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Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.07390 Author/Creator: Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 8 April 1800 Pagination: 1 p. : address : docket : free frank ; 25 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Very personal letter from Vice President Thomas Jefferson. Notes that he passed along Knox's "friendly expressions" to General Gunn, possibly Senator James Gunn. Refers to a transaction, likely concerning the debate in the U.S. Senate regarding Knox's son's promotion, stating "of the transaction to which they are related I can say little, having, you know, neither ears to hear, eyes to see, or tongue to speak, but as the Senate direct me." Assures Knox the debate in the Senate was polite and respectful. Discusses Jefferson's and Knox's difference of political opinions. States that if every man had the same opinion, "every man would be an insulated being, and social relations would be dissolved. I can say with truth, and with great comfort to my own heart, that I never deserted a friend for difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in physics; for I place all these differences on a footing. but great numbers have deserted me." Jefferson expresses his sorrow for losses Knox's family has recently suffered. Free frank signed by Jefferson.

Full Transcript: [draft]
Philadelphia Apr. 8. 1800.
Dear Sir
I recieved with great satisfaction your favor of Mar. 9. which mr. Pope forwarded by post, and proposed to follow it [inserted: but he is not ...yet arrived here]. I communicated to Genl. Gunn your friendly expressions respecting him. of the transaction to which they are related I can say little, having, you know, neither ears to hear, eyes to see, or tongue to speak, but as the Senate direct me. I may say however that so far [inserted: as] it occasioned debate, which was scarcely at all, it was treated with great delicacy, no expression having [inserted: been] dropped which you would not have heard without dissatisfaction.
I recieve great pleasure from the continuance of your friendly dispositions. I can with truth reciprocate the assurances that differences of political opinions excited in me no unfriendliness more than a difference of feature. it is not thus that I view or value man. were we to deny our esteem & [struck: society] society to all but those who think with us, every man would be[inserted: an] insulated being, and social relations would be dissolved. I can say with truth, and with great comfort to my own heart, that I never deserted a friend for difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in physics; for I place all these differences on a footing. but great numbers have deserted me. the paroxysm however, which was too strong for their minds, is rapidly passing away; & some of them doubtless will return, and meet again the constancy of my esteem.
I have heard with great sensibility of the losses you have sustained in your family. on this subject even friends should be silent; time being the only physician. the difficulties you mention in your affairs are of another order, & more remediable. for these you have still sufficient [inserted: of] life, health & activity to do much. I pray heaven to favor your efforts to your own satisfaction. Be so good as to make my respectful salutations acceptable to mrs. Knox and to recieve yourself assurances of the constant esteem with which I am Dear Sir
Your friend & servt
Th: Jefferson
Majr. Genl Knox
[address leaf]
free
Th: Jefferson
Majr. Genl. Knox
Boston
[docket]
Mr. Jefferson
Vice President of the
United States -
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People: Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Knox, Henry, 1750-1806

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: ReligionVice PresidentPresidentCongressChildren and FamilyOffice SeekerNavyMilitary HistoryFriendshipPoliticsDeath

Sub Era:

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