Adams Papers

1778. May. 10. Sunday.

1778. May. 10. Sunday.

Messieurs Brattle, Waldo, Joy, Johonnot, Green and Austin dined with Us, at Passi.1 After dinner We walked in the Bois du Boulogne, as far as the new Seat of the Count D’Artois, where We saw Mr. Turgot, Mr. and Mm. La Fréte, and much other Company. Sunday in this Country is devoted to Amusements and Diversions. There are more Games, Plays, and Sports of every Kind on this day, than on any other, in the Week.

1The additional guests were Thomas Brattle (Harvard 1760), son of JA’s old antagonist Gen. William Brattle, and Joseph Waldo (Harvard 1741); both had left Boston for England about the time hostilities broke out. (On Brattle see Sabine, Loyalists description begins Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, with an Historical Essay, Boston, 1864; 2 vols. description ends ; on Waldo see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends , vol. 11 [in press].) A passage in JA’s Autobiography under the present date makes clear why he received these former American acquaintances, and especially Waldo, with reserve: now that war between England and France was imminent, some if not all of them were suffering from second thoughts and would have been glad to accept appointments under Congress or the Commissioners, for which JA doubted their qualifications.

William Greene in his travel journal gives an entertaining account of this day which is too long to quote here. It is particularly revealing of Franklin’s way of life at Passy and suggests why JA soon grew impatient with his colleague’s habits. “In the afternoon,” Greene remarks, “a number of ladies from the neighbourhood came in, and took us all to walk, in the Bois Boulogne. The old Doctor still so fond of the fair sex, that one was not enough for him but he must have one on each side, and all the ladies both old and young were ready to eat him up” (MHS, Procs. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 54 [1920–1921]: 104).

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