To Henry Dearborn and Levi Lincoln
[23 Apr. 1803]
A promise to a friend sometime ago, executed but lately, has placed my religious creed on paper. I am desirous it should be perused by three or four particular friends, with whom tho’ I never desired to make a mystery of it, yet no occasion has happened to occur of explaining it to them. it is communicated for their personal satisfaction, & to enable them to judge of the truth or falsehood of the libels published on that subject. when read, the return of the paper with this cover is asked.
RC (DLC); undated; unaddressed. Not recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Trs of TJ to Benjamin Rush, 21 Apr., and enclosure.
three or four particular friends: TJ enclosed transcripts of his letter to Rush and the “Syllabus of an Estimate of the merit of the doctrines of Jesus” to Lincoln and Dearborn, both of whom returned their copies, Lincoln on 24 April, and Dearborn on 4 May. TJ likely retained these transcripts in his files (see notes to TJ to Rush, 21 Apr.). There is no evidence that he shared transcripts with any other members of his cabinet.