Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes, [6 June 1798]

To Mary Jefferson Eppes

Philadelphia [June 6. 98.]

My dear Maria.

I wrote you last on the 18th. of May since which [I have recieved mr Eppes’s] letter of May 20. and yours of May 27. I have deter[mined to set out from] this place on the 20th. inst. and shall, in my letters of tomorrow, [order my horses] to meet me at Fredericksburg on the 24th.1 and may therefore be at home on the 26th. or 27th.2 where I shall hope to have the happiness of meeting you. I can supply the information you want as to your harpsichord. your sister writes me it is arrived in perfect safety except the lock & a bit of a moulding broke off. she played on it and pronounces it a very fine one, though without some of the advantages of hers, as the Celestine for instance. if I did not mistake it’s tone, it will be found sweeter for a moderate room, but not as good as hers for a large one.

I forward for mr Eppes some further dispatches from our envoys. to this it is said in addition that mr Pinckney is gone into the South of France for the health of his daughter, Mr. Marshall to Amsterdam, perhaps to come home for orders, and mr Gerry remains at Paris. they have no idea of war between the two countries, and much less that we have authorized the commencement of it.

I will convince you at Monticello whether I jested or was in earnest about your writing. and as, while it will relieve me, it may habituate you to an useful exercise, I shall perhaps be less scrupulous than you might wish. my friendly salutations to mrs Eppes, the two gentlemen & family. to yourself the most tender & constant affection & Adieu

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU); torn, with words in brackets supplied from PrC; addressed: “Mrs. Maria Eppes Eppington”; franked. PrC (MHi: Coolidge Collection); with alteration of several dates by TJ in ink; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

For John Wayles Eppes’s letter of 20 May, see TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 31 May 1798. your sister writes: Martha Jefferson Randolph to TJ, 12 May 1798.

On 5 June 1798, President Adams presented to Congress further dispatches from our envoys. The same day the Senate ordered 500 copies to be printed (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 2:501). The message included a letter from Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry to Pickering of 9 Mch. 1798 and a narrative, indicating that when they threatened to demand their passports Talleyrand responded by granting them interviews on 2 and 6 Mch. in which he informed them that the Directory wanted a solid friendship between France and the United States. He sought a loan from the United States, noting that it could be seen as a credit to be used by the French government for payment of claims “for property taken from American citizens,” and seemed surprised that the envoys had not received further instructions for negotiation. Gerry observed that the United States, as well as the envoys, were “earnestly solicitous to restore friendship between the two republics” (Message of the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress. June 5th, 1798 [Philadelphia, 1798], 3–15; see Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of all Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from … 1639 … to … 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends No. 34821).

1TJ first wrote “23d” before altering it to read as above. In PrC TJ altered date in ink to “24d.”

2TJ first wrote “25th. or 26th.” before altering the dates to read as above. In PrC TJ altered dates in ink to read as above.

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