No cousins on the payroll, please.


the public will never be made to believe that an appointment of a relative is made on the ground of merit alone, uninfluenced by family views. nor can they … see with approbation [approval] offices, the disposal of which they entrust to their president for public purposes, divided out as family property … but the public good which cannot be effected [accomplished] if it’s confidence is lost, requires this sacrifice.

Source: To George Jefferson, March 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Wise leaders sacrifice personal preferences to preserve the public trust.
George Jefferson, at his brother’s request, had written to their cousin, the new President, about a job the brother was seeking through his family connection. George’s letter was convoluted, but it appears he wrote out of regard for his brother, but the same time, out of regard for his cousin, suggested the President not award the position. George cited President Washington’s admirable example of never appointing a relative to a job and the damage President Adams did to his reputation by not following suit.

The President concurred and repeated the examples of the previous Chief Executives. Even if a relative was the best qualified, the public would not believe that. It was important to retain the public’s good will. If he lost their confidence, he could no longer accomplish any good on their behalf. He would make whatever sacrifices necessary to maintain that good will.

“The top-notch performance you gave was evident not only
by the enjoyment expressed … but also by the many compliments …”
RiverBarge Excursion Lines, New Orleans, LA
Both enjoyment AND compliments follow Thomas Jefferson’s presentations.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Originally posted at

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.

His business address is


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here