Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 15 December 1816

From Abigail Adams

Quincy December 15th 1816

Dear Sir

My good Husband has call’d upon me for Some Letters, written to me by my Son, when he was last in paris, in 18151 in which he gives me a particular account of the Family of Count de Tracy and of the circumstances which introduced him to their acquaintance.

Beleiving that it will give you pleasure to become acquainted with this happy Domestic circle, I readily embrace this opportunity of transmitting them to you, with two or three other Letters which follow in Succession, and are interesting, as they describe the Novel and importent events, to which mr Adams was an Eye witness.

I rely upon your known care and punctuality to return them to me. I need not add how valuable they are to me.2 They may also afford Some entertainment to your Grandaughter Miss Ellen Randolph, whose praises are in the mouths, of all our Northern Travellers, who have been so happy as to become acquainted with her.—they bring us also: such delightfull accounts of Monticello and its inhabitants that I am tempted to wish myself twenty years younger, that [I mi]ght visit them, but I am so far down Hill, that I must only think of those pleasures which are past, amongst which, and not the least is my early acquaintance with, and the continued Friendship of the phylosopher of Monticello—to whom are offerd the respectfull attachment

of Dear Sir     Your Friend

Abigail Adams

RC (MHi); mutilated at seal, with missing text supplied from FC; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Dec. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. FC (MHi: Adams Papers); entirely in Adams’s hand; beneath signature: “Mr Jefferson,” with dateline beneath that; note by Adams at foot of text: “The occasion of writing this Letter was a Letter from mr Jefferson with a Booke written by Count de Tracy call’d an annalysis of the writings of Dupuis origin of all Religions”; endorsed by Adams.

The enclosed letters from Adams’s son John Quincy Adams probably included missives he wrote his mother from Paris on 21 Feb., 19 Mar., and 22 Apr. 1815 (MHi: Adams Papers). The first discusses Destutt de Tracy’s happy domestic circle and the goodwill engendered by the younger Adams’s efforts to obtain the release of Victor Destutt de Tracy, a French officer captured during Napoleon’s ill-fated 1812 invasion of Russia. The other letters detail the emperor’s return to power in France early in 1815.

1Preceding two words not in FC.

2Sentence not in FC.

Index Entries

  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); and E. W. R. Coolidge search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); correspondence with J. Q. Adams search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); desires to see TJ search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); health of search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); letters from search
  • Adams, Abigail Smith (John Adams’s wife); TJ’s friendship with search
  • Adams, John; and letters of J. Q. Adams search
  • Adams, John Quincy; and Destutt de Tracy’s family search
  • Adams, John Quincy; correspondence with A. S. Adams search
  • Analyse Raisonnée de l’Origine de Tous les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle (Destutt de Tracy) search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); praised search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; Analyse Raisonnée de l’Origine de Tous les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; family of search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Victor; military service of search
  • Dupuis, Charles François; Origine de Tous les Cultes: ou, Religion Universelle search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; sends books search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; returns to power search
  • Origine de Tous les Cultes: ou, Religion Universelle (C. Dupuis) search
  • religion; works on search
  • women; letters from; A. S. Adams search