Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Dickinson, 24 October 1803

From John Dickinson

Wilmington the 24th of the tenth Month 1803

My dear Friend,

Accept my heartiest Thanks for thy late Message to Congress, carrying in it Communications of the highest Moment to the fortunes of1 our beloved Country.

I hope, that the great outline drawn by thee with so steady a Hand, will in due Time be filled with establishments dictated by wisdom and Virtue, all contributing to the advancement of human Happiness.

May thy Life be continued long enough to recieve the grateful Acknowledgements of Millions for the Blessings of thy administration, and to enjoy a clear Prospect of those which it promises2 to realize to Ages unborn.

At a season peculiarly engaging thy Attention to these arduous Affairs,

in commoda publica peccem si longo sermone tandem tua tempora”

After all I could say, the Expressions would but faintly convey the mingled sensations of public and personal Considerations, with which I am thy obliged and affectionate Friend

John Dickinson

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 Oct. and so recorded in SJL. Dft (PHi); written on cover sheet addressed to “John Dickinson” in unknown hand.

thy late message to congress: TJ’s Annual Message to Congress, 17 Oct.

in commoda: a variation of “in publica commoda peccem si longo sermone morer tua tempora,” that is, “I would sin against the public good if I wasted your time with tedious chatter” (Horace, Epistles, 2.1.3-4).

1In Dft preceding five words interlined in place of “Importance to.”

2In Dft Dickinson interlined “in future” before altering the passage to read as above.

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