Adams Papers

November 9. Saturday.
[from the Diary of John Adams]

November 9. Saturday.

The M. de la Fayette came in, and told me he had been to Versailles and in Consultation with him [Vergennes] about the Affair of Money as he and I had agreed he should.—He said he found that the C. de Vergennes and their Ministry were of the same Opinion with me. That the English were determined to evacuate New York.—After Sometime he told me in a great Air of Confidence, that he was afraid the Comte took it amiss that I had not been to Versailles to see him. The C. told him that he had not been officially informed, of my Arrival, he had only learn’d it from the Returns of the Police.

I went out to Passy to dine with Mr. F. who had been to Versailles and presented his Memorial and the Papers accompanying it.1 The C. said he would have the Papers translated to lay them before the King, but the Affair would meet with many Difficulties. F. brought the same Message, to me from the C. and said he believed it would be taken kindly if I went. I told both the Marquis and the Dr. that I would go tomorrow Morning.2

1Concerning a further loan to the United States; see Franklin to Vergennes, 8 Nov. (Writings, ed. Smyth description begins The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert Henry Smyth, New York and London, 1905–1907; 10 vols. description ends , 8:619–620).

2In 1811, after quoting the foregoing paragraph in one of his letters to the Boston Patriot, JA added this remark: “Though I hinted nothing to either, yet Dr. Franklin, if he recollected his own, and the Comte’s complaints to Congress against me, and the declaration of the letter [latter?], that he would have noth­ ing to do with me, could be at no loss for the motives of my want of assiduity in paying my court to Versailles” (Boston Patriot, 31 Aug. 1811). Thus when he went to Versailles the next day JA could hardly help wondering whether he was going “to hear an expostulation? a reproof? an admonition? or in plain vulgar English, a scolding? or was there any disposition to forget and forgive? and say, all malice depart?” same, 4 Sept. 1811). It is in this context that the following entry, which became notorious because it recorded so many compliments to himself, should be read.

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