Thomas Jefferson Papers

Anonymous to Thomas Jefferson, [between 19 December 1818 and 7 January 1819]

From Anonymous

[between 19 Dec. 1818 and 7 Jan. 1819]

O! my worthy Sir,

I feel an increasing concern for your happiness and salvation. Since the enclosed was sealed, the Enquirer again has fell into my hands, in which I find much said in favour of the “Luminous pen and influence of Thomas Jefferson Esqr.”

O! my friend, your Country will never forget you! All ranks extol your character, and praise GOD for your abilities &c

But, with the talents of an Angel, a man may be void of Religion, and miss Heaven! My friend, Religion is all and all! It is (to use the words of its holy and divine Author) “the one thing needful.”

Other accomplishments, wit, Learning, good morals, influence among men &c &c have their use, but O! my friend, without Religion, inward piety, a change of heart &c no Soul will see GOD in peace! I am c[on]cerned for your eternal welfare! you are immortal, and must assuredly live for ever, either in Bliss or woe!

The last time I saw you, I thought, from your appearance, that you was declining fast! you had the appearance of a person hastening to the tomb! GOD bless you! O! ask his Blessing, and it shall be granted. Go frequently on your knees in secret, and pray to the GOD who made you, and never give over, till you know by happy experience, the Joys of Religion. You are a man already fit for this world; a valuable man indeed; but Religion will fit you for the world to come; and nothing but Religion can do this.—Heavens bless and Save you!

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 214:38198); in same hand as enclosure; undated, but composed between dates of enclosure and postmark; torn at seal; addressed: “His Excellency, Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Formerly president of the united States; Mail to Lynchburg P. Office”; franked; postmarked Rocky Mount, 7 Jan. 1819; marked “Missent” in an unidentified hand and redirected in another hand to Charlottesville. Presumably received by TJ on 18 Jan. 1819, as was the enclosure. Enclosure: Anonymous to TJ, 19 Dec. 1818.

In its 10 Dec. 1818 issue the Richmond Enquirer praised TJ’s luminous pen while reprinting his 20 Nov. 1818 letter to Linn Banks and Edward Watts. Listening to Jesus is described as the one thing needful in the Bible, Luke 10.42.

Index Entries

  • anonymous authors; letters from search
  • Banks, Linn; correspondence with TJ published search
  • Bible; Luke referenced search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; publication of papers search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Descriptions of; appearance search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • religion; exhortations to TJ search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); prints TJ’s correspondence search
  • Watts, Edward; correspondence with TJ published search