Washington April 27. 1812.
An accident lately occurr’d which has given me great concern. The inclosed letter was received, with many others, several from your son at St Petersburg, & laid before me in the dept. of State. I opend it, without looking at the Superscription. On reading a line or two, I perceived the error I had committed, & searching for the address found the envelopes of two letters, one addressed to you, & the other to your son Thomas. I plac’d them immediately in their present form, not even knowing whether it is that in which they were received. I need not add that their contents, except as above stated, are entirely unknown to me. I regret extremely this accident, for which I can offer no apology, other, than a faithful statment of the facts attending it.
I have the honor to be with great consideration & respect your very obt / servant
It is proper to add that there was no other letter or paper addressed either to you or your son Thomas.
MHi: Adams Papers.