Extract from Thomas Jefferson to John Garland Jefferson

in a government like ours it is the duty of the Chief-magistrate, in order to enable himself to do all the good which his station requires, to endeavor, by all honorable means, to unite in himself the confidence of the whole people. this alone, in any case where the energy of the nation is required, can produce an union of the powers of the whole, and point them in a single direction, as if all constituted but one body & one mind: and this alone can render a weaker nation unconquerable by a stronger one. towards acquiring the confidence of the people the very first measure is to satisfy them of his disinterestedness, & that he is directing their affairs with a single eye to their good, & not to build up fortunes for himself & family: & especially that the officers appointed to transact their business, are appointed because they are the fittest men, not because they are his relations. so prone are they to suspicion that where a President appoints a relation of his own, however worthy, they will believe that favor, & not merit, was the motive.

PoC (DLC). Tr (ViU: TJP-CC); posthumous extract. Published in PTJRS, 2:183.
Recipient
John Garland Jefferson
Date Range
Date
January 25, 1810
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Quote Category