Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, 2 March 1809

Washington Mar. 2. 09.

Dear Sir

my last to you was of May 2. since which I have recieved yours of May 25. June 1. July 23. 24. & Sep. 5. and distributed the two pamplets according to your desire. they are read with the delight which every thing from your pen gives.

After using every effort which could prevent or delay our being entangled in the war of Europe, that seems now our only recourse. the edicts of the two belligerents, forbidding us to be seen on the ocean, we met by an embargo. this gave us time to call home our seamen, ships & property, to levy men & put our seaports into a certain state of defence. we have now taken off the embargo, except as to France & England & their territories, because 50. millions of exports, annually sacrificed, are the treble of what war would cost us, besides that by war we shall take something, & lose less than at present. but to give you a true description of the state of things here, I must refer you to mr Coles, the bearer of this, my Secretary, a most worthy intelligent & well informed young man, whom I recommend to your notice & conversation on our affairs. his discretion & fidelity may be relied on. I expect he will find you with Spain at your feet but England still afloat, & a barrier to the Spanish colonies. but all these concerns I am now leaving to be settled by my friend mr Madison. within a few days I retire to my family, my books, & farms & having gained the harbor myself, I shall look on my friends still buffeting the storm, with anxiety indeed, but not with envy. never did prisoner, released from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power. nature intended me for the tranquill pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. but the enormities of the times in which I have lived, have forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions. I thank god for the opportunity of retiring from them without censure, and carrying with me the most consoling proofs of public approbation. I leave every thing in the hands of men so able to take care of them, that if we are destined to meet misfortunes, it will be because no human wisdom could avert them. should you return to the US. perhaps your curiosity may lead you to visit the hermit of Monticello. he will recieve you with affection & delight; hailing you in the mean time with his affectionate salutations & assurances of constant esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. if you return to us, bring a couple of pair of true-bred Shepherd’s dogs. you will add a valuable possession to a country now beginning to pay great attention to the raising sheep.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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