Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Stevens, 23 November 1818

To John Stevens

Monticello Nov. 23. 18.


Age, and it’s consequent infirmities of body & relaxation of mind, have obliged me to retire from all general correspondence. I am no longer equal to the labors of the writing table. there is moreover a natural term when age should know itself, withdraw from observation, and leave to the new generation the management of it’s own concerns. with my best wishes in favor of every improvement which may better the condition of mankind, at my period of life tranquility and rest from cares are the summum bonum. trusting therefore to your kind consideration for my excuse, I return you the papers inclosed to me, unread, and unopened with the assurance of my high respect and esteem.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjHi: Stevens Family Papers); faint, with illegible text supplied from PoC; at foot of text: “Mr Stevens”; endorsed by Stevens. PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: enclosures to Stevens to TJ, 7 Nov. 1818.

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • Stevens, John (ca.1749–1838); letter to search
  • Stevens, John (ca.1749–1838); sends work to TJ search