Blog posts may be reprinted without permission,
provided a link to www.JeffersonLeadership.com is included.

Publicly, I shut up. Privately, I explain.

seeing the impossibility that special vindications should ever keep pace with the endless falshoods invented & disseminated against me, I came at once to a resolution to rest on the justice & good sense of my fellow citizens, to consider from my general character and conduct thro’ life, not unknown to them, whether these [false or slanderous statements] were probable: and I have made it an invariable rule never to enter the lists of the public papers with the propagators of them. in private communications with my friends I have contradicted them without reserve.
To David Redick, June 19, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders have to know when to hold ’em, when to fold em’.
Redick had relayed to Jefferson an unfavorable report he’d heard from a missionary about comments Jefferson was purported to have made to Indians visiting him in Washington City. Redick wanted to give the President an opportunity to rebut the charges. His reply stated:
1. There was no end to the falsehoods invented against him.
2. He would respond to none of them publicly or in the press.
3. Instead, he would trust “the justice & good sense of my fellow citizens.”
4. They knew his “general character and conduct.”
5. From that knowledge, they could judge for themselves whether such charges were true.
6. To his friends, he had no hesitation in contradicting the charges.

Thus, he wanted to reassure Redick of the baseless nature of the charge by giving the details of his interaction with the Indians. He invited Redick to share this information with others, especially with the one who brought the accusatory report. He specifically warned Redick that his written reply was for Redick’s use only, and this letter was not to escape his possession.

“You are not the traditional conference speaker!
That’s why we hired you!”
President, Excellence in Missouri Foundation
Treat your audience to something other than the traditional conference speaker!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
This entry was posted in Personal preferences, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Publicly, I shut up. Privately, I explain.

  1. Luther Beauchamp says:

    Patrick, I still have great respect for you and for the “original” Thomas Jefferson. Many blessings to you!!

  2. Randall Reeder says:

    With the false or slanderous statements by students (and faculty?) at the U. of Virginia in 2017, perhaps it’s time for Mr. Jefferson to reprint this letter. Even if it’s against his practice of keeping issues like this private, the UVA folks could benefit from reading his wise remarks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *