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Thomas Jefferson - Selected Writings

Thomas Jefferson - Selected Writings

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Publicado porJuan del Sur
This is selected portions of a book (29 pages) that includes selected writings and letters of Jefferson, edited by Adrienne Koch and William Peden, and including Jefferson's handwritten instructions for his own tombstone. The complete book may still be available, and includes Jefferson's autobiography, travel journals, essays, biographies of other historical figures, notes and correspondence. It is a wealth of material into a foundation stone personality of our American identity.

The complete book includes the Declaration of Independence which spells out the reasons for the American colonies to declare independence from Britain. Jefferson's letters to John Adams are included as well. Adams and Jefferson were long time friends but became disconnected later in their lives.
This is selected portions of a book (29 pages) that includes selected writings and letters of Jefferson, edited by Adrienne Koch and William Peden, and including Jefferson's handwritten instructions for his own tombstone. The complete book may still be available, and includes Jefferson's autobiography, travel journals, essays, biographies of other historical figures, notes and correspondence. It is a wealth of material into a foundation stone personality of our American identity.

The complete book includes the Declaration of Independence which spells out the reasons for the American colonies to declare independence from Britain. Jefferson's letters to John Adams are included as well. Adams and Jefferson were long time friends but became disconnected later in their lives.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Juan del Sur on Mar 17, 2011
Direitos Autorais:Attribution Non-commercial


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Direil ions 17/ Jefferson'» hdnt!7..i..,-ilillg.!I)" his tombsl on«, uitl, ills7runiollsjor I herpil uph btllrillg "'nill/oll)' 10 III<' I hrcc (/<,hi,"'l'II/l'1I1 s "inosi 10 be remembered"




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The Life and Selected Writings of THOMAS JEFFERSON

Edited, and 7vith 1111 Introdurlion hy .Adrienne Koch (3 rVillil1)}! Pnlcil


,7\..o't£s OX 'UIR(;/j\'/,~

State, or the cruwn , thcr en.lter , made general purchases of the Indians from t ime (0 t imc, and th« govcrnor parcelled them out hy special grants, coniorlll:tl)le tf) the rilles before desrribcd, which it was nut ill his power. or in that of the crown, to dis]lel:~(, with, Crants, unaccompanied ll)' their proper legal circumstances, were sd aside regularly hy jirri facias, or by bill ill chancery, Since the establishment of our new Government, this order of (hings is hilt little changed, An individual, wishing to appropriate to himsrlf lands still unappropriated by any other, p:lys to the puhlic treasurer a slim of money proportioned to the quantity he wants. He carries the treasurer's receipt to (he auditor-: of public accounts, who thereupon debit the treasurer wit h the SLI III , and order the register of the landoff.re to gin' the party a wa rr.m I Ior his land, "'ith this warrant Irorn the register, he goes to the surveyor of the county wher« the land lies on which he ha~ cast his eye, The surveyor lays it off for him, gins him its exact description, in the form of a ccrt ifir.u«, which cort iflr.u« he returns to the landoffice, where a grant is made out , and is ~igned IJ~' the govornor. This \'Csts ill him a peden dominion in his lands, transmissible to whom he pleases by deed or will, or by descent to his heirs, if he die intestate,

~lanv of the laws which were in force rlurinz the monarch" being l:elali\'C' merely to that form of gO\Trn~lent. or incuieating prinl'iples inconsistent with republicanism, the first assel~lIJly which met after the establishment of the commonwealth appointed a conuuit tr-c to revise the whole code, to reduce it into proper form and volume, and report it to the assembly, This work has been executed h~' three gentlemen, and reported: J but prubahly will not be taken up till a restoration of peace shall leave to the legislature leisure to go through such a work,

The plan of the rcvisa] was this, The common law of Englanrl , by which is meant. (hat part of the English law which was anterior to the date oi the oldest statutes extant, is made 1. This rrvis«] was pprfonned uy J dfLl'son, \\'ylhc, and Pendleton, 2.14


the basis o,f the work, I~ was thought dangerous to attempt to reduce It to a text; It was therefore left to be collected from the usual monuments of it. Necessary alterations in that and so much of the whole body of the British statutes, and of a:ts of a~sembly, as were thought proper to be retained were d,lgest,e~ into one hundred and twenty-six new acts, in 'whier slmphclty of style was aimed at, as far as was safe, The fol low~ng are the most remarkable alterations proposed:

1 0 chal~ge ~he rules of descent, so a" that the lands of anv pe:son dying mtestate shall be divisible equally among all his chtl?ren, or other representatives, in equal degree,

10 make slaves distributable among the next of kin as other

movables, '

To have ~ll public expenses, whether of the general treasurv, or ,of,a par~sh or county, (as for the maintenance of the poor, building bridges, courthouses, &c,,) supplied bv assessment on the citi~ens, in proportion to their property. .

T? hire l~nd:rta,k~rs for keeping the public roads in repair, and indemnify individuals through whose lands new roads shall be opened,

To d,e~lne with precision the rules whereby aliens should become Citizens, and citizens make themselves aliens,

To establish religious freedom on the broadest bottom

, To emancipate all slaves born after the passing the act. The b,tll reported by the revisers does not itself contain this proposinon: bu t an an~endme;] t con taining it was prepared, to be offered to the I,eglsl,ature whenever the bill should be taken up. and farther directing, that they should con tinue with their p~rents to a, certain age, the~l to be brought lip, at the publi. e:-pense, to tillage, arts, or SCIences, according to their geniuses, till the females should be eighteen, and the males twentv-one years ,of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the ~Ircumstances ~f the tin_le should render most propel', sendmg them out With arms, implements of household and of the handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals sc., to declare them a free and independent people, and extend


;\()'f'[;S () X 'VI RC IIY fA

to them our alliillllT and protection, till they have acquired strength: and to ~end vessels at the s.une ~ime. to (I~her parts .if the world fill' an equal number of white IIlhalntants: to induce them to ll1igr;ltc hither JlI'llJler encouragements \~ere to be proposed. It will prolJahly he askcr!. ,,'hy not ret.un and incorporate the hlacks into the State, and thus save the expel:se of sUPP"'ing hy ililportation of whit~ settlers, tl.le vacancies

t hev will leave? llct'p-rIllltt'd prejudices rntertallled by t.he Whites: ten thousand recollections, hy the blacks, of tl.le. l l l-

i mil'S thev hn \l' sus: a i ned: new pr()\'oca t i,'ns; the real distinctious \\'hi~h nature h:15 made: and many dher circumstances, \\,ill'di\'ide us into parties, and prorluc« conntlsiolls, which will prohably never end 11IIt in the cxtern.lination of t1~e one or the other race. To these ohjections, which are political, may be added others, which are ph~'sical anclll1oral. The first difference whicn strikes us is that of color. \Yhether the black of the negro resides in the reticular mr-rnbra ne bet we.en the skin and scarf-skill, or ill the scarf-skin itself: whetl:er It proceeds Ironthe color of the blood, the color of the btle, or from tha.t of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and IS ~s real as if its seat and cause were lict ter known to us ', And IS this difference of no importance? Is it 1I0t the foundation of a greater or less shaH' of Iwauty in the two r.aces? Are not the fine mixt 1I re~ of red a nd \V hi t c, the expressllllls of every passion b~' greater or less suffusions of color in the one, preferaLle to that eternal monotony which reigns in the cou.ntenances, that immovable veil of black which covers the emotious of the other race? Acid to these, \1owing hair, a more elegcll.lt symmetrv of form, their 0\\'11 judglllent in Iavor of the whites, declarcd !J\' their preference of them , as uniformly as is the preferen~e of the (Ir.ru-utau for the bbc." WOI11:1Il over tho~e of his own species. The circumstance ot superior beauty, IS thought worthv attention ill the propagatioll of our horses,dogs, and othcr clo;llestic animals: why not ill that of man? ~e'Ii des those of color, figure, ami hair) there are other physical



distinctions proving a difference of race. Tln.y have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor. This greater degree of transpiration. renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold than the whites. Perhaps. too, a difference of structure in the pulmonary apparatus. which a late ingenious experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, mav have disabled them Ircrn extricating. in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer uir , or obliged them in expiration, to part with more of it. They seem to require less sleep ... \ black a Iter hard labor through the clay, will be induced bv the slightest C1111U5ements to sit up till midnight. or bter. though knowing he must be out with iirst dawn of the morning. They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome. Bu: this may perhaps proceed from a want of Iorethor-cht, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present. \\'hen present, they del not go through it with more coolncs, or steadiness than the whites. They are 1II0re ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, them a tender cle lica te mixi ure of sen timon t and sensa t ion. Their grieb are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful ,,,hether heaven has given life tu us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten wit h them. In genera!, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection. To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep when abstracted from their diversions. and unemployed in labor. An animal whose bodv is a t rest, and \\'110 does not refleet must be disposed to sle-ep of course. Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites: ill reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing ancl comprehending the investigations of Euclid: and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous. It would be unfair to follow them to Africa for this investigation.


,'\ () r e S {J t\' -ct R C / N I ,~

\Vc will consider them here, Oil the same stage with the whites, n nt l where the [:Ict~ arc not ;IJ)llcryphal Oil which a judgment ;5 til Ill' Inrnu«]. !t \ViII he right to make great allowances [or I ill' (lif[eITllu' of c()llditi()ll, of edllc;JtiOIl, of ctln\'ers;ltioll, of the splrcr« in which they move. ::'ILlI'.Y millions of them have been brought til, and !,.II'n in Amrrica. ;,[()~t of them, indeed, have been C(lllil ncd to tillage, L t heir own homes, and their own societv: I'd m.mv h.rvr- been so sit uat cd, that they might have il','aile'd till'l11s(,J;,'(~S (I[ the couvcrxn t ion o[ their masters; many have hccn brought up to tilt' handicraft arts, and [rom that r ircumstanrv have alll'ays been associated with the whites, Some ha\'C been li:,nally educated. aml all have lived in countries wlu-r« the arts and scicnces are cult ivnted to a considerable dcgrce, a 11(1 all have had before their eves samples of the best work» Iroru ;1 broad. The l ndians, \\i t h no advan tages of this k ind, will often carve ligures on their pages not destitute of design and merit, Thcv will crayon out al' animal, a plant, or a count rv. SIl as to prove the existence of a germ in their mimi, whirll Ol1!\' wants cult ivut iou. They astonish you with strokes of the most xuhlime oratory: such as prove their rea SOil and sent imeut strong, their il1l;lgillation glowing and elevated. But never vet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the le\'el o[ plain narrut ion ; never saw even an elementarv trait of painting or sculpture, In music they are more gel~era!ly gi[ted than the whites with accurate e,~rs f~r, tune and time, and r hey h.ive been Iouud capable of nnaguung a small c.uch.' \rlwthcr they will be equal to the composition of a more exlcn:;i\'c run of uu-lo.ly , or ()[ rornplicatr«! harmony, 1S vet to be proverl. :\[iscry is often the parent of the most ;lffecting touches in poetry. ;\ll1on~ the blacks is misery enough, G()d kuows, but no poetry, Love i,; the peculiar oestrum of the poet. Their love is ardent, hut it kindles the senses only, not

" The inst rumcnt proper t o the III i, the Hanjar. which the;' brought hither frOJll'\fric;t, anei which is the «riuinal of the ,gUlla;. it s chords being precisely t hc jour lower chords 01 the gtnlaL LJ effersun s note.]



the imagination, Religion, indeed, has produced a Phyllis Whatelv : 1 but it could not produce a poet. The compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism The heroes of the Dunciad are to her, as Hercules to the author of that poem. Ignatius Sancho" has approached nearer to merit in composition; yet his letters do more honor to the heart than the head. They breathe the purest effusions of friendship and general philanthropy, and show how great a degree of the latter may be compounded with strong religious zeal. He is often happy in the turn of his compliments, and his style is easy and familiar, except when he affects a Shandean fabrication of words. But his imagination is wild and extravagant. and escapes incessantly from every restraint of reason and taste, and, in the course of its vagaries, leaves a tract of thought as incoherent and eccentric, as is the course of a meteor through the sky. His subjects should often have led him to a process o[ sober reasoning: yet we find him always substituting sentiment for demonstration. Upon the whole, though \\'C admit him to the first place among those of his own color who have presented themselves to the public judgment, yet when \H' compare him with the writers of the race among whom he lived and particularly with the epistolary class in which be has taken his own stand, we are compelled to enrol him at the bottom of the column, This criticism supposes the letters published under his. name to be genuine, and to ha ve received amendment from no other hand: points which would not be of easy invest igat iou. The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites. has been observed bv everv one, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect "merel;' of their condition of li[e. \Ye know that among the Ron;ans, about the Augustan age especially. the condition of their slaves was much more deplorable than that of

l. Phyllis \YhL'atle\'. (correct spelling) whose collected poems \\'L"'C

published in London in Iii3· . ..

