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Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Get these nutjob women off my back!

I have for some time been pestered with letters & packages from two women of the name of Bampfield whom I never saw or heard of & must suppose to be mad. I have just recieved the inclosed packet. from the daughter … the mother [may be] in Baltimore, I wish to return to her, without looking into it’s contents, in order to put an end to the correspondence. perhaps the letter carriers of your office may be able to find her. if not the letters may take the usual course of unclaimed letters. I have left the packet open to give you an idea of the writer …
From Thomas Jefferson to Charles Burrall, August 9, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
No leader likes being stalked.
Burrall was Postmaster of Baltimore. The President had “been pestered” by repeated unwanted correspondence from a mother and daughter, one of whom might live in Baltimore. He didn’t know the women but from their writings thought they must “be mad.” He asked Burrall’s help in returning the letters to their source, hoping to end the nuisance.

He invited Burrall to review the letters and form his own opinion.

“Your presentation as Thomas Jefferson of the
“Seven Reasons Why Revolutions Succeed”

was very well received.”
EVP, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Mr. Jefferson has relevant wisdom for your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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I suffered no ill effects, but my horses did!

I had the hottest journey I ever went through in my life, & the most distressing to my horses. a thunder shower caught us in an uninhabited road, and we were travelling an hour & a half in it, the water falling in solid sheets. in five minutes from the beginning every drop that fell pierced to the skin. I have felt no inconvenience from it.
Thomas Jefferson to John Barnes, July 20, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Should leaders suffer like their constituents?
Barnes was a friend and Philadelphia merchant who handled some of Jefferson’s financial transactions. A letter than began about money ended with the weather.

Jefferson had just returned to Monticello, beginning his annual two month absence from Washington City and its late summer scourge of the yellow fever. Several days before in another letter, he reported temperatures in the mid-90s, and that he would delay his trip if cooler weather had not arrived. Apparently, his eagerness to see his family outweighed his concerns about the temperature.

Jefferson didn’t mind hot weather, but it was “most distressing to my horses.”  In addition to heat, they were deluged by a 90- minute thunderstorm that soaked everyone completely in the first five minutes. (He was traveling in a horse-drawn, topless carriage.) He concluded the trip had “no inconvenience,” for him, i.e. no ill-effects, health wise.

“…Patrick Lee gave a very impressive performance
for the National Unemployment Insurance Tax Conference …”
Director, Missouri Division of Employment Security
Thomas Jefferson will impress your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.

 

 

 

ltr about finances

Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

This grandfather needs help. Please!

he sollicits her on his own account, whenever she shall happen to be shopping, to get a garment for him to present to Virginia, another to Anne, and one for Ellen & Cornelia … mrs Madison knows better how to please the respective parties than Th:J. does. what she got for Anne on a former occasion was particularly gratifying to her. mrs Madison will be so good as to direct the shopkeepers to send their bills to Th:J. for paiment.
Thomas Jefferson to Dolley Payne Todd Madison, July 6 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Effective leaders, even grandfathers, know what they’re not good at.
The President asked his friend and wife of Secretary of State James Madison to help him with a little shopping. He wanted dresses for each of four granddaughters. Mrs. Madison knew the girls and would make far better selections than he. Affirming her good judgment, he mentioned how pleased eldest granddaughter Anne was with a previous selection Dolley had made for her.

Jefferson concluded with instructions to send the bill to him.

 

NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
Leave a comment Posted in Family matters, Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , , |

How much trash talk should I put up with?

the revival of antient slanders under pretext of new evidence, has induced Th:J. to do, what he never took the trouble of doing before, to revise [re-examine] some papers he happens to have here (for most of that date are at Monticello) and to make a statement of the transactions as they really took place, with a view that they shall be known to his friends at least. under this view he taxes mr Gallatin with reading the inclosed, altho’ it extends to three sheets of paper.
Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, June 21, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
An effective leader knows when to reassure his friends.
What “antient slanders” Jefferson referred to are unknown, but he rarely if ever defended himself publicly. George Washington’s advice to him years before had been to ignore slanders, whether political or personal. In the time it took to answer the attack, 10 more would spring up. It was a losing game, a sucker bet.

Still, the thin-skinned President was not immune to the effect those attacks could have on his allies. Occasionally in private correspondence to trusted associates he would deny such charges (his paternity of Sally Hemings’ children, for instance) or remind them of the facts, as he did here. Referring to himself in the third person, “Th:J.” asked his Treasury Secretary to review three enclosed pages of background material regarding the latest charges against him. He knew Gallatin would circulate that information to others.

