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Which profession is better, law or medicine? Part 2 of 2

… [doctors, like lawyers] are also numerous. yet I have remarked that wherever one sets himself down in a good neighborhood, not preoccupied, he secures to himself it’s practice, and, if prudent, is not long in acquiring whereon to retire & live in comfort. the Physician is happy in the attachment of the families in which he practises. all think he has saved some one of them, & he finds himself every where a welcome guest, a home in every house. if, to the consciousness of having saved some lives, he can add that of having at no time, from want of caution, destroyed the boon he was called on to save, he will enjoy in age the happy reflection of not having lived in vain …
To David Campbell, January 28, 1810

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
This lawyer leader preferred medicine over law.
Campbell wanted the President’s advice for his 18-year-old son, Thomas Jefferson Campbell, whether to be a lawyer or doctor. Jefferson began and ended by deferring to the young man’s ability and the father’s direction. In between, he gave his opinion of both professions.

Lawyers did not fare well, but doctors did:
1. The doctor who settled in a community and devoted himself to his practice would earn a good livelihood and retirement.
2. Everyone would believe he had saved lives.
3. He would be welcome everywhere.
4. In addition to saving lives, if no deaths could be attributed to him for lack “of caution,” in old age he could be confident his life had not been in vain.

“Thank you for, yet another, outstanding performance.”
President, Missouri Valley Adult Education Association
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Which profession is better, law or medicine? Part 1 of 2

I am sensible of the mark of esteem manifested by the name you have given to your son … you doubt between Law, & Physic [medicine], which profession he shall adopt. his peculiar turn of mind & your own knolege of things will best decide this question. Law is quite overdone. it is fallen to the ground; and a man must have great powers to raise himself in it to either honour or profit. the Mob of the profession get by it as little money, & less respect, than they would by digging the earth … [contrasted with the doctor] the lawyer has only to recollect, how many, by his dexterity, have been cheated of their right, and reduced to beggary. after all, I end where I began, with the observation that your son’s disposition, & your prudence, are the best arbiters of this question …
To David Campbell, January 28, 1810

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
A lawyer-leader’s take on the legal profession

In 1791, David Campbell wrote then Secretary of State Jefferson that he had named his first son Thomas Jefferson Campbell. Eighteen years later, the father sought the namesake’s opinion on whether his son should pursue law or medicine.

Jefferson acknowledged the naming honor and said the decision should be based on young Campbell’s natural inclination coupled with his father’s experience and wisdom. That being said, Jefferson (a practicing lawyer for seven years in the late 1760s and early 70s) weighed in with his opinion on the two professions.

Lawyers did not get high marks!
1. The practice of law was in disrepute.
2. It took an extraordinary man to achieve either honor or profit.
3. Ditch diggers earned more money and respect than most lawyers.
4. The lawyer’s legacy would be how many, by his skill, he had cheated and reduced to poverty.

Jefferson concluded by reiterating his original advice, that the decision should be made by father and son together.

“Our guests were impressed …
They found the content interesting, informative and provided great insight …”
Senior VP, Community Bankers Association of Illinois
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I do NOT want to go to court with you!

… litigation has ever been to me the most painful business I could be engaged in. to this has been owing some of the delays in the present case. the discussion however in this case has been attempered [blended with] by candor & friendship. and by the honest and mutual desire of seeking nothing but what is right. that this spirit animated your father, his letters on this subject, as well as his character prove. that it is equally yours, I feel as entire confidence as I have a knolege that my own wishes have no other object. in this spirit I tender you the assurances of my esteem & respect.
To John Harvie, December 28, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Consensus leaders choose loss rather than confrontation.
The Harvies were long-standing family friends. One John Harvie was guardian for Jefferson when he was a fatherless teenager. That Harvie’s son, also named John, was a contemporary of Jefferson’s. This John Harvie was the grandson, who had inherited a competing claim for land Jefferson believed was rightly his, acquired more than 30 years before. Each man asserted an undeniable claim to the land in question.

Jefferson hated confrontation, even with his political foes. He especially disliked it when it involved friends. Twice, Jefferson unsuccessfully sought arbitration to settle the matter. This John Harvie agreed to arbitration without conceding any claim to the land. Jefferson made these points:
1. Contending in court was the “most painful business” he knew.
2. He admitted delaying settlement in dread of that confrontation.
3. Both men had been straightforward and wanted “what is right,” even though they disagreed on what “right” was.
4. Harvie’s father was an honorable man, and surely the son would be, also.
5. That spirit would enable them to settle the matter equitably.

