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Quotations on Children

1787 February 7. (to Anne Willing Bingham) "In America, on the other hand, the society of your husband, the fond cares for the children. ..fill every moment with a healthy and an useful activity."[1]

1787 March 28. (to Martha Jefferson Randolph) "No body in this world can make me so happy or so miserable as you."[2]

1792 January 15. (to Martha Jefferson Randolph) "...And dear little Anne [grand-daughter, age 11, with whom even Socrates might ride on a stick without being ridiculous."[3]

1793 January 26. (to Martha Jefferson Randolph) "You were never more mistaken than in supposing you were too long on the prattle &c. of little Anne. I read it with quite as much pleasure as you write it." [4]

[1801] January 4. (to Mary Jefferson Eppes) "For be assured that no considerations in this world would compensate to me a separation from yourself and your sister."[5]

1807 July 12. (to John Wayles Eppes) "My happiness at Monticello (if I am able to go there) will be lessened by not having yourself and Francis [grandson, age 5 1/2] there....He will ever be to me one of the dearest objects in life."[6]

1807 October 8. (to Caesar Rodney) "I sincerely congratulate you on the addition to your family announced in the last. The good old book speaking of children says 'happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them."[7]

1808 December 25. (to Charles Thomson) "An only daughter and numerous family of grandchildren, will furnish me great resources of happiness."[8]

1810 February 12. (to Samuel Knox) "The boys of the rising generation are to be the men of the next, and the sole guardians of the principles we deliver over to them." [9]

1812 January 21. (to John Adams) "It... I live in the midst of my grandchildren, one of whom has lately promoted me to be a great grandfather."[10]

1820 December 27. (to Maria Cosway) "My daughter Randolph, whom you knew in Paris a young girl, is now the mother of eleven living children, the grandmother of about half a dozen others, enjoys health and good spirits, and sees the worth of her husband attested by his being at present Governor of the State in which we live. Among these, I live like a patriarch of old." [11]


  1. PTJ, 11:123.
  2. Ibid, 11:251.
  3. Ibid, 23:44.
  4. Family Letters, 110.
  5. Family Letters, 190-1.
  6. Ford, 10:457.
  7. Ibid, 10:502.
  8. Ibid, 11:84.
  9. L&B, 12:360.
  10. Peterson, Writings, 1260.
  11. L&B, 18:309.
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