I love industry & abhor severity.
Thomas Jefferson to John Strode, June 5, 1805
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
These are two very good qualities for any leader.
Strode was one of several people whose help Jefferson sought in finding a replacement for his competent but over-priced manager at Monticello. Strode was a long-time friend, and the President occasionally spent the night at his home when he traveled between Monticello and Washington City. This letter, like the others, described the many duties of an overseer.
In the middle of this letter are these six words that capture the heart of Thomas Jefferson. He loved kind, industrious people. He could have described himself the same way. He was unfailingly thoughtful and always on-task. In a letter to his daughter (one I can’t find at the moment), he advised her how much a person could accomplish if they were not wasting time but always doing something productive.
One concern Jefferson had about his current overseer, Gabriel Lilley, was his occasional severity toward the slaves. Jefferson wanted none of it. He hated that kind of behavior, whether toward his servants or anyone else.