Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon

My confidence, as you kindly observed, has been often abused by the publication of my letters for the purposes of interest or vanity; and it has been to me the source of much pain to be exhibited before the public in forms not meant for them. I recieve letters expressed in the most friendly terms and even affectionate terms, sometimes perhaps asking my opinion on some subject. I cannot refuse to answer such letters, nor can I do it dryly and suspiciously. among a score or two of such correspondents, one perhaps betrays me. I feel it mortifyingly; but conclude I had better incur one treachery, than offend a score or two of good people. I sometimes expressly desire that my letter may not be published; but this is so like requesting a man not to steal or cheat, that I am ashamed of it after I have done it.

RC (O. O. Fisher, Detroit, 1950); photocopy in ViU: TJP. PoC (DLC). Dft (DLC). Tr (ViU: TJP); final paragraph only.
Author
Thomas Jefferson
Recipient
Nathaniel Macon
Date Range
Date
November 23, 1821
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Quote Category