Thomas Jefferson Letter To Peter Carr Analysis

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Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785

Education of the Head and Heart

When your mind shall be well improved with science, nothing will be necessary to place you in the highest points of view but to pursue the interests of your country, the interests of your friends, and your own interests also with the purest integrity, the most chaste (pure) honour (sp). The defect of these virtues can never be made up by all the other acquirements of body and mind. Make these then your first object. Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give [up] the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation or under any circumstances that it is best for you to do a dishonourable (sp) thing however slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do a thing tho’ (sp) it can never be
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If another should be saying an indisputable good Thing; either give no Attention to it; or interrupt him; or draw away the Attention of others; or, if you can guess what he would be at, be quick and say it before him; or, if he gets it said, and you perceive the Company pleased with it, own it to be a good Thing, and withal remarks that it had been said by Bacon, Locke, Boyle, or some other eminent Writer; this you deprive him of the Reputation he might have gain’d (gained) by it, and gain some yourself, as you thereby show your great reading and Memory.
4. When modest Men have been thus treated by you a few times, they will chuse (choose) ever after to be silent in your Company; then you may shine on without Fear of a Rival; rallying them at the same time for their Dullness, which will be to you a new Found of Wit.
Thus, you will be sure to please yourself. The polite Man aims to please others, but you shall go beyond him even in that. A Man can be present only in Company, but may at the same time be absent in twenty. He can please only where he is, on the other hand, you (can be) wherever you are
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