Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Page, [3 June 1779]

To John Page

[Williamsburg, 3 June 1779]

Dear Page

I received your letter by Mr. Jamieson. It had given me much pain that the zeal of our respective friends should ever have placed you and me in the situation of competitors. I was comforted however with the reflection that it was their competition, not ours, and that the difference of the numbers which decided between us, was too insignificant to give you a pain or me a pleasure [had] our dispositions towards each other been such as to have admitted those sensations. I know you too well to need an apology for any thing you do, and hope you will for ever be assured of this; and as to the constructions of the world, they would only have added one to [the many sig]ns for which they [are] to go to the devil. As this is the first, so I hope it will be the last instance of ceremony between us. A desire to see my family which is in Charles [City] carries me thither tomorrow, and I shall not return till Monday. Mrs. Jefferson I beleive will not come short[ly] to [town.] When she does however she has too much [value] for [Mrs.] Page not to consider her acquaintance as a principal among those circumstances which are to reconcile her to her situation. A knolege of her sentiments on this subject renders me safe in undertaking that she shall do her equal part in cultivating a friendly intercourse. Be pleased to present my compliments to her & add this to the assurances I have ever given you [that I am] Dr. Page Your affectionate friend.

Dft (DLC) written on the blank side of the address leaf of Page’s letter to TJ, 2 June. RC, dated 3 June 1779, sold in Manning Sale, Anderson Galleries, 19–20 Jan. 1926, has not been located.

The date of this letter is wrongly given by TJR description begins Thomas Jefferson Randolph, ed., Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville, 1829 description ends , HAW description begins Henry A. Washington, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, 1853–1854 description ends , and L & B description begins Andrew A. Lipscomb and Albert E. Bergh, eds., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, “Memorial Edition,” Washington, 1903–1904 description ends as 22 Jan. 1779; Ford (ii, 187) conjectures the more nearly correct date of June 1779 and prints a complete text; the others are docked of several sentences. TJ went to visit his family at The Forest, Charles city on Friday, 4 June, and returned on Monday, 7 June; see his ferriage expenses in Account Book under those dates. For the background of this letter, see TJ’s Message of 2 June and Page’s letter to TJ, same date.

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