Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to John L. Sullivan, 8 February 1817

To John L. Sullivan

Monticello Feb. 8. 17.

Dear Sir

Your favor of Jan. 17. is just now recieved. I readily see how desirable it is that the steam-boat, hitherto confined to ti[de]waters, should extend it’s benefits to the river navigation of the upper country; and I shall with pleasure communicate the prospect of it which the letter you have favored me with gives, to the circle of society around me. but, dear Sir, this is small; I [am?] grown old, go little from home, and am desirous to retire from every thing public and to give to repose and tranquility the feeble existence which remains to me. the discoveries daily made, and vast amelioration of the condition of man resulting from them, might i[n]spire a curiosity to live to see them in action. sed hoc non f[atum?] datum est. to this necessity I resign myself willingly, and to the guardianship of my younger fellow citizens, for whom, in th[e?] day of weakness I have endeavored to perform the same good offi[ces.?] Accept my best wishes for the success of your inventions, and assurances of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); edge chipped and trimmed; at foot of text: “John L. Sullivan esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

sed hoc non f[atum?] datum est: “but this is not a fate given to me.”

Index Entries

  • boats; steamboats search
  • steamboats; for U.S. river navigation search
  • Sullivan, John Langdon; letter to search
  • Sullivan, John Langdon; promotes inland navigation search
  • Sullivan, John Langdon; steam towboat of search