Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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February 21st
“Murmur not at the ways of Providence”
A friend and political ally of Thomas Jefferson asked the retired president to give some advice to his young son, Thomas Jefferson Smith, who had been named after Jefferson. A little more than a year before he died, Jefferson composed a letter to be given to Smith when he was old enough to appreciate it. He enclosed some practical advice, such as “Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold,” and “When angry, count ten before you speak. If very angry, a hundred.” But the most moving part of the letter consists of the following “few words”:

Monticello, February 21, 1825

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.
American History Parade
1848
Former president John Quincy Adams suffers a stroke on the floor of the U.S. House, and dies two days later.

1878
The first telephone directory is issued in New Haven, Connecticut.

1885
The Washington Monument is dedicated.

1965
African American leader Malcolm X is shot and killed by three members of the Nation of Islam in New York City.

1972
Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to visit China. American
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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