Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Conversations with Abigail Adams and Edward Dowse, 11 March 1800

Notes on Conversations with Abigail Adams and Edward Dowse

Mar. 11. conversing with mrs Adams on the subject of the writers in the newspapers, I took occasion to mention that I never in my life had directly or indirectly written one sentence for a newspaper, which is an absolute truth. she said that mr Adams she believed had pretty well ceased to meddle in the newspapers since he closed the peices on Davila. this is the first direct avowal of that work to be his, tho’ long & universally understood to be so.

Mr. Dowse of Dedham in Massachusetts, of which town Fisher Ames is, corrects information I had formerly recieved of the very great fortune made by Ames by speculations in the funds. he believes he did a great deal for his friends Gore & Mason; but that his own capital was so small that he could not do much for himself. he supposes him worth at present about 30,000. Doll. some of which, he doubts not, was made while in the legislature, by speculation; but that he has a practice at the bar worth about 1000.£. a year lawful, & living frugally he lays by some of that. a great deal of his capital has been absorbed by building a very elegant house. he says he is a man of the most irritable & furious temper in the world; a strong monarchist.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 108:18559); entirely in TJ’s hand; at head of sheet and followed by Notes on Senate Debates, [11–12 Mch. 1800].

The essays on davila appeared in the Gazette of the United States between 28 Apr. 1790 and 27 Apr. 1791. For TJ’s reaction and identification of John Adams as the author, see Vol. 16:238–9; Vol. 19:515–16; Vol. 20:279–80.

In late 1792 TJ described fisher ames as “the colossus of the monocrats and paper men.” A few months later he was on TJ’s list of 28 congressmen known or suspected of holding public securities or stock in the Bank of the United States. TJ charged that the congressmen defended Hamilton’s policies because of their personal interest in sustaining his fiscal system (TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 16 Nov. 1792; Notes on Stockholders in Congress, 23 Mch. 1793).

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