— I was at Colo. Peter Randolph’s about a Fortnight ago, & my Schooling falling into Discourse, he said he thought it would be to my Advantage to go to the College, & was desirous I should go, as indeed I am myself for several Reasons.
In the first place as long as I stay at the Mountains the Loss of one fourth of my Time is inevitable, by Company’s coming here & detaining me from School. And likewise my Absence will in a great Measure put a Stop to so much Company, & by that Means lessen the Expences of the Estate in House-Keeping. And on the other Hand by going to the College I shall get a more universal Acquaintance, which may hereafter be serviceable to me; & I suppose I can pursue my Studies in the Greek & Latin as well there as here, & likewise learn something of the Mathematics.
I shall be glad of your opinion.
Source: Thomas Jefferson to John Harvie, Jan. 14, 1760, http://bit.ly/NPoDrV
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
The author was just 16 years old! Peter Randolph and John Harvie were executors of Peter Jefferson’s estate. (Thomas’ father died 3 years before.) Harvie controlled as least some of the funds held in trust.
Young Thomas was trying to persuade his treasurer that he should go to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, about 120 miles southeast. Even at this tender age, the boy was marshalling arguments on his behalf:
1. My other executor said I should go.
2. I lose ¼ of my study time here because of guests.
3. Many of those guests come to see me. My mother’s expenses will be less if I’m gone.
4. I will meet more people.
5. I can further my studies.
Diplomatically, he closes by soliciting his executor’s opinion.
His arguments prevailed. By March 25, just 10 weeks later, young Thomas Jefferson began paying for his meals in Williamsburg.
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The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.