Tag Archives: Actor

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”?
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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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When I get paid, you will get paid.

Messrs. Gibson & Jefferson having had my tobacco in their hands for sale a considerable time, I have been in the constant expectation of sending you an order on them for one thousand dollars … by a late letter from them I find they have not yet been able to sell for a reasonable price. the object of the present is therefore merely to assure you that so soon as they shall have sold the tobacco I shall forward you such an order on them.
Thomas Jefferson to James Lyle, June 3, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
All leaders have their blind spots.
Wheat and tobacco were the only cash crops available to most Virginia farmers. Jefferson would transport his tobacco to Richmond, with instructions to his business agents, Gibson & Jefferson, on when to sell it and for what price.

Perhaps it was his unrelenting financial pressures that regularly caused Jefferson to over-estimate the size of his crops and the price they would command. He was continually on the spot to pay his debts from the sale of tobacco. In this excerpt, he was unable to honor a commitment to pay $1,000 toward a debt to an old friend because his tobacco hadn’t sold at what Jefferson considered “a reasonable price.” He promised to pay as soon as it sold.

There is some indication that payment had been due for several years. Nearly seven months later, Lyle, himself in financial distress, still had not received the money owed him.

“… your portrayal of Thomas Jefferson …
was definitely one of the highlights of our annual event.”
Executive Director, Nevada Association of Counties
Let Mr. Jefferson highlight your event!
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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“Fake news” is as old as the hills. And it appears to be true!

you will see in the papers an extra letter of Elliott’s of extraordinary aspect. it contains some absolute untruths. but what is most remarkeable is that expressions are so put together as to be literally true when strictly considered & analysed, and yet to convey to 99 readers out of 100. the most absolute & mischievous falsehoods. it is a most insidious attempt to cover [conceal] his own opinions & passions … and to fill with inquietude the republicans who have not the means of good information.
Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, May 27, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Manipulative leaders also manipulate the facts.
The content of Elliott’s letter in the newspapers is unknown as is the identity of Elliott himself. It may have been Vermont Congressman James Elliott. The President alerted his widowed son-in-law and Congressman about the that content.

This Elliott published “some absolute untruths” presented in such a manner as to appear “to be literally true,” with the effect of deceiving almost everybody. He did it in such a way to conceal his own interests while causing “inquietude [restlessness]” among faithful republicans, the President’s supporters, who had no way of discerning the truth.

“The folks really admire the ease and friendliness you show.
They were impressed with your wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm …”
Tour Director, Foretravel Motor Club
Invite us 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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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.
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We start with the bones.

The work we are now doing, is, I trust, done for posterity, in such a way that they need not repeate it. for this we are much indebted to you not only for the labour & time you have devoted to it, but for the excellent method of which you have set the example, and which I hope will be the model to be followed by others. we shall delineate with correctness the great arteries [rivers] of this great country: those who come after us will extend the ramifications as they become acquainted with them, and fill up the canvas we begin.
Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, May 25, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Visionary leaders build a strong foundation first.
Lewis and Clark were not the only river explorers in Jefferson’s administration. Just months after they departed St. Louis in May 1804, Dunbar (1749-1810) was commissioned to explore the Red and/or Arkansas Rivers in the Mississippi’s western watershed (present day Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma). This lengthy, technical letter following the completed mission concludes with Jefferson’s methodology and grand design.

The excellent work completed by Dunbar’s labor and skill made further investigation of those rivers unnecessary. It also set a high standard for others. The “arteries” or river bones of the nation, once accurately described as Dunbar had done, would become the “canvas” or skeleton which future explorers could begin to fill in.

“… [your] educational and inspiring opening keynote …
was the perfect kick-off for our own professional “voyages of discovery.”
President, National Association of Workforce Development Professionals
Inspire your members!
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.
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Your thick skin just gets thicker!

if we suffer ourselves to be frightened from our post by mere lying, surely the enemy will use that weapon: for what one so cheap to those of whose system of politics morality makes no part? the patriot, like the Christian, must learn that to bear revilings & persecutions is a part of his duty: and in proportion as the trial is severe, firmness under it becomes more requisite & praiseworthy. it requires indeed self-command. but that will be fortified in proportion as the calls for it’s exercise are repeated.
Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, May 21, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Principled leaders must stand in the face of slander.
Sullivan (1744-1808) was a Massachusetts lawyer, politician and Jefferson ally. The President commiserated with him regarding lies from the opposing party and suggested George Washington himself would not have been able to bear up against the current slanders.

Fleeing public office because of lies would only encourage the liars to use the same tactic against others. It was a cheap weapon for those without any moral sense. Enduring slander was simply one’s duty. The worse the slander, the more important and noble resistance became. That resistance, while never easy, would become less difficult with practice.

“… Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts about democracy, responsibility and leadership
at the local level surely succeeded in reinforcing the call to serve …”
Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association
Mr. Jefferson will sound a strong call to serve!
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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No drunks allowed!

