[on or before 28 Feb. 1809]
It is an applauded saying that a virtuous man rising above his misfortunes is a scene which the Gods themselves look upon with pleasure. but it seems unfortunate for human nature that its sympathy is only reserved for success and that a young man struggling for his soscial existance and almost for his life has no claim to it. Your Excellencies erudition will inform you that the Delphic pithia was unable to deliver her prophecies till means were employd to bring her to a State of madness—so that the modern practice however extraordinary has an example in a former age; but it is peculiar I think to the present time & country to treat the same object at once as an Oracle a fool & a mad man—This a truth at once so serious and absurd, that it is scarcly possible to beleive it, tho to feel it is far easier than to describe
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.