2. Sancho, born in 17~9 on a sia\"L'5111P, \Y~S a wn,c:tullc rL':,lLlC'I1t c~ Lngiand ; his Letters ';.;il/I Xl ent oir; of 11':5 Life appeared in 1,82.


,'?{_OI2:'; ON 'VIRC;INIA

the hlacks on the c()ntincnt of America, The two sexes were COlllillcd ill ,.;('parale apart nu-nt s, because to raise a child cost rbc ll1:tS[C:' 1I11liT t han til 11lIY onr-. ('alll, fIJI' a very restricted indlll~(,Ill'C til his ~Ian', in this particular.' took from them a cerlaill price. nul in t his countr)' the sla\'co; mulr iply as fast :h the frtT i.ihabir.uus. Their situation and m.uuu-rs place the cclmnwrcc lll't \Well the (\YO .'it'XCS ,Ii most willl'lUt restraint. The ",!!llC Calli. on a principle of l'I'IIIHIIllY. always silld his sick and -;up'.'rannuall'd ,]1\'('';. Ill' gi,'c, it a.; a sl:l11r1ing precept to a m:\~t('r ,isiting his [",'m, til seH his Ilid o:«-n, old wugons. old t(l,lis, IJld aurl di';[';ISI'd S('l'\',lllh, anti cl't'rYlhiI1:,!: el-e hccome llSI1'i"" ... Tlu- .\Ill','riclil "LI\'(''; CI1lI1Ot elllll1lei'atc this among ',he inj urit,.; and ill.;\I11:; Ilw)' 1'('I:l'i\'c, It \\:IS l1w rommon practicc [il 1''']llN' ill the i"i:J!ld .\I'''CUi:tpiliS. ill i h« Tylicr , diseased sb\'cs \\Ii(),'(_' CUlt' \\;I~ lib, t() hl'l'()111!:' te(hlll~, TIlt' el;l]1cror Claudius hy all cdid. g:I\'(' fl"!'etll)iJ] til such of them as should i't'C()\'('I', allt! .-"",t (:l'cLirt'dtlnt if any ]l1'1'~llIl t:!w"c to kill rather [hall ttl l':\pll~I' t lnm. it ,.;htluld no: 1)1' (;ecllwd homicide. The npl'sill!2: t lu-ru is :1 rrimr of whir]: no iJl~t:IIlCI~ ha.; e,;i~tcd with u- : alld \\'l'l"1' it ttl 1)(' hl!,,\\,\,t! II)' dl,:tth, it wonk] 1)(' punished capii:tll)" \\"1' ar« lold IIf a ct'rt:lin \"t'diu~ I'lIl1ill. who, ill the 1)I'(,"(,lll'l' or ,\u!..';u,;lU.'i. \\mild h.iv« gin'l] :l ,1:1\'(' as fllue! to his fish. [til' ha\illi.' Imil~I'1l a gla,,;_ \\'ilh the Rnmun. the regular mel :11 "I II f t:1 k i n[( t hl' I'" illl'llce () [ t hci I' sLI\"l's was under t.nt un-. 111'1'1' it h:1S 11l'I'n thllilghl het tcr ncvvr to rc';urt to their (' .. id,'nct', 'Yhl'll a masll'r \\'as 1l1urd('red. all hi, slaves, ill the ,<'llle IWlN'. til' wit hiu hc:!r!ng. WtTl' c<lIHil'llllH'd t,) death. Here I .uni-hnunt [alb I'll Ihl'[(uilty 1I1l1y. and as prvcise proof is I"l'q!lirc'd ,t[(ain"t him :1" :q,;:iin,t a [1','('111:\11. Yd lliltwithstaniling t lu-«: :lIld (1(1:('1" di';II>llr:l,gillg rirCUl1lst;llll'CS alll"I1!~ the Romans, their SLi\"l'S \.,-ere' oilell t hrir r.ut--t .ut i-ts. Tlu-v excelled tOG ill sci,'nu'. ill~\lm\ll.h a~ to 1\(, u~u~tlly I'mplllyct! a:o; tutors to Illl'ir llla~l('r's .hiklrcn. LI,icl'.'lU", Ten-nee. and lhaedrus wcr« slaves. But tiley \H'IT IIf till' r.u:c (If whit e«. It is not their 1IJ:l<!ili(11I tl1('ll. hut nature. which has pl'Ililuccd the distinction, \\'Ill'tk'r further IIIJsl'n'a[ ion wil] or will not \'Crif)' the COli-

