Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 29 February 1816

To Wilson Cary Nicholas

Monticello Feb. 29. 16.

Dear Sir

I received yesterday your favor of the 16th inst. informing me that the General assembly had been pleased to appoint me one of the Directors of the board of public works recently instituted by them. the spirit with which they have entered on the great works of improvement and public instruction will form an honorable epoch in the history of our country, and I sincerely wish the effects of age permitted me to assist in the execution of their wise and salutary purposes. but I feel it a duty to leave to younger bodies and minds services which require activity of either. journies which should call me from home at fixed times would often find me unable to undertake them, and the absence of a member of such a board would give uneasiness to that portion of country with whose interests he would be supposed particularly acquainted & charged. I am very thankful to the legislature for this proof of their confidence and hope my declining it will be imputed to it’s true motive, and not to a want of zeal which will never cease to pray for the advancement and prosperity of our country. Accept the assurances of my high consideration and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Jeremiah Platt to TJ, 1 Feb. 1816; at foot of text: “H. E. Governor Nicholas”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: TJ to Nicholas, 29 Feb. 1816, second letter. Printed in Richmond Enquirer, 6 Mar. 1816 (with mistaken date of 19 Feb. 1816).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; public initiatives in Va. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; declines appointment as a director of public works search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and TJ’s appointment as director of public works search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); as Va. governor search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letters to search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); prints TJ’s correspondence search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Virginia; TJ appointed a director of public works in search
  • Virginia; TJ on public initiatives in search