Extract from Thomas Jefferson to John Garland Jefferson

I am not afraid to warrant to you any degree of success and consideration you may desire, if you qualify yourself by perseverance in study, and by an invariable determination to do, under all circumstances what reason & rigorous right shall dictate, keeping under absolute subjection all the passions which might lay your mind under any bias. the practicability of doing it is not generally enough known, nor it’s importance sufficiently estimated. I am sure that in estimating every man’s value either in private or public life, a pure integrity is the quality we take first into calculation, and that learning & talents are only the second. after these come benevolence, good temper Etc. but the first is always that sort of integrity which makes a man act in the dark as if it was in the open blaze of day.

PrC (DLC); first page only. PrC (ViU); second page only. Published in PTJ, 24:81–82.
Date Range
June 15, 1792
Quote Category