THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP
the revival of antient slanders under pretext of new evidence, has induced Th:J. to do, what he never took the trouble of doing before, to revise [re-examine] some papers he happens to have here (for most of that date are at Monticello) and to make a statement of the transactions as they really took place, with a view that they shall be known to his friends at least. under this view he taxes mr Gallatin with reading the inclosed, altho’ it extends to three sheets of paper.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
An effective leader knows when to reassure his friends.
What “antient slanders” Jefferson referred to are unknown, but he rarely if ever defended himself publicly. George Washington’s advice to him years before had been to ignore slanders, whether political or personal. In the time it took to answer the attack, 10 more would spring up. It was a losing game, a sucker bet.
Still, the thin-skinned President was not immune to the effect those attacks could have on his allies. Occasionally in private correspondence to trusted associates he would deny such charges (his paternity of Sally Hemings’ children, for instance) or remind them of the facts, as he did here. Referring to himself in the third person, “Th:J.” asked his Treasury Secretary to review three enclosed pages of background material regarding the latest charges against him. He knew Gallatin would circulate that information to others
“Not only was Mr. Lee an excellent Thomas Jefferson,
he was also very professional.”
Director of Law-Related Education, The Missouri Bar
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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.
Self-Educated American, ‘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 ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.