Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson with a Memorandum of Purchases, 10 July 1787

Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson with a Memorandum of Purchases

London july 10th 1787

Dear sir

When I wrote you last I did not know that petit had taken places in the Stage & paid for them. this being the case I have represented it to your little daughter & endeavourd to prevail with her to consent to going at the time appointed; She says if I must go I will, but I cannot help crying, so pray dont ask me too. I should have taken great pleasure in presenting her to you here, as you would then have seen her with her most engageing countana[nce.] some lines of an old song frequently occur to me as different objects affect her.

What she thinks in her Heart

You may read in her Eyes

For knowing no art

She needs no disguise

I never saw so intelligent a countanance in a child before, and the pleasure she has given me is an ample compensation for any little services I have been able to render her. I can easily conceive the earnest desire you must have to embrace so lovely a child after so long a Seperation from her. that motive, & my own intention of setting out next week upon a journey into the County of Devonshire, has prevaild with me to consent to parting with her so soon, but most reluctantly I assure you. her temper, her dispositition, her Sensibility are all formed to delight, yet perhaps at your first interview you may find a little roughness but it all subsides in a very little time, and she is soon attached by kindness. I inclose a memorandum of the articles purchased [I have be]en a little particular, that you might know how I [. . .]d of the money. if at any time I can be of service in this [wa]y [i]t will give me pleasure. I have desired petit to Buy me 12 Ells of black lace at 8 Livres pr Ell & 1 dozen of white & one of coulourd Gloves. you will be so good as to place them to my account & Col Smith will take them when he returns.

As to politicks, to avoid touching so dissagreeable a subject, I send you the Boston News papers received by the last vessels.

Mrs Paridise has just left me and desires to be rememberd to you. She is just upon the eve of departure for Virginia. Whether he can be prevaild upon to go on Board altho their passage is taken, & every thing in readiness, is very uncertain. She is determined at all Hazards, he most assuredly will get a seat in Kings Bench if he stays behind. his affairs are daily worse & worse.1 mr Adams will write you— he has not a portrait that he likes to send you. mr Trumble talks of taking one.2 if he Succeeds better than his Brethren, mr Adams will ask your acceptance of it. you will be so good as to let me hear from my dear little Girl by the first post after her arrival. my Love to her Sister whom I congratulate upon Such an acquisition.

I have not been able to find Mrs Kinlock yet, but hope two, if I Should not, mr Heyward is going to carolina in a few days and I will send the package by him. all your other Letters were deliverd as directed.3

With Sentiments of the highest Esteem I am dear Sir Your Humble Servant

A Adams

I have received of Petit Six Louis d’ors [. . . .] What the exchange is, but the remainder you w[ill?] [. . .] as to let him purchase, me some lace & Gloves with the remainder.

Memorandum of articles by mrs Adams for miss Jefferson & Maid

£ s d
paid for bringing the Trunks from Tower Hill 5. 6.
four fine Irish Holland frocks4 3. 10.
5 yd white Dimity for Skirts 15
4 yd checkd Muslin for a frock 1. 10
3 yd lace Edging to trim it 6. 6
To making the frock 5.
3 yd flannel for under Coats 7. 6
A Brown Bever Hat & feathers 13.
2 pr leather Gloves 2. 4
5 yd diaper for arm Cloths 5. 10
6 pr cotton Stockings 13. 6
3 yd blew sash Ribbon 3.
To diaper for pockets linning tape cloth for night caps &c 5 6
To a comb & case, comb Brush, tooth Brush 1. 6
For the Maid Servant
12 yds calico for 2 short Gowns & coats 1. 5. 6
4 yd half Irish linen for Aprons 7 4
3 pr Stockings 6.
2 yd linning 2.
1 Shawl handkerchief 4 6
paid for washing 6 8
Sterling 10 15. 8
11. 16. 2 should be5

Received Six Louis d’ors, of petit.

A Adams

RC and enclosure (DLC:Jefferson Papers); addressed by AA2: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson / Minister Plenipotentiary from the United / States of America / residing / att / Paris—”; endorsed: “Adams mr̃s”; notation by Jefferson on the enclosure:

“Mrs. Adams’s expenditures for me as on the other side error of addition to her prejudice   £10–15–8
Cash pd her by Petit 6 Louis @ 19/6 the Louis pd by do for black lace 75₶ 5–17–0
3–1–[ ]
2 doz. pr̃ gloves 27₶–12   1–10–6
balance due to mrs̃ Adams 1–7–8

Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.

1The Paradises’ growing financial problems forced them to leave London for Lucy Ludwell Paradise’s Virginia estate. They arrived in late September over £2,000 in debt, which Lucy blamed on her husband’s mismanagement. In Feb. 1788, the Paradises learned that their younger daughter Philippa had died in England, forcing them to return to Britain without having put their finances in order. Thomas Jefferson came to their aid by appointing a supervisor to manage their Virginia estate and arranging a repayment schedule for their many creditors (Archibald Bolling Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg, Richmond, Va., 1942, p. 207–211, 273–274, 293–295; 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 , 10:69, 255–256; 13:457, 472, 537, 543–545).

2In London, in the summer of 1787, John Trumbull added JA to the canvas of his famous painting, Declaration of Independence. At that time the group portrait was incomplete; Trumbull continued to add to it as he met with the men who had signed the Declaration (Trumbull, Autobiography description begins The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953. description ends , p. 146–147).

3Anne Cleland Kinloch (d. 1802) was the widow of Francis Kinloch (1720–1767) of South Carolina. Jefferson hoped that Kinloch could be located in London and that she would deliver a package of rice to William Drayton, also of South Carolina. Jefferson’s letter to Kinloch of 1 July remains in the Adams Papers, confirming AA’s inability to find her (H. D. Bull, “Kinloch of South Carolina,” SCHGM description begins South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. description ends , 46:64–65 [April 1945]; 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 , 11:520–521).

4“Holland” refers to a fine white linen originally imported from Holland but later manufactured in Ireland. The fabric was often used for children’s clothing (Mairead Dunlevy, Dress in Ireland, N.Y., 1989, p. 188).

5This recalculated amount is in Jefferson’s hand.

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