Introduced by Mr. Jefferson and the letters he had brought with him, in an incredibly short time Mr. Morris was known and admired in every salon in Paris, and he stumped his way through them with that admirable savoir faire and sturdy self-respect, dashed with a wholesome conceit, which made him assure Calvert one day that he “had never felt embarrassment or a sense of inferiority in any company in which he had ever found himself.” It was soon evident that of all the salons of Paris where he was made welcome, the one most to his taste was that of the charming Madame de Flahaut; but wherever he went in that aristocratic society which claimed social preeminence over all others, this untitled gentleman from a new, almost unknown, country, was easily and quickly one of the most brilliant members. Utterly unawed by the splendid company in which he found himself, he valued it at its true worth and was keenly and amusingly observant of its pretensions, its shams, its flippancy, its instability, its charm. Soon he had become as great a favorite as Mr. Jefferson himself, though winning his enviable position by qualities the very opposite of that gentleman’s. Mr. Morris rivalled the Parisians themselves in caustic wit, perfect manners, and the thousand and one social graces of the time, while Mr. Jefferson captivated all by his democratic manners and entire indifference to social conventionality, much as the incomparable Dr. Franklin (whose originality and address in society were indeed sui generis and quite unrivalled) had before him.
But Mr. Morris was possessed of greater qualities than those necessary to make him shine in the vapid, corrupt society of the fashionable world. He was a brilliant, yet sound, thinker, and his earnest convictions, his practical statesmanship, and his shrewd business abilities were quickly appreciated. Indeed, it was difficult to tell whether ladies of fashion or troubled statesmen found him most satisfactory. He could rhyme a delicate compliment for the one or draw up a plan to aid France’s crippled revenues for the other, with equal dexterity. His opinion was sought upon the weightiest matters, and, being unfettered by official obligations, as was Mr. Jefferson, he was free to give it, and soon became associated with some of the greatest gentlemen in the kingdom and intimately identified with many schemes for the strengthening of the monarchy. For Mr. Morris, while a most ardent republican in his own country, was a royalist in France, convinced that a people, used from time immemorial to an almost despotic government, extremely licentious, and by nature volatile, were utterly unfitted for a republic. In many of the drawing-rooms where indiscriminate and dangerous republicanism was so freely advocated, he was held to be trop aristocrate. With amazing good-humor and keenness he attacked the closet philosophers and knocked over their feeble arguments like tenpins, urgently proclaiming that it was the duty and best policy for every son of France