 
which are, luckily, too improbable to be believed. On the 
whole, I resolve to take no notice of this thing, particu 
larly as I could not produce my author, should M. Van 
dermont deny the fact, and that would place me in a very 
ridiculous position. At five I visit the Marquis de Lafay 
ette. He tells me that he has followed my advice, though 



212 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

he did not answer my letter. I congratulate him on what 
passed two days ago from a gentleman to the Comte de 
Mirabeau, which was so pointedly affrontive as to ruin 
him, because he cannot be now placed in the ministry 
and is lost in the opinion of the Assembly. He asks with 
eagerness if I think he is lost with them. I reply that the 
Bishop d Autun has just expressed that opinion to me. 
He says he does not know the Bishop much, and should 
be glad to know him more. I offer to give them a dinner 
together the day after to-morrow, or if he does not choose 
it, I will say nothing about the matter. He desires me to 
say nothing of it, because if he should dine with me in 
stead of at home, it would make an histoire which is true. 
He wishes me, however, to bring the Bishop to breakfast 
with him the day after to-morrow. I promise to invite 
him. Go to Madame de Laborde s. M. de la Harpe 
reads us some observations on La Rochefoucault, La 
Bruyere, and St. Evremond. They have merit but are 
liable to criticism. After supper we fall into politics. 
Monsieur tells us that the municipality of Rouen have 
stopped some grain intended for Paris. This leads to ob 
servation on the many-headed monster they have created 
in the executive department. He exculpates the Assem 
bly as having been obliged to destroy in order to correct. 
But the necessity of such an apology augurs ill. Indeed, 
whenever apology for the conduct of government becomes 
necessary, they are in the way toward contempt, for they 
must acknowledge misconduct before they excuse it, and 
the world is kind enough to believe the acknowledgment 
and reject the excuse." 

" Monday morning [November 2d] take Madame de 
Flahaut and Madame de Laborde to walk in the King s 
Garden and then to the Church of the Sorbonne to examine 
the monument of the Cardinal de Richelieu. The dome 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 213 

of the church is fine. Go later to the Palais Royal to 
dine with the Duchesse d Orleans. I arrive late and have 
kept dinner waiting half an hour. Excuse myself as hav 
ing waited news from the Assemblee Nationale, which is 
true, because I stayed at the Louvre some time to see the 
Bishop d Autun, who did not come in. We dine well and 
pleasantly, with as little ceremony as possible, at the table 
of a person so high in rank. After coffee go with Ma 
dame de Segur to the apartments of Madame de Cha- 
stellux. The Marechal reads us a letter from M. Lally- 
Tollendal to his constituents which is not calculated to do 
much good to the Assemblee Nationale. It will not do 
him any good either, for the King, for whom it is meant, 
will want rather those who can render the Assemble use 
ful, than those who absent themselves from it. The 
Duchess comes in and gives us the bulletin of the Assem 
blee. They have determined that the church property 
belongs to the nation, or, at least, that the nation has a 
right to make use of it. This latter expression seems to 
have been adopted as conciliatory. From thence go to 
Madame de Laborde s. After some time the Bishop 
d Autun comes in. He is to breakfast with me to-morrow, 
and go thence to M. de Lafayette s." 

" Tuesday morning [November 3d] in fulfilment of his 
promise, the Bishop d Autun calls on me and we breakfast. 
He tells me that M. de Poix is to visit M. de Lafayette this 
morning, in order to make terms for Mirabeau. We talk 
a little about M. de Lafayette ; his worth and what he is 
worth. At nine we go to visit him. The cabriolet of M. le 
Prince de Poix is at the porte-cochere, whence we know he 
is here. M. de Lafayette is closeted with him. A great 
many visitors and affairs render the minutes for our con 
versation short. Lafayette makes professions of esteem, 
and desires to receive frequent visits. There is an dmeute in 



214 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

v the Faubourg St. Antoine about bread, which leads to a 
consideration of the means to supply Paris. Lafayette pro 
poses a committee, consisting of three ministers, three of 
the municipality of Paris, and three members of the Etats- 
Gene"raux, and says there is a man who, acting under such 
committee, can serve the supplies. The Bishop thinks the 
Assemblee will not meddle. I am sure they will not, be 
cause they act only from fear, and will not risk the conse 
quences of being responsible for the subsistence of this 
city. Lafayette asks the Bishop what he thinks of a new 
ministry. He says that nobody but M. Necker can sustain 
the famine and bankruptcy which appear unavoidable. La 
fayette asks if he does not think it would be right to prepare 
a ministry for some months hence. The Bishop thinks it 
would. They discuss a little character, and as par hasard 
Lafayette asks whether Mirabeau s influence in the As 
sembly is great, to which the Bishop replies that it is not 
enormous. We fall back by degrees to the subsistence, 
and I suggest a hint which Short has given me, viz., to 
give medals to the poor, representing a pound of bread, 
and then let it rise to what price it may, by which means 
the Government will in effect pay for the bread they eat, 
and for that only, whereas they now pay for a part of what 
everybody eats. On this the Bishop observes that the 
ministers, in this moment when the charge of plot is so 
frequent, will be accused of a conspiracy against the na 
tion if they make largesses of bread to the multitude. I 
think he sees that their plan would give the administra 
tion too much power to be removed, and he is right. His 
idea, I think, is to come in when the magazines are full, 
and then to do what he wishes may not now be done. La 
fayette in the course of conversation mentions his friend 
La Rochefoucauld, saying at the same time that he has 
not the needful abilities, but that his integrity and reputa- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 21$ 

tion are important. I think this is the only man he will 
insist upon, and I think any person we please may be ad 
mitted as the price of the duke s admission. The Bishop 
says he cannot think of a new ministry unless the change 
is entire. Lafayette agrees to this, and says that in this 
moment the friends of liberty ought to unite and to un 
derstand, each other. At coming away the Bishop ob 
serves to me that Lafayette has no fixed plan, which is 
true. With a great deal of the intrigant in his character 
he must be used by others because he has -not talent 
enough to make use of them. Go to M. Necker s after 
setting the Bishop down. M. Vauviliers receives me in 
the drawing-room with a compliment as being the person 
who is to feed France. After dinner M. Necker takes me 
aside. He wishes to tie me down to fixed periods for the 
arrival of the flour and for the payment. I tell him I wish to 
have a house to contract with me. He says I run no risk, 
and he will have the agreement signed by the King. My 
carriage not being come, Madame de Stael insists upon 
taking me where I want to go. Later, when I go to the 
club, I find that the Assembly have this day suspended the 
parlements. This is a better blow at tyranny than any 
they have yet struck, but it will occasion much ferment 
among the numerous influential characters which they 
are composed of." 

"At the club there is the usual diversity of opin 
ion on the state of public affairs [November 4th]. Go 
from here to Madame de Chastellux s. The Duchess re 
proaches me for going away early last evening and com 
ing late now. Has been here near two hours, and her son, 
M. de Beaujolais, is brought on purpose to see me. He 
presents himself with a very good grace. Is enjouJ et em- 
presstf. I kiss him several times, which he returns with 
eagerness. He will make a pleasant fellow some ten 



2l6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

or twelve years hence, for the petites -mattresses of that day. 
Puisignieu is here, and after some time Madame de Segur 
comes in. The Marechal is afflicted with gout. Madame 
de Chastellux is to take a bouillon to-morrow with her 
fair friend. Thence I am led to believe in the possibility 
of a marriage between her and the old gentleman, which 
other circumstances give much room to imagine. Go 
thence to Madame de Stael in consequence of her invita 
tion yesterday. A great deal of bel esprit. The Bishop 
d Autun declined coming this morning, when I asked him 
at Madame de Flahaut s. I am not sufficiently brilliant 
for this consultation. The few observations I make have 
more of justice than splendor, and therefore cannot amuse. 
No matter, they will perhaps remain when the others are 
effaced. I think there is a road to success here, in the 
upper region of wits and graces, which I am half tempted 
to try. It is the sententious style. To arrive at perfec 
tion in it one must be very attentive, and either wait till 
one s opinion be asked, or else communicate it in a whis 
per. It must be clear, pointed, and perspicuous, and then 
it will be remembered, repeated, and respected. This, 
however, is playing a part not natural to me. I am not 
sufficiently an economist of my ideas. I think that in my 
life I never saw such exuberant vanity as that of Madame 
de Stael upon the subject of her father. Speaking of the 
opinion of the Bishop d Autun upon the subject of the 
church property, which has lately been printed, not hav 
ing had an opportunity to deliver it in the Assembly, 
she says it is excellent, it is admirable, in short there are 
two pages in it which are worthy of M. Necker. After 
wards she says that wisdom is a very rare quality, and she 
knows of no one who possesses it in a superlative degree 
except her father." 

This morning [November 5th] the Comte de Luxem- 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2 1/ 

bourg and La Caze come to breakfast for the purpose of 
knowing my sentiments on public affairs. At dinner I 
hear the news from Brabant, viz , that the imperial troops 
had been much worsted, and that the people have declared 
independence. This latter part is certain, for I read the 
declaration, or rather part of it." 

" Spend the morning [November 6th] with Le Coulteux 
adjusting the form of a contract for flour with M. Necker, 
which is to be copied and sent with a note from me. Re 
turn home after three to dress, then go to M. de Montmo- 
rin s. Luckily the dinner has been kept back on account 
of some members of the Etats-Generaux or Assemblee. 
After dinner he asks me why I do not come oftener. He 
wishes much to converse with me. He is engaged to dine 
abroad next Tuesday, but any other day, etc. Chat with 
Madame de Beaumont, his daughter, who is a sprightly, 
sensible woman, and at six take Madame de Flahaut to 
the opera, where I am so weak as to shed tears at a panto 
mime representation of the Deserters. So true it is 
that action is the great art of oratory. Go from the opera 
to Madame de Chastellux s ; the Comtesse de Segur has 
been there with her children ; all disappointed at not see 
ing me ; this is civil, but I am sorry not to have met them. 
The Duchess has left her reproof ; all that is well enough. 
Madame tells me that the Prussian General Schlefer, who 
commanded the army of 10,000 men sent to quiet the 
troubles of Liege, after a few executions which restored 
order, harangued his troops, thanked them for their 
zeal, and then, by reason of the disordered state of his master s 
finances, disbanded them ; but in consideration of their 
former services, left them their arms, baggage, etc., and gave 
them a month s pay to maintain them on their journey home. 
In the astonishment naturally resulting from such an 
event the patriots of Brabant offered them very advanta- 



2l8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

geous terms, and of course the whole army passed into 
their service. General Dalton, apprised of this manoeuvre, 
immediately applied to Count d Esterhazy, command 
ing at Valenciennes, to know if he would receive the Aus 
trian troops. This last despatched an express to M. de la 
Tour du Pin, the Minister of War here. A council was 
held and the answer returned this morning. Go to Ma 
dame de Laborde s. In the course of the evening mention 
this as a rumor, the authenticity of which I will not war 
rant. M. Bonnet tell us that such a report being spread, 
though differing materially in circumstances, inasmuch as 
it related only to a request to be admitted unarmed in case 
events should render a retreat necessary, he had inquired 
of one of the ministers and had been told that they had 
luckily found an excuse for not complying with Dalton s 
request, in the want of subsistence, already so great. This 
is weak indeed ; they should have received those troops, 
near 10,000 men, and marched them slowly toward Stras 
bourg, there to wait the Emperor s orders. The battalions 
he has already marched to their assistance, joined to these 
and to the foreign regiments in the service of France, would 
form an army sufficient to restore order to this kingdom, and 
discipline to their troops, etc. The idea of those who differ 
with me is, that the Parisians would immediately assassinate 
the King and Queen ; but I am far from believing in such 
an attempt, and I am persuaded that a respectable body 
of troops in a position to avenge that crime would be a 
cogent motive to prevent it. These, however, are the con 
jectures of a private man. Unhappy France, to be torn by 
discord in the moment when wise and temperate councils 
would have led thee to the pinnacle of human greatness ! 
There has happened this day a very strange incident ; a 
person who says he belongs to the family of Montmorenci 
(i.e.) a servant of one of them, is arrested for giving money 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2 19 

to a baker not to bake. Either some of these persons are 
mad, or else their enemies have a wickedness of invention 
worthy of the prime mover of evil. At going away this 
evening the Comte de Luxembourg takes me aside and 
asks if I have thought of a person for Prime Minister of 
this country. I repeat what I told him on Thursday, that 
I am not sufficiently acquainted with men and things here 
to hazard opinions ; that France has my best wishes for 
her prosperity and sincere regret for her situation. He is 
to breakfast with me on Monday. This evening, not being 
able to obtain cream for her tea, one of the company pro 
posed to Madame de Laborde to try a species of cheese. 
This odd proposition was adopted, and to my amazement 
it proved to be the best cream which I have tasted in 
Paris. I get home late, and find a letter from Cantaleu, 
desiring my aid to combat a proposition made in the As 
sembly this morning by Mirabeau. It is to send an em 
bassy extraordinary to America, to desire payment of the 
debt to France, in corn and flour." 

" This morning [November yth] Cantaleu breakfasts 
with me, and we prepare his argument against Mirabeau s 
proposition. I hear that M. Necker is making inquiries 
as to the price at which flour can be delivered here. I tell 
my informer, who wishes to know my sentiments, that if 
M. Necker has set on foot such an inquiry it is with a 
view to chaffering in a bargain he is about to make ; that 
I have told him the price which the flour will cost. Call 
at half-past three on Madame de Flahaut. The Bishop 
comes immediately after. The event of Mirabeau s prop 
ositions, levelled at the ministry, has been a resolu 
tion that no member of the present States-General shall 
be admitted to share in the administration. Some meas 
ures have been taken to guard the church property, at the 
instigation of the Bishop. The news which Madame de 



22O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

Chastellux communicated last evening are, I believe, en 
tirely false, and yet they were told to her by a confidential 
person. To be sparing of one s faith is in this country 
to economize one s reputation." 

"Engaged all the morning [November 8th] writing. At 
three I dine with Madame de Flahaut. We have an excel 
lent dinner, and, as usual, a conversation extremely gay. 
After dinner, the company go to cards, and I who have im 
posed upon myself the law not to play, read a motion of 
the Comte de Mirabeau, in which he shows very truly the 
dreadful situation of credit in this country, but he is not 
so successful in applying a remedy as in disclosing the 
disease. This man will always be powerful in opposition, 
but never great in administration. His understanding is, 
I believe, impaired by the perversion of his heart. There 
is a fact which very few seem to be apprised of, viz., 
that a sound mind cannot exist where the morals are un 
sound. Sinister designs render the view of things oblique. 
From the Louvre go to Madame de Chastellux s. The 
Comte de Segur and his amiable daughter-in-law are 
there. Make a declaration of love to her in jest, which I 
might have done in earnest ; but as she expects every 
hour a husband whom she loves, neither the jest nor ear 
nest would be of consequence." 

Formality seems to have taken no part in the arrange 
ment of dinner guests, for Morris says, " I go to-day 
[November Qth] to dine at M. Necker s, and place myself 
next to Madame de Stael, and as our conversation grows 
animated, she desires me to speak English, which her hus 
band does not understand. Afterwards in looking round 
the table, I observe in him much emotion. I tell her that 
he loves her distractedly, which she says she knows, and 
that it renders her miserable. Condole with her a little 
on her widowhood, the Chevalier de Narbonne being ab- 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 221 

sent in Franche-Comte. Much conversation about the 
Bishop d Autun. I desire her to let me know if he suc 
ceeds, because I will, in such case, make advantage of such 
intelligence in making my court to Madame de Flahaut. 
A proposition more whimsical could hardly be made to a 
woman, but the manner is everything, and so it passes. 
She tells me she rather invites than repels those who in 
cline to be attentive, and some time after says that perhaps 
I may become an admirer. I tell her that it is not impos 
sible ; but, as a previous condition, she must agree not to 
repel me, which she promises. After dinner I seek a con 
versation with the husband, which relieves him. He in 
veighs bitterly against the manners of this country, and 
the cruelty of alienating a wife s affections. He says that 
women here are more corrupt in their minds and hearts 
than in any other way. I regret with him, on general 
grounds, that prostration of morals which unfits them for 
good government. Hence, he concludes, and I believe 
truly, that I shall not contribute towards making him un 
comfortable. 

" When M. Necker has got rid of those who environ 
him he takes me into his cabinet, observes that I have 
stipulated to receive such premium as the court may give 
for other flour on importation of the first 20,000 barrels. 
I tell him that he must feel with me the propriety of that 
stipulation, but that I presume he will not give any pre 
mium. He says that he disapproves of it, but that so 
many urge the measure he shall he obliged perhaps to 
submit, for in the present times they are frequently under 
the necessity of doing what they know to be wrong. He 
leaves that stipulation, but he says I ought to be bound 
in a penalty to deliver the 20,000. I tell him that I cer 
tainly mean to comply with my contract, but that he also 
ought to be bound to a penalty. He proposes ^2,000, 



222 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

assuring me that it is only to comply with needful forms. 
I tell him I have no objection to a greater sum, except 
that I cannot command the elements, and, of course, do 
not know how long it will be before my letters reach 
America. He says that they will not exact the penalty 
on account of the delay of a month or two, upon which we 
agree. He pauses in amending the agreement, at the 
binding of the King to a like penalty. I cut the matter 
short by telling him that I rely on His Majesty s honor 
and the integrity of his ministers. I tell him that I ex 
pect he will not extend his orders in America, and he says 
he will not, but rely on me, for which purpose it is that he 
wishes the bargain to be such that he may have full confi 
dence in it. Having signed the agreement, which he is to 
send to me to-morrow countersigned by the King, I go 
later to Madame de Chastellux s, make tea for the Duch 
ess and introduce the eating of a rye bread toast, which is 
found to be excellent. The Vicomte de Segur comes in 
and tells us that the Baron de Besenval has discovered 
that England gives two millions sterling to make mischief 
in this country. I dispute the matter, which is, I am sure, 
impossible. He insists with great warmth that it is true, 
and thence concludes that the tales circulated to the prej 
udice of the Duke of Orleans are false. There is a great 
deal of absurdity in all this, and if he makes such a de 
fence for the Duke everywhere, he will convict him. 
Madame de Segur takes me aside at going out, to remark 
on this, and adds her persuasion that the Duke was the 
distributor of the money given for these wicked purposes. 
The Comte de Luxembourg asked me, in the course of the 
evening, what should be done to ameliorate the deplorable 
situation of France. I tell him, nothing ; that time can 
alone indicate the proper measures and the proper moment; 
that those who would accelerate events may get themselves 



1789] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 223 

hanged, but cannot alter the course of things ; that if the As 
sembly become generally contemptible, a new order must 
naturally arise from that circumstance ; but if they preserve 
public confidence, they only can restore this country to 
health and tranquillity, and of consequence no private in 
dividuals can in the present moment do good. He says 
he is afraid some persons will be precipitate, and show an 
armed opposition. I tell him that if any be so mad, they 
must take the consequence of their rashness, which will be 
fatal to themselves and to their cause, for that successful op 
position always confirms authority. This young man de 
sires to meddle with the state affairs, but he has not yet read 
the book of man, and though a good mathematician I am 
told, may yet be a very wretched politician. M. le Nor- 
mand, whom I see to-day, considers a public bankruptcy 
here as inevitable, and views a civil war as the necessary 
consequence." 

" I hear from Mr. Richard [November loth] that the 
Duke of Orleans offered Beaumarchais 20 per cent, for a 
loan of 500,000 francs, and that he had since applied to their 
house for a loan of 300,000 francs, but in both cases without 
success ; that their house is so pushed for money, they know 
not how to turn themselves. Go to dinner at Madame La 
Tour s ; arrive very late, but, luckily, the Comte d Afry 
and the Bishop d Autun arrive still later. We have a bad 
dinner and more company than can sit at the table. Ev 
erything is ennuyeux ; perhaps it arises in a great measure 
from myself. Go with the Comte d Afry to the repre 
sentation of Charles Neuf, a tragedy founded on the 
massacre of St. Bartholomew. It is a very extraordinary 
piece to be represented in a Catholic country. A cardi 
nal, who excites the king to violate his oaths and murder 
his subjects, then in a meeting of assassins consecrates 
their daggers, absolves them from their crimes, and prom- 



224 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

ises everlasting felicity, all this with the solemnities of 
the established religion. A murmur of horror runs 
through the audience. There are several observations 
calculated for the present times, and, I think, this piece, 
if it runs through the provinces, as it probably will, must 
give a fatal blow to the Catholic religion. My friend the 
Bishop d Autun has gone a great way towards its destruc 
tion by attacking the church property. Surely there 
never was a nation which verged faster towards anarchy. 
No law, no morals, no principles, no religion. After the 
principal piece I go to Madame de Laborde s. I am re 
quested to attend Madame d Angivilier, and, as the devil 
will have it, they enter on politics at eleven and stay till 
one, disputing whether the abuses of former times are 
more grievous than the excesses which are to come." 

" This morning early [November nth] the Comte de 
Luxembourg comes in and stays all the morning. He 
presses me hard to promise that I will take a part in the 
administration of their affairs. This is a mighty strange 
proposition, particularly from a man who has, I think, no 
sort of interest, though indisputably of the first family in 
this country. He drops the idea of a combination which 
exists, and whose intention is to restore affairs to a better 
situation, and that he is in their confidence. But two 
questions naturally arise upon this subject : What they 
mean by a. better situation ? and whether they be not persons 
who think they can govern because they wish to govern ? 
It is possible that this young man may be connected with 
people of greater maturity on some political intrigue, and 
may be authorized to talk to me, though I doubt both the 
one and the other, particularly the latter. I make, how 
ever, the same answer, which I should do to a more regu 
lar application, that I am wearied with public affairs ; the 
prime of my life has been spent in public occupations ; 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 22$ 

my only present wish is to pass the remainder in peace 
ful retirement among my friends. I add, however, for his 
own government, that, in my opinion, no change can be 
operated at present which will be either useful or safe. 

" After he leaves me I go to Madame de Stael s. The 
Bishop d Autun is here, and I fix with him to dine at Ma 
dame de Flahaut s with the Marquis de Montesquieu next 
Friday, for the purpose of discussing M. Necker s plan 
of finance, which is then to be proposed.* A great deal of 
light chit-chat here, which amounts to nothing. Madame 
Dubourg is so kind as to stimulate me a little into con 
versation with her, and whispers that Madame FAmbas* 
sadrice fait les doux yeux a M. 1 Eveque, which I had al 
ready observed, and also that he was afraid I should see 
too much." 

"I dine to-day [November i2th] with M. de Mont- 
morin. After dinner converse with him on the situation 
of affairs. He tells me that their administration has no 
head, that M. Necker is too virtuous to be at the head, and 
has too much vanity ; that he himself has not sufficient 
talents, and if he had he could not undergo the fatigue ; 



* Necker s plan of finance, which Morris frequently mentions, was an 
effort to induce the National Assembly to consent to the conversion of the 
Caisse d Escompte into a national bank j. the commissioners to be chosen 
by the National Assembly ; the notes put successively ins circulation to be 
fixed at two hundred and forty millions ; the nation, by a special decree of 
the National Assembly, sanctioned by his Majesty, to guarantee the notes, 
which were to be stamped with the arms of France- and the legend Garantie 
Nationale." He also proposed that the capital of the Caisse d Escompte, which 
represented then thirty millions in circulation and seventy deposited, should 
be augmented to fifty millions by a creation of twelve thousand five hundred 
shares payable in silver. Loustalot opposed Necker s scheme on the ground, 
that it would simply associate the nation in the bankruptcy of the Caisse 
d Escompte, for if the Caisse d Escompte had the credit, it had no use for a 
national guarantee, and if the nation had the credit, it was not necessary 
for the Caisse d Escompte to establish a Caisse Nationale. Bouchez and 
Roux mention that Necker s project made but little sensation, as several of 
the journals did not even notice it. 

5 



226 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. X. 

that as to great measures the King is incapable of them ; 
and therefore he has no other method of acquiring power 
but to gain the love of his subjects, to which he is entitled 
by his goodness of heart. Madame de Flahaut tells me, 
when I call on her this evening, that she wishes to have 
her husband appointed minister in America. Has spoken 
to Montesquieu on the subject, who has applied to Mont- 
morin, but was told that the place was given ten months 
ago. I had already told her that it could not be, at least, 
for the present." 

" To-day [November i3thj I am invited to meet the 
Bishop d Autun and the Duke de Biron at Madame de 
Flahaut s, but first to take Madame de Laborde and my 
fair hostess to visit Notre Dame. The Bishop d Autun 
and the Duke consider M. Necker absolutely ruined. 
The Duke tells me that Necker s plan was disapproved of 
yesterday in the Council, or rather, last evening. Montes- 
quiou comes in and I go away, as there is a little affair to 
settle between him and the Bishop. Visit Madame de 
Corney. Leave her surrounded by two or three persons, 
one of whom is engaged in the discussion of the proces of 
M. de Lambesc, accused of the crime of lese nation for 
wounding a man in the Tuileries on the Sunday preced 
ing the capture of the Bastille. Return to the Louvre. 
Madame informs me that the affair is settled between the 
Bishop and the Marquis. Indeed, it could not be other 
wise, for it was a falsehood related of the former to the 
latter, and, of course, a denial put things to rights. Ma 
dame being ill goes into the bath, and when placed there 
sends for me. It is a strange place to receive a visit, but 
there is milk mixed with the water, making it opaque. 
She tells me that it is usual to receive in the bath, and I 
suppose it is, for otherwise I should have been the last 
person to whom it would have been permitted." 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 22? 



CHAPTER XI. 

Exodus from the ranks of society. Many closed salons. Changed state 
of feeling. Necker s "plan" for the Caisse d Escompte. The Pope 
quarrels with the farmers-general. Opposition to Necker. Mirabeau 
describes the Assembly. Lafayette s ambition. A tedious session. 
Interview with Necker. Tea at Madame de Laborde s. Plan for 
dealing with the American debt to France. Necker converses on the 
constitution then preparing. The Bishop d Autun asks advice as to 
speaking in the Assembly. A rumor that he is to be appointed Ameri 
can Minister to the Court of Louis XVI. An evening in Madame de 
StaeTs salon. Tact of the hostess. Clermont-Tonnerre reads a dis 
course. Necker speculates as to the issue of one hundred and thirty 
millions of paper money. The Abbe Delille reads his own verses 
in Madame de Chastellux s drawing-room. 

BY November society began to feel the exodus from its 
ranks. The most brilliant salons of a few months 
back were closed and silent, and their gay inmates lan 
guishing in foreign lands. In the few that remained 
open the society forgot that persiflage and coquetry which 
had been its life. The hostess forgot her tranquil mode 
of dispensing hospitality while listening to the heated de 
bate ; and, presiding over her tea-table, was not unlikely, 
in the excitement of political discussion, ungracefully to 
spill the scalding liquid over her hands. Men forgot to 
make k>ve to their hostesses in their eagerness to read to 
them the latest news in the Gazette, and strangest of all, 
the women forgot to notice the cessation of compliments 
and love-making in their zeal to discuss a motion to be 
made by a deputy, or the latest brochure of a friend. 
The salon of Madame de Beauharnais still flourished, and 



228 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

she, with her pretty, very feminine and enjuponnJ talent, en 
tirely inoffensive to the amour propre of the sterner sex, 
continued to draw about her a coterie who bemoaned the 
insensibility of the world to their literary efforts. Here 
la liberte et re galitt, those dames d atours of madame, her 
counsellors les plus intimes, presided. Madame had herself 
once made two or three jolts mots, and contented herself 
by repeating them at intervals. Madame also knew how 
to listen, or appear to listen when she never listened at all, 
and here literature was the god to which they dedicated 
themselves ; here Voltaire was crowned. Society must 
find relief from constant political conversation, and the 
gaming-table offered the best advantages. It became the 
resort of the deputy, worn out trying to hear or make him 
self heard in a disorderly seance, and of the noblesse who 
played for money for daily expenses ; and so it was that 
the gaming-table, offering so much to so many, continued 
through all the shiftings and changes of events and people 
in Paris, and flourished until the days of the Terror. 

There was now a general unrest, a murmuring and spas 
modic movement in the streets of Paris one day like 
those of a dead city ; the next awake with a feverish ex 
citement, and orators holding forth everywhere. The 
National Assembly fought over the constitution, Necker 
struggled with the finances and subsistence, and Camille 
Desmoulins wrote about and gloated over the disclosures 
of the Red Book, with its list of fraudulent pensions and 
its appalling sum-total. 

It was Saturday, November i4th, that M. Necker brought 
forward his plans for the Caisse d Escompte, which was 
to convert it into a national bank. " M. d Aguesseau 
tells me," Morris says, "that Necker proposed his plan 
with much modesty and diffidence. No opinion can be 
formed of the reception it will meet with. The Chevalier 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 229 

de Boufflers and the Comte de Thiard, whom I meet at 
dinner at the Duchess of Orleans s, are neither of them 
pleased with what is going forward in the Assembly. 
They are to sit three times a week in the afternoons. Go 
to the Louvre ; Madame is in bed enrhumte. We have 
several visitors, Madame Capellis among others, who tells 
me that the Pope s nuncio is to be of our party next 
Monday evening, and gives me to understand that he 
wishes to be acquainted with me. I do not suppose that 
this arises from any great devotion on my part to the Holy 
Roman Apostolic See. While I am visiting I am troubled 
with spasmodic affections of the nervous system which give 
great pain at times in the stump of my amputated leg, and, 
in the other leg, an anxious sensation which I conceive to 
arise from some derangement of the nervous system, and 
therefore I must expose myself more to the air and take 
exercise. The wind has blown all night very hard and con 
tinues high this morning. I think it is from the southwest, 
and I fear that many have fallen victims to its rage. Gen 
eral Dalrymple, whom I visit after dinner, tells me that 
the gale of wind which we have had within these few days 
has committed dreadful ravages on the British coast, and 
that his letters announce the destruction of eight hundred 
men. He considers M. Necker s plan as flat nonsense, 
and tells me that the bankers he conversed with are of 
opinion that it is good for nothing. I have read the m- 
moire, and I think this plan cannot succeed." 

" On Monday at half-past nine call on Madame de Fla- 
haut to take her to supper with Madame Capellis. She 
is in bed and very much indisposed. Stay but a few 
minutes and then go to supper. The nuncio of His Holi 
ness is not here. It is the day on which his courier de 
parts. Capellis tells me he wishes to bring us together, 
because the Pope has quarrelled with the farmers-general 



230 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XL 

about the supplies of tobacco formerly taken from them ; 
that he draws them now from Germany, and he thinks an 
agreement might be made to furnish his Holiness from 
America. I doubt much the success of the scheme, for 
the Pope can only contract from year to year, and the dis 
tance is such that half the year would be consumed before 
a leaf of tobacco could arrive. The company here are 
much disgusted with the actings and doings of the Assem- 
blee Nationale." 

"To-day [November iyth] I hear the latest American 
news, which were conveyed by the British September pack 
et. Mr. Jefferson has been made Secretary of Foreign Af 
fairs. After some visitors leave, I go to the Chatelet to visit 
the Baron de Besenval. The old gentleman is much pleased 
with this attention. We talk politics a little and he takes 
an opportunity to whisper that we shall soon have a 
counter-revolution, which I have long considered as in 
evitable, though I am not sufficiently master of facts to 
judge from whence it is to arise. Go to club. The Par- 
lement of Metz have, it seems, acted with more pointed 
opposition than the Parlement of Rouen, and the Assem- 
blee will fulminate its decrees in consequence. The 
Church, the Law, and the Nobility, three bodies inter 
mediary, which in this kingdom were equally formidable 
to the King and people, are now placed by the Assemblee 
in direct hostility, and they have at the same moment, by 
the influence of ill-grounded apprehension, tied the hands 
and feet of their natural ally, the King. A very little time 
must unite the opposition, and when united they will of 
course place themselves under the banners of the royal 
authority, and then, farewell Democracy. Go from the 
club to M. de Montmorin s. Nothing here worthy of at 
tention. M. d Aguesseau and M. Bonnet dine with us ; 
the latter wants some information about their affairs in 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 231 

India. I tell him that the way to check Britain in India 
is to make the Isle of France un port-d armes, and a free 
port, etc. M. de Montmorin tells us that he proposed 
this very plan in 1783. M. Bonnet asks me if free ports 
in France are necessary for us. I tell him that I be 
lieve not, but on this subject he must consult Mr. Short, 
who is our representative. He desires an interview, but 
M. de Montmorin tells him that Mr. Short can have no 
precise information on the subject. In effect, when this 
matter was first agitated, Jefferson consulted me, but I 
chose to preserve the respect due to the representative of 
America. Visit Madame de Chastellux. She gives me 
an account of the interior of her family. The Duchess 
comes in, and the Marechal de Segur. He tells me that 
Brittany has undergone a sudden change ; the Noblesse 
and people are united, and they will reject the acts of the 
Assemblee. M. de Thiard had told us that something of 
this sort would happen. The Cambrises are also discon 
tented. Go from thence to the Louvre. Madame is in 
bed. The Bishop arrives ; he lays down his hat and cane, 
and takes a chair in the manner of a man determined to 
stay. He confirms the news from Brittany, and adds that 
the cochois (?) looks black. This brings to my mind some 
dark hints communicated by the Comte de Luxembourg 
about Normandy. I told him, in reply to his apprehen 
sions about the dismemberment of the kingdom, that if 
Normandy, Picardy, Flanders, Champagne, and Alsace 
continued true to the King, His Majesty might easily re 
duce the remainder of his kingdom." 

"This morning [November i8th] while I am writing La 
Gaze comes in. He tells me that there was last night a 
meeting of the actionnaires de la Caisse a Escompte. They 
have named the commissaires to treat, report, etc., on 
Necker s plan. The general opinion seems to be opposed to 



232 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

the plan, which, indeed, I do not wonder at. Dine with 
M. de Lafayette on the Quai du Louvre. He does not 
come in until long after we had sat down to dinner, and 
yet we did not sit down till five. After dinner I ask him 
what he thinks of Necker s plan. He says it is the gen 
eral opinion that it will not go down. He adds that the 
Bishop d Autun, or somebody else, should come for 
ward with another. I reply that no man can properly 
come forward with a plan except the minister, because no 
other person can know sufficiently all the needful circum 
stances ; that the present administration must be kept in 
their seats, because the late resolution of the Assembly 
prohibits a choice of ministers in their body. He says 
that he thinks he can for once take a ministry out of the 
Assemblee, provided he does not name Mirabeau and one 
or two others. Upon this I observe that I do not know 
whether the Bishop d Autun and his friends will be so 
weak as to accept of office in the present wild situation of 
affairs ; that nothing can be done without the aid of the 
Assemblee, who are incompetent ; and that, the executive 
authority being annihilated, there is but little chance of 
carrying their decrees into effect, even if they could be in 
duced to decree wisely. He says that Mirabeau has well 
described the Assemblee, which he calls the Wild Ass ; that 
in a fortnight they will be obliged to give him authority 
which he has hitherto declined. He shows clearly in his 
countenance that it is the wish of his heart. I ask him 
what authority. He says a kind of dictatorship, such as 
Generalissimo, he does not exactly know what will be 
the title. Upon this I tell him again that he ought to 
discipline his troops, and remind him of a former question, 
viz., whether they would obey him. He says they will, 
but immediately turns round and talks to some other per 
son. Here is a vaulting ambition which o erleaps itself. 



i 7 3 9 .] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 233 

This man s mind is so elated by power, already too great 
for the measure of his abilities, that he looks into the 
clouds and grasps at the supreme. From this moment 
every step in his ascent will, I think, accelerate his fall. 
Leave this place and go to the Louvre. Madame has com 
pany. Stay till they are gone. The Marquis de Montes- 
quiou was here when I arrived ; he had just entered. He 
is running round now to smell the incense which will 
be offered him for his plan of finance, which was this day 
communicated to the Assembiee. It goes, as I am told, 
upon the basis of paying off the national debt by a 
sale of the church property. I tell Madame that, if 
this be so, it will prove a bubble, for the reasons long 
since assigned to the Bishop d Autun. The reliance on 
this fund was the radical defect of his plan. Go hence 
to the apartments of Madame de Chastellux. She tells 
me that the Marquis de Lafayette intends to imitate 
Washington and retire from public service as soon as 
the constitution is established. Perhaps he may be 
lieve this himself, but nothing is more common than to 
deceive ourselves. Sup at Madame de Laborde s. The 
Comte de Luxembourg tells me that the opposition made 
in some districts to the recalling of the Gardes dti Corps 
has prevented the execution of a plan. I do not ask 
him what it is, because I do not wish to know. He tells 
me that M. de Lafayette committed a great imprudence 
in telling him aloud, in the hearing of many persons, that 
he could not be charged with preventing it. I collect from 
this only that there is much latent animosity against 
him, and that while he is building his castle others are 
employed in mining the foundation." 

"This morning [November i9th], while the Comte d Es- 
taing is with me, I receive a note from M. Le Coulteux. He 
has been three hours yesterday with M. Necker and the 



234 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

Committee of Subsistence. He says that M. Necker will 
treat with me for wheat at six shillings, but I can obtain 
six shillings and sixpence, and that he has fixed an inter 
view for me with Necker at seven this evening. He is 
obliged to go abroad, therefore desires me to consider of 
the means of execution, and call on him before I go to M. 
Necker s. After a walk through the Champs Elysees, I 
go to the Palais Royal and dine with the Duchess of 
Orleans. Thence to the Louvre to get a ticket, which the 
Bishop was to procure for the Assemblee of to-morrow. 
Receive it, and go to M. Le Coulteux s. Converse about 
the means of executing a contract, if any is made. He 
cannot furnish credit or money, etc. See M. Necker. 
He, I find, expects from me a pointed proposal, and tells 
me that M. Le Coulteux had named the quantity I would 
deliver, the price, and the terms. I tell him there is some 
misunderstanding, and take my leave." 

" This morning [November 2oth] I rise early and go to 
the Assemblee. Stay there till four. A tedious session, 
from which I derived a violent headache. Mirabeau and 
Dupont are the two speakers on M. Necker s plan who 
command the most attention, but neither of them, in my 
opinion, derives honor from the manner of treating it. 
Probably it will be adopted, and if so, it will be, I think, 
fatal to their finances, and completely derange them for 
some time to come. Sup at Madame de Stael s ; give her 
my opinion of the speeches of this morning, and show 
one or two things in which M. Dupont was mistaken. 
She does not like this, because he supported her father s 
plan, which she declares to be necessary." 

"Dine to-day [November 24th] with the Prince de 
Broglio. The Comte de Segur dines with us. A pleasant 
company. The Bishop is of the number. After dinner I 
give him some hints as to the objection made by many to 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 235 

the opposers of M. Necker s plan, because they do not 
come forward with a better. Go from hence to M. Neck 
er s. The mayor and the Committee of Subsistence waiting 
to speak with him. Send in my name, and in consequence 
he comes out to the antechamber. I tell him that I can 
not undertake to furnish him with wheat ; that I must 
either ask for it an extravagant price or risk a loss ; that 
I do not choose the first, and will not incur the second ; 
that if he has any other plan for obtaining it, in which I 
can be useful, he may command me. He is a little disap 
pointed at this intelligence. Leave him, and pay my re 
spects to Madame Necker. Leave here and go to the 
Louvre. The insurgents in Brabant seem to be in a fair 
way to success. The Imperialists are in possession of 
Bruxelles only, and are besieged there. Madame de Fla- 
haut, as becomes a faithful ally to the Emperor, quells all 
insurgency on my part. Shortly after M. de Thiard comes 
in. He gives us some account of what has passed in 
Brittany. Among other things, it happened that the mu 
nicipalities quarrelled about subsistence, and the matter 
went so far as to use force on each side. Each in con 
sequence gave orders to a regiment to march against 
the other, for in each a regiment happened to be quar 
tered. Luckily, a compromise took place ; but this is the 
first-fruits of the new constitution of armies and municipal 
ities. There will be many others of the like kind, for, when 
mankind are resolved to disregard as vulgar prejudice 
every principle which has hitherto been established by 
experience for the government of man, endless inconsist 
encies must be expected. Sup here. Make tea for Ma 
dame de Laborde. Madame de Flahaut complains that 
she has not a handsome sugar-dish for her tea-equipage. 
This is by way of introduction to the story that she (who 
pretends to be very avaricious) would not accept of one 



236 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

as a present from me, and that Madame de Laborde, who 
pretends to be disinterested, accepted a handsome cup 
and saucer. In fact, the latter was done in consequence 
of her urgency. I insist that this conduct arises from 
pure malice, and write with my pencil the following : 

Clara, your avarice you boast, 

And boast, too, your good nature ; 
I know not which you prize the most, 

I guess which is the greater. 

The proffered present you refuse, 

But make your friend receive ; 
For what she takes you her abuse, 

And me, for what you leave. 

This has been a fine day, clear but cold. The ice remained 
all day in the shade." 

" Go to see [November 26th] Madame de Brehan and 
M. de Moustier, who are just returned from America. 
Converse with her a considerable time, always inquiring 
news of my country, and she desirous of obtaining the 
state of her own ; natural on both sides, but of course 
much variegated. M. de Moustier has much to say about 
the American debt, and gives reason to believe that no 
bargain can be made for it. I call on the Marechal de 
Segur, who is ill with the gout. Some conversation about 
the proposed reduction of the pensions. I disapprove of 
it, and this disapprobation, which with me is sincere, suits 
very well with the ideas of the Marechal, who is one of the 
most considerable pensioners. See De Moustier again to 
night at Madame de La Suze s. He is now well pleased 
with America and believes in her good disposition and 
resources ; is charged with the request on her part that 
this Court will make no negotiation whatever for the debt, 
but will postpone the instalments for three years longer, 
and then the interest beginning with the next year shall 
be regularly provided for. I tell him that I think M. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 237 

Necker s plan of borrowing on it in Holland is liable to a 
great objection ; viz., that the Dutch will not probably 
lend without being so authorized on the part of the 
United States as to have a claim upon them, because 
otherwise the Government of America might pay the 
amount to France, and refuse to pay anything to Dutch 
individuals. He says he has already spoken to the Comte 
de Montmorin on this subject, and to some members of 
the States-General ; that he will speak also to M. Necker 
whenever he desires it. This will certainly interfere with 
our former plan, and oblige us either to change or to 
abandon it. After a long conversation with him, and much 
amity from him and the Marquise, I take my leave. 

"See M. Laurent Le Coulteux and tell him the plan 
which has been digested, of offering for the debt to France 
as much of the French stocks as would produce the same 
interest. He is so pleased with it that he offers himself to 
be the negotiator, provided he can have sufficient security 
in Holland. This is vastly obliging. Agree to meet at 
Cantaleu s this evening. Go to Van Staphorst s. Tell 
him the objection brought by Moustier to the negotia 
tion which M. Necker has proposed in Holland. He tells 
us a proposition made to him by Lafayette to act as spy 
for discovery of intrigues of the aristocratic party, by 
which, says Lafayette, a civil war may be prevented. We 
advise Van Staphorst to decline that honorable mission. 
Parker adds that it should be declined verbally, so as to 
leave no written trace of the negotiation. I leave them 
together and return home to dress. The Comte de Lux 
embourg comes in and tells me a great deal of news, which 
I forget as fast as I hear it. He has a world of projects, 
too, but I give him one general opinion upon the whole, 
that he and his friends had better take measures for influ 
encing the next elections. This afternoon I see Canta- 



238 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

leu ; he seems to think that De Moustier s intelligence is 
fatal to our project. We have a great deal of useless talk ; 
at length it ends with my desire to Cantaleu that he 
should find out the impression made by De Moustier, 
and my promise to talk to Necker on the subject. 

" Dine at the Louvre with Madame de Flahaut. The 
Bishop and his intimate friend, the Due de Biron, are of 
the party. The Bishop asks my opinion of the American 
debt. I tell him that I think well of it ; it is a debt which 
ought to be paid. The Due de Biron says that he thinks 
it will be paid, and I agree with him in opinion. I tell the 
Bishop that there is a proposition to be presented to M. 
Necker for liquidation of it with French effets bearing 
an equivalent interest. He thinks that the offer ought to 
be accepted. After dinner, visit the Comte de Montmorin ; 
mention to him the proposition of paying the debt with 
effets. He desires money. He says that they have no 
doubt of receiving payment from the United States, but 
that they want now to receive money." 

"The Comte de Luxembourg comes [November 28th], 
and detains me a long time for nothing. Tells me, however, 
that the party of the Nobles are determined to be quiet. 
This is the only wise conduct. A message from Madame 
Necker to dine with her ; I presume that this is for the 
purpose of talking about a supply of wheat which I en 
gaged for. Go to M. Necker s, and am introduced into his 
cabinet. He broaches a conversation on the constitution. 
I declare my opinion that what they are now framing is 
good for nothing, and assign my reasons. He makes some 
inquiries respecting the American Constitution, which I 
reply to. Ask him about wheat and tell him the manner 
in which I would have executed a contract for it had I 
conceived such contract prudent. I tell him that I shall 
lose by the contract for flour, but that nevertheless it shall 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 239 

be executed. Ask him how he stands as to his loan in 
Holland. He says he has some propositions. I tell him 
that I shall make him some which will be agreeable, per 
haps, and then go into the salon, that he may read a long 
piece of writing just put into his hands. Madame de 
Stael comes in, who reproaches me for forsaking her ; I 
apologize, and promise to sup next Wednesday. We have 
a good deal of random conversation. Dine, and after din 
ner tell M. Necker that a person from London gives me 
information respecting the debt which, added to other 
things, will enable me to make him a good offer when he 
has finished with other people. He says we will talk 
about it in his cabinet when I go away. We retire thith 
er, and then I offer him as much of capital in their rentes 
perpetudles as will make the interest of i,6oo,ooof. now 
payable by the United States. He thinks the proposition 
a good one, but says he must have half money. I tell 
him no, that is too much ; he says the sacrifice of the in 
terest is too great, and will expose the bargain to severe 
criticism. He seems to think that the report of Moustier 
is not of sufficient weight to prevent the prosecution of 
his plan in Holland. We finally part, he saying we must 
wait." 

"To-day [December ist] I prepare a note to make M. 
Necker an offer for the debt, which I think he cannot re 
fuse. Dine with M. Boutin ;* pretty large company and a 
very good dinner ires recherche". I have a good deal of con 
versation with the Comte de Moustier. He is preparing 

* M. Boutin, who had filled the offices of Collector General of the Revenue, 
Councillor of State, and Paymaster of the Navy, had made, at an enormous 
expense, a garden, which he called " Tivoli," but for which the popular 
appellation was La Folie-Boutin. It was a ravishing garden, with surprises 
in the way of grottoes, shrubbery, and statues at every turn, and a pavilion 
furnished with princely luxury. In this bewildering place M. Boutin gave 
suppers no less sumptuous than the surroundings. 



240 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

a letter about the American debt, and shows me the heads 
of it. I tell him my plan, though not in detail, and he likes 
it because it tends to defeat the views of M. Duer and his 
associates, Claviere and Warville. I hear that Mr. Short 
is much pleased that I have determined to propose a plan, 
and will call on me to-morrow. The Marquis de Lafa 
yette has spoken to Necker, and the latter has promised not 
to conclude any agreement without a previous communi 
cation to Mr. Short. Arrive very late at the Louvre. 
Communicate to the Bishop my plan for the debt, which 
I tell him I will show him, and which, if refused by M. 
Necker, may probably come before the Assembly. On 
Thursday evening we are to meet at Madame de Flahaut s, 
to consider the discourse he will pronounce on Friday 
morning." 

"This morning [December 2d] Mr. Short calls and I 
show him the proposition I mean to make to M. Necker. 
He is much pleased with it. I tell him that if he approves 
of it I wish he would undertake to recommend it to the 
United States, as he must see that it will promote their 
interest. He tells me that his recommendation can have 
but little weight, as I must know, but that, if necessary, 
he will urge the adoption of it here. He presses me to 
make the proposition immediately. I tell him that I 
mean to show it to Lafayette, and for that purpose to dine 
with him. He likes this. He sets me down at Lafa 
yette s, who arrives sooner than usual from the Hotel de 
Ville, and has but little company. I communicate my 
plan, which he also is pleased with. I then tell him 
something of the Bishop d Autun s plan. He tells me 
that the Bishop is to call upon him Friday evening. He 
says that Necker must be kept for the sake of his name." 

" Have much conversation to-day [December 3d] with 
various persons on speculations they propose in the debt. 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 241 

Dine at the Palais Royal at a restaurateur s. Dr. Senf tells 
me that the affairs of Brabant are going on well, that the 
other Imperial provinces will soon join, that a declaration 
of independence will be the immediate consequence, and 
that a treaty with England and Prussia will speedily fol 
low. This I believe, because it is probable. Take Ma 
dame de Flahaut to the Comedie Frangaise. Return to 
the Louvre. The Bishop comes in, according to agree 
ment. He asks my opinion whether or not to speak to 
morrow in the Assemblee, and tells me the substance of 
what he means to say. I make some observations on the 
heads of his discourse. Advise him to speak, but confine 
himself as much as possible to the line of objections ; 
add some reasons to be given to the Assemblee for not pro 
posing a plan. Urge him to treat the Caisse d Escompte 
with great tenderness; to blame the administrators as 
such for their imprudence in lending the Government 
more than their capital, but excuse them at the same time 
as citizens for their patriotism ; treat the arrearage to them 
beyond the first loan of 70,000,000 f. as a sacred debt, de 
manding preference of all others ; criticise M. Necker s 
plan very lightly if it is like to fall, but if he thinks it will 
be adopted, very severely ; to deal much in predictions as 
to the fatal effects of paper money, the agiotage (stock-job 
bing) which must ensue, and the prostration of morals 
arising from that cause ; finally, the danger which must 
follow to the public, and the advantage to a future admin 
istrator who shall think proper to speculate in the paper 
or funds ; that these observations become him as a clergy 
man and as a statesman, and they will be the more proper 
as his enemies charge him with sinister designs of this 
sort. He goes away to consider, as he says, whether he 
shall say anything. I urge again that, when he comes into 
the ministry, he will want the Caisse d Escompte, and tell 
16 



242 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

him at the same time to remove from the mind of Lafayette 
the idea that he is connected with the Duke of Orleans." 

" Go to M. de Montmorin s [December 4th] and meet, ac 
cording to appointment, the Comte de Moustier and Ma 
dame de Brehan. Show him my proposition intended for M. 
Necker. He seems not fully to approve. I rather think that 
he withholds assent because he thinks it like to be very suc 
cessful, but I may be deceived. At going away the Comte 
de Montmorin asks why I depart so soon. I tell him that 
I am going to M. Necker s, etc. ; that if he chooses I will 
communicate to him my proposition, not as a minister but 
as a friend. He asks to see it, examines it with attention, 
requires explanations, and finally approves it much, and 
offers to speak to M. Necker on the subject. I desire him 
not, lest M. Necker should think I have been deficient in 
respect. Go to M. Necker s ; he is gone to council. Con 
verse with Madame in such a way as to please her. She 
asks me to dine to-morrow. I mention my prior engage 
ment, but say I will come after dinner, as I wish to see M. 
Necker. She tells me I had better corne to dinner. I 
will if I can. Go to the opera. After a while the Comte 
de Luxembourg comes into the loge. He has something 
to say of politics. I take Madame de Flahaut home. 
The Comte de Luxembourg comes in ; he takes her aside 
and has a conversation, the purport whereof is to offer to 
the Bishop the support of the aristocratic faction. I doubt 
much his being authorized to make this offer. Leave them 
together, and go to Madame de StaeTs. Music here. She 
sings and does everything to impress the heart of the 
Comte de Segur. Her lover, De Narbonne, is returned. 
Segur assures me of his fidelity to his wife. I join heart 
ily in praise of her, and truly assure him that I love her as 
much for her children as for her own sake, and she is cer 
tainly a very lovely woman. After supper De Narbonne 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 243 

tells us that he is authorized by Franche Comte to accuse 
the Comitt des Recherches. This committee is very like 
what was called in the State of New York the Tory Com 
mittee, of which Duer was a leading memb.er, a committee 
for detecting and defeating all conspiracies, etc. Thus it 
is that mankind in similar situations always adopt a corre 
spondent conduct. I had some conversation before sup 
per with the Comte de Segur, who disapproves of the 
Bishop s oration, and so, indeed, do most others. And 
they blame particularly those things which I had advised 
him to alter. He has something of the author about him. 
But the tender attachment to our literary productions is 
by no means suitable to a minister : to sacrifice great ob 
jects for the sake of small ones is an inverse ratio of moral 
proportion. Leave Madame de StaeTs early. Set down 
M. de Bonnet, who tells me that I am to succeed Mr. 
Jefferson. I tell him that if the place is offered it will be 
difficult for me not to accept, but that I wish it may not 
be offered." 

" This morning [December 5th], Mr. Parker calls and 
tells me that Necker will treat upon the terms I am to 
propose. He says that he is convinced, from the conver 
sation he has had with Ternant, that Necker would not 
have been permitted to deal for the debt under par, and 
that therefore no agreement could have taken effect un 
less concluded privately. Go to Madame Necker s to 
dine. Madame de Stael comes in, and at the instigation 
of her husband asks me to dine next Wednesday. At 
dinner we converse pretty freely of political subjects and, 
in consequence of an observation I make, Necker exclaims 
in English, Ridiculous nation ! He does not know that 
my servant understands English. After dinner in the 
salon I take him aside, to ask if he has considered my 
proposition. He tells me that a Colonel Ternant has a 



244 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

plan. I tell him that the one I now give is the same, that 
my last proposition was the utmost that the houses here 
would agree to, and therefore what I now offer is without 
their participation. He asks if we are prepared to lay 
down the French effets. I tell him no. He says he can 
not listen to propositions which give him no solid secu 
rity. I reply that no house in Europe is sufficient for so 
large a sum, and therefore security as such is nonsense, 
but that he shall run no risk, for he shall not part with 
the effets till he receives payment. He objects that he 
will still have no certainty of the payment, and wants to 
know how I shall make the operation. I tell him that it 
is by means of our connections in America and in Hol 
land, that we can do the business better than he can, and 
therefore we can give him better terms than he can ob 
tain from others. He insists that the proposition shall be 
supported by solid security before he will consider it ; I 
tell him that this is not just, that there are two points for 
his consideration : First, whether the offer is good, and, 
secondly, whether he is sufficiently secured ; that if the 
offer is not good, it is useless to talk of security, but if it 
be such as he ought to accept, then it will be proper to 
know what kind of responsibility will be sufficient. In 
the meantime it would render me ridiculous to ask secu 
rity for performance of a bargain not made. To this he 
replies that if I once get his promise I shall make use of 
it as a ground to negotiate upon and go about knocking 
at the doors of different people. This is not a very deli 
cate comparison. I reply in a tone of dissatisfaction, 
mingled perhaps with a little pride, that I shall knock at 
no doors but such as are already open to me. Our con 
versation is loud, he makes it so purposely, and at this 
point Madame de Stael, with the good-natured intention 
of avoiding ill-humor, desires me to send her father to sit 



1789-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 245 

next to her. I tell her, smiling, that it is a dangerous 
task to send away M. Necker, and those who tried it once 
had sufficient cause to repent it. This latter observation 
brings back good-humor, and he seems inclined to talk 
further with me, but I take no further notice of him, and, 
after chatting a little with different people, I take leave. 
Go to Parker s and tell him what has passed, which of 
course disappoints him not a little. We consider of what 
is next to be done, and, after canvassing the matter a good 
deal, agree that we will sleep upon it, and give him time 
to cool." 

" This morning [December 6th] Mr. Parker comes and 
tells me that Colonel Ternant says Necker shall be 
forced to accept the proposition. He will meet me this 
day at the Comte de Montmorin s at dinner. Go to Ma 
dame de Flahaut s. We converse on affairs ; the Bishop re 
grets much that he did not follow my advice. She cen 
sured severely last night his advisers, in the presence of 
M. de Suzeval, who is one of the principal ones. He ac 
knowledged that he had done wrong, and regretted his 
weakness. The Comte de Luxembourg, who was to have 
been of her party for dinner, sends an apology, and we 
then agree that I shall stay and dine in order to converse 
with the Bishop about Laborde s plan of finance. The 
Bishop arrives, and tells me what has passed on the sub 
ject. It appears that M. Laborde has behaved with mean 
ness and treachery. The plan is Panchaut s. It was de 
livered to Laborde by the Bishop to consider of the 
practicability in a pecuniary point of view, and with a 
declaration that he desired to obtain by that means a pro 
vision for Panchauts family, who are indigent. After 
many conferences, Laborde declared that the two hundred 
millions required could not be obtained. In consequence 
the Bishop made the declarations contained in his speech, 



246 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

and M. Laborde came forward the next day with his plan, 
which requires three hundred millions, and criticised what 
had been said by his friend. The plan seems to be very 
much like what I had thought of, and Madame de Fla- 
haut, to whom I had given this morning a few outlines of 
my scheme, was astonished at the resemblance or, rather, 
at the identity. Consider some notes, etc., which the 
Bishop is about to add to his speech now in press. I 
then communicate to him my plan for the American debt. 
But first I ask whether a caisse d escompte will be 
established, and whether the American debt will be trans 
ferred to it as a part of the fund. He tells me that he thinks 
both will be done. I tell him that I wish they may, and then 
state to him M. Necker s conversation with me, and remark 
on the folly of asking from an individual adequate secu 
rity to the amount of forty millions. He agrees with me 
entirely, and I think that M. Necker will sooner or later 
have reason to regret that he treated my offer with so 
much contempt. Immediately after dinner I go to M. de 
Montmorin s. He is engaged in conversation with a gen 
tleman who detains him until he is obliged to retire to his 
bureau. Go and sit with Madame de Corney some time, 
and explain the nature of my agreement for flour, as I 
find that De Corney had been informed of a contract I had 
made with the city and which does not exist. He might 
have supposed that I did not deal candidly with him. Go 
hence to Madame Dumolley s. Some political conversa 
tion, with a degree of heat that is inconceivable among so 
polite a people. Thence to the Louvre, where I stay till 
near twelve. A large company. I tell the Bishop what 
has passed with De Cantaleu, for which he is much obliged 
to me." 

"To-day [December 8th], while I am calling on M. de 
Montmorin, who is trying to discover Necker s reasons 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 247 

against the proposition, De Moustier comes in. He says 
that he has just delivered a letter to the porter on the sub 
ject of the American debt ; that all negotiation upon it 
must be deferred. I think he has endeavored to throw 
cold water on my plan. Tell Colonel Ternant so, who says 
that he should equally oppose it in any other circum 
stances, but that the distresses of France form a sufficient 
reason now for the adoption." 

" On Wednesday at three I dine with Madame de Stae l. 
After dinner M. Clermont-Tonnerre reads us a discourse 
he intends to deliver in the Assemblee. It is very elo 
quent and much admired. I make, however, one or two 
observations on the reasoning, which bring the company 
to an opinion adverse to his. He goes away mortified, 
and thus I think I have made an enemy. We shall see. 
Go to the Carrousel, and stay till twelve. The company is 
large and I employ the time in reading. The Comte de 
Luxembourg tells me that some persons meditate a mas 
sacre of the King, Queen, and Nobles. I tell him that I 
do not believe it." 

"To-day [December i2th], dine with the Duchess at the 
Palais Royal. Afterwards take Madame de Flahaut to 
the opera * Didon, with the Chercheuse d esprit, a ballet. 
These form anything except rational amusement. M. 
Necker s chief clerk, who was the other day at M. de Mont- 
morin s, assured M. de Montmorin that he thought my 
proposal for the debt such as the minister ought to adopt. 
A small company at the Louvre ; we sup, and I leave them 
together at play. The Bishop d Autun says the committee 
have been engaged all this evening with M. Necker in 
considering how one hundred and thirty millions of paper 
can be issued with the least inconveniency. The affairs 
are in a sad condition indeed, and I think they will not 
mend speedily." 



248 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XI. 

" After dinner to-day [December i3th], go to the Lou 
vre and find my amiable friend in tears. She has been to 
see her religieuse, who is ill and suffering from a scorbutic 
complaint, and suffering from the neglect of her sister 
nuns also. She reproaches herself with not having been 
to pay her a visit for several days, by which means she 
was ignorant of her situation. She has given orders for a 
better treatment. I administer all the consolation in my 
power, and that consists first in sympathy, which is very 
sincere ; then in attenuating the evil. I then take her to 
the opera, and leave her there." 

"At Madame de Chastellux s to-day [December i4th], 
we have a large breakfast party, and the Abbe Delille 
reads or rather repeats to us some of his verses, which are 
fine and well delivered. Go to the Louvre. The Bishop 
is there ; he mentions a plan for issuing billets d 1 Etat bear 
ing interest. I show him the folly of such a measure. 
He says it is a plan of Montesquiou s, to which I reply 
that, as none of the plans likely to be adopted are good 
they may as well take that of M. Necker, since otherwise 
they enable his friends to say that the mischief arises from 
not having followed his advice ; that, besides, if paper 
money be issued, that of the Caisse is quite as good as 
any other. He says that by taking a bad step France 
may be ruined. I tell him that is impossible, and he may 
tranquillize himself about it ; that whenever they resort to 
taxation credit will be restored, and, the credit once re 
stored, it will be easy to put the affairs of the Caisse in 
order. Go to the Palais Royal, not having been able to 
leave Madame de Flahaut till four. I arrive when dinner 
is half over. After dinner the Abbe Delille entertains 
us with some further repetitions. Go to club, and thence 
to the Comte de Moustier s. Sit a while with him, and Ma 
dame de Brehan. Go together to Madame de Puisignieu s. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 249 

Spend the evening. Conversation chiefly with De Mous- 
tier. I find that, notwithstanding public professions as 
to the public proceedings of America, both De Moustier 
and Madame de Brehan have a thorough dislike to the 
country and its inhabitants. The society of New York is 
not sociable, the provisions of America are not good, the 
climate is very damp, the wines are abominable, the peo 
ple are excessively indolent." 



250 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XII. 



CHAPTER XII. 

The opera. Gardell and Vestris. Strictures on the character of the peo 
ple of France. The Caisse Patriotique opened. Paris gay with uni 
forms. People sacrifice their jewels for the public benefit. Morris 
disapproves of Necker s plan of finance. Resolutions passed in the 
Assembly which affect Protestants. The public debt. The king s 
brother goes to the Commons. Monsieur and the Favras conspiracy. 
Lafayette intriguing deeply. Morris makes punch for the society 
at Madame de Vannoise s. His first suggestion of settling the 
banks of the St. Lawrence. Asked for information about America. 
Ceremony of saluting the ladies with a kiss on New Year s eve. 

THE opera to-night [December i5th] is a new one, 
and very good. I take Madame de Flahaut to en 
joy it with me. It has as little of the inevitable evil of an 
opera as can easily be supposed, but the radical vices re 
main ; the scenery is fine. After the opera, Gardell and 
then Vestris exhibit their muscular genius. The latter 
seems almost to step on air. It is a prodigious piece of 
human mechanism. Take M. and Madame Robert (the 
painter) from the opera, and go afterwards to the Louvre. 
M. St. Priest is here. We are to sup trio. The Vicomte 
de St. Priest comes in a coxcomb, and, what is worse, an 
old one. The conversation is dull." 

