Went in the forenoon with Mr. D. to the Hotel of the Marquis de Verac,1 the French minister here. Mr. Artaud dined out. In the afternoon Mr. D. went to take a ride. Finished the 7th. Volume of Hume’s history of England. 526. pages. Cloudy weather in the morning, but in the afternoon it cleared up.
1. Charles Olivier de Saint Georges, Marquis de Vérac, formerly French minister to Denmark, 1775–1777, served as minister at St. Petersburg from 1780 to 1783 (Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder description begins Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Lander seit dent Westfalischen Frieden (1648), ed. Ludwig Bittner and others, Oldenburg, &c, 1936-1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:133).
Dana had been instructed to consult the Marquis de Vérac (and through him, French foreign minister Vergennes) with regard to the appropriate time to present his letters of credence to the Court of Catherine the Great. But Dana’s efforts got off to a shaky start, as neither he nor Vérac was able to communicate in each other’s native tongue, and JQA was judged by the French ambassador as having only a middling ability in the French language. Vérac counseled Dana (and continued to advise him in the months ahead) that this was not the time to present his credentials, but this delay made Dana increasingly suspicious of French motives (David M. Griffiths, “American Commercial Diplomacy in Russia, 1780 to 1783,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 3d ser., 27:379–410 [July 1970]; Francis Paul Renaut, La politique de propagande des Américains durant la guerre d’indépendence (1776–1783), 2 vols., Paris, 1922, 1:127, 181–183, 236–237).