Two months later, they agreed to divide the land’s valuable equally. Each man, though firmly believing himself entitled to the whole thing, chose half a loaf instead out of respect for the other and the desire to avoid a fight.

“I want to compliment the MBA [Missouri Bankers Association] and Patrick Lee
for the excellent presentation he made as Thomas Jefferson …”
President and CEO, Citizens National Bank
Mr. Jefferson will make an excellent presentation for your audience!
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Climate change, 19th century style

… the change which has taken place in our climate is one of those facts which all men of years are sensible of … I remember that when I was a small boy (say 60. years ago) snows were frequent and deep in every winter; to my knee very often, to my waist sometimes … and I remember, while yet young, to have heard from very old men that, in their youth, the winters had been still colder, with deeper & longer snows. in the year 1772. (37. years ago) we had a snow 2. feet deep in the Champain [level, open]parts of this state, & 3. feet in the counties next below the mountains. that year is still marked in conversation by the designation of ‘the year of the deep snow.
To Nathaniel Chapman, December 11, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Honest leaders admit when they can’t deliver.
The physician Chapman asked Jefferson’s help in documenting climate change. Jefferson had little to offer beyond personal recollection and a weather diary he kept in Washington City.

That recollection was of colder winters and heavier snowfall in his youth. When he was 29 (in 1772), snow ranged from 2 to 3 feet across Virginia. As President, he documented seven years’ annual snowfall in the nation’s capital from 4.5″ to 21″, the average being 14.5″.

Though lacking empirical data to help Chapman, his personal experience was of noticeably warmer winters over the course of a lifetime. He apologized for not being more able to help a fellow scientist.

… thanks for your excellent program…
I received nothing but compliments for your presentation as Thomas Jefferson.”
Past President, Cole County Historical Society
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How will we spend the surplus?

that redemption once effected [paying off the national debt], the revenue thereby liberated may, by a just repartition of it among the states, & a corresponding amendment of the constitution, be applied, in time of peace, to rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, & other great objects within each state. in time of war, if injustice by ourselves or others must sometimes produce war, increased as the same revenue will be by increased population & consumption, & aided by other resources reserved for that crisis, it may meet within the year all the expences of the year, without encroaching on the rights of future generations by burthening them with the debts of the past. War will then be but a suspension of useful works; & a return to a state of peace a return to the progress of improvement.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know being debt free opens lots of doors.
Jefferson anticipated a budget surplus and suggested this for the excess:
1. Some would be returned to the states on fair basis.
2. With a Constitutional Amendment, some would be spent on infrastructure, arts, education and commerce in peacetime.
3. In war time, increased consumption by an increasing population, along with other sources of income, would provide the revenue necessary for fighting.
4. War would be only “a suspension of useful works,” and peace would bring their return.
4. The present generation must not cripple the ones to come by passing present debt into the future.

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Conference Chair, ACSM-CLSA-NALS-WFPS [Surveyors]
Conference and Exposition, Las Vegas, NV
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How do we regard other nations?

In the transaction of your foreign affairs, we have endeavored to cultivate the friendship of all nations … we have done them justice on all occasions … cherished mutual interests & intercourse on fair & equal terms. we are firmly convinced and we act on that conviction, that with nations, as with individuals, our interests, soundly calculated, will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties. and history bears witness to the fact, that a just nation is trusted on it’s word …
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Just leaders value honest relationships with other leaders.
Jefferson’s first inaugural address was forward-looking, the aspirations that would guide his administration. This report, four years later, would be an assessment of their progress toward those goals.

He began with foreign affairs, affirming the nation’s commitment to friendship with all and fairness in its dealings. He said there could be no difference between moral duties and actual performance. That rule applied both to individuals and nations. A nation which was just, like an individual who was just, could be counted on to do what they said they would do.

“Thank you for providing
the most unique keynote address we have ever had.”
Director of Operations, Indiana Telecommunication Association, Inc.
Thomas Jefferson will set a new standard for your keynote address!
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I have had it with you!

Having daily to read voluminous letters & documents for the dispatch of the public affairs, your letters have consumed a portion of my time which duty forbids me any longer to devote to them. your talents as a divine I hold in due respect … of the special communications to you of his will by the supreme being, I can have no evidence, and therefore must ascribe your belief of them to the false perceptions of your mind. it is with real pain that I find myself at length obliged to say in express terms what I had hoped you would have inferred from my silence. Accept of my respects & best wishes.
To David Austin, January 21, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Even patient leaders have their breaking points.
This is an extraordinary response from a very self-controlled but obviously exasperated man!

