For a while circumstances favored this decision. The French government, being entirely absorbed in domestic affairs, Mr. Jefferson found himself with more leisure than he had known for some time, and, being enormously interested in the organization of the States-General, and realizing that their proceedings were of the first order of importance, he drove almost daily from Paris to Versailles to assist at their stormy deliberations. Mr. Calvert attended him thither at his express wish, for he had the young man’s diplomatic education greatly at heart, and desired him to profit by the debates in the Salle des Menus. In this way the young gentleman found his days completely filled, while the evenings were frequently as busily occupied in the preparation of letters for the American packet, dictated by Mr. Jefferson and narrating the day’s events. Of things to be written there was no lack. Day after day, through the hot months of May and June, events succeeded one another rapidly. Tempestuous debates among the noblesse, the clergy, and the tiers etat, upon the question of the verification of their powers, separately and together, were followed by proposition and counter-proposition, by commissions of conciliation which did not conciliate, by royal letters commanding a fusion of the three orders, by secessions from the nobility and clergy to the grimly determined and united tiers, by courtly intrigues at Marly for the King’s favor in behalf of the nobles, by royal seances and ruses which, instead of postponing, only hastened the evil hour, by the famous oath of the Tennis Court, and by the triumph of the third estate. And in this distracting clash of opposing political forces, amid this first crash and downfall of the ancient order of things, there passed, almost unnoticed, save by the weeping Queen and harassed King, who hung over his pillow, the last sigh, the last childish words of the Dauphin. The tired little royal head, which had been greeted eight years before with such acclamations of enthusiastic delight, dropped wearily and all unnoticed for the last time, happily ignorant of the martyr’s crown it had escaped. Calvert had the news from Madame de Montmorin when he went to pay his respects to her on the evening of the 3d of June, and in imagination he saw, over and over again, the lovely face of the Queen distorted with unavailing grief.
All these public occurrences which filled the hurrying days were reported in Mr. Jefferson’s long letters to General Washington, to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jay, to Mr. Madison, Mr. Carmichael, and other friends in America, whom he knew to be deeply interested in the trend of French affairs. Indeed, he knew fully whereof he wrote, for, although in that summer of ’89 the position of the United States in relation to Europe was anything but enviable, though we were deeply in debt and our credit almost gone, though England and Spain turned us the cold shoulder, though our enemies were diligently circulating damaging