Wednesday, December 2, 2015

the last book I ever read (Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, excerpt five)

from Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell:

Franklin, knowing how much courtesy mattered at court, flattered the king, “If all monarchies were governed by the principle which are in your heart, Sire, republics would never be formed.”

I reread the previous tricky sentence at least thirty-eight times, and I still can’t decide if Franklin actually meant it, considering the principles in Louis XVI’s heart had more to do with sticking it to the British for snatching Quebec from his grandfather. What is obvious is that the patriots lucked out having a cagey old pro like Franklin doing their bidding chez Louis. What a relief that our first official diplomat knew a thing or two about being diplomatic, considering that back home Steuben was lecturing the inexperienced recruits at Valley Forge about how that pointy knife thing attached to their musket barrels was more than just a skewer to barbecue kebabs.

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