Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert M. Patterson, 8 February 1815

To Robert M. Patterson

Monticello Feb. 8. 15.


I am honored with your letter of Jan. 20. conveying to me the flattering1 sentiments which the American Philosophical Society have condescended,2 through you to express on my resignation of the office of President, in which they had been pleased so long to continue me. I recieve them with equal sensibility and gratitude. the motives for withdrawing from a station the duties of which could not, in my situation, be fulfilled, were truly expressed in my letter of Nov. 23. they had been conscientiously felt when, on a former occasion, I asked a like permission, and so continued to be: and I trust it is seen that I have rendered a service in giving occasion for the choice of a successor so eminently meriting the honor, so fully equal to it’s duties, and in place to perform them. in retaining still the character of a member of the society, I am gratified by the idea of a continued fellowship with them, and shall never be more so than on occasions of being useful to them.

Praying you to present them the homage of my dutiful respects, permit me also to add my obligations to yourself personally for the friendly terms in which you are pleased to make their communication, and accept the assurance of my great consideration and esteem.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PPAmP: APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends Archives); at foot of text: “Dr R. M. Patterson”; endorsed by John Vaughan, in part, as TJ’s “answer to the Letter of Secy R: M Patterson relative to the accepte of his resignation as President, Copied into Minutes 3 March 1815.” PoC (DLC). Tr (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 3 Mar. 1815 [MS at PPAmP]); in Patterson’s hand.

TJ’s successor as American Philosophical Society president was Caspar Wistar.

1TJ here canceled “expressions.”

2Word interlined in place of “been pleased.”

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; and C. Wistar search
  • American Philosophical Society; expresses its thanks to and regard for TJ search
  • American Philosophical Society; R. M. Patterson as secretary of search
  • American Philosophical Society; TJ resigns from presidency of search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; as secretary of American Philosophical Society search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; letters to search
  • Wistar, Caspar; and American Philosophical Society search