9 November 1789: Sex finally happens – it’s time to talk about politics

Monday... — (…) After setting down Mad[am]e La Borde I go with my friend to her Appartments and hastily pay my Devotions, in which she joins with pious Fervor; in a few Seconds after, the Bishop [d’Autun] comes in, tells us what has passed at the Assemblée, and I leave them suddenly. Go to Mr. Necker’s. At Dinner I place myself next to Madame de Stahl and as our Conversation grows animated she desires me to speak English, which her Husband does not understand. Afterwards in looking round the Table I observe in him much Emotion. I tell her that he loves her distractedly, which she says she knows and that it renders her miserable. Condole with her a little on her Widowhood, the Chevalier de Narbonne being absent in Franche Comté. Much Conversation about the Bishop D’Autun. I desire her to let me know if he succeeds because I will in such Case make Advantage of the Intelligence in making my Court to Madame de Flahaut. A Proposition more whimsical could hardly be made to a Woman but the Manner is every Thing and so it passes. She tells me that she rather invites than repels those who incline to be attentive, and some Time after says that perhaps I may become an Admirer. I tell her that it is not impossible but as a previous Condition she must agree not to repel me, which she promises. After Dinner I seek a Conversation with the Husb[an]d which relieves him. He inveighs bitterly against the Manners of this Country and the Cruelty of alienating a Wife’s Affections. He says the Women here are greater Whores with their Hearts and Minds than with their Persons. I regret with him on general Ground that Prostration of Morals which unfits them for good Government. Hence he concludes, and I believe truly, that I shall not contribute to the cornuting of him. When Mr. Necker has got rid of those who environ him he takes me to his Cabinet. (…) Call by Appointment at the Louvre, and after staying a little while we perform the first Commandment given to Adam, or at least we use the Means. Go hence to Mad[am]e de Chastellux’s. Make Tea for the Duchess [of Orleans] and introduce the eating of a Rye Bread Toast which is found to be excellent. The Vicomte de Ségur comes in and tells us that the Baron de Bezenval has discovered that England gives two Millions Sterling to make Mischief in this Country. I dispute this Matter, which is I am sure impossible. He insists with great Warmth that it is true and thence concludes that the Tales circulated to the Prejudice of the Duke of Orleans are false. There is a great Deal of Absurdity in all this, and if he makes such a Defence for the Duke everywhere he will convict him. Mad[am]e de Ségur takes me aside at going out to remark on this, and adds her Perswasion that the Duke was the Distributor of the Money given for these wicked Purposes. (…) This has been a tolerably pleasant Day. The Morning cloudy, but about one o’Clock the Sun broke out. The Count de Luxembourgh asked me in the Course of the Evening what should be done to meliorate the deplorable Situation of France. I tell him Nothing. That Time can alone indicate the proper Measures and the proper Moment. That those who would accelerate Events may get themselves hanged but cannot alter the Course of Things. That if the Assembly become generally contemptible a new Order must naturally arise from that Circumstance, but if they preserve public Confidence they only can restore this Country to Health and Tranquility. And of Consequence no private Individuals can in the present Moment do good. He says that he is afraid some Persons will be precipitate and shew an armed Opposition. I tell him that if any be so mad they must take the Consequence of their Rashness which will be fatal to themselves and to their Cause, for that unsuccessful Opposition always confirms Authority. This young Man desires to meddle with State Affairs but he has not yet read the Book of Man, and tho a good Mathematician, I am told, may yet be a very wretched Politician.

A diary of the French revolution, by Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816. Ed. by Beatrix Cary Davenport. Vol. 1 (Boston, 1939), p. 291-294.


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