"To-day [December i6th] I hear that the Comte de 
Montmorin says M. Necker is ready to accept my pro 
posal as soon as a solid house in Europe will come for 
ward with the offer ; that the plan I have offered suits 
(as M. de Montmorin says) this government exactly, and 
must be very well if it suits the United States as well. At 
Madame de Laborde s I am introduced to Madame d Houde- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2$ I 

tot, who is the protectrice of Crevecceur, who is much 
courted by the academicians, who was the only beloved 
of Rousseau, who had at the same time another lover, a 
happy one, and who is, I think, one of the ugliest women 
I ever saw, even without her squint, which is of the worst 
kind. 

" Madame de Flahaut tells me to-night that Montesquieu 
will propose to-morrow a plan of finance, which consists 
in issuing a large sum of billets d Etat bearing interest ; 
but if the report of the committee to be made by Le Can- 
taleu is adopted by acclamation, Montesquiou will be 
silent. He and the Bishop were with her this evening 
and they discussed the matter together. She asks my 
opinion. I tell her it is good for nothing, and give one or 
two reasons. I add that the more reasonable their plan, 
the more unreasonable is their conduct in offering it. 
But the character of this country is precipitation, not 
to mention the vaulting ambition which o erleaps itself. 
There is, besides, a spur to prick the sides of their intent 
with all the sharpness of necessity, for both these gentle 
men are not a little out at elbows. The Marquis de Mon 
tesquiou comes in. He tells me the plan of finance re 
ported by the committee and that which he means to move 
in substitution. The first is complicated, and it would 
seem that the farmers have, by bewildering, convinced 
themselves. The second is simple, but liable to a little ob 
jection which the author had overlooked ; I state it. He 
endeavors to obviate it ; in effect, he feels attached to his 
plan, which is natural, but if adopted, I think it will work 
evil to him as well as to the country, for the paper money 
must depreciate. He asks whether, in my opinion, the 
paper proposed by the committee will sustain its value. I 
tell him no, but that he had better let the plan of his op 
ponents do the mischief. He seems to be convinced 



252 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XII. 

against his will, and therefore, according to Hudibras, is, 
I presume, of the same opinion still." 

On the 1 7th of December the report of the ten com 
missioners was presented to the Assembly. On the ipth, 
Morris says : " The Bishop just come from the Assem- 
blee ; says they have passed tumultuously the plan of 
the committee grounded on the plan of M. Necker. He 
seems much dissatisfied with it." Necker s plan adopted, 
the Caisse Patriotique was opened, and into it flowed 
every imaginable thing, of great or small value precious 
stones, articles of jewellery, "mouches" boxes, some time 
since abandoned by the ladies. Great ladies sacrificed their 
jewels, and adorned themselves with ribbons instead. 
Madame de Genlis and Madame de Bulard, to give em 
phasis to their patriotic feelings, wore pieces of the stone 
of the Bastille set in laurel leaves, pinned on with a forest 
of ribbons of the three colors. The king and queen con 
tributed their share, in gold plates and dishes of great 
value. A spasm of generosity possessed all ranks, and 
rivalled the soldier fever, which for months had been 
strong, and had filled the streets of Paris with the most 
fantastic costumes imaginable, of which red, green, and 
gold epaulets were a brilliant feature. Each district had 
its distinctive color and mode, but all united in car 
rying the tricolor, in the manufacture of which all the 
available material in Paris seems to have been sacrificed. 
During the last month of 1789 a loan of eighty millions 
was made to the Caisse d Escompte. As to the new plan, 
the diary says : 

"At Madame de Segur s this morning [December 2oth] 
her brother, M. d Aguesseau asked my opinion of the new 
plan of finance. I gave it very candidly, but find from 
Madame Chastellux this evening that it made a very som 
bre impression upon his mind. M. de Montmorin tells 



J7 8 9 .] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 253 

me that M. Necker is pleased with my proposition, and 
willing to treat with me, provided I can show that I am au 
thorized by persons of sufficient property in Europe to 
create a due responsibility. I communicate to him what 
passed with M. Necker, and, if I can judge rightly of this 
conversation, the Count at least (and probably M. Necker) 
is desirous of bringing this business to a conclusion. He 
asks me if he may speak to M. Necker about it. I tell 
him yes, and that I will take an opportunity one day to 
call at M. Necker s coffee, and converse with him if he 
chooses." 

"The Assemblee passed to-day [December 24th] a reso 
lution which gives the Protestants admission (by neces 
sary implication) to the offices of state. The Bishop is 
much pleased with it, but said nothing in its support. I 
advise him to have his conduct remarked in some of the 
journals, because that his order is already against him, 
and therefore he must secure the interest of those who are 
against his order." 

" M. de Moustier tells me to-day [December 25th] that 
some persons were arrested last night in consequence of a 
plot formed to assassinate M. de Lafayette, M. Bailly, and 
M. Necker, and to carry the King off into Picardy. I don t 
believe a word of the plot. It will, however, serve a certain 
purpose to the inventors. Moustier tells me further that 
Necker is prepared to accept my offer, and vaunts much 
his services in the business, all which I know how to esti 
mate at the just value. The conversation at Madame de 
Chastellux s this Christmas evening is sensible, but not mar- 
quante. The Comtesse de Segur tells me that M. du 
Fresne, who is M. Necker s right-hand man, says that his 
chief is not equal to his business. The Duchess comes in, 
and Mr. Short. I tell him of Moustier s eagerness to show 
his utility to America, and add that certainly if the plan 



254 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XII. 

takes effect it must be attributed to him, Parker, and myself. 
Go to Madame de Guibert s to supper. After supper a 
question is agitated respecting the Dauphin, father to 
Louis Seize and the Due de Choiseul, which leads to the 
subject of poisons. M. de Laborde mentions a very ex 
traordinary kind of poison as being notorious, and de 
tailed in the dictionary of medicines. It consists in fat 
tening a hog with portions of arsenic, and then distilling 
his flesh, which gives a poisonous water of slow but sure 
effect. He appeals, then, to the Count de Thiare for the 
truth of this extraordinary fact. A lady at court asked 
for a glass of water. It was brought, and she drank it. 
Immediately she burst into tears, declaring that she was 
poisoned, and told the King, It is that villain/ point 
ing to one of his attendants, who has done it. The 
King rallied her on the subject, but she went away greatly 
distressed, and died in about eight days. The person she 
had designated asked leave, in the interim, to go and look 
after his affairs in Savoie, went off, and was never heard 
of. We afterwards get upon finance, and M. de Guibert, 
who loves to hear himself talk, says a good deal to prove 
that he knows but little. He is, however, a violent Neck- 
erist. I leave this house before twelve, being not very 
well. It has been a fine day, but Paris, on this great fes 
tival of the nativity, shows how much she has fallen by 
the revolution. The paper of the Caisse keeps going 
down, and is now at two per cent, discount. The actions 
also fall fast, which is very natural." 

"A member of the Committee of Finance mentions at the 
club to-day [December 26th] that the totality of the public 
debt here is about 4,700,000,000!, including herein all re 
imbursements of charges of every kind, and calculating 
the viaglres [life annuities] at ten years purchase ; that it 
may amount, perhaps, to 4,800,000,0001., that is, to 200,000,- 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 255 

ooo pounds sterling. This, then, is the extreme of a burthen 
which this kingdom totters under. The Abbe d Espagnac 
insists that it is not so much by a great deal. While the dis 
pute on this subject is at its height, a gentleman arrives 
who communicates the extraordinary intelligence that 
Monsieur, the King s brother, has been to the Commons 
and made a speech on the subject of a charge circulated 
against him yesterday, that he was at the head of the sup 
posed plot against M. Bailly and M. de Lafayette. Go to 
Madame de Chastellux s. While there the Chevalier de 
Graave brings us Monsieur s speech. It is very well writ 
ten, but has the fault of calling himself a citizen, and, 
again, his audience fellow-citizens. Go to the Louvre. 
Madame tells the history of this speech. Monsieur yes 
terday, upon hearing of the slander, applied to the Due de 
Livi, who, not knowing what advice to give him, applied 
to the Bishop d Autun, who made the speech for him. 
This morning Monsieur applied to the King, and asked 
him if he meant to send another of his brothers out of the 
kingdom ; then went on to complain of the slander. This 
touches Lafayette, who has too many of these little matters 
on the anvil. It was then determined that Monsieur should 
go to the Ville, etc." 

"At half-past two [December 27th] visit Madame de 
Flahaut. The Bishop d Autun is there. She reads me a 
letter he has written to the author of the Courrier de 
r Europe explaining his plan. I make to him sundry ob 
servations concerning it, but refuse to take it with me and 
make notes. After he is gone she asks me not to men 
tion to Lafayette, as was intended, the archiepiscopacy 
of Paris for the Bishop d Autun, but to show the advan 
tages which may be derived from the step taken by Mon 
sieur. Go to M. de Lafayette s. After dinner I speak 
to Lafayette about Monsieur s speech to the Commons. 



256 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XII. 

He takes Short* and me into his closet. Tells us that for 
a long time he has had information of a plot ; that he 
has followed the track, and at length took up M. de 
Favras ; that on M. de Favras was found a letter from 
Monsieur which seemed to show that he was but too deep 
ly concerned in it ; that he had immediately waited upon 
him with that letter, which he delivered, telling Monsieur 
that it was known only to him and M. Bailly consequent 
ly, that he was not compromised ; that Monsieur was 
much rejoiced at this intelligence ; that yesterday morn 
ing, however, he sent for him, and, being surrounded by 
his courtiers, spoke in high terms respecting a note which 
had been circulated the evening before charging him 
with being at the head of the conspiracy. Lafayette told 
him that he knew of but one way to discover the authors, 
which was by offering a reward, which should be done ; 
that Monsieur then declared his determination to go to 
the town-house in the afternoon, and that in consequence 
due preparation was made to receive him when he should 
come ; that he came, and pronounced the speech we have 
seen, which was written by Mirabeau, whom he considers 
as an abandoned rascal. Every man is dear to himself. 
All the world knew Mirabeau to be a rascal when Lafa 
yette connected himself with him ; but it is in this moment 
only that he feels the misery of such a connection. I re 
mind him of the warnings I had given with respect to 
Mirabeau, and add the intelligence which the Comte de 
Luxembourg desired me to convey ; viz., that Mirabeau 
had sworn he would ruin Lafayette. I then tell him that 
this step of Monsieur s has thrown the cards into his hands ; 
that he has placed himself at the head of the revolution, 
in which place he ought to be kept, because, if there 

* William Short, charge d affaires during Jefferson s official residence at 
Paris, was at this time the only representative of the United States in Paris. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 257 

should happen any counter-revolution, he secures the heads 
of all others against accidents, and if the revolution is 
fully effected, the nullity of his character will of course se 
clude him from all weight and authority. He relishes 
this idea. I then take the opportunity to inculcate upon 
his mind anew the advantage of an administration whose 
characters are fair, which appears strongly in the case of 
M. Necker, to whose probity everything is pardoned. He 
feels conviction, but it will not last. His temper is turned 
towards intrigue and must unite itself to them of similar 
disposition. At going away I ask him if he sees often the 
gentleman I presented to him. He says that he does not. 
Mentions, however, his name (the Bishop d Autun), which 
I did not intend, and tells me that he desired to have given 
him the King s library, with the Abbe de Sieyes * under 
him, as a step toward r Education nationale, which is the 
Bishop s hobby-horse. I undertake to make this com 
munication at his request. Visit Madame de Chastellux. 
She tells me that Monsieur is not much applauded in so 
ciety, that is, in good company. I am not at all surprised 
at this. Go from hence to Madame de Laborde s, having 
first written a little extempore address to the Duchess as 
from Madame de Chastellux, to whom she had presented 
a small clock comme dtrennes : 

To show how the minutes glide swiftly away, 

Dear Princess, a present you send ; 
Oh come, by your presence this loss to repay, 

Oh come at the call of your friend. 

Your goodness has taught me those moments to prize, 

Your kindness their value bestows, 
And my love, like the bounty which beams from your eyes, 

Each moment more fervently glows." 

* Abbe Sieyes, a central figure through all the years of the French Revolu 
tion, from the moment of writing, in 1789, the brochure entitled, " Qu est-ce 
que le Tiers Etat," until ten years later he was dismissed and placed in the 

7 



258 DTARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XII. 

" Dine to-day [December 30th] with the Duchesse d Or- 
leans. Take tea with Madame de Chastellux a nd then go 
to Madame d Houdetot s. Her lover, M. de St. Lambert, 
is here. Conversation is sensible and agreeable enough, 
but I think I shall not go often. Of all Cupid s maga 
zines the least valuable, in my opinion, is his cabinet of 
antiquities. Have a conversation with M. de Montmorin 
and chat a while with the ladies, and, observing some al 
manacs on the chimney-piece, I take out my pencil and 
address a few lines to Madame de Beaumont, his daugh 
ter : 

How days and months and years succeed, 

Clara, you here behold ; 
But while you look on this, take heed, 

Both you and I grow old. 

Those days which come, the past destroy, 

Do not too long delay ; 
For every hour, not spent in joy, 

Is so much thrown away. 

She is more pleased with this than she expresses, for the 
moral is rather to be adopted than approved. Go hence 
to a party at Madame de Vannoise s. The intention, I find, 
is to hear the harmonica and drink punch. I am requested 
to mix that liquor and, in order that my glasses may pro 
duce equal music with those of the performer, I make it 
very strong. Madame de Laborde comes and sits next to 
me, with M. Bonnet. I repeat to her the lines I had writ 
ten for Madame de Beaumont. She, of course, objects to 
the liberality of the sentiment, and M. Bonnet, who is to 
judge and can understand English only by the eye, though 

hands of Bonaparte. The constitution he drew for France was conceived 
with a view of transforming the popular beliefs and principles ; beginning a 
new order of things, not working to perfect the old. He was of bourgeois 
birth. 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 259 

he has translated Tristram Shandy, gives me his pencil 
and a piece of paper. I address to her a demonstration 
of my theme instead of copying what I had written : 

You find my morals somewhat free, 

But why enthral the mind ? 
The truest doctrine, trust to me, 

Is nature unconfined. 

What she commands let us obey, 

Nor strive to be too pure ; 
All human maxims lead astray 

And only hers are sure. 

I do not not know whether this is exact, but it is con 
venient, and will, I know, be more strictly followed by 
those who condemn it than by the author. A reputation 
either good or bad as to morals is easily acquired. To 
judge a man by his actions requires a degree of attention 
which few have a right to expect, and few are willing to 
pay. It is much more convenient to judge from the con 
versation than from the conduct. 

" At the club to-day we have a strange story of a 
sentinel stabbed, and the instruments left behind in 
scribed, Va-t en attendre Fayette. I profess, as usual, 
my disbelief. Go to the Louvre. The Due de Biron, 
1 Eveque d Autun, and M. de St. Foi, who dined here, 
are still with Madame, who is dressing to go to the 
Comedie. I am vexed at this. The Bishop and M. de St. 
Foi retire to a consultation, which is, I suppose, about his 
letter to the Conrrier de r Europe ; when that is finished, I 
tell the Bishop what Lafayette had desired me to com 
municate. I add that I did not mention the archbishopric 
because Madame desired me not, but more because, not 
withstanding the fair opportunity, I persisted in the opin 
ion transmitted by her, for which I had not, however, given 



26O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XII. 

to her the reasons ; that I think he should speak first him 
self, because he is of too elevated a rank to deal by an in 
termediary ; if he were of an inferior grade, I would ask 
for him. He approves of this. Madame asks me to go to 
the play, which I refuse, and to Madame de Laborde s, 
which I decline ; I offer, however, to set her down at the 
play-house, which she accepts of. Go to Madame de 
Chastellux s. M. de Brabancon comes in, to whom I 
communicate an idea which has occurred to my mind of 
forming a settlement upon the banks of the River St. 
Lawrence. He seems pleased with it, and will speak to 
the persons of his acquaintance who want to go out to 
America." 

" Goto Madame de Laborde s to supper [December 3 ist]. 
Madame d Houdetot tells me that she dined at M. Necker s. 
I find that his family are much hurt at a refusal of the 
Assemblee to accept a gift proffered from Geneva, which is 
considered as a slight to M. Necker. She tells me that the 
Abbe Rayneval has addressed an excellent letter to the 
Assemblee. I suppose from hence that it is a criticism upon 
their conduct, which will not, I think, do them much 
good. 

" This morning two persons come to see me who 
are determined to go out to America, and to purchase 
there my Raritan trust. I am to write a letter for them 
to New York. A person calls to obtain information 
about America, which I give, and also advice. Write, and 
then go to dine with M. Millet. After dinner one of the 
King s pages comes in, who is to begin his tour of duty 
to-morrow. He tells us of the wonderful sagacity, under 
standing, and instruction of the King, his virtues, etc. He 
must be very confident, I think, of the credulity of his au 
dience. M. de Moustier, who had spoken very favorably 
of him to me, and particularly as being an honest man, 



1789.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 26 1 

looks somewhat ashamed. A good deal of company at the 
Louvre. At midnight the gentlemen kiss the ladies ; I do 
not attempt this operation, because there is some resist 
ance, and I like only the yielding kiss and that from lips 
I love." 

Many people in Paris were already looking toward 
America as offering more safety if not comfort than any 
place nearer home, in the general upheaval of society 
that they felt was surely coming ; and much of Morris s 
time was occupied in giving advice and assistance to the 
emigrants. Several colonization schemes had already 
been set on foot in Paris by Americans anxious to get rid 
of their unproductive lands. One of the most shameful and 
cruel of these projects was the famous Scioto enterprise, 
and the founding of Gallipolis on the Ohio. Joel Barlow 
and Duer were among the men who furthered the emi 
gration of hundreds of unfortunate families, lured to de 
struction by pictures of a salubrious climate and fertile 
soil. Morris, who was entirely convinced of the rot 
tenness of the Scioto Company, cautioned and tried to 
protect the unwary Frenchmen from too hastily rushing 
into the forests of America. 



262 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 



CHAPTER V XIII. 

Comparison between the newspaper of 1777 and 1789. New Year s salu 
tations. Scene at the Chatelet. Madame de Flahaut s boudoir. 
Stoppage of pensions. Lively discussion thereon in Madame de 
StaeTs salon. Visit to the Comte de Chaste! lux. Message from the 
Parlement of Brittany. Morris examines table - ornaments for 
Washington. Decree in the Assembly concerning office-holding. 
Adherence to the constitution required. Riot in Paris. A handsome 
surtout for the table sent to Washington. Need of cultivating the 
taste of America. The Duchess of Orleans obliged to economize. 
The Cardinal de Rohan. The Bishop of Orleans. Marmontel. 
Letter to Washington. Morris writes a note on the situation of 
affairs for the king. Delivered to the queen by her physician. Anec 
dote of the king. He goes to the Assembly. Conversation with 
Lafayette. 

NOT the least important of the stirring events of the 
year just closed (1789) was the sudden development 
of the great and far-reaching power of journalism. Al 
ready Marat, Camille Desmoulins, Loustalot, and the 
principal journalists of the Revolution, had forced them 
selves before the public ; and the genius of the Revolu 
tion had spoken through their medium with telling effect. 
There is a striking comparison between the first daily 
paper which was published in Paris in 1777, with its arti 
cle on the " Almanac of the Muses," its letter describing 
some " Vagary of Voltaire s," " Two Facts," and a "Witty 
Thing," and the violent organs of the Girondin party, or 
the power wielded by the pen of Camille Desmoulins, 
while the Revolution was in full swing. And now was 
instituted what might almost be called the cult of the 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 263 

Lantern, for which someone wrote a sacrilegious litany 
supplicating it to avenge the wrongs of France and have 
pity on the people, with the refrain, " Effroi des aristo 
crats, vengez-nous." The street lamp only came into gen 
eral use in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV. Before 
his time, for many years, the Parisians had been in the 
habit of setting a lamp in a conspicuous window during 
times of danger ; but under Louis XIV. the lantern in the 
streets became an object of great admiration. The first 
and most interesting lantern of Paris hung on a house 
opposite the Hotel de Ville below a bust of the Grand 
Monarque, and during the reign of Louis XVI. this iron 
branch came to be at once interesting and terrifying to 
the aristocrats. The year 1790 was more or less quietly 
ushered in at the capital, but throughout France cha 
teaux were burned, their owners cruelly outraged and 
banished, a vast amount of property of all kinds des 
troyed, and terror and confusion reigned supreme. 

"The first day of the year," Morris says, "some 
friends call and give me the salutations of the season, and 
I go [January ist] round and pay sundry visits of the sea 
son, among others at the Chatelet to the Baron Besenval. 
He is a little vexed at finding new delays in his trial. He 
receives a visit from the dames de la Halle, who in very 
bad French, though Parisians, make him their sincere 
compliments, promise friendship and assistance, which are 
not to be despised. He of course treats them all with 
respect, and Mesdames d Oudenarde and La Caze stimu 
late them to acts of violence. This is truly characteristic 
of wrathful women. I go to M. de Lafayette s. A long 
time before the company assemble. Dine at half-past 
four. He tells me that Monsieur and Mirabeau are closely 
allied, that one is a weak and indolent creature, the other 
an active and artful rascal. I tell him that they must fin- 



264 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

ish the trial of Besenval because the people begin to take 
his part, and that of course a violent torrent may be turned 
against his prosecutors ; this affects him. To my sur 
prise he tells me that, notwithstanding my criticisms on 
the Assemblee, I must acknowledge that their constitution 
is better than that of England. I assure him that he is 
much mistaken if he imagines that to be my opinion. 
Visit Madame de Stael, who expresses very kindly her 
apprehension that I had forgotten her ; stay till half-past 
ten, and go to the Louvre, where the Bishop d Autun is 
waiting for me. Explain to him a plan which I had com 
municated to Madame for purchasing facilities in America 
and in which she is to be interested. He tells me that, if 
the advantage is great and the operation solid, he thinks 
he can obtain two millions. I tell him that I wish to con 
fine the object to one million. We are to talk further. 
He observes on what I say that the American debt would 
furnish a good speculation. I tell him that I am already 
engaged in it ; that it is so large an object that the junc 
tion of many capitalists became necessary. Madame be 
ing ill, I find her with her feet in warm water, and when 
she is about to take them out, one of her women being 
employed in that operation, the Bishop employs himself 
in warming her bed with a warming-pan, and I look on. 
It is curious enough to see a reverend father of the church 
engaged in this pious operation." 

" Go to the club [January 4th]. The National Assembly 
have stopped the pensions, giving only 3,ooof. for arrear 
ages to the first instant. The list is to be examined be 
tween this and the ist of July next, for the purpose of 
reformation, and absentees are to receive nothing until 
their return. Go to Madame de StaeTs, where this mat 
ter is discussed pretty much at large. I tell them that 
when privileges were abolished the road was opened for 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 265 

the destruction of all property. This gives rise to an end 
less dispute, in which she shows much genius and little 
good breeding. The opinions are various, but they will 
all be alike. I threw out the idea on purpose to make an 
impression on some who have, I know, styled me aristo 
crat, etc., because I do not approve of their sentiments. 

" I find Madame de Flahaut au desespoir about the re 
duction of the pensions, but she has very little reason. I 
convince her of this, or, rather, she was already convinced 
of it, but says she will cry very loud. Her servants this 
morning have waited on her, with the assurance that they 
will, if necessary, live on bread and water for the next six 
months. The Bishop d Autun comes in. She had told 
me, before his arrival, that Monsieur has written a letter 
to the King demanding a seat in council. It is in concert 
with the Bishop and the Due de Livi. The Bishop says 
that the dfrret respecting the pensions would not have 
taken effect but for the Abbe de Montesquiou. Dine with 
M. de Montmorin. The pensions are of course the subject 
of conversation. I treat the de cret as a violation of the 
laws of property. It seems to be so considered, but not 
in a light so extensive as that in which I place it. Draw 
a parallel between this and the compensation given by 
Great Britain to the American Loyalists. The absence 
of many members who had gone to dinner is considered 
here the cause of the decree. At parting, M. de Mont 
morin asks me how my plan goes on. I tell him that I 
expect to be joined by the Hollanders, for that three per 
sons who are here are agreed, and one of them goes this 
afternoon to Amsterdam to bring in his associates. He is 
very glad to hear this. See Madame de Chastellux, who 
tells me that she has seen M. de Lafayette ; that Favras 
will be hanged ; that Monsieur was certainly in the plot ; 
that he is guided by Mirabeau. As M. de Lafayette makes 



266 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

the world his confidant, the secret must of course be kept, 
for it cannot go farther. But the consequence to him must 
be perpetual enmity from Monsieur, the brother of the 
King, who in all cases must be doing mischief, even if he 
has not ability to do good. The Marechal de Segur comes 
in. We have some conversation about the pensions, and 
my sentiments accord well with his." 

" Go to M. de Moustier s to dinner [January yth]. The 
Comte de Croix, the Prince de Broglio, and Clermont- 
Tonnerre are our party. The last two are greatly violent 
against the Assemblee, to which they belong, but the 
Comte de Croix has a little of the obstination flandraise, 
and continues firm to the edicts, many of which he op 
posed." 

" Dress, and dine to-day [January 8th] with the Duchess 
of Orleans. She has changed, I think for the better, in 
her maitre d hotel. After dinner visit the Comte de Chas- 
tellux and his lady in a pavilion of the Louvre, in the 
garret, near one hundred and sixty steps from the earth, 
in little cabins, and stinking most odiously from the col 
lected treasures of ages. Madame shows me a box pre 
sented by her Princess, who had sent a painter on purpose 
to the Castle of Chastellux to take the different views. 
It is a situation in the mountainous part of Burgundy, 
near a small, clear river, abounding in trout. The Count 
and his lady are a domestic couple. How happy might 
they be to breathe the air of their own chateau, if it 
were possible for mortals to know what constitutes their 
own felicity. Madame de Segur is here, and the Marechal. 
The Duchess comes in. I make her a dish of tea. She 
makes use of many obliging expressions, the reason of 
which I cannot conjecture, but incline to think that they 
result from inattention. We shall see. After she is gone, 
the Chevalier de Graave reads us the speech made this 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 26/ 

day by the Parlement of Brittany to the Assemblee. It 
is written with great force and precision, and shows that 
they are confident of being supported by the province." 

" Dine to-day [January zoth] with M. de Lafayette. 
After dinner he asks me how they are to provide for the 
case of disobedience in the provincial and district adminis 
trations, which are submitted to the orders of the King, but, 
being elected, may not respect those orders. I tell him that 
no provision can be made ; that it is an institution radi 
cally wrong, and they cannot alter it, because they have 
said so much to the people about liberty ; that they must 
of necessity leave the correction of this and many other 
defects to time and experience, happy if the changes 
induced by the latter should not bring back an authority 
too severe. He does not like this sentiment. I suppose 
they will find out some expedient, but certainly nothing 
effectual. Go from hence to the Louvre. Madame de 
Flahaut is distressed. She has been in tears all day. Af 
ter much entreaty she tells me the cause. Her pensions 
from Monsieur and from the Comte d Artois are stopped ; 
on that from the King she receives but 3,000!, and must 
therefore leave Paris. I try to console her, but it is im 
possible. Indeed, the stroke is severe, for with youth, 
beauty, wit, and every loveliness, she must quit all that 
she loves, to pass her life with what she most abhors. Go 
from hence to Madame de Chastellux s. Short is here. I 
repeat, in conversation about the Parlement of Brittany, 
what in his presence I observed to Lafayette ; viz., that the 
Assemblee must deal very delicately with the Bas-Bretons. 
But he repeats Lafayette s answer ; viz., that nine-tenths 
of the province are with the Assemblee. I doubt this intel 
ligence, because the address of the Parlement is in a style 
of calm firmness which shows a conviction of support, and 
their position in the neighborhood of Britain is critical. 



268 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

"This morning [January nth] I go to the Porcelaine 
to see a kind of ornament cemented on glass, being birds 
formed with their feathers and other natural objects in the 
same way ; of course, the representation is more just than 
painting. The maker is here, and we inquire the price of 
a surtout (epergne) * for a table ten feet long and two feet 
wide. It is 2,ooof., and cannot be finished before October 
next. Go to the Luxembourg, to dine with Count Louis 
de Narbonne. A very good dinner, and very good wines ; 

the Comte d Afry, the Due de , the Chevalier de 

Narbonne, Madame de Vintimille, and Madame Fronsac. 
This last I had seen at M. de Montmorin s. She appears to 
have a great deal of the free and easy about her ; whether 
it is the result of a virtue out of all reach, or of an indif 
ference about appearances, is to be examined. She is not 
unhandsome, and plays well on the harpsichord. M. de 
Bonnet, who was to have dined here, comes in late from 
the Assemblee. They have passed a decree by which the 
members of the Chambre des Vacations are rendered inca 
pable of holding any office, or of electing or being elected, 
until they shall announce to the Assembly their adherence 
to the constitution. This is strong, but the Count de 
Mirabeau was of opinion that they should be sent to the 
Chatelet and tried for Use-nation. 

" Go from hence to Madame de Chastellux s. Madame 
de Segur and the Marechal and the Count come in. Con 
versation is about the decree of the day, and so it is at 
Madame de StaeTs. I contend that this decree is void, ac 
cording to the principles of the Assemblee themselves, who 
have declared their incompetency to act in a judicial ca 
pacity. This induces a long dispute, in which I take a 
greater part than the thing is worth, but the society here 

* Washington had intrusted to Morris an order for the purchase of table- 
ornaments to be used at his state dinners at Philadelphia. 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 269 

has that tournure, and one must conform to or abandon it. 
The latter, perhaps, is the wiser course/ 

" After dinner [January i3th] go to the Louvre, and 
find Madame de Flahaut in deep distress at the idea of 
leaving Paris. She cannot go with me to look for a sur- 
tout and ornaments, having affairs. The Bishop arrives. 
He has had me elected into a society here which as yet I 
do not exactly know the meaning of ; it is, however, a se 
lect one. He expects to get a million for the speculation 
proposed to Madame. He tells me that the members of the 
Breton Parlement come hither voluntarily, because they 
apprehended force from the Commons of Rennes. This 
is extraordinary, for Rennes subsists only from the pres 
ence of the Parlement. There has been a riot this day in 
Paris, and a number of the militaires engaged in the squab 
ble have been taken prisoners. The matter is not gener 
ally understood, but all agree that Lafayette has acted 
with great prudence and decision." 

" See Madame de Flahaut this morning [January i4th]. 
She tells me that next week the Caisse d Escompte will stop 
payment in coin altogether. At Madame de Chastellux s 
the Duchess reproaches me with neglecting her while she 
was ill the last three days, to which I reply that if I could 
have been useful to her I should certainly have shown my 
attention. I call for Madame de Flahaut and we go to 
look for a surtout ; afterwards go to the manufactory of 
Angouleme. We agree that the porcelaine here is hand 
somer and cheaper than that of Sevres. I think I shall 
purchase for General Washington here. Madame tells me 
that the Comte de Segur has persuaded Lafayette to place 
the Bishop in the finance. He told him that he disliked 
the Bishop as much as M. de Lafayette, but that they had 
no man of sufficient abilities, and it would not do to have 
the abilities of the Bishop opposed to them. Lafayette 



2/0 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

told this to his friend Madame de Simieu, she to Madame 

de Coigny, she to Madame de , who told it to the Due 

de Biron, and he told it to Madame de Flahaut, who de 
sires me to keep up this apprehension through Madame 
de Segur ; but I shall certainly say nothing to her but the 
truth, nor that, unless the occasion calls for it. Her hus 
band is, I think, wrong in pushing so hard to obtain a 
place in the administration. But time must determine the 
propriety of this judgment. The Duchess arrives late at 
Madame de Chastellux s to-night. The mother of the 
Bishop d Autun is here. She is highly aristocratic ; she 
says that the great of this country who have favored the 
Revolution are taken in, and I think that she is not much 
mistaken in that idea." 

A surtout of seven plateaus and the ornaments in biscuit 
and three large glass covers for the three groups were 
bought and sent to Washington. When sending the 
pieces, Morris wrote to him as follows : " In all there are 
three groups, two vases, and twelve figures. The vases 
may be used as they are, or, when occasion serves, the tops 
may be laid aside and the vases filled with natural flowers. 
When the whole surtout is to be used for large companies, 
the large group will be in the middle, the two smaller ones 
at the two ends, the vases in the spaces between the three, 
and the figures distributed along the edges, or rather along 
the sides. . . . To clean the biscuit warm water is to 
be used, and a brush such as is used for painting in water- 
colors. You will perhaps exclaim that I have not com 
plied with your directions as to economy, but you will be 
of a different opinion when you see the articles. I could 
have sent you a number of pretty trifles for very little 
prime cost, but you must have had an annual supply, and 
your table should have been in the style of a petite mai- 
tresse of this city. ... I think it of very great im- 




1790.3 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 



portance to fix the taste of our country properly, and I 
think your example will go very far in that respect. 
It is therefore my wish that everything about you should 
be substantially good and majestically plain, made to endure. 
. . . By the bye, you must be thankful that I did not 
run you into further expense, for I was violently tempted 
to send out two dozen cups and saucers, with the needful 
accompaniments, to Mrs. Washington." 

"There is a musical party at Madame Le Coulteux s to 
night [January i6th], which is to me very dull, although 
the singing is very good. De Cantaleu asks me with a sar 
castic smile how the Bishop d Autun is. I tell him that 
he is by no means eager to enter into the administration 
at present. He observes that at present a minister can do 
nothing ; things will go forward in their own way. I tell 
him that he is right as to the present moment, but that 
ministers might have directed some time ago, and either 
everything will go to destruction or they will hereafter 
direct the machine ; that even now it is important to in 
dividuals to be apprised of their intentions. I find that 
M. de Cantaleu has all the self-importance of a parvenu 
who thinks that his merit has obtained what, in fact, is the 
price of his attachment to the ministers. I ask Laurent if 
nothing can be made out of the assignats. He says that 
until five or six months are passed, and their value a little 
known, it will be impossible to judge about them." 

"Dine at Lafayette s [January lyth]. He asks what I 
think of Ternant as Minister to America. Tell him that I 
approve. Hence I conclude that he intends the appoint 
ment to pass in my opinion as of his making. Very well. 
After dinner Gouvernay tells me that Necker is much 
better, but makes himself worse than he is, by way of 
securing a retreat which he meditates. He says fur 
ther that a chief minister is necessary. I ask him who 



2/2. DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

is to be in the finances ; whether the Bishop d Autun. 
He says that he will not do at all ; that he is unequal 
to the business ; that M. Touret for the Home Depart 
ment, and M. de St. Priest for the Foreign Affairs will 
do very well, but there are no other men sufficiently 
eminent. I ask Madame de Lafayette, who comes up to 
us, to name a man. She cannot. I observe that I hear 
the Comte de Segur is in pursuit of the office of Foreign 
Affairs. Gouvernay and she join in declaring that he is 
not fit for it. At dinner Lafayette asked me what they 
should do about their militia. I told him, nothing ; for 
they cannot do what is right, and therefore had better 
leave it in such situation as that it can be mended, which 
would not be the case if fixed by the constitution. He 
says that he and others are determined to select particular 
articles in the constitution as it now stands, and form of 
them a constitution properly so called, leaving the rest to 
the mercy of the legislature. This I approve of, but yet 
much will depend on the selection. I advise that they 
should, in respect to their bill of rights, imitate the masons, 
who knock down the scaffolding when they have finished 
the house. Go to the Louvre and give Madame de Fla- 
haut such information as relates to her friend ; but he has 
too good an opinion of his own opinion to make a good 
Minister of Finance. In the different societies everybody 
seems to agree that things go badly, and they speak with 
despondence ; but, in fact, nothing good could result from 
the measures of Government, which have been so very ill 
judged." 

" Dine to-day [January Tpth] at the Palais Royal.* The 

* The Duke and Duchess of Orleans had lived happily until 1789, when Ma 
dame de Genlis came between them, and the management of the children was 
given to her. The first open quarrel they had was when the duchess refused 
to accompany the duke on his mission to England, but she was subse 
quently reconciled to him. About this time a separation had taken place be- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 273 

Duchess tells me that the Duke s treasurer does not pay 
as he ought to do, monthly, and that unless this is done 
she will not adhere to the contract. She receives now 
450,000! per annum, of which 350,0001. are appropriated to 
the house, servants, table, etc. ; near 15,000 louis. Cer 
tainly a great economy might be made upon this article. 
After dinner go to the Louvre. The Cardinal de Rohan 
is there. Accidentally he mentions his prods, and, after 
relating the circumstances which brought it to his mind, 
he declares that he thinks it a weakness to talk of it ; and 
he is right. He has plus de grace que (Tesprit. But he 
speaks in too good style to write in a style as bad as Ma 
dame de la Motte has attributed to him. A new piece at 
the Comedie to-night much applauded, but a very bad one. 
It is, however, la mode. The object is to ridicule, or rather 
to preach against, the prejudices entertained against the 
family and connections of a man who is hanged. A Lor 
Anglais is the preacher, who takes from the book of Eng 
land a text which is not to be found in it, and, with the 
aid of antitheses and other such figures, gives the audi 
ence much satisfaction, which is greatly increased by the 

tween them, and a lawsuit had been commenced to obtain the repayment of 
her dowry. This demand, in the shattered condition of the duke s finances, 
meant ruin. At length, worn out with worry, the duchess quitted her hus 
band s palace on the twenty second anniversary of their wedding-day, April 
5, 1791, and sought shelter with her father, the Due de Penthievre. Later the 
Princesse de Lamballe undertook to reconcile the duke and duchess, and the 
duke offered to restore the dowry, provided the duchess would settle an annu 
ity of one hundred thousand livres on each of her children, entirely independ 
ent of both parents. The duchess rejected these terms, but offered to be re 
sponsible for the entire support of the Comte de Beaujolais and Mademoiselle 
d Orleans, they to be immediately confided to her care. Scarcely was this 
proposal made than Mademoiselle d Orleans was sent with Madame de Genlis 
to England, and the duchess did not see her again for ten years. A suit 
was brought against the duke in October, 1791, which was continued even when 
the husband and wife were separated by many leagues, and the decree of 
final separation was pronounced, in November, 1792, only a few weeks before 
the duke lost his head. 
18 



274 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

judicious ranting of the actors judicious, because a nat 
ural action would disclose the defects of the piece, now 
concealed by the roaring." 

"While Count Dillon and I are walking in the Champs 
Elysees to-day [January 2ist], the report of a pistol is 
heard, which Dillon considers some duel, for of late there 
is a great deal of that kind of work going forward. I 
laugh at the idea, but presently we see a man led along 
by a party of soldiers ; making up to them we learn that he 
just now shot himself, but he took bad aim, so that the ball, 
which entered in at his forehead, came out at the top of 
his head. The soldier says he does not know who the man 
is, and that when a man has lost his all, without any fault of 
his own, the best thing he can do is to shoot himself. Go 
hence to the Louvre, and stay but a few minutes ; M. le 
Vicomte de St. Priest is here. Dine with the Duchess of 
Orleans. The Bishop of Orleans is here. This Bishop 
seems to be of that kind whose sincerest prayer is for the 
fruit of good living, and, to judge by his manner of talk 
ing, one would suppose that he deems it of more impor 
tance to speak than to speak truth. Go to the Louvre. 
Immediately after my arrival the Bishop comes in, who 
seems not at all content to find me here. His expecta 
tions of procuring a million prove abortive. The party 
tells him that he thinks the affair excellent, but as they 
must soon have paper money in France he must collect 
his funds to take advantage of that event, by which he 
will gain greatly. The Bishop goes away, and Madame 
gives me a plan of finance to read which is prepared by 
M. de St. Foi for the Bishop and on which she asks my 
opinion. I tell her that nothing more is necessary to ruin 
him entirely. In effect, it is a scheme for i,ooo,ooo,ooof. 
in paper money redeemable in twenty years, at the rate of 
50,000,0001. per annum ; the sum redeemed to be deter- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2/5 

mined by lottery every six months, and then 25,ooo,ooof. 
to be paid, and on that, premiums of twenty per cent, or 
five millions, and to effectuate this, a tax of sixty millions 
to be laid. This plan, then, is to borrow at an interest of 
ten millions per thousand millions, or one per cent. The 
author is clear that the paper, instead of depreciating, will 
be above par, but the one hundred and twenty-five million 
loan which forms the standard for the price of stocks here 
and which bears near seven per cent, interest, premiums 
included, sells at a discount of above ten per cent. I 
show her a few of the many fatal consequences which 
would attend the adoption." 

"Walk in the gardens of the Tuileries [January 22d] 
with Madame de Flahaut and M. de St. Pardou, and then 
dine with the Comte de Montmorin. M. de Marmontel* 
is here. After dinner I speak to the Count about the 
commerce with their islands. He says he hopes something 
will be done in the next fifteen days ; that in his opinion they 
ought to permit a much freer commerce with us than with 
any other nation, because that the state of their colonies 
must depend on us. I communicate to him, in the most 
perfect confidence, the commission with which I am 
charged in part. I tell him two very great truths : that a 
free commerce with the British Islands is the object 
which will chiefly operate on us to give us the desire of a 
treaty of commerce with Britain, and that I prefer much a 
close connection with France. He tells me that their 
great misfortune here is to have no fixed plan nor princi 
ple, and at present no chief. I tell him that they ought 

* Jean Francois Marmontel, the successor to D Alembert as perpetual sec 
retary of the French Academy, a writer and critic, was in the first rank of the 
literature of the eighteenth century. Full of resources and of ideas, he ex 
pressed himself with precision and force. Through the epoch of the Revo 
lution his course was dignified, prudent, and at the same time generous. 
He passed those stormy years in retirement in the country, and died in 1799. 



2/6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

to go to war. He says he is convinced that if they do not 
soon make war, it will soon be made against them. But 
their finances ! I tell him that there is less difficulty in 
that than he is aware of. But the great mischief is in a 
constitution without energy. We join the company. A 
good deal of conversation about public affairs, in which 
Marmontel agrees with me in opinion. I had an oppor 
tunity at dinner to remark on the varieties in taste. A 
large trout was received from the Lake of Geneva, and it 
was a question when we are to dine off it. The maitre 
d hotel was interpellated and the trout was produced a 
very large one, of at least twenty pounds weight and per 
fectly fresh, having been brought by the courier. The 
maitre d hotel says it must be kept till Wednesday, pour 
etre mortifie, and as that day does not suit the company, 
poor Monsieur Trout must e en mortify two days longer. 
I cannot but sympathize in his afflictions." 

" The Vicomte de St. Priest, who dines at the Palais 
Royal to-day [January 25th] and sits next to me, mentions 
the idea of the King s going to the Assemblee in order to 
put himself at the head of the Revolution. I blame this 
step and tell him, without mincing the matter, that his ad 
visers to that step give him un conseil ou inepte ou perfide. 
Madame de Segur differs with me, and after dinner her 
husband, to whom she mentioned it, also tells me that he 
holds the opposite opinion and wishes to discuss the mat 
ter with me. I only add that the King ought to send the 
Comte d Artois his children, so that the whole of the royal 
family should not be in the power of their enemies, and 
that he should let the nation do as they please. In the 
course of things, they will come back to their allegiance. 
The occasion does not suit for a discussion of this matter. 
Return home and write. At nine go to the Louvre. The 
Bishop d Autun is here. Some conversation about coin- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 277 

age, in which he is not quite right, but I find that he has 
studied the matter. I remind him of the book he was to 
lend me. Send my servant home with him, and he trans 
mits it. Tis somewhat droll to receive the Portier des 
Chartreux from the hands of a reverend father in God." 

The following letter, written in January, to Washington, 
gives a forcible and correct picture of Paris, and of France 
as well. " Your sentiments," he wrote, "on the Revolu 
tion effecting here I believe to be perfectly just, be 
cause they perfectly accord with my own, and that is, you 
know, the only standard which Heaven has given us by 
which to judge. The King is in effect a prisoner at Paris, 
and obeys entirely the National Assembly. This Assembly 
may be divided into three parts. One, called the aristo 
crats, consists of the high clergy, the members of the law 
(not lawyers), and such of the nobility as think they ought 
to form a separate order ; another, which has no name, 
but which consists of all sorts of people, really friends to 
a free government. The third is composed of what are 
called here the enragJs, that is, the madmen. These are the 
most numerous, and are of that class which in America 
is known by the name of pettifogging lawyers, together 
with a host of curates, and many of those who, in all re 
volutions, throng to the standard of change because they 
are not well. This party, in close alliance with the popu 
lace, derives from that circumstance very great authority. 
They have already unhinged everything. . . . The 
torrent rushes on, irresistible until it shall have wasted 
itself. 

" The aristocrats are without a leader, and without any 
plan or counsels as yet, but ready to throw themselves 
into the arms of anyone who shall offer. The middle 
party, who mean well, have unfortunately acquired their 
ideas of government from books, and are admirable fel- 



2/8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

lows upon paper ; but as it happens, somewhat unfortu 
nately, that the men who live in the world are very differ 
ent from those who dwell in the heads of philosophers, it 
is not to be wondered at if the systems taken out of 
books are fit for nothing but to be put into books again. 
Marraontel is the only man I have met with among their 
literati who seems truly to understand the subject ; for 
the rest, they discuss nothing in the Assembly. One large 
half of the time is spent in hollowing and bawling their 
manner of speaking. Those who intend to speak write 
their names on a tablet, and are heard in the order that 
their names are written down, if the others will hear them, 
which often they refuse to do, keeping up a continual up 
roar till the orator leaves the pulpit. Each man permit 
ted to speak delivers the result of his lucubrations, so 
that the opposing parties fire off their cartridges, and 
it is a million to one if their missile arguments happen to 
meet. The arguments are usually printed ; therefore there 
is as much attention paid to making them sound and look 
well, as to convey instruction or produce conviction. But 
there is another ceremony which the arguments go through, 
and which does not fail to affect the form, at least, and 
perhaps the substance. They are read beforehand in a 
small society of young men and women, and generally the 
fair friend of the speaker is one, or else the fair whom he 
means to make his friend, and the society very politely 
give their approbation, unless the lady who gives the tone 
to that circle chances to reprehend something, which is, 
of course, altered if not amended. Do not suppose I am 
playing the traveller. I have assisted at some of these 
readings, and will now give you an anecdote from one of 
them. I was at Madame de StaeTs, the daughter of M. 
Necker. She is a woman of wonderful wit, and above 
vulgar prejudices of every kind. Her house is a kind of 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2/9 

Temple of Apollo, where the men of wit and fashion are 
collected twice a week at supper, and once at dinner, and 
sometimes more frequently. The Comte de Clermont- 
Tonnerre (one of their greatest orators) read to us a very 
pathetic oration, and the object was to show that, as pen 
alties are the legal compensation for injuries and crimes, 
the man who is hanged, having by that event paid his debt 
to society, ought not to be held in dishonor ; and in like 
manner, he who has been condemned for seven years to 
be flogged in the galleys should, when he had served out 
his apprenticeship, be received again into good company 
as if nothing had happened. You smile ; but observe that 
the extreme to which the matter was carried the other 
way, dishonoring thousands for the guilt of one, has so 
shocked the public sentiment as to render this extreme 
fashionable. The oration was very fine, very sentimental, 
very pathetic, and the style harmonious. Shouts of ap 
plause and full approbation. When this was pretty well 
over, I told him that his speech was extremely eloquent, 
but that his principles were not very solid. Universal 
surprise. A few remarks changed the face of things. 
The position was universally condemned, and he left the 
room. I need not add that as yet it has never been de 
livered in the Assembly, and yet it was of the kind which 
produces a decree by acclamation ; for sometimes an ora 
tor gets up in the midst of another deliberation, makes a 
fine discourse, and closes with a good snug resolution, 
which is carried with a huzza. Thus, in considering a 
plan for a national bank proposed by M. Necker, one of 
them took it into his head to move that every member 
should give his silver buckles, which was agreed to at once, 
and the honorable member laid his upon the table, after 
which the business went on again. It is difficult to guess 
whereabouts the flock will settle when it flies so wild, but, 



280 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

as far as it is possible to guess at present, this (late) king 
dom will be cast into a congeries of little democracies, 
not laid out according to the rivers and mountains, but 
with the square and. compass, according to latitude and 
longitude ; and as the provinces had anciently different 
laws (called coutumes), and as the clippings and parings 
of several provinces must fall together within some of the 
new divisions, I think such fermenting matter must give 
them a kind of political colic. 

" Their Assemblee Nationale will be something like the 
old Congress, and the King will be called executive magis 
trate. As yet they have been busily engaged in pillaging 
the present occupant of his authority. How much they will 
leave him will depend upon the chapter of accidents ; I be 
lieve it will be very little, but, little or much, the perspective 
of such a king and such an assembly brings to my mind a 
saying which Shakespeare has put into the mouths of two 
old soldiers upon hearing that Lepidus, one of the famous 
Triumvirate, was dead : So the poor third is up. World, 
thou hast a pair of chaps no more ; and throw between 
them all the food thou hast, they ll grind the one the other. 
At present the people are fully determined to support the 
Assembly, and although there are some discontents, I do 
not believe that anything very serious exists in the style 
of opposition. Indeed, it would be wonderful if there 
should, for hitherto an extension of privileges and a re 
mission of taxes to the lower class has marked every stage 
of the progress. Besides, the love of novelty is a great 
sweetener in revolutions. But the time will come when 
this novelty is over, and all its charms are gone. In lieu 
of the taxes remitted other taxes must be laid, for the 
public burden must be borne. The elected administrators 
must then either indulge their electors, which will be ruin 
ous to the fisc, or, in urging the collection of taxes, displease 



I7QO.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 28 1 

their constituents. In all probability there will be a little 
of both ; hence must arise bickerings and heart-burnings 
among the different districts, and a great languor through 
out the kingdom, as the revenue must fall short of calcu 
lation in point of time, if not in amount (and that is the 
same thing where revenue is concerned). It will follow 
that either the interest of the public debt will not be regu 
larly paid, or that various departments will be starved ; 
probably a little of both. Hence will result a loss of pub 
lic credit, and then with much injury to commerce and 
manufactures, operating a further decrease of the means 
of revenue, and much debility as to the exterior operations 
of the kingdom. At this moment the discontented spirits 
will find congenial matter in abundance to work upon, and 
from that period all the future is involved in the mist of 
conjecture. If the reigning prince were not the small-beer 
character he is, there can be but little doubt that, watch 
ing events and making tolerable use of them, he would re 
gain his authority ; but what will you have from a creature 
who, situated as he is, eats and drinks and sleeps well, and 
laughs and is as merry a grig as lives ? The idea that they 
will give him some money when he can economize, and 
that he will have no trouble in governing, contents him 
entirely. Poor man, he little thinks how unstable is his 
situation. He is beloved, but it is not with the sort of 
love which a monarch should inspire ; it is that kind of 
good-natured pity which one feels for a led captive. There 
is, besides, no possibility of serving him, for at the slightest 
show of opposition he gives up everything, and every per 
son. As to his ministers, the Comte de Montmorin has 
more understanding than people in general imagine, and 
he means well, very well, but he means it feebly. He is a 
good, easy kind of man, one who would make an excellent 
peace minister in quiet times, but he wants the vigor of 



282 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

mind needful for great occasions. The Comte de la Lu- 
zerne is an indolent, pleasant companion, a man of honor, 
and as obstinate as you please, but he has somewhat of 
the creed of General Gates, that the world does a great 
part of its own business, without the aid of those who are 
at the head of affairs. The success of such men depends 
very much upon the run of the dice. The Comte de St. 
Priest is the only man among them who has what they call 
caractere, which answers to our idea of firmness, joined to 
some activity ; but a person who knows him pretty well 
(which I do not), assures me that he is mercenary and 
false-hearted ; if so, he cannot possess much good sense, 
whatever may be his share of genius or talents. M. de 
la Tour du Pin, whom I am almost unacquainted with, is, 
I am told, no great things in any respect. M. Necker was 
frightened by the enrages into the acceptance of him in 
stead of the Marquis de Montesquiou, who has a consid 
erable share of talents and a good deal of method. Mon 
tesquiou is, of course, at present the enemy of M. Necker, 
having been his friend. 

" As to M. Necker, he is one of those men who has ob 
tained a much greater reputation than he had any right 
to. His enemies say that as a banker he acquired his for 
tune by means which, to say the least, were indelicate, and 
they mention instances. But in this country everything 
is so much exaggerated that nothing is more useful than a 
little scepticism. M. Necker, in his public administration, 
has always been honest and disinterested, which proves 
well I think for his former private conduct, or else it 
proves that he has more vanity than cupidity. Be that as 
it may, an unspotted integrity as minister, and serving at 
his own expense in an office which others seek for the pur 
pose of enriqhing themselves, have acquired him very de 
servedly much confidence. Add to this, his writings on 



I79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 283 

finance teem with that sort of sensibility which makes the 
fortune of modern romances, and which is exactly suited 
to this lively nation, who love to read but hate to think. 
Hence his reputation. He is a man of genius, and his 
wife is a woman of sense. But neither of them has tal 
ents, or, rather, the talents of a great minister. His educa 
tion as a banker has taught him to make tight bargains 
and put him upon his guard against projects. But though 
he understands man as a covetous creature, he does not 
understand mankind, a defect which is irremediable. He 
is utterly ignorant also of politics, by which I mean poli 
tics in the great sense, or that sublime science which em 
braces for its object the happiness of mankind. Conse 
quently he neither knows what constitution to form nor 
how to obtain the consent of others to such as he wishes. 
From the moment of convening the States-General, he has 
been afloat on the wide ocean of incidents. But what is 
most extraordinary is, that M. Necker is a very poor finan 
cier. This I know will sound like heresy in the ears of 
most people, but it is true. The plans he has proposed 
are feeble and ineptious. Hitherto he has been supported 
by borrowing from the Caisse d Escompte, which (being by 
means of what they call here an arr$t de surs/ance secured 
from all prosecution) has lent him a sum in their paper 
exceeding the totality of their capital by about four mill 
ions sterling. Last autumn he came forward to the As- 
semblee with a dreadful tale of woe, at the fag end of 
which was a tax upon every member of the community of 
a fourth of his revenue, which he declared to be needful 
for saving the state. His enemies adopted it (declaring, 
what is very true, that it is a wretched, impracticable ex 
pedient) in the hope that he and his scheme would fall to 
gether. This Assemblee, this patriotic band, took in a 
lump the minister s proposition, because of their confidence 



284 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

and the confidence of the people in them, as they said, but, 
in fact, because they would not risk the unpopularity of 
a tax. The plan thus adopted, M. Necker, to escape the 
snare which he had nearly got taken in, altered his tax into 
what they call the patriotic contribution. By this every 
man is to declare, if he pleases, what he pleases to estimate 
as his annual income, and to pay one-fourth of it in three 
years. You will easily suppose that this fund was unpro 
ductive, and, notwithstanding the imminent danger of the 
state, here we are without any aid from the contribution 
patriotique. His next scheme was that of a national bank, 
or at least an extension of the Caisse d Escompte. It has 
been variously modelled since, and many capital objections 
removed, but at last it is good for nothing, and so it will 
turn out ; at present it is just beginning. By way of giv 
ing some base to the present operation, it is proposed and 
determined to sell about ten or twelve millions sterling of 
the Crown and Church lands, both of which are, by reso 
lution of the Assemblee, declared to belong to the nation ; 
but as it is clear that these lands will not sell well just 
now, they have appointed a treasurer to receive what they 
will sell for hereafter, and they issue a kind of order upon 
this treasurer, which is to be called an assignat, and is to be 
paid (out of the sales) one, two, and three years hence. 
They expect that on these assignats they can borrow 
money to face the engagements of the Caisse d Escompte, 
and they are at the same time to pay some of the more press 
ing debts with the same assignats. Now this plan must 
fail as follows : First, there will be some doubt about the 
title of these lands, at least till the Revolution is completed. 
Secondly, the representative of lands must always (for a 
reason which will presently appear) sell for less than a 
representative of money, and therefore, until public confi 
dence is so far restored as that the five per cents are above 



I79Q.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 285 

par, these assignats, bearing five per cent, must be below 
par ; money, therefore, cannot be raised upon them but at 
a considerable discount. Thirdly, the lands to be disposed 
of must sell a great deal below their value, for there is not 
money to buy them in this country, and the proof is that 
they never obtained money on loan at a legal interest, but 
always upon a premium sufficient to draw it from the 
employments of commerce and manufactures ; and as the 
Revolution has greatly lessened the mass of money, the 
effect of the scarcity must be greater. But further, there 
is a solecism in the plan which escapes most of them, and 
which is nevertheless very palpable. The value of lands 
in Europe is, you know, estimated by the income. To dis 
pose of public lands, therefore, is to sell public revenue, 
and therefore, taking the legal interest at five per cent., 
land renting for icof. ought to sell for 2,ooof. ; but they ex 
pect that these lands will sell for 3,ooof., and that thereby 
not only public credit will be restored but a great saving 
will be made, as the 3,ooof. will redeem an interest of i5of. 
It is, however, an indisputable fact that, public credit be 
ing established, the stocks are worth more than land of 
equal income, and for three reasons : First, that there is no 
trouble whatever in the management ; secondly, there is no 
danger of bad crops and taxes ; and, thirdly, they can be dis 
posed of at a moment s warning, if the owner wants money, 
and be as readily repurchased when it suits his conveni 
ence, If, therefore, the public credit be restored, and 
there be a surplus sum of ten to twelve millions to be in 
vested, and if such large sales (contrary to custom) should 
not, from the amount, affect the price, still the lands must 
go cheaper than the stocks, and consequently the interest 
bought will be smaller than the revenue sold. 

" Having thus given you a very rude sketch of the men 
and the measures of this country, I see and feel that it is 



286 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

time to conclude. I sincerely wish I could say that there 
are able men at hand to take the helm, should the present 
pilot abandon the ship. But I have great apprehensions 
as to those who may succeed. The present set must wear 
out in the course of the year, and most of them would be 
glad to get fairly out of the scrape at present, but it is 
alike dangerous to stay or to go, and they must patiently 
await the breath of the Assembly and follow as it blows. 
The new order of things cannot endure. I hope it may be 
mended, but fear it may be changed. All Europe just 
now is like a mine ready to explode, and if this winter 
does not produce peace, next summer will behold a wider 
extension of the war." 

" To-day [January 26th], at half-past three, I go to M. de 
Lafayette s. He tells me that he wishes to have a meet 
ing of Mr. Short, Mr. Paine, and myself, to consider their 
judiciary, because his place imposes on him the necessity 
of being right. I tell him that Paine can do him no good, 
for that, although he has an excellent pen to write, he has 
but an indifferent head to think. In conversing about 
this affair he tells me that he has gotten into his posses 
sion a m&moire written by the refugees of Turin to stir up 
the Princes of Germany against France, etc. It is to be 
read in council to-morrow by M. de Montmorin. La 
fayette says it shall be published. I desire him to suspend 
that determination, and give him reasons which convince 
his judgment, but without affecting his will. He is to 
show it to me to-morrow, and I think the public will soon 
be let into the secret. At half-past nine go to the Lou 
vre. Madame has another lady with her and is at play. 
She apologizes for it in English, which the other un 
derstands. This is whimsical enough. I make tea for 
them, and at half-past eleven we are left en tete-a-tete. 
I communicate to her a note, written this morning, upon 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 28/ 

the situation of affairs, and the conduct which the King 
ought to pursue. This she will hand to the Queen 
through Vicq d Azyr, the Queen s physician. I tell her 
that she must cultivate the Queen and give her good 
advice, the direct contrary of what the King receives 
from the ruling party ; that if they succeed she will 
then be provided for by means of her friends, but if 
if they fail, then the Queen will feel obligations which, 
having the power, she will of course repay. My friend 
feels some repugnance to this, which is only proper con 
duct for her. She tells me an affair in which the Marquis 
de Montesquiou behaves with indelicacy, and in which she 
sees the prospect of making some money. She is to give 
me the particulars for my consideration. I leave her at 
half-past twelve and return home." 

" Friday [January 29th], I go to M. de Montmorin s to 
eat the trout, which was so much mortifie that he refused 
to assist at this repast. In plain English, it was spoiled 
some days ago. Before dinner the question of the King s 
visit to the Assemblee was started, and I very impru 
dently give my opinion of that measure. Reflection tells 
me that whether proposed by Necker or by Lafayette, 
Montmorin has probably agreed to it. The Baron de 
Besenval is released from his confinement this evening, 
about eight o clock. From what Madame de Chastellux 
tells me as coming from Madame Necker, by the Due de 
Nivernois, I conclude that the proposed plan for the 
King originates in the Finance Department. It is ridicu 
lous. Go to the Louvre. M. de Montesquiou is there. We 
have some conversation on political topics, and after a 
while he goes away. Madame de Flahaut is exceedingly 
distressed. She tells me their conversation, from which 
she collected that unless he can borrow money to relieve 
his wants he must put an end to his existence. She is 



288 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

much shocked at the situation of a friend who has been 
long and sincerely attached to her. I calm her griefs as 
well as I can, and leave her to go to Madame de Chas- 
tellux s. The Comte de Segur gives me all the reasons 
for the King going to the Assemblee, which are not worth 
a sou, in my opinion." 

"This morning [February ist] the Comte de Luxem 
bourg comes to breakfast with me ; as I am very busy, I 
cut the conversation short and begin to write. He leaves 
me, lamenting always that he is not old enough to be in 
administration, where, with the aid of my counsels, he 
could do wonders. He will know better by and by. 
Dine with the Duchess of Orleans. After dinner we dis 
cuss a question on which I deliver a sentiment somewhat 
extraordinary, in this extraordinary country, viz., that a 
woman of sense and learning is more easily led astray 
than another ; among other reasons, because, having per 
haps a higher sense of duty, she feels a pleasure propor 
tionately greater in the breach which leads her on further 
and faster than another could go. The Duchess denies 
this position, but in my elucidations I give some traits of 
female sentiment so true that an old lady present declares 
my opinion to be abominable, but fears it is just. I can 
not stay to finish the discussion, but as soon as my car 
riage is announced I step into it and go to M. Necker s. 
I tell him briefly the conduct of the houses in Holland, 
and add that I must go thither before I can deal further 
with him. He seems to be much disappointed. I tell 
him that I will do everything in my power to conclude the 
affair agreeably to his - wishes ; that it is possible the 
United States may employ me, and in that case I shall, 
from motives of delicacy, decline all further dealings with 
him, but in such case I will cause the thing to be done by 
others. He seems better pleased. He is one of those 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 289 

men whose opinions one must guess at. From Madame s 
manner, I think I can perceive that my neglect of the 
house for some time past has not been useful. Perhaps 
there are other reasons. There are commotions in Brit 
tany, and the Comte de Thiard tells me that commotions 
arise from the Tiers, i.e., from some citizens disguised as 
peasants. Evidently it is a concert with the members of the 
Assemblee. Go hence to the Louvre, and sup. Madame de 
Flahaut tells me that the Queen has told Vicq d Azyr she 
has heard that the Bishop is a man of great abilities, and 
that it is worth while to have such men. Vicq d Azyr said 
he was well assured, from one of his intimate friends, that 
Her Majesty would never have cause to complain of him. 
The Queen smiled and said she knew who that friend was, 
to which the physician replied, * Then Your Majesty will 
spare me the indiscretion of mentioning it. He gave her 
the note I had written, and which Madame de Flahaut 
had copied for the purpose. The Queen said that, so long 
as M. Necker continues in office, she will not interfere in 
affairs." 

