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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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193. AGE, Oppressed by.—[continued].
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193. AGE, Oppressed by.—[continued].

The hand of age is upon
me. The decay of bodily faculties apprizes me
that those of the mind cannot be unimpaired,
had I not still better proofs. Every
year counts my increased debility, and departing
faculties keep the score. The last year
it was the sight, this it is the hearing, the
next something else will be going, until all
is gone. Of all this I was sensible before I
left Washington, and probably my fellow
laborers saw it before I did. The decay of
memory was obvious; it is now become distressing.
But the mind, too, is weakened.
When I was young, mathematics was the
passion of my life. The same passion has
returned upon me, but with unequal powers.
Processes which I then read off with the
facility of common discourse, now cost me
labor, and time, and slow investigation.
When I offered this, therefore, as one of the
reasons deciding my retirement from office,
it was offered in sincerity and a consciousness
of truth. And I think it a great blessing
that I retain understanding enough to be
sensible how much of it I have lost, and to
avoid exposing myself as a spectacle for the
pity of my friends; that I have surmounted
the difficult point of knowing when to retire.
As a compensation for faculties departed,
nature gives me good health, and a perfect
resignation to the laws of decay which she
has prescribed to all the forms and combinations
of matter.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 80. Ford ed., ix, 367.
(M. Oct. 1812)