January 27, 1790 – Thomas Jefferson on the Slow Road to Liberty

The Reverend Charles Clay was rector of St. Anne’s Parish of Albemarle County, Virginia and was apparently much admired by Thomas Jefferson, as shown in a testimonial he wrote for him in 1779.

Nine years before that time, on this day in history, Jefferson wrote a letter to the Reverend Clay in which he discusses Clay’s candidacy for Congress. Jefferson is confident, he writes, that Clay is an honest patriot and a well-informed politician, so that he cannot help but know:

…that the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, that we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.”

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson


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