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I am staying out of this mess! Always have. Part 1

You must be persuaded that great sensibility would be excited in this State, could it be believed that the President of the United States would interfere in our elections; and without any other authority than my confidence in you, I have flatly denied any such interference.
Michael Leib to Thomas Jefferson, July 22, 1805

I see with extreme concern the acrimonious dissensions into which our friends in Pensylvania have fallen, but have long since made up my mind on the propriety of the general [national] government’s taking no side in state quarrels…
Thomas Jefferson to Michael Leib, August 12, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders keep their noses out of other people’s disagreements.
The Republican governor of Pennsylvania, Robert McKean, was being challenged for that office by another Republican, Simon Snyder. Michael Leib reported that Jefferson had been represented as favoring McKean over Snyder. Leib alerted the President to the danger of such action and to local disputants, denied Jefferson’s involvement.

The President hated controversy and confrontation, particularly between friends or political allies. He would try to defuse such feelings if possible and take no side, regardless. State quarrels were not his to mediate, no matter how much they troubled him.

“Thank you for playing a key role
in making our 118th Annual Conference such a great success.”
Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Mr. Jefferson will contribute greatly to the success of 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 Politics Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Get these nutjob women off my back!

I have for some time been pestered with letters & packages from two women of the name of Bampfield whom I never saw or heard of & must suppose to be mad. I have just recieved the inclosed packet. from the daughter … the mother [may be] in Baltimore, I wish to return to her, without looking into it’s contents, in order to put an end to the correspondence. perhaps the letter carriers of your office may be able to find her. if not the letters may take the usual course of unclaimed letters. I have left the packet open to give you an idea of the writer …
From Thomas Jefferson to Charles Burrall, August 9, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
No leader likes being stalked.
Burrall was Postmaster of Baltimore. The President had “been pestered” by repeated unwanted correspondence from a mother and daughter, one of whom might live in Baltimore. He didn’t know the women but from their writings thought they must “be mad.” He asked Burrall’s help in returning the letters to their source, hoping to end the nuisance.

He invited Burrall to review the letters and form his own opinion.

“Your presentation as Thomas Jefferson of the
“Seven Reasons Why Revolutions Succeed”

was very well received.”
EVP, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Mr. Jefferson has relevant wisdom for your audience.
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 Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , , |

I need everyone’s opinions!

General Dearborne has seen all the papers. I will ask the favor of you to communicate them to mr Gallatin & mr Smith—from mr Gallatin I shall ask his first opinions, preparatory to the stating formal questions for our ultimate decision.
Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, August 7, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders know five heads are better than one.
The President was circulating a packet of correspondence and papers regarding a failed diplomatic effort toward Spain. He needed to formulate a new policy toward that nation that also considered U.S. relations with England and the rest of Europe.

Jefferson suggested what he thought that policy might be. He wanted the opinions of all his cabinet: Madison, Secretary of State; Dearborne, Secretary of War; Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury; and Smith, Secretary of the Navy. (The Attorney General’s office was vacant.)

With their opinions in hand, he would formulate a final list of questions they would all consider before he drafted the nation’s position. Even that summation would be subject to their review and comment. He wanted his administration to speak with a single, unified voice.

“Patrick was a pleasure to work with … professional, timely, and accurate …”
Conference and Travel Manager, Kansas City Life Insurance Company
Thomas Jefferson will be a pleasure to work with, too.
Invite him to speak to your audience. 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 Diplomacy, Leadership styles, Presidency Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Patrick Henry, good and bad

were I to give his character in general terms, it would be of mixed aspect. I think he was the best humored man in society I almost ever knew, and the greatest orator that ever lived. he had a consummate knolege of the human heart, which directing the efforts of his eloquence enabled him to attain a degree of popularity with the people at large never perhaps equalled. his judgment in other matters was inaccurate in matters of law it was not worth a copper: he was avaritious & rotten hearted. his two great passions were the love of money & of fame: but when these came into competition the former predominated.
Thomas Jefferson to William Wirt, August 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Even-handed leaders acknowledge both virtues and faults.
Wirt (1772-1834) was a lawyer, writer and public official. He was collecting memories of the late Patrick Henry, who died in 1799.  Wirt knew of the lengthy, contentious relationship between Henry and Jefferson and asked the latter’s opinion, “His faults, as well as his virtues.”

Jefferson began with Henry’s virtues. He
1. Was a very social man.
2. Was the greatest orator in history.
3. Understood the human heart very well.
4. Coupled that understanding with his eloquence to achieve a very high level of popularity.

