Tag Archives: Reconciliation

That really hurt! (But it was the only hurt.) Part 3 of 4

I can say with truth that one act of mr Adams’s life …  and one only, ever gave me a moment’s personal displeasure. I did consider his last appointments to office as personally unkind. they were from among my most ardent political enemies, from whom no faithful cooperation could ever be expected, and laid me under the embarrasment of acting thro’ men whose views were to defeat mine; or to encounter the odium of putting others in their places. it seemed but common justice to leave a successor free to act by instruments of his own choice.
To Abigail Smith Adams, June 13, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Should a leader deliberately handicap his successor?
After appreciating her condolences on the death of his daughter and affirming his unflagging respect for Mrs. Adams, he turned to the differences between himself and her husband, the former President, John Adams. Those differences he described as political, not personal … except in one instance.

When Adams had been defeated for re-election by someone of the opposite party (Jefferson), but before he left office, he filled a number of vacancies with men he knew would be strong opponents of the new President. That left Jefferson in a no-win situation. He could try to work with people who would deliberately undermine him, or dismiss them and experience considerable public backlash.

Jefferson considered it “but common justice” to let him choose his own officers. That her husband sought to deprive him of that choice was the “one act of mr Adams’s life … and one only” that was “personally unkind.”

” … the Society received more favorable comments and inquiries …
than we have had about any other program …”
First Vice President, Boone County Historical Society
Mr. Jefferson will make a lasting impression on your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Death has opened a door for me. Part 2 of 4

… [I] am thankful for the occasion … of expressing my regret that circumstances should have arisen which have seemed to draw a line of separation between us. the friendship with which you honoured me has ever been valued, and fully reciprocated; & altho’ events have been passing which might be trying to some minds, I never believed yours to be of that kind, nor felt that my own was. neither my estimate of your character, nor the esteem founded in that, have ever been lessened for a single moment, although doubts whether it would be acceptable may have forbidden manifestations of it.
To Abigail Smith Adams, June 13, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders seek to restore damaged friendships.
Earlier in this letter, Jefferson expressed his appreciation for Adams’ condolences on the recent death of his daughter, Maria. He used that opening to address another subject, his regret about any damage to their friendship which resulted from his replacing her husband as President.

He expressed appreciation for the honor of her friendship. He esteemed her highly. Although political differences took their toll on some friendships, he did not believe it had affected theirs. He had no doubts about the quality of her character, and his high regard for her remained unchanged.

He waffled a little at the end when he expressed doubt whether she would have received any earlier affirmation of his esteem. That doubt “may have forbidden” his making that position known. In other words, he had said nothing out of concern that she wouldn’t accept it, rather than taking the initiative to repair any misunderstandings.

“We have used Mr. Lee on various trips over the last five years …
We intend to use Patrick Lee on future trips …”
Vice-President, RiverBarge Excursions, New Orleans, LA
Audiences invite Mr. Jefferson back time and again.
You can do the same. Call 573-657-2739
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On the death of our children … Part 1 of 4

The affectionate sentiments … in your letter of May 20. towards my dear departed daughter, have awakened in me sensibilities natural to the occasion, & recalled your kindnesses to her which I shall ever remember with gratitude & friendship. I can assure you with truth they had made an indelible impression on her mind, and that, to the last, on our meetings after long separations, whether I had heard lately of you, and how you did, were among the earliest of her enquiries. in giving you this assurance I perform a sacred duty for her…
To Abigail Smith Adams, June 13, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Suffering leaders value encouragement from fellow sufferers.
Still smarting over grievances between her husband, the previous President, and his successor, the current President, Abigail Adams delayed acknowledging the death of his daughter. Finally overwhelmed by her affections for Maria Jefferson, she wrote a sincere letter of condolence. Three of her six children preceded her in death, and she knew what her former friend was experiencing. (Maria’s passing marked the fifth of Jefferson’s six children to die.)

Jefferson thanked Abigail, reminiscing about when she and Maria became close. Maria never waned in her affection for Mrs. Adams and always asked her father for news about her. Acknowledging Adams’ kindness to his daughter allowed him to “perform a sacred duty for her…”

The President had more to express to the former First Lady. That will be the subject of future posts.

” … please accept this letter of thanks and appreciation
for your outstanding presentation … “
Staff Advisory Council Chair, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
University of Missouri
Mr. Jefferson addressed the staff in a huge garage amidst multiple farm machines.
He will speak in (almost) any venue. Invite him! Call 573-657-2739
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Despite our differences, join me for a meal, please.

Th: Jefferson requests the favour of The Honble Mr. Dwight Foster to dine with him the day after tomorrow—at half after three, or at whatever later hour the house may rise.
Monday Feb 1st. 1802.
The favour of an answer is asked.
To Dwight Foster, February 1, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders make efforts to connect with their opponents.
I have featured Jefferson’s dinner invitations before, drawing attention to his use of his name alone, rather than his predecessors’ practice of including their title, “President Washington/Adams requests …” This invitation shows another aspect of the President’s thinking.
Foster was a lawyer and Massachusetts Federalist, a former Congressman and now Senator. We don’t know the agenda for that dinner, but we know this: Jefferson invited a political opponent to join him for an evening meal at the President’s House. Chances are the primary focus was intellectual discussion over good food and wine. Anything political would have come later. Bridge-building, 101.

“… I would like to say how much we enjoyed your leadership addresses
as Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Boone.”
Washington Municipal Treasurer’s Association, Lake Chelan, WA
Mr. Jefferson and his compatriots have leadership wisdom for your audience!
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You are both admirable. men. Do not be divided!

I am sorry to learn that an uneasiness has grown up between the Chevalier Yrujo and yourself. as far as is within my own observation I can bear witness in favor of both that I have never heard either say a word to the prejudice of the other … [Yrujo’s] worth & candour being known to us would facilitate affairs between the two governments … and I observed your conduct on all subsequent occasions to have been in the same spirit.
To Joseph Yznardi, Sr., January 10, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders seek to mend fences between feuding parties.
Yrujo had been Spain’s minister to America, recalled at President Adam’s request over a disagreement Yrujo had with Adams’ Secretary of State Pinckney. Yznardi functioned both in Spain’s diplomatic corps and as one of Jefferson’s wine merchants.
Learning that Yrujo’s recall had caused a breach between the two respected Spaniards, Jefferson was eager to help mend the rift. He did that in a way that affirmed his regard for both men, testifying:
1. He never heard either say an ill word about the other.
2. Yrujo’s character would be an asset in America’s dealings with Spain.
3. Yznardi demonstrated “the same spirit” as Yrujo.

“Our mission is to deliver real value to our audience.
Due to your efforts, we fulfilled that goal.”
Rural Cellular Association, Boston, MA
Mr. Jefferson will deliver real value to your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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