Adams Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 24 July 1784

From Thomas Jefferson

On board the Ceres off Scilly. July 24. 1784.

Dr: Sir

When I did myself the honor of writing you on the 19th. Ult. it was my expectation that I should take my passage in the French packet which was to sail the 15th. of this month, and of course that I should not be in Paris till the middle or last of August. it had not then been suggested to me, & being no seaman it did not occur to myself, that even from a London-bound vessel I might get ashore off Ushant or elsewhere on the coast of France. on receiving this information I took my passage with mr̃ Tracy in this vessel, leaving Boston the 5th. instant and having had a most favourable run am now as you will see above, and on the lookout for a vessel to take me off. my wish is to land at Brest, Morlaix or elsewhere on that part of the coast, in which, if I succeed, I shall go by the way of L’Orient & Nantes to Paris where I shall probably be a fortnight after the date of this letter.1 Colo. Humphries, Secretary to the legation, having failed getting to Boston in time, I suppose he will pass in the French packet.2 however our business need not await him as I am possessed of the papers relative to that. in a situation which hardly admits writing at all, & in hopes of seeing you in Paris as soon as your convenience and that of mr̃s Adams will admit, who I hope is now safe with you, I have the honor to be with the most perfect esteem Dr Sir / Your most obedt. / & most humble sert

Th: Jefferson

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble / John Adams / Minister plenipoty. for the United States / now at London / or the Hague.”; endorsed: “Mr Jefferson July 22 / 1784.”

1Jefferson was unsuccessful in finding a vessel to take him to France and was forced to land at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, and from there go to Portsmouth, from whence he sailed for Le Havre on 31 July. He arrived at Paris on 6 Aug. (Jefferson, Papers, description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950–. description ends 7:364).

2As Jefferson expected, David Humphreys sailed from New York on 15 July aboard the French packet the Courier de l’Europe. He reached Paris on 18 Aug. (Frank Landon Humphreys, Life and Times of David Humphreys, 2 vols., N.Y., 1917, 1:307; JQA, Diary, description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981–. description ends , 1:209).

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