Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams
Paris July 10. 1787.
This being the day on which, according to my calculation, my daughter would be crossing the channel, I had calculated the course from Dover to Calais and was watching the wind when your favour of the 6th. was put into my hands. that of June 27. had been received four days ago. I perceived that that had happened which I had apprehended, that your goodness had so attached her to you that her separation would become difficult. I had been in hopes that Petit would find means to rival you, and I still hope he will have done it so as that they may be on their way here at present. if she were to stay till she should be willing to come, she would stay till you cease to be kind to her, and that, Madam, is a term for which I cannot wait. her distress will be in the moment of parting & I am in hopes Petit will soon be able to lessen it.— we are impatient to hear what our federal convention are doing. I have no news from America later than the 27th. of April. nor is there any thing here worth mentioning. the death of mr̃ Saint James & flight of M. de Calonnes are perhaps known to you.1 a letter of M. de Mirabeau to the K. of Prussia is handed about by the Colporteurs.2 I will endeavor to find an opportunity of sending it to mr̃ Adams.— your kind advances for my daughter shall be remitted you by Colo. Smith when he returns or some other good opportunity. I have the honor to be with sentiments of gratitude for your goodness and with those of perfect esteem Dr. Madam your most obedt. humble sert
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams / London”; internal address: “Mrs. Adams.”; endorsed: “mr Jefferson july 10 / 1787.”
1. Claude Baudard, Baron de St. James (1738–1787), was the treasurer general of the French Navy and a wealthy businessman with vast interests in banking, shipping, mining, and manufacturing. By January, however, he was bankrupt, which, in turn, contributed to the country’s growing fiscal crisis. He was investigated by a royal commission on suspicion of impropriety in his role as treasurer general, but the charges were later dropped. He died on 3 July, leading one London newspaper to speculate that his death was accelerated by his financial ruin (J. F. Bosher, French Finances 1770–1795: From Business to Bureaucracy, Cambridge, Eng., 1970, p. 96, 185–186; Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, 16 July).
Charles Alexandre de Calonne’s dismissal as minister of finance on 8 April led to criminal charges, causing him to flee to The Hague and later to England (Schama, Citizens description begins Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, New York, 1989. description ends , p. 245–246; J. F. Bosher, The French Revolution, N.Y., 1988, p. 110; Jefferson to AA, 16 July, below).
2. Honoré Gabriel Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749–1791), a French statesman and writer, went on a secret diplomatic mission to the Prussian court in 1786. There he met with various advisers to first Frederick the Great and later Frederick William II but ultimately failed to gain their assistance in effecting a Franco-Prussian alliance. Mirabeau’s Lettre remise a Frédéric-Guillaume II, roi régnant de Prusse, le jour de son avénement au trône (Letter presented to Frederick William II, King of Prussia, on the day of his accession to the throne), a lengthy piece on the obligations of the new monarch to his subjects, was first published in Berlin in 1787 (Barbara Luttrell, Mirabeau, N.Y., 1990, p. 80–83; Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau, Secret Memoirs of the Court of Berlin, rpt. edn., Washington, D.C., 1901, p. ix–xiii, 349).