Tag Archives: Dissipation

If he cannot gamble and drink, he might just deliver the mail.

I suspect one single foible in Abrahams is at the bottom of all his difficulties. my confidence in him is built on yours who have tried him. here, where he is known in detail, he is considered as a gambler & given to those dissipations which that vice brings on. at N. Orleans he has found opportunities of indulging that passion … hence his sickness there, hence the death & theft of all his horses … you ask my opinion; I will give it only on the condition of your regarding it so far as your own judgment approved. I would limit Abrahams to [only the first part of] the route … and get Govr. Claiborne to find at N.O. [New Orleans another rider]from Fort Stoddart to N.O. Abrams will then have no field for dissipation & his other qualifications will have fair play.”
To Gideon Granger, August 25, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
All leaders have to deal with subordinates’ vices.
Gideon Granger was the President’s Postmaster General. The two collaborated often to provide better postal routes and extend mail delivery. The task of delivering the mail was conducted by private citizens who collected postage fees, kept a portion and remitted the rest to the federal government.

This letter details the concern over a single postal contractor named Abrahams and mail service to New Orleans. Jefferson made these observations to his trusted lieutenant.
1. All of Abrahams’ “difficulties” could be attributed to gambling and resulting bad behavior.
2. Jefferson’s only confidence in Abrahams was based on Granger’s.
3. In Washington City (now D.C.), Abrahams’ difficulties were very well known.
4. In New Orleans, Abrahams found new opportunities to gamble and drink.
5. Those dissipations led to his illness plus the death or theft of all his horses, essential for mail delivery.
6. Granger had asked Jefferson’s opinion. He gave it but stipulated Granger should accept it only to the degree that it aligned with Granger’s own judgment.
7. Divide the postal route to New Orleans in half. Give the first half to Abraham’s. Give the second half to someone else.
8. Deprived of the opportunity to gamble and drink in New Orleans, Abrahams’ “other qualifications will have fair play.”

Taken altogether, those eight observations highlight an excellent example of Jefferson’s leadership: his respect for Granger’s judgment and authority, his compassion for Abrahams, and a Solomon-like solution to a problem.

“Please know how much I appreciate all your effort.
You have provided a real service for the educators of Missouri.”
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mr. Jefferson will make the effort to provide a real service to your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Watch out for these folks!

Look steadily to the pursuits which have carried you to Philadelphia, be very select in the society you attach yourself to; avoid taverns, drinkers, smoakers, and idlers and dissipated persons generally; for it is with such that broils and contentions arise, and you will find your path more easy and tranquil.
To TJ Randolph, Nov. 24, 1808

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Caring leaders mentor younger ones to avoid troublemakers!

Jefferson wrote to his 16 year old grandson, who had gone to Philadelphia to further his education. This excerpt comes at the end of a long letter full of practical advice and warnings. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, known as Jeff, was a favorite of his grandfather’s. Jeff’s father was a troubled man, and the elder Jefferson took an active role in his grandson’s life.
Here’s the bottom line: Trouble comes from associating with drinkers, drinking establishments, smokers, idle people and those with little self-control. Avoid them for a more tranquil life!
I told you this letter was long. He concludes with this line, “The limits of my paper warn me that it is time for me to close with my affectionate Adieux.” Chances are postal rates at the time were per page and paid by the recipient, not the sender. Rather than double the expense with more advice and another page, and with a rare bit of humor, Grand-Papa closes.

Your audience would benefit from the full contents of this letter!
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak and share its wisdom with you.
Call 573-657-2739

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