And then his faults:
1. He lacked good judgment.
2. His legal knowledge was worthless.
3. He was greedy and mean-spirited.
4. He loved both money and fame.
5. When he could not have both, he chose money.

Jefferson offered this candid assessment only because the trustworthy Wirt asked for it, promised no one would read it but himself, and the letter would be returned to its author.

Two years later, the President appointed Wirt to be the prosecutor in Aaron Burr’s treason trial. President Monroe would appoint Wirt to be Attorney General in 1817, a position he would hold for a dozen years.

“Your presentation, particularly your response to questions, was most impressive.”
Member, Program Committee, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
Mr. Jefferson enjoys a rousing Q&A session after his remarks!
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 Personalities of others Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

He has earned mercy, not judgment.

I am informed that James Hemings my servant has put himself under your superintendance until he can hear from me on the subject of his return. I can readily excuse the follies of a boy and therefore his return shall ensure him an entire pardon. during my absence hereafter I should place him with Johnny Hemings and Lewis at house-joiner’s work. if you will get him a passage in the Richmond stage I will get mr Higginbotham to pay his fare on his arrival at Milton.
Thomas Jefferson to James Oldham, July 20, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders take difficult circumstances into account.
Hemings, one of Jefferson’s young slaves, had abandoned Monticello a few months before and was working odd jobs between Richmond and Norfolk. Someone who knew of Hemings’ whereabouts asked James Oldham, Jefferson’s former carpenter now living in Richmond, if he should confine Hemings until he could be returned. Oldham said no, that Hemings could stay with him until Jefferson’s wishes were known.

Hemings was willing to return to Monticello if he was not placed under the overseer, Gabriel Lilley, who had treated him harshly. (Lilley was known for his severe treatment, and Jefferson was seeking his replacement.) Oldham was now asking his former employer’s opinion.

Jefferson would grant Hemings, whom he called a servant, not a slave, a full pardon for his youthful folly. Acknowledging Hemings’ legitimate concern, upon his return, he would be freed from Lilley and placed under a skilled carpenter, where he might learn a trade.

“… he set the bar very high with his
remarkable portrayal of Thomas Jefferson.”
Chairman of the Board, Sedalia Heritage Foundation
Mr. Jefferson will set a high bar for other presenters at 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, Slavery Tagged , , , , , , , , |

I suffered no ill effects, but my horses did!

I had the hottest journey I ever went through in my life, & the most distressing to my horses. a thunder shower caught us in an uninhabited road, and we were travelling an hour & a half in it, the water falling in solid sheets. in five minutes from the beginning every drop that fell pierced to the skin. I have felt no inconvenience from it.
Thomas Jefferson to John Barnes, July 20, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Should leaders suffer like their constituents?
Barnes was a friend and Philadelphia merchant who handled some of Jefferson’s financial transactions. A letter than began about money ended with the weather.

Jefferson had just returned to Monticello, beginning his annual two month absence from Washington City and its late summer scourge of the yellow fever. Several days before in another letter, he reported temperatures in the mid-90s, and that he would delay his trip if cooler weather had not arrived. Apparently, his eagerness to see his family outweighed his concerns about the temperature.

Jefferson didn’t mind hot weather, but it was “most distressing to my horses.”  In addition to heat, they were deluged by a 90- minute thunderstorm that soaked everyone completely in the first five minutes. (He was traveling in a horse-drawn, topless carriage.) He concluded the trip had “no inconvenience,” for him, i.e. no ill-effects, health wise.

“…Patrick Lee gave a very impressive performance
for the National Unemployment Insurance Tax Conference …”
Director, Missouri Division of Employment Security
Thomas Jefferson will impress your audience!
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.

 

 

 

ltr about finances

Leave a comment Posted in Miscellaneous, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Don’t pick them all. Only a select few, instead.

…  if you appoint all the members of the legislature to be members of the institution, it will gratify no particular member, nor lead him to feel any more interest in the institution than he does at present. on the other hand, a judicious selection of a few, friends of science, or lovers of the military art, will be gratifying to them inasmuch as it is a selection, and inspire them with the desire of actively patronising it’s interests.
The contingent fund of the war department, is applicable only to objects known to the law. it cannot be applied to any thing merely voluntary & unauthorised by the law.
Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Williams, July 14, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
If all are “leaders,” none will lead.
Williams (1751-1815) had been appointed by Jefferson to be the first superintendent of the new military academy at West Point, NY. He wanted to establish separate a military scientific society and asked the President which esteemed persons should be appointed to promote it. He suggested all members of Congress, so as not to give offense by leaving someone out.

