14 December 1789: the abbot Delille reading & the dislike of USA



At Madame de Chastellux’s we have a large breakfast Party and the Abbe de L’Isle [Delille – AE] reads us, or rather, repeats to us some of his Verses, which are fine and well delivered. Go to Van Staphorst’s and shew him a Letter I have written to the Willings which he is well pleased with. From thence to the Louvre. The Bishop [d’Autun – AE] is there. He mentions a Plan for issuing Billets d’État bearing Interest. I shew him the Folly of such a Measure. He says it is a Plan of Montesquiou [Montesquieu – AE], to which I reply that as none of the Plans likely to be adopted are good they may as well take that of Mr. Necker, since otherwise they enable his friends to say that the Mischief arises from not having followed his Advice. That besides, if Paper Money be issued, that of the Caisse is quite as good as any other. He says that by taking a bad Step France may be ruined. I tell him that is impossible and he may tranquillize himself about it. That whenever they resort to Taxation Credit will be restored, and the Credit once restored it will be easy to put the Affairs of the Caisse in Order. (…) After Dinner the Abbe de L’Isle entertains us with some farther repetitions. Go to Club and thence to Madame de Puisignieu’s and La Suze’s. Both abroad. Thence to the Count de Moustier’s. Sit awhile with him and Madame de Bréhan. Go together to Madame de Puisignieu’s; spend the Evening. Conversation chiefly with de Moustiers. I find that notwithstanding public Professions as to the public Proceedings of America, both de Moustiers and Madame de Bréhan have a thorough Dislike to the Country and its Inhabitants. The Society of New York is not sociable. The Provisions of America are not good. The Climate is very damp. The Wines are abominable. The People are excessively indolent &c., &c. This Morning it snowed. Cleared about noon but not entirely. This Evening the Weather has got round to the Southward and is warmer.

A diary of the French revolution, by Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816. Ed. by Beatrix Cary Davenport. Vol. 1 (Boston, 1939), p. 332-333.

Image : Joseph Ducreux, Portrait de l’Abbé Jacques Delille


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