Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to the New York State Legislature, 12 April 1809

To the New York State Legislature

I recieve with respect & gratitude, from the legislature of New York, on my retirement from the office of Chief magistrate of the United States, the assurances of their esteem, & of their satisfaction with the services I have endeavored to render. the welfare of my fellow citizens, & the perpetuation of our republican institutions having been the governing principles of my public life, the favorable testimony borne by the legislature of a state so respectable as that of New York, gives me the highest consolation. and this is much strengthened by an intimate conviction that the same principles will govern the conduct of my successor, whose talents, whose virtues, & eminent services, are a certain pledge that the confidence in him expressed by the legislature of New York will never be disappointed.

Sole depositories of the remains of human liberty, our duty to ourselves to posterity & to mankind call on us by every motive which is sacred or honorable, to watch over the safety of our beloved country, during the troubles which agitate & convulse the residue of the world, & to sacrifice to that all personal & local considerations. while the boasted energies of monarchy have yielded to easy conquest the people they were to protect, should our fabric of freedom suffer no more1 than the slight agitations we have experienced, it will be an useful lesson to the friends, as well as to the enemies of self-government. that it may stand the shocks of time & accident, & that your own may make a distinguished part of the mass of prosperity it may dispense, will be my latest prayer.

Th: Jefferson

RC (N-Ar: New York Legislature, Correspondence and Legislative Action Files); at head of text: “To the Legislature of the State of New York.” PoC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as “Answer to legislature of N. York.” Printed in Raleigh Star, 4 May 1809. Enclosed in a brief covering letter to John Broome and James W. Wilkin, 12 Apr. 1809 (RC in N-Ar: New York Legislature, Correspondence and Legislative Action Files, at foot of text: “John Broom President of the Senate James W. Wilkin Speaker of the Assembly”; PoC in DLC).

1Reworked from “nothing.”

Index Entries

  • Broome, John; and N.Y. state legislature search
  • Broome, John; letters to accounted for search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Addresses to; N.Y. legislature search
  • newspapers; Raleigh Star search
  • New York (state); TJ addresses legislature of search
  • Raleigh Star (newspaper); prints TJ’s correspondence search
  • Wilkin, James Whitney; and N.Y. state legislature search
  • Wilkin, James Whitney; letters to accounted for search