A Treaty of Peace between the Fashion of Paris and Fashion of London: 1804

beau

An Englishman dressed like a Frenchman? Or the reverse?

TREATY OF FASHION

Articles of a new Treaty of Peace, executed between the Fashion of Paris and Fashion of London.

Art. 1. Henceforward there shall be peace and friendship between the Grecian toilet and the British costume; between robes of crape and robes of India muslins; and between the small pockets of the French and the large pockets of the English ladies.

2. The pretty foot of the French ladies shall be received and treated in England on the most handsome footing; and the plump foot of the English ladies shall cease to serve as a model of the Parisian caricaturist.

3. Englishmen shall be permitted to go to taverns, and drink porter and Madeira, from six in the evening to twelve at night; and Frenchmen shall be allowed to go to theatres, balls and gaming tables, from seven in the evening till five the next morning.

4. It is agree, that the English shall preserve their verdant meadows, their blood horses, their invincible navy, and their charming women; and the French their fruitful vineyards, luxurious fruits, and elegant fashions.

5. Every Englishman who may wish to cure himself of the spleen, or any other national disorder, shall have free permission to enter Paris, and laugh heartily at French levity; provided that, when he returns, he makes a faithful report of the prejudices of his country against the other, leaving the same behind him at the port from which he may embark.

6. On the other hand, when a Frenchman, either a learned man or not, shall emigrate to London, it is provided, that, on his return, he shall leave behind him all the scandalous anecdotes he may have collected, and shall only be allowed to carry back with him two pair of English boots, two pair of gloves, a hunting whip, and a couple of thorough-bred harriers.

7. Agreed, that every Englishman who shall reside at Paris, shall not judge of its modest women by courtesans, the manners of the French by their caricatures, the virtue of females by their dress, wit by the books daily published, patriotism by violence of declamation, religion by their lectures, or the innocence of the daughters by the security of their mothers.

8. Also, that every Frenchman resident in London shall take the English as they are, and shall not, for their own convenience, presume to effect a change in their manners, dress, or amusements. Moreover, if he shall prevail on a married woman to take a trip into the country, he shall not be offended if her husband be of the party.

9. And lastly, a mutual allowance shall be made for reciprocal follies; and, from the signing hereof, there shall be no more difference between a Frenchman, and an Englishman, than between an Englishman and a Frenchman.

(signed)

A Beau of the Palais Royal,

On the part of France; and

A Beau of Bond-Street,

On the part of England.

Kennebec Gazette [Augusta, ME] 19 July 1804: p. 4

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil is not at all certain that this entente was ever ratified. There has always been bitter enmity between the sturdy common sense of the English fashion world and the voluptuous sensibility of that of the French, with what amounts to ongoing trench warfare between the tweed and the chiffon fronts. As the former Emperor of the French once said, “Ladies will fight long and hard over a bit of coloured ribbon.” And in the words of a general of the American Civil War: Wardrobe is hell.

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