Following their estrangement after the contentious election of 1800, John Adams made the first move towards reconciliation with Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1812 when he sent him a note announcing the delivery of “…a Packett containing two Pieces of Homespun lately produced in this quarter by one who was honoured in his youth with some of your Attention and much of your kindness.” Assuming Adams was sending samples of cloth, TJ responded to Adams with a lengthy discussion of the virtues of producing homespun cloth in America. Instead, Adams was referring to a two-volume collection of lectures on rhetoric by his son, John Quincy Adams. Adams had inscribed the title page “John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 1. 1812.” His reply to Jefferson? “The Material of the Samples of American Manufacture that I sent you, was not Wool nor Cotton nor Silk nor Flax nor Hemp nor Iron nor Wood. They were spun from the Brain of John Quincy Adams.” Their friendship was forever repaired.
To fresh starts of all kinds made on the first day of the New Year.
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
"I do not know how far you may suffer, as I do, under the persecution of letters, of which every mail brings a fresh load. They are letters of inquiry, for the most part, always of good will, sometimes from friends whom I esteem, but much oftener from persons whose names are unknown to me, but written kindly and civilly, and to which, therefore, civility requires answers. Perhaps, the better known failure of your hand in its function of writing, may shield you in greater degree from this distress, and so far qualify the misfortune of its disability. I happened to turn to my letter-list some time ago, and a curiosity was excited to count those received in a single year. It was the year before the last. I found the number to be one thousand two hundred and sixty-seven, many of them requiring answers of elaborate research, and all to be answered with due attention and consideration. Take an average of this number for a week or a day, and I will repeat the question suggested by other considerations in mine of the 1st. Is this life? At best it is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle but in death. To such a life, that of a cabbage is paradise."