9 October 1789: Ministry and Ministers

Go to La Fayette’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 D’Autun for the Finances. He says he is a bad Man, — false. I controvert the Proposition
upon the Ground already given to me. I tell him that with the Bishop he gets Mirabeau. He is surprized at this and assures me that 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 immediately have given him a blue Ribband. This goes farther towards convincing him 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 Monsr. de Montmorin. Propose Touret for Garde des Sceauxs [sic – A.E.]. He owns that he has Talents 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 great Abilities. I add that he is a Man of Duplicity (faux). He agrees that he is, therefore no Difficulty with Respect to him. The great Question is how to get rid of Necker who unfortunately possesses the popular Opinion but has not Talents equal to the Situation of Affairs. I tell him that the Coalition I
propose will drive Necker away by the very Populace which now supports him. Necker is already frightened and sick of the Business he is engaged in. The Duc 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 Property of the Church is postponed untill To Morrow, when he expects to have the Clergy with 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, and defer the Rest till after mutual Embraces shall have brought the Mind to an easier Tone for Communication … She tells me that Louis de Narbonne, who with infinite Wit is an assez mauvais Sujet, will be the Enemy of the Bishop on Acc[oun]t of the Amour I am tired and vexed, therefore come Home, take Tea and go early to Bed.

A diary of the French revolution, by Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816. Ed. by Beatrix Cary Davenport. Vol. 1 (Boston, 1939), p. 249-251.


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