Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Horatio Turpin, 10 June 1807

Washington June 10 07.

Dear Sir

Your favor of June 1. has been duly received. to a mind like yours, capable, in any question, of abstracting it from it’s relation to yourself, I may safely hazard explanations which I have generally avoided to others on questions of appointment. bringing into office no desires of making it subservient to the advancement of my own private interests, it has been no sacrifice, by postponing them, to strengthen the confidence of my fellow citizens. but I have not felt equal indifference toward excluding merit from office, merely because it was related to me. however I have thought it my duty so to do, that my constituents may be satisfied that, in selecting persons for the management of their affairs, I am influenced by neither personal nor family interests, & especially that the field of public office will not be perverted by me into a family property. on this subject I had the benefit of useful lessons from my predecessors, had I needed them, marking what was to be imitated & what avoided. but in truth, the nature of our Government is lesson enough. it’s energy depending mainly on the confidence of the people in their chief Magistrate, makes it his duty to spare nothing which can strengthen him with that confidence.

The day is not distant when my relations may fairly come into competition for appointment, and when that may be a circumstance of some favor which now opposes their recieving appointments. had my judgment & conscience permitted me in any case to depart from the law of conduct I have prescribed for myself, in no case certainly should I have been more likely to do so than in yours because no one is more persuaded of your worth & fitness. the same confidence in you however secures me from all unkind imputation on your part, and justifies my assurance to you of constant friendship & respect

Th: Jefferson


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