Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Abner Watkins, 21 December 1807

Dec. 21. 07

To Messrs. Abner Watkins & Bernard Todd

I have duly recieved, fellow-citizens, the Address of October 24. which you have been so kind as to forward me on the part of the Society of Baptists of the Appomatox association, and it is with great satisfaction when I learn from my constituents that the measures pursued in the administration of their affairs during the time I have occupied the Presidential chair, have met their approbation. Of the wisdom of these measures it belongs to others to judge. that they have always been dictated by a desire to do what should be most for the public good, I may conscientiously affirm. believing that a definite period of retiring from this station will tend materially to secure our elective form of government; and sensible too of that decline which advancing years bring on, I have felt it a duty to withdraw at the close of my present term of office, and to strengthen by practice a principle which I deem salutary. that others may be found whose talents & integrity render them proper deposits of the public liberty & interests, & who have made themselves known by their eminent services, we can all affirm, of our personal knolege. to us it will belong, fellow citizens, when their country shall have called them to it’s helm, to give them our support while there, to facilitate their honest efforts for the public good, even where other measures might seem to us more direct, to strengthen the arm of our country by union under them, and to reserve ourselves for judging them at the Constitutional period of election.

I pray you to tender to the society of which you are a committee my thanks for the indulgence with which they have viewed my conduct, with the assurances of my high respect, & to accept yourselves my friendly & respectful salutations.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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