1. Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap. It will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst or cold.
Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson Smith, 1825, 164
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
In 1825, at age 81, Jefferson wrote a letter to a young boy who’d been named for him. That letter began with an admonition to love and serve God, parents, neighbors and country, followed by an old poem based on the Bible’s Psalm 15, about the attributes of a good man.
The letter concluded with 10 points of advice that he called “A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life.” You might consider it to be the experience and wisdom of a lifetime of learning, summarized into 10 points, passed on from an old man very near the end of his days to a young boy whose entire life spread out before him.
These five points comprise the first half of his Decalogue. They cover personal responsibility, money and the high cost of being prideful.
The second five points are covered in the next post.
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