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[349] without the least restraint, very pleasantly, upon all subjects. In politics, his interest seems nearly gone. He takes no newspaper but the Richmond Enquirer, and reads that reluctantly; but on all matters of literature, philosophy, and general interest, he is prompt and even eager. He reads much Greek and Saxon. I saw his Greek Lexicon, printed in 1817; it was much worn with use, and contained many curious notes. . . . .

Mr. Jefferson seems to enjoy life highly, and very rationally; but he said well of himself the other evening, ‘When I can neither read nor ride, I shall desire very much to make my bow.’ I think he bids fair to enjoy both, yet nine or ten years . . . . Write to us, my dear William, as soon as you can, and very often, and we will do all we can to send you speedy and pleasant answers.

Yours always,


To Wm. H. Prescott.

Baltimore, January 16, 1825.
We received your long and very entertaining letter, my dear William, above a week ago, at Washington . . . . . I should have answered it at once, but we were then too busy to do what we would, and I was obliged to postpone writing. We arrived here last night.

The first time we were in Washington we passed a little less than a fortnight; the last time, between three and four weeks. It is altogether a very curious residence; very different from anything I have seen in any part of the world. The regular inhabitants of the city, from the President downwards, lead a hard and troublesome life. It is their business to entertain strangers, and they do it, each one according to his means, but all in a very laborious way. . . . .

The President gives a dinner, once a week, to thirty or forty people—no ladies present—in a vast, cold hall. He invited me to one, but I did not go. I was, however, at a very pleasant dinner of only a dozen, that he gave to Lafayette, when the old gentleman made himself very agreeable; but this was quite out of the common course. . . . . . Mr. Adams1 gives a great dinner once a week, and Mrs. Adams a great ball once a fortnight; it keeps her ill half the time, but she is a woman of great spirit, and carries it through with a high hand. . . . . Calhoun's, however, was the pleasantest of the ministerial dinners, because he invited ladies, and is the most agreeable person in conversation at Washington,—I mean of the Cabinet,—and Mrs.


1 Then Secretary of State.

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