T l! 0 MAS .7 e F F e R SON

jecture, that nature has been less bountiful to them in the endowments of the head, I believe that in those of the heart she will be found to have done them justice, That disposition to theft with which they have been branded, must be ascribed to their situation, and not to any depravity of the moral sense. The man in whose favor no laws of property exist, probably feels himself less bound to respect those made in favor of others. \rhen arguing for ourselves, we lav it clown as a fundamental, that laws, to be just. must give a reciprocation 0/ right: that, without this, thev are mere arbitrary rules of con. duct, founded in force, and n-ot in conscience: al~c1 it is a problem which I give to the master to solve, whether the religious precepts against the violation of property were not framed for him as well as his slave? And whether the slave muv not as justifiably take a little from one who has taken all' from him. as he may slay one who would slay him? That a change in the relations in which a man is placed should change his ideas of moral right or wrong. is neither new, nor peculiar to the color of the blacks. Homer tells us it was so two thousand six hundred years ago.

JO\'C fixd it certain, take whatever (by

Makes man a slave. takes hal! his worth away.

But the slaves 0 [ which Homer speaks were whites. I\ otwithstanding these considerations which must weaken their re~pect for the laws of property, we find among them numerous Instances of the most rigid integrity, and as many as among their better instructed masters, of benevolence, gratitude, and unshaken fidelity. The opinion that they are inferior in the Iaculties of reason and imagination, must be hazarded witb great diffidence. To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the subject may be submitted to the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, to analysis by fire or by solvents. How much more then where it is a facultv not a substance, we are examining; where it eludes the research of all the senses; where the conditions of its existence are various and variously combined; where the effects of those which are



present or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me add too, as a circumstance of great tenderness, where our. conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the ran~ III ~he scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them. To our reproach it must be said, that though for a century and a half we have had under our eyes the races of black an~ of red men, they have never yet been viewed by us as ~u~Jects of natural history. I advance it, therefore,. a~ a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a dl.stm~t race, or m~de distinct bv time aud circumstances. are inferior to the wh!tes in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose that different species of. the same g~nus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualI~ca-

ti \Vill not a lover of natural history then, one who views

IOns. I . I tl f

the gradations in all the races of anim~ S Wit I Ie eye 0

philosophy excuse an effort to keep those III the department of man as di~tinct as nature has formed them? Th.is unfortunate difference of color, and perhaps of faculty, IS a powerf~1 obstacle to the emancipation of these people: l\Iany of their advocates while they wish to vindicate the liberty of human nature a;e anxious also to preserve its dignity and beaut~. Some ~f these, embarrassed by the question.' "\\'hat. f~rther. IS to be done with them?" join themselves 111 oppositIOn with those who are actuated by sordid avarice 0f~ly·0mong the Romans emancipation required but one ~ff~rLJ [he slave, whe.n made free, might mix with, without staunng the blood _of his master. But with us a second is necessary, unknown to hlsto~y. When freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of ITIlX-

tU~~~tl~e~ object of the revisal is to diffuse k.now.ledge more generally through the mass of the ~)eo.ple. TIllS bill ~ropo.ses to layoff every county into small districts of five or SIX ~llles

c lled hundreds and in each of them to establIsh a

square, a '.. . d ari I ti Th tutor

school for teaching, readlllg, wntmg, an ant nne I.C.. e.

b t d b the hundred and every person in It entitled

to e suppor e y, I

to send their children three years gratis, and as much onger

as they please, paying for it. These schools to be under a




visitor who is annually to choose the boy of best genius in the school, of those whose parents are too poor to give them further education, and to send him forward to one of the grammar schools, of which twenty are proposed to be erected in different parts of the country, for teaching Greek, Latin, Geography, and the higher branches of numerical arithmetic. Of the boys thus sent in one year, trial is to be made at the grammar schools one or two years, and the best genius of the whole selected, and continued six years, and the residue dismissed. By this means twenty of the best geniuses will be raked from the rubbish annually, and be instructed, at the public expense, 30 far as the grammar schools go. At the end of six years' instruction, one half are to be discontinued (from among whom the grammar schools will probably be suppliee! with future masters); and the other half, who are to be chosen for the superiority of their parts and disposition, are to be sent and continued three years in the study of such sciences as they shall choose, at \\'iIliam and Mary College, the plan of which is proposed to be enlarged, as will be hereafter explained, and extended to ail the useful sciences. The ultimate result of the whole scheme of education would be the teaching all the children of the State reading, writing, and common arithmetic; turning out ten annually, of superior genius, well taught in Greek, Latin, Geography, and the higher branches of arithmetic: turning out ten others annually, of still superior parts, who, to those branches of learning, sha!l have added such of the sciences as their genius shall have led them to: the furnishing to the wealthier part of the people convenient schools at which their children may be educated at their own expense. The general objects of this law are to provide an education adapted to the years, to the capacity, and the condition of everyone, and directed to their freedom and happiness. Specific details were not proper for the law. These must be the business of the visitors entrusted with its execution. The first stage of this education being the schools of the hundreds, wherein the great mass of the people will receive their instruction, the principal foundations of future order will be laid here,



