Adams Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 4 October 1787

Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams

Paris Octob. 4. 1787.

Dear Madam

By mr̃ Cutting I have an opportunity of acknoleging the receipt of your favor of Sep. 10th. inclosing one for my daughter Polly.1 when she received it she flushed, she whitened, she flushed again, & in short was in such a flutter of joy that she could scarcely open it. this faithful history of her sensibility towards you must stand in lieu of her thanks which she has promised me she will write you herself: but at this moment she is in the convent where she is perfectly happy. by mr̃ Cutting you will also receive the 5. aunes of cambric which Colo. Smith desired me to have purchased for you at 12. livres the aune. I am sorry you were put to the trouble of advancing the money for mr̃ Sullivan’s bill:2 I thought myself sure that mr̃ Grand’s bill would reach you in time, and did not know he had omitted to advise mr̃ Teissier of it. he is always afraid to give to any body a complete power to call on him for money. mr̃ Littlepage is here under a secret commission from the King of Poland. possibly it may become a permanent one. I thank you for the American newspapers, and am glad to find that good sense is still uppermost in our country. great events are I think preparing here: and a combination of force likely to take place which will change the face of Europe. mr̃ Grenville has been very illy received. the annunciation by mr̃ Eden that England was arming, was considered as an insult: after this & the King of Prussia’s entrance on the territories of Holland, mr̃ Grenville’s arrival with conciliatory propositions is qualified with the title of “une insulte tres gratuite.” I am not certain that the final decision of this country is yet taken. perhaps the winter may be employed in previous arrangements unless any thing takes place at sea to bring on the rupture sooner. the Count de Gortz told me yesterday that the Prussian troops would retire from Holland the moment the states of Holland should make the expected reparation of the insult to the Princess. may not the scene which is preparing render it necessary for mr̃ Adams to defer the return to his own country?3

I have the honor to be with very sincere sentiments of esteem & respect Dear Madam—your most obedient & most humble servant

Th: Jefferson

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “mrs̃ Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr Jefferson / ocbr 4th 1787.”

1Not found.

2On 29 May, Gen. John Sullivan, president (governor) of New Hampshire, had written to Jefferson asking him to reimburse WSS for money Sullivan had drawn in the United States against WSS’s account (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 , 11:384).

3Prussia under its new king, Frederick William, had hesitated to become involved in the revolt in the Netherlands. But when the king’s sister, Princess Wilhelmina, was arrested, confined, and apparently insulted while attempting to enter The Hague in late June, he finally resolved to invade in support of the Orangists, although it was more than two months before troops actually crossed the border. Some believed that France too would invade in support of the Patriots— which would have drawn Britain into the war as well—but a visit by William Grenville to the Netherlands convinced Frederick William, rightly, that France had no intention of becoming involved, and Britain accordingly also pulled back. By 10 Oct., the Prussians had conquered the last of the Patriot resistance and temporarily restored William V to power (Schama, Patriots and Liberators description begins Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813, New York, 1977. description ends , p. 126–132).

Johann Eustach, Baron von Görtz, was the Prussian envoy extraordinary to the Netherlands (Repertorium description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, &c., 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:333).

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