On Why Thomas Jefferson Never Committed Suicide

Upon the death of his wife, Thomas Jefferson went into a deep depression.  In crushing words, he described his state of mind to his sister-in-law, in a sentence that could be placed in psychiatric manuals next to a definition of depression:

“All my plans of comfort and happiness reversed by a single event and nothing answering in prospect before me but a gloom unbrightened with one cheerful expectation.”

Nothing to look forward to.  No hope for the future.  And yet Jefferson would not consider ending his life.  He had things to do:

“This miserable kind of existence is really too burdensome to be borne, and were it not for the infidelity of deserting the sacred charge left me, I could not wish its continuance a moment.”

That sacred charge?  He had children to raise.  Thank God!

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