As since the change of ministry in England, some serious professions have been made of their disposition to peace, and of their readiness to enter into a general treaty for that purpose, as the concerns and claims of five nations are to be discussed in that treaty, which must therefore be interesting to the present age and to posterity, I am inclined to keep a journal of the proceedings as far as they come to my knowledge, and to make it more complete will first endeavour to recollect what has already past.
Great affairs sometimes take their rise from small circumstances. My good friend and neighbour Madame Brillon94 being at Nice all last winter for her health, with her very amiable family, wrote to me that she had met with some English gentry there whose acquaintance proved agreeable; among them she named Lord Cholmondeley, who she said had promised to call on his return to England, and drink tea with us at Passy.95 He left Nice sooner than she supposed, and came to Paris long before her. On the 21st of March I received the following note:
93. In general, the private journal reflects Franklin’s thoughts relative to the negotiations for peace between Great Britain and the United States, and concerns matters and correspondence during the period March through July 1782.
94. Madame Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy was Franklin’s neighbor at Passy. When she first met Franklin in the spring of 1777, she was thirty-three, with a wealthy, doting, and unfaithful husband some twenty-four years her senior: but still, he was fourteen years younger than Franklin. Madame Brillon and Franklin enjoyed a vigorous companionship, which soon became sexually charged and the fodder for much gossip. Adams and others were shocked by what Madame Brillon called her “sweet habit of sitting on your lap” and by stories of their late nights spent together. “I am certain you have been kissing my wife,” her husband once wrote Franklin (Issacson 357).