“Not only was Mr. Lee an excellent Thomas Jefferson,
he was also very professional.”
Director of Law-Related Education, The Missouri Bar
Even lawyers recommend Thomas Jefferson!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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A public intro? No. A private one? Yes. Money? NO! NO! NO!

I recieved last night your favor of the 11th. requesting letters of introduction to England & France for your son …  being shortly to write to Genl. Armstrong in Paris & Colo. Monro in London I will with pleasure ask their attentions to your son … with respect to the pecuniary aid desired in the contingency of his wanting it, this could not possibly be taken from any public funds … no circumstance would authorise me to ask it of Genl. Armstrong or Colo. Monroe … prudent precautions taken by your son would prevent his having occasion for this recurrence …
Thomas Jefferson to Robert Gamble, June 15, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
There are limits to the honest help any leader should give.
Gamble wrote to the President asking for letters of introduction for his 23 year old son, soon to depart for Europe to promote his commercial ventures. Early in his administration, Jefferson decided it was improper for him to give such introductions in any official capacity. On rare occasions, he would write a private note to an acquaintance on behalf of someone. He offered to do that for young Gamble.

Dad also asked for a temporary line of credit, $400-500, should his son find himself in financial distress. Jefferson turned him down cold! Public funds were not an option, and he would not ask the ones receiving the introduction to help out privately. In addition to that, if his son took “prudent precautions,” there should be no need.

“… you were just outstanding as Thomas Jefferson …
I have no idea how you pulled it off so well, but you certainly did.”
Substantive Program Chairman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. He will pull it off for your audience!
Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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Your clever device solves a BIG problem for me.

Having determined never while in office to accept presents beyond a book or things of mere trifling value, I am sometimes placed in an embarrassing dilemma by persons whom a rejection would offend. in these cases I resort to counter-presents. your Polygraph, from it’s rarity & utility offers a handsome instrument of retribution to certain characters.
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Willson Peale, June 9, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders look for innovative ways to avoid giving offense.
It was common for people to give the President gifts. Some were simply expressions of gratitude while others may have been from people seeking favor. Either way, Jefferson would not accept anything of value, often returning the gift with a ‘thank you but I cannot accept.’ He would not be beholden to any gift giver.

Sometimes, though, to return a gift would give offense to the giver. Jefferson, usually sensitive to others’ opinions, hated giving offense. He found the answer in Peale’s marvelous copy machine, the polygraph. Jefferson owned several of these and was so delighted with them, he would commission one to give as a gift to donors whose sensitivities he wished to safeguard.

” … what a pleasure to have you entertain our guests …
[with your] …
top-notch performance …”
CEO, President, RiverBarge Excursion Lines, New Orleans, LA
Mr. Jefferson will impress your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.

 

Leave a comment Posted in Diplomacy, Human nature, Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

HELP!

… as a farmer and friend [I] ask your aid & counsel, in the helpless situation in which I am as to my own affairs. mr Lilly, my manager at Monticello has hitherto been on wages of £ 50. a year, and £ 10. additional for the nailing. he now writes me he cannot stay after the present year for less than £ 100. certainly I never can have a manager who better fulfills all my objects, altho’ he can neither write nor read. yet from £ 60. to £ 100. is such a jump as I am unwilling to take if I can find another, equal to such trusts during my absence … do you know any body equal to them, who could be had for Lilly’s present wages? …
Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, June 5, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Professional responsibilities directly hinder a leader’s personal ones.
Nicholas (1761-1820) was a close personal friend and political ally. Jefferson asked his help in finding another overseer for Monticello. Since he was away in Washington most of each year, he needed a capable person in that position.

His current manager, Gabriel Lilly, insisted on a pay increase from his current 60 pounds per year to 100, roughly a $200 increase in 1805. The previous post highlighted one of Jefferson’s financial woes, this one, another. The illiterate Lilly was competent in his responsibilities, though Jefferson had warned him about his harsh treatment of slaves. The financially strapped President was desperate to control some of his expenses. (There is no indication he reined in expenditures on his personal interests: Ongoing work on his home, books, wine, food, gifts for family and friends, donations to favored causes.) Lilly did not get his raise and left Monticello.

In 1815, Nicholas’ daughter would marry Jefferson’s grandson. In 1819, Nicholas’ land speculations collapsed and a $20,000 debt would fall on the co-signer of his note, Thomas Jefferson. That ended his hopes of ever getting out of debt.