e. , 0" the Bible and Testament into the

Instead, therefore, of putting I their judgments are not

f I I 'I I ' I 'It 'Ill age w len

hands 0 t ic c 11 ( re I , 'I" inquiries their memories may

, I at ed for re IglOllS 111 , .

sufficient }" rna ur f I f cts from Grecian, Roman,

here be stored with t,he mo:t use l!rh: first elements of morality European and ;\mcncan hlsto~y, , I' uch as when further

' "II I ' to their 11l1!1( S, S ,

too may be insti ec 111 d 'strength may teach .

- I I ,', iud cmcnt s a vance 111 , ,

develope: as t.1t Il - "', - at t Inl)IJiness by showing

'1- t their own grea est n. , , h

them how to wm ~ ou I tl II dition of life in whic

them that it does not depelllC a? lIe ':1(": the result of a good

I ' I them Jut IS a w: - ,

chance has p ace: , " d freedom in all Just

'. I h alth occupation, an h

conscience. gooc e,." I' Ith of their parents or t e

"['I vhom either tie wea ,

pursurts. lUse'·· I' t hizher dezrees of learmng,

' f I St: t shall destrne 0 I '"' '"

adoption 0 tie c a e su; , 'I I which constitute the next

will ;.';0 on to the gl:~unl11al s.lc "" tSI' I~ nguages. The learning

be nstructer III re u _ e- I

stage, there to. e I, . II' zoinz into disuse in Europe,

Greek and Lalin, I "un to c , ,IS ,'"'I "'occuIJations may call for;

·1 at thor manner s anr ' , I '

know not \\ ra ,: I I' to follow their examp e m

III rv ill tur cer III us . ht

but it wou c .ie ve - -, "" ", "d f life sav from erg

'1-' " 'I ccrt'jln peilo 0 "

this instance" ncre IS '_ f: IT when the mind like the body

to Iif teeu or sixteen! eat S 0 1,lb",e", nel close operations, If , . f ' ugh for a OIIOUS a , , IS not yet mn euo , " .ti t [Jrematllre exertIOn,

I it f-II an early vic lID 0 ,

applied to sue 1, IdS, ,'t'l e vounu and tender subjects,

" 'I I 'It Iu.st 111 ies M c

oxhlhit ing. me cer , ' l,' f tl "I' being men while they are

the flattering appear,ailc: 0, 11L~ them to be children when

'I b t errlll1" 111 rec ucmg ibl d

vet chile rcn , U l., D , , " tl en most suscept: e an

- 1 1 he mcmO!, IS 1 b .

they should ~e men", .. and the learning of languages eing

ten:!cious of nupi eSSlons, , pI'eciselv fitted to the

I f mol'" It seems - , .

chien" a work 0 me. '-'I" I enough too for acqUlrmg

- , "I whic 1 IS una b' ,

Iluwcrs of this pel JU( , ," I odern I do not pre-

f I I uuazes ancient anc 111, h

the most use u an,:,' '"', ., It' onlv an instrument for t e

I . I uaze IS SCience, IS - I ' h j m

tend t rat ang nIt t i I'S not lost W llC IS e -

f -' 'e B 11 t t W line - II

lttainl11ent 0 ~L,lenc, 'for future operation; more especra y

»loved in proVldll1g tools int tl hands of the youth for

':, th books put 111 0 ie "

