Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Robert Smith to Thomas Jefferson, 15 July 1809

From Robert Smith

Washington July 15. 1809.

My dear Sir,

Your very friendly letter of the 10h I have had the pleasure to receive. A[nd] most sincerely do I thank you for this additional instance of your goodness and for the interest you so kindly take in whatever concerns me personally.

I am happy in learning that your rural occupations afford you so much gratification. After having so usefully devoted to your Country so many years, you are enjoying, in my estimation, the highest degree of happiness, [to] which a rational man ought to aspire,—living amidst your family, for a few real friends, for the muses and for the comforts of retirement.

Deus vobis hæc otia fecit.’

Accept, I entreat you, the best wishes of your sincere friend.

R Smith

PS. Mr Smiths letter, as intended, was [no]t enclosed in yours of the 10h July

RC (DLC); frayed at edges; at foot of text: “[Honb]le Thomas Je[ffe]rs[on]”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 July 1809 and so recorded in SJL.

deus … fecit: “It is a god who gave you this peace,” reworked from “Deus nobis hæc otia fecit” (“it is a god who gave us this peace”), in Virgil, Eclogues, 1.6 (Virgil, Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid I–VI, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library [1999], 24–5). Virgil’s phrase was initially proposed for the reverse of the great seal of Virginia during the American Revolution (Edmund Randolph, History of Virginia, ed. Arthur H. Shaffer [1970], 276).

Index Entries

  • Eclogues (Virgil) search
  • Smith, Robert; congratulates TJ search
  • Smith, Robert; letters from search
  • Smith, Samuel (of Pennsylvania); and pardon of Lowrys search
  • Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro); Eclogues search
  • Virginia; seal of search