"This morning [February 3d] M. de la Chaise calls, and 
I spend the rest of the morning with him. I try to per 
suade him to join me at once in an offer to M. Necker on 
the debt, but he is afraid. I show him the advantages of 
which the plan is susceptible, and the facility of the exe 
cution, but he dares not. He recommends it to me very 
strongly to go to Holland, and I think I shall take his ad 
vice. Dine at the Palais Royal. An excellent dinner. 
Puisignieu, who is here, tells me that he finds that I was 
right in my ideas about the effect of the King s speech, 
and owns that he was mistaken. I whisper to Madame de 
Segur that this information has no effect either to alter or 
confirm that opinion, which is founded on what I con 
ceive to be the nature of man. It is a very strange thing 
19 



290 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

that men who have lived in the world fifty years should 
believe that opposition, founded on strong direct personal 
interests, can be instantly calmed by a few honeyed ex 
pressions. The present idea is that it will have a won 
derful effect in the provinces, but I can conceive of no 
other effect there than to create animosity. The noblesse 
will consider it as the effect of the thraldom in which he is 
held, and the populace as a declaration of war against their 
superiors. The Abbe Delille repeats some verses, his 

* Catacombs. They are very fine, and very well spoken, 
but I remark to him that one of his lines is un pen fort : 

1 II ne voit que la nuit, rientend que la silence. 

He tells me he is surprised that I, above all men, should 
make that remark, who must certainly remember Milton s 

* darkness visible. There is a difference, however, both 
in the phrase and in the idea ; there is a difference, also, 
in the kind of poem, and perhaps Milton was on the 
verge, at least, of bombast in that expression. However, 
I do not discuss the matter further with him." 

Just as Morris was hoping to arrange satisfactorily 
the affair of a loan on the debt to France with houses in 
Holland, he received the information " that the houses in 
Holland have not only refused to be connected with me, 
either as parties or on commission, but have opened a loan 
for 3,000,000! on account of Congress, and written a letter 
to Mr. Hamilton * and M. Necker urging them not to agree. 
Go to Mr. Short s to see the letter to Hamilton, which, 
besides being a very foolish one, is, like all the rest, a vio 
lation of the promises made to me. I tell Van Staphorst 
my opinion of their conduct, which he acknowledges to 
be just. I have disagreeable forebodings about the af- 

* Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of ine Treasury of the United States. 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 2QI 

fairs negotiating in Holland. Van Staphorst tells me 
that he thinks I had better go to Amsterdam, arid that, al 
though the houses do not merit a participation in my plan, 
yet they can be so useful that I shall find it to my interest 
to employ them. I tell him that I think I shall go. Short 
comes to see me, and I read him my letter to Colonel 
Hamilton. He will write in conformity to my sentiments, 
and is much hurt to find that the plan has not succeeded. 
Madame de Segur is at Madame de Chastellux s when 
I call there. She tells me, and the Marechal confirms it, 
that the Queen decided the King to go to the Assemblee. 
She adds, as received from an aristocratic quarter, that His 
Majesty, the day before, swore hard at Necker, and 
asked him if that step would procure peace, which the 
poor minister could not promise ; that he was very much 
out of humor, also, all the morning, and that when he 
returned from the Assemblee he passed some time in tears. 
I doubt that this picture is overcharged, but I believe the 
ground is just, and my fair informant is of the same opin 
ion. The Marechal avows that he has been very much 
mistaken as to Necker s abilities." 

On the 4th of February the King sent a message to 
the Assembly to say that at midday he desired to attend 
their deliberations : u Je desire etre recu sans ceremo- 
nie." Dressed in black, attended by several pages and 
his ministers, he arrived, affected not to sit down, but, 
hat in hand, read his discourse. The diary comments on 
the event as follows : " The Comte de Montmorin tells me 
that the King s speech has been received with great ap 
plause. The Assembly take an oath to support the consti 
tution which is to be made. A strange oath. If this 
step of His Majesty has any effect on reasonable minds, 
it must be to prove more clearly the feebleness of his 
ministers, For three mcaths past they have inveighed 



292 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

(to the members) against the proceedings of the As 
sembly, and they appear to give His Majesty s full appro 
bation. Go from hence to M. de Lafayette s. He asks 
my opinion of this step, and is much surprised to hear 
that I disapprove of it. I tell him that I think it can do 
no good, and must therefore do harm. He says it will 
enable him to advocate the royal authority in the As- 
semblee." 

"Dine to-day [February 5th] with the Prince de Bro- 
glio, and go afterwards to Madame de Chastellux s. The 
Prince of Hesse comes in, and tells us of what has passed 
in Brabant relative to the reduction of 12,000 Hessian 
troops which are sent for, and will probably arrive. This 
comes exactly to the point which I have long suspected. 
Mention, in consequence of what Madame de Chastellux 
says, my opinion, which he contests a little, but on going 
away he tells me it is all easy enough if the Prince of 
Brunswick were at the head of affairs ; but this, he says, 
is prevented by the Baron de Hertzberg. I find Madame 
de Flahaut at dinner with Miss Fanny and Alice, nieces 
of her religieuse. After dinner go with Madame de Fla 
haut below to answer a letter. After returning to the 
chamber, they contrive to keep me by simply locking the 
door, and thus I am deprived of my intended visit to the 
Commandant General. Go from hence to the house of 
Madame de Vannoise. A Madame de Pusy, who is here, 
seems to be on the lookout for aid. Go to Madame de La- 
borde s. A Mrs. Williams, who is the wife of an English 
artillery officer, and daughter of Doctor Mallett, the 
friend of Lord Bolingbroke, makes acquaintance with me. 
She pays me some compliments, which are too pungent 
for my nerves, and, though they might have passed in 
French, they revolt in English." 

"While I am dining to-day [February loth] with Madame 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 293 

de Flahaut, the Bishop comes in, and tells us the King s 
advice to the Comte d Angivilliers, which is curious. * Pray 
be quiet, Count, for the times are difficult, and everyone 
must take care of himself ; so that, if you censure the pres 
ent measures, you may get yourself into trouble. Go 
hence to Madame de Chastellux s ; the Bishop s report of 
an address from the Assemblee to their constituents is as 
much censured here as it was applauded at M. de Lafay 
ette s. I see M. de Montmorin, and tell him what has passed 
specting the debt, and that in consequence I am going to 
Holland. Go from hence to the Comedie Franaise. A 
wretched piece. Take Madame de Flahaut home. Mon 
sieur comes in from Versailles ; lend him my carriage to 
go to the King s coucher. Tell her that I must go in a day 
or two to Holland." 

" Go to-day [February i3th] to M. Necker s to dinner. 
After dinner, as I am going away, I ask if he has any com 
missions for Amsterdam. He asks what leads me thither; 
I tell him that I wish to divert the gentlemen there from 
their present pursuits and bring them into my views. He 
objects. Says he understands that the loan they have 
opened is filled, and that he expects the Americans will 
pay the debt, which is the best way. Thus it seems that 
this plan is finally ruined. At Madame de Chastellux s, 
to-night, the Comtesse de Segur tells me that on Wednes 
day next M. Necker is to go to the Assemblee, and tell them 
that upon the ist of March there will not be a shilling 
in any chest belonging to the public. The Duchess comes 
in ; the usual chit-chat." 

"After dining with the Duchess of Orleans, go to La 
fayette s [February i5th]. He takes me into his closet and 
enters into conversation on the state of affairs. In the 
course of conversation I ask him what situation their fron 
tier towns are in toward Flanders. He gives but a dis- 



294 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIII. 

agreeable account of them, and complains of the Minister 
at War, whose misconduct has aided the spirit of revolt 
prevalent among the troops. I tell him that the enemies 
of France must be extremely stupid if they do not attack 
those places. He is much alarmed at the riots which still 
rage in the provinces, and consults me as to a plan he has 
in agitation for giving legal authority to quell them. Ap 
prehensive that the officers of the municipality may not 
appear on some occasions to head the military, he has, in 
concurrence with M. Short, for this extraordinary occasion, 
determined to authorize the commanding officer of the 
troops to act alone. Thus these violent advocates of lib 
erty adopt the measure most hostile to it. I oppose the 
plan ; show him the evil consequences, personal and politi 
cal. In reply to the question, what are they to do if the 
municipalities will not make use of the authorities com 
mitted to them, I first mark out the various penalties which 
may be devised, but conclude that they will all prove in 
sufficient, because the institution of the municipalities is 
radically wrong. Predict to him that they will become 
the sources of endless confusions, and of great debility, 
but observe, at the same time, that they have flattered the 
people with such extravagant notions of liberty that I see 
it is out of their power to alter that organization until ex 
perience may have made them wiser. Suggest the ap 
pointment of commissioners as conservators to be sent into 
each district. He thinks that the Assemblee will not agree 
to give the King authority to name such commissioners. 
Finally, however, we agree that it may be proper to de 
clare, provisoirement) that certain commissioners already 
named for other purposes shall be vested with the power 
in question until the municipalities are organized. He 
tells me that he must give the King a sugar-plum for his 
speech to the Assembly. I smile, and tell him that he has 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 295 

no sugar-plum to give ; that they have already parcelled 
out the executive authority in such way that they cannot 
restore it to the monarch. He tells me that he has thought 
of appointing St. Priest Minister at War, with Duportail 
under him. I tell him that I do not know St. Priest, but 
understand from one who does know him that he is faux, 
and advise him to be clear on that point before he makes 
him his master. As to Duportail, I say nothing, but I be 
lieve him to be incapable because I believe him to be too 
much a man-of the closet ; but I know that he has ideas 
very different from Lafayette as to this revolution. I tell 
Lafayette that their finances are in the high road to destruc 
tion ; that anarchy seems to menace, and even already to 
attack on every quarter ; wherefore they must, above all 
things, secure the army, which promises to be the only ex 
isting establishment. I tell him that if a war breaks out 
they must conduct it on principles totally different from 
those hitherto used ; that they must put strong garrisons 
in their islands, and then abandon the ocean and totally 
stop their commerce, which they will be unable to protect; 
that such ships as they can fit out must be sent to cruise 
as privateers ; that they must march with all the force 
they can muster directly into Holland, and endeavor to 
possess themselves of that country. I have not time to 
develop these ideas, but if needful I will take an oppor 
tunity to put them on paper. Mr. Short tells me that La 
fayette consulted him, with others, this morning about the 
means of quelling riots. Go from hence to Madame de 
Stael s. Stay but a little while. She desires me to bring her 
a novel from England, if any good one comes out. She has 
been told that I speak ill of her. I tell her it is not true." 
"The morning of February the i6th, prepare for my 
journey to Holland, get a passport and maps, bid Madame 
de Flahaut adieu, and at eleven on the iyth leave Paris." 



296 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Journey to Antwerp. Brussels. Reflections on the state of Flanders. 
Vanderhoot s committee. Notes on the cathedral and galleries of 
Antwerp. Supper at M. Cornelison s. Agreeable society of Antwerp. 
Notes during the journey to Amsterdam. Evening in Madame Bost s 
salon. Political discussions. Force of the Dutch navy. Scene on 
the Merchants Exchange at Amsterdam. News from France of 
Necker s resignation. The Hague. The churches at Delft. Crosses 
to England. Interview with the Duke of Leeds on the treaty and 
despatch of a minister to the United States. News from Paris. 
Pointed opposition to Necker. Visits Sir John Sinclair. Letter to 
Colonel Ternant. Meets Fox at dinner. Mrs. Jordan at Drury Lane 
Theatre. Warren Hastings s trial. Criticism on Burke and Fox. 
Brilliant ball at Mrs. John B. Church s. 

MORRIS S journey to Antwerp was not marked by 
any particular adventures. Rather uncomfort 
able inns, extortionate landlords, and lazy horses are the 
principal experiences he notes. "Through France," he 
says, " I find that the decree of the Assembly respecting 
the monks was very much hazarded and is disagreeable to 
the people in general. The appearance of the houses and 
people in Flanders announces a milder government than 
that of the country we have quitted. Parts of the country 
abound in coal, and the pits are now worked to advantage 
by the aid of steam-engines. This article seems all which 
was wanted for the wealth of Flanders, and if in the pres 
ent ferment they should (by being annexed to Holland or 
otherwise) get the Scheldt opened, it will be difficult to 
conjecture what will be the extent of their wealth. 

" At Brussels I see in the Grande Place the Milice Bour- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 

geoise. Valor may supply these people with something in 
stead of discipline, but I am inclined to think that their 
fate must be decided by other force than that of this coun 
try. I learn that the popular party, joined to the nobility, 
begins to show itself here against the clergy, but the 
monks have the advantage in the villages." 

"At Malines," says the diary for February 2ist, "the peo 
ple are disposed to subject themselves to the Stadtholder 
and form one country with Holland. They dislike the con 
duct of the States, at least so says an intelligent fellow of a 
waiter, and he seems as likely to understand the sentiments 
of his fellow-citizens as anybody. I ask him if the relig 
ion of the two countries will not form an obstacle. He 
says it is thought not, for that many of the Dutch begin to 
become converts to the Catholic faith, which is not to be 
wondered at, because man cannot continue forever on this earth. 
I express my joy at this happy circumstance and add my 
opinion that the Dutch believe in God ; but this is ex 
pressed with an air of doubt which requires further in 
formation. Yes, sir, they believe in God, but not in the 
Holy Virgin, and, besides, they eat flesh upon fast days ; 
wherefore you see that they are in a very dangerous way. 
I acknowledge the force of this observation. At Antwerp 
I overtake M. Grand, who left Paris near three days be 
fore me ; but by sundry accidents to his carriage he has 
been delayed for nearly that space of time. He departs 
to-morrow. Asks the news of Paris, and communicates 
what he has heard in his way. We converse a little on 
politics and I give him the result of my reflections on the 
state of this country, which is, that the true interest of 
Holland is that it should be a republic and, as such, a bar 
rier against France. The Scheldt will then continue to 
be shut up for the benefit of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 
The interest of France is to possess this country, by which 



298 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

means she keeps all enemies at a most respectful distance, 
and the interest of this country is to become subject to 
Britain, for by that means only can they enjoy the benefit 
of an extensive commerce. 

"M. Grand tells me [February 22d] that M. Necker wants 
the money which has been borrowed by the Dutch houses. 
After he leaves me I visit M. de Wolf, and we enter upon 
business immediately. Visit M. Van Ertborn and converse 
with him about the situation of the politics of this coun 
try. In the course of conversation he tells me that the 
people here have more capital than good use for it, but 
they are wary of speculations and loans, many affairs of 
that kind having turned out badly. They are generally 
of opinion here that France must make soon a bankruptcy. 
It is made long since. Dalton is dead, but it is yet a dis 
pute whether by poison, pistol, or gout. Vanderhoot is 
of a committee called the Secret Committee. He is to 
be in town to-morrow. That committee, a kind of self- 
elected body, have, it is said, made some kind of treaty 
with foreign powers. I doubt that fact much. A young 
man who arrives from Brussels, and is in the patriot army, 
gives but a wretched account of the Etats-Generaux. Al 
ready there has been a riot at Brussels, in which they say 
one person lost his life. In consequence, Vanderhoot, as 
the representative of the Nation, has published a placard pur 
porting that the States act only as representatives of the 
people, in whom the sovereignty resides." 

" Breakfast [February 27th] with M. Dubois. He gives 
me the French gazettes. The Marquis de Favras is, I 
find, condemned and executed. He died bravely, and I 
believe unjustly. But a sacrifice was, I suppose, deemed to 
be necessary. After breakfast we go to the cathedral, and 
there view the famous Descent from the Cross, painted 
by Rubens. It is done with dreadful exactitude. Another 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 299 

fine picture in this church is the Beatification of the 
Blessed Virgin, which appears to have been completed by 
Rubens in fifteen days, and to have been paid for at the rate 
of 100 florins per day. His receipt has been discovered for 
this picture charged in that way. From the cathedral in 
stead of going, as we at first intended, to visit some gal 
leries of paintings, we go to the house of M. Van Ertborn 
to see the triumphal entry of M. Vanderhoot. On this 
occasion the troops are all turned out under arms, and we 
have as fine a procession as the city can afford. It is, in 
fact, very splendid, and the hero of the day enters amid 
the repeated acclamations of his fellow- citizens. Van 
Eupon, the Secretary of the States, accompanies him, and 
is also one of the pillars of the Revolution. 

"Go to dine with M. de Wolf. Mr. Westbrook and his 
lady are here, also a colonel in the British service, a Ger 
man, whose object at Antwerp is to make a loan for the 
Prince of Wales and the Dukes of York and Clarence. 
Mr. Westbrook assures me that the revolution is to be at 
tributed entirely to Vanderhoot. The colonel tells me 
that Yorktown in Virginia was taken by the French troops 
only, and that the Americans looked on at a distance. I 
hope, for the honor of Mr. Vanderhoot, that the one piece 
of information is more just than the other. I take the 
liberty to put the colonel right, which might as well per 
haps have been let alone, but I could not resist the pro 
pensity. We have a very good fish dinner, for this is a 
maigre day. Go with M. Dubois to a concert. We are 
in the box of Madame with her sister, the Comtesse d Otro- 
inonde, and their father, the Comte d Aes, who informs 
me that news are arrived announcing with certainty the 
Emperor s death. The Comte d Otromonde and his lady 
repeat a very polite invitation to dine on Monday, as I 
could not be of their party this day, but I must depart for 



3<DO DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

Amsterdam. After waiting about half an hour Vander- 
hoot comes in, and is received by loud acclamations, 
which are repeated at every interval during the concert. 
After he goes out they continue singing different songs to 
his honor in the French and Flemish languages. The 
former are more estimable for the sentiment than for the 
poetry, and the latter I do not understand. With my pen 
cil I write on a card and give to the ladies my tribute of 
applause in English, which they do not understand, and 
are therefore at liberty to believe that it is excellent. 

Let freedom s friends from every clime 

Here virtue s noble triumph see. 
Hail, Vanderhoot ! to latest time 

Thy name shall still remember d be. 

For thee the patriot s breast shall glow, 
For thee the grateful song shall rise, 

On thee celestial choirs bestow 
A place distinguish d in the skies. 

From the concert we take a turn in the coach of Ma 
dame Dubois through the town to see the illuminations, 
and then go to supper at M. Cornelison s, who married the 
sister of M. Dubois. The burgundy here is transcend- 
ently good, but though of generous quality and generously 
bestowed, I feel not the desire to pour out large libations. 
After supper the conversation turns on the politics and 
revolution of this country. The master of the house, 
who seems to be much indisposed to the authority assumed 
by the States, and is not perhaps a very great friend to the 
revolution, gives us a history of it in his way ; and as some 
dispute arises, I am able to collect from the whole conver 
sation that a much greater portion of the success is to be 
attributed to the misconduct of the Austrian troops than 
to the vigor of the patriots either in body or mind. And 
it seems also to be pretty clear that the members of the 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 3OI 

States are of that species which is called good sort of men ; 
and, indeed, if I might judge from Vanderhoot s counte 
nance, he, also, is rather distinguishable for bonhomie than 
for talents. Those who are called the Tiers Etat are rep 
resentatives rather of the sovereign than of the people, 
from the manner in which the elections are made ; and as 
the nobles are hereditary, and the clergy are more proper 
ly a profession than a political order, it must be confessed 
that such an assemblage (originally possessed by their con 
stitution of a share of the legislative authority, and now 
by their own assumption possessed of the remainder, and 
of the whole executive authority) does not seem likely to 
render the condition of the people very agreeable should 
this form of government be finally established. But I 
cannot but think it more prudent to secure the country 
first against the late sovereign, and afterwards, when the 
revolution is completed, put their internal affairs in order. 

" The English nation seems to be more agreeable to the 
inhabitants of this country than either the Dutch or 
French. I do not exactly see the reason of this, nor do I 
recollect anything in their history which should have given 
rise to this preference. The shutting up of the Scheldt 
seems naturally enough to account for a rooted dislike of 
the Dutch, and perhaps they are too near neighbors for 
the French to be very much attached to them, for among 
nations as with individuals near neighbors are seldom good 
friends." 

" After dining to-day [February 28th] with M. de Wolf 
we behold the procession of M. Vanderhoot, who is about 
to depart, and who is escorted from the city with as much 
pomp as was yesterday displayed to receive him. Later 
in the evening M. Dubois takes me to his brother s to 
sup. After supper the conversation is accidentally turned 
to religion, and a gentleman present observes that in all 



302 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

countries there is an established religion. I assure him 
that there is none in America. We are led too far on this 
head, for this country is too ignorant as yet to understand 
the true principles of human policy with respect to relig 
ion, and too bigoted, so that truths almost universally ac 
knowledged appear almost like atheism. At least such is 
my conjecture, from the countenances of the company, 
when I tell them that God is sufficiently powerful to do 
his own business without human aid, and that man should 
confine his care to the actions of his fellow-creatures, leav 
ing to that Being to influence the thoughts as he may 
think proper." 

March ist, Morris left Antwerp and proceeded to Am 
sterdam. "My short residence in this city," he says, "has 
attached me to the society I was in, so that I leave it with 
regret." The business which occasioned his visit was 
not without result, for he and De Wolf "agreed as to ways 
and means of operating hereafter in the American debt." 
On his way he observes that "the whole country on the 
right is laid waste, and the greater part is under water. 
The appearance as we approach is terrible, for it looks 
like a wide ocean which we are to cross on a strip of land. 
The fact, I find, is that the dyke was broken down by the 
river, and the torrent swept away everything. It appears 
to have been done a year or two ago, and is at present re 
paired, but this is only a specimen of the state which 
seems to threaten, though perhaps at a very remote period, 
this extraordinary country. A great part of it is very 
much below the level of the water, and therefore the small 
est perforation of the bank would let in the inundation at 
any time. The texture of these dykes also appears to me 
to be nothing more than the common earth thrown up. 
If so, a cargo of musk-rats would do them more serious 
mischief than an hundred thousand men, provided that 



1790-1 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 303 

animal could exist in this climate, and I see no reason why 
it should not. After we leave this theatre of destruction 
we go along a very considerable distance with the Haarlem 
Meer (a very large lake communicating near to the city of 
Amsterdam with the ocean). On our left and on our right 
the turf grounds are under water, the road too narrow 
to admit of more than one carriage for a great part of the 
way, and the Haarlem Meer (perhaps swelled by the tide) 
is nearly on a level with us. This is as dreary and dis 
agreeable a ride as can be wished. At a little before four 
we are set down at the Arms of Amsterdam, so that we 
have been nine hours on the road." 

"Go to see M. Hope on business of the American debt 
[March 4th]. The envoy from Prussia to Portugal comes 
in. At dinner the conversation turns a little upon the 
state of Europe, and the envoy seems to think that the 
Archduke will be chosen Emperor if he will make the 
needful sacrifices, one of which (and, indeed, the principal 
one) is to give up the alliance with the Empress of Russia 
and make peace with the Turk. He seems to suppose 
that he may by this means recover the possession of 
Flanders. Go hence to Madame Host s. A very gen 
eral company and excellent music. The salon is very 
handsome, and decorated with valuable pictures by 
the greatest masters. French politics are immediately 
broached, and I find that they are of the Orange party, 
consequently glad to see the miseries which the Revolu 
tion has brought upon France. I endeavor to show that 
the state of things in France was such as to necessitate a 
change of some sort, and although they have, as is natural, 
gone into an extreme, yet there is reason to hope that, see 
ing their error, they will return. Insensibly we come to 
ward Holland, and in reply to an observation of Madame 
I observe that this country appears to me in a situation as 



304 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

precarious as any other in Europe ; that they cannot long 
continue what they now are, but must descend of necessity 
by the weight of irresistible circumstances. This calls out 
M. Bost (a man of sense and information), and in the 
spirit of argument he communicates useful facts, which 
are nevertheless in confirmation of the opinion he com 
bats. I tell him that the individual wealth of the country 
resulting from the accumulated interest of money lent is 
fatal to the public wealth ; that it has from natural causes 
banished manufactures, and that their agriculture, circum 
scribed within narrow bounds, cannot bear any further im 
positions ; consequently the revenue cannot be increased. 
And as their commerce, though positively greater than in 
the last century, is comparatively much less, that source 
of public wealth is drying up the competition of people 
whose natural position gives them advantages. For the 
commerce here, being that of an intermediary between 
other nations, renders a profit only to the merchant with 
out adding anything to the general mass. M. Bost in reply 
to this says that the wealth depending on manufactures is 
not only precarious but a felo de se, and necessarily de 
structive of itself, because it must so raise the price of 
labor as to give to other countries an advantageous com 
petition. He is mistaken, but I think it best to let him en 
joy his mistake. Besides, it is time to go to the concert. 

" We have very good music. I ask an officer of the navy 
the state of their army and navy. He tells me they have 
fifty ships of the line and as many frigates ; their army 
consists of 3,000 infantry and 2,000 artillery, and as many 
cavalry. These last are some of the finest in Europe. I 
ask Mr. Bost how much the tax of the twenty-fifth penny 
yielded here. He tells me that it produced in the province 
of Holland eighty millions of guelders." 

" The news from France to-day [March 6th] is that M. 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 305 

Necker is to go to the Assemblee and propose apian of 
finance which will put everything to rights, and this they 
seem to be convinced of. La Chaise had told me last 
evening that things were going on very badly in their 
finances, and that M. Necker has the jaundice ; thus the 
same post brings very different accounts of the same 
thing." 

" Go to the exchange [March roth], which is a very 
curious scene. Jan Willinks takes me upstairs to a win 
dow to show it more fully. A general meeting, this, of 
the representatives of the earth. Each merchant has his 
stand, and the brokers, who are as busy as it is possible for 
men to be, keep constantly applying to them on one sub 
ject or another. Go to the French Theatre, and sit in the 
Burgomaster s box immediately behind Madame Bost and 
Madame Hasselaer. I find that this latter was acquainted 
at Spa with my brother, General Morris. She says that 
his wife is a very amiable woman. Learn the news from 
France, which is that Necker has announced that he must 
retire, and proposes to stop payment for a year, also to 
issue paper money (at least, so says the abstract of his 
speech). These, wild measures must ruin the exchange 
and stocks." 

" Dine [March i3th] with W. Willinks (enfamille). Our 
company consists of his children, with their private tutors 
and a professor, who is, he says, a very learned man ; also 
a student under that professor. By this means we are ten 
at table, and Madame places me in an arm-chair at the end 
of it. She sits on my right, and Monsieur on my left. Two 
dishes of cod, one at each end, some potatoes in the middle, 
the cod s liver boiled in one sauce-boat and butter boiled 
in the other, form the first course. With the aid of some 
mustard, I take in a sufficient quantity of the fish to be cov 
ered against contingencies. When this service is removed, 

20 



306 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

the potatoes are replaced by a piece of boiled beef, and the 
dish of fish next me is in like manner replaced by two 
miserable chickens, or rather fowls, whose sharp breast 
bones complain of the fire by which the little juice they 
once might boast of has been dried away. A watery sauce 
which surrounds them can but ill supply the defect of 
nature and the waste of art. A flat pudding at the other 
end, and four plates of greasy vegetables at the corners, 
make up this second course. The dessert is a little better 
as to quantity, but the quality shows that the principles of 
a rigid economy have been duly attended to. The wines, 
however, might give that indigestion against which the 
due precautions have been taken in the dinner, but from 
a similar cause, there is little danger of excess. Some in 
sipid Cape Madeira figures in the dessert, with some sweet 
wine which is called White Cape. The conversation is like 
the feast, and turns upon business. I have but little reason 
to be satisfied with it ; however, time and chance produce 
strange revolutions on this globe. We shall see." 

" To-day [March i6th] we embark in M. Willinks s yacht 
for Saardam. It is a flat-bottomed vessel, with leeboards, 
and is broader in proportion to the length than a periau- 
ger. It is rigged sloop-fashion. At Saardam I am made 
to remark the old-fashioned dress, and am struck with what 
is not pointed out ; viz., the manner of arranging the hair 
as I have seen it in old pictures of the time of Louis XIV., 
in little ringlets on the forehead. A girl of about fifteen, 
with auburn locks in that style, a clear complexion, and 
rosy cheeks, looks like one of the woodland nymphs of 
ancient poesy. Another thing pointed out to me is, I be 
lieve, peculiar to this part of the world a mortuary door, 
which is never opened but to take away a corpse." 

" 1 hear [March ipth] that the Committee of Finance 
have made severe strictures on Necker s plan, and repro- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 307 

bated in particular the idea of a board of commissioners 
of the treasury, chosen from out of the Assemblee. They 
recommend also a paper money, bearing interest, which 
they think will not depreciate, and in this I think they are 
very much mistaken. Time only can show the worth of 
that measure. The exchange in the meantime, and the 
effets royaux, continue to fall. I go to the older Madame 
Capadoces, but the young ladies of the family are here. 
Madame Caton receives well my advances. Madame Sara 
seems to have more understanding than her sister-in-law. 
She is equally beautiful, though in a different style, and 
has an air moins lubrique, but her eyes speak the language 
of that sentiment which warms and melts the heart. No 
pulse but the beat of delight, no sound but the murmur 
of joy. Heaven knoweth best, ye fair daughters of Sion, 
if ever it will be my lot to behold you again. All which 
I can do is to raise some gentle prepossessions not un 
favorable to future efforts, should chance again place me 
within that circle where you fill so bright a space. I find 
that rny adorations are not illy received by the fair Sara, 
and that the delicious Caton is less pleased than she ex 
pected at those worshippings. Tant mieux. We retire after 
one o clock, which is not the way to preserve health, I be 
lieve." 

Morris left Amsterdam on the 22d, with assurances 
from Mr. John Willinks that if it were possible they would 
effect his object in regard to the debt question. The 
Hague was the next stopping-place, and the following 
morning, immediately after breakfast, he went to Scheven- 
ingen, then " a little fishing-village " merely. "The road is 
straight, level, and paved with brick. We go directly 
through the dunes or sand-hills, which, viewed in their ex 
tent northward along the coast, have somewhat the shape 
and appearance of a troubled sea. A small ascent from 



308 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

Scheveningen of five or six feet presents to my view the 
German ocean. Three fishing-vessels lie on the beach. 
Their leeboards are made of one plank only, and are long ; 
the vessels short, and by no means clean-built. They are 
not quite flat-bottomed, but nearly so. My guide tells me 
that they have a great commerce for fish. At present they 
are packing up skate for Brabant. Returning, we go to 
the prince s cabinet of paintings. There are here several 
very good pieces and some indifferent; a * Venus and 
an Eve, both by Rubens. Dine, and depart for Rotter 
dam. Stop at Delft and visit two churches. In the one 
are the monuments of Van Tromp and another admiral ; 
in the other church is the monument of the great Nassau, 
first Stadtholder, murdered in this city by a person whom 
the Spanish had hired for the purpose. At the feet of the 
hero is represented his faithful dog, who, when his master 
was slain, would neither eat nor drink, and so perished in 
affectionate and sorrowful attendance. Poor, worthy creat 
ure ! In this church is also the monument of Grotius. 
Over the Stadtholder are represented two weeping Cupids, 
but nothing can be more ludicrous than their grimaces. 
From hence we proceed to Rotterdam, and arrive at half- 
past six, having been but three hours. Mr. Gregory, I find, 
has engaged a packet, and the next morning [March 24th] 
we take a wagon and cross over to Helvoetsluys. The 
weather is very warm, the violets are in full bloom, and I 
pick up on a slope of the works which faces the sun a 
mushroom very large, but too old to be eaten. We dis 
appoint our host in not dining with him, and in taking 
one bottle only of his wine for our sea-stores. Set sail 
with a wind directly ahead and the tide almost done, con 
sequently with but little prospect of getting to sea this 
evening. At low-water it falls calm, and we cast anchor 
about two leagues below Helvoet. Captain Bridges seems 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 309 

to be a good-natured, honest fellow ; his mate, with a sour 
though not sober countenance, looks ineffable contempt at 
the passengers ; I suppose, because they are not seamen. 
A fine evening closes this day." 

Fifty hours after sailing Morris was landed safely at 
Harwich on Saturday, March 27th, whence he proceeded 
immediately to London. " The season here," he says, "is 
very far advanced. The primroses, the violets, and many 
fruit-trees are in full bloom. The rape-seed, also, is in 
blossom. Arrive at five o clock at Froome s Hotel, Covent 
Garden. Go to bed at ten o clock, and am but just fairly 
nestled there, when my brother, General Morris, arrives. 
My sister is also at the door, but does not come in. The 
object was to take me home to supper. Am to breakfast 
with them at ten to-morrow." 

"This morning [March 28th], at ten, I go to General 
Morris s. A very sisterly reception from his lady. Stay 
and chat till near twelve, then visit the Marquis de la Lu- 
zerne, ambassador from France. He tells me the news 
from Paris, and in reply to my question of who is to re 
place Necker, he says that the story of his going away is 
all fabricated by Calonne. I tell him that I am persuaded 
that he will quit, and that I do not consider it as a mis 
fortune. I find, however, that he is much an advocate of 
M. Necker and his measures. This is extraordinary, for 
he has, I think, good sense enough to see the faults which 
have been committed. Call on the Duke of Leeds, who is 
not at home ; leave a card and tell the porter I will write 
a note. Go to the Due de Luxembourg s ; admitted 
with difficulty ; his son receives the letter with which I 
am charged by his brother, the Duke being in bed. Re 
turn home ; write a note to the Duke of Leeds, asking to 
know the time when it will be most convenient for his 
grace to receive certain communications which Mr. Morris 



310 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

is desired to make in a semi-official capacity to His Majes 
ty s ministers by the President of the United States of 
America. Go to the French ambassador s to dinner. 
The Vicomtesse says she has a great deal to say about the 
affairs of France when she sees me with less company. 
Return home, and find a note from the Duke of Leeds, 
giving me a rendez-vous for to-morrow at half-past two. 
I told the Marquis de la Luzerne this morning that I was 
directed to call on the ministry here for a performance of 
the treaty, and enjoined him to secrecy. (He told it every 
where.) I think it prudent to be in a situation to say al 
ways to the French Court that every step taken by us has 
been with their privity." 

" Monday [March 29th], at the appointed hour I go to 
Whitehall, and communicate to the Duke of Leeds* Wash 
ington s letter to me. He expresses himself with some 
warmth of approbation. * I am very happy, Mr. Morris, 
to see this letter, and under the President s own hand. I 
assure you it is very much my wish to cultivate a friendly 
and commercial intercourse between the two countries, 
and more, and I can answer for the rest of His Majesty s 
servants that they are of the same opinion. I am very 
happy, my Lord, to find that such sentiments prevail, for 
we are too near neighbors not to be either very good 
friends or very dangerous enemies. After more profes 
sions from him I mention the points of the treaty which 
remain to be performed, and observe that, by the Consti- 

* In October, 1789, Washington wrote to Morris, and desired him, in " the 
capacity of private agent and on the authority and credit of this letter, to con 
verse with His Britannic Majesty s ministers on these points ; viz., whether 
there be any, and what objections to performing those articles in the treaty 
which remain to be performed on his part, and whether they incline to a 
treaty of commerce with the United States on any, and what terms? " The 
office of Secretary of State being at this time unfilled, Washington, to avoid 
delays, made this communication under his own hand. This letter is the one 
referred to in Morris s interview with the Duke of Leeds. 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 311 

tution of the United States, which he has certainly read, 
all obstacles to the recovery of British debts are removed, 
and that if any doubt could have remained it is now obvi 
ated by the organization of a Federal court which has cog 
nizance of all causes arising under the treaty. He is very 
happy to receive this information. I then mention that I 
believe there are two points which remain to be fulfilled 
on their part : viz., as to the Posts and compensation for 
negroes taken away ; that perhaps, as to the first, they may 
have sent out orders since the President s letter was writ 
ten. He does not exactly know the situation. As to the 
last, he had long wished that something had been done, 
but something or another had always interfered. He 
changed the conversation, which I bring back, and which 
he changes again. It is evident, therefore, that he is at 
present confined to general assurances. I tell him that 
there was a little circumstance which operated very disa 
greeably in America. He interrupts me : I know what 
you are going to speak about, our not sending out a min 
ister. I wished to send you one, but then I wished to 
have a man everyway equal to the task, a man of abilities, 
and one agreeable to the people of America, but it was 
difficult; it is a great way off. My Lord, you cannot 
want men well qualified, and I am certain that there are 
many who will be glad to accept it. He again changes 
the conversation. I therefore observe that he will prob 
ably choose to consider this matter a little, and to examine 
the American Constitution, the treaty of peace, etc. He 
says that he should. I tell him that I shall be glad to 
receive his answer as speedily as may be. He promises 
despatch. In the course of the conversation he mentioned 
a letter he had written to Mr. Adams, in which he ex 
pressed the opinion that the performance of the treaty 
should be article by article, as they stood in order. I re- 



312 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

ply that my private opinion had always been that it would 
be proper for us to execute the treaty fully on our part, 
and then call for execution by them, for that if each were 
to delay until the other should act, all treaties would be 
illusory. He agreed in the propriety of the observation. 
I left [Washington s] letter with him, which he is to have 
copied and returned." 

"Mr. Church engages me to dine with him on Friday 
[March 3oth], enfamille. He goes to find Charles Fox and 
ask him to meet me." 

The following sprightly society letter Morris de 
spatched to Mr. Short at Paris, to be by him shown to 
the disconsolate fair ones he had left behind, and who 
complained of his silence. "Place me before them grace 
fully," he wrote, "and assure them that they can at least 
own that it is only in my absence that such complaints can 
have any foundation. But truth is that I did not like to 
write through Flanders, because the government are by 
no means deficient in curiosity and not over-delicate in 
the means of satisfying it. I hereby authorize you, how 
ever, to say for me all which I ought to say and to do all 
which I ought to do. I would deputize you to the hand 
ling of Madame de C s tea-pot, but, since everything 

now goes by election, I cannot hazard such encroachment 
upon the droits de r/iomme. Be persuaded, however, of my 
perfectly good wishes that you may be found worthy to 
fill the department. You will lay me at the feet of her 
R. H. Happy position ! there to kneel and there adore. 
Assure her of my lowliest worshippings. To the charm 
ing Comtesse de S , try to say what I have often felt 

but could never express. In Madame d H det t s cir 
cle, give every assurance which may be proper ; I hold 
myself bound in honor not to belie you. Madame de La- 
b will, I hope, always believe in my respectful ad- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 313 

miration. You will see then Madame de F , to whom 

present my remembrances. Supply on every occasion 
my omissions, and command me under similar circum 
stances. I will obey as well as I can." 

" The French ambassador tells rne the news from Paris 
to-day [April ist] at dinner. Things are going on badly. 
The Assembly have reiterated to the King their refusal to 
comply with his wish to choose a treasury board out of 
their body. The pointed opposition to M. Necker be 
comes now manifest. He seems much affected by the situ 
ation of things, and tells me that within the last six months 
they have done much evil, in which sentiment I cordially 
agree. The Duchesse de Biron is here and Madame de 
Boufflers, to which last I present remembrances from the 
Marechal de Segur, but I believe I have mistaken the per 
son who gave me that commission." 

"Visit Sir John Sinclair [April 4th], from whom I re 
ceived a note last evening requesting it. Various conver 
sation. Just before I come away I ask him whether they 
have made any alteration in their American trade bill and 
intercourse bill. He says they have not. I ask what are 
their intentions on that subject. He says they are of 
opinion that trade can best regulate itself. I smile, and tell 
him that I am very much of the same opinion, but that con 
sistently with it we should abstain from all restrictions." 

Almost as a Frenchman Morris mourned over the con 
dition of France, as he saw how feeble her men were, 
how little fitted for the task suddenly imposed upon them. 
In the following letters to Colonel Ternant and Mr. Short, 
who were both in Paris, he expresses his feelings very 
forcibly. "The present moment," he wrote to Colonel 
Ternant, "teems with great events. Would to God that, 
in a certain city which you have sometimes seen, there 
were great men established to meet with proper dignity 



314 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

the greatness of those incidents which will be hourly pro 
duced." And later, writing to Mr. Short, he says : "I have 
very little doubt in my mind either as to the progress or 
event of things in France. Early in July I formed event 
ual opinions, and events in August and early in Septem 
ber rendered them absolute. Hitherto facts have shown 
them to be just. If the two hundred millions given to the 
municipality of Paris were what they are supposed to be, 
value t the consequences you fear might take effect, but they 
are among those things whose ultimate basis resolves itself 
into opinion, and opinion cannot be restored until they 
shall have undone much of what they have done, and done 
many things of different complexion. Among those who 
are now at the helm there is neither the mind to conceive, 
the heart to dare, nor the hand to execute such things. 
They will therefore continue to pile up system upon sys 
tem, without advancing one inch. The dreadful primeval 
curse is repeated upon them all. Paper thou art, and unto 
paper shalt thou return. I deeply bemoan these things, 
for I love France sincerely. ... It was not from 
what I found in Amsterdam that I was deterred from 
pursuing the propositions to M. Necker, but the convic 
tion that his expectations have been so raised as to shut 
his ears to anything which could with safety be proposed, 
and I have not enough of the knight-errant in my com 
position to go beyond that line." 

" If I am not mistaken," the diary continues, " it will be 
proper to be intimate at the French ambassador s, to a 
certain point. At dinner to-day we have a long conversa 
tion on the state of French politics. He tells me that he 
thinks Lafayette and M. Necker ought to coalesce, as the 
only means of saving France. I tell him that his idea 
may be good, but I am sure it will not take effect. He 
asks if Mr. Jefferson was not much consulted in the be- 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 315 

ginning of the Revolution. I tell him that I believe he 
was, and fear that his ideas were in many respects too 
democratical. He speaks of Jefferson with much con 
tempt as a statesman and as one who is better formed for 
the interior of Virginia than to influence the operations 
of a great people. I own that I am rather surprised at 
this sentiment, because Mr. Jefferson has in general ex 
cited favorable ideas of his intellectual faculties. Go 
from hence to Mrs. Low s rout ; a number of Americans 
there. Among the guests is Mrs. Mallet, who still looks 
toward triumph, and has a less unnatural manner than 
she had about fifteen years ago. She seems not unwilling 
to extend her dominion, but this will not do for me." 

"A pretty numerous company at Sir John Sinclair s to 
day [April pth] at dinner chiefly literati, I believe. A 
Mr. Irwin of the customs, a statesman, is, I find, decidedly 
opposed to America, and he is, if an enemy, a dangerous 
one, because he can always produce just such matter as he 
pleases. At present his hobby-horse is to force the people 
of this island, even by starvation, to raise as much corn as 
they want. I foolishly enter into a little argument with 
him on that subject; twould have been better to let him 
enjoy his opinions, and to inculcate them. What I say turns 
upon the point that the labor applied to husbandry cannot 
so certainly insure its object as that employed upon manu 
factures. The favorable or unfavorable season will de 
cide on the harvest, in spite of all human endeavors." 

"Mr. R. Penn tells me [April nth] that he thinks it 
probable I shall be appointed minister to this Court. I 
tell him that if I express an opinion, it will be not to ap 
point a minister. He expresses his surprise at this senti 
ment, which I justify on the ground that their present 
rulers do not wish to form a connection with America. 
Go from hence to Mr. Church s. They are just got back ; 



3l6 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP, XIV. 

he is from Newmarket, where he has lost money. I prom 
ise to meet Charles Fox at dinner on Saturday. Visit 
Lady Tancred. She seems more indebted for her beauties 
to art than I had imagined at the first view. I learn that 
she is sister to my old friend General Montgomery." 

" General Morris calls on me this morning [April i6th] 
to inform me of a mechanic who can make wooden legs 
very well. I desire that he may call on me to-morrow. 
At half-past two Mr. Penn calls, and dines. We then go 
down to the House of Commons. He endeavors to pro 
cure admission for me under the galleries as a foreigner, 
which the speaker refuses, because I have not been pre 
sented at Court. Madame de la Luzerne showed me this 
evening a letter from her mother, or mother-in-law, men 
tioning that M. Necker was to be denounced to the Na 
tional Assembly, and that both parties are violent against 
him. She tells me also that Lafayette is opposed to him. 
This I knew before, but appeared not to know it, and even 
endeavored to account for it on a supposition that they 
may have differed lately about the taking of a board of 
treasury out of the National Assembly. My friend the 
Marquis de la Luzerne is violently opposed, I find, to the 
Assembly, but in favor of M. Necker. Return home be 
tween twelve and one, and sit some time reading the livre 
rouge which M. Barthelemi gave me the perusal of this 
afternoon." 

"This morning [April iyth] after breakfast a mechanic 
arrives who is to make a leg. Upon examination of the 
stump he says that I shall be able to take the benefit of 
the knee-joint. If this be so it will certainly be an im 
provement, but he acknowledges that the machinery will 
be less solid than the simple stick which I now use." 
Morris met Charles James Fox at dinner this evening at 
Mr. Church s. "Mr. Fox," he says, "does not arrive till 



I79Q.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 3 1/ 

seven. He has been detained by the Duke of York. We 
sat pretty late after dinner, and I observe that Mr. Fox 
scrutinizes me closely to see what I am. I give him all 
opportunity for that purpose. His manners are simple. 
He speaks lightly of Chatham, who, says he, was a fortu 
nate man, and that the successes in the war were to be attrib 
uted to a measure of his father s, which was the capture 
of the French ships and seamen before the Declaration ; I 
observe that it was also to be attributed to the great force 
sent out to America by Lord Chatham. In the course of 
conversation I ask him what system the present adminis 
tration have with respect to America. He says that he 
thinks they have not as yet adopted any ; that he does not 
imagine Mr. Pitt will take any trouble about the matter, 
but will leave it to Lord Hawkesbury and Mr. Grenville, 
who are both of them indisposed to us, whereas Pitt him 
self is rather friendly than otherwise. I ask him the char 
acter of the Duke of Leeds. He speaks of him contemptu 
ously, but says he takes upon himself a little lately. He 
says that he and Burke are now almost alone in their 
opinion that we should be permitted to trade in our own 
bottoms to their islands ; that this opinion loses ground 
daily, though for his part he persists in it. I tell him that 
it is a solid principle of policy, for that our position ren 
ders the islands so materially dependent on us that they 
should make it our interest to keep them in possession ; 
that further, if we choose to lay them under disadvan 
tages in our ports, we can materially injure their naviga 
tion, whereas the admission of our vessels into their isl 
ands can do them no harm in that respect. All this is 
true, but I suspect that we shall be obliged in America to 
give them the conviction of their senses." 

" This morning [April 2oth] I go immediately after 
breakfast to a leg-maker and have my right leg taken in 



318 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV. 

plaster of Paris, as a model by which to make the left leg 
of copper. By the awkwardness of the workman I am 
long detained, and obliged to have a second copy made ; 
in fact, he has not one needful thing, which is a box for 
taking the model by. Get a model made of the stump 
also, so as to prevent the necessity of frequent sittings to 
have the cushions fitted. I am detained under these op 
erations until after four o clock. Dress, and go to the 
French ambassador s to dine. A young gentleman is 
there who I have often seen at the Baron de Besenval s. 
He is just arrived ; he came in company with Mr. Crosby. 
That circle are all in good health. I find that the debates 
have been very outrageous in Paris, and things seem to be 
verging fast towards change." 

" To-day [April 23d] I dine with my brother, General 
Morris. The company are a Lady Cundliffe, with her 
daughters, Mrs. Drummond Smith and Miss Cundliffe ; 
the Marquis of Huntly, Lord Eglinton, General Murry, 
Mr. Drummond Smith (who, they tell me, is one of the 
richest commoners in England), and Colonel Morrison of 
the Guards. After dinner there is a great deal of com 
pany collected in the drawing-room, to some of whom I 
am presented ; the Ladies Hays, who are very handsome, 
Lady Tancred and her sister, and Miss Byron are here, 
Mr. and Mrs. Montresor. I am particularly presented 
to Colonel Morrison, who is the quartermaster-general 
of this kingdom, and whose daughter also is here. She 
has a fine, expressive countenance, and is, they tell me, 
of such a romantic turn of mind as to have refused 
many good offers of marriage because she did not like the 
men. I have some little conversation with Mrs. Smith 
after dinner. She appears to have good dispositions for 
making a friendly connection, as far as one may venture to 
judge by the glance of the eye. Visit Mrs. Cosway, and 



i79o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 319 

find here Lady Townsend, with her daughter-in-law and 
daughter. The conversation here (as, indeed, everywhere 
else) turns on the man (or rather monster) who for several 
days past has amused himself with cutting and wounding 
women in the streets. One unhappy victim of his in 
human rage is dead. Go from hence to Drury Lane Thea 
tre. The pieces we went to see were not acted, but in 
stead, Twelfth Night and The Spoiled Child. This 
last is said to have been written by Mrs. Jordan. She 
plays excellently in it, and so, indeed, she does in the prin 
cipal piece." 

" Two tickets have been given me for the trial of Warren 
Hastings. Call upon La Caze [April 29th], and take him 
with me. We wait till past two before the Lords come 
down, and then, after a decision against the managers upon 
a former question, much time is consumed in complaint 
against that decision. A witness being then called up 
and a question proposed to him, an objection is raised by 
the counsel as being within the decision just delivered. A 
long argument on this subject from the managers, which 
the counsel very properly reply to by their silence, and, the 
opinion of the Lords being clear, the question is given up 
without a formal declaration of that opinion. Shortly 
after, another question is proposed to the witness, which is 
objected to, and hereupon arises a serious argument. The 
speakers this day are Burke and Fox. The former has 
quickness and genius, but he is vague, loose, desultory, 
and confused. Mr. Fox has not the needful self-possession 
to make a great speaker. He is obliged to abstract him 
self so much in pursuit of the matter that he is extremely 
deficient in manner. He is a slovenly speaker, but he is 
acute and discerns well. He does not sufficiently convey 
to others the distinctions which he feels ; his mind appears 
like a clouded sun, and this I believe results from the life 



320 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIV, 

he leads. Temperance, application, and the possession of 
competence with moderation to enjoy it, would render 
him very great, if unhappily his faculties be not at that 
point when a continuation of former habits becomes neces 
sary to keep them alive. Go to my lodgings and dress, 
read my letters, and then (but with no proper emotions for 
that scene) go to Mrs. Church s ball. Things here are 
really magnificent and well conducted. The royal broth 
ers and Mrs. Fitzherbert are among the guests. The Duke 
of Orleans also is here, with whom I exchange a few words, 
and converse a good deal with his two brothers, just arrived 
from Paris. See Mrs. Darner and several other people 
whom I had before seen. On the whole, the manner of 
these persons is very well, considering the haughty cold 
ness of the nation and that I am an American. Stay till 
after three, and then take Mr. Low home. When I get 
home it is broad daylight." 



J79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 321 



CHAPTER XV. 

Reticence of the Duke of Leeds. Morris s letter to the duke. Letter to 
Washington. Undertakes to negotiate for the sale of American es 
tates. Miss Farren. The impressment of American seamen. In 
terview with the Duke of Leeds. Presented to Pitt. Long interview 
with Pitt and the Duke of Leeds relative to the treaty of commerce, 
non-payment of money due by the English Government to American 
land-owners, evacuation of the frontier-posts, etc. The Hastings 
trial. News from Paris. The National Assembly vote the king an 
allowance. Abolition of the nobility. The Duke of Orleans in a 
" whimsical " situation. Great fete of the federation. Letter to Wil 
liam Short at Paris. Strictures on the young men of London. Rise 
of the Jacobins in Paris. Lafayette s position insecure. 

IT was now late in April, and still the Duke of Leeds 
maintained a profound silence upon the subject of 
the conversation Morris had held with him, nor had 
he returned the copy of the President s letter. " I am 
still waiting," Morris wrote to Washington on the 28th, 
"for intelligence from the ministers, who (to judge by 
appearances) slumber profoundly upon the application 
made to them. It was not until the 28th of April, and 
after several notes had been sent to jog his memory, that 
the duke consented to notice Morris or his affairs. He 
then pleaded indisposition as the excuse for his long 
delay. 

Morris in his reply [April 3oth] expressed himself as 
happy to receive from such " respectable authority" the 
sincere wish of England to fulfil her engagements with 
the United States "in a manner consistent with the most 
scrupulous fidelity ; " though this had never admitted of 

21 



322 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

question in his mind, and he assured his grace of his con 
viction of the determination of the United States to per 
form in the fullest manner every stipulation which they 
had made. He entreated of his grace s goodness to inform 
him in what respect, and to what degree, lie considered the 
final completion of those engagements to which the United 
States were bound as having been rendered impracticable, 
this being to him a new idea. He further asked his grace 
the nature and extent of the redress expected for British 
subjects upon the specific points of the treaty. On the 
subject of a commercial treaty between the countries, 
Morris expressed a sincere hope that he might be mistaken 
in supposing that his grace showed a disinclination to se 
curing an amiable intercourse by the force of a treaty, and 
assured him how unhappy he should be to convey a false 
impression on this subject, which might be prejudicial to 
both countries. He begged, therefore, that he might be 
set right. 

The following letter to Washington was sent, with 
Morris s full reply to the Duke of Leeds, of which a sum 
mary only is given above. "I must rely," he wrote, "on 
your kindness both to interpret favorably what I have 
done, and to excuse my omissions. I thought it best to 
heap coals of fire on their heads, and thereby either bring 
them into our views or put them most eminently in the 
wrong. It was, moreover, my wish to draw forth specific 
propositions, because these will admit of discussion, or else, 
if manifestly unjust, they can not only be repelled, but they 
will serve to show a predetermined breach of faith by them 
which will justify whatever conduct we may afterwards find 
it proper to adopt. I have some reason to believe that 
the present administration intends to keep the posts and 
withhold payment for the negroes. If so, they will cover 
their breach of faith by the best pretexts in their power. 



i79o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 323 

I incline to think also that they consider a treaty of com 
merce with America as being absolutely unnecessary, and 
that they are persuaded they shall derive all benefit from 
our trade without treaty. In the matter of treaties very 
much will, I think, depend upon the situation of France. 
From the conduct of the aristocratic hierarchy in the Low 
Countries, who are instigated and supported by Prussia, 
I have long been thoroughly convinced that the alternative 
of war or the most ignominious terms of peace would be 
proposed to the Imperial Courts. Counting upon the ab 
solute nullity of France, and supposing that this country 
can at any moment intimidate that into abject submission, 
Prussia and Poland will, I think, join themselves to Tur 
key and Sweden against Russia and Austria, which are 
both exhausted and one of them dismembered. Probably 
the war will be commenced before the letter reaches your 
hands, and then Britain and Holland are to be the umpires 
or, rather, dictators of peace. Perhaps there never was a 
moment in which this country found herself greater, and 
consequently it is the most unfavorable moment to obtain 
advantageous terms from her in any bargain. It appears 
clearly that the favorable moment for us to treat is not yet 
come. It is indeed the moment for this country, and they 
seem determined to let it pass away." 

"This afternoon [May 2d], at the poets gallery of paint 
ings, I have pointed out to me Lord Derby and Miss Far- 
ren, who are to be married as soon as Lady Derby will 
make her exit. Miss Farren is one of the Drury Lane 
company of comedians." 

One of the most arduous of Morris s undertakings for 
his friends in America was to negotiate in London and 
Paris for the sale of their respective estates, in various 
parts of the United States. There was, of course, a general 
feeling of distrust of a country so far away and so uncul- 



324 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

tivated, and a desire to be thoroughly indemnified for 
losses. Writing to Robert Morris of the difficulties he en 
countered in this effort, he says : " What can I offer those 
who may wish to purchase ? Money I have not. Personal 
security in this country I have not. In America they will 
not take it, and if I propose a mortgage of the premises 
they may reply that these they have already. As to the 
Fairfax estate, it is somewhat differently circumstanced, 
but even respecting it, I expect that if I can see and con 
verse with Mr. Martin, he will insist on security here." * 
As in Paris, so more or less in London, Morris s ad 
vice was constantly asked about purchases in America, but 
he found it extremely difficult to bring anyone to the 
point of a purchase. 

" Sir John Miller is at Mr. Wilmots to-night [May 5th], 
and he tells me that great fortunes have been made by 
borrowing money and purchasing estates in Ireland, which 
yield an interest of five percent, upon the purchase money 
till the old leases fall in, and then yield twice and three 
times as much. He has himself speculated in this way to 
the amount of ^20,000. In conversation he describes the 

* The effort to purchase Fairfax lands was simply a speculation on Mor 
ris s part. It was after the death of the sixth Lord Fairfax, the recluse of 
Greenway Court in Virginia, when the State of Virginia had passed acts of 
confiscation of all his lordship s lands, as well as of his lord proprietorship. 
The acts recited that the confiscation was made because the title to them 
had descended to an alien enemy, his brother Robert, the seventh lord. 
Afterward it was insisted that the title of the Fairfax heirs in the lands which 
the sixth Lord Fairfax had appropriated to himself in severalty, either by 
deeds made to himself as lord proprietor, or by surveys or other acts, indi 
cating his intention to appropriate them to himself individually, should be 
allowed by the State, which was done by an act of legislature, procured to 
be passed by John Marshall, afterward chief justice, and who had himself be 
come a purchaser of a considerable tract of these lands. After that act of 
legislature was passed, Dr. Denny Martin Fairfax, of Leeds Castle, nephew 
of the sixth lord, sold all of those lands which had not been previously sold. 
In 1789 Robert, seventh Lord Fairfax, was still alive. There was no Conclu 
sion arrived at in the negotiation in which Morris was interested. 



I79Q.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 325 

situation of a gentleman in the country here as far from 
agreeable, if he resides anywhere in the neighborhood of 
a peer or a great commoner, because, says he, such per 
son must either be the humble servant of the great man or 
must be borne down by his opposition, in all parish and 
county meetings and in everything which relates to the 
roads. To-night, when I come in, I find on my table an in 
vitation from Mrs. Church to breakfast to-morrow at twelve. 
I write the following answer : 

Dear Madame, believe me, tis not without sorrow 

I do not partake of your breakfast to-morrow ; 

So kind a request it is hard to refuse, 

But an envious Demon my pleasures pursues, 

Resolved, with the blasts of cold duty, to blight 

The blossoms of joy and the buds of delight. 

To-morrow, laborious, I write all the day, 

To friends who are far o er the water away, 

Who dwell on that soil to your bosom so dear, 

Which so oft from your eye draws the filial tear ; 

That dear natal soil, Freedom s favorite child, 

Where bliss flows spontaneous and virtue grows wild, 

Where nature, disdaining the efforts of art, 

Gives grace to the form and gives worth to the heart. 

In plain prose, the packet sails to-morrow night and I 
must write. " 

" Dine to-day [May 6th] with the French ambassador. 
When dinner is half over two of his family come in from 
the House of Commons, where the debate was animated, 
although they were all of one mind. The address has been 
carried unanimously, and a determination is avowed to ob 
tain from the Spanish Court an acknowledgment that 
they are entitled to no part of America but such as they 
occupy. After dinner, attend Mrs. Penn to the play. 
Henry the Fifth is acted very badly, and with great ap 
plause. The monarch makes great exertion to split the 



326 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

ears of the groundlings. A translation of the Marriage 
of Figaro is very well done by the intended wife of Lord 
Derby, Miss Farren. , She is said to be perfectly chaste, 
and his lordship, I suppose, is satisfied on that subject, but 
the caresses of the stage are not exactly what one would 
wish to be exhibited on one s intended bride." 

" This morning [May i3th] M. Bourgainville, one of La 
fayette s aides-de-camp, comes in. I read to him my let 
ter to his General and to Carmichael, and explain as fully 
as conversation could permit my plan for carrying on a war 
against this country. He is to write to M. de Lafayette 
to-morrow for permission to pass over for a few days to 
Paris. I give him also some ideas upon the constitution 
which they are now forming, and read an essay written on 
it last summer which contains many predictions since veri 
fied. He tells me that he is an advocate for a single cham 
ber, but that my objections against that form are strong." 

Morris had been several times applied to, to take some 
steps in regard to the American seamen impressed into 
the British service, and he prepared a short memorial on 
the subject, which was sent to the Lords of the Admi 
ralty. Being strongly convinced of the necessity of more 
action in the matter, in consequence of the cases brought 
to his notice, he determined, if possible, to see the Duke of 
Leeds on the subject. 

He therefore requested an interview, which was granted 
for the 2oth of May, and which the diary describes as fol 
lows : " I stay but a short time with his grace the Duke 
of Leeds. He apologizes for not having answered my let 
ters. I tell him that I suppose he has been so much en 
gaged in other affairs that he has not had time. He says 
I misunderstood one part of his letter to me, for that he 
certainly meant to express a willingness to enter into a 
treaty of commerce. To this I reply that my present ob- 



1790] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 327 

ject is to mention another affair, and as to my letter, he 
will, I suppose, answer it at his leisure. I then mention 
the impress of American seamen, and observe that their 
press-gangs have entered American vessels with as little 
ceremony as those belonging to Britain. I believe, my 
Lord, this is the only instance in which we are not treated 
as aliens. He acknowledges this to be wrong, and prom 
ises to speak to Lord Chatham on the subject. I tell him 
that I have already prevented some applications from be 
ing made on this business in a disagreeable manner, but 
that in a general impress over all the British dominions, if 
the greatest care be not used, such things will happen 
that masters of vessels, on returning home, will excite 
much heat in America, and that, my Lord, added to other 
circumstances, will perhaps occasion very disagreeable 
events. And you know, my Lord, that when a wound is 
recently healed it is very easy to rub off the skin. He 
repeats his assurances. I tell him that I feel the incon 
veniences to which they may be subjected from the diffi 
culty of distinguishing between seamen of the two coun 
tries, and add my wish that some plan may tie adopted, 
founded on good faith, which may prevent the con 
cealment of British seamen while it secures those of 
America from insult, and suggest the idea of certificates 
of citizenship from the admiralty courts of America to 
our seamen. He seems much pleased with this, but I de 
sire him to consult those of the King s servants whose par 
ticular department it is, reminding him at the same time 
that I speak without authority from America, on which 
score I made an apology in the outset. I then take my 
leave, but he requests me to call again about one o clock 
to-morrow. 

