Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Stephens Smith, 28 April 1786

From William Stephens Smith

Grosvenor square April 28th. 1786.

Dear Sir

John left yours of yesterday’s date with the order for 8 Guineas at my house this morning. I have not seen him and it shall be paid in the morning. I am apprehensive your calculations may yet fall short, should this wind continue in its station. Supposing it to have been impossible for you to have passed this morning, I dispatch this, to request you will draw on me for what you want, and I will with pleasure honor it at sight.

I have presented your Compliments in that Corner which you are pleased to express a partiality for. It was received in the usual Stile. A Circumstance has presented itself since your departure, which I wish had started 24 hours sooner. It is relative to what I conversed with you on, at Paris in Novr. ulto. and on which a Gentleman from that Quarter of the World lately gave you some interesting intelligence. If I thought this wind would continue 48 Hours longer I would visit you, but I cannot commit the Subject to paper at present. Should a safe oppertunity offer soon I will give it. Accept of my thanks for the oppertunities afforded me of accompanying you. I have already protested against the term “trouble,” as you apply it, and shall always think the obligation on my side, when Mr. Jefferson puts it in my power to serve him. ¼ before 4 and we are seated as usual round the fire expecting the summons to dinner. The pleasure at it will be lessened by an apprehension that yours to-day will be rather solitary. Be so good as to excuse me to the Marquis Lafayette, and Mr. Short for not writing. You say a small one may be told sometimes, and if the intention is good the “recording Angel will drop a tear on the record and blot it out for ever.” The family desire to be particularly remember’d and to-morrow we’ll all pray for your happiness and safe arrival. I am Dr. Sir with great respect and esteem your Obliged friend and Humble Servt.,

W. S. Smith

Errata—to-morrow being Saturday for it read Sunday as the prayer will be put off untill then.

RC (DLC); endorsed. Noted in SJL as received 3 May 1786.

TJ’s letter of yesterday’s date to Smith has not been found and is not recorded in SJL; an entry in Account Book for 27 Apr. reads “left with do. [Smith] for Mrs. Necks £8-8. note she claimed this as a debt from Mr. Wayles’s estate. If justly, charge it to the estate; if not due, consider it as a charity.” This was the order for 8 Guineas that TJ had evidently not left with Smith but had sent to him by John, a servant who had accompanied TJ to Dover. John Paradise also accompanied TJ as far as Greenwich (TJ to Paradise, 4 May 1786). That corner which you are pleased to express a partiality for: An evident allusion to young Abigail Adams; see TJ to Smith, 4 June 1786.

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