Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 23 November 1819

From John Adams

Montezillo Alias the little Hill
November 23d 1819

my dear Sir

I congratulate you and myself on your recovery from the three Illnesses that have distressed you, the means that have been used to preserve you, may, and I hope will have laid a foundation for good Health, and many more years of an already long Life.—   My Health is astonishing to myself, I can say, like Deborah Queen Ann Dutchess of Marlbourgh—who in one of her letters, after innumerating a multitude of her griefs, and misfortunes, says, I believe nothing but Distemper will kill me—though I have not had three remarkable Illnesses, I have been afflicted with three times three misfortunes—grievous enough—to have shaken the philosophy of the most hardend Stoic—I ought however, to remember the saying of a Bishop with whom I dine’d once at Versailles who asked me many questions concerning Dr Frankline,—his Health, his Spirits, and his mind—I answered his Health is very robust, his Spirits very cheerful—and his Intellect as bright as ever. Monseignieur reply’d mais a son age il ne faut que tres peu de chose pour abbatre1 un colosse”

What a murrain there has been among the governours within a few months—Langdon, Strong Snyder Johnson Lee Raban—I hope there will not be such an other among the ex and in Presidents—

Congress are about to assemble and the Clouds look Black and thick—Assembling from all points threatening thunder and Lightning—The Spanish Treaty the Missouri Slavery—the encouragement2 of Manüfactures by protecting duties or absolute prohibitions—the project of a Bankrupt Act, the plague of Banks—perhaps even the monument for Washington—and above all the bustle of Caucuses—for the approaching Election—for President and Vice President—will probably produce an effervescence—though there is no doubt that the present President, and Vice President, will be re-elected by great Majority’s—as they ought to be—unless Tompkins should be chosen Governour of New-york.—

May God preserve you many years Amen

John Adams

RC (DLC); in Louisa C. Smith’s hand, signed by Adams; at foot of text in Smith’s hand: “President Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Dec. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers).

mais a son age il ne faut que tres peu de chose pour abbatre un colosse: “but at his age it takes very little to fell a giant.” William Rabun (raban) was governor of Georgia from 1817 until his death in 1819 (Baltimore Niles’ Weekly Register, 22, 29 Nov. 1817; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 8 Nov. 1819).

1RC and FC: “abbttre.”

2Word in Smith’s hand interlined above incomplete word (“encourig”) in Adams’s hand.

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; and Missouri question search
  • Adams, John; and TJ’s health search
  • Adams, John; health of search
  • Adams, John; letters from search
  • Adams, John; on state of politics search
  • Adams-Onís Treaty (1819); ratification of search
  • Anne, queen of Great Britain; health of search
  • bankruptcy; legislation on search
  • banks; J. Adams on search
  • Congress, U.S.; activities of search
  • Deborah (Old Testament figure) search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; health of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Johnson, Thomas (of Maryland); death of search
  • Langdon, John; death of search
  • Lee, Thomas Sim; death of search
  • manufacturing; encouragement of in U.S. search
  • Marlborough, Sarah Jennings Churchill, Duchess of search
  • Missouri question; J. Adams on search
  • Missouri Territory; slavery in search
  • Monroe, James; presidency of search
  • New York (state); governor of search
  • Rabun, William; death of search
  • Smith, Louisa Catharine (John Adams’s niece); as J. Adams’s amanuensis search
  • Snyder, Simon; death of search
  • Strong, Caleb; death of search
  • Tompkins, Daniel D.; as governor of N.Y. search
  • Tompkins, Daniel D.; as vice president search
  • Washington, George; monuments commemorating search