City of Washington, March 27th. 1806.
I should be wanting in the respect due to your Character, if I did not reply to your polite note of the 25th. instant; and in doing so, permit me to express the genuine dictates of my heart, unalloyed with the base mixture of sycophancy or adulation. The hint you have given of “returning to studies after which you are panting”, is well understood, and allow me to add, regarded with sincere regret by me; but when a laudable zeal to promote the best interests and happiness of any country is shamefully misconstrued, and ungratefully treated by some of it’s ambitious, designing inhabitants, the intrinsic worth of the great and good man is no shield against the attacks of envy, low-cunning, and misrepresentation:—when intrigue and perfidy are not only tolerated, but even countenanced and supported in an infant government, no well founded expectations can be entertained of it’s lasting harmony or prosperity. Your friendly behaviour to me, on many occasions, has not been, nor shall be forgotten:—for the welfare of my country, it would be my wish that you could be prevailed on to continue another term, at least, in your present important station; but whether as a President of the United States of America, or as a private gentleman retired to the peaceful shades of domestic study and refined improvement, be assured of the gratitude and esteem with which I have the honor to be,
Sir, Your most obedient servant,
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.