Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Law, 31 May 1802

To Thomas Law

Washington May 31. 1802

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday evening your letter of the 23d. instant, informing me of the death of mrs Washington: and I recieved it with great & sincere concern. an acquaintance of five and twenty years, in times & circumstances of various and trying aspect, had made me a witness of her constant course in whatsoever was benevolent and virtuous in life, had marked her in my judgment as one of the most estimable of women, and had inspired me with an affectionate and respectful attachment to her. this loss is the more felt too as it renews the memory of a preceding one, of a worthy of that degree which providence, in it’s wise dispensations, sees fit rarely to bestow on us, whose services in the cause of man had justly endeared him to the world, and whose name will be among the latest monuments of the age wherein he lived, which time will extinguish. my own sense of these losses enables me to sympathise sincerely in the afflictions of the family, to whom I pray you to tender assurances, & to accept them yourself, of my highest esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Law.”

IN TIMES & CIRCUMSTANCES OF VARIOUS AND TRYING ASPECT: after a visit to see Martha Washington at Mount Vernon almost five months before her death, Massachusetts congressman Manasseh Cutler reported: “Her remarks were frequently pointed, and sometimes very sarcastic, on the new order of things and the present administration. She spoke of the election of Mr. Jefferson, whom she considered as one of the most detestable of mankind, as the greatest misfortune our country had ever experienced. Her unfriendly feelings toward him were naturally to be expected, from the abuse he has offered to General Washington, while living, and to his memory since his decease” (William P. Cutler and Julia P. Cutler, Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D., 2 vols. [Cincinnati, 1888; repr. Athens, Ohio, 1987], 2:56–7).

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