Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 21 December 1786 Jefferson, Thomas AA Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 21 December 1786 Jefferson, Thomas Adams, Abigail
Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams
Dear Madam Paris Dec. 21. 1786

An unfortunate dislocation of my right wrist has for three months deprived me of the honor of writing to you. I begin now to use my pen a little, but it is in great pain, and I have no other use of my hand. The swelling has remained obstinately the same for two months past, and the joint, tho I beleive well set, does not become more flexible. I am strongly advised to go to some mineral waters at 410Aix in Provence, and I have it in contemplation.1 I was not alarmed at the humor shewn by your countrymen. On the contrary I like to see the people awake and alert. But I received a letter which represented it as more serious than I had thought. Mr Adams however restores my spirits; I believe him and I thank him for it. The good sense of the people will soon lead them back, if they have erred in a moment of surprize.2 My friends write me that they will send my little daughter to me by a Vessel which sails in May for England. I have taken the liberty to tell them that you will be so good as to take her under your wing till I can have notice to send for her, which I shall do express in the moment of my knowing she is arrived. She is about 8. years old, and will be in the care of her nurse, a black woman, to whom she is confided with safety. I knew your goodness too well to scruple the giving this direction before I had asked your permission.3 I beg you to accept assurances of the constant esteem with which I have the honor to be Dear Madam your most obedient & most humble servt.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jeffersons Letter december 21 1787.”


Jefferson hurt his wrist on 18 Sept., and his ability to write was hindered by the injury for several months thereafter. He visited Aixen-Provence during an extended tour of southern France in spring 1787 but did not find the mineral waters helpful (Jefferson, Papers , 10:394; 11:31, 338, 426–427).


John Jay wrote to Jefferson about the uprising in Massachusetts on 27 Oct., describing it as “more formidable than some at first apprehended. . . . If Faction should long bear down Law and Government, Tyranny may raise its Head, or the more sober part of the People may even think of a King. In short, my Dr. Sir; we are in a very unpleasant Situation.” By contrast, JA's letter of 30 Nov. instructed Jefferson, “Dont be allarmed. . . . [A]ll will be well” (same, 10:488–489, 557).


Mary (Polly) Jefferson arrived in London on 26 June 1787. The nurse Jefferson had intended to accompany her was unable to make the trip, so she came in the care of Sally Hemings. They remained with the Adamses in London for just over two weeks, after which they departed for Paris (same, 11:501–502, 592).

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 23 December 1786 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 23 December 1786 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Abbe Green, Bath decem 23 1786

We arrived here about four oclock a fryday afternoon,1 after a very pleasent journey. The weather was somewhat cold, but a clear Sky and a fine Sun Shine was ample compensation. We found convenient apartments, Good Beaf Mutton and excellent fish for dinner; it was fortunate that we engaged Lodgings before we came, as every House is full. To day being rainy and fogy we have not made any excursion, or looked about us. We wanted a little remit after rising 3 mornings by candle light and riding through the cold. I hope an ad-411ditional quantity of bed Cloaths will make you comfortable; we had the city Musick this morning to wait upon us, and welcome us to Bath. I Suppose we Shall have some more compliments of the Same kind. I think the Bath road has more of an American appearence than any I have traveld in this Country. The Stone Walls and the Hills and the Towns bearing the Same Names, Reading Malborough newburry all reminded me of New England. I think you would have been better pleasd if you had come with us, than you was when you traveld this road formerly,2 in summer it must be delightfull. I think very often of your being alone, but whilst the Book lasts you will not want employment, tho you may amusement. Be so good as to let me hear from you, tell me how you do, and direct under cover to col Smith at mr 3 abbe Green. But why it is calld so I know not, as it is a small paved square and nothing Green to be seen about it.—A Good Nights repose to you tho more than a hundred miles distant my thoughts are very often in Grosveneur Square, and we drink your Health every Day. Mr and Mrs Smith present their Duty. Yours ever


RC (Adams Papers); addressed by WSS: “To His Excellency John Adams Minister Plenipo: &c &c &c. Grosvenor Square”; stamped: “23/DE”; docketed by WSS: “Mrs. Adams”; and by CFA: “Bath. Decr 23d 1786.”; notation by WSS: “at Mr. Marjrams abbe Green.” Mathematical notation by JA, dividing 336 by 16.


22 December. This was AA's first letter to JA since 30 July 1784 (vol. 5:408–409).


JA visited Bath with JQA in Dec. 1783 during their first stay in England (JA, D&A , 3:151–152).


Blank in MS.