… I have since learnt with great pain & from an authority not to be doubted that mr Duffield has contracted a habit of drinking to a degree which renders him unfit for a judge … if the fact abovementioned be true … my duty will not permit me to nominate him to the Senate. it would be an act of friendship to let him know this … under these circumstances I have thought it my duty to put it in your power to endeavor that he might be saved from these disagreeable circumstances by resignation.
Thomas Jefferson to John Rhea, April 30, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Compassionate leaders avoid embarrassing subordinates.
The President had commissioned Duffield to be a judge in the Orleans Territory, upon the recommendation of Rhea and one other. His term ran concurrent with Congress. Following that, he would be nominated to the US Senate, receiving a lifetime appointment if approved. Reliable intelligence since then convinced Jefferson he had made a poor choice, and there would be no Senate nomination.

If Jefferson understood correctly, he suggested “an act of friendship” by Rhea to Duffield: Get him to resign before he moved to take the job. That would avoid both unsettling his present affairs and the disgrace of being recalled from office. Jefferson couldn’t have him in that office but had no wish to expose him to embarrassment.

“Certainly having a historical figure speak to a general assembly
is a unique and memorable way to welcome people to a certain region.”
Meeting Planner, FOCUS Publications. Inc.
Want your attendees to remember their meeting?
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.
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Not unless they’ve changed their minds!

… [choose] a sound preponderance of those who are friendly to the order of things so generally approved by the nation. men hostile to that, & whose principal views are to embarras & thwart the public measures, cannot be too carefully kept out of the way of doing it. I do not mean by this to proscribe honest, well meaning men, heretofore federalists, and now sincerely disposed to concur with the national sentiment & measures.
Thomas Jefferson to Robert Williams, April 28, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Reasonable people wake up and smell the coffee!
This letter to soon-to-be Territorial Governor Williams (1773-1836) of Mississippi is very similar to the previous post, a letter to the corresponding official in the Indiana Territory. The President had been asked by the legislature in each territory to pick five men from a list of 10 for a legislative council. In each case, not knowing the individuals nominated, Jefferson delegated the decision to the Governor and suggested criteria for the selection.

One standard for Indiana was no Federalist appointments. It appeared to be a blanket rejection of anyone from the other party and an endorsement of strict political patronage. He moderated that position in this letter, written the same day.

To Indiana, he cited an opposition with no interest but to obstruct. To Mississippi, he allowed for political opponents who understood that in the election of 1800, citizens had changed political direction and reinforced that choice in 1804. He would not prohibit the appointment of “honest, well-meaning men, heretofore federalists” who recognized the political climate had changed and had shifted with it.

“…our sincere appreciation to you for your exceptional presentation
at our recently concluded convention.”
President/General Manager, Missouri Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Do you want an exceptional speaker for your meeting?
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.
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No cheats! No hacks! No speculators!

… I can only recommend an adherence to the principles which would have governed myself in making the selection. 1. to reject dishonest men. 2. those called federalists even the honest men among them, are so imbued with party prejudice … that they are incapable of weighing candidly the pro and the con … their effect in the public councils is merely to embarras & thwart them. 3. land-jobbers [speculators] are undesirable. it is difficult for them, even with honest intentions, to act without bias in questions having any relation to their personal interests.
Thomas Jefferson to William Henry Harrison, April 28, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know even honest men can act dishonorably.
The President had been asked to pick five men out of ten nominated to serve on a legislative council for the Territory of Indiana. He knew none of the nominees and delegated the selection to Harrison (1773-1841), Territorial Governor. He recommended three standards:
1. No “dishonest men”
2. None from the political opposition – Even honest ones were so partisan they could not fairly weigh an issue. Their only motivation was “to embarrass & thwart.”
3. None who could benefit financially – Again, even honest men could not “act without bias” where money was to be made or lost.

Thirty six years later, in 1841, Harrison became the 9th President of the U.S., defeating Martin Van Buren. He died just 31 days after his inauguration and was succeeded by his Vice-President, John Tyler. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, served one term as President, 1889-1893.

“Mr. Lee’s creative energy and talent were a major factor
in making this critical event the success it was.”
Program Coordinator, The Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Jefferson will make a significant contribution to your meeting!
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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Hail the universal brotherhood of talent & good will!

Th: Jefferson presents his …[thanks] …for the Jerusalem wheat he [Moore] was so kind as to forward him from his relation in Ireland … and his assurances that the talent shall not be hidden in a napkin. the good men of the world form a nation of their own, and when promoting the well-being of others never ask of what country they are. he hopes the US. will shew themselves worthy of these kindnesses
Thomas Jefferson to Robert Moore, March 11, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Inclusive leaders appreciate help from all quarters in all nations.
In a letter with a box of wheat kernels, Moore claimed the seed “to be of a Superior quality, producing double the Quantity of any other kind, and has very little Bran.” He hoped the “Climate & Soil of this Country” would make it a boon to American farmers.

Jefferson loved all things horticultural! National boundaries posed no limits for those whose mission was to improve others’ lives.

Sometime after September 2, 1800, Jefferson wrote a paper called “Summary of Public Service,” listing 11 contributions he’d made to life in America. One was the importation of a cask of upland rice from Africa. He explained why, “the greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to it’s culture; especially a bread grain.” He would promote Moore’s offering of “Jerusalem wheat,” for its potential to feed his fellow citizens.

“Congratulations on your success as a speaker …
we are still hearing positive comments and rave reviews.”
Associate Director, Oregon School Boards 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, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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