as 111 this case e 'II t the same tune Impress

, be such as WI a " d

'.his purpose 111a) I d principles, I f this peno

, ' h f ul facts anr goo . d

their 1111I1ds Wit us: ' hind becomes lethargic an

be suffered to pass 111 Idleness] tern



impotent, as would the body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time. The sympathy between body and mind during their rise, progress and decline, is too strict and obvious to endanger our being missed while we reason from the one to the other. As soon as they are of sufficient age, it is supposed they will be sent on from the grammar schools to the university, which constitutes our third and last stage, there to study those sciences which may be adapted to their views. By that part of our plan which prescribes the selection of the youths of genius from among the classes of the poor, we hope to avail the State of those talents which nature has SO\Yll as liberally among the poor as the rich, but which perish without use, if not sought. for and cultivated. But of the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their 0\\'11 liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where the v will receive their whole education, is proposed, a» has been said, to be chiefly historical. History, by apprizing them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views, In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe] their minds must be improved to a certain degree. This indeed is not all that is necessary, though it be essentially necessary. An amendment of our constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over government must be shared among all the people, If every individual which composes their mass participates of the ultimate authority, the government will be safe; because the corrupting the whole mass will exceed any private resources of wealth; and public ones



, t be provided but by levies on the people. In this case canno hi own price The government

every man would have to pay IS . .

of Great Britain has been corrupted, becau.se but one ma~e~~

I . . I t to vote for members of parliament. The se

ten las a rIg 1 f hei .

of the overnrnent, therefore, get nine-tenths o. t err pnce

clear Itghas been thought that corruption is restra:~~d bYf c~~~ [min' the right of suffrage to a few of the \,,:a tier 0 _

eopTe' but it would be more effectually restram.ed by an exo tension of that right to such members as would bid defiance t

the means of corruption. . bezi

Lastly it is proposed, by a bill in this rev~sal, to egmpa public library and gallery. by laying out a certain sum annua .yin books, paintings, and statues.



The Colleges and Public Establishments, the Roads, Buildings, t-re.

The college of William and Mary is the only pub~ic sen;i~~~y

I . . this State It was founded In the time 0 g of earumg 111,. d t it twentv thousand William and queen Mary, who grante 0 I . - b 0 5

res of land and n penny a pound duty on certain to acc. e :~ported frOl;l Virginia and Maryland, which had be~n !evI~d by the statute of 25 Car. II. The a~sel11bly also la~~ It, ~ tem orarv laws, a duty on liquors m~ported.' an s 111S an f

f P -·t d From these resources It received upwards a urs expoi e . .. Th b ildings are three thousand pounds ccnnnunibus a 111115. e. u <

f brick sufficient for an indifferent accommodation of ~erhab" ~n hun~red students. By its charter it was to .be un. er t e government of twen ty visitors, who were to be Its leglsl~tors,

