Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Robert Mayo, 3 February 1823

Monto Feb. 3. 23.


I did not answer the note in the pamphlet you were so kind as to send me for 2. reasons. 1. because the use of my hand is so much impaired, and I write with so much pain that I am obliged to decline answering any lre which is not of the most indispensible urgency & oblign. 2. because I have never permitted myself to assume the office of recommendg to the public particular books or institutions, or to advise what they should read, or what instns establish. least of all is it necessary on your proposn for a circulating library. the establmt of such libraries in every town is so favorable to the general instrn, furnishes so salutory an employment of spare hours & inducement to pass them at home, and brings the use of books so much, within the means of every one that there cannot be two opns on their advge , but of all this the public have the right and the understdg to judge for themselves without admonns from me as unauthorised as unnecessary. accept the assure of my respect


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