Days of wine, and not roses, but war! (And BFF!)


… I send you 3 doz. bottles of Madeira, being the half of a present which I had laid by for you. The capt was afraid to take more on board lest it should draw upon him the officers of the customs. The remaining three doz. therefore I propose to send by Cap;att Drew …. I hope you will find it fine as it came to me genuine from the island & has been kept in my own cellar eight years.

Within this week we have received the unhappy news of an action of considerable magnitude, between the King’s troops and our brethren of Boston …

But I am getting into politics, though I sat down only to ask your acceptance of the wine, and express my constant wishes for your happiness. This however seems to be ensured by your philosophy & peaceful vocation. I shall still hope that amidst public dissention private friendship may be preserved inviolate and among the warmest you can ever possess is that of
your humble servt.

Source: To William Small, May 7, 1775

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

A thoughtful leader is appreciative of others and shows it in word and deed.

In 1760, a 16 year old Thomas Jefferson became the student of the Scotsman William Small at the College of William and Mary. Small had a profound influence on the young scholar, as professor, mentor and friend, before returning to Great Britain in 1764. Now, 15 years later, Jefferson was sending his former teacher six dozen bottles of wine. (He broke it into two shipments to avoid the tax man!)

After this brief introduction, Jefferson referenced the battles of Lexington and Concord a few days before and went into a lengthy tirade against the British government. Then he caught himself. “But I am getting into politics …” he wrote, reminding himself his purpose was to introduce a nice gift to a valued friend.

Within that conclusion, he expressed to his Scottish friend a desire that he’d repeat to others throughout his very public life. “I shall still hope that amidst public dissention private friendship may be preserved inviolate …” He did not want public conflict with England to harm their personal friendship in any way.

Jefferson could not have known that his mentor and friend had died in England several months before, probably from malaria contracted in Virginia.

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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.

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