This very day, to others the day of greatest mirth and jollity, sees me overwhelmed with more and greater misfortunes than have befallen a descendant of Adam for these thousand years past, I am sure; and perhaps, after excepting Job, since the creation of the world … I thank my God, I have the advantage of brother Job in this, that Satan has not as yet put forth his hand to load me with bodily afflictions …
To John Page, December 25, 1762
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders-in-making can be reduced to whining!
On Christmas Day, Jefferson poured out his heart to a close friend. What made his circumstances so miserable?
– He claimed to be surrounded by enemies.
– During the night, rats ate up his pocketbook, carried off his silk garters along with some new dance music.
– A hole in the roof directly over his watch let rain in, which caused it to stop working. (He accused the Devil himself of boring that hole in the exact place to accomplish this!)
– The rain also soaked a small paper rendering (silhouette?) of his girlfriend inside the watch case.
– When he attempted to remove the paper so he could dry it out, it shredded in his fingers.
– He was weary of studying boring legal textbooks.
When the sob-story was done, he asked for a letter from his friend in Williamsburg with all the news. He sent his greetings to the ladies.
If you read the whole text, available on the link above, you might think Jefferson had entered this as a creative writing assignment!
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