Extract from Thomas Jefferson to John Page

Well, Page, I do wish the Devil had old Cooke, for I am sure I never was so tired of an old dull scoundrel in my life ... But the old-fellows say we must read to gain knowledge; and gain knowledge to make us happy and be admired. Mere jargon! Is there any such thing as happiness in this world? No: And as for admiration I am sure the man who powders most, parfumes most, embroiders most, and talks most nonsense, is most admired.

MS not found. Published in PTJ, 1:5, as printed in George Tucker, Life of Thomas Jefferson (Philadelphia, 1837), 1:31.

cooke was Sir Edward Coke’s series of legal treatises, Institutes of the Lawes of England, first published between 1628 and 1644.

Date Range
December 25, 1762 to December 26, 1762
Quote Category