Books: Gentleman Revolutionary

Free Press, 2003 | ISBN 0-7432-2379-9

Gouverneur Morris had a peg leg and a withered arm, a way with words, and a string of lovers on two continents. He witnessed two revolutions—ours (he drafted the Constitution), and France’s (he saved friends from the guillotine).

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One of the channels for his advice was Mme de Flahaut, who was still, despite her connection with him, Talleyrand’s mistress. Morris and Adèle mingled their lovemaking with politics. At one midday tryst at the Louvre, Adèle said she hoped to exert a moderating influence on Marie Antoinette through the queen’s physician, who was one of the regulars at the Flahaut salon…. “Enfin, mon ami,” Adèle said, “vous et moi nous gouvernerons la France” (Then, my friend, you and I will govern France). “The kingdom,” wrote Morris in his diary that night, “is actually in much worse hands.”

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