Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Kean, 4 August 1818

To William Kean

Rockfish1 gap. Aug. 4. 1818.


Your favor of the 13th was handed me in the moment of my setting out from home to attend a meeting of Commrs on the subject of our University at this place from whence I am proceeding to the Springs. the impracticability of considering duly such a subject as that of your letter on a journey would be a sufficient apology for returning the papers without an opinion on them, but the truth is that the torpor of age presses heavily on me and does not permit me to apply2 the intensity of mind which difficult subjects require, and I have long since lost3 all familiarity with them. your justice will, I am sure, excuse the return of your papers unconsidered and yield the indulgence to age which that obliges me to ask. with the assurance of my great respect


Dft (MoSHi: TJC-BC); written on a half sheet; at foot of text: “Mr Wm Kean”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures not found.

Kean’s letter of the 13th was actually dated 23 July 1818. the springs: Warm Springs.

1Reworked from “Sta.”

2Reworked from “and disables me from applying,” with last word inadvertently left unchanged.

3Reworked from “and has occasioned me to lose.”

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • Kean, William; and steam navigation search
  • Kean, William; letter to search
  • machines; steam engine search
  • patents; sought by W. Kean search
  • steam engines search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; commissioners’ meeting at Rockfish Gap search
  • Warm Springs (Bath Co.); TJ visits search