Tag Archives: Protege

We gotta help this kid!

The bearer hereof, mr Smith, is the son of Gen. Smith of Baltimore … who wishes to qualify himself to be useful to his country hereafter, will visit Paris, and will wish to derive from the visit, all the useful information he can acquire … my own desire to aid the laudable views of our young men … & knowing your particular sense of the importance of a right direction in youth … I take the liberty of presenting him to you … he will prove himself not unworthy of your attentions.
To Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, July 29, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise old leaders continue to mentor potential young ones.
Du Pont (1739-1817) was a French intellectual who became Jefferson’s friend during his diplomatic service in Paris. Du Pont emigrated to America in 1800 to escape the guillotine.

Both men recognized the importance of educating gifted young men whose place in life positioned them for “the care of the liberties & interests of their country.” The son of Jefferson’s old friend, Gen. Smith, was such a prodigy, and Jefferson wrote a reference letter, asking Du Pont to introduce him as widely as possible.

The editor’s footnotes to this letter, found in the link above, translate two Latin sentences Jefferson used to conclude this letter: “You and your family and your possessions are all the objects of my closest care, and shall be while I live. Good-bye” and “take care that you fare well, and love me as you are loved”. I’ve edited thousands of Jefferson’s letters in the five years of this blog. I don’t recall ever seeing so personal a benediction.

One of Du Pont’s sons, trained as a chemist, founded a gunpowder manufacturing company in Delaware in 1802. We know the resulting multinational conglomerate today as DuPont.

“The President was outstanding!”
Executive Director, Missouri Society of Professional Engineers
Mr. Jefferson will be outstanding for your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Are you too old to teach?

A part of my occupation, and by no means the least pleasing, is the direction of the studies of such young men as ask it. They place themselves in the neighboring village [Charlottesville], and have the use of my library and counsel, and make a part of my society. In advising the course of their reading, I endeavor to keep their attention fixed on the main objects of all science, the freedom and happiness of man. So that coming to bear a share in the councils and government of their country, they will ever keep in view the sole objects of all legitimate government …
To Thaddeus Koscuisko, February 26, 1810

Koch & Peden’s Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, P. 352

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Retired leaders can continue to mentor leaders-to-be.
A portion of this letter to the Polish-born soldier who had served America’s revolution was devoted to the nation’s defenses in the face of increasing British offenses on the high seas. Some detailed his post-retirement activities at age 66, no doubt to be the subject of another post or two. The portion excerpted here deals with one of those activities, one he found most satisfying.
To young men who would move nearby, Jefferson offered his library and advice, and welcomed them into the circle of his friends. He fully expected these protégés to become involved in government. He wanted them well-grounded in “the sole objects of all legitimate government.” That would include “the freedom and happiness of man.”

“I am pleased to give Patrick Lee my highest recommendation as a speaker.”
 Executive Director, Wyoming School Boards Association
Invite Patrick Lee (aka Th:Jefferson) to inspire your audience!
Call both of them at 573-657-2739

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