" At one o clock on Friday I again wait upon the Duke. 
After waiting some time in the antechamber, I am intro- 



328 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

duced to where Mr. Pitt and he are sitting together. He 
presents me to the latter, and we enter into conversation. 
The first point is that of the impress, and upon that sub 
ject Mr. Pitt approves the idea of a certificate from the 
Admiralty of America. I mention that it might be proper 
for the King s servants to order that certificates of a cer 
tain kind should be evidence of an American seaman, 
without excluding, however, other evidence, and that in 
consequence the executive authority in America could di 
rect the officers of the Admiralty Courts to issue such cer 
tificates to those applying for them. We then proceed to 
the treaty of peace. They both mention that I had mis 
apprehended the letter of the Duke of Leeds respecting a 
treaty of commerce. I observe that it may easily be set 
right as to that mistake, but that it is idle to think of mak 
ing a new treaty until the parties are satisfied about that 
already existing. Mr. Pitt then took up the conversation, 
and said that the delay of compliance on our part had ren 
dered that compliance now less effectual, and that cases 
must certainly exist where injury had been sustained by 
the delay. I observe generally that delay is always a kind 
of breach, being, as long as it lasts, the non-performance 
of stipulations. But, descending a little more into particu 
lars, I endeavor to show that the injury is complained of 
by the Americans for the non-payment of money due 
by this government to the owners of slaves taken away. 
On the whole, I observe that inquiries of this sort may be 
very useful if the parties mutually seek to keep asunder, 
but that, if they mean to come together, it would be best to 
keep them entirely out of sight, and now to perform on 
both sides as well as the actual situation of things will 
permit. After many professions to cultivate a good un 
derstanding, Mr. Pitt mentions that it might be well to 
consider in general the subject, and on general grounds to 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 329 

see whether some compensation could not be made mutu 
ally. I immediately replied : l If I understand you, Mr. Pitt, 
you wish to make a new treaty instead of complying with 
the old one. He admitted this to be in some sort his idea. 
I said that even on that ground I did not see what better 
could be done than to perform the old one. As to the 
compensation for negroes taken away, it is too trifling an 
object for you to dispute, so that nothing remains but the 
posts.* I suppose, therefore, that you wish to retain the 
posts. Why, perhaps we may. They are not worth the 
keeping, for it must cost you a great deal of money, and 
produce no benefit. The only reason you can desire them 
is to secure the fur-trade, and that will centre in this coun 
try, let who will carry it on in America. I gave him the 
reasons for this opinion. If you consider these posts as 
a trivial object, there is the less reason for acquiring them. 
Pardon me, sir, I only state the retaining them as useless 
to you ; but this matter is to be considered in a different 
point of light. Those who made the peace acted wisely 
in separating the possessions of the two countries by so 
wide a water. It is essential to preserve the boundary if 
you wish to live in amity with us. Near neighbors are 
seldom good ones, for the quarrels among borderers fre 
quently bring on wars. It is therefore essential for both 
parties that you should give them up, and to us it is of 
particular importance, because our national honor is inter- 

* The continued occupation of the posts along the frontier by the British 
troops had occasioned much dissatisfaction in America, and, as early as 1785, 
Adams, when sent on his mission to Great Britain, had told Lord Carmarthen 
that perhaps the most pressing of all the six points for discussion was the re 
tention of the posts, which had deprived the " merchants of a most profitable 
trade in furs, which they justly considered as their right." In 1785 this 
subject was also mentioned to Pitt by Mr. Adams, but was always met with 
the same answer, that it was a matter connected with the debts. It was not 
until 1796, under Mr. Jay s treaty, that the much-disputed frontier-posts were 
surrendered by Great Britain to the United States. 



330 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

ested. You hold them with the avowed intention of forc 
ing us to comply with such conditions as you may impose. 
Why, sir, as to the considerations of national honor, we 
can retort the observation and say our honor is concerned 
in your delay of performance of the treaty. No, sir, your 
natural and proper course was to comply fully on your 
part, and if then we had refused a compliance, you might 
rightfully have issued letters of marque and reprisal to 
such of your subjects as were injured by our refusal. But 
the conduct you have pursued naturally excites resent 
ment in every American bosom. We do not think it worth 
while to go to war with you for these posts, but we know 
our rights, and will avail ourselves of them when time and cir 
cumstances may suit. 

" Mr. Pitt asked me if I had power to treat. I told him 
I had not, and that we would not appoint any person as 
minister, they had so much neglected the former appoint 
ment. He asked me whether we would appoint a minis 
ter if they did. I told him that I could almost promise 
that we should, but was not authorized to give any posi 
tive assurance. We then converse loosely upon the man 
ner of communicating on that subject. In the course of 
it I tell him that we cannot take notice of their consuls, 
or anything which they may say, because they are not 
characters known or acknowledged by us. His pride was 
a little touched at this." 

" I suppose, Mr. Morris, that attention might as well be 
paid to what they say as that the Duke of Leeds and I 
should hold the present conversation with you. 

" By no means, sir. I should never have thought of 
asking a conference with his grace if I had not possessed 
a letter from the President of the United States, which 
you know, my Lord, I left with you, and which, I dare 
say, you have communicated to Mr. Pitt. 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 331 

" He had. Mr. Pitt said they would in like manner 
write a letter to one of their consuls. 

" Yes, sir, and the letter would be attended to and not 
the consul, who is in no respect different from any other 
British subject, and this is the subject which I wished you 
to attend to. 

"He said, in reply to this, that etiquette ought not to be 
pushed so far as to injure business, and keep the countries 
asunder. I assured him that the rulers of America had 
too much understanding to care for etiquette, but prayed 
him at the same time to recollect that they (the British) 
had hitherto kept us at a distance instead of making ad 
vances ; that we had gone quite as far as they had any 
reason to expect in writing the letter just mentioned, but 
that from what had passed in consequence of it, and which 
(as he might naturally suppose) I had transmitted, we 
could not but consider them as wishing to avoid an inter 
course. He took up this point, and expressed a hope that I 
would remove such an idea. He assures me that they are 
disposed to cultivate a connection, etc. To this I reply 
that any written communication that may be made by his 
grace of Leeds shall be duly transmitted ; that I do not 
like to transmit mere conversation, because it may be mis 
conceived, and that disagreeable questions may arise ; that 
as to the disposition for having a good understanding be 
tween the two countries, it is evidenced on our part not 
only by the step which the President has taken, but also 
by the decision of the legislature, in which a considerable 
majority were opposed to the laying extraordinary re 
strictions upon British vessels in our ports. Mr. Pitt ob 
serves that, on the contrary, we ought to give them particu 
lar privileges in consequence of those which we enjoy 
here. I tell him that I really know of no particular privi 
lege we enjoy, except that of being impressed, which of 



332 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

all others we are least desirous to partake of. The Duke 
of Leeds observed, in the same style of jocularity, that we 
were at least treated in that respect as the most favored 
nation, seeing that we were treated like themselves. They 
promised to consult together, and give me the result of 
their deliberations." 

"At eleven o clock to-night [May 22d] I take Mrs. Phyn 
to Ranelagh. We do not arrive till after twelve. The room 
is filled, and it is an immense one. The amusement here 
is to walk round until one is tired, and then sit down to tea 
and rolls. The report of the day has been that the Na 
tional Assembly have denied to the King the power of 
making war and peace. I met an abbe at the French 
ambassador s at dinner to-day, who is a very great astrono 
mer, and who makes several observations on the philo 
sophic credulity of Franklin and Jefferson. Both of them, 
he thinks, have entertained a higher sense of the force of 
steam-engines applied to navigation than they merit, and 
I think so too. I have told Parker long ago that I believe 
Rumsey s contrivances will answer only to work up stream 
in rivers where fuel is cheap. The ambassador seems to 
me to be in a violent agitation of mind, and I remark it 
after dinner to his niece, who tells me that he has been so 
for some days, but she cannot conjecture the reason. In 
conversing about the news of yesterday, Church, who is 
here, says that it is reported from M. de Calonne, said to 
have learned it by express, that the National Assembly 
have vested in the Crown the right of peace and war. I 
express my surprise that in the present conjuncture the 
Comte de Florida Blanca should be removed, and from the 
state of affairs draw into question the truth of that report. 
La Luzerne upon this subject declares that in Spain they 
have no idea of any such situation as seems to be imag 
ined here ; that there is nothing extraordinary in their 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 333 

armaments, etc. This is going too far for his own object, 
because a certain extent of armament in that country is in 
disputable, and also that it exceeds the usual measure of 
peace establishment very considerably." 

" Dine [May 27th] with the Marquis of Lansdowne. It is 
six when I arrive. He receives me politely, and apologizes 
for not having invited me sooner. At dinner he sports sen 
timents respecting the constitution of France to the French 
who are here, which I believe to be foreign to his heart. 
Dr. Price * is one of the guests, who is one of the Liberty- 
mad people. After dinner, being together in the drawing- 
room a few minutes, the noble marquis advances senti 
ments to me far less friendly to France, but full of love 
and kindness for America. I am, however, at liberty to be 
lieve just as much as I please. The resolutions of the As 
sembly are arrived, which say just nothing, as far as I can 
find. They reserve the right of declaring war to the Na 
tional Assembly, but permit the King to arm, etc. This, at 
least, is the account given to me by Lord Lansdowne. 

" Dine [May 28th] at the French ambassador s. He says 
that the decree respecting war and peace was passed in 
consequence of the tumultuous meeting of the populace 
in the neighborhood of the place where the Assembly sit. 
Bouinville says that Lafayette wants him to concert with 
me, and then return for a few days to Paris. He thinks 
that the decree will by no means prevent the administra 
tion from engaging in a war, and I think so too." 

" The news from Paris [May 3oth] is that everything is 

* Richard Price, a dissenting minister and speculative philosopher, born in 
1723, was the intimate friend of Dr. Franklin and Dr. Priestley. He strongly 
advocated the cause of American liberty, and in 1778 he was invited by Con 
gress to become a citizen of the United States. This offer he declined. He 
was an ardent supporter of the French Revolution and drew down upon 
himself thus the denunciations of Burke in the famous "Reflections." He 
died at London in 1791. 



334 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

again in confusion. The populace have dispersed the 
Court of the Chatelet, and hanged several persons confined 
for crimes. The reason of this riot was to prevent an in 
vestigation of the ex-cesses before committed at Versailles. 
Farther, the object of the demagogues, according to rumor, 
is to remove Lafayette and place La Meth * in his stead. 
This would be a curious appointment. But France seems 
now to be governed by Barnave,f Chapelier,J the Baron de 
Menou, and Due d Aquillon,|| with others of the same 
stamp. Unhappy kingdom ! " 

The trial of Warren Hastings was going on most of the 
time that Morris had been in London, and although tickets 
of admission had been offered to him at various times, only 
once had he gone to Westminster Hall ; on June yth, how 
ever, when the trial was nearly over, he again went. " We 
get," the diary says, " to Westminster Hall at eleven, and 
find great difficulty in procuring a seat. About two the 
court opens, and from twelve we have been pressed hard 
by those who could not get seats, and are much incom 
moded by the foul air till near six, when the company is a 
little thinned. Mr. Fox sums up the evidence with great 
ability. But he does not get through it at eight o clock, 
\vhen the Lords adjourn. It is said that this man is to be 

* Count Alexandra La Meth, a deputy of the noblesse in 1789, who united 
with the Third Estate to form the national party. 

t Antoine Charles Pierre Barnave, a revolutionist and an orator, and a 
member of the States-General in 1789. 

J Isaac Rene Gui Chapelier, an eminent lawyer, among the ablest members 
of the States-General. He drafted the degree abolishing the nobility, and 
favored the Feuillants, or the side of the constitution. In 1794 he was execut 
ed on the charge cf having conspired in favor of royalty. 

Jacques Francois Baron de Menou served in the republican army in 1793, 
in the Vendean campaign, and commanded the national guard which sup 
pressed the insurrection in the Faubourg St. Antoine. 

|| Armand de Vignero Duplisses Richelieu, Due d Aquillon, warmly sup 
ported the popular cause in the States-General in 1789, was the second of 
the noblesse to renounce his privileges in the session of August 4th, took 
command of the armies, was proscribed in 1792, but escaped by flight. 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 335 

acquitted, and from the various decisions as to evidence we 
would be inclined to think so, but in my opinion this 
charge of bribery is fully supported. It will, however, 
depend, I suppose, on the situation of the ministry at the 
time of the decision, whether he is acquitted or con 
demned." 

By the middle of June the bourgeoisie revolutionnaire in 
the National Assembly, hoping to insure to themselves a 
passive king, with all the splendor of a court around him 
which he should owe to them, voted Louis XVI. an 
allowance of 26,000, ooof. "Out of this sum, however," 
Morris says, in commenting on the act, "he is to provide 
for his household troops, and for the different branches of 
the royal family. He has asked, though not pointedly, 
4,ooo,ooof. for the Queen s dower, and they have granted 
it, but not specifically. The forms will, I suppose, be gone 
through speedily. There is also a plan of confederation 
to take place between the military and militia, by way of 
counter-security to the Revolution." 

Ten days after the Assembly had enthusiastically voted 
the allowance for the king ; just as enthusiastically, and 
"with an inconsequence truly prodigious," they voted the 
abolition of the nobility. 

" To-day [June 24th] at dinner at the French ambas 
sador s," continues the diary, " there are a number of the 
Corps Diplomatique, and, what suits me better, a fine turtle. 
Advices from France announce the total abolition of the 
French nobility, down to the very arms and livery ; this 
upon motion of some of the Whig nobles. There is also 
a strange address to the Assembly from a junto of all na 
tions. It seems as if the Revolutionists were studying 
how best to excite a strong opposition to their measures. 
Heaven knows how this will all end, but I fear badly, un 
less they are saved by a foreign war. Go from hence to 



336 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

General Morris s, and sit some time with them. He says 
there will be no war, and from his manner of speaking I 
think he has been told so by some person who is in the 
secret." 

Morris s keen sense of humor prevailed even at this 
juncture, which was full of sadness to many of his Parisian 
friends, and he could not resist the inclination to see the 
grimly amusing side of the change of names that must 
ensue from such a decree. " Make a thousand compli 
ments for me," he wrote to Mr. Short, " to her Royal High 
ness and to Madame de Chastellux. I suppose that when 
I return to Paris (which will be soon) I shall have to learn 
new names for one-half of my acquaintance. Pray, are the 
friends of the Revolution afraid that its enemies will not 
be sufficiently exasperated?" 

" The Marquis de la Luzerne tells me to-day [July 2d], 
at dinner, that the Duke of Orleans has taken leave of the 
King with intention to return. I tell him that I doubt yet 
his returning, because I think that the slightest circum 
stance would prevent it, and mention, as an instance, that 
the receipt even of an anonymous letter announcing dan 
ger would terrify him. He says there are many ways, but 
that they will neither use them nor permit others to do it. 
He seems rather vexed at this. The decree respecting the 
nobility, he observes, is not yet sanctioned. I notice the 
situation of the Duke of Orleans as being whimsical. He 
cannot go into any country well, nor remain here, when 
the war breaks out. He asks me why I suppose always 
that there will be a war ? I tell him that I have long been 
convinced of it, for many reasons. Vous dites toujours 
les choses extraordinaires qui se realisent. Happening to 
mention Short, he speaks of him as being fou t and ren 
dered so by Jefferson. I tell him that he will probably be 
appointed minister in France. He seems not well pleased, 



179.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 337 

but says he is probably a very suitable person. He is 
vexed at Lafayette s conduct respecting the noblesse, and 
says that, although he has a good deal of management 
(conduite) in his affairs, he has done much evil from the 
want of genius (esprit\ in which idea he is not entirely 
wrong." 

On July i4th the great fete of the federation was held, 
when the world of Paris celebrated the anniversary of the 
fall of the Bastille, and swore to obey the new constitution. 
There were three hundred thousand spectators assembled 
in the great amphitheatre in the Champ de Mars. Here 
could be seen the courtesan and the chaste maiden, the 
capuchin and the chevalier of St. Louis, the porter and the 
dandy of the Palais Royal, the fishwoman and the fine lady, 
mingled together, and together they swore fraternity. How 
they kept the oath history tells. At the elevation of the 
Host by the celebrant, the Bishop of Autun, all that vast 
multitude fell on their knees. Lafayette placed his sword 
on the altar, and gave the signal for taking the oath. One 
moment of intense silence, while he swore to be faithful to 
nation and king ; then alt swords drawn, all arms raised, 
and from all lips came the oath, " I swear." Then from 
the king came the words, " I, King of the French, swear 
to protect the constitution I have accepted." Frantic en 
thusiasm greeted the queen, who, with the Dauphin in her 
arms, said, "The king s sentiments are mine." Then the 
Te Deum gave the amen to the oath. All the while the 
rain kept falling in torrents on the pageant. In the even 
ing another great fete was held, and on the ruins of the 
Bastille one saw the sign, " Ici Ton danse." All night long 
Paris was en fete. 

"Your fete is passed," Morris wrote, July 26th, of this 
event to William Short; "I trust that no sinister acci 
dents have resulted from it. When we reflect on the inci- 
22 



338 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

dents which have passed within less than two years, we 
must be forcibly struck with the mutability of human 
affairs. ... I sincerely, nay, devoutly, wish that the 
constitution may be productive of great and lasting good 
to France. It is, you know, very far from my ideas of 
what is right, and it will give me great pleasure should 
it disappoint my expectations. I had been, as you sup 
pose, apprised of the schism in the democratic party, 
at which I was not at all surprised. United by com 
mon danger, very discordant materials were held together, 
which from different motives had been thrown together. 
The danger past, in appearance at least, the different 
pretensions were brought forward, and (unfortunately, I 
think) there is no man or set of men who have dared to 
stop at that point of moderation \vhere alone good prin 
ciples can be found, and by which alone good govern 
ment can exist. Those who court the people have a 
very capricious mistress ; a mistress which may be gained 
by sacrifices, but she cannot be so held, for she is insati 
able. The people will never continue attached to any 
man who will sacrifice his duty to their caprice. In 
modern days we have, I believe, more virtue than the an 
cients ; certainly we are more decent. But the principles 
of human nature are the same, and so shall we find the 
pursuits of man to be, if we can but penetrate that veil of 
decency by which young ambition is decorated. If we 
cannot, he will spare us the trouble whenever those bar 
riers are removed which were erected against him by that 
great ally of virtue, the law. In proportion as the Revolu 
tion shall appear to be completed, and the new order of 
things appear to be established, schisms will multiply 
anaong the Revolutionists, for each will desire (disinterest 
edly, no doubt) a share of the good things which are 
going, and which, from the droits de I homme, you know all 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 339 

are entitled to enjoy. I remember, in one of the early ad 
dresses of Congress, something was said about the luxury 
of being free. Now the French genius may refine as much 
upon this luxury as they used to do upon the other ; but, 
bating their talents at refinement, I hardly conjecture 
what ground those men will take hereafter who would 
signalize their democratic principles. They will, I fear, 
be but humble imitators of Sir John Brute, who, in the 
heat of his zeal and wine, drank confusion to all order. 
. The observation you made upon the dissolute con 
duct of the Fedcres, I had long since made upon the whole 
nation. It requires the strong stomach of monarchy to 
digest such rank manners. As to the instinctive love of 
their princes which you speak of, it is indeed instinctive, 
and the animal will never get rid of its instinct. The 
French will all tell you that their countrymen have des tetes 
exalte es, and their manners, habits, and ideas are all up to 
that standard. A Frenchman loves his king as he loves 
his mistress, to madness, because he thinks it great and 
noble to be mad. He then abandons both the one and the 
other most ignobly, because he cannot bear the continued 
action of the sentiment he has persuaded himself to feel." 
" Paine tells me that the Comte de Montmorin has 
applied to the Assemblee," says the diary for August 
8th, "to know whether they will adhere to the family 
compact. The Spanish ambassador has made a formal 
demand, accompanied with a threat from his Court. I 
think I see this in its true light, but do not mention 
to him my idea. After he has left me some time, Bouin- 
ville calls, and from conversation with him I find that 
I am right. He tells me that the whole of the French 
administration will go out, but that Montmorin will pre 
serve his place in the council as governor of the chil 
dren of France ; that secretaries will be appointed for 



340 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XV. 

the present young men who can be at any time removed. 
Ternant has been negotiating (but without effect), to quiet 
the claims of the German princes, whose feudal claims in 
France have been annihilated. Barnave is about to desert 
La Meth, who has lately made overtures to M. de Lafa 
yette, but he replied by a declaration that in the present 
situation there was no alternative but victory or death. 
General and Mrs. Morris call upon me. They take tea, 
and sit till near ten. She tells me that the Duchess of 
Gordon is, on her report, very desirous of becoming ac 
quainted. She is, it seems, a woman of great wit and full 
of life. They have dined with her, and she told my sister 
she would give me a dinner with Mr. Pitt. I express much 
satisfaction at the idea of being presented to the Premier. 
In the course of conversation my sister tells me that the 
fashionable style for young men in London is to affect 
great ennui, and receive advances from the ladies which 
they hardly deign to notice." 

"To-day [August i5th] Mr. Bouinville dines with me, 
and communicates all that he knows respecting the situa 
tion of affairs in France. He tells me that Lafayette has 
been very much hurt to find himself so much deceived by 
those whom he thought attached to him. Mankind always 
make false estimates on this subject. He tells me much 
of what passed between him and the Duke of Orleans. 
He seems not to know, or to be unwilling to mention, the 
names of those who are intended for the new ministry. 
He says that things are going very badly in Paris, and, in 
deed, in all France. The Comite des Jacobins gathers 
strength daily. Of course, Lafayette becomes insecure. 
The army is in a state of total disorder, and the navy little 
better ; the finance every hour more deranged than the 
last. He seems, however, confident that the Assemblee 
will adhere to the family compact, and that there will be a 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 341 

war with this country, which I incline to doubt, because 
there seems not to be sufficient energy in the French coun 
sels. Paine, who was with me, had shown a paper which 
he had written, and which Lafayette had caused to be 
translated and published, recommending an attack in the 
Channel by the combined fleets." 



342 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Various undertakings in Europe. Dulness of card-playing in England. 
Washington approves of Morris s communications with the ministers. 
Letter to Washington on French affairs. Interview with the Duke of 
Leeds. Continental tour before returning to Paris. Civilities from 
persons to whom he had letters. Difficulties of travel in 1790. Un 
comfortable inns and bad roads. Interview with Baron de Dolberg. 
Paris again. Flatteringly received by the Comte de Montmorin. 
Morris presents a dog to the Duchess of Orleans. The Due de 
Castries s hotel pillaged. M. de Flahaut wishes to go to America as 
minister. The play of "Brutus." Much excitement in the theatre. 
Dines with the Garde des Sceaux. Apprehends a plot of the Em 
peror for liberating the Queen and restoring the former government. 
Criticises the new constitution. Gives his opinion of the condition 
of affairs to Lafayette. The last months of 1790. 

DURING the year and a half that Morris had been 
in Europe he had unremittingly* labored in behalf 
of his friend Robert Morris, but the delays and difficul 
ties that beset him were unending. A querulous and 
quite uncalled for letter from Robert Morris drew from 
him a list of his various undertakings. In all, they num 
bered twelve separate and distinct enterprises. "Indian 
voyages, the liquidated debt, debts to Spain and France 
of the United States, the Fairfax estates, the sale of 
land in America," so he enumerated them ; " and last, 
but much the most difficult task of all, your various debts 
and engagements. Here I have had to perform the task of 
the Israelites in Egypt to make bricks without straw." 
Besides all his other responsibilities, he had his farm at 
Morrisania to think of, for it was at this time more of an 
expense and care than anything else. 



I79Q-1 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 343 

"This evening [August i4th], about nine, I visit the 
Duchess of Gordon. Presently Lady Chatham comes in, 
and then the rest of the company. Colonel Lenox and his 
lady are here. She is a liner woman than is imagined 
quick feelings, I think, and tenderness, which will by and 
by meet some object more likely to command the heart 
than the colonel, who seems to be a good-tempered fellow. 
He speaks to me of my brother with much regard. Dull 
drudging at cards, which I refuse to partake of. Stay to 
supper, which, also, I do not partake of, nor, indeed, of the 
conversation, which turns chiefly on who is and who is not 
a fine woman. A Mr. Elliot who is here is a very genteel, 
fashionable kind of man, much beyond the usual English 
style. I think he must be a Scotchman, although his dia 
lect is pure. Return home at two, well convinced that I 
shall never do for the tonish circles here, for I will not 
play, and, indeed, cannot spare time in the morning for 
such late hours." 

Morris constantly spoke of himself as not a cautious 
man, but rather as one who must speak out the convictions 
that were in him ; but he was at the same time lenient 
with those whose opinions differed from his, and his com 
mon sense always came out, as such a letter as the follow 
ing to Mr. Short testifies: "It is perfectly natural," he 
wrote, "that your opinions should differ from mine. It 
will be very long before political subjects will be reduced 
to geometric certitude. At present the reasoning on them 
is a kind of arithmetic of infinity, when the best informa 
tion, the coolest head, and clearest mind can only approach 
the truth. A cautious man should therefore give only 
sibylline predictions, if, indeed, he should hazard any. 
But I am not a cautious man. I therefore give it as my 
opinion that they will issue the paper currency, and sub 
stitute thereby depreciation in the place of bankruptcy, or, 



344 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

rather, suspension. Apropos of this currency, this papier 
terrJ, now mort et enterrd, the Assembly have committed 
many blunders which are not to be wondered at. They 
have taken genius instead of reason for their guide, adopt 
ed experiment instead of experience, and wander in the 
dark because they prefer lightning to light. You are very 
merry on the subject of personal liberty, but the district has 
more to say than many are aware of. Is it not written in the 
Droits de 1 homme that liberty is an inalienable property 
of man inseparable from the human character? and if this 
be so, what better way of securing personal liberty than to 
secure the person ? You wits may sneer, but you must learn 
to respect the decrees of the municipalities, which, like 
those of Heaven, are inscrutable, but not on that account 
the less entitled to obedience and respect. The lady, I 
am told, is so far from complaining of the restraint she 
was laid under that, although an aristocrat, she tells the 
Assembly, with all becoming humility, that she finds their 
yoke is easy and their burden light, while the young gen 
tleman ordered on duty in her chamber acknowledges that 
service to be perfect freedom. Short-sighted man that 
you are ! By way of addition and amendment, I would 
humbly propose that the male aristocrats should be put 
into the custody of the female Whigs, and I dare say they 
would come out much less fierce than they were, 

" The situation of France is by no means desperate. A 
torrent of depreciation may inundate the land, and storms 
and tempests arise, but the one, you know, fertilizes the 
soil and the other purifies the atmosphere. Ultimately 
health and abundance succeed the wintry appearance 
which seemed fatal to both. Adieu. I shall leave this in 
a day or two." 

In a letter to Washington, dated August 3oth, he ex 
pressed a hope that in a day or two he might " learn some- 



179.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 345 

thing of their intentions here respecting us. And if I do 
not hear from them, shall make a final address to His Grace 
of Leeds. It is very flattering to me, sir, that you are so 
kind as to approve of my communications with the minis 
ters of this country, so far as they had gone in the begin 
ning of May. I earnestly hope that my subsequent conduct 
may meet the same favorable interpretation. This you may 
rely on, that if in any case I go wrong, it will be from an 
error of judgment. Affairs in France go badly. The na 
tional bank which was in contemplation has never taken ef 
fect. After deliberating about it and about it, the thing 
dropped, and they did expect to have made out with their 
paper currency (the assignats), but my predictions on that 
subject seem to be verified. Their Assemblee is losing 
ground daily in the public opinion. The army, long en 
couraged in licentious conduct, is now in revolt. All the 
bands of society are loosened and authority is gone. Un 
less they are soon involved in foreign war, it seems impos 
sible to conjecture what events will take place. For some 
time past the ministers have been threatened with the lan- 
term, and they would gladly get out of office. We are in 
hourly expectation of hearing the decision of the Assem 
blee on the family compact. The Spanish ambassador 
has required, in pointed terms, a compliance on the part of 
France. In the meantime both the Spanish and English 
fleets were out, and approaching toward each other. 
Probably each side means only to terrify at present." 

Morris became decidedly impatient of the long de 
lay on the part of the Duke of Leeds in replying to his 
questions of April 3oth, and on September zoth he again 
wrote to him, and told him that, in expectation of his reply, 
" I have patiently waited in this city to the present hour, 
though called by many affairs to the Continent. But my 
departure cannot be much longer delayed, and therefore it 



346 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

becomes necessary to intrude once more on your grace s 
attention." An interview accordingly was fixed for the 
i5th, and the diary thus reports it : "I see at once by his 
countenance, when I arrive at his office, that he feels him 
self obliged to cut an awkward part. Let him begin, there 
fore, which he does by mentioning that he understands I 
am going to America. Set him right, by observing that the 
expression in my letter of going to the Continent, meant 
the continent of Europe. He says that he is still earnestly 
desirous of a real, bonafide connection, not merely by the 
words of a treaty but in reality. I reply with like general 
professions. He says that as to the two points of the 
treaty, there are still difficulties. He wishes they could 
be got out of the way, and then hesitates and drops the 
conversation. Finding from this that he is to hold a con 
ference with me which is to amount to just nothing at all, 
I determine to learn as much as I can from his looks. I 
therefore begin by observing that I am extremely sorry 
for it, but that the affair of the posts seems to present an 
insurmountable barrier to any treaty, because it will serve 
as a pretext to ill-disposed persons. This, I see, has some 
effect. I add, therefore, that it gives serious alarm to per 
sons otherwise well disposed, who say that the garrisoning 
of those posts, being evidently a great and useless expense 
to this country, can only be done with hostile views ; that 
every murder committed by the Indians is therefore set 
down to the account of British intrigues ; that I do not 
presume to judge in respect to the great circle of Europe 
an politics, but, according to my limited comprehension 
of the matter, I am led to imagine that they could not 
act with the same decisive energy towards their natural 
enemies while they doubted of our conduct. He admitted 
this. I proceed then a little further, premising that this 
conversation must be considered as merely from one gen- 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 347 

tleman to another. In case of a war with the House of 
Bourbon, which, if it does not happen this year or the 
next, will probably happen within twenty years which is 
but a moment in the age of empires we can give the 
West Indian Islands to whom we please without engaging 
in the war at all, and that we shall certainly in such case 
consider whether it is our interest that they should be 
subject to England or France, and act accordingly. He 
feels this observation, and unwarily lets me see that this 
point has presented itself forcibly to their consideration. 
Having gone as far in this line as appears proper, I take 
a short turn in my subject and tell him that I had waited 
with great patience during the negotiations which were 
carrying on here, because I supposed that they would nat 
urally square their conduct towards us by their position in 
respect to other nations. He did not like this remark at 
all, having too much of truth in it ! I added that as the 
Northern Courts are now at peace, and I suppose they have 
come to their final decisions with respect to the House of 
Bourbon, I thought it probable that they were prepared 
to speak definitely to us. I wait here for his answer, buf 
he has none to give, being tolerably well embarrassed, and 
that embarrassment is as good an answer as I wish. He 
changes the conversation a little, and asks me what the 
United States will think of the undefined claim of Spain 
to America ; I am very willing to be pumped, and there 
fore I tell him carelessly that I don t think it will make 
any impression upon our minds, for that the Spaniards 
are in fact so apprehensive of us that they are disposed to 
sacrifice a great deal for our friendship ; that the only 
reason they had for withholding the navigation of the 
Mississippi River was from the apprehension of a contra 
band trade, which was the reason why, in my opinion, they 
must stake the last man and the last shilling upon the 



348 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

present affair of Nootka Sound, rather than admit the 
right of selling there by British subjects. He owns that 
the danger of contraband ought to be considered in deal 
ing on this subject, for that nations, like individuals, 
ought to treat with candor and honesty. I tell him that if 
they come to any determination speedily, I could wish to 
be apprised of it. He says that I shall, and offers to com 
municate with General Washington through me, and for 
that purpose to address his letters to me in France ; but I 
tell him that his own packets will give a more direct op 
portunity, and take my leave. On the whole, I find that 
my conjectures are just. I think they will rather concede 
a little than go to war with Spain, if France is in force to 
join her ally, but they want to be in a position to deal ad 
vantageously with us in case they should find it necessary. 
I believe the debates in council on this subject have been 
pretty high, and that the American party has been out 
voted, or else that in feeling the ground they have found 
themselves too weak to bring forward the question." 

Morris left London on the 24th of September, but before 
returning to Paris he took a short run on the Continent by 
way of refreshment and recreation. Letters of introduc 
tion opened pleasant houses to him in many of the towns, 
and his taste for art led him to halt and at least glance 
at the best sights that Ghent and other cities on the way 
had to show. The smallest incidents of this, as, indeed, 
of all his journeys, are carefully jotted down in the diary. 
At Ghent he was not a little interested in the superstitions 
of his guide, "who," he says, "had served a long time 
in the French Army, which is not the school of most rigid 
superstition, and who pointed out to me in my walk 
which he took care should be through the streets where 
the patriots and soldiery fought the marks of many 
musket-balls in the wall of a house against which was an 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 349 

image either of the Virgin or her Son I forget which 
and, miraculously, not a bullet had touched that sacred spot. 
Chance might have done this, was the first idea which en 
tered the unbelieving noddle of a Protestant, but, after pass 
ing, I looked back, and found that the miracle would have 
been to have hit it, for it stood on a corner-house exactly 
out of the line of fire. I might therefore very easily have 
explained this miracle ; but if I should convince him of the 
folly of the faith he has held for above sixty years, tis ten 
to one if he could now find a better, and therefore it is 
best to leave him in possession of his present property." 

"At Bonn [October ipth] I wait on the French minister 
with a letter from the Comte de Montmorin. He is at the 
door when I inquire for him, and takes the letter to de 
liver it. This is a little whimsical, but I am rather en des 
habille , so that he does not, I believe, know what to make 
of me. However, after reading the letter he is very atten 
tive, which explains itself naturally enough by his urging 
me to stay to-morrow, that he may comply with the orders 
of the Comte de Montmorin, qui sont tres particuliers. 
Madame de Chastellux has also mentioned me." 

" Go to dine with the minister the day after my arrival. 
In the evening there is an assembly, which I find is col 
lected on purpose. The Archduke, late Governor of the 
Low Countries, is here, to whom I am presented, and con 
verse with him a little about the affairs of Brabant. I have 
some conversation also with the Minister of the Finances, 
who is quick and sensible. After the company are gone the 
Count takes me into his cabinet to communicate a me moire 
he has written on the claims of the German princes to 
feudal rights in Alsace. On the whole, I am persuaded 
that M. de Montmorin s letter has contained everything 
which I could have wished." 

Travelling all day over decidedly bad roads, with slow 



35 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

horses and obstinate postilions, required patience par 
ticularly when a very bad dinner, cooked for the passen 
gers who arrived an hour before, and re chauff^ was to 
complete the day. The compensation, however, was 
charming scenery, thoroughly enjoyed because not passed 
at the rate of forty miles an hour. Morris stopped a night 
at pretty Schwalbach, nestling in its deep ravine, and 
already a " watering-place of great resort," he says. Then 
on through Wiesbaden and Frankfort to Darmstadt. Not 
unlike Arthur Young, Morris always noted the condition 
of the soil, and the prosperity of the countries he passed 
through, but with occasionally a pardonable comparison 
not unfavorable to America. 

"I reach Diebourg to-day [October 25th]. The Baron 
de Groshlaer and his family receive me kindly. Shortly 
after the first compliments and a dish of tea, we retire to 
gether. I ask him the character of the Emperor. He 
confirms the idea I had taken up of him. fteaven knows 
how or why he shares his confidence between Manfredi, 

the governor of his children, and , who was a long 

time minister to the Court of France. The first is an 
artful, sensible, sly fellow, and his turn of mind is suited 
to the temper and character of Leopold. The other is 
really a man of sense and a man of business. There is a 
third, whose name I do not distinctly hear, who is of great 
genius, but indolent and epicurean. Shortly before he left 
Frankfort, Leopold seemed to give much of his confidence 
to Colloredo, but this (as the others were gone away) 
might have arisen as much from the need of counsel as 
from any preference as to the counsellors. The Baron is 
of opinion that both England and Prussia will try hard to 
gain the Emperor, and will offer him French Flanders, 
Artois, and a part of Picardy, to desert the Northern 
League. He says that Leopold is sore on account of the 



I790-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 351 

insults offered his sister, the Queen of France, but he does 
not think the German princes who have claims on Alsace 
and Lorraine will be able to obtain much aid, if any. In 
deed, I think so too, for the contest will cost vastly more 
than the object is worth. He imagines that the Duchy of 
Juliers will be the desired object of his Prussian Majesty, 
and this may be the case, because he is not an able man." 

" At Mannheim [October 28th] I visit the Baron de Dol- 
berg. He says that the Vicomte de Mirabeau had a long 
interview with Leopold at Frankfort, and pressed him to 
undertake a counter-revolution in France, but he smiled, 
and told him that it was an impracticable project. He 
thinks the administration in France was so bad as to occa 
sion and justify a revolution, but quaere ; the Baron tells 
me that the enmity of Austria to Prussia is at the greatest 
imaginable height ; the Emperor has in his possession 
the original correspondence for exciting a general revolt 
in his dominions the instant a war should break out with 
Prussia. I ask if this will not lead the Emperor to avenge 
the meditated injury. He says that it will probably fester 
inwardly till a fit occasion offers. He tells me that the 
Austrian General says there are forty thousand troops 
ordered to the Low Countries. He showed him the list. 
This, with the army already there, will amount to fifty 
thousand men too much if other powers stand neuter, 
and too little if they do not." 

" At Strasbourg [October 3oth] I learn that the Comte 
de la Luzerne has resigned and that most of the other min 
isters will go soon ; that the affairs of France are what I 
supposed they about this time would be." 

"Arrived in Paris on November 6th. I take up my 
quarters at the Hotel du Roi. After I am dressed, take a 
fiacre and visit at Madame de Flahaut s. She is abroad, 
but Monsieur presses me much to pass the evening. I go 



352 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

to club, where I find the aristocratic sentiment prevails not 
a little. Again go to the Louvre. Madame is at the 
Comedie. She returns, and seems glad to see me. I find 
that Lord Wycombe is un ennichd id. Dine at Madame de 
Segur s. They put me a little au fait of what is going 
on. The Comte de Montmorin gives me a very flattering 
reception. See M. de Lafayette, who affects to be very well 
pleased to see me. I promise to dine with him soon." 

" When I go to-day [November 8th] to Lafayette s din 
ner, he is so late that he does not sit down till we have half 
dined ; retires soon after, and we have not time to hold the 
conversation which he wished. After leaving here I meet 
the Bishop of Autun at the Louvre, and desire him to ad 
vise Lafayette to the same conduct which I have done in 
a very delicate circumstance. He has obtained from the 
King a promise to choose his guard among the late Garde 
Fran^aise, and the Jacobins are violent on the occasion. 
He says that he has a right, in talking to the King, to give 
his opinion as well as any other citizen. I tell him he 
should put himself on different ground, and say that he 
has earnestly recommended the measure to the King, it 
being a tribute of gratitude to those brave men who had 
so signally distinguished themselves in favor of freedom. 
The Bishop is entirely of my opinion and will speak, but 
he observes, very justly, that it is much easier to convince 
Lafayette than to determine his conduct." 

"To-day [November 9th] I have a long conversation 
with Short on general matters and matters relating to 
America. I tell him that Robert Morris s contract with 
the farm, which Jefferson considered as a monopoly, was 
the only means of destroying that monopoly of tobacco in 
Virginia, by the Scotch factors, which really existed. 
Give him some reason therefor. We have a few words 
on Lafayette s subject. He expresses his astonishment at 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 353 

this man s inaptitude and imbecility. Poor Lafayette ! 
He begins to suffer the consequences which always attend 
too great elevation. II s* eclipse au premier. Short also tells 
me that La Rochefoucault is terribly puzzled about the 
affairs of impositions. I reply that this is always the case 
when men bring metaphysical ideas into the business of 
the world ; that none know how to govern but those who 
have been used to it, and such men have rarely either time 
or inclination to write about it. The books, therefore, 
which are to be met with contain mere Utopian ideas. 
After this I go to the salon of Madame de Flahaut, and 
stay out the company. The Comte de Luxembourg has, 
according to custom, much to whisper. I tell him, in 
plain terms, that the aristocratic party must be quiet un 
less they wish to be hanged." 

"While in London I bought a large Newfoundland dog for 
the Duchess of Orleans. To-day [November loth] I take 
him to the Palais Royal, where I go to dine and present 
him to her Royal Highness, who appears much pleased, and 
the Vicomte de Segur Me prend en amitie. Cela s entend. 
The Count and I take a turn round the gardens together, 
and then I go to the club, where I murder a little time. It 
has been a fine day. I think I never in my life had so 
many different things agitating my mind as at present, 
and I cannot commence one affair because another is con 
stantly obtruding. Madame de Brehan says if the troubles 
last she will go and live with me in America. I of course 
agree to the arrangement." 

"After dinner [November i2th], go to the opera. I sit 
behind my fickle friend Madame de Flahaut, and as, luck 
ily, the music makes me always grave, I keep still in the 
sentimental style. The Comtesse de Prize is here, to whom 
I pay my respects in the adjoining box. After the opera 
luckily I meet Madame Foucault, and luckily she receives 



354 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

me particularly well. I take care, for many reasons, that 
my countenance shall beam with satisfaction. Luckily she 
expresses herself to Madame in terms very favorable to 
me." 

On Saturday, November 131!), the populace pillaged the 
hotel of the Due de Castries. This was about the first of 
this kind of depredation in Paris. The occasion of it, Mor 
ris says, "is that the Due de Castries has wounded their 
favorite, Charles de la Meth, in a duel, which he had drawn 
upon himself by insulting the Duke. The history seems 
curious. M. de Chauvigny comes to Paris for the pur 
pose of fighting with Charles de la Meth, who, as he says, 
fermented an insurrection in the regiment to which he 
belongs. All this I learned at M. Boutin s, where M. de 
Chauvigny, introduced by his brother, a bishop, related 
what had passed on the subject. He had called on M. de 
la Meth, whose friends, at a rendezvous given, told him that 
M. de la Meth would not fight till the constitution was fin 
ished. The other replied that he must in that case, until 
the completion of it, continue to assert on every occasion 
that M. de la Meth was a coward. This thing being again 
in question at the Assemblee, De la Meth declared that he 
would not have an affair with Chauvigny until he had set 
tled with the Due de Castries (colonel of the regiment) 
qui m a detache ce spadassin-la. De Castries, of course, 
requires satisfaction, and they proceed to the ground, 
where the friends of De la Meth, who is an excellent 
swordsman, object to his fighting with pistols. De Cas 
tries, like a true chevalier, agrees to decide the matter aux 
armes blanches, and wounds his antagonist. The populace 
in consequence destroy the property of his father. This 
is rare ; I think it will produce some events which are not 
now dreamt of. The Assemblee (in the hands of the Jaco 
bins) have, it is said, sanctioned the doings of this day." 



1790. j GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 355 

" This morning [November i4th] the Comte de Moustier 
calls on me. We discuss his plan of a constitution together, 
and he tells me that he stands better at court than ever he 
expected. He says he is personally in favor with the 
Queen, and he expects to be consulted on affairs by and 
by. The King and Queen, he tells me, are determined not 
to abuse their authority if ever they recover it. He tells 
me incidentally that both the King and Queen have men 
tioned me to him, the former twice, and that I stand well 
in their opinion. This may perhaps be useful to my coun 
try at some future period. 

" Visit Madame de Flahaut. It seems to me from ap 
pearances that Lord Wycombe is expected, and I tell her 
so, but she says it is the Bishop. Company come in im 
mediately after me Madame de Laborde and Madame de 
la Tour, after them Montesqutou; and while we are all 
here enter Lord Wycombe, who is at once established as 
the person to whom a rendezvous is given. We all go 
away, but I presently after return and tell her, * Que je lui 
serai a charge pour quelques moments de plus. My Lord 
is more disconcerted than my lady. He seems not yet ad 
vanced to the point which these things tend to. Go from 
hence to club, where I find there are some who justify the 
populace for yesterday s business. M. de Moustier told 
me that Montmorin had asked for Carmichael as minister 
at this Court, which might excite opposition to Madison 
and Short, the present competitors. It is a question in my 
mind as to this request having been made by Montmorin." 

" I hear to-day [November i5th] at Madame de Chastel- 
lux s the wish of the Garde des Sceaux * to converse with 

* M. Duport du Tertre, a member of the electoral body of Paris, became 
Garde des Sceaux, or, rather, Minister of Justice (for the post of chancellor was 
abolished soon after he came into the ministry) early in November, 1790. At 
this time, of the old ministry there only remained Saint-Priest of the Interior, 
and Montmorin of Foreign Affairs. The advent of M. Duport du Tertre ex- 



356 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

me. I promise to wait upon him. The Duchess of Or 
leans reproaches me for absenting myself, and I promise 
to dine with her to-morrow. At eight o clock I go by ap 
pointment to Madame de Flahaut s. She has not returned 
from the Varietes, but desires I will wait. I am unluckily 
obliged to do so, having promised Capellis to spend the 
evening here. At half after eight she comes in, and Ma 
demoiselle Duplessis * with her. I show more ill-humor 
than consists with good sense or politeness ; at least, sucli 
would be the opinion of most observers. She is full of 
apologies, but I treat both them and her like a Turk. She 
is very conciliating in her manner and words, and proposes 
a rendezvous for to-morrow evening, which I refuse to 
accept of. At length, however, she prevails, but as we go 
in to supper together I tell her that she will probably fail 
if a new comedy offers itself." 

"To-day [November i6th], according to my promise, I 
dine at the Palais Royal, and, as the Princess is alone when 
I come in, I converse a little with her in a manner to gain 
somewhat on her good will. After dinner I keep my ren 
dezvous with Madame de Flahaut, but I find her surround 
ed. Lord Wycombe, the Comte de Luxembourg, M. de St. 
Foi are there, so I leave. My letters to-day are not pleas 
ant. M. de Flahaut expresses a wish to go as minister to 
America, and desires me to prevail on his wife to consent 
to such a step, should it become possible to obtain the 
place. I promise to speak to her on the subject. Go 
and sit some time with Madame de Montmorin. She 
expresses her conviction that Lafayette is below his busi- 

cited great enthusiasm in ministerial circles. He was a simple, modest man 
with a limited fortune, and of recognized uprightness of character. He signed 
the order of arrest of the fugitive king, and finally lost his head in June, 
1791- 

* Mademoiselle Duplessis was a member of Madame de Flahaut s fam- 
ily. 



I79Q.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 357 

ness, which is very true. She says that the Queen will not 
consent to make her husband governor of the children of 
France ; that the aristocrats abhor him. At dinner we 
converse about the play of this evening, * Brutus, which is 
expected to excite much disturbance. After six o clock 
Bouinville and I go to the play. At leaving the roopi, as 
it is supposed that there will be three parties in the house, 
I cry, in a style of rant, Je me declare pour le Roi, et 
je vole a lavictoire. We cannot find seats, wherefore I go 
to the loge of d Angivilliers, and find that I was expected, 
having promised to come and then forgotten it. Lord 
Wycombe is established here, next to Madame de Fla- 
haut, in the place which I occupied formerly. St. Foi is 
here, a cunning observer. I determine, therefore, to play 
them all three, and I think succeed pretty well. Propose 
to her to make the old fox believe she is attached to the 
young lord, which she exclaims against. She is, however, 
resolved, I think, to attach him, and may perhaps singe 
her wings while she flutters around that flame. The piece 
excites a great deal of noise and altercation, but the parterre 
filled with democrats obtains the victory clearly, and, hav 
ing obtained it, roars for above ten minutes, Vive le Roi. 
After the play a motion is made to place the bust of Vol 
taire on the stage and crown it, which is complied with 
amid repeated acclamations. I write, for the amusement 
of our party, these lines : 



See, France, in Freedom s mantle gay, 

Her former state disdains, 
Yet proud her fav rite Bard t obey, 

Tho dead, his spirit reigns. 

The common road to power he trod, 
Cried, Pull all tyrants down, 

And, making of the mob a god, 
Has gained from them a crown. 



358 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

I give them to Madame de Flahaut, desiring her to pass 
them to my lord. He is well pleased with them, and this, 
as it enables her to magnify her merits by her friends, 
must of course please her. She wishes to fix an appoint 
ment with me for Friday morning, but I desire her to 
write her hour in season for me to reply, that, if there be 
anything to prevent my attendance, I can inform her. She 
is a coquette, and very fickle." 

" Go to dine with the Garde des Sceaux [November 
i8th]. His domestics know not what to make of me, a 
thing which frequently happens at my first approach, be 
cause the simplicity of my dress and equipage, my wooden 
leg, and tone of republican equality seem totally mis 
placed at the levee of a minister. He is yet in his closet. 
I find in the circle no one of my acquaintance except Du- 
pont the economist, who never took notice of a letter I 
brought from his son, and seems a little ashamed of it. 
The reception of the minister is flattering and his atten 
tions great, so that those who had placed themselves next 
him feel themselves misplaced. After dinner he takes me 
aside to know my sentiments. I tell him that I consider 
the Revolution a project that has failed ; that the evils of 
anarchy must restore authority to the sovereign ; that he 
ought to continue a mere instrument in the hands of the 
Assembly, etc. As to him, the minister, he should, when 
he quits his place, go directly from the King s closet to his 
seat in the Assembly, and there become the advocate of 
royal authority: He approves of my ideas, except for him 
self, and says he has need of repose. This is idle, and 
I tell him so. Ask him whether he intends to resign 
(Madame de Flahaut told me so last evening, having 
learned it from her Bishop). He says that he knows 
nothing about it ; that he shall retire whenever the King 
pleases. After our conversation the Abbe d Andrezelle has 



i79o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 359 

a long entretien. He tells me of a society formed for a cor 
respondence with the provinces to counteract the Jacobins. 
I give him some ideas on that subject for which he ex 
presses himself to be much obliged, and asks me to be 
present at one of their meetings, which I consent to." 

" I am pressed by the Bishop d Autun to stay to dinner 
at the Louvre [November i9th], but I go to the Palais 
Royal. We meet here the Due de Laval. After dinner I 
have some conversation with him and the Comte de Thiard, 
from whence I apprehend that a serious plan is laid for 
introducing troops of the Emperor in order to liberate the 
King and Queen, and restore the former government. 
After dinner go to the Comedie Francaise, and sit with the 
Duchess to hear Brutus. Thence to Madame de Segur s, 
where I take up Madame de Chastellux. They lament to 
me that Lafayette has lost his influence. In the way home 
she tells me that she is persuaded there will be an effort 
made by the Emperor in favor of his sister. I hinted to 
the Comte de Thiard the advantages that would result 
from putting the Dauphin into the hands of governors, 
and sending him upon his travels. Many of the discon 
tented nobles and clergy of France are urgent with the 
chief of the empire to avenge the insults offered to his un 
fortunate sister. So fair a pretext, such plausible reasons, 
both public and private, joined to a great political interest 
and personal territorial claims, might determine an enter 
prising prince. But he is cautious, trusting more in art 
than in force.. How will it all end ? This unhappy coun 
try, bewildered in the pursuit of metaphysical whimsies, 
presents to one s moral view a mighty ruin. Like the 
remnantsof ancient magnificence, we admire the architect 
ure of the temple, while we detest the false god to whom 
it was dedicated. Daws and ravens, and the birds of night 
now build their nests in its niches ; the sovereign, hum- 



360 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

bled to the level of a beggar s pity, without resources, 
without authority, without a friend; the Assembly, at once 
a master and a slave new in power, wild in theory, raw 
in practice, it engrosses all functions, though incapable of 
exercising any, and has taken from this fierce, ferocious 
people every restraint of religion and of respect. Here 
conjecture may wander through unbounded space. What 
sum of misery may be requisite to change popular will, 
calculation cannot determine. What circumstances may 
arise in the order of divine will to give direction to that 
will, our sharpest vision cannot discover. What talents 
may be found to seize those circumstances to influence 
that will, and, above all, to moderate the power which it 
must confer, we are equally ignorant. One thing only 
seems to be tolerably ascertained, that the glorious op 
portunity is lost, and (for this time at least) the Revolution 
has failed." 

"The Bishop comes in [November 23d] while I am at 
Madame de Flahaut s to-day, and as my carriage was sent 
away he is grave. Leave them, and go to the Comte de 
Montmorin s. Before dinner, the Due de Liancourt and 
Montesquiou being there, in the course of conversation on 
the actings and doings of the Assemblee, I say that the 
constitution they have proposed is such that the Almighty 
himself could not make it succeed without creating a new 
species of man. After dinner I converse a little with 
Montmorin about his own situation. He feels himself 
very awkward, not knowing whether to stay or go, or, stay 
ing, what to clo. Montesquiou comes up, and asks in 
formation from me respecting the debt from America to 
France. In the result of his inquiries it is agreed between 
him and Montmorin that no proposition shall be accepted 
without taking first my opinion on it. Go from hence to 
Madame de Segur s. A little comedy is acted here by the 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 361 

children, the subject of which is the pleasure derived to the 
whole family by an infant of which the countess was late 
ly delivered. The play is written by the father to whom 
I address in the course of it these lines : 

For perfecting the comic art, 

Let others take a single part 

While you, my friend, with nobler soul, 

Embrace at once the mighty whole ; 

For here we see arise from you, 

The subject, play, and actors too. 

As soon as the piece is finished I slip away. Madame de 
Lafayette, who was here, reproaches me a little for desert 
ing them. Monsieur has long been giddy from his eleva 
tion. When he is a little sober I will see whether he can 
any longer be useful to his country or mine. I rather 
doubt it. Go to the Louvre, and find Madame has quar 
relled with her Bishop, who is jealous of me. In conse 
quence of the quarrel she is very ill, and surrounded by 
friends and servants. 

" After dining with Madame de Foucault [November 
25th] I go to Lafayette s ; Madame receives me coolly 
enough. I stay some time, leaning on the chimney- 
piece. He comes out, and as soon as he sees me ap 
proaches. Asks why I do not come to see him. I answer 
that I do not like to mix with the crowd which I find here ; 
that whenever I can be useful, I am at his orders. He 
asks my opinion of his situation. I give it sans menage- 
ment, and while I speak he turns pale. I tell him that the 
time approaches when all good men must cling to the 
throne ; that the present King is very valuable on account 
of his moderation, and if he should possess too great au 
thority might be persuaded to grant a proper constitution ; 
that the thing called a constitution which the Assembly 
have framed is good for nothing ; that as to himself, his 



362 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

personal situation is very delicate ; that he nominally, but 
not really, commands his troops ; that I really cannot tell 
how he is to establish discipline among them, but that 
unless he can accomplish that object he must be ruined 
sooner or later ; that the best line of conduct, perhaps, 
would be to seize an occasion of disobedience and resign, 
by which means he would preserve a reputation in France 
which would be precious, and hereafter useful. He says 
that he is only raised by circumstances and events, so that 
when they cease he sinks, and the difficulty comes in how 
to excite them. I take care not to express even by a look 
my contempt and abhorrence, but simply observe that 
events will arise fast enough of themselves if he can but 
make a good use of them, which I doubt, because I do 
not place any confidence in his troops. 

" He asks what I think of a plan in agitation with re 
spect to the protesting Bishops ; viz., to withhold their 
revenues. I tell him that the Assemblee must turn them 
out of doors naked if they wish the people to clothe them. 
He says he is a little afraid of that consequence. I reiter 
ate to him the necessity of restoring the nobility, at which, 
of course, he flinches, and says he should like two cham 
bers, as in America. I tell him that an American consti 
tution will not do for this country, and that two such 
chambers would not answer where there is an hereditary 
executive ; that every country must have a constitution 
suited to its circumstances, and the state of France re 
quires a higher toned government than that of England. 
He starts at this with astonishment. I pray him to re 
mark that England is surrounded by a deep ditch, and, 
being only assailable by sea, can permit many things at 
home which would not be safe in different situations ; that 
her safety depends on her marine, to the preservation of 
which every right and privilege of her citizens is sacri- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 363 

ficed ; that in all possible governments the first care must 
be general preservation. He tells me the intended minis 
ters ; they are all taken from among the people, and thus, 
without knowing it, the people will find an additional tie 
to the great envy of their fellows." 

" Dine with Madame de Flahaut [November 27th]. She 
tells me that the Bishop is well with the Queen. Cela 
s entend. She tells me that De Moustier speaks illy of me 
at Madame d Angivilliers.* He is wrong. Lord Wycombe 
calls after dinner, and is seated a cote\ comme d usage" 

"At two [November 28th] I visit Duportail,f the new 
Minister at War, and go from thence to the Louvre. 
Lord Wycombe is here, and has had the whole morning, 
say from ten to two. He goes away, being pressed by 
Madame to return in the evening. She says he told her 
that she loved me, which at first she laughed at, but after 
ward seriously refuted. She insists on my partaking of 
her dinner. Monsieur seems displeased. After dinner she 
sends me with Mademoiselle Duplessis to visit Madame de 
Guibert, who gives me a eulogy on her late husband by 
one of his friends. When we return, my lord is established 
a cott. The Marquis de Montesquiou is merry at having 
found them so situated. I leave this society, and visit Ma 
dame de Chastellux. The conversation of this last society 
was quite high in the aristocratic tone. The idea of car 
rying off the King is mentioned. My fair friend talked to 
me of presenting to Lord Wycombe the cup formerly 
given to me, and which I had sent back. I think it prob 
able that she has already bestowed it on him." 

11 Dine to-day [November 29th] at M. de Montmorin s. 

* In the salon of Madame d Angivilliers, so frequented during the eigh 
teenth century, and so full of economic and advanced ideas of all kinds, the 
Revolution found congenial soil and nourished vigorously. 

t M. Duportail succeeded M. la Tour du Pin. He had gained distinction 
in the American Revolution. 



364. DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

Lafayette comes in, and Madame de Montmorin observes 
that he does not seem very glad to see me. She asks the 
reason. I tell her that I lately told him some truths which 
differed so much from the style of flattery he has been ac 
customed to that he is not well pleased with it. Mont 
morin observes that Lafayette has not abilities enough to 
carry through his affairs. He says that within a month 
past things have appeared to him much worse than they 
were. He seems apprehensive of a visit from foreign 
powers, and that the Comte d Artois and Prince of Conde 
may play a deep game. Nous verrons. \ go to the play 
with Madame de Beaumont, and am placed luckily oppo 
site to my fair friend. I know not whether she observes 
me, but if she does it will be useful." 

Just at this time more frequent applications were made 
to Morris for advice about American lands, but he felt 
that it would hardly do for him to bear the responsi 
bility of " exciting French citizens to abandon their native 
country." He was therefore anxious that an office should 
be opened in Paris where maps could be seen and titles 
lodged. Writing about this to Robert Morris, he says : 
1 Purchasers here are for the most part ignorant of geog 
raphy. So far from thinking the forests a disadvantage, 
they are captivated with the idea of having their chateaux 
surrounded by magnificent trees. They naturally expect 
superb highways over the pathless desert, and see with the 
mind s eye numerous barges in every stream. Le Coul- 
teux was afraid to appear in the sale of your lands lest 
the fashionable system of the * lanterne should be applied." 
" I go to the Palais Royal to-day [November 3oth] to 
dine with the Duchess, but she dines abroad and I go to 
the club. The restaurateur is not a good one ; his wine is 
very bad. Call at Madame de Segur s. She is in bed. 
Wishes to know the purport of my conversation with La- 



1790.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 365 

fayette. I tell her that I told him many serious truths, 
which were not to his taste. I take the Vicomte de Segur 
to Madame de Chastellux s, where he reads a little comedy 
called ; Le Nouveau Cercle, which is not without merit, 
but he reads too well to judge of it. For the rest, he has 
made himself the principal character of the piece. Lady 
Gary is here, an Irishwoman who has, I believe, the merit 
of keeping a good house in Paris. Leave this at a little 
after nine and go to the Louvre. My lord is here, of 
course ; an observation which I make on the assignats 
strikes him very forcibly. If I am not much mistaken, he 
will quote it. His manner of seizing it shows a discerning 
mind. Madame de Flahaut apologizes for having been 
abroad this morning; had I told her I would call she 
would have staid at home. I reply coolly that I came late, 
that I might not interrupt her conversation with her new 
friend. She feels this cutting sarcasm. She passed the 
day with the Bishop, whose leg is hurt a strain of the an 
kle. I let her make inquiries about the play, where I be 
lieve she did not see me, and my answers will be a little 
disquieting." 

" My letters are extremely disquieting. I rise this morn 
ing [December ist] before day, after a night of sleepless 
anxiety. Sit down to write by candle-light, and get all my 
letters finished in season. Receive a note from Madame 
de Flahaut, desiring me to come between ten and eleven, 
as she is to visit Madame d Angiviliers at half-past twelve. 
I find her ill and complaining. I have not the disposition 
either to quarrel or enjoy. Monsieur desires me twice to 
remind her, at a quarter after twelve, that she is to visit 
her sister. I tell her that every post since I have been 
here brings me afflicting intelligence. She wishes to know 
what it is, but I tell her that is unnecessary ; I mention it 
in general, that she may not be surprised at my behavior. 



366 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

At twelve Lord Wycombe calls, and stays. I remind her 
repeatedly of her engagement to her sister, and stay him 
out, for which I apologize to her. Go to call on Le Coul- 
teux. He is abroad. Madame is going out, and is half- 
stripped when I enter. During the few minutes which I 
stay she mentions a curious anecdote of the Comte de Pilau. 
He is become devout to a most astonishing degree, and in 
all the bigotry of the Romish Church ; a man who was 
driven by the priesthood from Spain on account of his re 
ligion, or, rather, the want of it ; a man who abandoned 
an immense fortune for the sake of avoiding exterior 
ceremonies. O God ! how weak, how inconsistent, how 
wretched is man. Go to Mademoiselle Martin s and buy 
a pot of rouge to take to my sister in London. I tell the 
Bishop of Autun to-day that he ought, if possible, to ob 
tain tiie embassy to Vienna." 

"Sir John Miller visits me to-day [December 6th], and 
talks of weights and measures. Dine at the Palais Royal. 
After dinner visit M. de Lafayette. He is in a peck of 
little troubles. I make my visit short. Madame s recep 
tion is a la glace. Return to the Palais Royal, and take 
Madame de Chastellux to the Louvre. At coming away 
Madame de Flahaut desires me to take her to Madame de 
Corney s. I am quite indifferent to her, and she asks me 
the reason. I rally her on her connection with my lord, 
who is to have this evening again, not having had an op 
portunity to converse as he wished this morning. She 
offers me a present which he made her, but I tell her I 
will accept of nothing but a picture of her now in posses 
sion of her Bishop, and that I will have it. I tell her when 
I go away she will forget me. This she has long known. 
I tell her that my reception when I last saw her was such 
that, if Madame de Chastellux had not asked me to bring 
her, I should not have given the trouble of my visit. 



I7QO.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 367 

Arrived again at the Louvre, I hand her out and am about 
to return, but she insists on my going up. Arrived there, 
I take leave, but am persuaded to stay a little while. Her 
pride speaks a high language. She then either is, or pre 
tends to be, ill. Monsieur comes up, and after a few words 
I again take leave, but she begs me in English to stay. 
The Bishop comes in; I speak to him again on the subject 
of an embassy to Vienna, and mark out the means of suc 
ceeding. I tell him that at present it is equally dangerous 
to be either in or out of the Assemblee ; that a foreign 
embassy is the only means of preserving himself en evidence, 
and that if he can make himself the confidential man be 
tween the Queen and her brother, he will be in the straight 
road to greatness, whenever circumstances will render it 
desirable. After he is gone I stay a few minutes, and 
then follow him." 

