University of Virginia Library

7578. RIDICULE, Reformation and.—

The most remarkable effect as yet of the convention
of the Notables is the number of puns
and bon mots it has generated. I think, were
they all collected, it would make a more voluminous
work than the Encyclopédie. This
occasion, more than anything I have seen, convinces
me that this nation is incapable of any
serious effort but under the word of command.
The people at large view every object only as
it may furnish puns and bon mots; and I pronounce
that a good punster would disarm the
whole nation were they ever so seriously disposed
to revolt. Indeed, they are gone, when
a measure so capable of doing good, as the
calling the Notables, is treated with so much
ridicule; we may conclude the nation desperate,
and in charity pray that heaven may send them
good kings.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Ford ed., iv, 370.
(P. 1787)