Tag Archives: Writer

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.
Leave a comment Posted in Human nature, Politics Tagged , , , , , , , , |

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.
Leave a comment Posted in Human nature, Leadership, Politics Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

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.
Leave a comment Posted in Agriculture Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Must my plants replace my children?

… I have had the inexpressible misfortune to lose my younger daughter, who has left me two grandchildren, & my elder one has such poor health, that I have little confidence in her life. she has 6 children. determined as I am to retire at the end of 4 years, I know not if I shall have a family to retire to. I must learn philosophy from you, & seek in a family of plants, that occupation & delight which you have so fortunately found in them. it will be the greater with me as it will give me opportunities of communicating to you new objects of enjoiment.
To Madam de Tesse′, March 10, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
What private fears do our leaders labor under?
de Tesse′ was the aunt of the French hero of the American revolution, Marquis de Lafayette. She was an accomplished woman and became friends with Jefferson during his service in France in the mid-late 1780s. The two shared a strong interest in horticulture, exchanging plants and seeds for years. Most of this letter pertained to that subject. At the end came this surprisingly personal and unusual observation.

Jefferson’s daughter Maria died the year before, leaving his firstborn Martha as the only surviving child of the six born to him and his late wife. Martha was well-educated and capable. Her husband was not an emotionally stable man, and the responsibility for managing the family and estate (and some of her father’s estate, Monticello) fell on her.  Her father was obsessing over several recent illnesses and feared for her life, too. Jefferson confided that his love of plants might be the only the only family he had left when his Presidency ended four years hence. If such loss came about, at least he could continue his correspondence with Madame de Tesse about their mutual love for plants.

His fears were unfounded. Martha would thrive, present him with 12 grandchildren, 11 who survived him, and outlive her father by 10 years.

“I just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful program …”
Daniel Boone Regional Library
A wonderfully inspiring presentation awaits 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.
Leave a comment Posted in Family matters, Grief & loss, Horticulture Tagged , , , , , , , , |

I love that stuff, but duty prevents me!

Th: Jefferson … asks the favor of mr Rodney to be the bearer of his thanks to mr Copes for his communication on the theory of Magnetism … testify to him that unremitting attentions requisite to those matters which duty will not permit him to neglect, render it impossible for him to suffer himself to be drawn off by philosophical [scientific] subjects, altho’ infinitely more pleasing to his mind. he is now hurrying to get through his business in order to make a short visit to his family.
To Caesar Augustus Rodney, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Focused leaders have to say “No.” to favored things.
Thomas Jefferson wanted to thank “mr Copes” for his scientific material that had come into the President’s hands. He did not know where to write to Copes and asked his young friend Rodney (1772-1824), a Delaware lawyer and political ally, to do so for him.

Jefferson loved all things related to science! Those subjects were “infinitely more pleasing to his mind” than politics and government. Yet, he knew his public duties required his “unremitting attentions.” In addition to conveying his thanks to Copes, he asked Rodney to explain why he could not give Copes’ theory the attention it deserved, attention he would have preferred to give.

Family and science were Jefferson’s twin loves. While he could sidestep scientific interests, he would not do so with his remaining daughter and his growing brood of grandchildren. At the moment of thanking Copes, he was trying to clear the decks for “a short visit to his family” at Monticello.

“…the addition of first person interpretation was new to the conference this year …
Thomas Jefferson and William Clark have set the standard for future conferences.”
Director Of Education, Indiana Historical Society
Either Thomas Jefferson or Lewis & Clark’s William Clark will set a high standard for your meeting!
Invite either man 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.
Leave a comment Posted in Family matters, Natural history (science) Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Others do this much better than I!

Th: Jefferson presents his acknolegements to mr Perrein for the offer of his collection in Natural history [plant or animal specimens for observation]; but his pursuits in life having never permitted him to think for a moment of forming a museum himself, he cannot avail himself of mr Perrein’s proposition. on the contrary, whatever he recieves worth preservation he is in the habit of giving either to the Philosophical society or to mr Peale.
Thomas Jefferson to Jean Perrein, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
A wise leader can love something without taking it on.
Perrein knew Thomas Jefferson’s passion for natural history and offered his collection to establish a museum. The President declined, not out of lack of interest but knowing other responsibilities precluded his ever “forming a museum.”

Jefferson suggested two destinations for Perrein’s collection, both in Philadelphia. One recipient was the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s premier science organization. The other was Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), founder of America’s foremost museum.

Of Lewis and Clark’s 300 plant and animal specimens delivered the following year, Jefferson kept a few for display at Monticello. The rest went to the Society or Peale’s museum. The Society still holds a major portion of Lewis and Clark’s original journals from their epic 1804-1806 adventure.

“Patrick Lee was a keynote speaker at our … Annual Conference.
He did an outstanding job in his presentation.”
Executive Director, Wyoming School Boards Association
Mr. Jefferson will be outstanding for your conference!
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.
Leave a comment Posted in Lewis & Clark, Natural history (science) Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

They have too much pride to admit their error.

[I] had before observed what was said in the Chronicle of it’s conciliatory tendency. some are of opinion that attempts at conciliation are useless. this is true only as to distinguished leaders who had committed themselves so far that their pride will not permit them to correct themselves. but it is not true as to the mass of those who had been led astray by an honest confidence in the government & by misinformation. the great majority of these has already reconciled itself to us, & the rest are doing so as fast as the natural progress of opinion will permit.
Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Elwyn, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders value humility.
Elwyn wrote a political pamphlet that was published in Boston and had received a favorable review in the Chronicle newspaper. He sent a copy of his pamphlet to the President, who apparently had read the Chronicle’s review. The tone of the pamphlet must have hoped for some reconciliation between political opponents.