Since Jefferson’s inauguration 10 months earlier, the minister Austin had written to him 26 times. Austin offered advice and criticism, begged for a face-to-face meeting, almost insisted on a job, and suggested he had divine solutions to the President’s biggest problems. Finally, the confrontation-hating Jefferson had had enough. His blunt reply made these points:
1. I am too busy to read any more of your letters.
2. I respect your position as a minister.
3. Your claim God has spoken to you must be self-deception.
4. My lack of reply should have told you I wasn’t interested.
5. Since you didn’t grasp that, it grieves me that I must tell you so outright.
5. I will be respectful of you in concluding this letter.

Undeterred for a time, Austin wrote six more letters in the next four months and a seventh and final letter in 1804.

“I would highly recommend your organization consider Mr. Lee for an event
and assure you it will be very memorable for years to come.”
President, Nevada Association of Land Surveyors
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Does government help or hurt?

when we consider that this government is charged with the external & mutual relations only of these states, that the states themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, & our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organisation is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices & officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, & sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote.
First Annual (State of the Union) Address, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders understand the limits of their responsibility.
Jefferson’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution was that the job of the federal government was two-fold:
1. Foreign relations and national defense (“external …relations”)
2. Promoting commercial relationships and mediating issues between the states (“mutual relations”)

Instead, he saw a national government, desiring to do all manner of good for its citizens, that had expanded its reach far beyond those limited Constitutional responsibilities. The result was a government that was:
1. Too complicated
2. Too expensive
3. Had too many offices and too many employees
4. Sometimes hurt the very causes they intended to help

Jefferson went on in his State of the Union message to explain what he was doing to limit Washington’s overreach.

“The presentation as Thomas Jefferson was by far
the most original, educational and interesting program
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Executive Director, Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors
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The value of skill and bravery combined!

… you have shewn to your countrymen that that enemy cannot meet bravery & skill united. in proving to them that our past condescensions were from a love of peace, not a dread of them, you have deserved well of your country …
To Andrew Sterett, December 1, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know when skill alone or bravery alone won’t be enough.
Sterett (1778-1807) commanded the Enterprize in the Mediterranean and secured the first naval victory over the North African Barbary pirates. He had just returned to America after his successful mission, and his President expressed his profound appreciation.

The pirates had been plying their trade for decades and knew it well, capturing ships and holding their crews for ransom. Or demanding annual ransom from nations to leave their ships unharmed. Jefferson knew, despite his enemies’ past success, they could not stand when extraordinary skill and great bravery were combined.

Sterett’s victory accomplished another goal. He proved that America’s past acquiescence wasn’t out of fear of the pirates but out of a love of peace.

“As a meeting planner, it was a pleasure to work with you…
Thank you for a job well done.”
Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
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I wish I could help you, but …

The undersign’d … a Young Man, without a Friend, dares to sollicit the first Magistrate of a free People, for some inferior employ, in the various Departments, that, might suit his Talents….
The undersign’d is the Son of an English Gentleman of decay’d Fortunes …
William Gardiner to Thomas Jefferson, September 2, 1801, Baltimore

The nomination of the principal officers of the government only resting with me, and all subordinate places being in the gift of those immediately superintending them, I … propose … [you] make application to those directly who have the appointment in their several lines. if any vacancy be to be found it is less likely to be in the principal offices at Washington (which I know to be overflowing) than in the seaports & other distant places. it would have given me real pleasure to have been able to answer your friendly letter more to your satisfaction.
To William Gardiner, September 11, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Compassionate leaders can’t always do what they like.
Gardiner wrote a flowery letter to the President seeking a federal job. He had lost an eye as a child, was 30 years old, married, knew several languages, worked as a tutor, and enclosed letters of reference.
Jefferson responded graciously, explaining he filled the senior positions, but those appointees hired all underneath them. He returned Gardiner’s reference letters and suggested he would have better success calling on local magistrates for a local position. In a bit of wry humor, Jefferson observed that job prospects in Washington were slim, because offices were already “overflowing” with employees, holdovers from the previous Federalist administration.
He concluded by thanking the job seeker and wishing he could have helped him more.

“What a wonderful session you provided …
I thank you for your well-received keynote address.”
Missouri School Age Care Coalition
Mr. Jefferson looks forward to a wonderful session with your attendees.
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