Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes
|Monticello May 21. 16.|
while you endeavor, by a good store of learning, to prepare yourself to become an useful and distinguished member of your country you must remember that this can never be, without uniting merit with your learning. honesty, disinterestedness, and good nature are indispensable to procure the esteem and confidence of those with whom we live, and on whose esteem our happiness depends. never suffer a thought to be harbored in your mind which you would not avow openly. when tempted to do any thing in secret, ask yourself if you would do it in public. if you would not, be sure it is wrong. in little disputes with your companions, give way, rather than insist on trifles. for their love, and the approbation of others will be worth more to you than the trifle in dispute. above all things, and at all times, practice yourself in good humor. this, of all human qualities, is the most amiable and endearing to society. whenever you feel a warmth of temper rising, check it at once, and suppress it, recollecting it will make you unhappy within yourself, and disliked by others. nothing gives one person so great advantage over another, as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. think of these things, practice them & you will be rewarded by the love & confidence of the world.