Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Adams, 24 March 1801

From John Adams

Stony Field, Quincy March 24, 1801


I have recd your favour of March 8 with the Letter inclosed, for which I thank you. Inclosed is a Letter to one of your Domesticks Joseph Dougherty,1

Had you read the Papers inclosed they might have given you a moment of Melancholly or at least of Sympathy with a mourning Father. They relate wholly to the Funeral of a Son who was once the delight of my Eyes and a darling of my heart, cutt off in the flower of his days, amidst very flattering Prospects by causes which have been the greatest Grief of my heart and the deepest affliction of my Life. It is not possible that any thing of the kind should hapen to you, and I sincerely wish you may never experience any thing in any degree resembling it.

This part of the Union is in a State of perfect Tranquility and I See nothing to obscure your prospect of a quiet and prosperous Administration, which I heartily wish you.

With great Respect I have the honor to be Sir your most obedient and very humble Servant

John Adams

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “President Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Apr. and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers). Enclosure not found.

According to TJ’s financial memoranda he first gave wages to Joseph Dougherty on 31 Mch. 1801, paying him $14. Dougherty oversaw the stable and performed other tasks at the President’s House (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1036, 1118).

Funeral of a son: Charles Adams (b. 1770) had died in New York late in the autumn of 1800 from causes related to alcoholism. His father had had no direct contact with him in the year preceding his death (John Ferling, John Adams: A Life [Knoxville, Tenn., 1992], 322–3, 386–8, 402, 405–6; Edith B. Gelles, “‘Splendid Misery’: Abigail Adams as First Lady,” in Richard Alan Ryerson, ed., John Adams and the Founding of the Republic [Boston, 2001], 221–2).

1Sentence interlined.

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