Extract from Thomas Jefferson to William Short
|Monticello May 5. 16.|
You express a wish and a hope that I may have been writing memoirs of myself. while in public life, my whole time has been absorbed by the duties that laid me under; and now, when the world imagines I have nothing to do, I am in a state of as heavy drudgery as any office of my life ever subjected me to. from sunrise till noon I am chained to the writing table. at that hour I ride of necessity for health as well as recreation. and even after dinner I must often return to the writing table. were my this correspondence confined to my real friends only, it would be no more than an amusement, and would be a delicious repast. but it is one equally foreign to my interests and inclinations, & yet forced on me by the courtesies of those to whom it is responsive. it precludes me entirely from the course of studies and reading which would make my hours pass lightly and pleasantly away. however it must cease ere long from physical necessity, my wrist beginning to stiffen so as to render writing painful & slow. the letters I have written while in public office are in fact memorials of the transactions with which I have been associated, and may at a future day furnish something to the historian. copies of some of those written during the revolutionary war have been preserved and communicated freely to one or two persons writing the history of the day. the copying press and polygraph have preserved all written in France and subsequently.