Jefferson replied that if all were appointed, the position wouldn’t gratify any of them. Better to pick a few qualified people with a particular interest in science or “the military art,” confident they would be active boosters.

Williams also asked, citing the public benefit of the society, that a small allowance from the war department’s contingency fund be allocated to cover the expenses of creating that society. The President said no. Those funds could not go to anything outside the Constitution or unapproved by Congress.

“… it quickly became evident that our attendees …
[were] listening to Thomas Jefferson …
not Patrick Lee portraying [him].”
Deputy Executive Director, Missouri Rural Water Association
Invite Thomas Jefferson to inspire your audience.
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 Military / Militia, Natural history (science) Tagged , , , , , , , |

Let’s start over, shall we?

My dearest Anne
I do not know whether it is owing to your laziness or mine that our letters have been so long intermitted [suspended]. I assure you it is not to my want of love to you, and to all of those about you, whose welfare I am always so anxious to learn. but it is useless to discuss old bankrupt scores. we will therefore burn our old accounts, and begin a new one on the 1st. day of October next.
Thomas Jefferson to Anne Cary Randolph, July 6, 1806

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know when a do-over is called for.
Anne Randolph, age 15, was Jefferson’s first grandchild. He wrote to his grandchildren often and encouraged, often insisted, they write him regularly. They rarely complied to his satisfaction.
Grandpapa, as he was known to them, again drew attention to the lack of correspondence but acknowledged the problem might be on his end. (Very likely it was not, for no one would ever accuse him of “laziness” or lack of attention to his sole surviving child and her growing family.)
Regardless the cause, he wrote it was “useless to discuss old bankrupt scores,” suggesting they burn them and start over. It was a philosophy he applied to his political leadership as well, being willing to set past offenses aside and start again if an opponent was similarly-minded.

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, Leadership styles Tagged , , , , , , , , |

This grandfather needs help. Please!

he sollicits her on his own account, whenever she shall happen to be shopping, to get a garment for him to present to Virginia, another to Anne, and one for Ellen & Cornelia … mrs Madison knows better how to please the respective parties than Th:J. does. what she got for Anne on a former occasion was particularly gratifying to her. mrs Madison will be so good as to direct the shopkeepers to send their bills to Th:J. for paiment.
Thomas Jefferson to Dolley Payne Todd Madison, July 6 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Effective leaders, even grandfathers, know what they’re not good at.
The President asked his friend and wife of Secretary of State James Madison to help him with a little shopping. He wanted dresses for each of four granddaughters. Mrs. Madison knew the girls and would make far better selections than he. Affirming her good judgment, he mentioned how pleased eldest granddaughter Anne was with a previous selection Dolley had made for her.

Jefferson concluded with instructions to send the bill to him.

 

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, Miscellaneous Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Fake news, on steroids!

Accounts five & thirty years, since the Date of this Transaction, spent in the regular Discharge of public, & private Duties, with an Uniformity of Tenor which I am not afraid to rest on the Verdict of those who have been known me—
They will judge of me by my whole Life, & not by a single false Step taken at the Commencement of it
To you I have said these Things, because I have known you from our early youth, & wish to stand approved by you—
Thomas Jefferson to William Fitzhugh, Jr. July 1, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders reassure friends who might have reason to doubt.
Fitzhugh (1741-1809) was a Virginia plantation owner, statesman, and life-long friend of Jefferson’s, who was responding to newspaper accounts alleging multiple accounts of his immoral behavior. Specifically, Jefferson addressed a charge regarding his improper conduct toward a neighbor’s wife in 1768 or ’69. He acknowledged the truth of that charge, then laid out his defense:
1. For 35 years, he had conducted his public and private life with a “Uniformity of Tenor.”
2. He did not fear the verdict of those who knew him well.
3. They would judge him by the whole of his life, not by a single youthful indiscretion.
4. You (Fitzhugh) are one of those who’ve known me since my youth, and I care what you think about me.

Another letter written the same day was the subject of a 2016 post. It dealt with this subject but in a more detailed manner. In essence, by admitting to the Walker indiscretion, Jefferson denied the allegations regarding Sally Hemings.

 “The city officials were captivated …
and would have posed questions for another hour if time had been available.”
Executive Director, Missouri Municipal League
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.
2 Comments Posted in Human nature, Morality, Sally Hemings, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |