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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0116

Author: Storer, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1786-08-08

Charles Storer to Abigail Adams Smith

You know, Amelia, I am never backward in writing my friends: therefore, when I tell you that I have four of your favours by me unanswered,1 I trust you will not lay the blame on my good will. Some of them were received where I could neither acknowledge them myself, nor had I one to do it for me, and the others came at an inconvenient time. Be persuaded, however, that the will is good, (as, indeed, it ever is in respect to you,) and no evil thought will rise up against your friend. * * * * *2
I am perfectly of your mind, Amelia, in regard to Europe. There certainly is something like fascination attending our acquaintance with it, and for my own part I must confess that a ten year's ramble through it would hardly satisfy me. There is that constant variety which must amuse, for we poor mortals have a deal of curiosity, one and all of us, however we may pretend to deny it. Some are diverted one way, some another; yet, though the means be directly opposed, the one to the other, the principle remains the same. I have no doubt but you would be highly gratified in a tour upon the continent, and I wish you may; it would be a source of very pleasing reflection ever after. But hush upon this subject, or I shall raise desires I may not be able to comply with.
My hints respecting what was said of you at New-York3 were not mal apropôs it seems, though I must confess I had no idea of their being applicable to you at the time. I understand you, when you say “you may perhaps make us a visit here sometime within two or three years,” though it is not speaking so plainly as you might have done. You have my best wishes, however, for every happiness.
The slippers you sent to Maria please her exactly. You will therefore accept her thanks, with mine, for them. You need not be concerned about the paying for them, I shall take due care of that.
You speak of Mr. Jefferson's being with you in March. Entre nous—did he ever mention receiving the books I sent him just before I left London, by your papa's advice? I ask because I am much disappointed in not having any acknowledgement of them from him, which I pleased myself with having.4 The velvet dress you speak of I received but a few weeks ago, via L'Orient. Though plain and simple, 'tis, I think, beautiful, as are most of the French dresses; our opinions correspond in this I believe.
{ 312 }
I wish, Amelia, it had been in my power to have met you at Stamford the day you mentioned to have rode out. How surprised you would have been to have seen me on the terrace. But, alas! those days are all over, past and gone! and I am going to enter on another line of life, altogether new and strange.
I saw your brother Charles yesterday in town. I asked him to dine. He was going to Cambridge. I spent the evening out, and when I returned home I was told that he was there and was gone to bed. This was acting on the friendly principle which pleases me much, I assure you. You have written to him on this subject, I fancy, else I shall be better pleased, it being his own choice. He staid with us most of the forenoon, and I hope he was not dissatisfied with his visit.
Your aunt Shaw I have not seen since last winter, though I have your uncle, who was at commencement. All our friends at Braintree are in usual health, as are those in town. Every thing here wears but a gloomy appearance at present, though there are many who try their utmost to be gay. There are many who are flirting about in silk and satin, but who have a sorrowful, aching heart, I am very sure. As for me, I am going to retire from this society while I can do it with a good grace. If success attends me, it will fully compensate for the sacrifice; if not, there will ever be a satisfaction in having acted as I thought right.
Write to me, and be assured it will afford particular pleasure, in his retirement, to
[signed] Eugenio
MS not found. Printed from (AA2, Jour. and Corr. , 2:50–53.)
1. Letters not found. They probably included AA2 's letters “No: 3 and 4, both of May” acknowledged by Storer in his letter to AA of 21 July, above.
2. Thus in MS .
3. For Storer's comments on how the ladies of New York envied AA2 's social opportunities in England, see vol. 6:465.
4. No record of Jefferson's receipt of books from Storer appears in Jefferson, Papers .

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0117-0001

Author: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1786-08-09

Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

It is an age since I have had the honor of a letter from you, and an age and a half since I presumed to address one to you. I think my last was dated in the reign of king Amri, but under which of his successors you wrote, I cannot recollect. Ochosias, Joachaz, Manahem or some such hard name.1 At length it is resumed: I am honoured with your favor of July 23. and I am at this moment writing an answer to it, and first we will dispatch business. The shoes you or• { 313 } dered, will be ready this day and will accompany the present letter. But why send money for them? you know the balance of trade was always against me. You will observe by the inclosed account that it is I who am to export cash always, tho' the sum has been lessened by the bad bargains I have made for you and the good ones you have made for me. This is a gaining trade, and therefore I shall continue it, begging you will send no more money here. Be so good as to correct the inclosed that the errors of that may not add to your losses in this commerce. You were right in conjecturing that both the gentlemen might forget to communicate to me the intelligence about captn. Stanhope. Mr Adams's head was full of whale oil, and Colo. Smith's of German politics,2 (—but don't tell them this—) so they left it to you to give me the news. De tout mon coeur, I had rather receive it from you than them. This proposition about the exchange of a son for my daughter puzzles me. I should be very glad to have your son, but I cannot part with my daughter. Thus you see I have such a habit of gaining in trade with you that I always expect it. We have a blind story here of somebody attempting to assassinate your king. No man upon earth has my prayers for his continuance in life more sincerely than him. He is truly the American Messias, the most precious life that ever god gave, and may god continue it. Twenty long years has he been labouring to drive us to our good, and he labours and will labour still for it if he can be spared. We shall have need of him for twenty more. The Prince of Wales on the throne, Lansdowne and Fox in the ministry, and we are undone! We become chained by our habits to the tails of those who hate and despise us. I repeat it then that my anxieties are all alive for the health and long life of the king. He has not a friend on earth who would lament his loss so much and so long as I should. Here we have singing, dauncing, laugh, and merriment. No assassinations, no treasons, rebellions nor other dark deeds. When our king goes out, they fall down and kiss the earth where he has trodden: and then they go to kissing one another, and this is the truest wisdom. They have as much happiness in one year as an Englishman in ten. The presence of the queen's sister enlivens the court. Still more the birth of the princess.3 There are some little bickerings between the king and his parliament, but they end with a sic volo, sic jubeo.4 The bottom of my page tells me it is time for me to end with assurances of the affectionate esteem with which I have the honor to be, dear Madam, your most obedient & most humble servant
[signed] Th: Jefferson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jefferson August 9th 1786.” Enclosure (Adams Papers); notation by Jefferson: “Mrs. Adams.”
1. Omri, Ochosias, Joachaz, and Menahem, kings of Israel in the 10th–8th centuries b.c.
2. See JA to Jefferson, 16 July, and WSS to Jefferson, 18 July (Jefferson, Papers , 10:140–141, 152–155).
3. Sophie Hélène Béatrix, the fourth and last child of Marie Antoinette, was born in July; she died in 1787 (Dorothy Moulton Mayer, Marie Antoinette, The Tragic Queen, N.Y., 1969, p. 158, 161).
4. So I wish it, so I command.