Aug. 15th. Friday.
This day I dined at Passy at Dr. Franklin’s with a numerous Company. In the evening I went to the Comedy at the Bois de Boulogne. Beverlei1 and le Français a Londres2 were the plays represented. Beverlei is what the French call a Tragedie bourgeoise, as Barnwell in English.3 The Subject of it is, a Man addicted to gaming, who ruins himself by it, or rather is ruined by a villain who pretends to be his Friend; and at last puts an end to his Life by Poison. It was intended to set the passion of gaming in its worst Light but the execution has not answered its Purpose, for it seems to encourage, a still worse passion; I mean suicide. However that was not the author’s intention. His design was very Laudable. Le Français a Londres is a Farce, calculated to show the difference of the French and English Characters and the author has carried both to a pleasing extravagance. I met at the Comedy, Mr. de Chaumont,4 whom I had not seen since I returned to Paris. He asked me a great many Questions, about Sweeden, Russia, Denmark, and all the Countries thro’ which I have been.
1. By Bernard Joseph Saurin, Paris, 1768 (Brenner, Bibliographical List description begins Clarence Dietz Brenner, A Bibliographical List of plays in the French Language, 1700-1789, Berkeley, 1947. description ends ).
2. By Louis de Boissy, first performed in Paris in 1727 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale description begins J. C. F. Hoefer, ed., Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à nos jours, Paris, 1852-1866; 46 vols. description ends ).
3. The London Merchant: Or, The History of George Barnwell, London, 1731, by George Lillo.
4. Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, strong French supporter of American independence, who speculated in contracts supplying the Continental army and outfitting the navy. He also was landlord of the Hôtel de Valentinois, where Franklin maintained his residence rent-free from 1776 until his return to America in 1785 (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:298).