Look steadily to the pursuits which have carried you to Philadelphia, be very select in the society you attach yourself to; avoid taverns, drinkers, smoakers, and idlers and dissipated persons generally; for it is with such that broils and contentions arise, and you will find your path more easy and tranquil.
To TJ Randolph, Nov. 24, 1808
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Caring leaders mentor younger ones to avoid troublemakers!
Jefferson wrote to his 16 year old grandson, who had gone to Philadelphia to further his education. This excerpt comes at the end of a long letter full of practical advice and warnings. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, known as Jeff, was a favorite of his grandfather’s. Jeff’s father was a troubled man, and the elder Jefferson took an active role in his grandson’s life.
Here’s the bottom line: Trouble comes from associating with drinkers, drinking establishments, smokers, idle people and those with little self-control. Avoid them for a more tranquil life!
I told you this letter was long. He concludes with this line, “The limits of my paper warn me that it is time for me to close with my affectionate Adieux.” Chances are postal rates at the time were per page and paid by the recipient, not the sender. Rather than double the expense with more advice and another page, and with a rare bit of humor, Grand-Papa closes.
Your audience would benefit from the full contents of this letter!
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak and share its wisdom with you.