Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to George H. Richards, 31 December 1818

To George H. Richards

Monticello Dec. 31. 18.


Age and declining health having rendered me unequal to the labors of letter-writing, I can make but a short acknolegement of the obliging propositions of your letter of the 15th. in the various stations in which the public have thought proper to require my services, I have endeavored to discharge my duty with care and integrity. but I have seen thousands of my fellow citizens serving in their stations also with equal care and integrity. I have no claim therefore to merit for a faithful execution of trusts reposed, more than they have, nor any expectation, or even wish, that my biography should be noticed more than theirs. under this impression I have never noted in writing any particulars of my own life, and as to memory, that is too much impaired to furnish any thing worthy of confidence. you will, then, I flatter myself, have the goodness to excuse my declining the request of your letter, as I have uniformly done on other similar applications, and will be disposed to indulge the pressure of age unaggravated by the exactions of new toils and labours.

I feel a just sensibility for the sentiments you are so kind as to express towards myself and the course I have pursued. the approbation of my services by my fellow citizens is a great consolation and the richest reward I can recieve; and with my thankfulness to yourself particularly, I pray you to accept the tender of my great respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr George H. Richards.” Printed in Richmond Enquirer, 30 Mar. 1824, and elsewhere.

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; publication of papers search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Descriptions of; biographies of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • Richards, George Hallam; letter to search
  • Richards, George Hallam; proposes biographical work search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); prints TJ’s correspondence search