12 November 1789: Administration & Incest

Thursday... — (…) At half past three go to dine with Mons[ieu]r Montmorin. After Dinner converse with him upon the Situation of Affairs. He tells me that their Administration has no Head. That Mr. Necker is too virtuous to be at the Head and has too much Vanity. That he himself has not sufficient Talents and if he had he would not undergo the Fatigue. That as to great Measures the King is incapable of them and therefore he has no other Method of acquiring Power but to gain the Love of his Subjects, to which he is entitled by his Goodness of Heart. I ask him if he persists in his Intention of sending Ternant to America, to which he answers in the Affirmative. He desires me at parting to come frequently. Go hence to Mons[ieu]r de La Fayette’s. He is so surrounded and occupied that I do not exchange a Word with him. (…) Then go to the Louvre and sit with my fair friend [Mme Flahaut] till one. She wishes to have her Husband appointed Minister in America that she may go out with me. Has spoken to Montesquiou on the Subject who has applied to Montmorin, but was told that the Place was given ten Months ago. I had already told her that it could not be, at least for the present. After the Moment of Enjoyment in the Languor of Conversation which succeeds I ask her whether it be true that the Count Louis de Narbonne is the Fruit of an incestuous Union between the late King and Madame Adelaide his Daughter. She tells me that this is the general Opinion and she believes it to be true. I express my Horror, upon which she tells me that the Count de M[ontmorin], for whom I express so much Esteem, lives with Madame de B[eaumont] his Daughter. I hope this is not true. This has been a rainy, disagreable Day.

A diary of the French revolution, by Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816. Ed. by Beatrix Cary Davenport. Vol. 1 (Boston, 1939), p. 298-299.

Image: Armand Marc, Count of Montmorin de Saint Herem

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