To William Short November 2, 1791

To William Short November 2, 1791


I received your favor conveying a letter from Mr. Jefferson and the answers to Publicola1 for which I thank you. I had John Adams in my mind when I wrote the pamphlet and it has hit as I expected.

M. Lenobia who presents you this is come to pass a few days at Paris. He is a bon republicain and you will oblige me much by introducing him among our friends of bon foi. I am again in the press but shall not be out till about Christmas, when the Town will begin to fill. By what I can find, the Government Gentry begin to threaten. They have already tried all the under-plots of abuse and scurrility without effect; and have managed those in general so badly as to make the work and the author the more famous; several answers also have been written against it which did not excite reading enough to pay the expence of printing.

I have but one way to be secure in my next work which is, to go further than in my first. I see that great rogues escape by the excess of their crimes, and, perhaps, it may be the same in honest cases. However, I shall make a pretty large division in the public opinion, probably too much so to encourage the Government to put it to issue, for it will be rather like begging them than me.

By all the accounts we have here, the French emigrants are in a hope- less condition abroad; for my own part I never saw anything to fear from foreign courts-they are more afraid of the French Revolution than the revolution needs to be of them, and the same caution which they take to prevent the French principles getting among their armies, will prevent their sending armies among the principles.

We have distressing accounts here from St. Domingo. It is the natural consequence of Slavery and must be expected every where. The Negroes are enraged at the opposition made to their relief and are determined, if not to relieve themselves to punish their enemies. We have no new accounts from the East Indies, and people are in much doubt.

I am, affectionately yours,


  1. The essays signed "Publicola" were written by John Quincy Adams in criticism of Paine's Rights of Man.

The letter of Jefferson referred to is dated July 29, 1791. In it Jefferson expresses his happiness over the publication of Rights of Man, and adds that it "has been much read here [the United States], with avidity and pleasure." He also writes: "Your observations on the subject of a copper coinage have satisfied my mind on that subject, which I confess had wavered before between difficulties." Jefferson Mss., Library of Congress.-Editor.