MY 1,oooth POST SINCE BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY, 2011!
No letter yet from my dear Maria, who is so fond of writing, so punctual in her correspondencies! I enjoin as a penalty that the next be written in French.—Now for news. The fever is entirely vanished from Philadelphia. Not a single person has taken infection since the great rains about the 1st. of the month, and those who had it before are either dead or recovered. All the inhabitants who had fled are returning into the city, probably will all be returned in the course of the ensuing week. The President has been into the city, but will probably remain here till the meeting of Congress to form a point of union for them before they will have had time to gather knolege and courage …
Follow closely your music, reading, sewing, house-keeping, and love me as I do you, most affectionately.
Thomas Jefferson to Maria Jefferson, November 18, 1793
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
This letter to his 15 year old daughter gently chided that he had not heard from her recently. (Ten weeks before, she had been living with him outside Philadelphia.) Ever mindful of his daughter’s education, she could correct her error by writing her next letter in French!
The yellow fever epidemic appeared to be at an end. There had been no new infections in two-and-a-half weeks, and all who had been ill were “either dead or recovered.” Those who fled were returning, and he expected all would be back within the next week.
President Washington had taken quarters in Germantown, where Jefferson was also living temporarily, about six miles northwest of Philadelphia. While the President had been into the city, he would yet reside there. Congress was being called back into session, and they needed the encouragement of knowing they would not be gathering in the disease-ravaged city.