Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to the Inhabitants of Albemarle County, 3 April 1809

To the Inhabitants of Albemarle County

Returning to the scenes of my birth & early life, to the society of those with whom I was raised, & who have been ever dear to me, I recieve, fellow citizens & neighbors, with inexpressible pleasure, the cordial welcome you are so good as to give me. long absent on duties which the history of a wonderful aera made incumbent on those called to them, the pomp, the turmoil, the bustle & splendour of office, have drawn but deeper sighs for the tranquil & irresponsible occupations of private life, for the enjoyment of an affectionate intercourse with you, my neighbors & friends, and the endearments of family love, which nature has given us all, as the sweetener of every hour. for these I gladly lay down the distressing burthen of power, & seek, with my fellow citizens, repose & safety under the watchful cares, the labours & perplexities of younger and abler minds. the anxieties you express to administer to my happiness, do, of themselves confer that happiness: and the measure will be compleat, if my endeavors to fulfill my duties in the several1 public stations to which I have been called, have obtained for me the approbation of my country. the part which I have acted on the theatre of public life, has been before them; & to their sentence I submit it: but the testimony of my native county, of the individuals who have known me in private life, to my conduct in it’s various duties, & relations, is the more grateful as proceeding from eye witnesses & observers, from triers of the vicinage. of you then, my neighbors, I may ask, in the face of the world, ‘whose ox have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed, or of whose hand have I recieved a bribe to blind mine eyes therewith’? on your verdict I rest with conscious security. your wishes for my happiness are recieved with just sensibility, & I offer sincere prayers for your own welfare & prosperity.

Th: Jefferson

MS (Vi); at head of text: “To the Inhabitants of Albemarle county in Virginia.” PoC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as an “Answer” to “Inhab. of Albemarle cty.” Printed in Richmond Enquirer, 14 Apr. 1809, and elsewhere.

TJ’s biblical reference, whose ox have i taken, … to blind mine eyes therewith?, is to 1 Samuel 12.3.

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Albemarle County, Va.; TJ addresses inhabitants of search
  • Bible; 1 Samuel referenced by TJ search