During the two years preceding John Bessac’s planned St. Martins solemn celebration he had paid close attention to the activities of the American colonies. They were struggling to avoid the yoke of British Taxes and regulations. The sympathies of most of France, and especially young John Bessac, were with the colonies.
This was at the time that King George III was being heavily influenced by his one-time mentor; John Stuart, Earl of Bute.
John Bessac’s interest in the colonies was was an inspiration. He read “The Declaration of Independence” several times over. Perhaps he empathized with the colonies. Possibly he viewed their being under the thumb of King George as a metaphor of himself being under the thumb of his father and uncle.
One thing we know for sure, John had voiced his desire to join the gallant American army to fight against the hereditary enemy of France.
Therefore, when on the morning of St. Martin’s day John was nowhere to be found an assumption was made. Those in charge of the ceremony, including John’s father and uncle, determined that he had left for Bordeaux or some other nearby port. Several quick steeds were put to use in order to locate John. Their assumptions about him leaving for America were wrong.
John, the previous night, had found his mother by herself. He confided that he was immediately leaving his home. She wept bitterly as she hugged him. Even with his pangs of guilt, for hurting her, he told her that his plans were unalterable. He would not take the vows of priesthood – – – “for the present.”
We will never know whether the last statement was to ease the pain for his mother or himself.
Knowing that he was going to offend his father and forever bring the hatred of his uncle upon himself, not to mention the denunciations of the Holy Catholic Church, he maintained his plan. He broke himself away from his mother’s embrace and packed a leather travelling sack with some clothes. His mother gave him a small bible and parting instructions to observe the religious precepts he had been taught throughout his life.
As John was placing the bible in his travel-bag his mother, once again, embraced him. With tears streaming down both their faces John held her tightly a final time. She slipped a few livres, worth five pounds of silver, into his bag. She knew if she looked at him another second she would break down. She looked away.
John knew that he had broken her heart.
John never again returned to the house of his father.