Few die, none resign (Quotation)

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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"Few die, none resign", is a paraphrase of a statement Thomas Jefferson made in a letter to a group of New Haven, Connecticut merchants in 1801:

"if a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? those by death are few. by resignation none."[1]

It appears that this shortening of Jefferson's statement has been in use for quite some time. Jefferson's 1801 letter to the New Haven merchants was published in a number of newspapers within a matter of weeks after it was written. By 1836, the phrase was described in one journal as "that remarkable apothegm of Mr. Jefferson."[2]


  1. Jefferson to the New Haven Merchants, Washington, D.C., July 12, 1801, in PTJ, 34:556. Press copy available online from the Library of Congress.
  2. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZKZLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA41

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