“Your portrayal of Thomas Jefferson was riveting.”
Executive Director, Illinois Court Reporters Association
How many of your conference speakers have been described as “riveting”?
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
1 Comment Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

He left his wife & may marry again w/o a divorce.

… with respect to Dr. Sibley … I observe two specific charges: 1. that he left his wife but it does not appear whether the separation was through the fault or the will of her or him. 2. that he attempted to marry again. this is a charge of weight, but no proof being adduced, it cannot weigh against the integrity of his character affirmed by others, and his unquestionable good sense and information.
Thomas Jefferson to William C. C. Claiborne, May 26, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Should unsubstantiated accusations derail a leader’s career?
John Sibley (1757-1837) was a Massachusetts-born Revolutionary War surgeon who relocated to the New Orleans area in the early 1800s. He was a contracted army surgeon there and appointed by Jefferson in 1805 to be Indian Agent for the New Orleans Territory. Territorial Governor Claiborne had written the President about allegations made regarding Sibley’s personal life that might compromise his professional effectiveness.

Jefferson acknowledged the charges but noted the first lacked clarity, and the second, more serious, lacked proof. Weighed against those charges were Sibley’s “unquestionable good sense and information [provided about native people in the area]” and “his character affirmed by others.” Thus, he would not withdraw Sibley, who had a well-known professional track record, because of unsubstantiated accusations about his personal life.

“He presented a persona that blended dignity, honesty
and just the right amount of humor …”
Executive Director, Missouri Humanities Council
Would you value that kind of speaker for your audience?
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
1 Comment Posted in Human nature, Louisiana, Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Can man REALLY govern himself?  Part 10

Nor was it uninteresting to the world, that an experiment should be fairly and fully made, Whether freedom of discussion, unaided by power, is not sufficient for the propagation and protection of truth? Whether a government …  can be written down by falsehood & defamation [in the newspapers]? the experiment has been tried. you have witnessed the scene. our fellow citizens looked on cool, & collected … when the constitution called them to the decision by suffrage, they pronounced their verdict, honorable to those who had served them, and consolatory [life-affirming, cheerful] to the friend of man, who believes that he may be trusted with the controul of his own affairs.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Confident leaders trust their constituents to act wisely.
Thomas Jefferson claimed the world was watching the American “experiment,” whether open discussion without government intervention was all that was needed for truth to triumph over error. In 1804, the citizens, “cool & collected,” made their choice. In re-electing the President and a Republican Congress, they affirmed Jefferson’s leadership for less government, fewer taxes, and more individual freedom, i.e. a man’s “controul of his own affairs.”

“Patrick was an instant hit with all of our attendees.
He held them in the palm of his hand …”
Assistant to the Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Boards
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, go to FoundersArchives.gov. Cut a few words from the letter in the post, paste them into the search box at the top, with beginning and ending quotation marks, and click the GO button. The correct letter … should … come up.
Or call me. I’ll help you find it.
1 Comment Posted in Miscellaneous, Newspapers Tagged , , , , , , , |

I give the credit to others. Part 9

In giving these outlines, I do not mean, fellow citizens, to arrogate [claim without justification] to myself the merit of the measures. that is due in the first place to the reflecting character of our citizens at large … it is due to the sound discretion with which they select … those to whom they confide the legislative duties. it is due to the zeal & wisdom of the characters thus selected, who lay the foundations of public happiness in wholsome laws … and it is due to the able and faithful auxiliaries, whose patriotism has associated them with me in the executive functions.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders credit others freely and widely.
Thomas Jefferson had recited his administration’s accomplishments in curtailing government and taxes, spending wisely, acquiring Louisiana, staying out of religion and work on behalf of the Indians. Now, he refused to take claim that success as his own but acknowledged where true credit belonged:
1. First, the wisdom of America’s citizens
2. Then, the Congressional Representatives chosen by those citizens
3. The “zeal & wisdom” of those Representatives
4. His “able & faithful” co-laborers in the Executive Branch

He put citizens first, Congress and its work next, and then his capable lieutenants. He didn’t mention himself.

“Thank you for making this year’s Annual Meeting a success!
… hopefully we will work together in the future.”
Associate Executive Director, Arkansas Bar Association
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, go to FoundersArchives.gov. Cut a few words from the letter in the post, paste them into the search box at the top, with beginning and ending quotation marks, and click the GO button. The correct letter … should … come up.
Or call me. I’ll help you find it.
Leave a comment Posted in Congress, Miscellaneous, Presidency Tagged , , , , , , , , |