Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Thomas Jefferson

From Charles Storer

Paris, Place Vendôme no. 17, 20 November 1785

Your letters, dear friend, will always be a delight to us. We like your French. Your thoughts rendered in the language, whatsoever the topic, will always be dear to us.1 We would like to know English to spare you the effort of writing in French, but our age prevents us from learning your language. You know ours well enough to express all of your ideas. Our friendship will always allow us to understand your letters.

A thousand thanks for having welcomed Mr. Poncet, whom we had recommended to you, with such kindness and graciousness. Upon his return to Paris, he let us know of all the kindnesses you bestowed upon him. We would like to have opportunities to host your friends in order to fully prove our gratitude to you. Do not hesitate to refer them to us. We will be for them as courteous as we would be for you. We saw Mr. Fox of Philadelphia. He came to dine with us accompanied by his traveling companion and the brother of his companion.2 He wanted to spend six months in Paris. He asked that we look for a boardinghouse where he might, over the course of his stay, learn the French language of which he barely stammers a few words. We found a boardinghouse that offered everything he could wish for in this respect. He changed his mind. He will be leaving Paris, where his ties with Americans would have delayed his progress in his language study, to go to Saint Florentin where he will be isolated. His culture and language will benefit much from this plan. We told him to refer to us whenever we might be of service to him.

We never told you that Father St. Pierre was the author of that immortal work Telemachus. Since childhood, we have known that it was Mr. Fénelon, archbishop of Cambrai. Only a foreigner, lacking knowledge of our literature, would have told you otherwise.3

We were happy to learn that your ladies look back wistfully on France. 594The sentiments that prompted their recollection are quite flattering to us. We would be all the more flattered if we had the honor to see them again before their return to America and to remind them of the respectful sentiments they inspired in us. As we await this happy event, we beg them to let us offer our regards.

Two of General Washington’s aides-de-camp were kind enough to deliver our letter.4 They will bring you news of Paris and will tell you better than we can of everything that may interest your curiosity.

We offer you our services. Whenever we can do something to suit your pleasure, do not hesitate to call upon the friendship we share with you, and with which we have the honor to be, our dear friend, your most humble and most obedient servants

L’Abbé Chalut L’abbé Arnoux

Mr. Chalut is very touched by your recollections of him. He sends you his sincere compliments and his regards to your ladies.

Mr. Petry received your compliments with much gratitude. He assures you of his respectful commitment to you.

Miss Lucile is quite flattered that you and your ladies have not forgotten her. She is about to get married and counts on us to let you know, because she knows that you will have the goodness to be interested in this happy occasion. Her future husband is Mr. Deville, first secretary of the Comte de Vergennes. The king gave the young man a position as farmer general. Fortune will accompany this marriage, and makes us anticipate the happiness of these two future spouses.5

We wish to hear of that of Miss Adams, and we congratulate in advance the future spouse whom she chooses with your blessing.