MONSIEUR DE LAFAYETTE BRINGS FRIENDS TO A DINNER AT THE LEGATION
It was in the midst of the alarms, the horror, and feverish agitation following hard upon the taking of the Bastille and the assassination and flight of so many important personages, that Mr. Jefferson, one evening, received from Monsieur de Lafayette a hurried note, requesting a dinner for himself and several friends. Mr. Morris and Calvert, who were dining with Mr. Jefferson, would have retired, that the company might be alone, but Monsieur de Lafayette, coming in almost instantly, urged upon the gentlemen to remain.
“Tis to be a political deliberation, at which we shall be most happy and grateful to have you assist,” he said, graciously, for, though he disliked Mr. Morris, he appreciated his abilities, and as for Calvert, he both liked and admired the young man, having the greatest confidence in his good sense and keen judgment.
Mr. Jefferson, though deeply embarrassed by that thoughtlessness which made the American Legation the rendezvous for the leaders of opposing factions in French politics, made his unexpected guests as welcome as possible, but, though he was urged again and again to express himself by Lafayette and his friends—he had brought with him some of the most brilliant and most influential of the revolutionary leaders, d’Azay, Barnave, Lameth, Mounier, and Duport—he yet remained an almost silent spectator of the prolonged debate which took place when the cloth had been removed and wine placed on the table, according to the American custom. The discussion was opened by Lafayette, who submitted to the consideration of the assembled company his “Rights of Man,” to which he was inordinately attached and which he designed as a prelude to the new constitution. With pride and emphasis he read aloud the most important of his dicta, and which, he owned with a profound bow to Mr. Jefferson, had been largely inspired by the great Declaration of Independence.