" I receive a letter to-day [December 8th] brought by 
the English mail urging my departure for London. Go 
to the Louvre, according to my promise, and find Madame 
de Flahaut in bed writing to her Lord. ... In the 
evening go to the Palais Royal and attend the reading of a 
tragedy written by M. de Sabran at fourteen years of age. 
It is very well written, but before it is finished I am called 
away by M. de Flahaut. Return to the Louvre, and sup. 
I lend Madame i,2oof. in paper to redeem so much gold, 
which she has pawned. I do not expect to be repaid." 

These last months of 1790 found Paris in a melancholy 
way. While the democratic revolution, with heads on pikes, 
went steadily and surely on, the aristocratic mode of help 
ing a man out of the world went as steadily on in the Bois 
de Boulogne, turned into a meeting-place for excitements 
of all kinds ; the resort of lovers, duellists, idlers, and 
tramps of every description. In 1790 a challenge and a 
rendezvous under the trees there was quite the proper 



368 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVI. 

thing, and one word spoken in anger, or the appearance 
of a cockade, was sufficient pretext for an exhibition of 
skill with the sword or the pistol, lately introduced from 
England, which had met with much applause. In vain the 
authorities pleaded the aristocratic tendency of this way 
of settling differences. No one listened. People must be 
amused. Paris was rapidly emptying ; art had gone ; the 
dancer had gone ; the marc hands de modes went, leaving 
Paris to the mercy of the provinces for its fashions, from 
whence came strange things bonnets trimmed with yellow 
flowers, with the malicious suggestion that they were " au 
teint de la constitution," and there seemed in this deserted 
town to be only "fagotttres" left. But the roulette-table 
and duelling consoled Paris. " Their patriotism," Goncourt 
says, "they carried in their white cockade, for they whis 
pered and wrote, * The king has abandoned us ; we are no 
longer his subjects. " 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 369 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Another trip to London. Stiffness of English society. Annoying indiffer 
ence of the Duke of Leeds to American interests. Returns to Paris. 
Dines with the Duchess of Orleans. Ternant appointed Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the United States. Conversation with M. de 
Segur. M. de Montmorin wishes Morris appointed Minister from 
the United States. Asked to confer with the Committee of Com 
merce. Dines with Lafayette. Dines with Marmontel. Lafayette 
vexed. Madame de Nadaillac. The "farm " abolished by the Assem 
bly. The tobacco decrees. Desired to write a letter on them. 
Letter to Washington thereupon. Some details of the affair of Octo 
ber 5th at Versailles. Disturbance in Languedoc. Trepidation of 
the Bishop of Autun. Great tumult in Paris. Conversation with 
Madame de Nadaillac. The Chateau during the riot. Lafayette 
confesses the guards were drunk. Morris s advice to him. 

IN the early part of December Morris again went 
to London, where very pressing affairs demanded his 
personal attention, and for some weeks, with w T hat resig 
nation he could muster, he gave himself up to long, dull, 
and extremely unsatisfactory conversations with city men. 
Mrs. Siddons was somewhat of a relief from the monotony 
of business, but he only speaks of seeing her a few times 
once in "a very bad piece called Isabella, in which she 
acts very well." The stiffness of London society manners 
never suited his taste, and he invariably found the rout 
and the evening entertainment tiresome, and his only 
comment was that there was no pleasant intercourse be 
tween the men and women. " I go," he says, "one even 
ing to the Duchess of Gordon s. Here in one room the 
young are dancing, and in another the old are gambling 
24 



3/O DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

at a faro-table. I stay but a little while, for the party is 
to me vastly dull. The male dancers are very indifferent." 

He again presented himself (December i8th) at the 
Duke of Leeds s office, hoping to find that his affairs with 
the government might have been advanced. He found 
his grace "in council, but that breaks up while I am here. 
Mr. Burgess tells me that the Duke is very much engaged. 
He talks a great deal, but, stripping off the compliment 
and profession, what he says amounts to no more than 
that sundry cabinet councils have been held on the treaty 
with America, and that a reference has been made of the 
affair three months ago to Lord Hawkesbury, whose re 
port has not yet been received. I answer to all this, very 
dryly, that I have presented myself to let them know that 
I am alive ; that I shall write from hence to America ; 
that I leave town next week ; that I will wait on the Duke 
at such time as he may indicate ; that if I learn nothing 
more than that things are just as I left them I shall mere 
ly say so ; that it may be worth their while to consider 
whether the measures proposed last session in Congress 
respecting the commerce with this country may not be 
adopted, and what the consequences would be." 

There is a decided flavor of republican curtness in this 
message left for his grace which may have had its influ 
ence. Certain it is, however, that although he subse 
quently made two appointments to meet Morris, profuse 
apologies from Mr. Burgess, and many regrets that " the 
Duke is by a sudden and severe indisposition prevented 
from meeting me," was all the satisfaction the latter 
got from his grace. Morris was not slow to make his 
ideas known with regard to the treatment he or, rather, 
his country had received from the English Government, 
and he mentioned that, "dining one day with Lord Lans- 
downe, we have a great deal of conversation upon vari- 



i 79 o.] GOUVERNELJR MORRIS. 3/1 

ous subjects. I give them my honest sentiments respect 
ing Britain and America, which are not pleasing, but I do 
not mean to please." 

Not long after this he was back in Paris again, and 
making an early visit to Madame de Flahaut to learn the 
latest news, which was always to be found in her salon. 
"She complains bitterly," he says, January 19, 1791, "of 
the Bishop of Autun s cold cruelty. He is elected a mem 
ber of the Department of Paris and resigns his bishopric. 
He treats her ill. His passion for play has become ex 
treme, and she gives me instances which are ridiculous.* 
He comes in, and I come away. Visit Madame de Chas- 
tellux, and go with her to dine at the Duchess of Orleans . 
Her Royal Highness is ruined ; that is, she is reduced 
from 45<D,ooof. to 2oo,ooof. She tells me that she cannot 
give any good dinners, but if I will come and fast with her 
she will be glad to see me." 

"At Madame de StaeTs this evening [January 2ist] I 
meet the world. Stay some time in various conversation, 
altogether of no consequence. This morning Ternant 
calls and takes breakfast. He was appointed Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the United States last Sunday. We 
converse a little about his mission. He wishes me to be 
appointed here. I tell him that I understood from De 
Moustier that Carmichael has been asked for. He says 
that if it be not too late he will get that matter altered. 
He will know more about it, and tell me. 

" Go to the Louvre. M. de Flahaut had desired to see 

* The Bishop of Autun was accused of playing so high that he made a pub 
lic acknowledgment of his gains in the Chronique de Paris. " I have gained 
in six months," he says, " not in the gambling-houses, but in the society of 
chess-clubs, about thirty thousand francs," and seemed to think he had made 
atonement by having had the courage to acknowledge his errors. He did 
not, however, escape from the sarcasm of the pen of Camille Desmoulins, 
who said: "The Bishop d Autun feels called upon to bring back all the 
usages of the primitive church, and among them public confession." 



3/2 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

me. He talks about sending hardware to America for 
sale, a friend of his being at the head of a considerable 
manufactory. I tell him his friend may call some morn 
ing and I will speak to him. Go to Madame du Bourg s. 
They are at play, and high play, too, in which I of course 
take no part. Come away early." 

" Madame de Flahaut tells me to-day [January 22d] that 
she has a gleam of hope in her prospects, and I will try to 
bring it to some end. Go to see Madame de Segur, and 
take her a present of some apples, etc. Monsieur is with his 
wife, and, the conversation turning that way, the pleasure 
a man feels in speaking of himself leads him to communi 
cate the history of the war between Russia and the Porte. 
From his statement, England embroiled those powers. 
Having taken the history a great way back, and brought 
it to the peace which concluded the former war between 
them, he states that the Empress took on herself to be 
the liege lord (suzerain) of Georgia ; that the Afghis 
Tartars, dwelling about the Caspian Sea, and who are con 
stantly at war with the Georgians, received aid from the 
Pasha in their neighborhood, and that the Tartars of the 
Cuban made frequent depredations on the Russian terri 
tories and then crossed that fordable river into the Turk 
ish territory ; that complaints having arisen on this sub 
ject, the mediation of France was asked and accepted, 
and he and M. de Choiseul-Gouffier employed them 
selves efficaciously in settling the difference. It was 
agreed that the Pasha should no longer give aid to the 
Afghis Tartars, and that those of the Cuban should not be 
protected after their inroads as before ; that Prince Po- 
temkin, having assembled a considerable army to be re 
viewed by the Empress in that quarter, and being informed 
that the causes of complaint continued notwithstanding 
the treaty, sent immediately through the Russian ambas- 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 373 

sador, Bulgakow, a menacing message to the Turk ; that 
this being communicated by the Reis Effendi to M. de 
Gouffier, he, much surprised, advised the Turk imme 
diately to arm and informed him, Segur, of what was done 
and doing ; that he thereupon spoke in very high terms 
to the Russian ministry, who laid the blame upon Prince 
Potemkin. They agreed to submit to any reasonable terms, 
and although those proposed through M. de Gouffier 
by the Turk were conceived rather haughtily, to his great 
surprise they were acceded to. His courier, however, 
charged with that intelligence, was intercepted by the 
Turkish robbers, and murdered ; when he learned that 
accident he immediately sent another, but before that 
messenger arrived the English had been busy in dissuad 
ing them from all accommodation. Their ambassador, 
Mr. - , told the Reis Effendi that he would be pow 
erfully supported by Prussia and Poland ; that if Aus 
tria should join Russia, a powerful diversion would be 
made by the revolt in Flanders then in train ; that they 
must not trust to France, whose favorite system it was to 
support Russia, with whom she had lately formed very 
close connections, and of course could not be cordially 
attached to the Porte. The reason of England was 
(says Segur) that, being vexed with Russia for forming a 
treaty with France by which, among other things, the 
principles of the armed neutrality are acknowledged, and 
for insisting on a like acknowledgment, ,in a proposed 
renewal of the treaty with England, she was in hopes of 
making a breach between France and her new ally Russia, 
or her new ally the Turk. In consequence of the British 
intrigues, the Porte refused to accede to the terms which 
she had herself proposed, but sent others in a style im 
perious and dictatorial ; that he was much hurt at this, 
but, to his very great surprise, the Empress acceded to those 



374 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

also, but by the time that her despatches were ciphered, 
and just as the courier was about to depart, they learned 
that the Turk had actually commenced hostilities. He 
says that he long since informed his court that Hertzberg 
had formed vast projects menacing all Europe, but that 
no attention was paid to his information, and, on the con 
trary, he was represented as a firebrand, desirous of gen 
eral mischief ; that he very early proposed the triple 
alliance of Austria, Russia, and France, which was then 
rejected and has never been completed because, finally, the 
French Revolution prevented a ratification by France. 
He says that the late Emperor Joseph told him, shortly 
before his death, that the Empress of Russia had permitted 
him to make a separate peace, and that he might assure 
the King he would agree to give up Chorzim, and even Bel 
grade, to effect it. We pass then to the peace of Reichen- 
bach, and I tell him the manner in which Van Hertzberg 
became the dupe of his own contrivances. * 

"We learn this day some news which, if true, will affect 
a little the affairs of this country. It is said that the Cath 
olic militia of Strasbourg have all resigned and that a peti 
tion is arrived, signed by four thousand persons, to which 
a much greater number have adhered, desiring that all 
which has been done in respect to the clergy and nobility 
may be rescinded ; that conciliatory commissioners are 
named (three) to go thither. Visit Madame de Chastellux 
who tells me that she is informed by a person lately come 
from French Flanders that a general apprehension is there 
entertained of a visit from the imperial troops. I do not 
believe in this visit. 

"Leave her and go to the Louvre. I find Madame de 
Flahaut in conversation with a deputy from the Islands, 
who wishes a particular person nominated to the Depart- 

* Unfortunately Morris does not give this conversation or his authority. 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 375 

ment of the Colonies, and that, in the demarcation of lim 
its with Spain, a tract should be ceded in St. Domingo, for 
a part of which a plantation will be given of which she 
shall have one-half. I sup here. She is very sad, and it 
is in vain that I try to remove that sadness. But her pros 
pects are very bad." 

" La Caze repeats again to-day [January 23d] that Jef 
ferson has made Robert Morris a promise on my subject 
which is impossible. He tells me that he learned from 
Colonel Smith the only objection to placing me in this 
Corps Diplomatique would be my other pursuits. At 
half-past three I call on Madame de Flahaut. The Bishop 
of Autun is with her. Take a note of the person that the 
Colonists want for their Minister, and then go to dine with 
M. Montmorin. Meet Ternant. Montesquiou comes in 
after dinner, and says he wishes to see me. Ternant and I 
come away together. In the carriage he tells me that, on 
entering the court at Montmorin s, he took occasion to ob 
serve, on seeing my carriage, that it would be a good thing 
I were appointed the Minister from the United States ; to 
which Montmorin replied that he should like it much. 
Ternant then told him it would be very easy to get it done, 
since nothing more would be necessary than to signify a de 
sire of the kind to Mr. Jefferson. Montmorin then said there 
was another person who desired it, namely, Carmichael. 
He asked if it was he or his friends who desired it, but be 
fore any decisive answer could be obtained they entered 
the salon. Afterwards go to take tea with Madame de 
Chastellux, and sup with the Princess. A very fine day, 
but drizzly evening. The news of Strasbourg, Montmorin 
told me, is unfounded." 

" This morning [January 25th] Ternant comes in. He 
tells me that the appointment of a Minister for the Colonies 
will experience considerable delay. He wishes me to con- 



376 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

fer with the Committee of Commerce. I promise to do so, 
if they desire it. He wishes me to tell Montmorin the sum 
which I conceive to be needful for a French minister in 
America, which I will do when he tells me the appointment 
is really made. At three o clock go to dine with Madame 
de Stael, who is not yet come in. Meanwhile I visit at the 
Louvre, where they are at dinner. Madame de Flahaut is 
ill, and goes to bed. Return to dinner. The Abbe Sieyes 
is here, and descants with much self-sufficiency on govern 
ment, despising all that has been said or sung on that sub 
ject before him, and Madame says that his writings and 
opinions will form in politics a new era, as that of Newton 
in physics. Go from hence to Madame du Bourg s. She 
advises me to pursue rather the attractions of society than 
any serious attachment. Company come in, which puts 
an end to that matter." 

" This morning [January 26th] 1 am prevented from do 
ing anything almost. First, M. de Flahaut presents to me 
by appointment his friend, who is a chief of the works of 
Amboise. He wants vent for hardware in the United 
States. Then Colonel Walker comes to communicate the 
perplexed state of the affairs of the Scioto Civilization 
Company. He asks my advice, but I can give no advice, 
not knowing sufficiently all the facts ; some of the most 
important he remains ignorant of. Before he is gone 
Colonel Swan arrives, and tells me that his plan for the 
debt has fallen through by the misconduct of Cantaleu. 4 
He wishes me to visit Montesquiou. I tell him that if 
Montesquiou wishes to see me he can call on me. Dine 
with Lafayette, who is tolerably well content to see me. 
Ternant is here ; he thinks a few weeks will drive things 
to a decision. I think not. After dinner we have an inter 
esting conversation together. He tells me that he had ar 
ranged a plan for restoring order by the exertion of force, 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 377 

in which De Bouillie and Lafayette were to co-operate, 
but the latter failed while he was in Germany. He is now 
at work to bring about the same thing. I see that he is 
desirous of being in the ministry here, and would play at 
heads for kingdoms. They want some person of this sort, 
of a rank sufficiently elevated to run no risk unnecessarily, 
and whose temper will not avoid any which may be neces 
sary or proper. The Bishop happening to be at the Louvre 
to-day, I ask him what kind of place he has got, what is 
the income, whether it will support him, etc., and observe 
that unless it will place him in an independent situation 
he has done wrong in accepting. He says that it is the 
only door which was open." 

"Dine with the Duchess of Orleans to-day [January 
2yth], and go thence to the Louvre. Madame de Flahaut 
has her sister with her, who is arrived in great penury at 
Paris, and to whom she has sent money, notwithstanding 
the misery of her own situation. Leave them, and visit 
Madame de Stael. Return early, after drinking much 
weak tea." 

" This morning [January 2pth] write, and at noon take 
up Madame de Chastellux. We go together to Choisy, 
and dine with Marmontel. He thinks soundly. After 
dinner he mentions his mode of contesting the new-fan 
gled doctrines of the droits de Vhomme by asking a definition 
of the word draft, and from that definition he draws a con 
clusion against the asserted equality of rights. He admits, 
however, that all are equal before the law and under the 
law. I deny this position, and make him remark that, 
where there is great inequality of rank and fortune, this 
supposed equality of legal dispensation would destroy all 
proportion and all justice. If the punishment be a fine, 
it oppresses the poor but does not affect the rich. If it be 
corporal punishment, it degrades the prince but does not 



378 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

wound the beggar. He is struck with deep conviction at 
this observation. I draw only one conclusion, that in 
morals every general position requires numerous excep 
tions, wherefore logical conclusions from such positions 
must frequently be erroneous. I might have pursued (as 
I have sometimes done) my remark a little farther, to the 
legal compensation of injuries where the varieties are 
greater, because the party committing and the party suf 
fering wrong may each be of different rank in society. I 
might go farther and notice those different varieties of 
sentiment which the manners of different nations intro 
duce into social life, for it is a fact that the * ill we feel is 
most in apprehension. The legislator, therefore, who 
would pare down the feelings of mankind to the metaphys 
ical standard of his own reason, would show little knowl 
edge though he might display much genius. We return 
to the Palais Royal, where I set down Madame de Chas- 
tellux. Go to the Louvre. Madame de Flahaut is alone 
and in sorrow. Complains of. the cold insensibility of 
her husband s relations. He is ill, very ill. The Baron 
de Montesquiou comes in, and asks if her dower is secured. 
It is not. M. d Angiviliers has paid his brother s debts ; 
quaere, whether he will pay this as a debt privile gid" 

" To-day [February ist] I hear that M. de Rouilliere is 
dead suddenly, and as he was writing the history of the 
times, and was not friendly to the powers which are, their 
adversaries say that he was poisoned. 

"Paul Jones calls on me, and wishes to have my senti 
ments on a plan for carrying on war against Britain in In 
dia, should she commence hostilities against Russia. At 
half-past three go to dine with De la Rochefoucault, and 
later visit Madame de Segur, and sit for some time. She 
is just returned from attending on her princess at Belle- 
vue. The two old ladies, Mesdames Adelaide and Victoire, 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 379 

are about to start for Rome. Ternant came this morning 
and desired me to go to Lafayette this evening, and thence 
to the Committee of Commerce. He said that he should 
have caused the committee to write me a note, but that 
Lafayette, who chooses to seem (the omnis homo) to do 
everything, preferred taking" me along with him. After 
dining I go to Lafayette s. Converse some time with Ter 
nant, and when Lafayette comes up I tell him that I can 
not go to the committee but at their request ; that what I 
say will have less weight ; that I think it better for him to 
go this evening with Swan, and then, if the committee sig 
nify a desire to see me, I will wait on them to-morrow even 
ing ; that in the meantime he can signify to me what he 
wishes should be done. He agrees to the propriety of all 
this in words, but I can see that he is devilishly vexed. 
Be it so. Better he be vexed than carry me about in his 
pocket." 

"This morning [February 3d] Ternant calls and tells 
me of what passed last e.vening. He says that Lafayette 
agreed to the free culture of tobacco ; that it is an affair 
of party entirely. He says that he proposed inviting me 
to the committee, but that M. Raymond objected, as I 
was interested. Colonel Swan told me this morning, apro 
pos of the tobacco question, that there is a knot of men in 
the Assembly who dispose of all things as they list, and 
who turn everything to account. He speaks of their cor 
ruption with horror. I dress and go to M. Mory s to din 
ner. There has been, it seems, a mistake, and instead of 
finding Chaumont I meet two kept mistresses. Chau- 
mont and his wife come in presently after. It is ridicu 
lous enough. However, she goes home. We stay, and 
dine late. M. de Flahaut, I hear, is getting better. His 
malady arises from his misconduct in pecuniary affairs. He 
is a wretch, and the best thing he could do would be to die." 



380 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

" I dine with M. de Montmorin to-day [February 4th]. 
We have a numerous collection at dinner. Madame de 
Montmorin shows me an almanac from England, sent her 
by the Duke of Dorset, in which, among other things, is a 
table of weights and measures. She says that it is one 
among many things which will be useless to her. I write 
in a blank leaf opposite to it : 

A table here, of weight and measure, 
In times like these it is a treasure ; 
For each one measures now the state, 
And what his reasons want in weight, 
He makes up, as a thing of course, 
By the abundance of discourse." 

"This abundance of discourse" never ceased to amaze 
Morris, so often was the mountain delivered of the 
mouse. This day finished with a musical party at Ma 
dame de Chastellux s, and an hour spent at Madame de 
StaeTs. " Some advances are made to me by Madame. 
We shall see." More music at the Palais Royal, and a 
call at the Louvre, where Madame de Nadaillac sups, to 
see me ; she is an aristocrat outrfo, and has heard that I 
am of her sect. She is mistaken. She is handsome, and 
has a good deal of esprit. Her aunt, Madame de Flahaut, 
tells me she is virtuous and coquette and romantic. Nous 
verrons. Madame de Nadaillac assures me that there are 
many virtuous and religious young women in Paris. She 
says she will give me a supper with the Abbe Maury." 

"The Assembly have abolished the farm, etc., of to 
bacco, permitted the culture, and laid on a large duty.* 

* Louis Blanc, in his history of the French Revolution, gives a startling 
description of the effect of farming the revenue which prevailed in France 
until this year of 1791. Of eight principal branches of the revenue five were 
farmed. The salt tax, the subsidy, the land, and the tobacco were all indi 
rect contributions. The history of the farmers-general was the martyrizing of 
the tax-payers ; for the tax-gatherers France was a conquered country. They 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 381 

Dine [February i3th] with M. de Lafayette, and speak to 
him about the enormous duty on tobacco brought in Ameri 
can vessels. He wishes me to give him a note about it. I 
tell him that I do not choose to meddle with matters out 
of my line. He says that Mirabeau has promised him to 
speak about it, and he expects that both the tobacco and 
the oil will be taken up by the Diplomatic Committee. I 
ask him whether it would not answer for the King to sus 
pend that decree, and give his reasons. He says that he 
would rather the Americans should be obliged to the na 
tion than to the prince. I tell him that I learn from some 
persons well informed that if he had spoken the question 
would have been differently decided. He says that, on the 
contrary, it was so carried to spite him, and that the aris 
tocrats in particular opposed it merely on that ground. 
Madame de Segur, whom I meet, confirms to me that the 
aristocrats lost the tobacco question. I think an addi 
tional reason for their vote is a hatred to America for 
having been the cause of the Revolution. M. de Mont- 
morin assures me that he is doing everything in his power 
relating to the tobacco decrees, and I ask him if I shall 
write him a letter on the subject. He expresses a strong 
wish that I would, and pressed me earnestly to do so the 
next day, as he was then to meet the Diplomatic Commit 
tee." 

Morris was extremely anxious to keep himself out 
1 of sight, " not wishing to be quoted in any of the delibera 
tions of the committee," and therefore, he says, speaking 
of the note afterwards in a letter to Mr. Jefferson, " I stated 

bled the people, and they had prisons and galleys ready to punish them. 
Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, suggested " that by subjecting all 
those taxes to an administration under the immediate inspection and direc 
tion of government, the exorbitant profits of the farmers-general might be 
added to the revenue." " The most dreadful laws," he said, "exist in a 
country where the revenue is farmed." 



382 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

the observations as being made by American citizens. I 
am endeavoring, if possible, to obtain a duty on the cult 
ure equivalent to the import duty. There is little hope 
of success to any proposition for alleviating, much less re 
moving, the burdens they have laid upon us. The greater 
part have adopted systematic reasoning in matters of com 
merce as in those of government, so that, disdaining atten 
tion to facts, and deaf to the voice of experience, while 
others deliberate, they decide, and are more constant in 
their opinions in proportion as they are less acquainted 
with the subject, which is natural enough." 

In a private letter to Washington, written about this 
time, Morris says of the late decrees, that the " laying 
a heavy duty on oil, and giving a great preference of duty 
on tobacco imported in Frencli ships, and declaring that 
none but those built in France shall be reputed French 
bottoms, will excite much ill-humor in America. Those 
who rule the roast here seem to think that because the old 
government was sometimes wrong, everything contrary to 
what they did must be right. Like Jack in the Tale of a 
Tub, who tore his coat to pieces in pulling off the fringe 
and trimmings that Peter had put on, or like the old Con 
gress in its young days, which rejected the offer of valuable 
contracts and employed a host of commissaries and quarter 
masters because Great Britain dealt with contractors but, 
really, in the present effervescence very few acts of the 
Assembly can be considered as deliberate movements of 
national will. There still continue to be three parties 
here. The enrag/s, long since known by the name of Jaco 
bins, have lost much in the public opinion, so that they 
are less powerful in the Assembly than they were ; but 
their Committees of Correspondence (called Society s Pa- 
triotiques), spread all over the kingdom, have given them 
a deep and strong hold over the people. On the other 



i 79 i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 383 

hand the numerous reforms, some of them unnecessary, 
and all either harsh, precipitate, or extreme, have thrown 
into the aristocratic party a great number of discontented. 

" The military, who as such look up to the sovereign, 
are somewhat less factious than they were, but they are 
rather a mob than an army, and must, I think, fall either 
to the aristocratic or Jacobin side of the question. The 
middlemen are in a whimsical situation. In the Senate 
they follow the Jacobin counsels rather than appear con 
nected with the other party. The same principle of 
shamefacedness operates on great occasions out-of-doors, 
but as the aristocrats have been forced down by a torrent 
of opinion from the heights of their absurd pretensions, 
and as the middlemen begin to be alarmed at the extrem 
ities to which they have been hurried, those two parties 
might come together if it were not for personal animos 
ities among the leaders. 

" This middle party would be the strongest if the nation 
were virtuous, but, alas! this is not the case, and therefore 
I think it will only serve as a stepping-stone for those who 
may find it convenient to change sides. In the midst, 
however, of all these confusions, what with confiscating 
the church property, selling the domains, curtailing pen 
sions, and destroying offices, but especially by that great 
liquidator of public debt, a paper currency, this nation is 
working its way to a new state of active energy which 
will, I think, be displayed as soon as a vigorous govern 
ment shall establish itself. The intervening confusion 
will probably call forth men of talent to form such gov 
ernment and to exert its powers." 

About a week later Morris dined with Montmorin, when 
they discussed the decrees. " He tells me that he is well 
pleased with my reflections, but he does not expect to do 
anything in the tobacco affair, the Assembly are so violent 



384 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII 

and so ignorant. I mention to Mr. Duport, who is here, 
my plan, to which he gives but little heed, for the same 
reason which M. de Montmorin assigns. This last tells 
me that a M. Pinchon, who it was said killed himself in 
July, 1789, was murdered ; that it was shortly after he had 
deposited his portefeuille with the Due d Orleans, which 
he had been persuaded to do on account of the troubles ; 
that the Due de Penthievre had been first proposed as his 
depositaire, but this meeting with difficulty, his son-in-law 
was fixed upon ; that the unhappy man was brought home, 
and declared that he was murdered. He lived to sign sev 
eral papers. There was found in his house two millions, 
and his estate is bankrupt for fifty millions. M. Duport 
mentions that from a state of the Due d Orleans affairs, 
published by his chancellor, it appears that he is in arrears 
about fifty millions more. Time will unravel these things, 
if the suspicions be founded." 

" I dine to-day [February 22d] with Madame de Foucault, 
and meet there by appointment the Abbe Ronchon. Ma 
dame is kindly attentive. I bring the Abbe away with me, 
and he tells me that in the memorable affair of Versailles, 
as it was known that the King was that day to hunt in the 
forest of Meudon, a party of the populace, in number 
about a thousand, went thither, and among them were 
some assassins whose object was to kill him, and that a 
reward of a thousand guineas was to be given to the wretch 
who should perform that deed. He says that the Comte 
de St. Priest, being informed of this, sent to urge His Maj 
esty to come immediately on important business to Ver 
sailles ; that this message made the violent party so much 
his enemies as they afterwards appeared to be. The Abbe 
believes all this, which I must acknowledge that I do not. 
I think there is enough of little villainy about them, but I 
question whether there be bold criminality." 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 385 

"The Marquis de Favernay tells me [February 23d] 
that there is the devil to pay in Languedoc. A kind of 
religious war is there kindling between the Catholics and 
Protestants. He says that the latter, who are rich, have 
purchased over the national troops, and turned their 
swords against the Catholics, under pretence of supporting 
the new Constitution. I suppose others give a different 
account of the affair, but it seems pretty clear at Nimes 
and Uses they are actually come to blows. I go at nine 
to the Louvre to take Madame de Flahaut to sup with 
Madame de Nadaillac. According to custom, she is not 
ready. We do not arrive till ten. Our hostess is very 
pleasant. Insists that I shall be an aristocrat, whether I 
will or no. She gives me assurances of her religion 
and morality, etc., but she is a coquette, and she is enthu 
siastic and romantic." 

" Go to the Louvre [February 24th] ; see Madame de 
Flahaut. She is ill in bed ; play sixpenny whist with her. 
The Bishop of Autun is horribly frightened for his life. 
When she got home last night she found in a blank en 
velope a will of her Bishop making her his heir. In conse 
quence of some things he had dropped in conversation, she 
concluded that he was determined to destroy himself, and 
therefore spent the night in great agitation and in tears. 
M. de St. Foi, whom she roused at four o clock in the 
morning, could not find the Bishop, he having slept near 
the church in which he was this day to consecrate two 
bishops lately elected. At length it turns out that, pursu 
ant to repeated threats, he feared that the clergy would 
cause him to be this day destroyed, and had ordered the 
letter not to be delivered till the evening, meaning to take 
it back if he lived through the day." 

" I learn [February 27th] that Paris is in great tumult, of 
which I had indeed observed some symptoms this morning. 
25 



386 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [HAP. XVII. 

Go to the Louvre ; the Bishop is here. I return home, 
and find the Place du Carrousel full of soldiers. See Ma 
dame de Chastellux who tells me that the Princess is much 
alarmed at what is passing in Paris. There is a deal of riot 
conjured up, but there seems to be no sufficient object, so 
that it must waste itself." 

During the early weeks of 1791 rumor was fulfilling her 
agitating mission, ably assisted by Camille Desmoulins, 
who faithfully kept alive the fear that the continued emi 
gration of aristocrats meant a counter-revolutionary plot, 
the end of which would be a general massacre. The roads 
were guarded to prevent the queen from escaping, as the 
people were led to believe she intended doing, dressed as 
a jockey. The king had been supplicated by a deputation 
from the sections of Paris to prevent the journey of mes- 
dames* his aunts to Rome. But his majesty had only 
made answer that in his opinion the ladies had as much 
right to go as any other citizen. Deeply incensed by 
this answer, Camille Desmoulins wrote that they had no 
right to go off with their pensions, or, as he expressed it, 
to eat French millions on Roman soil. But on the i9th 
the old ladies quietly slipped off leaving the Assembly 
rather startled, and extreme emotion and excitement 
among the people, who were fully persuaded that the en 
tire royal family meant to follow suit. Of the departure 
of these ladies, Madame Campan speaks as follows: "I 
know from the queen that the departure of mesdames 
was judged necessary in order to leave the king s action 
free from the constraint put upon him by the family." 
La Chimique de Paris, a journal under the influence of 
the constitutional party, expressed great surprise, in a 
sarcastic article, that two sedentary old ladies should 
be suddenly possessed with a desire to run over the 
world. " C est singulier, mais c est possible. Elles vont, 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 387 

dit-on, baiser la mule du pape c est drole, mais c est 
edifiant." 

" The Comte de Provence, quietly dining with Madame 
de Balbi, found himself suddenly surrounded by the 
fetnmes de la Halle and an immense crowd of people of 
all professions, who, in a fever of excitement, demanded to 
know if he meant to quit the King s person, or, if the King 
went, should he go too ? To which last question he re 
plied in such a way as to silence and disperse, for a time 
at least, even this mob. Osez-vous, he said, Me prevoir? " 

The riot which Morris particularly mentions was in 
consequence of some false news spread through the 
town that arms and ammunition had been transported to 
the donjon of Vincennes, and that there existed in the 
Tuileries a secret passage through which the royal family 
intended to make their escape. Lafayette, at tire head of 
the National Guard, saved the fortress of Vincennes from 
being demolished, and forced the assailants to retreat 
which they did, and tumultuously rushed into Paris, with 
the formidable brewer Santerre in the midst of them. 
Morris speaks of going to the court of the Tuileries 
immediately after these riots, but " not being permitted to 
walk in the gardens ; try the quay, but the mud is impas 
sable ; go home and dress, and then go to Madame de Fou- 
cault s to dine. After dinner visit Madame de Nadaillac. 
She and her husband are tete-a-tete. We talk religion 
and morality. Monsieur observes, with much vehemence, 
that the man who, under pretext of the former, induces a 
woman to violate the latter s laws is worse than an atheist. 
Madame tries to mitigate a little this denunciation. Now 
as Monsieur is of cold temper and temperament, and Ma 
dame very enthusiastic, it seems to me that there is in this 
a remote relation to the Abbe Maury, who is much con 
sidered by Madame. He is a mauvais siijet^ and she is very 



388 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVII. 

religious and duteous, etc. I part with her upon a pretty 
good ton, and Monsieur is also content. Return home, and, 
according to appointment, Mr. Swan and M. Bremond call 
on me. The affair of the tobacco is adjusted with the 
controller so that we are to have a decided preference. 
The government are to furnish a million and a half, and 
the interested on this side of the water are to make it up 
four millions, the business to be carried on on equal and 
joint account." 

" To-day [March 2d] I dine with Lafayette. I communi 
cate to him some facts respecting American affairs, and, 
as he is desirous of taking them all up together, I tell him 
that he had better, in such case, get a resolution or decree 
empowering the administration to act, for that otherwise 
he will have so many interests opposed to his plan that it 
must certainly fail. I think he will not follow this advice, 
because he wants to appear the Atlas which supports the 
two worlds. I ask him to tell me what passed the other 
day at the Chateau. He acknowledges that the Garde 
Nationale was drunk, and himself so angry as to have be 
haved indecorously to the gentlemen there ; but he says, at 
the same time, that M. de Villequiere was much in fault, 
who, notwithstanding he had given his word of honor not 
to suffer any persons to come into the King s chamber 
except his usual attendants, had suffered a crowd to get 
thither, many of them of the worst kind of people. Hav 
ing heard his story, I tell him (which is very true) that I 
am sorry for it, but as the thing is done he must now bear 
it out with a high hand, and turn M. de Villequiere out of 
office, assigning publicly as a reason that he permitted 
certain persons (to be named) to come into the King s 
chamber on such an occasion, contrary to the promise 
made on his honor. He finds this advice very good. He 
must be preserved yet." 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 389 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

The queen intriguing with Mirabeau. Morris s impressions of the Abbe 
Maury. Madame de Nadaillac s salon. Madame de Tesse converted 
to Morris s political principles. Vicq d Azyr s eulogy of Franklin. 
Morris takes supper with Condorcet. Paris illuminated. First in 
troduction to Lady Sutherland. Conversation with the Abbe Maury. 
Death of Mirabeau. Discusses with Montmorin Mirabeau s succes 
sor. Mirabeau s impressive funeral. Strictures on his character. 
Robespierre comes to the front. Morris predicts to M. de Mont 
morin the speedy dissolution of the present Assembly. A visit from 
Paine. Madame de Nadaillac talks of religion and duty. Madame 
de Flahaut asks advice as to marriage. Morris prepares a note for 
the king on the rations for the French marine. Madame de Stael 
reads her tragedy " Montmorenci." Morris gives her some advice. 
Brilliant society in her salon. 

U ALK about the Champs Elysees to-day [March 



T T 7 
V V 



] with Madame de Flahaut and Mademoiselle 
Duplessis. Propose to M. de Favernay, whom I meet, to go 
to the restaurateur s, but Madame proposes that we should 
bring our dinner to her. We go to the Hotel des Ameri- 
cains, and, having made our provision, return and eat it 
there. After dinner I return home, read a little, and 
dress. M. Bremond* and M. de Bergasse come in. We 
have much conversation on public affairs, which form the 
object of their visit. They tell me that the Queen is now 
intriguing with Mirabeau, the Comte de la Marck, and the 

* Etienne Bremond, of whom Morris so often speaks in his diary, had been 
successively cure at Chartres. canon of the cathedral, canon of a church in 
Paris, and docteur de la Sorbonne. His chagrin at the imprisonment of the 
king threw him into a painful condition of health, which resulted in his death 
in January, 1795. 



39 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

Comte de Mercy, who enjoy her confidence. They wish 
to visit me again. They tell me that Mirabeau, whose am 
bition renders him the mortal enemy of Lafayette, must 
succeed in ruining him by the instrumentality of his com 
peers in the department. I incline to think, however, that 
Lafayette will hold a good tug, being as cunning as any 
body. Mirabeau has much greater talents, and his oppo 
nent a better character. When the two gentlemen leave 
me, I go to Madame de Nadaillac s. We have here the 
Abbe Maury,* who looks like a downright ecclesiastical 
scoundrel, and the rest are fierce aristocrats. They have 
the word valet written on their foreheads in large charac 
ters. Maury is formed to govern such men, and such men 
are formed to obey him, or anyone else. Maury seems, 
however, to have rather too much vanity for a great man. 
Madame de Nadaillac is vastly attentive, and insists that I 
must be un aristocrat outre. I tell her that I am too old to 
change my opinions of government, but I will to her be 
just what she pleases." 

"To-day [March 5th] the Comte de Segur calls on me. 
I ask him the character of the Comte de la Marck f and 
the Comte de Mercy. J He tells me that the former is a 
military man who understands his business, and that in 
the affairs of Brabant his plan was to raise a popular party 
which, in case of the independence of that country, should 
be considered as the French party ; or, at any rate, by sow 
ing dissension, facilitate the re-establishment of imperial 



* The Abbe Maury defended with skill and eloquence the cause of the mon 
archy, the church, and the nobles in the National Assembly. He became 
afterward an archbishop and a cardinal, and died in 1817, having witnessed 
the Bourbon restoration. He was born in 1746. 

t Count Charles de la Marck was Minister of Marine from October, 1790, to 
May, 1791. 

? Count Mercy d Argenteau was Austrian ambassador from the Court of 
Vienna to Paris in 1791. He advised the flight of the royal family. 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 391 

authority. The Comte de Mercy is, he says, one of the 
ablest statesmen in Europe. Visit Madame Dumolley, 
who is very desirous of my visits, because she finds I keep 
company that she cannot reach. Leave her, go to the 
Palais Royal, and sup with the Duchess. Madame de 
St. Priest, who is here, wishes to know my opinion of what 
has lately passed at the Louvre. I evade it handsomely, 
and Madame de Chastellux tells me so, being a little vexed, 
because she says that they will quote against her what I 
have said, and which they will understand very different 
ly from the true meaning. I ask her about the Comte de 
la Marck, and find that I am acquainted with him. He is 
intimately united with Mirabeau, is devoured by ambition, 
and of profligate morals. Nous voilti done au fait. M. 
d Agout comes in. He is just arrived from Switzerland, 
and brings me many civil sayings from Madame de Tesse, 
who is become a convert, she says, to my principles of 
government. There will be many more such converts." 

" This morning [March 7th] I write, being still unwell. 
In the evening Madame de Flahaut calls at the door, and 
sends to know how I do. She will not come up, although 
her husband and nephew are with her. Go to Madame 
de Chastellux s, where we take tea ; a trio, of which the 
Duchess makes the third. Visit Madame de Nadaillac, who 
has been ill. We converse about her malady, afterwards 
upon religion, and she wishes to know whether I have the 
virtue of an American, which she doubts, because she is 
pleased to say I have the amiableness of a Frenchman. I 
leave that matter a little doubtful, but she seems a little 
displeased that her husband comes in, which is a good 
sign. Make my visit neither long nor short, and I per 
ceive that both are content." 

" I go to the Louvre [March i2th] to take Madame de 
Flahaut to drive ; but the Baron de Montesquieu is here, 



392 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

who wants to get into office, and then comes the toilette, 
and then Mademoiselle Duplessis, so I go to call on Ma 
dame de Chastellux. Swan calls and tells me what I had 
hinted to him; viz., that Roederer s motions and resolutions 
have cut up the regie by the roots. Ternant calls, with 
whom I converse a little on those things. Dine with the 
Comte de Montmorin, and, as Montesquieu comes in after 
dinner, I mention those things to him. He wishes me to 
have a memoire drawn. Go, after dinner, to the Academy 
of Physicians, where Vicq d Azyr* pronounces the eulogi- 
um of Doctor Franklin." 

"I go [March i;th] to supper to-night at Madame 
d Angivilliers. Madame de Condorcet is here. She is 
handsome, and has un air spirituel. Talk with Condorcet ) 
after supper on the principles of the e conomistes. I tell 

* Felix Vicq d Azyr possessed great attractions of person and manner, and 
as a writer, professor, and orator was judged a worthy successor to Buffon 
at the French Academy. He was the great promoter of the Academy of 
Medicine, and he represented a new phase in the progress of social science ; 
Vicq d Azyr was perhaps the first physician who practised his profession in 
Paris without a wig. He was chosen as the physician of Marie Antoinette, 
and his short career embraced all the time that was accorded to the reign 
of Louis XVI., for he only survived a short time after the 2ist of January, 
1793, an d perished a moral victim to the terrors of the Revolution. He was 
born in Normandy in April, 1748. 

t The last of the philosophers of the eighteenth century was M. de Condorcet, 
secretary of the Academy of Sciences, the successor of d Alembert, the last 
correspondent of Voltaire, and the friend of Turgot. In his salon, which was 
the centre of thinking Europe, where distinguished persons from far and near 
were to be found, perhaps the most attractive feature was Madame Condor 
cet, his lively, refined, and sympathetic wife. Always master of himself, Con 
dorcet talked little, listened to everything, profited by everything, and for 
got nothing. His sympathy was far-reaching, ready to embrace everything, 
from the profound questions of the moment to the latest fashion in woman s 
dress. In 1789 he ardently embraced the popular cause, and voted gener 
ally with the Girondists, but not for the king s death. He attacked violently 
the Constitution of 1793, and was obliged to seek safety against the Revolution, 
and for eight months he found an asylum in the house of Madame Vernet, 
where he wrote his famous Progres de 1 esprit humain. A longing for fresh 
air impelled him to leave his house ; he was arrested, thrown into prison, and 
ended his life by poison. 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 393 

him, which is true, that once I adopted those principles 
from books, but that I have since changed them from bet 
ter knowledge of human affairs and more mature reflec 
tion. In the close of our discussion I tell him that if the 
impot direct be heavy, it will not be paid. Madame de Fla- 
haut was taken ill to-day while she and Mademoiselle Du- 
plessis were driving with me. We returned to the Louvre, 
put her to bed, and played whist by her bedside. Vicq 
d Azyr comes in, and we have a little conversation respect 
ing the conduct to be pursued by the Court. I give him 
some hints as to the past by way of elucidating the future, 
and he is equally surprised at the information and at the 
force of my reasons. I see this in his countenance." 

" Spend the evening [March 2oth] at the Louvre. Sev 
eral persons come in and go out. At length we divide into 
parties to see the illumination of Paris for the King s re 
covery. It is a dreadful night, the wind very high indeed, 
from the westward, with rain. The illumination was the 
poorest, barest thing imaginable. M. de St. Foi comes 
in between ten and eleven, and tells us that the Pope has 
laid the kingdom under an interdict. This must produce 
some movement as soon as it is known. The Duchess of 
Orleans to-day, when I dined with her, is so kind as to 
reproach me with absenting myself. After dinner, I visit 
Madame de Nadaillac. Her reception is rather that of a 
coquette than a devote." 

" I cannot work in my apartment to-day [March 25th] 
"because my servants want to clear my chambers for the 
reception of company. I therefore go to see Madame de 
Flahaut. The servants being out of the way, I announce 
myself. Madame is tete-a-tete with M. de Ricy. She cries 
out, with suddenness and alarm, Qui est-ce la ? Upon 
naming myself, Je vais vous renvoyer tout de suite; 
I turn and leave them. I have to dine with me Mes- 



394 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

dames de Lafayette, Segur, Beaumont, and Fersensac. 
The Abbe Delille is one of the gentlemen. I tell Short, 
who is one of the guests, that he has but little chance of 
being appointed to this Court ; that Jefferson wishes him 
to return to America, and that the appointment rests 
entirely in Washington s bosom ; that it is to be made 
this session. I show him the memoire and notes I have 
made about tobacco. Speaking about the actings and do 
ings of the Assembly in this regard, he says that the Due 
de la Rochefoucault is led by Roederer and Condorcet, 
who are both rascals. I remind him that I had judged the 
latter long since by his countenance." 

" Visit Madame de Chastellux [March 26th]. The 
Duchess, to whom I mention the reason why I did not ask 
her to breakfast, expresses a great inclination to come some 
day or other. Madame de Montmorin to-day shows me the 
letter of General Washington* to the Assembly printed in 
one of the public papers. It is not what the violent Revo 
lutionists would have wished, and contains a hint respect 
ing Lafayette which his enemies will not fail to notice. 
Hence to Madame de Segur s, who presses me to stay and 
dine, which I refuse. Dine, as I had promised, with the 
Duchess of Orleans, to see her daughter. It is a pretty 
little princess and has an air tres fin. Go from thence to 
Madame de Foucault s. The conversation is immediately 
turned upon love. In the course of it I observe that I 
have remarked deux especes d hommes. Les uns sont 
faits pour etre peres de famille et les autres pour leur 

* On the 27th of January, 1791, Washington wrote to the President of the 
National Assembly acknowledging the tribute paid to Franklin, which had 
been sent to Washington in the form of a letter of condolence. He at the 
same time desired the president to convey to the National Assembly his inter 
est in their efforts to establish in France a firm constitution for the diffusion 
of the true principles of liberty, assimilating as well as ameliorating the con 
dition of mankind, and convincing them that their interest would best be pro 
moted by mutual good will and harmony. 



i 79 i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 395 

faire des enfants. She is delighted with this observation. 
Chaumont reads me a part of Laforet s letter to him, giv-. 
ing a very exalted idea of the situation of America and 
counselling purchases of land and stock." 

"At Madame de Chastellux s [March 28th] there is a 
breakfast. The English ambassador* and his lady are 
here. If I might judge from her manner, I have made a 
little progress in her esteem. We shall see. This morn 
ing I got a fall in the street which barks my stump a little. 
Go to sup with Madame de Nadaillac. Tell the Abbe 
Maury that I expect he will get the hat the Cardinal de 
Lomenie has sent back. I tell him also that the Holy 
Father has done wrong in not laying the kingdom under 
an interdict. He answers that opinion is no longer with 
the Saint Siege, and that without an army to support the 
interdict it would be laughed at ; that the instance of Eng 
land Ynakes Rome cautious. I reply that the cases are 
somewhat different, but, further, as the Assembly have left 
the Pope nothing he might play a sure game, since he can 
lose no more, and at any rate he had better have done 
nothing than only one-half of what he might do, because 
mankind may, by degrees, be habituated to everything. 
He agrees to the truth of this, and owns that he should 
have preferred extremities. I tell him that, from the mo 
ment when the church property was seized, I considered 
the Catholic religion at an end, because nobody would be 
priest for nothing. He agrees fully. 

" To-night, at the Theatre de la Nation, there is a dread 
ful representation of monastic vengeance and guilt. See 
Madame de Chastellux, who tells me that the British am- 

* George Grenville, second marquis, who during his father s lifetime was 
summoned to Parliament as Baron Gower. His lordship, who was a privy 
councillor and Knight of the Garter, was created Duke of Sutherland, Janu 
ary 28, 1833. He married, September, 1785, Elizabeth, Countess of Suther 
land, and Baroness of Strathnaver in her own right. 



396 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

bassadress is much pleased with me. She says the poor 
Princess is very ill at ease." 

"I dine [April ist] with the Duchess of Orleans. After 
dinner go to the opera, and leave it early to take Madame 
de Flahaut to Madame de Laborde s. In the way, we call 
to inquire about Mirabeau s health. Guards stop us, lest the 
carriage should disturb his repose. I am shocked at such 
honors paid to such a wretch. On this subject I quarrel 
with Madame de Flahaut. I stay at Madame de Laborde s 
till eleven, and then go to Madame de StaeTs. The Eng 
lish ambassadress is here, and receives me very well." 

"Madame de Lafayette tells me to-day [April 2d] that I 
am in love with Madame de Beaumont. I own it, though 
it is not true. She says that her company must be insipid, 
after such agreeable people. Que veut.dire cela? Go to 
M. de Montmorin s to dine. After dinner go to the 
Louvre. Mirabeau died this day. I tell the Bishop 
d Autun that he should step into the vacancy he has 
made, and to that effect should pronounce his funeral 
oration, in which he should make a summary of his life, 
and dwell particularly on the last weeks in which he 
labored to establish order ; then dwell on the necessity of 
order, and introduce properly the King. He says his 
thoughts have run much upon that subject this day. I 
tell him he has not a moment to lose, and that such occa 
sions rarely present themselves. I spoke to the Cotnte de 
Montmorin about a successor to Mirabeau this day, but he 
tells me that he cannot easily see who shall be put into his 
place. He owns that Mirabeau was determined to ruin 
Lafayette, and says that he had held him back for some 
time. He says that Lafayette is a reed, good for nothing. 
He thinks that there is no chance now left but to convoke 
the next Assembly as soon as may be, excluding the 
members of the present, and that the meeting should be 



i 79 i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 397 

far from Paris. The theatres are shut this day. The 
weather is fine." 

But of what use was it, if Mirabeau was dead so all 
Paris and the Assembly felt, as they sat and stared at the 
vacant chair, where the immense athletic creature, with 
"a vast forehead which seemed made to carry the burden 
of thought," had so lately sat. During this day of mourn 
ing, amusements were forbidden. A marquise dared to 
give a ball. The furious crowd besieged the house, and 
maltreated some of her noble guests, who were obliged 
to take out their swords to defend themselves. For eight 
days all the departments were in mourning, as for a 
national calamity. The Bishop of Autun administered 
ghostly consolation to the dying Mirabeau, and the people 
mourned him dead. Nothing like it had been known be 
fore, not even when lamentations rent the air, and ringing 
bells sounded through the streets with the cry, " Le bon 
Roi Louis, pere du peuple, est mort." 

" A wonderfully fine day [April 3d]. I go to Marli. Ma 
dame du Bourg receives me with the joy of one who 
wishes something from a city to vary the sameness of the 
lane. After dinner we walk much about the garden, and 
we see many scenes of rural love. The shepherds and 
shepherdesses seem to care but little for the appearance 
of strangers, but pursue their gambols as freely as their 
flocks and herds. This furnishes the matter of our con 
versation. Return to town, and spend the evening with 
the Duchess of Orleans. Madame de Lootange is here. 
There is a violence of aristocracy in her, as in many oth 
ers, which is diverting. She is handsome." 

" To-day [April 4th] I go along the boulevards as far as 
the convoi of Mirabeau will permit ; then go back to the 
Marais, where I visit M. and Madame de la Luzerne. 
They receive me tfautant mieux as that, being no longer 



398 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

minister, my attention cannot be suspected. Visit Madame 
de Nadaillac, where I arn led into an altercation un pen 
vive with monsieur, who, among other ridiculous notions of 
aristocratic folly, expresses a wish for the dismemberment 
of France. I call on Madame de Chastellux for a few 
minutes. She is to inform me to-morrow whether the ex 
pedition to Sceaux takes place the day after. I cannot 
\vait for her Royal Highness, but make a short visit to the 
Louvre. It has been a prodigious fine day. The funeral 
of Mirabeau (attended, it is said, by more than one hun 
dred thousand persons, in solemn silence) has been an 
imposing spectacle. It is a vast tribute paid to superior 
talents, but no great incitement to virtuous deeds. Vices, 
both degrading and detestable, marked this extraordinary 
creature. Completely prostitute, he sacrificed everything 
to the whim of the moment. Cupidus alieni, prodigus sui ; 
venal, shameless, and yet greatly virtuous when pushed 
by a prevailing impulse, but never truly virtuous, because 
never under the steady control of reason nor the firm au 
thority of principle, I have seen this man, in the short 
space of two years, hissed, honored, hated, mourned. 
Enthusiasm has just now presented him gigantic ; time 
and reflection will shrink that stature. The busy idle 
ness of the hour must find some other object to execrate 
or to exalt. Such is man, and particularly the French 
man." 

Marat alone was violent against the dead man, and 
called upon the people to give thanks that Riquetti was 
no more. In less than three years the Convention of the 
Revolution decreed that, "Le corps d Honore Gabriel Ri 
quetti Mirabeau sera retire du Pantheon francais, celtii 
de Marat y sera transfere." In 1794, in the silence of the 
night, coldly and strictly was this arretd executed, and the 
man who had been so feted was put, near the meeting of 



I79I-3 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 399 

many streets, into a nameless grave, over which daily the 
hurrying crowds pass. 

Lafayette told Morris that he thought the Bishop of 
Autun would replace Mirabeau in the Diplomatic Com 
mittee ; but the man whom Mirabeau had contemplated 
with apprehensive curiosity for so long, the man whose 
words were so carefully prepared and arranged and 
whose attitude was so grave, was the man who was to 
take his place and go far beyond him. When Mirabeau 
disappeared, Robespierre almost immediately came to the 
front. 

" Dine with M. de Montmorin to-day [April 8th]. After 
dinner, take him aside and express my opinion that a 
speedy dissolution of the present Assembly would be dan 
gerous. Their successors would be chosen by the Jaco 
bins, whereas, if some months are suffered to elapse, the 
Jacobins and municipalities will be at war, because the 
latter will not brook the influence of the former. He says 
that he fears the municipalities will be entirely under the 
guidance of the Jacobins. This is, I think, a vain fear. 
He thinks that more of the present members should be re- 
eligible. I differ in opinion, because he knows the char 
acter and talents of the present set and can buy such as, 
after reelection, may suit his purpose. He says they are not 
worth buying, and would, for the most part, take money, 
to act as they please ; that if Mirabeau had lived, he would 
have gratified him to the extent of his desires. He says 
they must now work in the provinces to secure the elec 
tions ; but I ask how he is to know the inclination and 
capacity of members elect. He owns this to be difficult. 
Speaking of the Court, he tells me that the King is abso 
lutely good for nothing ; that at present he always asks, 
when he is at work with the King, that the Queen be pres 
ent. I ask if he is well with the Queen. He says that he 



400 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

is, and has been for some months. I am sincerely glad of 
this, and tell him so. 

11 Spend an hour with the Duchess of Orleans. She 
gives me the relation of some new horrors attending the 
Revolution. She has been this morning to visit a sick 
bishop. Return home, and read the answer of Paine to 
Burke s book ; there are good things in the answer as 
well as in the book. Paine calls on me. He says that 
he found great difficulty in prevailing on any bookseller 
to publish his book ; that it is extremely popular in Eng 
land, and, of course, the writer, which he considers as one 
among the many uncommon revolutions of this age. He 
turns the conversation on times of yore, and as he mentions 
me among those who were his enemies, I frankly acknowl 
edge that I urged his dismissal from the office he held of 
secretary to the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 

"Madame de Chastellux tells me that the Duchess of 
Orleans sets off to-morrow, under pretence of her father 
being indisposed, to visit him, but, in fact, to bring about 
a separation with her husband, whose conduct is become 
too brutal to be borne. Poor woman, she looks wretched ! 
Visit Madame de Nadaillac, and by a rambling conversa 
tion get more ground than she is aware of. She talks of 
religion, duty, and conjugal vows before there is any oc 
casion, but to her surprise I agree that these vows should 
be held sacred. Tell her that it is a happy circumstance 
for her that she loves her husband, because that otherwise 
she could not but entertain another passion, which would 
prove at length too strong." 

"This morning [April pth] M. Bremond calls on me. 
In the course of conversation I mention the claims of the 
German princes upon France for supplies furnished a long 
time ago. He opens this matter up to me, and says that 
he has agreements already made with them, and wants 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 4OI 

only about 1,200,000! to complete the affair, which will 
give at least twelve millions. In the course of conversa 
tion, he asks if I will propose the matter to M. de Mont- 
morin. I am to consider of it, and he is to call to-morrow 
and furnish me with the proper materials to converse 
upon. Mr. Short and I have a long conversation on Ameri 
can finance, and I endeavor to show him that the proposi 
tion made in the name of Schwitzer, Jeanneret & Co. is a 
good one for the United States, provided they abate the 
commission. This is my sincere belief. I tell him also 
that from what the parties have said to and shown to me, I 
am convinced that they have great strength both with the 
Court and in the Assembly ; that an operation of this sort 
would be so much the more useful, as the United States 
might make use of all this credit to support their domestic 
operations. The conversation is long, and he is a little 
changed in his opinions. I tell him some things which 
may render him a little cautious respecting Mr. Swan, who 
is, I find, in the habit of using both our names for his par 
ticular purposes. 

" I take Mademoiselle Duplessis to Madame de Flahaut s, 
where we dine at her bedside, and afterwards visit Madame 
de Nadaillac. Her friend the Abbe Maury is with her, 
and I leave them together. She desires to see me again, 
which I promise. She is at Gros Caillou, to attend the in 
oculation of her children. Madame de Flahaut asks me 
to-day whom I would recommend, in case of widowhood, 
to be her husband. I tell her that I understand that it is 
in contemplation to permit the marriage of the clergy. 
She says she will never marry the Bishop, because she 
cannot go with him to the altar without mentioning first 
her connection with another. Visit Madame Dumolley, 
who wants to know why the Duchess of Orleans is gone 
to the town of Eu. I pretend ignorance." 
26 



402 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

"At ten [April i3th] I call on M. de Montmorin. En 
ter fully with him both into his situation and that of the 
kingdom. Propose the affair of the rations, and offer 
him the interest agreed on. He declines being inter 
ested, and after much conversation agrees to push it on 
account of the King, provided the matter be secret. He 
says he can rely on me, and that His Majesty will, he be 
lieves, have the like confidence. I am to give him a note 
this day to be laid before the King. Go to Jeanneret s 
and inform Bremond of Montmorin s refusal, and at the 
same time give him to understand that the business will 
be done. Prepare the note for His Majesty. Go to dine 
with M. de Montmorin, and after dinner give him the 
note. He tells me that he must communicate the affair to 
the Comte de la Marck. Their political connections are such 
that he cannot avoid the communication. He will give 
me a definitive answer on Monday morning. 

" Go to Madame de StaeTs. Converse here with the 
Duchesse de la Rochefoucault. Madame de Stael reads 
her tragedy of Montmorenci. She writes much better 
than she reads. Her character of the Cardinal de Riche 
lieu is drawn with much ability. The society is small, and 
we have no small reprehension of the Assemblee Nationale, 
who, it must be confessed, act weakly enough. N importe. 
Call at the Louvre, where I find M. de Curt making verses 
and love to Madame de Flahaut." 

"Call on Madame de Nadaillac [April i5th], whose 
children begin to sicken with the small-pox. We talk of 
religion and sentiment, but I am much mistaken if she 
does not think of something else. Leave my name for 
the British ambassadress, and go to dine with Madame 
Foucault. She tells me that her husband has abandoned 
his project of going to England, which she was delighted 
with, and says that my description of it has deterred him. 



I79I.J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 403 

I must endeavor to put this to rights. Her physician, also, 
has agreed to advise the jaunt as needful for her health. 
Shortly after dinner I go to the Louvre. We are present 
ly interrupted by Vicq d Azyr, with whom Madame de 
Flahaut has a conversation about the Bishop. I presume 
that it is to put him well with the Queen. After this, another 
interruption by her sister and a M. Dumas, who brings dis 
agreeable tidings respecting an affair in which she was con 
cerned. Then comes M. de Curt, full of amorous declara 
tion and protestation. I leave this scene at eight, and go 
again to Madame Foucault s. She tells me that her hus 
band has taken it into his head to go to Nantes, and in 
that case she is resolved to go to England with one of her 
friends or with me. She says he is a very bad fellow- 
traveller. At ten M. Stebell comes in. A Mademoiselle 
Chevalier, about fifteen, plays on the forte-piano admirably 
well a piece of her own composition, which has great 
merit. Her brother, younger than herself, plays another 
piece very well. After that M. Stebell, who is wonderful. 
This man makes from five to ten guineas per day. He 
receives for his visit here this evening fifty livres. It is 
said that he wastes with levity what he acquires with so 
much ease." 

" This morning [April i6th] I visit Paine and Mr. 
Hodges. The former is abroad, the latter in the wretched 
apartments which they occupy. He speaks of Paine as 
being a little mad, which is not improbable. Visit Madame 
de Trudaine,* who being denied, I ask for paper and com 
mence a note to her, but before it is finished a servant 

* The salon of Madame de Trudaine was known familiarly as the Salon 
du Gargon Philosophe. At one or two grand dinners and suppers a week 
she entertained all the dukes, ambassadors, gentlemen of letters and finance, 
strangers, and ministers. The conversation was at the same time solid and 
piquant. The mistress of the salon sometimes marred the perfect accord of 
her guests by her indifference. 



404 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XVIII. 

asks me up. She is dressing, and St. Andre comes up. 
Nothing here. Madame receives me well, and we are to 
be unpeu plus lie s ensemble. Call on Short, and take him to 
Madame de StaeTs. After dinner we have a fine scene of 
vociferous argumentation between her and an abbe. I 
tell her that when she gets to Switzerland she must let her 
head cool, and then digest her ideas of government, which 
will become sound by her own reflections. Go from 
thence to Madame de Beaumont s, where we make a long 
visit, and then go to the Louvre, and after a while Madame 
goes into the bath, and the society wait on her there. I 
stay till after supper, and then take Mademoiselle Duplessis 
home. In the way I am sprightly, and she is pleased. 
Ternant, whom I saw at M. de Montmorin s, tells me that 
Fleurieu, the Minister of the Marine, is about to quit his 
post, and that he thinks he will be replaced by M. de 
Bougainville. Montmorin reminded me that I am to call 
on Monday." 

" Go [April i yth] after dinner to the Louvre. We visit 
together Madame de Nadaillac, whose son is ill with the 
small-pox. Madame de Flahaut, after returning home, 
takes again her bath. I go to Madame de StaeTs ; a brill 
iant society. The British ambassadress, who is here, is 
much entoure e by the young men of fashion. At coming 
away the Comte de Montmorin, who is here, tells me that 
he cannot give me an answer to-morrow, not having been 
able to speak to the King this day. It has been fine 
weather." 

