"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800[1]

In this letter, Jefferson responded to "the appearance of neglect" which his friend William Hamilton (1745-1813) had brought to his attention.  Jefferson explained that his failure to call on Hamilton several years earlier was due to a simple accident of circumstances, and was not meant as a snub. "I am happy to find you as clear of political antipathies as I am: and am particularly obliged by the frankness of your explanation," Jefferson wrote.  "I owe to it the opportunity of placing myself justly before you, and of assuring you there was no person here to whom I had less disposition of shewing neglect than to yourself. the circumstances of our early acquaintance I have ever felt as binding me in morality as well as in affection: and there are so many agreeable points in which we are in perfect unison, that I am at no loss to find a justification of my constant esteem."

A longer extract from this letter is available in our Jefferson Quotes and Family Letters website »

Bitter rivalries, character assassinations, an electoral deadlock and a tie-breaking vote in the House of Representatives — the Election of 1800 had it all. See what the fuss was all about:

A Nation Diviided: The Election of 1800


  1. ^ PTJ, 31:533-4.  Letterpress copy available online from the Library of Congress.