Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry

When I retired from this place and the office of Secretary of state, it was in the firmest contemplation of never more returning here. There had indeed been suggestions in the public papers that I was looking towards a succession to the President’s chair. But feeling a consciousness of their falsehood, and observing that the suggestions came from hostile quarters, I considered them as intended merely to excite public odium against me. I never in my life exchanged a word with any person on the subject till I found my name brought forward generally in competition with that of Mr. Adams. Those with whom I then communicated could say, if it were necessary, whether I met the call with desire or even with a ready acquiescence, and whether from the moment of my first acquiescence I did not devoutly pray that the very thing might happen which has happened. The second office of this government is honorable and easy. The first is but a splendid misery.

PrC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 29:361–6.
Date Range
May 13, 1797
Quote Category