Adams Papers

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 17 May 1797

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

The Hague 17 May 1797.

My dear Brother.

I have just got your agreeable favours of 8–9— & 11— May, and as this is the last day upon which I can write to reach you at Paris, and I have but little time for the post, I shall be short.1

Mr: Arnoux’s letter has given me great pleasure, and I wish you if you have time, to give him my grateful thanks for it; for his kind remembrance of the family, as well as his attentions to you.2 Madame de Ville if she is the same lady, whom I have seen at the farmer General M. de Chalut’s (his daughter, though not then recognized as such), I very well remember.3 If you see her again, you must tell her, qu’elle n’êtait pas faite pour être oubliée. I have a perfect and very lively recollection, not only of herself, but of her charming performances upon the Forte-piano. Perhaps her fine children have taken some of her attention off, from that instrument.

M. le Gros, is much obliged to the Cuisinière for her remembrance. She used to be very kind to him, when he was a boy, and he has always been grateful for it. I am very glad to hear she is well, and wish you to assure her of it, should you have an opportunity.

I hope you will not leave Paris, without visiting the two Councils. A card, I suppose may be procured, and a little money is what you will not begrudge for such a sight.

The Fair is tapering off, and has not been very splendid. We have had a Ball at M. de Schubarts.4 The Count has changed his day to the 23d: so that I suppose you will not be able to be here.

There is in the Nouvelles Politiques of 21 Floréal an infamous aspersion upon your father, as false as if it had come in a straight line from Hell. I am surprised to see it in that paper, because it is generally moderate & impartial.5

M. Noël was married on Sunday.


LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr T. B. Adams”; APM Reel 130.

1TBA’s letter to JQA of 11 May has not been found.

2Not found.

3Marie Catherine Desroches Chalut de Vérin Deville (b. 1769), called Lucille by AA2, had been adopted in 1776 by Geoffroy Chalut de Vérin (d. 1787). In 1785 she married Nicolas Deville, for whom see TBA to AA, 24 July 1797, note 5, below, although by this time she was a widow with five children (Revue de l’histoire de Versailles et de Seine-et-Oise, 61 vols., Versailles, 1907, p. 191; Yves Durand, Les fermiers généraux au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1996, p. 628). For the Adamses’ acquaintance with Chalut de Vérin and Lucille while in France in the 1780s, see vol. 6:435, 436, 479, and JA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:53.

4Baron Hermann von Schubart (1756–1832), whom JQA described as having “nothing characteristic in his manners, but complaisance and apparent goodness of disposition,” was the Danish envoy extraordinary to the Netherlands from 1789–1797. JQA attended Schubart’s ball on 12 May, where he “dansed a single danse. supped late.— Played whist” and found that his “enjoyment for parties of this kind is extinguished for ever” (D/JQA/20, 10 Feb. 1795, APM Reel 23; D/JQA/24, 12 May 1797, APM Reel 27; Repertorium description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:49).

5The Paris Nouvelles politiques, nationales et étrangères, 10 May (An. V, 21 floréal), reported on the 8 Feb. session of Congress in which JA read the electoral votes and declared himself president. In addition to recording the vote counts, the article characterized JA as representing the faction “attached to the union with England,” while Thomas Jefferson was associated with that of France.

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