Jefferson disagreed with those who maintained “attempts at reconciliation are useless.” That was true of leaders whose views were so rigid that pride prevented them from changing their minds. It was not true of the “mass” of citizens who had been led astray “by misinformation.” Reconciliation had happened for most already and would for the remainder in due time.

In an 1825 letter to a child, summarizing what he had learned in 81 years, Jefferson wrote, among other things, “Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.”

“… thank you for your excellent presentation …
your portrayal and your responses to questions from the audience were right on the mark.”
Secretary/Treasurer, Virginia Association of Surveyors
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.
Leave a comment Posted in Human nature, Politics Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Will you buy one? Yes!

I … solicit thy patronage to a work which I am about to print … It is Brown’s of Haddington, historical, Geographical, Chronological, Etymological and Critical Dictionary of the Holy Bible
its matter is merely intended to elucidate the Holy Scriptures, and not to favor the favourite dogma of Sect or party …
My intention is to have it neatly done, and printed on paper made within thirty miles of this place, and bound in skins of the growth of our hills & vallie’s …
Pittsburgh is becoming a place of business—much of a manufacturing town—I want to lend my assistance in my way, to forward its progress…
I am thy unknown friend.
Zadok Cramer to Thomas Jefferson, Febry 14, 1805

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Cramer and subscribes with pleasure for a copy of Brown’s dictionary of the bible which he proposes to print at Pittsburg.
Thomas Jefferson to Zadok Cramer, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders enjoy having their right buttons pushed!
At age 31, the entrepreneurial Cramer (1773-1814) had already established himself as a bookbinder and publisher in western Pennsylvania. He wanted the President to be the first pledge to buy his reprint of a comprehensive Bible dictionary.
Thomas Jefferson was all in, for multiple reasons:
1. He loved books!
2. He was a student of the Bible and a supporter of religion in general.
3. This work was to educate only, not proselytize.
4. It would be produced entirely in America, with local paper for printing and local leather for binding.
5. It would showcase the product of a western businessman in a prospering western city.

This sketch highlights the enterprising Cramer. Although it makes no mention of this book, in early 1808 he shipped the first of two volumes of the Dictionary to the President.

“In addition to giving you high ratings, participants repeatedly indicated
that you were “inspiring,” “very educational,” and “outstanding.” “

Conference Manager, Nebraska Association of School Boards
Does that sound promising 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.
Leave a comment Posted in Commerce, Religion Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

You can be debt free! (Pt. 2 of 2)

… you have contracted a great debt to some British traders …which you honestly wish to pay … it will be better for you to sell some of that [your land] to pay your debts … your lands are your own, my children, they shall never be taken from you by our people or any others. you will be free to keep or to sell as yourselves shall think most for your own good … We have lately obtained … all the country beyond the Missisipi called Louisiana … but it is very far off, and we would prefer giving you lands there, or money & goods as you like best, for such parts of your lands on this side the Missisipi as you are disposed to part with. should you have any thing to say on this subject now, or at any future time, we shall be always ready to listen to you.
Thomas Jefferson to the Chickasaw Nation Chiefs, March 7, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Reasonable leaders offer options, not demands.
In the previous post, the President thanked the loyal Chickasaws and urged them away from hunting for sustenance and toward agriculture. He offered the nation’s help to do that. Now, he raised the ante.

Since the tribe had become indebted to the British, selling some of their lands to the U.S. would erase that debt. Their remaining land would be adequate for farming. Even better, he could trade unpopulated land far away, west of the Mississippi River.

Regardless, Jefferson affirmed their land was theirs to do with as they pleased. Still, he was not averse to adding pressure to induce their sale. However “unenlightened” his stance might be regarded today, his administration’s conduct toward natives was far more respectful and benevolent than some of his successors.

“Thanks to you, our Institute Planning Committee was showered with accolades
for its wisdom and good judgment
in inviting William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark team …”

Executive Director, Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors
Thomas Jefferson has honorable friends who would be delighted to inspire your members!
Invite them to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Native Americans Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

My Indian friends, let us help you! (Part 1 of 2)

I am happy to recieve you at the seat of the government of the twenty two nations [the 22 states of the U.S]… our fathers have told us, that your nation never spilled the blood of an American, and we have seen you fighting by our side, & cementing our friendship by mixing our blood in battle against the same enemies …
Your country, like all those [tribal lands] on this side the Missisipi, has no longer game sufficient to maintain yourselves, your women & children confortably by hunting. we therefore wish to see you undertake the cultivation of the earth … a little labour in the earth will produce more food than the best hunts you can now make … we shall very willingly assist you in this course, by furnishing you with the necessary tools & implements, and with persons to instruct you in the use of them.
Thomas Jefferson to the Chickasaw Nation Chiefs, March 7, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Responsible leaders offer help to marginalized people.
The Chickasaw people lived along the northern reaches of the Tombigbee, Yazoo and Mobile Rivers in what is now Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama.

Indian Chiefs regularly visited the President in Washington City, where he committed his addresses to them to writing. He welcomed and thanked them for their loyalty, which included fighting the British three decades earlier.

Jefferson then returned to a familiar theme in his relations with the natives, that agriculture held a much more promising future for them than hunting. He promised U.S. help in any way to assist that transition. He had additional motives which will be the subject of the next post.

“One of the audience members even went so far as to take on the persona of Aaron Burr
and confronted President Jefferson who, although not expecting such an event,
responded with sharp wit and ready facts.”
Interim Executive Director, Kentucky Bar 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, go to FoundersArchives.gov. Cut a few words from the letter in the post, paste them into the search box at the top, with beginning and ending quotation marks, and click the GO button. The correct letter … should … come up.
Or call me. I’ll help you find it.
Leave a comment Posted in Agriculture, Native Americans Tagged , , , , , , , , , |