"This morning [April i8th] Swan and Bremond come. I 
converse with them respecting the supply of rations to the 
French marine. We have this day very much of a riot at 
the Tuileries. The King intends for St. Cloud, but is 
stopped, not merely by the populace, but by the national 
militia, who refuse to obey their general. It seems that 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 405 

His Majesty, having sanctioned the decree respecting the 
clergy, and afterwards applied to one of the non-jurors to 
perform the ceremonies enjoined at this season, has in 
curred the charge of duplicity. I am a long time in ex 
pectation of a battle, but am at length told that the King 
submits. Call at the Louvre, where I find M. de Curt 
established. Go away directly, and visit Madame de Na- 
daillac. As she urges me to prolong my visit, and as it 
is late, I send to the guinguette for a matelote, and dine in 
her chamber. She makes many fa$ons, but we get along. 
We shall see how things go, by and by. . . . M. Vicq 
d Azyr shows me the letter written by the department 
to the King. It is dictatorial in the extreme. Madame 
de Flahaut had already informed me of it, but I am obliged 
to disapprove of it." 



406 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Shows M. de Montmorin draught of a letter devised as an answer from the 
king to the department. The entotirs of the king resign. Resignation 
of Lafayette. Sketch of European politics in a letter to Mr. Inglis, of 
London. A republic becoming fashionable. Lady Sutherland s gra- 
ciousness. Lafayette accepts the position of head of the National 
Guards. Montesquiou asks Morris how to amend the constitution. 
Celebration of the suppression of the octroi. Conversation with 
Montmorin. Madame de Nadaillac s coquettish character. Morris 
suggests to several ladies positions near the queen. Madame de Fla- 
haut expects one soon. Montmorin weary of the situation. Visit to 
Madame de Nadaillac. 



morning [April 2oth] M. Bremond and M. 
Jaubert call. Set them to work to bring the 
Jacobins to the King s relief in the attack of the depart 
ment. I dress and visit the Comte de Montmorin, to whom 
I show the form of a letter I had devised as an answer from 
the King to the department. He tells me that these last 
were frightened into the step they have taken. This is, I 
know, partly true, but it is also true that the step is bold 
and, if successful, decisive. After conversing upon the 
present state of affairs, we have one word on business. He 
has not been able to attend to it, from the circumstances of 
the moment. Visit Madame de Montmorin, and sit some 
time ; she is much distressed by the fear of pillage and in 
sult, the Baron de Menou having denounced her hus 
band last night. I laugh at this denunciation as ridicu 
lous, and endeavor to quiet her apprehensions. Go from 
thence to the Gros Caillou and visit Madame de Nadaillac, 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 

who disserts a great deal upon politics with much heat 
and absurdity. It fatigues me. Dine with Mr. Short. 
Ternant, who is here, tells me that he urged Lafayette to 
resign, and that he agreed, but found afterwards various 
reasons for not doing it. This is like him. M. de Chate- 
let has brought hither Lord Dare, who is the son of Lord 
Selkirk, and who meets here by accident Paul Jones. He 
acknowledges the polite attention of Jones in the attack 
on his father s house in the last war. Go from hence to 
the Louvre, but Mademoiselle Duplessis is here. Madame 
tells me that the entours of the King have resigned, that 
those of the Queen will resign, and that she has hopes of 
being placed near Her Majesty. I wish this may happen. 
She tells me that she has written to d Angeviliers to 
travel, having obtained the assurance that in such case it 
shall be no question of him. De Curt comes in, and after 
staying a little while I come home, and read till Messieurs 
Bremond and Jaubert call. The Jacobins are in treaty 
with the Quatre-vingt-neufs* for an alliance. The object 
is to prevent a decree rendering the present members in 
eligible for the succeeding Assembly. After they leave me 
I go very sleepy to bed." 

" M. Bremond comes [April 2ist] to tell me what had 
passed at the Jacobins , etc. Dress, ride with Mr. Short, 

* The Club of 89, which Morris here alludes to as the Quatre-vingt- 
neuf, was a dismemberment of that of the Jacobins. Malouet and some 
of his friends, becoming alarmed at the extreme tendencies of the Club des 
Jacobins, conceived the plan of forming a rival society, which they accordingly 
did in April, 1790. The schismatics installed themselves in superb apartments 
in the Palais Royal, under the name of the Club of 89. It would seem that the 
new club was by no means uncorrupt, when Sieyes could exclaim, in an ac 
cess of virtuous brutality, " that with the exception of two or three Jacobins 
of whom I have a horror, I like all the members of that club, and with the ex 
ception oi a dozen members among you I distrust all of you." While the 
Club of 89 enjoyed their beautiful surroundings, the old Jacobin Club of the 
Rue St. Honore manufactured, by the light of their flambeaux, the means to 
push the Revolution to its completion. 



408 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

and then call on Madame de Flahaut, with whom I have 
some conversation on political affairs. Dine with the 
British ambassadress. We are en famille. She is a very 
pleasing woman. Visit Madame de Nadaillac. Every 
thing here is filthy. The weather is rainy. Lafayette s 
resignation makes much noise. It is probable that he 
will reaccept, in which case he will be worse than ever. 
At the Louvre, Madame de Flahaut has with her a con 
fidant of De La Porte, who comes to communicate the in 
tention of the King to employ monsieur ; but she will write 
a note to decline it, containing very good advice for His 
Majesty. I tell her she must give me a copy of it. The 
King s intention arose from the request of d Angiviliers. 
Go to M. de Montmorin s, and sit some time with Madame 
de Beaumont and Madame de Montmorin. A rising 
thunder-storm induces Madame de Montmorin to express 
some wishes not favorable to the disturbers of the public 
repose. As it is a question whether Lafayette will reac 
cept, she expresses very just opinions on his subject : that 
his weakness has done much mischief and prevented much 
good, but that it is better to be swayed by weakness than 
by wickedness, and that his successor would probably be 
one of those who mean most illy. After dinner I speak to 
Montmorin, who has done nothing in the business. I com 
municate to him the cause of the intended coalition be 
tween the Quatre-vingt-neufs and Jacobins. He tells me 
that he could have got the exclusive decree passed long 
ago if he would, but he was afraid of the four-years de 
cree, which has been nevertheless adopted. I tell him 
that if he can get the former now passed it will be the 
means of splitting the Jacobins and Quatre-vingt-neufs, 
after which they will both be more tractable. I give him, 
further, my opinion that the King must endeavor to join 
the populace. He agrees in this." 



I79I.J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 409 

A slight sketch of European politics from Morris s 
point of view given in a letter to Mr. John Inglis, of Lon 
don, just at this time, is not without interest. He says : 

" You ask my opinion of politics. It is difficult to form 
an opinion, because much depends on the opinion of oth 
ers, which is fluctuating. Your Court are in honor bound 
to support the Turk, because you egged him on to the war 
in which he has been so abominably mauled. The Em 
press can hardly, I think, wish to possess herself of Con 
stantinople, because she would hardly dream of holding 
such extensive dominion, not to mention the blood and 
treasure she must expend for the acquisition. I think, 
however, that she must be more or less than human if she 
does not wish to make you repent of your various aggres 
sions. I think she can do this with infinite ease. A dec 
laration of war will necessarily put you to great expense. 
She has no trade. Many thousand beggars and vagabonds 
will joyfully accept her permission to pillage. The idea 
of going to Petersburg seems to me ridiculous. The risk 
is great and the object small. To acquire Thun and Dant- 
zic for Prussia by tricking the Pole will do you no good, 
and, as far as I can look forward to futurity, it would tend 
first to invigorate the government of Poland, and then to 
dispossess Prussia of all that tract of country which lies 
between Russia, Poland, and the Baltic, for it would be 
the interest of Russia and Austria to give these to Poland. 
A war with Russia will deprive you entirely of what is 
called the carrying trade, and will lay from eight to ten 
guineas per cent, tax upon your other trade. The first 
mischance that happens will change your ministry, and 
you will easily get peace, because just now nobody can 
get anything by the war. I think further that the mani 
fold blunders here open for you a fair chance to be inti 
mately connected with America, if your rulers could make 



410 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

use of the opportunity. But prejudice and profit some 
times stand in the way of each other." 

" In going [April 23d] to the Louvre, one of my wheels 
comes off, and by that means my carriage gets much in 
jured. When I reach the Louvre M. de Flahaut meets 
me, and complains that madame is going to the Assembly 
with M. Ricy. She tells me that she is in a great hurry ; 
M. de Montmorin is to read his instruction to the foreign 
ministers, informing them that the King has put himself 
at the head of the Revolution. I do not see that this can 
be a matter of much moment to her. Go home and write 
till three, and then dine with Madame de Trudaine. After 
dinner monsieur expresses himself in favor of a republi 
can government, which is growing now to be very fashion 
able. Endeavor to show him the folly of such an attempt, 
but I had better have let it alone. Go from hence to Ma 
dame de Guibert s, where, of course, I meet the esprit jacobin. 
Thence to Madame Laborde s. She complains much of 
the republican party, and asks me why I do not express 
my sentiments to the Bishop of Autun. I tell her that they 
would have no weight, which is true. Call on Madame de 
Stael, who is denied to me ; but, her servant being in gala, 
I am sure she is to have company, and Montmorency is ad 
mitted at the same moment. Go to visit the British am 
bassadress. They have had many English to dine, and 
among them General Dalrymple. After a while they go 
to the play, and I take an opportunity to ask her ladyship 
when she is most visible. She says that Wednesday was 
her day, but she has none now in particular ; I may rely, 
however, that I shall always find her at home when she 
really is at home. In this I am sure, by her voice and 
manner, she is sincere, and I reply in according accents. 
She is a charming woman. Go from hence to the Comte 
de Montmorin s, and have a long and interesting conver- 



I79I-J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 411 

sation with his wife on public affairs. Urge, among other 
things, the advantage to be derived from changing the 
entours of the Queen." 

" This morning [April 25th] Paine calls and tells me 
that the Marquis de Lafayette has accepted the position 
of head of the National Guards." 

The dramatic side of this apparent devotion to Lafa 
yette was intense and thoroughly French. Through the 
rain and on foot the Corps Municipal went to him and on 
their knees took oath to meet him again at the head of 
the National Guards. But the blow had been struck, this 
oath of blind obedience was soon turned into ridicule, 
and the battalion w r hich first took it was called in derision 
" Le bataillon des aveugles." Lafayette s power, under the 
aspersions of Marat, the cries of some to beware of "Crom 
well," and the warnings of Camille Desmoulins, mingled 
with his despairing wail that " Paris, a bien meilleur droit 
que la ville des Etats-Unis, pourrait s appeler Fayette- 
ville," was on the downward road. Lafayette, said I? ami 
du Peuple, was to be seen, in the hat of a simple grenadier, 
going through the cabarets and cafes trying to reanimate 
the soldiers and his dying popularity. 

"Madame de Flahaut, I find [April 26th], has not de 
clined the plan proposed for her husband. Her Bishop 
advises otherwise, because the King may make such a 
choice as that M. de Flahaut will not be unsuitable to the 
rest, and because the refusal may offend a weak mind 
though founded on reasons which should attach. I add a 
reason which had arisen in my mind, viz., that when once 
taken up the Court cannot again let them fall, so that it 
will be a kind of provision for her in all events. Go and 
sit with Madame de Segur some time. She shows me the 
letter from the Duke of Orleans to Madame de Chastellux, 
with the answer of the latter. I find Lady Sutherland at 



412 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

Madame de StaeTs. She tells me that the Duke of Leeds 
has resigned. I express a hope, should I stay some time 
in Europe, to see her at the head of the Foreign Affairs. 
She says she should like it very much, but Lord Gower is 
yet too young. I tell her that two or three years hence 

he will have acquired the tact, and then -. He comes 

in just before I leave this place, and mentions also the 
resignation of the Duke. I ask if Hawkesbury is to suc 
ceed. He does not know. He seems so anxious to prove 
that the Duke s health is the cause of the resignation that 
I cannot help assigning it in my mind to some difference 
in the administration. Visit Madame de Nadaillac, from 
whom I had received a note complaining of neglect. We 
laugh and chatter and toy, and she complains of my 
want of respect, but I think I must be less respectful to 
be more agreeable ; in the course of a little amorous 
conversation she tells me that I must not expect she 
would capitulate, for she feels too much her religious and 
moral duties ; that if she should, however, be frail, she 
should poison herself next morning. I laugh at this. 
Go hence to M. de Montmorin s to dinner. After dinner 
I have a long conversation with him, partly on political 
affairs. He promises to speak to the King on the busi 
ness in the course of the week. He has mentioned it to 
the Comte de la Marck, who approves. Among various 
other things I suggest an act of oblivion by the Assem 
bly and thereon another revolution letter. He approves 
much of this, telling me that he is now preparing a letter 
from the King to the Prince of Conde. I come home, to 
meet M. Bremond and set him to work among the Jaco 
bins to get the decree or act of oblivion moved by them. 

" Conversing with Madame de Flahaut on affairs to-day, 
from w r hat she says, but more from what she does not 
say, I find there is a plan on foot to force all power from 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 413 

* 
the King into the hands of the present leaders of the 

Opposition. While I am at the Louvre, Montesquiou 
comes in, and I remind him of what I said respecting 
their constitution. He begins to fear that I was in the 
right. He asks how the evil is to be remedied. I tell 
him that there seems to be little chance for avoiding the 
extremes of despotism or anarchy ; that the only ground 
of hope must be the morals of the people, but that these 
are, I fear, too corrupt. He is sure they are. Madame 
told me this morning that M. de Curt is to be Minister 
of the Marine, if the decree of quatre ans is revoked. 
M. Monciel* comes to see me, and gives me an account 
of what he has done with the chiefs of the Jacobins. 
He is to have a further conference. They think it 
will be best to act in concert with the Court, without ap 
pearing to do so, lest thereby they should lose their popu 
larity. I agree in the propriety of this, and urge conform 
ably to what I suppose their views to be, a repeal of the 
decree des quatre ans and the decree of re-eligibility. He 
is to propose this to them and to obtain, if he can, a list of 
the articles they desire ; also, if possible, of the places they 
aspire to." 

"We are en famille at the British ambassador s to-day 
[April 3oth] at dinner. Cubieres comes with Robert, and 
they have a collection of the portraits of Petite in enamel, 
which are very fine. Go from hence to the Louvre. 
Madame de Flahaut is dressing. She tells me that she 

* M. Terrier de Monciel belonged to a distinguished family of Franche 
Comte. He was Roland s successor as minister in June, 1792, just before 
the catastrophe of the 2oth of June, which he had not foreseen and which it 
would have been impossible to prevent, though he did all in his power, how 
ever, to re-establish order. He said in the National Assembly, the day after, 
that " the action against the king should put all France into eternal mourn 
ing." Forced, finally, to leave the ministry, he however remained in Paris 
during the revolution of August loth, and afterward had the good fortune to 
escape the proscription of 1793. He died in September, 1831. 



4H DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

has good hopes of succeeding to the place she aims at. 
Sit a long time with Madame de Foucault and Madame de 
Ricy ; afterwards sup. When we get into the salon we 
have a deal of metaphysical conversation ; a gentleman 
who has read Locke on The Human Understanding 
shows off." 

Firing of cannon and processions of shouting people, 
giving expression to their feelings, were of such common 
occurrence in Paris that Morris does not even allude to 
the " Kermesse de la Revolution," which took place on 
the 3oth of April, to celebrate the suppression of the 
octroi, when boats and troops of wagons, laden with mer 
chandise and wine, which had been waiting outside of 
Paris, came in decorated ; their drivers and men in charge, 
crowned with branches, having liberally partaken of the 
wine and beer that they were bringing free into the town. 
It was calculated that each tax-payer gained about one 
hundred livres by the suppression of the octroi, and the 
people were more content \vith life on a cheaper basis. 
Commerce, however, "the commerce of luxury, of use 
less things, of nothing," was dead. The carnival was for 
bidden, and with it went the support of a vast army of 
workers on costumes, notably in the house of the famous 
costumers, Lambert et Renaudin. There was no longer 
a nobility able and longing to gratify every whim in art, 
dress, and the nameless things that money could be wasted 
on. The Abbe Maury and a host like him could no 
longer indulge in the possession of eight hundred farms, 
and delicious breakfasts which he partook of reclining in 
the most beautiful and luxurious of fauteuils. The rich 
bourgeois were reduced to living on the proceeds of what 
they could sell. The Place Vendome was full of people 
demanding work, and caricatures were not wanting to en 
force the destitution of artisans upon those in power. 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 41 5 

The patriots tried in vain to revive commerce, the papers 
talked in vain ; commerce had passed into other countries. 
Vice grew like a rank weed, the uncertainty of everything 
fostered a general demoralization, and the police, deeply 
engaged in political affairs, allowed the streets to swarm 
with immorality and misery in the most revolting forms. 

It might seem that Paris had reached the lowest depths 
when the Council of the Commune in 1793 cleaned the 
streets and forbade the selling of indecent books, pic 
tures, and bas-reliefs ; but there were lower depths to 
reach. Good manners and morality might be decreed, 
but vicious manners and immorality were more attrac 
tive, and steadily increased. Some excitement was neces 
sary, and the caricaturist was kept busy turning the aris 
tocracy into ridicule in the most indecent pictures 
which were exposed in the windows to a delighted public. 
The Veto was represented as a giant, light coming out of 
his mouth. The priest, not more exempt than the noble, 
could be seen in the barber-shop, with the legend : " Ici 
on secularise proprement ; on me rase ce matin, je me 
marie ce soir." The Assemblee des Aristocrats of course 
came in for their share of the public scorn. But to enu 
merate the squibs and caricatures would be an endless 
task which it evidently did not occur to Morris even 
to enter upon, and he rarely mentions this phase of the 
Revolution, and was doubtless too preoccupied with its 
political to notice much its picturesque side. 

" I have a long conversation after dinner," says the 
diary for May ist, with M. de Montmorin, in the course 
of which I show him a note I have made on their situa 
tion. He begs me to let him have it, and I give it, but 
with thl injunction that none but their majesties shall 
know from whom it comes. He has not yet had an op 
portunity to resume again the affairs of the rations. I 



416 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

inform him of what has been done with the chiefs of the 
Jacobins. He tells me how the ministry stand in that re 
spect. He assures me that they can do nothing with the 
King but through him. He mentions a wish to have com 
missaries appointed by the Crown to keep the peace in 
the different Departments, etc. I reply that all officers 
concerned in keeping the peace should be appointed by 
the Crown, but that it is too early to propose anything 
of the sort. Experience must first demonstrate the ne 
cessity. He tells me that he has indisputable evidence 
of the intrigues of Britain and Prussia ; that they give 
money to the Prince of Conde and the Duke of Orleans. 
He says that he will resign the place of Foreign Affairs, 
because he can no longer act in it with dignity. I ad 
vise against this, assuring him that his letter will be 
viewed by foreign nations in its true light. He says that 
he would, if in office, bring on a war next year. I tell 
him that he should provoke it as soon as possible, but 
that it should be a land war. He says that a sea war with 
Britain is alone practicable, and in that case they would 
be alone, for Spain will not act with them. I ask him how 
the Emperor is disposed. He tells me that he is feeble 
and pacific ; that he will take no great part for or against 
anybody, and if he interferes at all, it must be to get his 
share of the spoil. I tell him that I have a different view 
of things from him ; that the war should be by land and 
general ; that Poland should be tempted by the country 
which lies between her and the Baltic ; Austria to have 
Silesia and, in exchange for the Low Countries, Bavaria ; 
France to have the Low Countries, and to make an in 
cursion into Holland ; Constantinople to be given to the 
Order of Malta for the joint use of all Christendom. He 
starts at this, which is too great for his mind, but I think 
it may be brought about. It would cost France her isl- 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 417 

ands, in all probability, but I have a different plan for 
them, which I do not communicate. We agree on the 
language to be held with the chefs des Jacobins. 

" M. Bremond visits me. He shows a new proposition 
from Lamerville respecting the German rations. He gives 
me, also, the list of articles desired by the chiefs of the 
Jacobins. Dine with Montmorin. Bouinville is here. He 
is just returned from England. He tells me that Paine s 
book works mightily in England, and he says that Pitt dares 
not hazard a war with Russia, it is so unpopular ; that he 
has again begun new negotiations, which will probably last 
until the season is spent. M. Bremond and M. Jaubert call 
again on me. They communicate some information of 
little value, and ask my opinion as to the propriety of 
bringing the latter forward to the chiefs of the Jacobins. 
I tell them I think there is danger of alarming those gen 
tlemen. Show how alone it can be done without great 
hazard. These people are too precipitate. Bremond tells 
me he has taken measures to be employed in digesting the 
decrees of the Assembly and selecting those which are to 
form the Constitution from the mass. I approve of this. 

"Visit Madame de Nadaillac, who does not admit me 
for some time. I perceive afterwards that she was in too 
sluttish a trim, and has to go into bed to conceal it. We 
chat in such manner as I think most fitting for a little co 
quette, and such as leaves it always doubtful with her 
whether she has or has not possession of my heart. If 
she does not take care she will, in trying to catch me, find 
herself caught. Madame de Flahaut tells me that d An- 
giviliers, her brother-in-law, has resigned, and is set off 
for Italy by way of avoiding the accusations against him. 
This is a cruel stroke to her, who has no means of exist 
ence but through him. I take her home and stay a 
little while ; then call, at her instigation, to inquire if 
27 



41 8 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

a place about the Queen will be acceptable to Madame le 
Coulteux. My friend, Laurent le Coulteux, answers in 
the negative." 

" Call on the Baron de Besenval, and sit with him a 
while [May 3d]. Then go to the dairy of the Enfant 
Jesus, where cream, butter, and eggs are to be had in great 
profusion. Take some of each, and go to the Louvre, 
where there is a confidant of M. du Porte, the Minister of 
the Civil List, with whom madame has a long conversation 
apart. During that period monsieur confides to me his 
griefs, his hopes, and fears. M. de Leinou tells me 
that he is well informed the secretary of the Prince of 
Conde has taken a large bribe and come over with his 
master s papers. He says, also, that news just arrived 
from England show that a war between that country and 
this is unavoidable. His first news may be true, but his 
last must, I think, be false. I tell him so, and add that in 
n war between France and England, single-handed, I 
would stake my fortune in favor of France, if tolerably 
governed. Dress and go to dine with Duportail, where I 
see, after dinner, Jouvion, and converse with him respect 
ing the future commandant of the Garde Nationale. I 
think he must be the man. Go from hence to the Comte 
de Montmorin s. He has not yet mentioned the affair of 
the rations to the King. He promises to speak about the 
affair to-morrow ; is afraid of the thing being known. I 
mention to him some political points, particularly the ne 
cessity of changing the household of their majesties ; ask 
him who is to succeed Lafayette, and observe that he 
should look round for a proper character. He mentions 
Jouvion. I leave him, and walk with Madame de Beau 
mont. I find that her father has communicated something 
of the object, if not of the substance, of my conversations 
with him. At the request of Madame de Flahaut, I speak 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 419 

to Madame le Coulteux, to know if she will accept of a 
place near the Queen. She would like it much, but is 
afraid that it will not be agreeable to her husband and his 
family. She is to write to me to-morrow after consulting 
him. She wishes the place for her sister, in case she does 
not take it." 

" Walk [May pth] with Madame de Beaumont, who says 
she would not like to be one of the Queen s women, but 
will do whatever her father desires. After dinner con 
verse with him. The King agrees to the affair of the ra 
tions, provided he can be sure above all things of the 
secret. In a few days he will reform his household. 
Montmorin quits the Foreign Affairs. He is to be suc 
ceeded by Choiseul-Gouffier, who is now at Constanti 
nople. He says he will continue in the Council, but will 
not have a department. Everyone who may now get into 
place he considers un etre e phe m &re, and justly. At Ma 
dame de Foucault s M. de Fauchet reads an excellent com 
edy which he has written. Bouinville is here. I take him 
home, and en route he complains of Duportail s ingratitude 
to Lafayette. He says that Montmorin was very low- 
spirited this morning. I tell him what I had told Mont 
morin that things must grow worse before they can 
mend. The weather is grown milder, but during my walk 
this morning I observe that the vines have suffered by the 
frost, At table they say that no mischief was done in the 
open country, owing to the wind. M. Bremond calls, 
and I tell him that I am in hopes of getting the money 
which may be needful for the rations. He tells me that 
he is to be employed by the Jacobin chieftains to form a 
selection of constitutional articles, and also to consult on 
the means of restoring order. Visit Madame de Segur, 
and she gives me the talk of the society, and that is very 
near the truth. So much for the secrecy of this Court." 



420 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

"Madame de Flahaut tells me to-day [May i5th] that 
she expects soon to be placed as the first woman of the 
Queen, who will reserve the education of her daughter. 
The Dauphin is to go into the hands of a man. This 
place is, I think, Montmorin s object, for he told me he 
would accept an office in the household. Dine at M. de 
Montmorin s and communicate what I had learnt at Ma 
dame de Guibert s from M. Toulangeon ; viz., that the 
Colonists are defeated in their view of excluding the mu- 
lattoes from a share in the government. This \vill occa 
sion much heat among them. I find that it is very dis 
agreeable here. After, dinner converse with him apart. 
He fixes next Tuesday for a meeting with Duport about 
the rations, but expresses his fear that the Assembly will 
not agree. I tell him that as he retires from foreign 
affairs he should secure the civil list, which is the only 
real source of authority. He says he is not fit to manage 
money matters ; that he is weary of the state he is in ; 
that if he could realize his fortune he would go to Amer 
ica. He says that nothing would keep him near the 
Court except his desire to serve, or rather save, the King 
and Queen ; that he has already occasioned to them a vast 
expense for an object which has not succeeded. I tell 
him that the attempt to buy the members of the Assembly 
was a bad measure. He says it was not in that he occa 
sioned the expense. He is called away before we can go 
further. I go to the British ambassador s, and on enter 
ing Lady Sutherland apologizes to me for being denied 
the other afternoon I called. She says there are so many 
Frenchmen who break in upon her that she is obliged to 
give orders for shutting her door, but I may depend that it 
will not happen again. I make a very long visit, and then 
wait at the Louvre till the return of Madame de Flahaut 
from Versailles. M. Duport is here and is disposed to 



i 79 i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 421 

talk with me. De Curt comes in, and is outrageous about 
the decree of this morning. He says that the deputies 
from the Colonies will all retire to-morrow. They ought 
never to have gone into the Assembly, and if they quit 
will become ridiculous. I come away early, leaving the 
two sisters at piquet with the Bishop and St. Foi." 

"This morning [May i6th], immediately after breakfast, 
I dress and go to Versailles. Dine with M. de Cubieres, who 
gives us an excellent repast. He has a pretty large soci 
ety. He has a very pretty little cabinet of natural history 
and many little productions of the fine arts. I tell him 
that, with his knowledge of chemistry and mineralogy, he 
would make his fortune in America. I come away at five, 
instead of walking in his garden, and visit Madame de 
Nadaillac, who persists in her design to leave Paris to 
morrow morning. M. de Leinou is with her, who tells 
me that he thinks the separation of the Duke and Duchess 
of Orleans will be amicably adjusted. Leave her with the 
Abbe Maury and Bishop de Caudon. "I learn that the 
West Indies have retired from the Assembly, and that a 
decree has been passed to prevent the re-eligibility of the 
present delegates. I am well pleased with both of these 
events, for the West Indians have hitherto run into every 
extreme to obtain popularity, that thereby they might 
carry their favorite measures, and, being indifferent about 
France, have contributed much to the mischiefs which 
have been occasioned. Sup with Madame Foucault, 
where there is a large party. Bouinville, who is here, 
looks like a lover, and as I take him home he owns that 
he ivas one, but he was not happy. I tell her that I will 
endeavor to see her at Spa. This delights her, less from 
any interest in what concerns me than from the sacrifice 
which that step would imply to her charms." 

"According to my appointment go [May iyth] at one 



422 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

to M. de Montmorin s, and meet there M. Duport. I find 
that M. de Montmorin is, or seems, much disinclined to 
engage in the affair of the rations. He doubts much, he 
says, of the success, and says the King has great repug 
nance to it. He had told me before that he was well 
inclined ; this seems mysterious. He says that the princi 
pal fear is the fear of discovery. I show him that there 
is no danger of that sort. He desires to meet on Saturday. 
I tell him I will, but that I cannot promise for the pa 
tience of the parties interested. He says they may do as 
they please. I tell him that the thing will be done in 
spite of any opposition he can make. It is in itself a just 
claim. This is a strange, undecided creature. Duport 
seems to be better disposed toward the operation. See 
M. Bremond, and tell him that the affair of the rations is 
postponed till Saturday. He is not at all pleased. Visit 
Madame de Segur, where, the conversation turning on the 
means of saving property from the confusions now appre 
hended, I mention the purchase of lands in America. 
The Count and his brother-in-law incline much to adopt 
this measure. Bremond calls again, and tells me he has 
information from Muller, the confidant of the Elector of 
Mayence, that the French agents act as if they did not 
want to adjust matters with the German Princes. He 
says that if the Court do not mean to settle that affair 
amicably, he supposes they will not adopt the affair of the 
rations. He is right in this conjecture, but I reply only 
by repeating what I had already said that the affair is 
extremely delicate. Madame de Chastellux s servant 
comes and tells me that she goes to-morrow to accompany 
her son to the Ville d Eu. I send for the child, and write 
to its mother. Sit a while with the Baron de Besenval, 
who, in the fervor of his zeal in the cause of despotism, 
tells me that all the princes of Europe are allied to restore 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 423 

the ancient system of French government. This idea is 
ridiculous enough, but yet there are thousands who be 
lieve it and who are not fools either ; but it is the lot of 
man to be forever the dupe of vain hope or idle appre 
hension. We are too apt to forget the past, neglect the 
present, and misconceive the future. From hence go 
to dine with Madame de Trudaine, and after dinner mon 
sieur enters into a dispute with St. Andre about the rights 
of those princes who owned fiefs in Alsace. Monsieur is 
a very honest man, but he holds a very dishonest opinion, 
which is very common with weak men in regard to public 
affairs. This controversy reduces itself to one point of 
right and another of fact. By various treaties the princes 
have stipulated that the fiefs in question shall be held as 
heretofore by the German Empire. The point of right, 
therefore, is whether this tenure does not exempt them 
from the general decisions of the French nation respecting 
that species of property. The point of fact is whether 
the chief of the French or German Empire be, by those 
treaties quoad hoc the liege lord. This, being matter of 
interpretation, must be decided by publicists, but the whole 
question being between sovereign nations, it is probable 
that the decision will depend on everything except the 
real merits. 

"Madame de Flahaut is denied when I call, but I find it 
is to sleep. She tells me that her husband is gone abroad. 
She invented that to be alone, in order to receive the 
Bishop and another person at dinner, and was denied in 
consequence of her general orders to that effect. I give 
her a hint respecting the Bishop at which she is, or pre 
tends to be, offended. See M. de Montmorin, who tells 
me, as I expected he would, that the King will not agree 
to the affair of the rations. I am persuaded that there is 
some underwork in the business. Nous verrons. Montmorin 



424 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XIX. 

tells me that he considers the Assembly as finished, and 
this gives me a very mean opinion of his sagacity. A few 
days ago he was in trepidation and now in a kind of secu 
rity, both unfounded. He fears, however, yet for the per 
son of the King. He says that different people are urging 
him to do different things, but that he sees nothing to be 
done. I tell him to remain quiet, for the Assembly are 
now doing everything they can for the King, with the in 
tention to do everything they can against him. I ask him 
whereabouts he is with the claims of the German princes. 
He says that he thinks the Emperor will become the in 
termediary. He savs that he fears the Cornte d Artois and 
the Prince of Conde. I treat this lightly, as supposing 
they will only act in favor of the royal authority, but he 
says they will form a party for themselves, by which I un 
derstand only that they will oblige the King to drive away 
all his former advisers. Visit Madame de Guibert, who 
says that I must court her for years before I could make an 
impression. I laugh, and tell her that a few days, or even 
six weeks, might be reasonable enough, but the price she 
sets is really too high. This remark furnishes a deal of 
ridiculous conversation. M. Bremond calls on me. I tell 
him that the affair of the rations is abandoned, at which 
he is of course both mortified and disappointed." 



I79I-J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 425 



CHAPTER XX. 

A visit to St. Cloud. Departure for England. Visit to the Duchess of 
Orleans at Eu. London. The escape from the Tuileries and capt 
ure at Metz. Morris returns to France. The Assembly intend to 
cover the king s flight. Madame de Lafayette greatly excited. Con 
versation with M. de Montmorin. Dinner with the Americans in 
Paris on the Fourth of July. The fete of Voltaire. The king s 
nature discussed. Decree passed declaring the inviolability of the 
king. Lady Sutherland s drawing-room. What passed in the Champ 
de Mars. The mob fired on. Society frightened and within doors. 
Letter to Robert Morris. The king s aunts harangue the people of 
Rome on the king s escape. Morris meets Lord Palmerston. Pro 
nounces the .French Constitution ridiculous. Consultation between 
M. de Montmorin and Morris. Morris draws up a memoir e for the 
king. Madame de Stae l and the Constitution. Her opinion of the 
memoire Morris had prepared for the king. The Constitution pre 
sented to the king. 



[May 22d] on M. Grand, and walk a while 
in his garden with him conversing on the state 
of public affairs. The Kingdom of Poland has formed 
a new constitution which will, I think, change the po 
litical face of Europe, by drawing that kingdom out of 
anarchy into power. The leading features of the change 
are : An hereditary monarch, the enfranchisement of the 
peasants, and a share of the government given to the 
towns. These are the great means of destroying perni 
cious aristocracy. After dinner go with Chaumont, his 
wife, his mother, and sister to see St. Cloud. The situa 
tion is fine, and the garden would be delightful if laid out 
in the style of nature, but it is a perfectly French garden. 
The view from hence is very fine. We return along the 



426 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

Seine to the Bridge of Neuilly, and thence to Paris. Visit 
Madame de la Luzerne. M. de Meripoix speaks very 
harshly of Necker, and I defend that ex-minister. Go to 
M. de Montmorin s, and announce my departure for Eng 
land. Make same announcement to the British ambassa 
dor and ambassadress." 

"Write all this [May 26th] morning. Mr. Swan calls, and 
I tell him my surprise at hearing that I am considered in 
America as speculating in the debt to France. He assures 
me that he has never said or done anything to raise such 
an idea, and that he will exert himself to remove it. Dine 
with the British ambassador, and after dinner we go to 
gether to visit M. de Montmorin. I tell him that the 
enrages are in despair. He says he could give them the 
coup de grace if he pleased, for that he has reason to believe 
they are in pursuit of the affair of the rations. I tell him 
that I do not know, but that I shall know. He asks me 
if I shall be back from London during the month of June. 
I tell him that I shall. We have an interrupted conversa 
tion, and I promise to dine with him to-morrow." 

On Sunday (May 29th), Morris left Paris and jour 
neyed toward London, stopping en route at Eu, to visit the 
Duchess of Orleans. " I wait upon the Duchess this morn 
ing," he says, " and breakfast in her chamber, with Ma 
dame de Chastellux. She sends to her father to announce 
my arrival, and desire of visiting him. The old gentleman 
returns a very polite answer, and we agree that I shall dine 
with them. I find there is much restraint and etiquette 
here. After breakfast she reads me her letters to and from 
the Duke, and then we walk till near dinner-time. She 
tells me the history of their breach from a long time back, 
and the manoeuvres used by him and those about him. 
He is a mighty strange fellow. She tells me that what 
the world attributed to fondness in her was merely discre- 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 427 

tion. She hoped to bring him to a more decent and 
orderly behavior, but finds at length that he is to be gov 
erned by fear only. She tells me of her difficulties in 
bringing her father to act. He is nervous and trembles at 
everything like exertion. We have an excellent dinner, 
and in the conversation at and after it I gain a little upon 
the old gentleman s good opinion. They embark after 
dinner in a large carriage to take an airing, and I go to 
my hotel. Having nothing to do, I order horses and get 
off at a quarter past six and at half-past nine I reach 
Dieppe." 

A dirty vessel, a calm sea, a scarcity of provisions, and 
an odd assortment of fellow-passengers, rendered a chan 
nel passage of several days and nights anything but agree 
able ; but this uncomfortable episode finally ended, and 
Morris soon reached London. 

" The Russian dispute is, I find, very unpopular," says 
the diary of June 3d, " but I do not see how the Minister 
is to get out of the scrape. The French ambassador tells 
me that the ministry of this country will go on arming 
and threatening till the season for action is past, and then 
disarm in part. I think this very likely. He tells me 
that the Assembly have determined to form a new treaty 
of commerce with the United States, and that Ternant 
has departed." 

" We hear [June 25th] that the King and Queen of 
France have effected their escape from the Tuileries and 
have got six or seven hours the start of their keepers. 
This will produce some considerable consequences. If 
they get off safe a war is inevitable, and if retaken, it will 
probably suspend for some time all monarchical govern 
ment in France. I dine with Dr. Bancroft where is Dr. 
Ingenhoup. He mentions a late discovery he has made 
respecting the inflammability of metals, and offers to show 



428 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

me a rod of iron burning like a candle. It is only neces 
sary to place it in vital air." 

In a letter of this date to a friend, Morris mentioned 
that " the King and Queen of France have made their es 
cape, but we do not yet know whether they are out of the 
kingdom. This event makes me very anxious to get back 
to Paris, for I think the confusion will work favorably 
to the sale of American lands. Eleven at night : Intelli 
gence is received that the royal fugitives are intercepted 
near Metz." 

On receipt of this news, Morris set off at once for 
Paris. Crossing the channel, he says : " I find Lord 
Sheffield with his family are my fellow-passengers, with 
whom I make acquaintance ; his lordship, who supposes 
me to be an Englishman, gives free scope to his sentiment 
respecting America, as all other countries. Am attentive 
to his family, being a wife and two daughters, and the at 
tentions are well received. His lordship asked my house 
or place of abode in London, and she reminds me of it 
when I go to pay my respects to her ladyship after land 
ing. I promise to see them at Paris. Arrived at Paris 
[July 2(1], I employ myself reading the various details 
which relate to the King s flight and arrest. Go to see 
M. de Lafayette, who is not come in, but I converse with 
his wife, who seems to be half wild. I visited this morn 
ing the Count de Segur also, and saw the whole family ex 
cept the marechal. The intention of the Assembly is, I 
find, to cover up the King s flight and cause it to be for 
gotten. This proves to me great feebleness in every 
respect, and will perhaps destroy the monarchy. M. Bre- 
mond calls and communicates what has been done re 
specting the debt to France. He tells me also that he 
has had an interview with the Comte de Montmorin re 
specting public affairs, and desires me to ask his interfer- 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 429 

ence with M. Tarbet, the Minister of the Impositions, to 
give .him some material respecting the finances. He gives 
me the secret history of many things that have taken 
place during my absence. Dine with Lafayette ; then 
go to M. de Montmorin s. Apply to him for what Bremond 
wanted, and he promises his aid. I converse with him on 
the state of affairs, observing that it appears to me almost 
impossible to preserve both the monarchy and the mon 
arch. He says there is no other measure can be at 
tempted, and this leads us to discuss the different charac 
ters who may be appointed either Regent or to a Council 
of Regency ; and here I find insurmountable difficulties. 
Of course they must go on with the miserable creature 
which God has given. His wisdom will doubtless produce 
good by ways to us inscrutable, and on that we must repose." 
" Madame de Flahaut [July 4th] cannot keep an ap 
pointment made with me because of a previous engage 
ment to hear the Bishop read his plan of education. This 
suits me very well. I dine at Mr. Short s with the Ameri 
cans in town, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Paine is 
here, inflated to the eyes and big with a letter of Revolu 
tions. I learn this day that about sixty of the aristocratic 
party have resigned, and this under a declaration w T hich 
stipulates, as a condition of their future agency, those 
things which have been communicated to them by the 
Committee of the Constitution as previously determined 
on. This is a poor trick, and the measure is a dangerous 
one. The weather has been fine this day. Vicq d Azyr 
says that the Queen s hair is turned gray by her late ad 
ventures. Paul Jones called on me this morning. He is 
much vexed at the democracy of this country. The eva 
sion of the King and Queen has, among other things, pro 
duced a decree against emigration which damps the sale 
of lands." 



430 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

"Take Madame de Flahaut and Mademoiselle Duplessis 
to ride to-day [July 6th]. We go to the upper end of the 
Isle St. Louis, from whence there is a beautiful view of 
the Seine. Then we go on the south side of the river and 
turn up till we get to the boulevards above the King s 
garden. We then pursue the boulevards round to the 
Invalides. I set them down at the Louvre and return 
home to write. The weather is very fine. I saw this 
evening a part of Paris which I had never seen before. 
It is not much inhabited, but there are many fine gardens. 
Spend the evening with Madame de Laborde, where I 
see, for the first time, the declaration signed by a number 
of members of the Assembly, declaring their adhesion to 
the cause of Royalty. It is diffuse and weak ; they might 
easily be caught in their own trap. Bremond tells me that 
Bergasse has prepared his work on the French Constitu 
tion, which will be shown to me, and he proposes some 
measures in relation to it which I decline a concurrence 
in till I shall have seen the object they mean to pursue. 
As usual, there is a political conversation at Madame de 
Segur s to-night, and I find that the opinions are getting 
round." 

" Bremond calls this morning [July nth], and desires 
me to go to see Bergasse. The treatise of Bergasse will 
be short, clear, and elegant. I think it will have great 
merit, but I fear the public mind will not be well prepared 
for it. Call on Le Coulteux. He is gone to see the pro 
cession of Voltaire. I go to M. Simolin s for the same 
purpose. It is so late that we return to the Louvre and 
eat a hasty dinner, after which we go again to Simolin s 
and see the fete. It is very poor, and not at all bettered 
by the rain. Go to M. de Montmorin s. He is shut up 
with company. I stay a good while with the ladies. Short 
comes in, and we get into a dispute. He insists that re- 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 431 

ligion is both absurd and useless, and that it is unfriendly 
to morals. I hold a very different opinion. Call on Ma 
dame de la Suze, and condole with her on the death of her 
friend the Baron de Besenval. His death forms, of course, 
a subject of conversation, and her connection with him 
enters as a thing of course also. She is much afflicted. It 
is, according to Parisian manners, equivalent to the loss of 
a husband in America." 

Always on hospitable thoughts intent, Mr. Morris wrote 
to apprise Mr. Constable of the arrival in America of 
Lord Wycombe, the son of the Marquis of Lansdowne. 
" Had I been in London," he writes, " when he took up 
his resolution, I should have given him letters. Let this 
serve in lieu of it. Show him all kind of attention 
which he is deserving of. He may perhaps wish to see 
Morrisania, in which case you will, I trust, procure him 
the means of eating a mutton chop there. Tell him that 
I am vexed to find that he did not communicate to me his 
determination. . . . My friend M. Grand being de 
sirous of propagating in his garden the white Indian corn, 
I have promised him some for seed. Pray direct Gibson, 
my overseer, to put up a barrel of it, in the husk, and with 
holes in the barrel, winter it, and ship it to Havre." 

"To-day [July i4th] there is a great multitude assem 
bled in the Champ de Mars when I go there, to celebrate 
by a mass, the anniversary of the capture of the Bastille. 
In the Assembly the republican party have treated the 
King very harshly, but the report which insists on his in 
violability will pass. M. de Trudaine mentioned as having 
heard from young Montmorin that the King is by nature 
cruel and base. An instance of his cruelty, among others, 
was that he used to spit and roast live cats. In riding with 
Madame de Flahaut, I tell her that I could not believe such 
things. She tells me that when you ng he was guilty of such 



432 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

things ; that he is very brutal and nasty, which she attributes 
chiefly to a bad education. His brutality once led him so 
far, while Dauphin, as to beat his wife, for which he was ex 
iled four days by his grandfather Louis XV. Until very 
lately he used always to spit in his hand, as being more 
convenient. It is no wonder that such a beast should be 
dethroned." 

" To-day [July i5th] I dine at M. de Montmorin s. 
Montesquiou is there, who asks me if I am not to be ap 
pointed minister here. Tell him, no ; that Mr. Jefferson 
wishes much that Mr. Short should be appointed, etc. He 
says he is persuaded that he could bring the Treasury 
Board into any reasonable measures respecting the debt 
from the United States to France. I tell him that dif- 
culties would now arise on the part of the United States. 

" Paris is in uproar this evening on account of the de 
cree passed almost unanimously by the Assembly declar 
ing the inviolability of the King. The weather has been 
clear and very warm. There is a great disposition for riot 
among the people, but the Garde Nationale are drawn 
out and so posted as to prevent mischief. 

" As I lodge near the Tuileries, at the Hotel du Roi," 
wrote Morris to a friend at this time, "it is far from 
impossible that I shall have a battle under my windows. 
The vanguard of the populace is to be formed by two or 
three thousand women. A good smart action would, I 
think, be useful rather than pernicious, but the great evil 
rises from a cause not easily removed. It will, I think, be 
scarcely possible to confer authority on, or, in other words 
to obtain obedience for, a man who has entirely forfeited 
the public opinion ; and if they lay him aside, I do not see 
how they can manage a regency. His brothers are abroad, 
and so is the Prince of Conde. The Duke of Orleans is 
loaded with universal contempt, and if they should name 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 433 

a council of regency, they would be obliged to take either 
feeble or suspected characters. Add to this the strug 
gles which must arise in a State where there is a king de 
throned, and that for trivial causes. At the same time, 
the state of their finances is detestable and growing worse 
every day." 

To-day [July i3th], at eleven, I go to breakfast with 
Lady Sutherland, and afterwards attend her to M. Hou- 
don s to see the statue of General Washington. She is a 
charming woman. Call on Madame de Segur. The 
count is in bed, ill with a fluxion on his jaw. Puisignieu 
and Berchini are here. The former has resigned, but 
the latter holds his regiment because he cannot afford to 
relinquish it. He has just left Count d Affri, who has 
received orders from the Swiss Cantons to insist on spe 
cie payment to the troops of that nation. These gentle 
men declare that the discipline of the army is gone, and 
that is, I believe, very true. 

" Madame de Flahaut and I ride to-day, and take up, first, 
Vicq d Azyr, who tells us that M. Petion, one of the three 
commissioners despatched by the Assembly to accompany 
the King, behaved in the most beastly as well as most un 
kind manner. Sitting in the carriage with the royal family 
he permitted himself to behave in the most unseemly way, 
and amused himself by explaining to Madame Elizabeth 
the means of composing a council of regency. I received 
a note from Madame de Montmorin recommending an 
unfortunate Irish gentleman. I gave him a guinea, and 
spoke to the British ambassador to send his children to 
Dublin. It is a little extraordinary that an American 
rebel should be instrumental in procuring the return, at 
His Majesty s expense, of those who descend from Irish 
rebels. But such are the vicissitudes of human life." 

" To-day [July ryth] I visit the British ambassadress, who 
29 



434 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

receives me with a charming cordiality. Colonel Tarle- 
ton and Lord Selkirk are here, and the conversation acci 
dentally falls on American affairs, which is diverting, as 
they do not know me. Tarleton says that once on the out 
posts he obtained a list of General Washington s spies, 
and that Clinton, after putting them in the provost, after 
a few days let them all out, from weakness or compassion. 
I blame this weakness, etc. Go from hence to the Louvre 
and in my way meet the municipality, with the drapeau 
rouge displayed. At the Louvre we get into the carriage 
of Madame de Flahaut, and, stopping to take my telescope, 
go to Chaillot, but the time lost there in taking up Ma 
dame de Courcelles brings us too late on the heights of 
Passy to see what passed in the Champ de Mars. On 
our return, however, we learn that the militia have at 
length fired on the mob, and killed a few of them. They 
scampered aw^ay as fast as they could. This morning, 
however, they massacred two men, and this evening they 
have, it is said, assassinated two of the militia in the 
street. This affair will, I think, lay the foundation of 
tranquillity, although perhaps a more serious affair is nec 
essary to restrain this abominable populace. Go to Ma 
dame de Segur s to pass the evening. Her company are 
still frightened, and stay away, except the Chevalier de 
Boufflers. Segur tells us what passed between the Queen 
and him, and how he has been deceived by her. He de 
sires me to dine with him on Thursday, to meet the Comte 
de la Marck at the request of the latter. I think I guess 
the reason, mats nous verrons. I think one of the finest 
views I ever saw was that which presented itself this even 
ing from the Pont Royal. A fine moonshine, a dead si 
lence, and the river descending gently through the various 
bridges, between lofty houses, all illuminated (for the sake 
of the police), and on the other side the woods and distant 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 435 

hills. Not a breath of air stirring. The weather has this 
day been very hot." 

There had been a general summons to the friends of 
liberty, requesting them to meet in the Champ de Mars, 
Morris wrote to Robert Morris of the affair of Sunday 
the iyth, " and the object of this meeting was to persuade 
the Assembly, by the gentle influence of the cord, to undo 
what they had done respecting the imprisoned monarch. 
As the different ministers and municipal officers had re 
ceived it in charge from the Assembly to maintain peace, 
and see to the execution of the laws, they made proclam 
ation and displayed the red flag. In coming from the 
Dutch ambassador s, about seven in the evening, I met 
a detachment of the militia with the red flag flying, and 
some of the civil officers. I went shortly after to a 
height to see the battle, but it w r as over before I got to 
the ground, for the militia would not, as usual, ground 
their arms on receiving the word of command from the 
mob. This last began, according to custom, to pelt them 
with stones. It was hot weather and it was a Sunday 
afternoon, for which time, according to usage immemor 
ial, the inhabitants of this capital have generally some 
pleasurable engagement. To be disappointed in their 
amusement, to be paraded through the streets through 
a scorching sun, and then stand, like holiday turkeys, to 
be knocked down by brickbats was a little more than 
they had patience to bear ; so that, without waiting for 
orders, they fired and killed a dozen or two of the ragged 
regiment. The rest ran off like lusty fellows. If the 
militia had waited for orders they might, I fancy, have 
been all knocked down before they received any. As it 
is, the business went off pretty easily. Some of them have 
since been assassinated, but two men were lanterned and 
mangled in the Parisian taste. This occasioned some little 



436 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

stir. Lafayette was very near being killed in the morn 
ing, but the pistol snapped at his breast. The assassin 
was immediately secured, but he ordered him to be dis 
charged. These are things on which no comment is nec 
essary. I think we shall be quiet here a little while, but 
it is possible enough that, seizing some plausible occa 
sion, a violent effort will be made, and then, if the militia 
succeed, order will be established. You will have heard, 
through the various channels, of the King s escape from 
the Tuileries. By the bye, he was said to be in perfect 
liberty there, but yet our friend Lafayette was very near 
being hanged because he got away, and his justification 
tends to show that His Majesty, besides his parole given, 
was so closely watched that he had but little chance of 
getting off unobserved. This step was a very foolish one. 
Public affairs were in such a situation that if he had been 
quiet he would have soon been master, because the an 
archy which prevails would have shown the necessity of 
conferring with authority, and because it is not possible 
so to balance a single assembly against a prince but that 
he must prove too heavy for the other or too light for the 
business. The Assembly also, very strongly suspected of 
corrupt practices, was falling fast in the public estimation. 
His departure changed everything, and now the general 
wish seems to be for a republic, which is quite in the nat 
ural order of things. Yesterday the Assembly decreed 
that the King being inviolable, he could not be involved 
in the accusations to be made against those concerned in 
his evasion. This has excited much heat against them. 
The people are now assembling on the occasion, and the 
militia (many of them opposed to the king) are out. 
They have passed a law against emigrations, although by 
their bill of rights every man has a right to go where he 
pleases ; but this, you know, is the usual fate of bills of 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 437 

rights. How long the restriction may continue is uncer 
tain, but while it lasts no lands can be sold in detail." 

" Dine to-day [July 2ist] with the Comte de Segur, where 
I meet M. de la Marck and M. Pellin. This last has, I find, 
nearly the same ideas of a government that I have. Walk 
with Madame de Segur after dinner in the gardens of the 
Palais Bourbon. She asked me this afternoon (I presume 
with a view to judge for her husband) whether, if the 
place of minister was proposed to me, I would accept it. 
I told her, * Yes, if they would give me authority. She 
asked then whether I would take the chance of acquiring 
it if the King and Queen would promise to act according 
to my advice ? I told her that in such case I would con 
sider. Bremond says that it is necessary to have Camus* 
for sundry affairs, and desires me to contrive it. He and 
Pellin are to dine with me to-morrow. Dine with Madame 
de Flahaut. We go to the opera together : CEdipe, 
followed by the ballet Psyche. The music of the op 
era is excellent by far the best I ever heard and upon 
pressing this idea, they tell me it is the best on the French 
theatre. The ballet is prodigiously fine. Madame de Fla 
haut tells me that she wants small assignats for M. Ber- 
trand, and that she will gain by it. I of course promise 
my assistance. M. de Segur told me to-day that he wished 
me to fix a day for dining with the Comte de Montmorin, 
in order to converse with him on the state of public affairs. 
I promise to do so, but avoid naming the day. I told 
Madame de Flahaut that I had always known how to ap 
preciate the conduct of her friend the Bishop respecting 

* Camus, one of the deputies, and council of the clergy, represented Jansen 
ism under all its aspects. The violence and strength of his asceticism were 
somewhat softened by a love of literature. He was a stoic, and owing to him 
more than to anyone else was passed the legislative measures through which, 
under the name of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, came the bouleverse- 
ment of the clergy. 



438 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

me ; that his manner, which she made me observe, is not 
therefore surprising, but I mention it to her now because 
hereafter it may become necessary to remind her of it. 
She tells me that M. de Montmorin is given up now en 
tirely to Barnave * and Lameth.f This I am not at all 
surprised at. Montesquieu and he have had a scene une 
peu vive on the occasion." 

"This morning [July 28th | M. Bremond calls, and tells 
me that I may make what terms I please in order to have 
Camus. Go to the Louvre before M. de Montesquieu comes, 
on an invitation from Madame de Flahaut, to whom I have 
promised ioo,ooof. if the business, which she is ignorant 
of, succeeds. I communicate to Montesquieu the necessity 
of having Camus, and he promises to try him. I tell him 
that madame is ignorant of the business. He asks me if 
I have mentioned it to the Bishop. I tell him that he has 
been long acquainted with it, but not from me ; that I 
have never conversed with him, neither do I mean to do 
it, on that subject. I speak to M. Bremond respecting M. 
Camus, and the promise I have made. Madame de Segur 
tells me that Madame Adelaide has been haranguing the 
people of Rome on the subject of the King s escape, about 
which she was under a little mistake, having been in 
formed that he was at Luxembourg. Visit Madame du 
Bourg s, where there is a table of rouge-et-noir. Chat with 
the British ambassadress, and play for trifles, so as neither 

* Antoine Charles Barnave, member of the States-General in 1789, and one 
of the founders of the club called " The Friends of the Constitution." He, 
with one other, was appointed to attend the king in his compulsory return 
from Varennes. He afterward became a defender of the throne and Consti 
tution, and was executed in 1793. 

t Alexandre Lameth was one of the deputies of the Noblesse who united 
with the Third Estate. After Mirabeau s death the two, Lameth and Bar- 
nave, were for a short time the master-spirits of the Assembly, and co-oper 
ated with Lafayette in the effort to defend the Constitution after the king s 
arrest at Varennes. 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 439 

to gain nor lose. Tell Madame de Beaumont that Segur 
and I shall dine with them to-morrow, and that I want to 
see her father beforehand. Tell Madame de Segur that I 
will not meet her husband there, but that he must intro 
duce the conversation." 

" Dine [July 3oth] with M. de Montmorin. Converse 
with him a few minutes before dinner, to prepare him for a 
conversation with the Comte de Segur, who is to meet me 
here, but he does not come. M. de Montmorin says that 
he has recommended Swan s memorial to the Minister of 
the Marine, and indorsed thereon that recommendation ; 
but I would bet that he never has read the memorial. I 
call on the British ambassadress, and I find that with 
attentions I should gain the confidence of her lord, who 
has more abilities than people in general suppose." 

"This morning [July 3ist], send to M. de Montesquieu, 
who calls a little before twelve. Propose to him opera 
tions with Camus, and offer him interest therein. He 
startles at the idea of selling his vote, but I observe to him 
that it is only disposing of that of M. Camus. He tells 
me, which I knew before, that he is very much in want of 
money, and he promises to operate disinterestedly with 
Camus for the good of the affair. I tell him that I intend 
to secure for him a share in the ration business. Dine 
with M. Grand, and as we all find the weather to be very 
hot, he places a thermometer in the shade, which amounts 
to 28 of Reaumur, or 89 of Fahrenheit. This is pretty 
well. At Madame de Segur s the Comte de la Marck, who 
is here, seems desirous of being well with me, and yet of 
concealing that desire a sort of male coquetry. He com 
municated, I find, to M. de Montmorin our dinner at M. de 
Segur s. Thus there seems to be a thread of design run 
ning through the whole web. Bre"mond comes and tells 
me that Camus has been softened by the golden tincture 



440 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

in the affair of Malta ; so that there can be no doubt of 
him in other things, if the application be properly made." 
" To-day [August 4th] I dine with the British ambassa 
dor. As I arrive too early and- find pen, ink, and paper on 
the table, I write for her [the ambassadress] : 

Tis said that kings, with wild ambition fired, 
To pow rs despotic always have aspired, 
Like untam d coursers, whose indignant soul 
Spurns at restraint and scorns all weak control. 
Hence British Senators, with patriot skill, 
Have strove to check and curb the monarch s will ; 
But Gallic statesmen take a wiser course, 
And make the bridle stronger than the horse. 

Lord Palmerston dines here, who is a very pleasant com 
panion. Go to Madame de Montmorin s, and find there 
the Comte de la Marck, whose countenance shows still, I 
think, the desire of further acquaintance. I observe that 
he and M. de Montmorin take different routes to meet in 
the cabinet of the latter. I see the Comte de Berchini. He 
receives a complaint from the militia camp in the plain of 
Grenelle, who find the ground too hard and rough to sleep 
upon. This is quite in character. He gives a description 
of this corps, which resembles, I find, any other corps of 
militia, with the single difference that the individuals here 
differ essentially from each other in point of fortune, and 
have in general the most profligate manners." 

"Yesterday [August 6th] Bremond brought me the 
French Constitution to read. Short asks my opinion of it. 
I tell him it is a ridiculous one. Dine with M. de Mont 
morin, and converse with him on affairs. He has a pretty 
just opinion both of himself and others. He repeats what 
has passed this morning with the King ; the recital of the 
tale brings tears both in his eyes and mine. Poor man, he 
considers himself as gone, and whatever is now done must 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 441 

be for his son. Go out to Auteuil to see Madame Helve- 
tius. A raving mad democracy forms the society. The 
Constitution forms now the general subject of conversa 
tion, in which I take the least possible part." 

"Call on the Marquis de Montesquieu [August yth] 
and converse with him on business. He tells me that a 
bribe has been offered to Amelot,* who has communi 
cated the matter to the committee; that it was for the 
affair of the rations ; that Camus opened on the subject, 
and it was decided to call a meeting with the Diplomatic 
Committee for Tuesday. This morning Bremond brings 
with him Pellin, and, as he is to be one of our council, I 
show him the observations I am making as far as I have 
gone. He seems desirous that they should be speedily 
completed, in order that such as circumstances will permit 
may be adopted. Sup with the British ambassadress, 
where I meet Lord Fitzgerald. Fie is just returned from 
America, having made a long tour through the interior 
part of it. He is a pleasant, sensible young man. Our 
party, which has only the addition of his brother and Lord 
Gower, is one of the most pleasant I ever remember. M. 
Jaubert calls with the small part which he has translated 
of my work, f and it employs a long time to correct it and 
bring it up to the force of the original. I call on M. de 
Montmorin and, in consequence of what Bremond told 
me this morning, mention the rations. He says that affair 

* Sebastien Michel Amelot, Bishop of Vannes, came of an ancient family 
who had given a great many magistrates to the Parlement of Paris. He was 
Ministre de la Maison du Roi under Louis XVI., refused to take the civil 
oath, and many of the clergy in his diocese followed his example. The domi 
nant party, near the end of 1790, foreseeing that, if Amelot were allowed tore- 
side exclusively in his diocese, it would be difficult to introduce the new order 
of things, raised suspicions against him which exposed his life to the greatest 
peril, and ordered him before the Constituent Assembly. When that Assem 
bly terminated its session, he went to Switzerland. He died in 1829 at Paris. 

t A plan of a discourse for the king, which Morris drew up, hoping to in 
fluence him in the acceptance of the Constitution. 



442 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

is ruined in the committee, which is directly the contrary 
of what Bremond told me. I find that Montmorin begins 
to be much mounted against the Constitution. Madame 
de Flahaut is extremely distressed at the Bishop s coldness 
on the score of her interests. I tell her that I am not at 
all surprised at it, and our conversation leads me to give 
her his true character. 

" It is diverting to hear some people complain that the 
republican party are getting the upper hand in the Assem 
bly. It would seem as if their opponents, the makers of 
the Constitution, were a monarchic party." 

" Dine [August i6th] with the Comte de la Marck, who 
tells me that our meeting at M. de Montmorin s, intended 
for to-morrow, is postponed till Friday, at which time 
Pellin will have prepared a plan also. The Constitution 
they tell me has been this day adopted. The Prince de 
Poix, whom I meet, talks aristocratically in the most 
pointed manner, and though a weak man, yet, as Dr. 
Franklin says, Straws and feathers show which way the 
wind blows. " 

"As usual [August i8th] M. Bremond calls, and I make 
further corrections in tables of finance, the effect of 
which will be considerable, I think. When I call on M. 
de Montmorin, he imprudently quits a circle of ambas 
sadors to come to me and mention to-morrow as the day of 
meeting. He says he has desired Pellin to collect all the 
popular traits of the King s conduct since he came to the 
throne, and put them into his speech. This is very wrong, 
and I hint as much to him, but a foolish vanity will 
doubtless prevail on the subject. After dinner we consider 
the report of M. de Beaumetz on the manner of presenting 
the Constitution to the King. I wish them to take up the 
great question of His Majesty s conduct, but in vain. I 
find that feeble measures will most probably be adopted." 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 443 

" M. Bremond and I to-day [August 20th] go into the dis 
cussion of the question, What kind of connection with 
her colonies is suited to France, and what intercourse can 
she allow them with foreigners, particularly the United 
States? As we agree in opinion on this subject, we next 
proceed to the ways and means of effecting our object, 
and fix on a plan of operation in this respect which will 
probably succeed. He is to prepare a memoire, which he 
is to show me, and in the meantime to procure a reso 
lution referring generally to the colonial, agricultural, 
commercial, and fiscal committees to report on the powers 
and authorities to be given to the commissioners who go 
out to Santo Domingo. These are to be induced to report 
generally on authority to consult with the colonial assem 
blies and adjust a plan of union, connection, and commer 
cial regulation with them, to serve as a basis for future 
determination. And then these commissioners are to do 
the rest. After fixing this plan I converse with him on 
matters of private interest, and as he relishes them, he will 
of course work hard to accomplish the object. He has 
some notes of reflections on the state of the finances which 
he says will frighten M. de Montmorin into the adoption 
of my measures. I show him that these reflections would 
indeed frighten him, if just, but it would be to a purpose 
directly contrary to what I wish. The British ambassador 
and Prussian minister tell me that a convention was 
signed between the Empress of Russia and the Grand 
Turk on the 26th of last month, upon the exact terms 
which she had always insisted on. Bergasse corrects 
what I had written this morning. He says he will write to 
the King to-morrow on the state of affairs, and tell him that, 
having obtained the communication of my plan in order 
to correct the language, he communicates it to His Majesty, 
but under the strictest injunction of secrecy. Go with M. 



