This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead, the writer will be in the grave before you can weigh it’s counsels. your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. few words will be necessary with good dispositions on your part.
adore God. reverence and cherish your parents. love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. be just. be true. murmur not at the ways of Providence. so shall the life into which you have entered be the Portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss.
and if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. farewell.
Source: Th: Jefferson to Th: Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Dying leaders can still inspire.
A better known portion of this letter is his “Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life,” Part One and Part Two. These summed his 81 years of experience and wisdom into 10 principles for everyday living.
Here, Jefferson encouraged his namesake to:
1. Love God
2. Love your parents
3. Love your neighbor as yourself
4. Love your country more than youself.
5. Be honest and truthful.
6. Don’t complain about God’s ways.
A life lived by these principles would usher young Smith into another life of perfect and eternal happiness.
It would be 16 ½ months before Jefferson died, but his health was failing. He knew his end couldn’t be far. If he could see this world from the next, he promised to watch over his namesake.
“Mr. Jefferson’s presentation on leadership was a wonderful
and unique way to kick off an extremely successful conference.”
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
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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.