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Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 20 September 1813

From Abigail Adams

Quincy Sepbr 20th 1813

dear Sir

your kind and Friendly Letter found me in great affliction for the loss of my dear and only daughter, mrs smith

She had been with me only three weeks having undertaken a journey from the State of N york, desirious once more to See her parents, and to close her days under the paternal roof

She was accompanied by her Son and daughter, who made every exeertion to get her here, and gratify what Seemd the only remaining wish She had, so helpless and feeble a State as She was in, it is wonderfull how they accomplishd it, two years Since, She had an opperation performed for a Cancer in her Breast, this She Supported, with wonderfull fortitude, and we flatterd ourselves that the cure was effectual, but it proved otherways. it Soon communicated itself through the whole mass of the Blood, and after severe sufferings, terminated her existance.

you sir, who have been called to Seperations of a Similar kind, can sympathize with your Bereaved Friend. I have the consolation of knowing, that the Life of my dear daughter was pure, her conduct in prosperity and adversity, exemplary, her patience and Resignation becomeing her Religion— you will pardon my1 being so minute, the full Heart loves to pour out its Sorrows, into the Bosom of sympathizing Friendship.

A Lovely only daughter of her Mother, lives to console me  

who in her youth, has all that Age requires

 And with her prudence; all that youth admires

you call,d upon me to talk of myself, and I have obey,d the Summons from the assureance you gave me, that you took an interest in what ever affected my happiness.

Greif has changed me since you saw me last,

 And carefull hours, with times deformed hand

 hath written Strange defeatures o’er my face

But altho, time has changed the outward form, and political “Back wounding calumny” for a period interruped the Friendly intercourse and harmony which Subsisted, it is again renewed, purified from the dross.

with this assureance I beg leave To Subscribe myself

Your Friend

Abigail Adams

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 6 Oct. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

who in her youthyouth admires: George Crabbe, “Arabella,” in his Tales, 1812, and other selected poems, ed. Howard Mills (1967), 222. greif has changed medefeatures o’er my face: William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, act 5, scene 1. back wounding calumny: Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, act 3, scene 2.

1Manuscript: “by.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); and daughter’s death search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); correspondence with TJ search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); letters from search
  • Crabbe, George; poems of search
  • health; cancer search
  • medicine; operations search
  • Shakespeare, William; quoted search
  • Smith, Abigail Adams (John Adams’s daughter; William Stephens Smith’s wife); A. Adams on search
  • Smith, Abigail Adams (John Adams’s daughter; William Stephens Smith’s wife); health of search
  • women; letters from; A. Adams search