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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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Page 985


Returning to the scenes of my birth and early life, to the society of those with whom I
was raised, and who have been ever dear to me, I receive, fellow-citizens and neighbors, with
inexpressible pleasure, the cordial welcome you were so good as to give me. Long absent on
duties which the history of a wonderful era made incumbent on those called to them, the pomp,
the turmoil, the bustle and splendor of office; have drawn but deeper sighs for the tranquil and
irresponsible occupations of private life, for the enjoyment of an affectionate intercourse with
you, my neighbors and friends, and the endearments of family love, which nature has given
us all, as the sweetner of every hour. For these I gladly lay down the distressing burthen of
power, and seek, with my fellow-citizens, repose and safety under the watchful cares, the
labors and perplexities of younger and abler minds. The anxieties you express to administer
to my happiness, do, of themselves, confer that happiness; and the measure will be complete,
if any endeavors to fulfil my duties in the several public stations to which I have been called,
have obtained for me the approbation of my country. The part which I have acted on the
theatre of public life, has been before them; and to their sentence I submit it; but the testimony
of my native county, of the individuals who have known me in private life, to my conduct
in its various duties and relations, is the more grateful, as proceeding from eye-witnesses
and observers, from triers of the vicinage. Of you, then, my neighbors, I may ask, in
the face of the world, “whose ox have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I
oppressed, or of whose hand have I received a bribe to blind mine eyes therewith”? On your
verdict I rest with conscious security. Your wishes for my happiness are received with just
sensibility, and I offer sincere prayers for your own welfare and prosperity.—To the Inhabitants
of Albemarle County, Va.
v, 439. Ford ed., ix, 250. (M., April 3, 1809.)