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Thomas Jefferson - A Character Sketch
Would Take No Presents
by Ellis, Edward S. (A.M.)

The Rev. Mr. Leland sent him a great cheese, presumably as a present. Mr. Jefferson was not in the habit "of deadheading at hotels," nor of receiving presents, however inconsiderable in value, which would place him under any obligation to the donor. The diary contains the following minute regarding the cheese:

1802. Gave Rev'd Mr. Leland, bearer of the cheese of 1235 Ibs weight, 200 D.

So the monster article cost the President sixteen cents a pound.

It will be a surprise to those who have been educated to associate Mr. Jefferson's name with indifference, if not open hostility, to revealed religion, to find among his expenses—some entered as charity, but most of them, exclusive of what is reported under the charity rubric— entries like the following:


Nov 27 Pd Mr B a Subscription for missionaries 15 D.

1798 Feby 26 pd 5D in part of 20D Subscription for a hot-press bible


June 25 Gave order on J Barnes for 25D towards fitting up a chapel.

Sept 23 pd Contribution at a Sermon 7.20


April 7 Gave order on J Barnes for 50D charity in favor of the Revd Mr Parkinson towards a Baptist meeting house.

9 Gave order on J. Barnes in favr the Revd Doctr Smith towards rebuilding Princeton College 100D


July 11 Subscribed to the Wilmington Academy 100D


Feby 25 Gave Hamilton & Campbell ord. on J. Barnes for 100D charity to Carlisle College.

" 28 Gave Genl Winn ord. on J. Barnes for 100D charity to Jefferson Monticello Academy in S. Carolina.

March 1. Gave in charity to the Revd Mr Chambers of Alexandria for his church an order on J. Barnes for 50D

Nov 18 Gave order on J. Barnes for 100D in favor of Revd Mr Coffin for a college in Tennessee.

We doubt whether since the Presidential salary was doubled any of President Jefferson's successors has contributed as large a percentage of his salary to charitable or religious uses.


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