If, in my retirement to the humble station of a private citizen, I am accompanied with the esteem and approbation of my fellow citizens, trophies obtained by the bloodstained steel, or the tattered flags of the tented field, will never be envied. The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.

letter to the Republican Citizens of Washington County, Maryland, March 31, 1809

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More from Thomas Jefferson

He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truth without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.

First Inaugural Address. March 4, 1801

When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.

We never repent of having eaten too little.

letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825

Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.

letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825