Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams
Paris Oct. 11. 1785
Your favor of the 7th. was put into my hands the last night and as I received at the same time dispatches from Mr. Adams1 which occasion a great deal to be done for Congress to be sent by the Mr. Fitzhughs who set out tomorrow morning for Philadelphia as Mr. Preston the bearer of this does for London,2 I have only time to thank you for your kind attention to my commission and your offer of new service. Your information as to the shirt linen draws a new scene of trouble on you. You had better have held your tongue about it: but as it is, you must submit to what cannot now be prevented and take better care hereafter. You will think it some apology for my asking you to order me a dozen shirts of the quality of the one sent, when I assure you they made me pay for it here 10 livres & a half the aune, which is at the rate of 6/6 sterl. the yard. I will pray you to chuse me linen as nearly as possible of the same quality because it will enable me to judge of the comparative prices of the two countries. There will probably be Americans coming over from London here in the course of the winter who will be so kind as to bring the shirts to me, which being ready made will escape the custom houses. I will not add to your trouble that of a long apology. You shall find it in the readiness and zeal with which I shall always serve you. But I find that with your friends you are a very bad accountant, for after purchasing the table linen, and mentioning the insurance money on Houdon’s life, you talk of what will still remain due to me. The truth is that without this new commission I should have been enormously in your debt. My present hurry does not permit me to state the particulars, but I will prove it to you by the first opportunity. And as to the balance which will be due from me to Mr. Adams should he have no occasion of laying it out here immediately I will transmit it by some safe hand. I have not yet seen the table linen you were so kind as to buy for me, but I am sure it is good. The merchant here promises to shew me some of a new supply he has, which will enable me to judge somewhat of the two manufactures and prices. The difference must be considerable tho’ to induce me to trouble you. Be so good as to present my respects to Miss Adams & to accept assurances of the esteem & respect with which I have the honour to be Dear Madam your most obedient & most humble sert.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jefferson octr 11 1786.”
1. These were JA to Jefferson, 2 and 3 Oct., and the several items introduced and printed in Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen (from vol. 21), John Catanzariti (from vol. 24), and others, Princeton, 1950-. description ends , 8:610–624, under the title “Documents Pertaining to the Mission of Barclay and Lamb to the Barbary States.” JA signed these documents in London between 1 and 6 Oct.; Jefferson signed them in Paris on 11 October.
2. Robert Preston reached London on 22 Oct., but told JA that he had unaccountably lost the letters that he was bringing to London from Jefferson. Preston did not accurately remember to whom these letters were addressed, but soon thereafter he found them. They included this letter, and Jefferson to JA, also 11 Oct. (Adams Papers). See JA to Jefferson, 24 Oct., and 4 Nov. (DLC: Jefferson Papers; printed in Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen (from vol. 21), John Catanzariti (from vol. 24), and others, Princeton, 1950-. description ends , 8:663–664, 9:10–11), and AA to Jefferson, 25 Oct., and 24 Nov., both below.