Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 2 April 1785

To William Short

Apr. 2. 1785.

Th: J to W. S.

I inclose you a letter from l’Orient. When are we to see you? Your letters leave us in doubt whether you mean to protract this odious term of the 4th. of April, or to return to your quarters then and be content to go on with your French at leisure. I am in hopes this will be your choice. You lost much by not attending the Te-deum at Notre dame yesterday. It bids defiance to description. I will only observe to you in general that there were more judges, ecclesiastics and Grands seigneurs present, than Genl. Washington had of simple souldiers in his army, when he took the Hessians at Trenton, beat the British at Princeton, and hemmed up the British army at Brunswick a whole winter. Come home like a good boy and you will always be in the way of these wonders. Adieu

RC (ViW); unsigned; endorsed: “Jeffn. Paris Ap. 2–85 recd. at St. Germain.” Enclosure not identified.

TJ was even more impressed by the size of the crowds along the streets than by the numbers of notables in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Young Abigail Adams recorded in her journal for 1 Apr. 1785: “I believe I may say with truth there were millions of people. Mr. Jefferson, who rode from the Marquis’ with us, supposed there were as many people in the streets as there were in the State of Massachusetts, or any other of the States. Every house was full—every window and door, from the bottom to the top” (Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, p. 66). See also C. F. Adams, ed., Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, i, 16–19. The TE-DEUM, of course, was in honor of the birth of the Duke of Normandy.

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