Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Robert R. Livingston, 26 November 1782

To Robert R. Livingston

Chesterfeild Nov. 26. 1782.


I received yesterday the letter with which you have been pleased to honour me, inclosing the resolution of Congress of the 12th. inst. renewing my appointment as one of their ministers plenipotentiary for negotiating a peace; and beg leave through you to return my sincere thanks to that august body for the confidence they are pleased to repose in me and to tender the same to yourself for the obliging manner in which you have notified it. I will employ in this arduous charge, with diligence and integrity, the best of my poor talents, which I am conscious are far short of what it requires.1 This I hope will ensure to me from Congress a kind construction of all my transactions, and it gives me no small pleasure that my communications will pass through the hands of a gentleman with whom I have acted in the earlier stages of this contest, and whose discernment and candour I had the good fortune then to prove and esteem. Your letter finds me at a distance from home, attending on my family under inoculation. This will add to the delay which the arrangement of my particular affairs would necessarily occasion. I shall lose no moment however in preparing for my departure, and shall hope to pay my respects to Congress and to yourself at sometime between the twentieth and the last of December. I have the honour to be with very great esteem & respect Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (PHC); endorsed: “29th. [sic] Novr. 1782. From Mr. Jefferson.” Dft (DLC); endorsed: “Livingston Robert R”; there are many corrections and alterations in the draft, most of which pertain to choice of phraseology, but one of which is noted below. The date may possibly refer to La Luzerne’s letter of 29 Nov.; it could not possibly be the date of receipt. Tr (DLC: PCC, No. 119).

1At this point TJ deleted in the draft an expression which reflects his determination, borne out by the record of his mission, to represent the interests of the country as a whole: “But I shall trust that if I pursue the object of my mission with integrity and impartial regard to the good of the whole states, I shall,” &c. He no doubt deleted this on the ground that his very appointment subsumed both integrity and impartiality on the part of the minister appointed.

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