444 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

Bremond to M. de Montmorin s, and meet there M. de la 
Marck. We examine Breinond s tables and afterwards I 
give M. de Montmorin my ideas on some part of this busi 
ness, and at the same time reproach him for not having 
made me previously acquainted with the opinions of M. 
de Beaumetz.* M. Bremond requests me to take part in 
a speculation in the funds, which I decline, on the princi 
ple that this gambling, ruinous to some and dangerous to 
all, becomes unfair when a knowledge of facts enables an 
individual to bet with a certainty of gain. Dress and go 
to the Louvre. Madame de Flahaut tells me she is con 
vinced the King will soon commit another folly, and gives 
me the reasons. Visit Madame de Stae l, who receives me 
well. She is getting over the illusion she was under 
about the Constitution. Go from hence to Madame de 
Guibert s, where I spend the evening. The amusement is 
Colin Maillard, or blind Buck and Davy, or blind man s 
buff." 

" The Comte de Segur tells me [August 25th] that one 
reason why he went into the country is that he expected 
to be called on to advise the King, and then he tells me 
the advice he would have given. I think he is mistaken 
in his motive, for he has at different times shown a strong 
disposition to be councillor. Make an early dinner with 
Madame de Flahaut, and go to the Academy. Nothing 
very extraordinary, but I observe that among the audi 
tors there is more of religion than I expected. This is 
a good sign. Return to the apartments of Madame de 
Flahaut, who brings with her the Abbe Delille, who recites 
to us some charming verses. Go to M. de Montmorin s, 



* Chevalier de Beaumetz, a French jurist and member of the Constitu 
ent Assembly. He wrote a valuable work on the " Penal Code of the Jury 
men of the Chief National Court, 1792." To escape the Reign of Terror 
he emigrated in 1792. 



Of THE 

VEBSITY 



1791.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 44;{4\A. 

and tell him that I have some reason to apprehend that 
the King means to make another coup de theatre. He 
says he thinks not. We then discuss pretty fully what he 
is to do, and find that he is getting a little up towards the 
right point. He expresses much anxiety about a minister 
of the finances. I tell him that whenever there is suffi 
cient authority I will give him a plan for the finances. 
Return home early, having paid a visit on my way to La- 
borde. He is very melancholy about the King s situation. 
I tell him that there is no danger, and point out in general 
the conduct which His Majesty ought to pursue. He begs 
me to give it to him in writing. This I decline, for the 
present. He says that the King understands English well, 
and that he will be perfectly secret, of which I may be 
certain, as he has been so many years a valet de chambre 
to Louis the Fifteenth." 

" I am bidden to dinner [August 26th] by Madame de 
Stael. She requests me to show her the memoire I have 
prepared for the King. I am surprised at this, and insist 
on knowing how she became acquainted with it. She 
tells me pretty nearly. I read it for her and the Abbe 
Louis, through whom she gained her intelligence, and 
they are, as I expected, very averse to so bold a tone. I 
am well persuaded that a poor conduct will be adopted. 
The British ambassadress comes in during our lecture, 
which interrupted it to me very agreeably. Arrive late at 
M. de Montmorin s, and we retire into his closet and I read 
to him the plan I have prepared of a discourse for the 
King. He is startled at it ; says it is too forcible ; that the 
temper of the people will not bear it. We have much 
discourse on this subject. I leave the thing with him. We 
are to confer further on it, and he is to show it to the King 
on Monday. I give him leave (which otherwise he would 
have taken) to show it to his daughter. I know that she 



446 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

will encourage such a step, having previously mounted 
her imagination to that point. I go to the Louvre, having 
so promised. Madame de Flahaut tells me that the 
Bishop has spoken to her of my work, Madame de Stael 
having told him that I had showed it to her. She finds it 
very weak. Madame de Flahaut told the Bishop that this 
is false, for that, on the contrary, Madame de Stael feared 
only from its being too strong. A good deal of this sort 
of chit-chat. I expected that conduct from Madame de 
Stael, and am not therefore surprised. Go to sup with 
the British ambassadress. She and her husband are sitting 
together. We have some agreeable conversation before 
the arrival of Madame de Coigny. We have some little 
compliments together, Madame de Coigny and I, and I 
think it possible we may be friends, but this depends on 
the chapter of accidents, for she must be at the trouble of 
bringing it about." 

" Madame de Beaumont [August 2pth] tells me that 
Madame de Stael has told her father that she has seen 
my work. She is a devilish woman, but I tell Madame de 
Beaumont the whole story. It is clear that M. de Mont- 
morin cannot and will not make use of my draft. Go to 
Madame de StaeTs. She is at her toilette yet. I am dis 
appointed here in the expectation of meeting Lady Suth 
erland. The conversation is dull. I have not an oppor 
tunity of saying to Madame de Stael what I intended, for 
she seems a little conscience-struck and avoids me, but I 
tell the Abbe Louis that I renounce all interference in the 
business and shall desire that my plan may not be fol 
lowed. Bremond wishes me to get him appointed one of 
the commissioners of the treasury. Give M. de Mont- 
morin a mtmoire of the present state of things. He tells 
me that Madame de Stael once took him in as she did me, 
and that her father told him it was a common trick with 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 447 

her to pretend to know in order to learn. I tell him that 
I have caused her to believe that I have given up the idea 
entirely, and desire him to speak of it lightly, as of a 
thing I had abandoned. He says that it is now in the 
King s possession, who found the discourse prepared for 
him difficult to swallow, because it acknowledges the loss 
of the crown ; but he replied to this that it was only de 
fective because he had not the command of 150,000 men." 
"The Comte de Montmorin telJs me [September 2d] that 
the peace between Russia and the Porte is concluded, and 
that he is well informed that different bodies of troops are 
now on their march, so that, the Emperor and King of 
Prussia being in a good understanding together, it seems 
probable that something will be attempted against this 
country. I tell him that, if this be so, it appears to me the 
more necessary to make the King declare at least the out 
lines of the Constitution he desires. He says the Emi 
grants will hear of nothing but the ancient system. If 
this be insisted on we shall, I think, have warm work. 
Visit at the British ambassador s. Converse a little here 
with the Comte de la Marck, who either is, or pretends to 
be, of my opinion respecting the Constitution and the 
conduct to be pursued by the King in that regard. Ma 
dame de Stael, who is here, is in violent disputation with 
the Abbe de Montesquiou,* and the Bishop d Autun is in 
part the subject, to the great edification of M. de Nar- 
bonne, who is just arrived from Italy. Montesquiou at 
supper gives a picture of the finances of this country 
which is very like the original and which, of course, is not 
handsome. The Constitution has been presented this 

* Fezensac de Montesquiou, a French ecclesiastic deputy from the clergy 
to the States-General in 1789, was twice elected President of the National 
Assembly. He fled to England during the Terror, but after the second res 
toration returned to France, and received the title of duke. 



448 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

evening to the King, who has promised to return an 
answer speedily. Go to the British ambassador s, and 
stay a while at the hazard table, in the joys and sorrows 
of which I do not participate. Go to Madame de StaeTs. 
Ask the Abbe Louis what news there is. He says (I think 
with a view to pumping) that the King s discourse will 
consist partly of mine and partly of other material. I 
tell him there will be nothing of mine in it, and I really 
believe so. I tell him further that I give up all idea of 
directing his conduct on the present occasion, and so I 
do. I follow Lady Sutherland and Madame de Coigny 
out, and Mr. Short follows me. Lady Sutherland, in get 
ting into the carriage, urges me to come more frequently 
to see them, and expects me to dine on Sunday, and send 
in the morning to ask for dinner. She takes no notice of 
Mr. Short, who stands next to me, and, in turning round 
to speak to him after she is gone, I find his counte 
nance discomposed and his voice broken. Thus he will 
go home with ill-will rankling in his heart against me, 
because he is not taken notice of. This is hard, but this 
is human nature. He is charge d affaires, and I am only a 
private gentleman. He therefore expects from all, and 
especially from the corps diplomatique, a marked prefer 
ence and respect. I wish him to receive it, but that is 
impossible in this quarter for the present." 

"To-day [September yth] I dine with M. de Montmorin, 
where Madame de Stae l and her cortege also dine. I find 
that she and the Bishop d Autun press him very hard on 
some subject or another. See Mr. Short, whose counte 
nance is not yet cleared up. Sup with the Comte de la 
Marck, who tells me that the object of Madame de Stael 
and her Bishop was to obtain a revocation of the decree 
which excludes him and others from the ministry, and 
thereby reduces him to the rank of a tres petit intrigant. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 449 

We have here the Archbishops of Aix and Lyons, that is, 
ci-devant Archbishops, and we have Madame d Ossun, one 
of the Queen s dames d atonrs. The Archbishop of Aix tells 
me that he is engaged in drawing up a protest against the 
Constitution on the part of the nobles and clergy, the 
former of which desire to object against the natural 
equality of mankind because Kings are of divine appoint 
ment, but the latter object to it. I suggest to him that it 
might be proper to render this protest subordinate to the 
King s speech, but he thinks differently. Madame d Os 
sun is so attentive that I think a good impression is made 
in my favor. I went to the Salon to-day to see the ex 
hibition of painting and statuary not yet opened to the 
public, but which the Bishop d Autun, charged with this 
business by the municipality, admits strangers to see. 
There are some very good pieces. 

"The Comte de la Marck, whom I saw at the British 
ambassador s, tells me that the King s observations will 
be made to-morrow or next day. He seems a little cool 
and shy on this subject. This morning Bremond calls, 
and tells me that the King objected to the speech pre 
pared for him by Pellin in consequence of a m^moire he 
had received in English. Mr. Short tells me that on Friday 
last in council, M. de Montmorin produced observations 
written by Pellin, but the King preferred mine, and on 
this he felicitated me. I lead him off the scent, but he 
tells me that he is informed of this in such a manner as 
admits of no doubt, and also that M. de Montmorin is 
vexed at the preference. He said that he was asked by 
what channel I could get at the King, and that he said if 
I had done anything of the sort it must be through M. 
de Montmorin." 

" To-day [September 8th] the King goes to the Assem 
bly and accepts in form the Constitution. I call at the 
29 



4SO DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XX. 

Louvre. Dine with the Comte de la Marck, where we dis 
cuss the declaration (about to be made public) of the Em 
peror and King of Prussia. Learn at the Louvre the pur 
port of the King s letter, which is meagre enough. It 
would seem that intrigue has at length succeeded, and 
caused the poor monarch to adopt a middle party, which 
is good for nothing. Go to the opera, which is execra 
ble, but the ballet of Telemaque compensates for that 
ennui." 



I79 i.j GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 45 1 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Convinced that Montmorin withheld the m emoire until the king had ac 
cepted the Constitution. Lady Hamilton. Festival of the adoption 
of the Constitution. The opera. The king and queen received with 
applause. Paris illuminated. Letter to Washington on the king and 
the Constitution. A coalition dinner with Madame de Stae l. The 
current of opinion against dropping the king s titles, Sire and Ma- 
jeste. A reaction in favor of the king. Supper at Madame de 
Guibert s. Long conversation with Montmorin, who says he can trust 
no one but Morris. M. de Moustier attests Morris s favor with their 
majesties. What passed between the King of Prussia and the Em 
peror at Pilnitz. The Duke of Orleans declares his bankruptcy. 
Much struggling for offices in Paris. Moustier thinks Morris mis 
taken about the Constitution. M. de Montmorin declares war 
against the newspapers. 

U OEE M. de Montmorin to-day [September i6th] and 
*-^ ask him for the different papers I have given him. 
Fie tells me that the last is in the King s hands, being in 
tended to regulate his future conduct. On inquiry I find 
that he did not deliver it till after His Majesty had ac 
cepted the Constitution. This is wrong, but it is too late 
to do any good by saying so. The first paper, being a dis 
course intended for the King, he says the King has re 
turned ; but as I gave it to him he wishes to keep it. I 
ask him what became of Pellin s work. He says that was 
only a memoir e. I tell him what Short told me ; he says 
that it is a fabricated story, but from what he afterwards 
tells me I find that Short s account and Bremond s are dif 
ferent editions of the same thing, and I am now pretty 
well persuaded that the poor King has been prevented by 



452 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

an intrigue, in which M. de Montmorin is a party, from 
acting as he ought. I ask him if it is true that they are 
like to suffer for want of corn. He says there would be 
enough if there were authority sufficient to cause an equal 
distribution. I hint to him the advantage of providing a 
quantity of flour to distribute gratis to the poor of this 
city in a moment of distress, and point out both the means 
and the consequences. Desire him to think of this, and be 
secret." 

" Bremond complains to me [September i;th] that he 
cannot get Montesquiou s accounts, and suspects that the 
publication of them is stopped. He tells me that the 
King has had for some days the manifesto of the princes. 
Qu. : de hoc. After dinner go to the British ambassador s, 
where I see Lady Hamilton,* a very extraordinary woman 
of the town who went to Italy in keeping, and here be 
came so much the passion of Sir William Hamilton that 
he has married her. She is a fine creature to appear 
ance." 

"This morning [September i8th] is introduced by peals 
of artillery. It is a high festival on the adoption of the 
Constitution. As no carriages can move, I walk out at 
one and go to the Palais Royal ; thence to the Louvre. 
Stay and dine with Madame de Flahaut. Return home 
and, having deposited my watch, purse, and pocket-book, 
walk through the Rue St. Honore to the Champs Elysees, 
thence to the Tuileries. The illumination of the Chateau 
and avenue is superb. Having had enough of the crowd 
ing and squeezing and walking, I return home. The 

* Sir William and Lady Hamilton were returning to Naples from London, 
where he had, early in the summer of 1791, privately married the fair Emma. 
Sir William, having found that even at the Court of Naples it was not suffi 
cient to have made Emma his wife in a private manner, had in the spring of 
this year hastened to London with her to rectify the mistake, and have her 
acknowledged by the English sovereign. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 453 

weather is grown cool and threatens rain. While at the 
Louvre a balloon, let off in the Champ de Mars, passed 
over our heads." 

" Madame de Montmorin and her daughter and Mrs. 
Villars, together with Mr. Villars and Mr. Franklin, break 
fast with me [September i9th]. M. de Montmorin comes 
in and gives me the memoire I had written for the King. 
He shows me at the same time a note in which he desires 
a translation of it. I ask him if he has thought of the af 
fair of the flour ; he says that he has not. As I proposed 
that we should have some further conversation about it, 
he wishes me to make a small note on the subject, to be 
delivered together with the memoire. I promise to do so. 
Go to the Louvre and read my memoire to Madame de Fla- 
haut, telling her that she is to assist me in the translation 
in order that, at a future day, I may let the King know 
that she is in his secret. Promise to speak to M. de 
Montmorin on her subject. Visit at the British ambassa 
dor s. The Prussian minister asks me whether I was one 
of the men who advised the King s letter. I tell him, no, 
and tell him further what I would have written. The 
British ambassador is present, and tells me he did not be 
lieve the story. Gouvernay afterwards speaks to me on 
the subject, and says that he defended me against that im 
putation. I tell him in general terms what I would have 
done and add that if, at last, it should become necessary, 
from the despair of doing good through the means of the 
King to apply to the princes, I have thought of him as 
the proper person to be employed therein. Lady Hamil 
ton sings, and acts in singing, with a degree of perfection 
which I never yet beheld. She is truly a most charming 
woman, but she has a little the air of her former profes 
sion. Lady Anne Lindsay, who is here, reminds me that 
we met at the Duchess of Gordon s. At five, go to the 



454 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

opera, Castor and Pollux. The King and Queen are 
here ; they are received with vast applause, and the par 
terre prohibit all applause except to them. See M. de 
Montmorin, who tells me that it will be impossible to take 
measures respecting subsistence for a sum greater than 
what may be furnished by the civil list. We are to con 
verse further about this. I go to the Louvre, and thence 
to the Fontenelles ,* where there is much company and 
play. I read here the letter to the King from his broth 
ers, which is well written." 

" Bremond tells me [September 2ist] that St. Foi, Ray- 
neval, etc., have set on foot an intrigue to detach the 
Emperor from the King of Prussia, by the means of M. 
de Metternich, and that all the original pieces have been 
communicated to him. He also tells me that Duport 
begins to gain an ascendency over the King and Queen. 
Call at the Louvre at five, and desire Madame de Flahaut 
to assist me by correcting my translation to-morrow morn 
ing. She is engaged ; and as this is a very paltry engage 
ment, which nevertheless is to be kept, I testify in a short 
manner my dissatisfaction. Speak to M. de Montmorin 
about the flour business. He is grown cold on the scent. 
His difficulties may be real, but I grow tired of a man who 
has always difficulties. He tells me that the King is ur 
gent for my translation, which he (Montmorin) supposes 
is in order to communicate it to the Queen. Talk with 
the Prince de Poix about lands. Sup with the Comte de 
la Marck. Rien de manquant here." 



* Fontenelle, the friend of Madame Necker and Madame de Geoffrin, early 
gave promise of a fine intellect, and wrote with a rare purity of expression 
and with delicate analysis. Madame de Geoffrin says of him that he was 
never angry, he never interrupted anyone, and always listened in preference 
to speaking. Said Madame Geoffrin to him one day: " M. de Fontenelle, 
vous n avez jamais ri. " Non, repondit-il, je ne 1 ai jamais fait." Fontenelle 
was the nephew of Corneille, and was born at Rouen. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 455 

"Send this morning [September 22d] for Bergasse to 
come and correct my translation. Tell him what to write 
in consequence, and at three, having finished the copy of 
my work, I go to the Louvre and submit it to the perusal 
of Madame de Flahaut, consequent on which I make one 
or two corrections ; refuse, however, to soften one part 
which is very strong. Dine at M. de Montmorin s, and 
after dinner give him the translation as he goes out to the 
Council, having first mentioned to him that the strong 
traits are, I fear, dangerous just now, as His Majesty has 
accepted the Constitution in a different manner from what 
I expected. He tells me that there is no such danger. 
He promises to return me my discourse. Go hence to 
Madame de Laborde s, and spend the evening. Speak to 
Laborde and set him to work to give me the facts respect 
ing the King s acceptance, and promise to give him a 
letter for the King. Speak also to Duport respecting a 
purchase of flour for Paris." 

"Go [September 24th] to see M. de Montmorin. Give 
him a letter on the flour plan, and ask for my discourse, 
which he will not yet give. I think he means to copy it, 
but is so lazy that it will not be completed in a long time. 
Return to the Louvre, where I pass the evening. The 
Bishop d Autun, who is here, me fait sacour, from whence I 
conjecture that he has learned, from some quarter or other, 
que je me suis un peu vantJ. We shall see. I receive his ad 
vances ni mat ni bien. He tells me that the consideration of 
his report is postponed till the next legislature. He is sore 
under this. Madame de Flahaut tells me, some time after, 
that she is much hurt at this circumstance. Call on La 
borde and give him a letter for the King, which he prom 
ises to deliver immediately." 

"To-day [September 25th] I dine at the Louvre. In the 
evening we walk out to see the illuminations, which are 



DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

splendid ; that is, the Chateau and Gardens of the Tuile- 
ries, Place Louis Quinze, and Champs Elysees. M. Wind- 
ham, who is with us, seems attentive to Mademoiselle 
Duplessis, but I think he is too young and too old to be 
taken in." 

" At the Louvre [September 28th] we have a deal of 
English company : Lord Holland, Lady Anne Lindsay, 
etc. The Bishop d Autun tells .me that Moustier is ap 
pointed, and asks if I am /// with him. I answer, toler 
ably well, which leads to a discussion in order to know 
the ground. I see that he is forming designs on him. 
Probably it is Moustier s appointment which brought 
the Bishop d Autun forward towards me. He tells me 
that Montmorin communicated it on Thursday last. 
Going home I take the Chevalier de Luxembourg with 
me, and en route he tells me how far he was in the af 
fairs of Favras. It seems that, when it began to take wind 
a little, Mirabeau and others endeavored to make him the 
catspaw, that, in case of need, he might be converted into 
the scape-goat. I sup with the Comte de la Marck, who is 
shortly to leave town. I ask him whether he intends for 
Germany and as far as Vienna. He says that he does. He 
says that he means to go to his terres, and spend some time 
in hunting and in meditating on what he has seen for the 
last three years. He does not incline to buy American 
lands. The British ambassadress is here and complains a 
little of neglect, which I assure her arises from business. 
This is true, but, besides, I think she is a little pre occupee 
just now." 

"The King goes this day, in about an hour hence, to close, 
or rather to bid farewell to the session of the National As 
sembly," Morris wrote to Washington on Thursday, Sep 
tember 3oth. " You will have seen that he has accepted 
the new Constitution, and been in consequence liberated 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 457 

from his arrest. It is a general and almost universal con 
viction that this Constitution is inexecutable ; the makers 
to a man condemn it. Judge what must be the opinion of 
others. The King s present business is to make himself 
popular, and, indeed, his life and crown depend upon it ; for 
the Constitution is such that he must soon be more or less 
than he is at present, and, fortunately, he begins to think 
so, but, unfortunately, his advisers have neither the sense 
nor spirit which the occasion calls for. The new Assem 
bly, as far as can at present be determined, is deeply im 
bued with republican, or rather democratical principles. 
The southern part of the kingdom is in the same disposi 
tion ; the northern is ecclesiastical in its temper ; the east 
ern is attached to Germany, and would gladly be reunited 
to the empire ; Normandy is aristocratical, and so is part of 
Brittany ; the interior part of the kingdom is monarchical. 
This map is (you may rely on it) just, for it is the result 
of great and expensive investigation made by Govern 
ment, and I think you will be able, by the help of it and 
of the few observations which precede it, fully to under 
stand many things which would not otherwise perhaps be 
so easily unriddled. You doubtless recollect that the now 
expiring Assembly was convened to arrange the finances, 
and you will perhaps be surprised to learn that, after con 
suming church property to the amount of one hundred 
millions sterling, they leave this department much worse 
than they found it, and the chance now is (in my opinion) 
rather for than against a bankruptcy. The aristocrats, who 
are gone and going in great numbers to join the refugee 
princes, believe sincerely in a coalition of the powers of 
Europe to reinstate their sovereign in his ancient author 
ities, but I believe that they are very much mistaken. 
Nothing of consequence can be attempted this year, and 
many things may happen before the month of June next, 



458 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

were the several potentates in earnest. I am led to im 
agine that their views are very different from those which 
are now assigned to them, and it is very far from impossi 
ble that the attempt (if any) will, so far as France is con 
cerned, be confined to a dismemberment. The weak side 
of the kingdom, as matters now stand, is Flanders, but 
were the Provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, French Flanders, 
and Artois rent away, the capital would be constantly ex 
posed to the visits of an enemy. These provinces were, as 
you know, acquired by an immense expense of blood and 
treasure, and if Louis XIV. could have succeeded in mak 
ing the Rhine his boundary from Switzerland to the ocean, 
he would have obtained the advantages almost of an insular 
position. Indeed, it is difficult to abstain from the wish 
that the countries included within that boundary were 
united under a free and efficient government, since it 
would, in all human probability, be the means of dispens 
ing the blessings of freedom in no distant period to all 
Europe. But on this subject it is now permitted to a 
rational being to form rather wishes than hopes, much 
less expectations. I will enclose herein a note, just re 
ceived, of the latest intelligence from Coblentz ; it is 
written by the Prince de Conde to his confidential friend 
here, and is accompanied by the request that all French 
gentlemen capable of actual service will immediately re 
pair to the standard of royalty beyond the Rhine or, 
rather, on the banks of that river. To the troops men 
tioned in this note are added, by the counter-revolution 
ists here, 15,000 Hessians and 16,000 French refugees ; 
so that, exclusively of what the Emperor may bring for 
ward, they muster an army, on paper, of 100,000 men. The 
Emperor has about 50,000 in the Low Countries. But all 
these appearances, and the proposed Congress of Ambas 
sadors at Aix-la-Chapelle, do not in the least change my 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 459 

opinion that nothing serious will be attempted this year 
of our Lord. 

" M. de Montmorin has resigned, and the Comte de 
Moustier is named as his successor, but whether he will 
accept seems to be very doubtful. He is now at Berlin, 
and as he is an intimate of M. de Calonne, who is one 
main-spring of the counter-revolution, he is, I presume, in 
the secret of what may be really in agitation. This on 
one side, and on the other an office the power and author 
ity of which is just nothing at all ; for you will observe 
that by the new Constitution every treaty and convention 
whatsoever must be submitted to the investigation of the 
Assembly, to be by them accepted or rejected. You will 
have seen what has been done here respecting the colo 
nies. Their commerce, which involves their existence, is 
left to the mercy of the Assembly, which will not be over- 
attentive to their interests when they fall into competi 
tion with those of the mother country. I send out to Mr. 
Morris a bundle of pamphlets written by M. de Comere, 
according to hints and observations which I furnished to 
him. Mr. Morris will give you one, and you will see that 
it was calculated to produce a liberal system of colonial 
government, beneficial to them and to us. In order to 
bring it about, it was proposed that commissioners should 
be sent out with full powers to treat with the colonial as 
semblies ; and, could that have been carried, this pamph 
let would have been the groundwork of the instruc 
tions to the commissioners. The proposition was re 
jected. I do expect that at length this government must 
come into some such measure and a useful treaty be 
established between France and the United States, and a 
road laid open for solid connection with Great Britain. In 
all cases we have the consolation that, if the powers of Eu 
rope, by their excluding principles, deprive us of the need- 



460 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

ful vent for our produce, which becomes daily more and 
more abundant, we shall, from the cheapness of living and 
of raw materials which result from that circumstance, make 
great and rapid progress in useful manufactures. This alone 
is wanting to complete our independence ; we shall then 
be a world by ourselves, and far from the jars and wars of 
Europe. Their various revolutions will serve merely to 
instruct and amuse, like the roaring of a tempestuous sea, 
which at a certain distance becomes a pleasing sound." 

Speaking of Lafayette s position, in a letter to Robert 
Morris at this time, Morris says: "You will see in this 
appointment of Moustier, that our friend Lafayette has 
no kind oi influence. He is about to retire into Au- 
vergne, to spend the winter on his estates. The King and 
Queen detest him, and the nobles hold him in contempt 
and abhorrence, so that his sun seems to be set, unless he 
should put himself at the head of the republican party, 
who at present are much opposed to him. All this results 
from feebleness of character and the spirit of intrigue 
which bring forward the courtier, but ruin the statesman. 
I am very sorry for him, because I believe he meant well." 

"I dine to-day [October ist] with M. de Montmorin. 
After dinner ask him again for my discourse ; he promises, 
on his honor, to give it to me. I desire him to give the 
King my letter about subsistence ; that I care nothing for 
the event, but it is his duty to lay the matter before His 
Majesty. I ask him who made the King s speech,* which 
was excellent. He assures me that the groundwork is by 
the King himself. I desire him to make the King observe 
the difference of effect between this and those long stories 
which they made him tell heretofore. He says that he 
has already done so. At the Louvre I meet Short. The 
Bishop d Autun, who comes in, takes him aside and holds 
* On accepting the Constitution. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 461 

a long conference, which I conjecture relates to the debt 
from America to France, which the pious bishop wishes 
to make something out of. Visit Madame de Stae l, who 
has a motley company, which, she says, have partaken of a 
coalition dinner. There is Beaumetz, the Bishop d Autun, 
Alexandre Lameth, the Prince de Broglie, etc. Malouet 
comes in, and al-so the Comte de la Marck, who converses 
with madame. I observe in particular, as to the others 
who dine with her, their coalition seems natural enough. 
Segur is here, who tells me he has asked for the ambassade 
de Londres, and is told that it will meet with no difficulty, 
but must be left to the successor of M. de Montmorin. 
Visit Lafayette, who receives me very coldly. I am not 
surprised at this." 

"Sup at the Comte de la Marck s [October 5th]. He 
assures me that he is concerned in no party or coalition 
of parties ; that he despises every man almost, in the coun 
try, and means to enter the service of some foreign prince. 
The Bishop d Autun sups here and I cannot help thinking 
there is some mystery in all this, but what I think I can 
perceive clearly is that he is much disappointed in his 
expectations. The members of the late Assembly are all 
high-toned in their reprehension of this day s work of 
their successors, which is too little respectful towards the 
King. Are they indignant that any others should exceed 
them in marks of indignity ?" 

"The National Assembly, which had yesterday deter 
mined not to address the King by the title sire or votre 
majesty and to place Him on a level with their president, 
etc., have this day [October 6th] rescinded all those reso 
lutions, as they find the current of opinion in Paris to be 
against such measures. I find that the Comte de Mont 
morin has not yet presented to the King my letter on sub 
sistence. This is ill done, and I think he will live to re- 



462 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

pent it. At Madame de StaeTs there is rien de marquant, 
except that, from the manner in which she mentions the 
King s speech, I am led to believe that it is not written 
by his particular friends. Madame de Laborde asks me 
what the Queen is to do to become more popular. I tell 
her, after considering a little, that she must write a letter 
to the Emperor, and contrive to have it intercepted, etc. 
This is an excellent little stroke if well executed, but 
otherwise it is wretched." 

In his letters to friends in America Morris generally en 
tered more fully into the details of events than he did in his 
diary, though the latter seems to bring the reader more en 
rapport with the incessant movement and agitation of Paris. 
A few days after (October 10) the National Assembly had 
revoked their determination to abolish the title of Sire, 
by which the king had heretofore been addressed, Morris 
wrote to Robert Morris commenting on the sudden acces 
sion of affection for the king among the masses : " The 
people of this city are become wonderfully fond of the 
King and have a thorough contempt for the Assembly, 
who are in general what used to be called at Philadelphia 
the blue-stockings. There is, however, this difference be 
tween the two capitals, that with you virtuous poverty 
is respected but here splendor is indispensable. Judge 
the consequence. And, to enlighten that judgment, 
know that at this moment they stand on the brink of 
bankruptcy, which can only be avoided by increasing the 
vigor of the executive magistrate. This becomes daily more 
and more apparent, and Paris exists", as it were, on the in 
terest of the national debt. These facts will enable you to 
understand why the other evening, at the Italian Comedy, 
as it is called, the parterre or people cried out continually : 
Vivele Roi, Vive la Reine, Vive la famille royale, Sire, 
Vive votre Majeste. These words sire and majest/were, 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 4^3 

you know, proscribed by the Assembly, which was obliged, 
by a stong expression of the popular sentiment, to retract 
that decree the very next day. A patriot in the midst of 
this acclamation took it into his head to cry Vive la Na 
tion, but the rest silenced him immediately. Now, my 
dear friend, this is the very same people which, when the 
King was brought back from his excursion, whipped a 
democratical duchess of my acquaintance because they 
heard only the last part of what she said, which was : II 
ne faut pas dire, " Vive le Roi." She had the good sense 
to desire the gentleman who was with her to leave her. 
Whipping* is, you know, an operation which a lady would 
rather undergo among strangers than before her acquain 
tance. The provinces are not as yet in the same disposi 
tion with the capital. I must speak of M. de Favras, who 
was hanged very unjustly. I believe it to be true and, in 
deed, almost certain, that he was concerned in a plan with 
the 88, 604, 211, 490, to sustain the Revolution, yet there 
was no existent law to render this criminal, jinuch less 
capital and the crime was never duly proved (supposing 
it to be a crime). M. de Lafayette, who followed the busi 
ness from the beginning, and was eventually the prime 
cause of the catastrophe, invariably meant well in it, but 

* The whipping of women in Paris was not always according to law, and 
flagellation never occupied a conspicuous place in the penal code of France ; 
but the rod had always flourished with vigor in domestic life and in schools. 
When, however, Paris was in the hands of the tricoteuses, and savage outlaws 
ruled in the streets ; and, again, when thejeunesse doree had the upper hand, 
flagellation was not forgotten. Nuns were waylaid in the streets and shame 
fully beaten by the tricoteuses, and young girls were publicly whipped by 
the delicate libertines of the jeunesse doree. An old book, called "The 
Chateau at Tours," graphically describes a kind of romantic whipping club 
which existed in Paris shortly before the " Terror," composed exclusively of 
ladies of rank and fashion. After a trial, the lady who was found guilty of 
some misdemeanor was disrobed and birched by her companions. Ladies of 
rank had long used the birch as a means of settling their personal quarrels, 
and a slight, or &jeu d esprit at the expense of the ladies and gentlemen of 
the court, was not infrequently revenged by whipping. 



464 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

at last was rather overthrown by the popular torrent of the 
moment. His enemies now number it among what they 
call his crimes. Apropos of M. de Lafayette : He went to 
Auvergne, I am told, the day before yesterday, and this 
morning I am told that it is in contemplation to choose 
him for Mayor of Paris." 

" I tell M. de Montmorin after dinner to-day [October 
i4th] that the republicans mean to begin their attack by 
the civil list, and suggest to him the means of preventing 
it. He says nothing can be done for supplying provi 
sions to Paris. I tell him that I am very glad not to 
be charged with that business ; that mischiefs will arise 
of which neither he nor I will have anything to accuse our 
selves, as we have done all in our power. I think he has not. 
I send in a blank cover 5oof. to Mademoiselle Duplessis, 
with precautions of every kind to prevent discovery ; her 
pension is stopped, and she knows not what to do. Poor 
girl, she spends her days and nights in tears. Spend the 
evening at Madame de Guibert s. After supper I am un 
peu aimable, and as I come away have a curious conver 
sation with Lady Anne Lindsay, who is desperately in 
love with Mr. Windham and tortured by jealousy. I 
tell her that if she wishes to bring back a lover she must 
alarm his fears, and if she chooses to make use of me, I 
am at her orders. Tell her how she ought to act, and she 
says that if it becomes necessary she will apply to me." 

" This morning [October i8th], immediately after break 
fast, I dress and go to the Comte de Moustier s. He ap 
pears very glad to see me, and we converse about the 
state of affairs. He seems inclined to accept the office of 
Foreign Affairs. We go together in my carriage as far as 
the Comte de Segur s, where he takes his own, and in the 
way I communicate to him the means of changing the 
French Constitution, and making at the same time a con- 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 465 

siderable acquisition of territory. He shows an attach 
ment to the interests of Prussia. Pay a long visit to the 
Comte de Segur. He is intriguing to the very eyes, while 
he declares his determination to be quiet. It is very pos 
sible, however, that he tells the truth, for man deceives 
himself much oftener than he deceives others. After din 
ner I pay a visit to M. de Montmorin, and find him much 
agitated. After staying some time in the salon we re 
tire together, and he gives me at last the speech I had 
prepared for the King. He then tells me that his heart 
is full and he must disburden it ; that, La Marck being 
gone, he has nobody but me whom he can trust. He 
then proceeds to tell me that the King, after appointing 
Moustier, and after Moustier s acceptance, wishes to be 
off, because he fears his reputation as an aristocrat, and 
especially the inconsequent conduct of Madame de Bre- 
han, both of which he, Montmorin, had apprised him of 
before. He tells me that Moustier is, at the hour we 
are talking, in conversation with the King and Queen, and 
he feels much wounded that he is not of the party. He 
says that he has proposed two things : one, to have a coun 
cil formed of persons devoted to the royal interest who 
would pursue the Constitution strictly, but with the view 
to destroy it ; and the other, to leave the ministry as it is, 
but with the change only of his own place and to have a 
private council, to consist of himself, M. de Moustier, Ma- 
louet, and the Abbe de Montesquiou, or if he, from respect 
to his patron Monsieur, should decline, then the Arch 
bishop of Aix ; that they will do nothing ; that he finds 
his measures are disconcerted, and he knows not what 
to count upon ; that he supposes this to come from the 
Comte Mercy d Argenteau, who gives the Queen counsels 
well calculated to serve the interests of Austria. I tell 
him that perhaps some persons have done him ill offices 
30 



466 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

at Court. He says no, that he is well received, perfectly 
well, but he declares that he will quit, let what will hap 
pen. I see, however, that he will not quit entirely, if 
he can help it. He tells me that he has not force enough 
of character to pursue the measures which he knows to 
be right. This I well know. He gives me a history of 
what passed respecting the Cour planter e, in regard to 
which, having first opposed the plan as dangerous and 
afterwards insisted on vigorous measures to carry it 
through, as the slightest symptom of retreat must prove 
fatal, he found a different plan adopted, and then, when 
the King was about to take M. Necker, he told His Maj 
esty that he would give himself a master whom he must 
obey ; that, subsequent to this appointment, he took a 
course different from that which he had formerly pur 
sued, and adopted M. Necker s lenient modes of proceed 
ing. I remind him that I had frequently pointed out the 
fatal consequences of those half-way measures. He ac 
knowledges this and says that he also saw them, but he 
had not sufficient vigor of mind to pursue the course 
which appeared to himself to be right. I ask him what 
situation the King and Queen are in with respect to the 
princes. He says that there is no understanding between 
them. I tell him that I am informed that the King re 
ceives letters from his brothers which he does not com 
municate. He says that this is true, but he reads to him 
such parts as relate to public affairs. I tell him that the 
Queen, I understand, receives letters from the Emperor 
respecting affairs here. On this subject he seems to be 
not quite clear, and says again that he apprehends the 
late change to arise from Austrian counsels. He recom 
mends to me the greatest secrecy, in a style which seems 
to beg my pity for so much of human weakness." 

"This morning [October i9th] the Comte de Moustier 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 467 

breakfasts with me. He tells me what passed yesterday with 
the King and Queen. He tells me that I stand high in 
their opinion, as well as in that of M. de Montmorin. He 
says the King has offered him the embassy to England, 
and that he is to stay there until a proper opportunity 
shall offer of placing him in the ministry, which would at 
present be dangerous. He wishes me to persuade Mont 
morin to stay longer, which I promise to attempt. He 
says he will urge the sending to America for a supply of 
provisions, or rather of flour, according to my proposal to 
M. de Montmorin. He has some scheme of finance in his 
head which I must discover, if I can." 

"The Comte de Moustier calls [October 2tst], and tells 
me he asked an audience of the Queen on the subject of 
flour. Her Majesty told him that she has never yet seen 
my letter to M. de Montmorin, and she thinks it is of a nat 
ure not to have escaped her attention. He desires me to 
give him a copy. He then tells me that the King of Prus 
sia will furnish money to assist in putting the finances of 
this country to rights. He tells me what passed with his 
Prussian Majesty on that subject, and that he intended to 
head his armies for re-establishing the French monarchy. 
He communicates a number of queries which he put to 
M. d Ecrue respecting finance, and he tells me that D E- 
crue assures him there is not a man in this country 
capable of managing the finances, there being no one 
who joins a knowledge of money matters to that of state 
affairs. He tells me what passed between the King of 
Prussia and the Emperor at Pilnitz, as related to him by 
the King. Leopold began to higgle, but the King told 
him at once that, however different their dominions, he 
would send an equal force with the Emperor, which as 
tonished the latter. I give him many hints and outlines 
of a plan for the finances of this country, and he desires 



468 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

me to write on the subject. I tell him that a good consti 
tution is a previous requisite ; that this is the moment 
for forming one, so as to obtain the royal consent, and I 
give him some ideas on this subject. I tell him that my 
plan is, at present, to persuade M. de Montmorin to con 
tinue in place until he, Moustier, can be properly ad 
mitted, and then to be made President of the Council ; 
that the King must press M. de Montmorin to continue, 
and he must make the removal of Duportail a condition, 
by which means, if Delessart can be brought about, there 
will be a majority in the council. I am to press this plan 
on M. de Montmorin, and Moustier is, on his side, to 
urge the Court. I dine at Madame de StaeTs, and say 
too much against the Constitution, to which she provoked 
me by fishing for the praise of her father. I did not swal 
low the bait." 

" Dine to-day [October 22d] with M. de Montmorin. 
Before dinner I go into his closet, and there urge him to 
continue for some time longer in office, then to retire as 
President of the Council. He will not agree, first, be 
cause it is impossible to manage the department well ; and, 
secondly, because he has so pointedly declared his deter 
mination to retire that he cannot retract. I think this last 
is the strongest reason. I mention to him St. Croix as 
being recommended by the Garde des Sceaux, in the name 
of all the ministers. He says that if there were not par 
ticular reasons against admitting him (and I find that 
these bottom on pecuniary foundations), he would be the 
fittest person in the world, in order to render the Ministry 
contemptible. He says that if Segtir will not accept, 
Barthelemi would answer. M. de Molleville, the Minis 
ter of the Marine, gives us at dinner the account of a 
dreadful insurrection of the blacks at Santo Domingo. I 
trust that the account (which is not official) is exagger- 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 469 

ated. After dinner he tells me that he had a long con 
versation with Moustier about me this morning, and 
wishes to know my success with Montmorin. This leads 
to a conversation on the subject with Madame de Beau 
mont, in which I communicate the plans of the King s 
enemies as they have been communicated to me. They 
urge me to renew the attack on M. de Montmorin. I do 
so, and he tells me that his difficulties are insurmountable, 
that the affair of the princes having possessions in Alsace 
is ready to be reported, and he is persuaded that the As 
sembly will not do what is right ; that the affair of 
Avignon also involves a very disagreeable dispute with 
the Pope, which he is certain will be improperly treated 
by the Assembly. I tell him that these objections are 
trivial. He is only to communicate the whole truth to the 
Assembly, and let them decide as they please ; that as to 
the treatment of French subjects in foreign countries, 
which forms a second head of complaint, he must remon 
strate firmly on the part of the nation and communicate 
the result, which will, I acknowledge, be unsatisfactory, but 
for that reason desirable. I then tell him that he has done 
so much to injure himself with his order as a nobleman 
that he must continue in office till he can recover his rep 
utation with them, to which effect the sending of the Abbe 
de Montesquiou to the princes, to know what constitution 
they wish for, will greatly operate. I had opened this 
chapter to him in the morning, as well as the negotiation 
to be made with the Emperor. I find that this last idea of 
his order works ; I add, therefore, that he must stay and 
thereby defeat the designs of his enemies. He recurs 
then to his declarations so publicly made that he would 
retire. I tell him that these may be easily obviated, be 
cause the King can desire him to continue until he can 
find a suitable successor. As I am about to leave M. de 



470 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

Montmorin, madame takes me aside to know the success 
of my application to her husband. I tell her that he does 
not absolutely agree, but I think he will. I think, how 
ever, that he has at bottom some reason which he will not 
communicate as yet. 

" Call on Madame de la Suze. Here I am told that the 
Duke of Orleans has declared his bankruptcy, and put his 
affairs into the hands of trustees, who allow him a pension. 
I did expect to have met the Comte de Moustier here, but 
am disappointed. Return home and read. M. de Mont 
morin repeated to me this morning what he had once 
mentioned before, viz., that he considers it indispensably 
necessary that the Queen should be present at the discus 
sion of affairs of the Cabinet, and that for this purpose 
there should be a Privy Council, to which Malouet * should 
be admitted. I do not see the use of this, neither do I 
conceive his reason. If he expects, through Malouet, to 
govern that little council, he mistakes his man ; at least, I 
think so. I told M. de Molleville that it appeared to me 
most fitting to remove Duportail at present and place there 
some brave, honest soldier, without much regard to his 
abilities, and then, when Moustier comes forward, to place 
him (Molleville) as Garde des Sceaux, and Bougainville as 
Minister of the Marine. He approves of this, but wishes 
to stay where he is until he shall have gained some repu 
tation by putting the affairs of that department in order." 

" I find Messieurs de Malouet [October 25th] and 
Moustier at Madame de StaeTs to-night. The former tells 
me that he has advised M. de Montmorin to quit his post. 
He says that the Garde des Sceaux keeps the King in con 
stant alarm, and governs him by his fears, so that M. de 
Montmorin has very little influence left. He says that I 

* Pierre Victor Malouet was a member of the States-General in 1789, and 
became prominent as a Liberal Royalist. 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 4/1 

am mistaken in my idea that this Constitution will crumble 
to pieces of itself ; that the resources from the assignats 
will hold out a considerable time ; that, by delaying the 
liquidations, they can procrastinate the moment of dis 
tress ; that the taxes are tolerably well paid, etc. I persist 
in my opinion, notwithstanding, that it is now evident that 
foreign powers will do nothing. Indeed, I am persuaded 
that their efforts would have tended rather to support than 
to destroy the new system, because mankind generally 
resist against violence. Moustier shows me a note he 
has made and transmitted to the Queen, relative to sub 
sistence. He says he has reason to believe not only in a 
coalition of the different parties which divided the last 
Assembly, but that they are interested in the great specu 
lations of grain made in the neighborhood of Paris." 

" M. Bremond calls [October 26th] and tells me that the 
republican party count with certainty on an attempt of the 
King to escape ; that they mean to facilitate it, and then, 
laying the blame of all events upon the monarch and his 
nobles, they will stop payment and be ready to meet any 
attack whatever. At twelve I go by appointment to the 
Comte de Moustier s, where I meet M. Tolozan. This meet 
ing is at his request, and to confer on the subject of sub 
sistence, but from what passes I do not see what can have 
been his object. I find that Segur is ready to accept the 
place of M. de Montrnorin, although he does not avow 
it." 

"Spend the evening [October 28th] with the Baron de 
Grand Cour; a very large company, and, of course, no so 
ciety. Lord Gower tells me that he has quitted play, on 
which circumstance I very sincerely congratulate him. M. 
Bremond tells me that he has been to solicit the interest of 
Alexandre Lameth, to get placed. This was by the rec 
ommendation of Pellin. Lameth has promised him, and 



4/2 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

while there he saw Duportail s man come in with a list of 
officers for his inspection and approbation, and as he was 
busied with the examination, Bremond asked to have a 
friend appointed sub-lieutenant, which was immediately 
promised. 

"Wait on M. de Molleville, and open Mr. Swan s busi 
ness. I tell him that the making contracts with the 
lowest bidder will not answer in this country as in Eng 
land, because there the articles always exist within the 
power of the government ; and consequently, if the con 
tractors fail in their performance, pecuniary damages set 
everything right ; but here a failure may be of the most 
dangerous consequence, and it would frequently be the 
interest of an enemy to occasion that failure, and to pay 
the stipulated penalty. Hence I infer that there should 
be a moral security in addition to the pecuniary, and con 
clude that any contract he may make should be condi 
tional on the approbation of the parties concerned in 
America, by the Minister Plenipotentiary there. I next 
suggest to him that it would be advantageous to fix a 
price for provisions, deliverable either in Europe, America, 
the Isle of France, or the West Indies, so that only an 
order need be given for the quantities and places. Show 
him the advantages that would result therefrom. I then 
suggest that it would be proper to have always on hand 
sufficient for six months provisions to fifty ships of the 
line, and to have every month a month s fresh supply, so 
that, after deducting what was consumed, the balance of 
the provisions in store beyond six months supply should 
be sold. I tell him that if his contract be on good terms 
it will be but a trifling loss, if any, to the marine, and that 
the commerce will gain what the marine loses ; but that 
by this means they will always be prepared for war. I 
conclude by telling him that I am, before all things, an 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 473 

American, and therefore he must consider what I say 
accordingly, but that it may not be amiss to consult 
Moustier. He is very well pleased with all this, and I think 
desirous of forming some such plan. He desires to have 
a sample of the provisions sent to him, which I promise 
shall be done if any of them be left. Communicate to 
him the tricks of his enemies, who are sold to the r<?gisseurs. 
He tells me what passed this morning with the King rela 
tive to M. de Montmorin. His Majesty is a little vexed 
with him, and says that he has been pestering him for 
six months to name a successor, etc. M. de Molleville s 
brother, who is just returned from Coblentz, tells him that 
M. de Montmorin is detested there, but that his appoint 
ment is approved of. 

" Dine with M. de Montmorin. He shows me the re 
port he intends making to the Assembly. It is wonder 
fully little, considering the time he has consumed in mak 
ing it. Propose to him some amendments, which I think 
he will not adopt, and he will repent it if he does not. 
He declares war against the newspaper writers, and these 
are sometimes troublesome and sometimes dangerous ene 
mies. He says that Segur has been with him this morn 
ing, and accepted. He tells me that the King has not 
asked him to stay. To this I reply that it is his own fault, 
because he had declared so pointedly his determination 
that the King was exposed thereby to the mortification of 
a denial, but if he would have consented to stay on such 
application being made, it would have been made. He 
says that he does not know whether he shall continue in 
council. He has told the King that he will stay if he de 
sires it, but wishes His Majesty to consider the matter w r ell 
beforehand, because if hereafter lie should find it con 
venient to send him away it would be injurious to both 
of them. Malouet comes during the dinner, and we con- 



474 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXI. 

verse afterwards. He confirms to me that M. de Mont- 
morin is without influence.". 

Bertrand de Molleville gives Montmorin credit for great 
fidelity to the king, and says of him, "that he has been 
judged with great severity, and perhaps he is the least 
known of all the men who took part in the Revolution. 
He was a true loyalist, and no personal fear kept him 
from trying to aid the king, and this he did by concealed 
though dangerous correspondence, which was paid for 
out of the funds of his department. Much of his weak 
ness, which he frankly acknowledged, had its source in 
a delicate constitution." 

The diary continues : " I have a long conversation with 
Madame de Beaumont at Madame de StaeTs [October 29th]. 
She suffers exceedingly from her father s removal from 
office. The British ambassadress tells me that both she 
and Lord Gower have quitted playing, and that she thinks 
I like them well enough to be pleased at it. I assure her 
of my attachment more in tone and manner than by words, 
and I think the seed is not sown on barren ground. Bre- 
mond calls me out to tell me that the emigrants expect to 
enter in January next, and that the Queen is at length 
agreed to act in concert with the princes. This, he says, 
is arrived direct from the Prince of Conde this day. I am 
afraid that the Court have some underhand scheme, and 
if so, they bet a certainty against an uncertainty. 

" The news from Hispaniola are very bad, and I think 
exaggerated, but the negroes are in revolt, and employed 
in burning the plantations and murdering their masters. 
Moustier says he imagines M. de Montmorin has a mind 
to secure to himself the British embassy, and have him 
sent to Switzerland. He is therefore determined to push 
the Queen on that subject. I advise him to let that alone, 
and tell him the news brought to me this morning." 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 475 

"Visit Madame de Segur [October 3oth], who tells me 
that her husband has this morning resigned the office of 
Foreign Affairs, which he had accepted yesterday. I 
congratulate her on this event. He has grounded his re 
fusal on the treatment the ministers met with yesterday 
from the Assembly. M. de la Sonde told me that he has 
further intelligence from M. Metternich, and he tells me 
that M. de La Porte is this evening to submit to the King 
a plan, sent at His Majesty s request by M. de Muries, 
who, he says, is a little fellow of sense, information, and 
unconquerable spirit. I am to know whether His Majesty 
adopts it." 



476 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Desired to converse about subsistence at a royalist dinner. M. de Molle- 
ville tells him he has proposed him as Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
Distress of the Montmorin family. Narbonne, Madame de Stael, 
and the ministry. Supper at Lady Sutherland s. Morris gives a 
dinner. M. de Narbonne finally appointed Minister of War. Vicq 
d Azyr says the queen wishes Morris s ideas in writing on the de 
cree against the princes. Dinner at the British ambassador s. Pre- 
ville at the Comedie Fran9aise. Sketching a form of government 
for France. Writes a philippic against the chefs des republicains. 
Letter to Robert Morris on the failure to effect a commercial treaty 
with Great Britain. Washington nominates Morris for the mis 
sion to France. Confirmed by a very small majority in the Senate. 
The king in high spirits. Letter to Washington on the paper circu 
lation of France and the general anarchy. The Bishop of Autun to 
go to England. The Jacobins discover a plan for violent change of 
the Constitution. Morris prepares for a journey to England. Mes 
sage from the queen. 

\ T 7E have a staunch royalist dinner to-day [Novem- 

VV ber ist] at M. de Tolozan s, consisting of the 

Count de Moustier, M. de Malouet, De Verieux, Mallet-Du- 

pin and M. Gilet. At coming away M. follows me, to 

desire I will stay and converse about the subsistence. I 
tell him that it is unnecessary ; that I should ask for six 
months, which I am sure they cannot furnish. Go to see 
M. de Molleville. He has not yet tried the provisions sent. 
He says that many objections are being made against be 
ing supplied from America, such as the distance, the uncer 
tainty, etc. He has desired that they should be detailed 
in writing, and will place his observations on the margin. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 477 

He tells me that he is determined not to wait for the 
attack of the Assembly, but will always find them in work. 
For this purpose he has already proposed to them a great 
number of decrees, and of such nature that they will be 
in the wrong if they do not adopt them. He is to send 
me a copy. He tells me that he proposed me the other 
day at M. de Montmorin s as Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
I laugh at this. Discuss with him the manner of treating 
their colonies, if they mean to secure their fidelity." 

"Madame de Beaumont tells me [November 3d] that 
her father has nothing, and seems to be very uncertain 
about his future destiny. There is over this family an air 
lugubre et tres sombre. M. de Montmorin says that no suc 
cessor is yet appointed to him, nor has the King at all 
made up his mind. I ask him what is to become of him 
self, and tell him that if he has any doubt of the King s 
intentions I will write to His Majesty on the subject. He 
says he should be ashamed both of the King and himself, 
if he thought him capable of neglecting him. Dine with 
the British ambassadress. The Princesse de Tarente * is 
here, who tells me that the Queen often talks to her of me 
when they are riding together. I reply only by a bow. 
She repeats it, and dwells on the subject, but I make 
only the same reply. I give Lady Sutherland some verses, 
which I think she will be pleased with. M. de tells 

* It was this Princesse de Tarente (nee Chatellon, the wife of Prince de 
Tarente, of a Neapolitan family) who proved herself such a heroine in the 
cause of Marie Antoinette during the September massacres of 1792. After 
two days of unwearying attention to the dying people among whom she staid, 
she was taken before the tribunal, and there, surrounded by bleeding bodies, 
they tried to force from her a confirmation of the calumnies against the 
queen. Failing to shake her courage by threats or promises, they ordered 
her to prison ; whereupon she demanded, in a firm, clear, commanding voice, 
instant death or liberty. Her courage so electrified the spectators that they 
carried her in triumph to her house and left her unmolested. As soon as 
possible she left France, and subsequently went to St. Petersburg, where she 
died in 1814. 



478 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

me that they have a year s supply of grain for the troops. 
I ask him how much bread they give, and of what quality. 
He tells me that the ration is a pound and a half, of which 
three quarters are wheat, one quarter rye. The bran is 
not separated. He says this makes an excellent bread, 
which many of the officers prefer to the bread of fine 
flour. It soaks well in soup, which, considering the mixt 
ure of rye, is a little extraordinary." 

" Sit awhile [November 8th] with M. de Montmorin. 
He tells me that his objection to appointing Narbonne 
Minister of Foreign Affairs is his connection with Madame 
de Stael. I ask him if the King is fully apprised of the 
double dealing of his present minister. He tells me that 
he is. I give him some hints respecting a constitution 
for this country, and the means of restoring its finances. 
Visit Madame de Beaumont, and talk poetry and literature 
instead of politics. Just before dinner I announce myself 
and it to Madame de Montmorin. After dinner M. de 
Rayneval comes in, who is in much choler against the 
Assembly. He says the Diplomatic Committee have it in 
contemplation to address His Majesty for the removal of 
the whole Department of Foreign Affairs, clerks and all. 
He is determined, he says, to defend himself; that he 
cares nothing for his place, but will struggle for his repu 
tation. Visit for a moment Madame de Segur, and prom 
ise to return and give her the news I shall collect. She 
is in great anxiety about the colonies, and with her is a 
person who declares himself to be totally ruined. His 
spirits are quite broken. At Madame de Laborde s the 
same thing presents itself in the Due de Xeres. I return 
to Madame de Segur s and give her the news, which are 
yet tolerable as to Port-au-Prince, where her husband s 
property lies. Go to the British ambassadress s. Her 
countenance shows me that the verses are not thrown 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 479 

away. Afterwards she tells me that she was ashamed, 
flattered, and delighted. Tant mieux. Tell the Abbe de 
Montesquieu a part of what I told M. de Montmorin this 
morning of the means of establishing a constitution for 
this country. His mind opens to these ideas. We have 
all the world and his wife here. Madame de Tarente tells 
me that she loves me because I love the Queen, and her 
reception proves that my conversation is not disagreeable. 
I make it short. During supper I observe to the am 
bassadress that she does not eat, but is merely a dish at 
her own table, and that not the worst, but that she has 
not the politeness to ask one to partake of it. Madame de 
Montmorin wants to know the subject of our conversation, 
which is in English. Lady Sutherland tells her, * II me 
dit des mechancetes. Ah, il en est bien capable! Ma 
dame de Stael comes in late, and Madame de Tarente 
makes mouths at her." 

"I urge M. de Montmorin [November zoth] to prepare 
a reply from the King to the decree against the emigrants, 
and leave him engaged in it. Dine with Madame de Stael 
where I meet the Abbe Raynal.* He makes many ad 
vances towards me. I receive them but coolly, because I 
have no great respect for him. After dinner Madame de 
Stael asks my opinion as to the acceptance of the office 
of foreign affairs by her friend Narbonne. I give her my 
opinion so as not to encourage the idea, but yet not to 
offend." 

M. de Narbonne, with so able a supporter as Madame de 
Stael, was quite capable of presenting himself before the 

*The Abbe Guillaume Raynal, French philosopher and historian, renounc 
ed his profession when he went to Paris. In consequence of a philosophical 
and political history which he wrote, and in which he declaimed against the 
political and religious institutions of France, he was arrested and exiled for 
some years and the book was burned. He eventually returned to Paris, and 
died there in 1796. 



480 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

queen, and with becoming modesty, suggesting himself as 
the man in whose hands the king might, with entire con 
fidence, place the government. What wonder that Her 
Majesty burst out laughing, and only said these words : 
" fites-vous fou, M. de Narbonne?" But there seemed 
to be no other man for the place, and the king, much 
against his will, placed him in the ministry as Minister of 
War, 

"To-day [November i2th], at three, M. and Madame de 
Flahaut come to dinner, the Minister of the Marine 
shortly after, M. and Madame de Montmorin towards 
four, and Madame de Beaumont, who was at the Assembly, 
at half after four, when we dine. A pleasant party, and 
Madame de Flahaut exerts herself to please ; of course, she 
succeeds. The Minister of the Marine mentions to me 
again an affair which one of the colonists mentioned at 
his request the other day, and which I gave the go by. 
It is to combine the payment of the American debt with 
the assistance to be given to the Colony of St. Domingo. 
Promise to attend to it. M. de Montmorin tells me that 
he wrote to the King his opinion as to the decree against 
the princes, and offered to prepare a work for him on that 
subject ; that he went afterwards to his council, but he 
never opened his lips. I find that my poor friend is 
dropped, but he must not be abandoned." 

"Sit down to cards [November i5th] with Madame de 
Flahaut while the hair-dresser renews her coiffure. 
From here I go to see Madame de Stael. She is angry 
with me. I told M. de Molleville that she had consulted 
me relative to Narbonne s acceptance, and he has used it 
as a pretext against his appointment. I tell her that I see 
nothing in this to make a handle of ; that everybody 
knows M. de Narbonne has been in contemplation for that 
office, and therefore it is natural enough to ask the opin- 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 481 

ion of different people whether, in case the post is offered, 
he should accept. I then add that he had better not think 
of it ; that the object is merely to fill a gap for a few 
months and then to drop the person who may have been 
appointed. She tells me that the ministry is stronger 
than is imagined, and is about to give me her reasons, 
which she delivers in part, when M. de St. Leon arrives, 
and puts an end to the conversation. After him comes 
M. de Montmorin, and then M. de Chapelier. M. Petion is, 
it seems, appointed Mayor of Paris, and this alarms a 
good deal la bonne sociti^, but I think it is not amiss, provided 
other people are wise. Moustier has pressed me hard to 
write on the finances, which I evade for the present, tell 
ing him that things change too rapidly and too much. 
Delessart, it is said, is to become Minister of the Marine. 
Bremond tells me that, under the auspices of the triumvi 
rate, Duport, Barnave, and Lameth, he and others are 
about to publish a journal. I tell him not to connect him 
self too much with them. 

" Dine at the Louvre. M. Vicq d Azyr tells me that he 
repeated to the Queen the conversation he had with me 
respecting the decree against the princes, and that she 
desired to have it in writing, telling him that she knew 
how to value everything from that quarter. He thinks 
that this contributed in some degree to the rejection. I 
don t believe a word of the matter. He desires me to 
give my advice as to the conduct they should pursue re 
specting the decree against the priests. I desire to have 
the decree and the constitutional acts relating to those un 
fortunate men before I give my opinion. 5 

"I see M. de Montmorin [November 2oth], and tell him 
the purport of my letter to the King on his subject. 
Speaking again of his continuance in office, he says that 
it was impossible ; that he will tell me the reason, one of 



482 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

these days ; that the King ought to be obliged to him for 
concealing it. I tell him that I always supposed he had 
some reason which he did not mention, because those 
which he gave were insufficient. Call on the British 
ambassador. He compliments me on the verses given to 
his wife. There is here one of the Queen s women, who 
desires to be acquainted with me. She turns the conver 
sation upon politics, and I make my visit short." 

" I have a small dinner party to-day [November 25th]. 
It is whimsical that my little dinner, consisting of three 
things, is drawn from an immense distance ; oysters from 
Colchester, trout from the Rhine, and partridges from 
quaere." 

" Mr. Tolozan calls [November 26th], and talks about the 
situation of public affairs ; the union of able, honest men 
necessary to save the kingdom. I agree to this, but tell 
him that unless the King and Queen will give their full 
confidence to such men it will answer no purpose. See 
Montmorin, who says the King never answers his let 
ters, and asks if he answers mine. I tell him no, and that 
I do not expect it, because I wish nor want nothing from 
him. He says he lately communicated the assurances 
that one of the provinces, with all the troops in it, would be 
depended on as adhering to the royal cause. He does not 
tell me which it is. He tells me that the real cause why 
he quitted the ministry was that he had not the full con 
fidence of their majesties ; that they were governed some 
times by counsels from Brussels, and sometimes from 
Coblentz ; that he urged them to adopt a privy council 
to decide in all cases, and endeavored to convince them 
that unless they fixed a plan of conduct they would 
be greatly injured, but in vain. Bremond comes to see 
me, and I work with him at a pamphlet on the finances. 
I dictate, and he writes. At four go to dine with the Brit- 



I79I-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 483 

ish ambassadress. After dinner, as there are none but the 
family, we chat together very freely. He puts Mr. Short 
on the carpet, and she opens against him. I assure her 
that he is a very sensible, judicious young man, and very 
attentive to his business. She asks me where he is ; that 
he has not appeared lately at Court. I tell her that he 
was in the country with the Due and Duchesse de la 
Rochefoucault, and is now gone on business of the United 
States to Holland. She asked if he is Ambassador to all 
the nations of Europe, and laughs heartily at the idea. I 
tell her that the business he is employed in there does not 
require an ambassador. She says he has not the look 
and manner which such a character requires. I reply that 
he might not do well in Russia, but at any other court I 
do not conceive figure to be very important. She puts an 
end to the conversation by telling me that if I wish to 
give foreigners a favorable impression of my country, 
I must get myself appointed. A bow of acknowledg 
ment for the compliment is the only reply which it ad 
mits of. She appeals to the Ambassador, and of course 
he answers, as usual upon such appeals, in the affirma 
tive." 

