To Robert M. Patterson
Monticello Nov. 23. 14.
I sollicited on a former occasion permission from the American Philosophical society to retire from the honor of their chair, under a consciousness that distance as well as other circumstances denied me the power of executing the duties of the station, and that those on whom they devolved were best entitled to the honors they confer. it was the pleasure of the society at that time that I should remain in their service, and they have continued since to renew the same marks of their partiality. of these I have been ever duly sensible, and now beg leave to return my thanks for them with humble gratitude. still I have never ceased, nor can I cease to feel that I am holding honors without yielding requital, and justly belonging to others. as the period of election is now therefore1 approaching, I take the occasion of begging to be withdrawn from the attention of the society at their ensuing choice, and to be permitted now to resign the office of President into their hands, which I hereby do. I shall consider myself sufficiently honored in remaining a private member of their body, and shall ever avail myself with zeal of every occasion which may occur of being useful to them, retaining indelibly a profound sense of their past favors.2
I avail myself of the channel thro’ which the last notification of the pleasure of the society was conveyed to me, to make this communication; and with the greater satisfaction, as it gratifies me with the occasion of assuring you personally of my high respect for yourself, and of the interest I shall ever take in learning that your worth and talents secure to you the successes they merit.
RC (PPAmP: APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends Archives); addressed: “Robert M. Patterson Secretary of the Am. Phil. society Philadelphia”; franked; postmarked Milton, 24 Nov.; endorsed in an unidentified hand as “offering his resignation of the Presidency of the Society” and stating that TJ was “Informed by the Secy that it could not be acted upon before the Anl Meeting Jany 1815.” PoC (DLC). Tr (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 2 Dec. 1814 [MS in PPAmP]).
TJ had tried in both 1800 and 1808 to resign the office of president of the American Philosophical Society (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 37 vols. description ends , 32:298; TJ to the Vice Presidents of the American Philosophical Society [Benjamin Smith Barton, Robert Patterson, and Caspar Wistar], 30 Nov. 1808 [PPAmP: APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends Archives]). The most recent notification of his reelection to this post is in Robert M. Patterson to TJ, 7 Jan. 1814.
1. Word interlined.
2. Tr here ends “I avail myself—&c. &c. (Signed) Th. Jefferson.”
- American Philosophical Society; R. M. Patterson as secretary of search
- American Philosophical Society; TJ reelected president of search
- American Philosophical Society; TJ resigns from presidency of search
- Patterson, Robert Maskell; as secretary of American Philosophical Society search
- Patterson, Robert Maskell; letters to search