Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr Terrell, 23 June 1825

Monticello June 23. 25

Dear Sir

Your letter of May 31. is duly recieved requesting me to give an opinion on the questions in agitation in Kentuckey. I have at different times recieved many letters from thence making the same request, & have never answered a single one of them. to you however I cannot refuse an acknolegement of your lre, altho’ I must decline a compliance with it’s request. for why, dear Sir, should I, at the age of 82. thrust myself into a controversy which divides a nation? if any thing I have heretofore written on other questions can be brought to bear on this, which certainly was not the one then under my contemplation, I can only say with Pilate ‘what I have written I have written’ all are free to test it’s meaning by the common rules of construction. but for me to give further explanations in order to make it applicable to this case would be to take a side in it, which I wish not to do. at my age time of life, tranquility is it’s summum bonum, the peace and good will of mankind it’s nourishment and solace. I hope therefore you will not think unkind my declining the explanations you propose.

Your friends in this neighborhood are all well. our family is particularly so and always inquisitive as to your well-being. Ellen, now mrs Coolidge, left us this morning for Boston, her future residence. we hope we are not to abandon all prospect of your ever revisiting us, and the rather as we have now an object in our University worth your seeing once at least. but in all cases be assured of my constant affection and respect.

Th: J.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

Index Entries