"Take Madame de Laborde [December ist] to the 
Comedie Francaise, where I have the pleasure to see Pr- 
ville * perform in the Bourreau bienfaisant. He is 
truly an actor ; nothing below and nothing above the part, 

* Pierre Louis Dabus, called Preville, was acknowledged, by all the critics 
who saw him play, as near perfection as possible. " Le Bourreau bienfai 
sant " was one of his greatest successes. Preville appeared first at the Co 
medie Francaise in 1753, and became a great favorite with Louis XV. With a 
pension he retired in 1786, but the French stage being in a bad way in 1791, 
he consented, although seventy years of age, to appear. His advent was 
greeted with enthusiasm, for he had seemingly lost none of his physical 
forces. Again he retired from the stage, in 1792, but appeared again in 
1795, when, in the midst of his performance of the " Mercure galant," whilst 
he was being vehemently applauded, he suddenly gave signs of mental aber 
ration. He was born in September, 1721, and died in 1799. 



484 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

no false ornament, but the * naked nature and the living 
grace. The Queen is here, and is perfectly well received. 
I sit directly over her head, and somebody, I suppose, tells 
her so, for she looks up at me very steadily so as to recog 
nize me again ; this, at least, is my interpretation. My air, 
if I can know it myself, was that of calm benevolence with 
a little sensibility. A letter from the Empress of Russia 
to the Prince de Conde is shown to me, which is very en 
couraging to the emigrants. Bremond tells me that the 
secret council of the King consists of M. de Molleville, 
M. de Fleurieu, and M. de la Porte. He brings several 
materials on which to ground an attack of the republican 
party." 

" Go to see Madame de Stael [December 3d]. While 
she is dressing, we have some conversation which is 
not unpleasing to her. We have here a large company. 
Delessart has been denounced this day by the Abbe 
Fauchet, and the Bishop d Autun. who dined with him, 
tells me that he was so sick he was obliged to leave the 
table." 

" I send Bremond to Lameth [December 4th] to advise 
that Delessart retire because he has not firmness enough 
for the situation in which he is placed. Go to Madame 
Tronchin s to a thJ, and to M. de Montmorin s, and 
while there prepare a little paragraph for him contradict 
ing the report that he has absconded. Madame de Fla- 
haut has been correcting a work of the Bishop d Autun s 
which is an address to the King from the department 
against the decree inflicting penalties on the non-juring 
clergymen. She thinks the step improper, and so do I. 
She says it is well written." 

" This morning [December 6th] I dictate to Bremond a 
philippic against the chefs des republic aim ; employ myself 
in preparing a form of government for this country. At 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 48$ 

half-past four go to dine with M. de Montmorin. Find 
him employed in reading the address to the King by the 
members of the Department of Paris. It is well written 
in many respects, but the style is rather that of a popular 
manager than of an address to a monarch. In order, also, 
to excuse their interference, they inveigh much against 
the emigrants, and prove that while they talk big they 
tremble. M. de Montmorin tells me that the Bishop 
d Autun pressed Petion, the mayor, to sign it, who re 
fused, saying that he approved of the thing but would not 
fall out with the fous and enrages, because it is they and 
not the reasonable people who support revolutions, and, 
for his own part, he does not choose to be hanged for the 
sake of giving triumph to reason. I think he acts wisely, 
and the other, who constantly places himself between two 
stools, will never have a secure seat. Call on the Minister 
of the Marine.* He shows me a sketch of a speech to be 
made by the King to the Assembly. We converse on 
public affairs and the means of establishing a constitution 
in this country which may secure the just rights of the 
nation under the government of a real king. He prom 
ises to sound the King and Queen, and I promise to sketch 
out some hints." 

" To-day [December ;th], in conversing with M. de La- 
borde, we go from one thing to another, till at last he 
communicates to me a journal he is writing and which is 
distributed at the King s expense to the lodges of free 
masons in the kingdom. He says that the King and 
Queen, M. de la Porte, and he are the only persons in the 
secret. I tell him that by the same means he may feel 
the pulse of the nation and determine from thence what 
can be attempted with a prospect of success. He prays 
me to give him a list of the questions which I propose, 

* M. de Fleurieu. 



DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

and I promise to do so. I leave him, to repent of this con 
fidence, for that is the nature of man. M. de Narbonne 
has been to the Assembly this morning to announce his 
appointment. I shall be surprised if he succeeds, for, 
though he is by no means deficient in point of under 
standing, I think he has not the needful instruction, that 
he has not acquired the habits of business, and that he is 
totally void of method in affairs. Nous verrons." 

" Continue [December 8th] preparing the form of a 
constitution for this country, when a person comes in who 
tells me that he sent, in July last, the form of a constitu 
tion for America to General Washington. He says that 
he has made such objects his study for above fifty years ; 
that he knows America perfectly well, though he has 
never seen it, and is convinced that the American Consti 
tution is good for nothing. I get rid of him as soon as I 
can, but yet I cannot help being struck with the simili 
tude of a Frenchman who makes constitutions for Amer 
ica and an American who performs the same good offices 
for France. Self-love tells me that there is a great differ 
ence of persons and circumstances, but self-love is a dan 
gerous counsellor. After dinner go to the French comedy 
to see Preville. He is seventy-five years of age and his 
action is perfect. The best of the others may be said to 
act well their parts, but he represents his. I find that I 
had formed just ideas on this subject, for he is free pre 
cisely from those faults which had struck me in the 
others." 

"Yesterday I finished the copy and correction of a plan 
of government and of general principles to accompany it. 
To-day [December i4th] we have a good dinner and as 
much company as the table will hold, at the house of the 
Minister of the Marine, De Fleurieu. I tell him that I 
have prepared some notes on a constitution to show him. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 487 

He says he has sounded the King on the subject, who has 
recommended him to attend to it. He has recommended 
to His Majesty the most profound secrecy, and taken occa 
sion to inculcate the necessity, from seeing in a gazette 
what had passed in council. After dinner go to the 
French comedy ; Preville, in the part of Soste, in Moliere s 
Amphitryon. It is wonderful. He would be considered 
an excellent actor, his age out of the question, but, all 
things considered, he is a prodigy." 

It will be proper here to mention the fact that severe 
criticisms were made in America on Morris s failure to 
effect a commercial treaty with Great Britain, the affairs 
of which had occasioned several visits to London, many 
detentions waiting upon the pleasure of the Duke of 
Leeds, and the consequent loss of much valuable time. 
He wrote on December i4th to Robert Morris very fully 
of his feelings on the subject, he says : 

" I am by no means surprised that my conduct 
should be severely criticised, because those who wish 
to promote their friends generally find fault with every 
person and thing which may stand in the way of their 
wishes. It would seem also that they have set down to the 
account of vanity the act of which they disapprove, for this 
is the inference to be drawn from what you say although 
your delicacy spares me the mention. Believe me, I am 
not wounded by this imputation. If my errand had become 
public, if even my brother had known it, I should have been 
hurt by their charge. You say the French ambassador 
posted immediately to communicate my business to the 
Duke of Leeds. There was no harm at all in any communi 
cation he could make, for he only knew that I was ordered 
to call for performance of the treaty, and you will recollect 
that, if ever we quarrel on that subject, it may be proper to 
ask the interference of France. You say that the British 



488 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

Ministry have complained, and drawn the conclusion that 
they can expect little good from negotiations connected 
previously with France. This is really pleasant. Certainly 
nothing but their confidence in that English party which 
Lord Hawkesbury mentions as existing in our councils, 
and which I flatter myself does not exist, could ever have 
permitted a complaint so idle. The French ambassador 
could mention nothing about a treaty of commerce, for he 
knew nothing about it, and, of course, the only possible in 
ference from what he did say was that he and his court 
were strangers to that part of the negotiation which was 
truly interesting to Great Britain of course, that I did not 
consult him. And so the fact is ; for we never exchanged 
one word on the subject after the first interview. The 
reason is plain. He was afraid of being called on to sup 
port the demand made, and I chose only to let him know 
as much as would account for my interviews with the 
Duke of Leeds, which his spies in the public offices could 
not but make him acquainted with. But there is another 
trait in this affair which is still more diverting, and which 
makes me desirous of having (if possible) this same com 
plaint of theirs authenticated. I will suppose it to be a 
very good reason to be given to America for not conferring 
a favor on her, that the man sent to ask it was disagree 
able, no matter from what cause but I trust that they 
will never avow to the British nation a disposition to make 
sacrifice of their interests to please a pleasant fellow. It 
will remain, therefore, for them to justify the refusal of 
an advantageous connection because not presented in an 
agreeable manner. Is it not a very sensible sort of speech, 
* I am very hungry, and the victuals are good, but I can 
not eat off earthenware ? If anyone should say so to me, 
I should conclude either that he wanted appetite or did 
not like his dinner. 



I79L] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 489 

" Seriously, my friend, the obstacle to a treaty was in 
the British Cabinet. The opposers have since found out 
that they committed a fatal error, and wish to get clear of 
the blame. They would have been very glad of any ex 
cuse to tread the ground back again, but, unfortunately, 
none was given, and they have therefore, in fear of French 
influence, sent you a minister and they will make a treaty 
with us as soon as the people are ripe for it and the mer 
cantile interests feel the necessity. All the rest is mere 
palaver. If you mean to make a good treaty with Britain, 
support your pretensions with spirit, and they will respect 
you for it. You must give them visible reasons, because 
they will have to justify their conduct, and it will not do 
to say to a House of Commons, The American Minister 
was such a charming fellow that we could not resist him. 
I rather think it would be at least as good ground to say : 
* The American Legislature would have greatly injured 
our navigation and commerce if we had not, by this treaty, 
induced them to repeal their laws ; and there was reason, 
also, to apprehend that the United States would connect 
themselves still more intimately with France, who, for 
the sake of such connection, would doubtless support 
them in their claims as soon as the state of her domestic 
affairs would permit her to look abroad. Place yourself 
in the position of a British Minister, and ask yourself 
whether these latter motives would not be most likely to 
prevail. At the next session of Parliament the adminis 
tration will be hunted hard, and they will be very glad to 
shelter themselves from blame on the American business, 
ere it be long." 

It was to be expected that political enemies in America 
would be on the alert to magnify the ill-success of the ne 
gotiations in England. The abrupt manner with which 
Morris was reported to have treated the British Minis- 



DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

try, the knowledge of his opposition to the Revolution, 
and his well-known position in aristocratical circles, were 
all exaggerated into some grave offence. When, therefore, 
during the session of 1792, Washington nominated him 
for the position of Minister, and his name came before the 
Senate for approval, there was considerable opposition to 
his being appointed to the Court of France, and he was 
chosen by only a small majority to be one of the first 
representatives under the new Government. 

While these arrangements were making in America, and 
Morris was exerting every effort in behalf of order and 
stability in France, he found plenty of time, without com 
promising the seriousness or the sincerity of his services, 
to enjoy what there was of amusement. This centred 
principally in the theatres, of which there was no lack in 
variety or number. The demand for that sort of recre 
ation was enormous, to judge from the fact which Gon- 
court mentions, that nearly each day of 1791 saw a new 
theatre opened. The life of a large number of them was 
very brief. "Ouverts vendredi, tombes samedi," was 
not inappropriately said of some of the last that were 
opened. At the Theatre Francais Preville was delighting 
his audiences, and Morris speaks of the difficulty of getting 
a ticket. " I wait half an hour at the Theatre Frangais," says 
the diary for December i9th, " before my servant can get 
a ticket, and afterwards I get a very bad place, but still I 
think myself recompensed by Preville, who is truly formed 
to hold the mirror up to nature and to show to the very 
shape and body of the time his form and pressure. I 
meet M. de Bougainville, who has served in Canada in 
the war of 59. We converse on the public affairs of this 
country. He tells me that I am mistaken in my idea 
that he is in amity with St. Foi, the Bishop d Autun, etc. ; 
that he considers them as a pack of rascals, and the King 



I79I-J GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 491 

views them in the same light and detests them. He as 
sured Bougainville that he accepted the Constitution 
merely to avoid a civil war. I tell him that the King is 
betrayed by the weakness, if not the wickedness, of his 
counsellors. He says that he is of the same opinion. I 
ask him what he thinks of Fleurieu. He tells me that he 
is a poor creature. The Bishop of Autun observes to me 
at the Louvre to-day that the Jacobins have not been able 
to raise a riot about their address. I tell him that since 
the frolic at the Champ de Mars there is little danger of 
riots, because the people are not very fond of them when 
they find that death is a game which two can play at. 
He says that the King is in wondrous high spirits since 
his vetoes have gone off easily, and says that he will apply 
them every now and then. Poor King ! " 

"Dine [December 2ist] with Madame Tronchin, and 
meet here Madame de Tarente. Ask her to procure for 
me a lock of the Queen s hair. She promises to try. I 
think Her Majesty will be pleased with the request even 
if she does not comply with it, for such is woman. Call 
at Madame de StaeTs. She is in bed and is glad to see 
me, and tells me all the news she knows. The Abbe 
Louis comes in, who is flagorneur au possible (Hibernice, 
blarney). Delessart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is at 
Madame de Montmorin s this afternoon, and as we turn a 
good many things over in conversation after dinner, I 
conclude in going away by telling him that the King is 
the only piece of wood which will remain afloat in the 
general shipwreck. He says that he begins to think so. 
I recommend to the Minister of the Marine the bringing 
of Swiss troops to Paris, under the pretext that they are 
too aristocratic to be trusted on the frontiers. They will 
preserve order here in the general confusion which may 
be expected. Recommend that under similar pretexts 



492 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

the cavalry be brought to an interior circle. He approves 
of this." 

"As to the state of things here," Morris wrote to 
Washington on December 2yth, " I would convey it to 
you as fully as propriety will admit, but I know not yet 
by what opportunity this letter will go and the Post 
Office was never more abused under the most despotic 
minister than it is at present, notwithstanding the decrees 
to the contrary. Every letter I receive bears evident 
marks of patriotic curiosity. This anxious spirit of petti 
fogging villainy proves the fear of those who make use 
of it, and truly they have reason to fear, for every day 
proves more clearly that their new Constitution is good 
for nothing. Those whom I had warned in season of the 
mischief they were preparing, endeavor, now that it is too 
late, to lay the blame on others by way of excusing them 
selves. But the truth is that, instead of seeking the pub 
lic good by doing what was right, each sought his own 
advantage by flattering the public opinion. They dare 
not now propose the amendments which they perceive 
and acknowledge to be indispensable. They have, be 
sides, no confidence in each other, for everyone feels a 
reason against it, and meets, moreover, with daily proofs 
that his compatriots are no better than himself. The 
Assembly (as you who know such bodies will naturally 
suppose) commits every day new follies, and if this un 
happy country be not plunged anew into the horrors of 
despotism it is not their fault. They have lately made a 
master-stroke to that effect ; they have resolved to attack 
their neighbors unless they dissipate the assemblies of 
French emigrants who have taken refuge in their domin 
ions. These neighbors are members of the German Em 
pire, and France threatens to carry into their country, not 
fire and sword but la libertJ. Now, as this last word does 



i79i.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 493 

not, in the acceptation of German courts, mean so much 
liberty as insurrection, you will see that the pretext is given 
for hostilities without violating the law of nations. Add 
to this that three French armies of 50,000 men each are 
ordered to assemble on the frontiers one under your old 
acquaintance Rochambeau in Flanders, one under our 
friend Lafayette in Lorraine so as to penetrate by the 
Moselle River into the Electorate of Treves, and one under 
a M. Luckner in Alsace. This last has, I am told, but 
slender abilities, and the other two you are acquainted 
with. Putting all other things out of the question, it is 
self-evident that the Empire must bring force to oppose 
force thus ordered, and in consequence it is not to be 
doubted that 50,000 Prussians and 50,000 Austrian troops 
will make their appearance as speedily as circumstances 
will permit. You have no idea, my dear sir, of a society 
so loosely organized. America at the worst of times was 
much better, because at least the criminal law was exe 
cuted, not to mention the mildness of our manners. My 
letter predicting their present situation may perhaps 
have appeared like the wanderings of exaggerated fancy, 
but, believe me, they are within the coldest limits of the 
truth. Their army is undisciplined to a degree you can 
hardly conceive. Already great numbers desert to what 
they expect will become the enemy. Their Garde Nation- 
ale who have turned out as volunteers are in many instances 
that corrupted scum of overgrown populations of which 
large cities purge themselves, and which, without consti 
tution to support the fatigues, or courage to encounter 
the perils of war, have every vice and every disease which 
can render them the scourge of their friends and the 
scoff of their foes. 

" The finances are deplorably bad. The discontent is 
general, but it does not break out, partly because the 



494 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIL 

antipathy to the aristocrats and the fear of their tyranny 
still operates, and partly because no safe opportunity 
offers. Everyone is bewildered in his meditations as to 
the event, and, like a fleet at anchor in a fog, no one will 
set sail for fear of running foul. If they come to blows 
on the border a curious scene will, I think, present itself. 
The first success on either side will decide the opinions of 
a vast number who have, in fact, no opinion, but only the 
virtuous determination to adhere to the strongest party ; 
and you may rely on it that if the enemy be tolerably suc 
cessful, a person who shall visit this country two years 
hence will inquire with astonishment by what means a 
nation which, in the year 1788, was devoted to its kings, 
became in 1790 unanimous in throwing off their author 
ity, and in 1792 as unanimous in submitting to it. The 
reasons given to you in my letter of the 29th April, 1789, 
and my fears expressed in that letter seem now to be on 
the eve of reality. The King means w T ell, and may per 
haps, by his moderation, finally succeed in saving his 
country. I hope much from this circumstance, but, alas! 
the moderation of one who has been so wounded and in 
sulted seems to be but a slender dependence, and yet I 
verily believe it to be the best, and, I had almost said, the 
only dependence. 

" A courier arrived last night with despatches, which are 
to be communicated to the Assembly this morning. The 
Emperor informs the King that he has given orders to 
General Bender (who commands in the Low Countries) to 
protect the Electorate of Treves with all his forces. I did 
not mention, as I ought to have done, that the Courts of 
Berlin and Vienna have concluded a treaty for the protec 
tion of the German Empire and maintenance of its rights. 
You will have seen that the Emperor, having adopted the 
determinations of the Diet respecting the claims of those 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 495 

princes who have certain feudal rights, preserved to them 
by the Treaty of Westphalia, in Alsace and Lorraine, re 
minded the King that the dominion of France over those 
provinces is conceded by that treaty. The Dutch Govern 
ment has proposed a treaty with the Emperor, as sovereign 
of the Low Countries, for mutual aid and protection in case 
of insurrections, which offer is accepted. All this is ex 
plained by the intrigues of France to excite revolt in Hol 
land and Flanders, and the completion of such a treaty 
will place the Emperor at ease, should he operate against 
this country next spring." 

"This morning [December 3ist] Bremond comes, and 
presents M. de Monciel, the newly appointed Minister to 
Mayence, who wishes me to point out to him his line of 
march. I tell him that it will be necessary to have a 
confidential person at that spot. Show him how he may 
acquire useful intelligence, and point out the insuffi 
ciency of the present administration. Close by telling 
him that he will do well to have a correspondence by 
which he will convey useful intelligence to the King. He 
is very desirous of this, and at his instance I promise to 
sound His Majesty on that subject. Dine with M. de Mont- 
morin, and desire M. de Molleville to mention the matter 
to the King, and let me know the result. Delessart com 
municated this day to the Assembly a message from the 
Emperor which is decisive of his sentiments. He has or 
dered his general, Bender, to defend the Electorate of 
Treves." 

"The society to-day [January 3d] at Madame le Coul- 
teux s, receives me with an air of strangeness not pleasant. 
Stay late at the British Ambassador s, and have a little 
sparring match with Madame de Stael, who is vexed at it. 
Bremond tells me that the King is well pleased with the 
idea of receiving intelligence direct from M. de Monciel. 



496 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

I inform M. de Monciel that the King accepts of his pro 
posal. He is to show me a memoire upon Switzerland be 
fore it is presented. I tell Madame de Flahaut that I shall 
go out to America in the spring. This news distresses 
her, and she exclaims, Then I shall lose all my friends at 
the same time ; that the Bishop leaves her in a few days, 
but as yet she cannot tell me whither he goes. Dine here. 
The Bishop of Autun comes in, and eats a cold dinner. 
We play and the women sleep. He observes that the as- 
signats have reduced France to a deplorable condition, 
which is true enough. I have lived through one paper 
system and one revolution, and I find myself here in the 
midst of another revolution and another paper system. I 
have had occasion to consider the subject for nearly twen 
ty years (for it excited my attention in the year 1772), and 
therefore, with a moderate share of understanding, must 
by this time have made some progress. My situation and 
connections here give me a pretty near view of what 
passes, and in combining what I see with what I have seen, 
I have no shadow of a doubt but that the paper money 
will continue to depreciate. I hear that the Bishop goes 
to England soon." 

"This morning [January xoth] M. Bremond and M. Mon 
ciel call on me, and breakfast. After they are gone I read and 
write till my carriage is ready, then go to the Minister of 
the Marine, with whom I have a conference on the Bishop 
d Autun s mission, and on other public affairs. He tells 
me he has communicated to the Queen his sentiments on 
the very impolitic step now taken, and that she is sensible 
to this confidence. He says the King spoke of me in very 
favorable terms the other day, when he communicated 
to him the plan of a correspondence with M. de Monciel. 
I tell him it is time to arrange matters with the Emperor, 
etc. He says (and justly) that unless he were sure that 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 497 

the King and Queen make no imprudent confidences, he 
dare not risk himself. The risk is indeed great. Dine 
with the British ambassadress. She asks me whether in 
London I favor the ministerial or opposition party. I tell 
her that when a measure is proposed my sentiment de 
pends on the thing, and not on the proposer. Conse 
quently I am for or against, according to my judgment ; 
but if they will make Lord Gower Minister of Foreign 
Affairs I shall then wish success to his measures for her 
sake. 

"Tell Madame de Tarente to inform the Queen from 
me that M. de Molleville is the only minister in whom 
she ought to have confidence. Go to the Porcelaine 
with her. We exchange little presents of amitie ; she 
shows me a great deal, and I find it more convenient 
to give china than time. M. Monciel tells me that he has 
conversed with M. Barthelemi upon the Bishop d Autun s 
errand to London. He informs me that the object is to 
make an alliance with England in order to counterbal 
ance Austria, and the offer to England is the Isle of France 
and Tobago. This is a most wretched policy. Bremond 
tells me that the Jacobin party have got hold of a plan of 
their enemies to work a violent change in the Constitu 
tion, and brings me a newspaper which contains it. There 
is reason to believe that some such thing was in agitation. 
It is very absurd." 

" Madame de Flahaut asks me in a very serious tone if 
I have advised M. de Molleville to oppose the Bishop 
d Autun s embassy. I tell her that I have. She is very 
angry at this, and we have a tartish conversation. After 
this I am very easy and unembarrassed in a conversation 
both with madame and the Bishop. Marbois told me 
that he was in hopes the Bishop s embassy would be 
stopped. The Ambassador of Venice wished to know my 
32 



49$ DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

opinion of the state of affairs. I tell him that I know 
very little about them, and that I choose to know but lit 
tle. He seems much surprised at this. He tells me that 
De Stael has leave of absence, and that he thinks the em 
bassy to Britain will be stopped." 

"This morning [December i3th] M. Bremond and M. 
Monciel call on me. The former sent me last night a 
piece written by Duport against Mr. Pitt. It is a very 
poor piece of stuff. They (the triumvirate*) have given it 
to Bremond to get it printed, and he wishes to correct 
some of its badnesses, but I tell him not to change a let 
ter ; to have it printed immediately and to keep the orig 
inal, by which means he will have the author in his hands, 
for it is written by Duport and corrected by Lameth. 
Bremond and Monciel had a conference with these gentle 
men yesterday on the subject of the Bishop d Autun s 
embassy and, on mentioning the terms to be proposed, 
Bremond asked how such a treaty could be presented to 
the Assembly. The others answered that the author 
would be hanged, and really I think so too. Moustier 
comes in, and Monciel tries to make acquaintance, but in 
vain, till I tell Moustier in English that he must be ac 
quainted. M. de Laborde consults me on a proposition 
made by Beaumarchais to give his only daughter (a most 
charming girl) to Laborde s son. He mentions to me 
Beaumarchais fortune, which is very great, and he, La 
borde, is ruined. I tell him that Beaumarchais has a very 
bad reputation, but that is nothing to the girl, seeing that 
she cannot help it ; that in my country such a marriage 
would be detestable because we do not marry for money, 
but in this country, where money is everything, if his son 
behaves well afterwards the world will not complain. 

* Duport, Lameth, and Bafhave had been known as the triumvirate since 
the autumn of 1789. 



i 79 2.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 499 

" Madame de Flahaut I find ill in bed to-day [January 
i4th], so I stay here the afternoon and evening. The 
Bishop, who is here part of the time, goes off to-morrow. 
The Assembly have this day, upon a report of their Dip 
lomatic Committee, determined to attack the Emperor 
unless he begs pardon by the loth of February. The 
Bishop says that the nation is une parvenue and, of course, 
insolvent. He says that their situation is such that noth 
ing but violent remedies can operate, and these must 
either kill or cure. St. Foi says the Emperor will be angry, 
but, having more fear than anger, must submit. I ask 
them what is to become of their finances. The Bishop 
says that at a certain day, to be fixed, the assignats will be 
no longer a forced currency and the holders will be left to 
lay them out in lands as they may. I think that I never 
heard more absurdity from men of sense in all my life." 

" Call on M. de Montmorin [January i6th], and con 
verse on the strange state of affairs. Advise him to write 
a memoire, the heads of which I mention. He promises to 
do it. He tells me that while the Duke of Orleans was in 
England he tried hard to obtain an authority to offer a 
treaty to England, which was, of course, not granted. He 
tells me the conversation which he had on that subject 
with the Bishop d Autun, who hopes, he says, to turn out 
Pitt, and thinks his success certain if he could have the 
aid of the Duke of Biron. This is curious enough. Dine 
with the British ambassador and his wife. We are quite 
snug, being but four at table, his private secretary being 
the fourth.* We converse very freely. She again brings 
up Mr. Short (I know not why she dislikes him so much), 



* The private secretary of Lord Gower at this time was William Huskisson, 
of Birch Moreton Court, Worcestershire, who met his dearh at the opening 
of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at Parkside, near Newton, on 
September 15, 1830. 



500 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXII. 

and asks if he will ever be a great man among us. I tell 
her that I think not, as he is not a public speaker, but he 
may, notwithstanding, be a very useful man here. I say 
this in a tone which ends that part of the conversation. 
I find that in this house there is a profound contempt, 
mixed with abhorrence, for my friend the Bishop d Autun, 
and I think the letters written from it will not facilitate 
the object of his mission." 

" Mr. Short tells me to-day [January i8th] that by his 
letters he finds that the foreign appointments are un 
doubtedly made at this moment in America. He declares 
himself to be totally ignorant of the persons to be named, 
but at the same time he talks of buying plate and employ 
ing a maitre d hotel, whence I conclude that he is pretty 
certain of being fixed here. I tell him that I would bet 
two to one against my being appointed anywhere, and I 
think it most probable that, if both he and I are named, it 
will be to the courts opposite to those we had conject 
ured, and that because the unlucky events are generally 
those which happen. He says he thinks it possible that 
he may be appointed to Holland, which would disappoint 
him cruelly, and he knows not whether he would accept it. 
Bravo ! M. Brernond comes, and tells me that Delessart 
has sent an express yesterday to assure the Emperor that 
the embassy of the Bishop d Autun and the violent 
speeches in the Assembly mean nothing at all. Molle- 
ville confirms this, because they have now no hope from 
England." 

"This morning [January 22d] I settle my accounts 
with my coachman and prepare for my departure for Eng 
land. Vicq d Azyr comes in while I am at the Louvre and 
tells me that he has been to my lodgings, at the request of 
Her Majesty, to desire that, if I learn anything in England 
interesting to them, I would communicate it." 



1792.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 5OI 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



Morris goes to England. Suspicions aroused by the suddenness of his 
departure. A political significance given to it. Letter to Washing 
ton from London. Morris hears in London of his appointment as 
Minister to France and receives his credentials. Letter to Robert 
Morris on the difficulties attending the mission to France. Dines 
with the Count de Woronzow. Paine s new publication. An even 
ing with the Duchess of Gordon. Conversation with Woronzow. 
Bishop of Autun s mission to England. Letter to Washington on 
this subject. Mrs. Darner s studio. She is at work on a statue of 
the king. Morris writes a verse on her art. 



AFFAIRS of a strictly private character demanded 
Morris s attention in London during the early 
part of 1792, and forced him rather suddenly to leave 
Paris. Suspicions were at once aroused that his journey 
had some political significance, and it was asserted in 
a French gazette, and copied into an English paper, that 
he had gone over as " agent for the aristocrats." News of 
his nomination as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court 
of France reached him shortly after his arrival at Lon 
don. It was rumored, however, that the Senate had not 
confirmed it. 

But it is best to return to his own narration of events, 
both in England and France, for he was kept apprised of 
the latter, and his advice in regard to them was sought 
throughout his stay in London by those men with whom 
he had worked in Paris. The comparative safety of let- 



502 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

ters in England made it possible for him to send to Amer 
ica much fuller accounts of the affairs of the European 
world than he could from Paris, and he availed himself of 
the opportunity. 

To Washington he wrote on the 4th of February the 
following letter : 

"DEAR SIR: I wrote to you on the 2yth of December, 
but there were many things which I did not write, and 
some of them I will now communicate. At the close of 
the session of the National Assembly a coalition was 
brought about between the Jacobins and the Quatre- 
vingt-neufs. It is proper to explain these terms. The 
Jacobins, so called from their meeting at a convent or 
church of that name, were then the violent party ; the 
others, who took their name from a club instituted in the 
year 1789, were those who termed themselves moderate 
men. The death of Mirabeau (who was beyond all contro 
versy one of the most unprincipled scoundrels that ever 
lived) left a great chasm in the latter party. He was then 
sold to the Court, and meant to bring back absolute au 
thority. 

"The chiefs of the Jacobins were violent for two rea 
sons : First, that the Quatre-vingt-neufs would not join 
with them seriously and heartily wherefore, not being 
able to make head alone, they were obliged to use the 
populace and therefore to sacrifice to the populace ; 
secondly, that the objects of their desire were much 
greater, though more remote, than those of the first party 
for these last had never sought in the Revolution any 
thing else than to place themselves comfortably, whereas 
the Jacobins did really at first desire to establish a free 
constitution, in the expectation that sooner or later they 
should be at the head of it. 



1792.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 503 

" The aristocrats, you will observe, were reduced to in 
significancy before the others divided. You will remem 
ber that the first Assembly had decreed that their mem 
bers could neither hold any office under the Crown, nor 
yet be chosen to represent the people. The first decree 
was of Jacobin parentage, to disappoint their enemies, 
who were on the point of succeeding to office ; the sec 
ond decree was carried against the secret inclinations of 
both. But the consequence was that each was seriously 
disappointed, and, as the Constitution was clearly unable 
to support itself, they began to perceive that its ruin 
might involve their own, and therefore they formed a 
coalition in which each determined to make use of the 
other for its own purposes. 

" But you will say, perhaps, that both together would 
be of little use, and this is true, in a degree ; for, if the 
Constitution had been a practicable thing, those alone who 
were in power under it could have any real authority. 
But that was not the case, and therefore the plan of the 
allies was to induce a belief in the Court that they alone 
had sufficient popularity in the nation to preserve the 
monarchical authority against the republican party, and, 
on the other hand, to convince the Assembly that (having 
in their hands the royal authority) all favors, offices, and 
grants must come through them. Thus they constituted 
themselves, if I may be allowed the expression, the gov 
ernment brokers of the nation. 

" I have mentioned the republican party. This naturally 
grew up out of the old Jacobin sect, for when the chiefs* 
finding that all was nearly ruined by the want of author 
ity, had set themselves seriously to work to correct their 
own errors, many of their disciples, who believed what 
their apostles had preached, and many who saw in the es 
tablishment of order the loss of their consequence, deter- 



504 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

mined to throw off all submission to crowned heads as 
being unworthy of a free people, etc. Add to this the 
number of * moody beggars starving for a time of pell- 
mell, havoc, and confusion. It was this coalition which 
prevented the King from accepting the Constitution in a 
manly manner, pointing out its capital faults, marking 
the probable consequences., calling on them to reconsider 
it, and declaring that his submission to their decisions 
arose from his belief that it was the only means to avoid 
the horrors of civil war. They saw that this conduct 
would render them responsible, and although it w r as the 
most likely means of obtaining a good constitution at a 
future day, and would have bound the King down to the 
principles he should then advance, yet they opposed, be 
cause such good constitution would be established, not 
only without but even against them, and would, of course, 
deprive them of those objects which they were in pursuit 
of. The King contended strongly for that kind of accept 
ance which I have just mentioned, but he was b^rne 
down, being threatened with popular commotions fatal to 
himself and his family, and with that civil war which he 
most wished to avoid, as the necessary result of such fatal 
commotions. 

"Shortly after his acceptance it became necessary to 
appoint another Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. de Mont- 
morin having insisted so strongly on retiring that the 
King could no longer with propriety ask him to stay. The 
state of the ministry was then as follows: M. Duport, the 
Keeper of the Seals, a creature of and sworn adherent 
to the triumvirate ; which triumvirate is another Duport, 
Barnave, and Alexandre Lameth being the chief of the 
old Jacobins. I say the old Jacobins, for the present 
Jacobins are the republican party. This Keeper of the 
Seals constantly communicated everything that passed in 



1792] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 505 

council to his coadjutors. The Minister of the Interior, M. 
Delessart, was a wavering creature, one of those of whom 
Shakespeare says that they renege, affirm, and turn their 
halcyon beaks with every gale and vary of their masters." 
He had been one of M. Necker s underlings, was brought 
forward by him, and had connected himself with the trium 
virate, M. Necker s enemies, as being the strongest party, 
but still kept up a good understanding with the others. 
Duportail, the Minister at War, of whom I formerly spoke 
to you when he was appointed and foretold the conduct 
he would pursue toward his creator, M. de Lafayette, was 
also completely subservient to the triumvirate. But at 
that time he was so much embroiled with the Assembly 
that his speedy resignation seemed unavoidable. M. Ber- 
trand de Molleville had just been appointed to the Marine, 
an office which M. de Bougainville had refused to accept. 
He was pushed to it by the Quatre-vingt-neufs, whom he 
despises, and told the King that he would not be a mem 
ber of a ministry many of whom he knew to be unfaithful 
to him. M. Bertrand was brought forward by the same 
influence, but he is really attached to the Crown, wishes 
ardently to obtain a good constitution for his country, is an 
intelligent, sensible, and laborious man formerly of the 
robe and the particular friend of M. de Montmorin. I 
mentioned to you formerly that M. de Choiseul * had re 
fused the office of Foreign Affairs. While it was in ques 
tion who should be appointed to succeed M. de Montmorin, 
the King, of his own head, named the Comte de Moustier, 



* Marie-Gabriel-Florens-Auguste, Comte de Choiseul, was born at Paris, 
September 27, 1752. After a brilliant success in society he travelled much 
in Greece and Asia Minor, and gave to the world an account of all of 
his adventures in his Voyage pittoresque. " Louis XVI. in 1784 sent him to 
Constantinople as ambassador. In 1792 M. de Choiseul was proscribed, and 
fled to Russia. He returned to France in 1802, and died there in 1817, aged 
seventy-four years. 



506 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

and wrote him a letter on the subject which Moustier 
has since shown to me. He had the prudence to write 
from Berlin to decline accepting until after he should be 
in Paris. When he arrived in that city the King told him 
that he could not give him the office, because he was con 
sidered as an aristocrat. You will observe that the coalition 
had been at work to get rid of him, and here I must make 
a digression. The plan was that, as soon as circumstances 
would permit, a Minister at War should be appointed, 
faithful to the King, and then Bougainville take the Ma 
rine, Bertrand be appointed Keeper of the Seals, and De- 
lessart either kept in or turned out as he should behave. 
This plan was not known to the coalition at all, but they 
well knew that if Moustier got into place it would be a 
step towards the destruction of their influence and author 
ity ; they therefore assured the King that they could not 
answer for consequences, threatened him with popular 
commotions, with opposition in the Assembly, and the like, 
so that at last he gave up his nomination and explained 
the matter to Moustier. A long interregnum ensued in 
that office, and as M. de Montmorin absolutely refused to 
continue any longer, the portefeuille was given to M. De- 
lessart, and after some time the Comte de Segur was ap 
pointed. He accepted in the belief of two things, in both 
of which he was mistaken : one that he had the confi 
dence of the King and Queen, but he had never taken the 
right way to obtain either their confidence or that of 
others ; the second article of his creed was that the trium 
virate (his patrons) commanded a majority in the Assem 
bly. He was undeceived as to the latter point immediately, 
and therefore threw up the office and went out of town. 

"Under these circumstances M. de Narbonne tried hard 
to obtain that place, and as I have mentioned his name and 
that of M. de Choiseul, I will in this place mention that of 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 5O/ 

the Abbe de Perigord, afterwards Bishop of Autun. These 
three are young men of high family, men of wit, and men 
of pleasure. The two former were men of fortune, but had 
spent it. They were intimates all three, and had run the 
career of ambition together to retrieve their affairs. On 
the score of morals neither of them is exemplary. The 
bishop is particularly blamed on that head ; not so much 
for adultery, because that was common enough among the 
clergy of high rank, but for the variety and publicity of 
his amours, for gambling, and, above all, for stock-jobbing 
during the ministry of M. de Calonne, with whom he was 
on the best terms and therefore had opportunities which 
his enemies say he made no small use of. However, I do 
not believe in this, and I think that, except his gallantries 
and a mode of thinking rather too liberal for a churchman, 
the charges are unduly aggravated. It was by the bishop s 
intrigues principally that M. de Choiseul was formerly 
nominated to the office of Foreign Affairs, but he preferred 
staying at Constantinople till he could see which way 
things would settle, and to that effect he prevailed on the 
Vizier, or, rather, the Reis Effendi, to write that he thought 
it much for the interest of France that he should stay for 
three years longer in that city. M. de Narbonne is said 
by some to be the son of Louis the Fifteenth by Madame 
Adelaide his own daughter, and one of the present King s 
aunts. Certain it is that the old lady, now at Rome, has 
always protected and befriended him in the warmest 
manner. 

" In the beginning of the Revolution he, a great anti- 
Neckerist though the lover en titre of Madame de Stael, 
M. Necker s daughter, was not a little opposed to the 
Revolution, and there was afterwards some coldness be 
tween him and the Bishop, partly on political accounts, 
and partly because he (in common with the rest of the 



508 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

world) believed the Bishop to be too well with his mistress. 
By the by, she tells me that it is not true, and of course 
I, who am a charitable man, believe her. This coldness 
was however at length removed by the interference of 
their common friends, and the Bishop labored hard to get 
his friend Narbonne appointed to the office of Foreign 
Affairs. But the King would not agree to this, because of 
the great indiscretion of Madame de Stael. M. Delessart 
was therefore appointed, he being very glad to get rid of 
the Department of the Interior, where he had everything to 
apprehend from want of power, want of order, and want 
of bread. The next step was to bring M. de Narbonne 
forward to fill the place of M. Duportail, and to this M. 
Delessart gave his hearty assistance by way of compen 
sating for the disappointment in the other department. 
Finally the Interior or Home Department was filled by a 
M. Cahier de Gerville of whom I know very little, nor 
is it necessary that I should. 

"This ministry, extremely disjointed in itself, and strong 
ly opposed by the Assembly, possesses, on the whole, but a 
moderate share of talents ; for though the Comte de Nar 
bonne is a man of wit and a very pleasant, lively fellow, he 
is by no means a man of business ; and though M. Ber- 
trand de Molleville has talents, yet, according to the old 
proverb, * One swallow never makes a summer. Such as 
it is, everyone of them is convinced that the Constitution 
is good for nothing ; and unfortunately there are many of 
them so indiscreet as to disclose that opinion, when at the 
same time they declare their determination to support and 
execute it, which is, in fact, the only rational mode (which 
now remains) of pointing out its defects. It is unnecessary 
to tell you that some members of the National Assembly are 
in the pay of England, for that you will easily suppose. 
Brissot de Warville is said to be one of them, and, -indeed 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 509 

(whether from corrupt or other motives I know not), his 
conduct tends to injure his own country and benefit that 
of their ancient foes in a very eminent degree. The situ 
ation of their finances is such that every considerate per 
son sees the impossibility of going on in the present way, 
and as a change of system after so many pompous decla 
mations is not a little dangerous among a people so wild 
and ungoverned, it has appeared to them that a war would 
furnish some plausible pretext for measures of a very de 
cisive nature, in which state necessity will be urged in the 
teeth of policy, humanity, and justice. Others consider a 
war as the means of obtaining for the government the 
eventual command of a disciplined military force, which 
may be used to restore order ; in other words, to bring 
back despotism, and then they expect that the King will 
give the nation a constitution which they have neither the 
wisdom to form nor the virtue to adopt for themselves. 

" Others, again, suppose that in case of a war there will 
be such a leaning from the King towards his brother, from 
the Queen towards the Emperor, from the nobility (the 
very few) who remain, towards the mass of their brethren 
who have left the kingdom, that the bad success naturally 
to arise from the opposition of undisciplined mobs to 
regular armies may be easily imputed to treasonable coun 
sels, and the people be prevailed on to banish them alto 
gether and set up a Federal Republic. Lastly, the aristo 
crats, burning with the lust of vengeance, most of them 
poor and all of them proud, hope that, supported by for 
eign armies, they shall be able to return victorious, and 
re-establish that species of despotism most suited to their 
own cupidity. It happens, therefore, that the whole na 
tion, though with different views, are desirous of war ; for 
it is proper, in such general statements, to take in the 
spirit of the country, which has ever been warlike. 



510 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIIL 

" I have told you long ago that the Emperor is by no 
means an enterprising or warlike prince. I must now, in 
confirmation of that, inform you that in the famous con 
ference at Pilnitz * he was taken in by the King of Prus 
sia, for he came prepared to higgle about the nature and 
extent of the succor to be given and forces to be em 
ployed ; but the King cut the matter short by telling him 
that the difference in the extent of their respective do 
minions, and a variety of other circumstances, would jus 
tify him in demanding greater efforts on the part of the 
Emperor, but that he would meet him on the ground of 
perfect equality. In consequence of this the Emperor 
was obliged to accede, but he did so in the view and the 
wish to do nothing. When, therefore, the King accepted 
the Constitution, he chose to consider that as a reason why 
foreign princes should not interfere. The King of Prussia, 
however, gave to the King personal assurances of his good 
will and brotherly attachment, and of this offered substantial 
proofs. The King s true interest (and he thinks so) seems 
to consist in preserving the peace, and leaving the Assem 
bly to act as they may think proper, which will demon 
strate the necessity of restoring in a great degree the royal 
authority. The faction opposed to him are very sensible 
of this, which forms an additional reason for driving 
everything to extremity, and therefore, with a view to de 
stroy every root and fibre of ancient systems, they have 
imagined to court the alliance of Great Britain and of Prus 
sia. In consequence the Bishop of Autun has been sent 
to this country, and, if my information be good, is author 
ized to propose the cession of Islands of France and Bour 
bon, and the Island of Tobago, as the price of an alliance 
against the Emperor. This has a direct tendency to break 
the family compact with Spain, who has long been courted 
* Conference at Pilnitz, August, 1791. 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 511 

by Britain ; for it is evident that this country will not em 
bark in a contest which is to do France any good, and 
therefore the game of Mr. Pitt is as clear as the sun, and 
suits exactly his temper and disposition. He has only to 
receive the offers made, and send copies to Vienna and 
Madrid by way of supporting his negotiations, particularly 
with the latter. He can offer them also the guarantee of 
their dominions and rights against us, and by this means 
we should find ourselves all at once surrounded by hostile 
nations. 

" The Minister of the Marine opposed violently in coun 
cil this mission, stated the consequences, and obtained 
some useful restrictions. M. de Warville proposed in the 
Diplomatic Committee the cession of Dunkirk and Calais 
to England as pledges of the fidelity of France to the en 
gagements which she might take. You will judge from 
this specimen of the wisdom and virtue of the faction to 
which he belongs, and I am sure the integrity of your 
heart will frown with indignant contempt when I tell you 
that among the chiefs of that faction are men who owe all 
to the personal bounty of the King. 

"This mission of the Bishop d Autun has produced 
something like a schism in the coalition. The party of 
Lameth and Barnave are strongly opposed to it. M. De- 
lessart, who had adopted the scheme on the representa 
tion of the Bishop (with whom it originated) and his 
friends, abandoned it on the representation of the others, 
and, two days before I left Paris, express was sent to 
assure the Emperor that, notwithstanding appearances, 
they meant him no harm. In effect, they were again going 
to endeavor at an alliance of the nation with him upon a 
plan which was set on foot about three months ago by 
those who afterwards fell into the plan of an alliance with 
Britain. You may judge from hence how much depend- 



512 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

ence is to be placed on these new-fangled statesmen. The 
King and Queen are wounded to the soul by these rash 
measures. They have, I believe, given all needful assur 
ance to the Emperor and the King of Spain. A confiden 
tial person has desired me to assure you, on their behalf, 
that they are very far from wishing to change the system 
of French politics and abandon their old allies, and there 
fore, if any advantage is taken of the present advances to 
Britain, that you will consider them as originating merely 
in the madness of the moment, and not as proceeding 
from them, or as meeting with their approbation, but the 
contrary. 

" I shall send this letter in such way as promises the 
greatest safety, and I must entreat you, my dear sir, to 
destroy it for fear of accidents. You will feel how impor 
tant it is to them that this communication be not disclosed. 
It is merely personal from them to you, and expressive of 
sentiments which can have no action until they have some 
authority." 

On the 6th of February Morris says in the diary : "Mr. 
Constable calls on me this morning, and tells me I am ap 
pointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of France. 
Mr. Penn, where I dine, congratulates me on my appoint 
ment, but expresses his regret that it is not to this coun 
try." How he regarded his appointment himself appears 
in the following letter to Robert Morris, dated February 
15, 1792 : 

" I feel, as I ought, the honor conferred by the President 
in making the nomination, and, whatever may be its fate 
in the Senate, I shall always count the suffrage among the 
most flattering events of my life as a mark of confi 
dence from the person in the world whose good opinion I 
consider as most estimable. I find that no decision was 
made down to the morning of the 23d of December, being, 



1792.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 513 

in the whole, eighteen days that it had hung by the eye 
lids. A mischievous consequence of the delay is that for 
eign powers will suppose there is a great division of sen 
timent, and, of course, the minister will have less weight, 
at least for some time, and if a bare majority should event 
ually approve, that circumstance also will operate in the 
same way. To obviate this evil so far as the other gentle 
men may be concerned, I have declared here to those who 
have wondered at the delay that I believe the exceptions, 
if any, are against me. It has been reported that the ex 
ception was to making any appointment whatever. But I 
have declared my belief that this was not the case, for you 
will observe that such opinion presupposes that the Presi 
dent was precipitate, whereas the law passed on that sub 
ject is of long standing. On the whole, I have thought it 
best to make myself the scape-goat of the flock, because 
if disapproved of it will then appear all natural enough, 
and if appointed I must work through the difficulties as 
well as I can. They will be less important to my country 
the other side of the channel, and my great object is her 
interest. 

" The mission to France must be a stormy one, let it fall 
on whom it may. You will have seen that every charac 
ter both in and out of their country is very rudely han 
dled by their journalists. You will observe that it was not 
in the nature of things to make an appointment from 
America which would have been unexceptionable, and to 
have made none would have been offensive, for the con 
clusion would have been that America looked with con 
tempt at their present situation. That kingdom is split 
up into parties whose inveteracy of hatred is hardly con 
ceivable, and the royalists and aristocrats consider Amer 
ica and the Americans as having occasioned their mis 
fortunes. The former charge it upon us as ingratitude, 
33 



514 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

seeing that it was the King who stepped forward to our 
relief. Should this party get the better in the struggle 
there are very few Americans who would (for the present) 
be well received. On the other hand, the republicans 
consider everything short of downright democracy as an 
abandonment of political principle in America. To stand 
well with all parties is impossible, but it is possible, and 
merely so, to stand well with the best people in all parties 
without greatly offending the others, and in order to do 
this a man must make up his mind to hear the virtuous 
traduced by the wicked, and to listen unruffled to calumny, 
folly, and even to insanity. I am in hopes, however, that 
things will ere long come to some more steady bearing, 
though the present prospect is by no means flattering or 
fair." 

As soon as Jefferson s despatches and his credentials as 
minister reached him at London, Morris set about mak 
ing purchases and arrangements for the furnishing of 
his official residence in the style and completeness which 
he deemed it necessary that a minister from the young 
republic to the old monarchy should assume. A coach 
and four horses, and all the trappings thereunto apper 
taining, were among his purchases, together with large 
supplies of silver and pipes of Malmsey and Madeira wine. 

" I dine with the Russian minister, Count Woronzow,* 
to-day," resumes the diary for February i9th. "After 
dinner the count tells me that he is persuaded that Great 
Britain will court the United States, in order to deprive 

* Count Alexandra de Woronzow was President of the Department of Com 
merce under Catherine II. of Russia, and in this capacity signed several 
treaties with England and the different Northern powers. Subsequently he 
became ambassador at London. Under Alexander he was made Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, and Chancellor of the Empire. Highly educated, and with 
great ability, he was, nevertheless, exceedingly irascible, and not always 
cautious in guarding diplomatic secrets. He died in 1805. 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 515 

France of the West India Islands. He says that Mr. Pitt s 
force consists in finesse ; that the Spanish ambassador 
managed wretchedly in the course of the armament against 
his country, and that the Comte de Florida Blanca, though 
an able courtier, is a wretched minister, all which he prom 
ises to explain to me at another time. He is a sensible, 
well-informed man. He tells me that it is impossible that 
the Emperor and King of Prussia should agree ; that the 
Cabinet of the latter power is deeply intriguing, and will, 
in concert with Mr. Pitt, do everything that is possible to 
prevent the French affairs from being settled. He speaks 
well of the Emperor, and, as he says, from personal ac 
quaintance, and from observance of his administration in 
Milan and his conduct since the death of his brother." 

" I read Paine s new publication to-day [February 22d], 
and tell him that I am really afraid he will be punished. 
He seems to laugh at this, and relies on the force he has 
in the nation. He seems to become every hour more 
drunk with self-conceit. It seems, however, that his work 
excites but little emotion, and rather raises indignation. 
I tell him that the disordered state of things in France 
works against all schemes of reformation both here and 
elsewhere. He declares that the riots and outrages in 
France are nothing at all. It is not worth while to con 
test such declarations. I tell him, therefore, that as I am 
sure he does not mean what he says, I shall not dispute it. 
Visit the Duchess of Gordon, who tells me that she sup 
poses I give Paine his information about America, and 
speaks very slightly of our situation, as being engaged in a 
civil war with the Indians. I smile, and tell her that Brit 
ain is also at war with Indians, though in another hemi 
sphere. General Murray observes that the prosperity of a 
nation can best be determined by the state of the funds, 
and that ours are very high. I confirm this observation, 



516 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

which silences her grace. She asks me afterwards what 
the Americans think of Mr. Pitt. I tell her that there can 
be but one opinion on that subject everywhere, viz., that 
he is a very able man. She says she understands that he 
is very high in France, which even wishes an alliance, but 
that cannot be, and then asks my opinion of Bishop d Au- 
tun, who is, she is told, a very profligate fellow. I tell her 
he is a sensible, pleasant man, his morals not exemplary, 
but that matter much exaggerated." 

" Dine with the Count WorouzowenfamiHe [March 6th]. 
He tells me that it is impossible the King of Prussia should 
join heartily with the Emperor. He had informed me last 
Sunday that the King was offered by the emigrant princes 
a considerable arrondissement on the Lower Rhine, from 
the Elector Palatine s dominions, and to make that Elec 
torate whole by the cession of Alsace. He sent immedi 
ately to the Emperor, and his messenger, Bischoffswerder, 
offered to join in procuring the addition of French Flan 
ders to the Imperial Low Countries, but the Emperor re 
plied that if he did interfere in the affairs of France it 
should be as a friend and not for the spoil. He tells me 
that the Bishop d Autun has offered a cession of the Island 
of Tobago, the demolition of Cherbourg, and an extension 
of the treaty of commerce, if England will, in case of a 
war with the Emperor, preserve a strict neutrality. He 
received for answer that England could not take any en 
gagement whatever respecting the affairs of France. He 
adds that the Bishop is not now received, because he 
boasted of a credit for ^40,000, which was to do wonders, 
and because he has frequented constantly the Dissenters. 
He tells me that young Laborde has written a letter, which 
he saw, mentioning that they would try the Cabinets of 
London and Berlin. He says that the British Cabinet 
mean to establish the independence of Santo Domingo 



i 79 2.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 

and the other French islands, wherefore the offer of To 
bago does not weigh ; that they expect the demolition of 
Cherbourg by the sea in its present unfinished state, and, 
at any rate, are indifferent about it while the marine of 
France remains in its present condition ; and as to a treaty 
of commerce, the want of one is now supplied by contra 
band, which is vastly easy. But the possession by France 
of the Low Countries is of the greatest moment, and not 
to be permitted. The Comte de Woronzow inveighed 
against M. de Lafayette in the strongest terms I ever 
heard. He said that though bred a military man, and 
obliged sometimes to order punishments, he never could 
behold an execution, his nature recoiling from the view 
of human misery ; but yet if Lafayette and the Duke of 
Orleans were to be broken on the wheel at Falmouth, 
and he had no means of seeing it done but by going 
thither on foot, he would set out immediately. This is 
strong language." 

"This morning [March isth] M. Jaubert breakfasted 
with me. He came from Paris to consult me on the part 
of M. de Monciel, whether he should accept a place in the 
ministry and which I opine is for the Foreign Affairs 
comme la seule faisable. He tells me that Narbonne has 
been guilty of notorious peculations, and, after having 
sold contracts for the army, has allowed to the contractors 
the depreciation of their money. He is to be turned out, 
and M. de Graave is among the persons talked of to replace 
him. Delessart will go out as the price of his duplicity, 
and Cahier de Gerville for impotence. Monciel has re 
fused any place until, through M. Bertrand, he was sure 
that the King approved personally, and then he preferred 
rather the Department of the Interior, but waits for my 
opinion and advice. We have a good deal of conversa 
tion respecting the state of parties, etc. He tells me that 



518 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

the Assembly is very low, and would have been quite 
down but that Narbonne s intrigues have contributed to 
give them a little lift, at the expense of order and good 
government, in order to feather his nest. He is well with 
Brissot and the rest of that wretched and pernicious 
faction. They desire to know of me what conduct is 
to be -pursued in order to arrive at a good government. I 
do not choose to enter deeply into this subject for the 
present, because so much depends on circumstances, but 
say, in general, that the first step is to produce a general 
conviction that the present Constitution is good for noth 
ing. He says that this is already done, and that peo 
ple in general seem to think that the kingdom is ruined 
past redemption. I do not, however, think that opinion is 
even near to the needful point. I tell him that they must 
have for Minister of War a very determined fellow ; that 
such a man will, like any other, work his own ruin, but he 
will effect the beginning of good. The Chevalier de 
Graave will do no good in that place ; at least, I think not." 
"Visit Lord Lansdowne [March i6th]. He speaks of 
peculations in ministers as a thing of minor importance, 
although he himself detests it, and observes that even 
in my virtuous country it prevailed to a great extent. I 
assure him very seriously and very truly that he is misin 
formed. He says that Mr. Pitt and the King are not well 
together, and have not been so for a long time past. The 
cause is the Prince s debts. He gives me two versions of 
that story, one of which is that Mr. Pitt, having been 
pressed by the sovereign on this subject, had declined 
with some offensive expressions. This wounded the fa 
ther and the mother, who declares it to be the great and 
only object of her life to conciliate the family differences. 
Mr. Pitt s friends, on the contrary, declare the whole story 
to be an abominable falsehood, and add that if there be 



I792-] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 519 

any one subject more particularly offensive than another 
to His Majesty, it is the mention of the Prince ; that it 
never was a question with the King to pay those debts ; 
that the Chancellor did indeed once say something of the 
kind, but he is a strange sort of man and nobody minds 
him." 

The Bishop of Autun s mission to England formed the 
subject of a letter from Morris to Washington, dated 
March iyth. Referring to a former letter in which he had 
spoken of the measures pursued by different parties, in 
cluding the mission of the Bishop of Autun, Morris con 
tinues : "As the Bishop d Autun has now got back to 
Paris, it may be well to communicate the result. His re 
ception was bad, for three reasons : First, that the Court 
look with horror and apprehension at the scenes acting in 
France, of which they consider him as a prime mover ; 
secondly, that his reputation is offensive to persons who 
pique themselves on decency of manners and deportment ; 
and, lastly, because he was so imprudent when he first 
arrived as to propagate the idea that he should corrupt 
the members of administration, and afterwards by keep 
ing company with leading characters among the Dissenters, 
and other similar circumstances. He renewed the im 
pression made before his departure from Paris, that he 
meant to intrigue with the discontented. His public re 
ception, however, furnishes no clue to decide on the suc 
cess of his mission, because the former might have been 
very bad and the latter very good. The fact, however, is 
that he could offer- nothing worthy of their acceptance, and 
that what he asked was of a nature not to be granted. His 
offer was confined to a cession of Tobago, a demolition of 
the works of Cherbourg, and an extension of the commer 
cial treaty. He asked a strict neutrality in case of a war 
with the Emperor. Now you will observe that no Court 



20 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

could prudently treat with France in her present situation, 
seeing that nobody can promise in her name otherwise 
than as godfathers and godmothers do at a christening, 
and how such promises are kept everybody knows. Con 
vinced of this, the Bishop never told his errand to Lord 
Gower, the British ambassador at Paris, who mentioned 
that circumstance to me as extraordinary, but yet as so far 
agreeable in that he was glad not to have been called on 
for letters of introduction. 

" Respecting Tobago, I must make a digression. It is 
now a long time since it was mentioned to me, in Paris, 
that some of the colonists of Santo Domingo had come 
hither to make overtures to Mr. Pitt. Since that period 
I learnt that the French ministry were in possession of 
documents to prove not only that he fomented the dis 
turbances in France, but that he was in deep intrigues 
with regard to that colony. The particular proofs are not 
known to me, so that I cannot speak positively. Neither 
can I vouch for what I have learnt further on that subject 
within this month, but I am assured that it is Mr. Pitt s in 
tention to bring about, if he can, the independence of Santo 
Domingo. Mr. Clarkson, the great negro advocate, is 
mentioned to me as his agent for this business at Paris, 
and the conduct of a part of the Assembly in opposing 
succor to that island seems corroborative of such idea. 
This then being the case, or supposing it to be so, the 
offer of Tobago was too trifling to attract Mr. Pitt s notice, 
even if unconnected with other circumstances. By the 
bye, my informant tells me also that Mr. Pitt means to 
coax us into the adoption of his plan respecting Santo 
Domingo ; and I learn from another quarter that he 
means to offer us his mediation for a peace with the Ind 
ians. If all this be true, his game is evident. The medi 
ation is to be with us a price for adopting his plans, and 



1792.] GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. 521 

with the Indian tribes a means of constituting himself 
their patron and protector. It may be proper to combine 
all this with the late division of Canada and the present 
measures for military colonization of the upper coun 
try, and, above all, with what may come from Mr. Ham 
mond. 

" I return to Santo Domingo. If such be Mr. Pitt s 
scheme, although we shall not, I presume, engage in or 
countenance it, yet the success will be entirely for our ad 
vantage, and a mere preliminary to something of the sort 
which must happen to Jamaica on the first change of 
wind in the political world. The destruction of the port 
of Cherbourg is no present object with the British minis 
try, because they suppose it will be ruined by the elements 
before it can be completed, and because the French 
marine is, from want of discipline, an object more of con 
tempt than apprehension. The proffered extension of the 
commercial treaty amounts to nothing, because at present 
any part of France is open to contraband commerce, and 
because there is little reason to believe that the stipula 
tions in a treaty now made would be of any long duration. 
Thus it happens that neither of the objects offered was 
worthy of notice. But the neutrality required was of 
a most important nature. By leaving the Austrian Low 
Countries exposed to French invasion, it would have been 
a violation both of ancient and recent treaties. Nor is 
this all, for (as I have already had occasion to remark) the 
annexation of those provinces to the French monarchy 
would prove almost, if not altogether, fatal to Great Brit 
ain. And when we consider that they are almost in re 
volt already, and that it is, in fact, their interest to become 
one with France, there is reason to suppose that a 
union might have been effected in case of a war with the 
Emperor. So much, then, on the ground of good faith and 



522 DIARY AND LETTERS OF [CHAP. XXIII. 

good policy. But there is still a further cause which, as the 
world goes, may be equal in its operation to all others. It 
seems to be a moot point whether it is the British or Rus 
sian Cabinet which directs the other. Perhaps there may 
be a little of both, but, be all that as it may, this much 
is certain : that neither feels disposed to counteract the 
views of its ally in any open manner. Now, putting aside 
the personal feelings which naturally agitate the sover 
eign of this as well as of other kingdoms in regard to 
the French Revolution, it is notorious that, from the very 
dawn of it, agents were employed to foment a spirit of re 
volt in other States, particularly in Prussia. The King of 
Prussia therefore feels for the French Revolutionists all the 
enmity of a proud, passionate, and offended German prince. 
Add to this that the Elector of Hanover, as such, cannot 
wish for a change in the government of Germany. If, 
therefore, it had been the interest of Great Britain to 
establish a free constitution in France (which it certainly 
is not), I am perfectly convinced that this Court would 
never have made a single effort for the purpose. 

" I stated to you, in my last, the French ministry as be 
ing extremely disjointed. It was too much so for any 
durable existence ; besides which, the members took 
effectual means to precipitate each other s ruin. M. de 
Narbonne wished to get into the office of Foreign Affairs. 
This was desirable to him, it is said, on many accounts, 
but particularly so because it gives command of large 
sums without account. Whatever may have been his 
motives, the following seems to have been his conduct. 
He stood forth the advocate of all violent measures. This 
would naturally have excited suspicions with thinking 
men, but not so with the Assembly. He associated him 
s