Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Charles Willson Peale, 28 December 1820

To Charles Willson Peale

Monticello Dec. 28. 20.

Dear Sir

Nothing is troublesome which we do willingly’ is an excellent apophthegm, and which can be applied to no mind more truly than yours. on this ground I am sure you will be so good as to exchange the pair of inkglasses you sent me, & which the furnisher will doubtless exchange. they are a little too large to enter the sockits of the polygraph I keep in Bedford, as I found on a late visit to that place. I return them to you in a box of wood, in the bottom of which I have had a mortise made of the true size. glasses which will enter that freely will exactly answer.   Knowing the friendly interest you take in my health, I will add that it is not quite confirmed, but is improving slowly. my stiffening wrist in the mean time gets worse, & will ere long deprive me quite of the use of the pen. ever & affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

RC (TxU: Thomas Jefferson Collection); at foot of text: “Mr Peale.” PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Arthur S. Brockenbrough to TJ, 5 July 1819; torn at seal; endorsed by TJ.

TJ appears to have learned the maxim that nothing is troublesome which we do willingly from George Wythe, and he incorporated it into his so-called Canons of Conduct (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 43 vols. description ends , 34:421; enclosure to TJ to Thomas Jefferson Smith, 21 Feb. 1825). inkglasses: “vessels or receptacles for holding writing or printing ink” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

Index Entries

  • household articles; inkstands search
  • inkstands; for polygraph search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; wrist injury search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Canons of Conduct search
  • Peale, Charles Willson; and polygraph search
  • Peale, Charles Willson; letters to search
  • polygraph; and C. W. Peale search
  • polygraph; at Poplar Forest search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Wythe, George; and TJ’s Canons of Conduct search