v ,_ . f who were Incor-

d to h.rve a president and SIX pro essors, :v

an t d 'It W'lS allowed a representative in the general asd

~~~~I~'" Under' this charter, a professorship o.f the Gretk ~;al Latin languages, a profess~r~h~p of mathema~\~sh o;e ~o ~hese

1'1 hv and two of divinity, were esta IS e .

p 11 osop -: I for a sixth professorship, a considerable dona,,:ere b<lnnl\ex1ec 'Bo\rle o'f England, for the instruction of the

non y r. _,



Indians, and their conversion to Christianity. This was called the professorship of Brafferton, from an estate of that name in England, purchased with the monies given. The admission of the learners of Latin and Greek filled the college with children, This rendering it disagreeable and degrading to young gentlemen already prepared for entering on the sciences, they were discouraged from resorting to it, and thus the schools for mathematics and moral philosophy, which might have been of some service, became of very little. The revenues, too, Were exhausted in accommodating those who came only to acquire the rudiments of science. After the present revolution, the visitors, having no power to change those circumstances in the constitution of the college which were fixed by the charter, and being therefore confined in the number of the professorships, undertook to change the objects of the professorships. They excluded the two schools for divinity, and that for the Greek and Latin languages, and substituted others; so that at presen t they stand thus:

A Professorship for Law and Police; Anatomy and Medicine;

A Natural Philosophy and Mathematics;

Moral Philosophy, the Law of Nature and Nations, the Fine Arts;

Modern Languages;

For the Brafferton.

And it is proposed, so soon as the legislature shall have leisure to take up this subject, to desire authority from them to increase the number of professorships, as well for the purpose of subdividing those already instituted, as of adding others for other branches of science. To the professorships usually established in the universities of Europe, it would seem proper to add one for the ancient languages and literature of the north, on account of their connection with our own language, laws, customs, and history. The purposes of the Brafferton institution would be better answered by maintaining a perpetual mission among the Indian tribes, the object of which, besides instructing them in the principles of Christianity, as the'





:J(_O'feS oN 'VIRGINL4

nets of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There

must doubtless be an unhappy int1uence on the manners of our people produced by the existence 01 slavery among us. The whole commerce between master al1l1 slave is a perpetual exer-

cise of the most boisterous pao;sions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is

an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education

in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what

he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in

his philanthropy or his self-loW, for restr~lining the intemperance 0 f pas:oion towards his slave, it should alwa vs be a SUff1- cient one that his child is present. But generally -it is not SUIficient. The parent storms, the chilll looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to the worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but

be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepravecl by such circumstances. ;\nd with \yhat execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one hall the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, tr:ll1s[orms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the a nior patriae of the other. For if a slave can haw a country in this w,lrld, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live anrl labor [or another: in which he must lock up the bcullies of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his inlliyidtH!l endeavors to the evanishment of the human race. or entail his own miserable condition on the enllless )1;enerations proceeding [rom him. \Yith the morals of the people, their industry abo is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will 1ahor for himself \yho C:In make another labor [or him. This is so true, that o[ the proprietors ,)f slaves a very small proportion indec(l are eyer seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be lhollght secure when we nave remo\'Cd their only ['lrm husis, a cOllyiction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That


r'HOMAS JeFFeRSON they are not to be violated but with His wrath?

ble for mv country whe I fl . Indeed I trem-

.. _ n re ect that God' . t I .

justice cannot sleep forever' that ideri IS JUS; t rat his and natural means onlv a' . 1 t~onsl tong numbers, nature an exchange of situation i revo u Ion of the wheel of fortune. b IS among possible eve t hat i .

ecome probably bv sup t l I n s: t at It may

has no attribute wh-ich ca~~~k~:idll1te:ferenC~! The Almighty But it is impossible to b t e With us Il1 such a contest.

h e ernperate and to p hi .

t rough the various considerations f ' ursue t 1S subject tory natural and civil \V b 0 policy, of morals, of his,

force their way into e~er: o:u;t ~ conten~ed to hope they will perceptible, since the a"ri ine ~rmd. I think a change already spirit of the master is ab t~ h the present revolution. The dust, his condition mollif:i:gg, t~ at ,of ti1e slave rising from the the auspices of heaven f~r a't ti\way ~ope. preparing, under is disposed in the ord'er f .0 a emancipation, and that this

, a events t b . h

the masters rather than b thei ' ? e. WIt the consent of

, y err extirpation.


The present state of mnnuiactures, COII'II'CI'CC

• • interior

and exterior trade? '

We never had an interior trade of . .

terior commerce has suffered . any Importance. Our ex-

the present contest Durl'n" the~-y I~Hlch from the beginning of

. hi . g IS tnne we have f-

WIt m our families the most manu actured

Those of cotton wi1' b ie mOSL necessary articles of clothing.

f •. ear some cornpar ison with th

o manufacture in Europe' b t' th e same kinds

,u ose of wool f1 - d 1

are very coarse unsightly d .' ax an iemp

attachment to ag' ricultureY' adn uhnpleasant: and such is our

,an sue our prefer f f .

manufactures that b 't· . ence or orergn

. ' e I wIse or unwi .

tainly return as soon as thev ca ise. ~u.r people WIll cer-

and exchanging them for f - n, to the raising raw materials, to execute themselves. mer manufactures than they are able

The political economists of Euro h .

principle, that everv State sh ld p~ ave establIshed it as a

itself; and this principle li~~ meann:avor to manufacture for America, without calcula~ing th d=ff others, we .transfer to

e I erence of CIrcumstance






which should often produce a difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. l\lanufacture must therefore be resorted to of necessity not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman. Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement. or that one half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft arts for the other? Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made His pectl I iar deposit fur substantial aru] genuine virtue. It is the Iocus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might e~G\[le from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mas" uf cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor n~lti·,)\1 h~~" Iumish«] an example. I t is the mark set on those, who, not looking UJl to hcnvcn, to their own soil and industry, CIS does the husbamlman, for their subsistence, depend for it on casua 1t ics and ca pI' icc u f cus tnmer«. Dependence begets sub~er\'iei1ce and venalitv , sllf(ucates the germ of virtue, and preP:irfS fit te)(lls for the designs of ambition. This, the natural pr\\gress ~ll1d consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accident al circumstances: but, generally speaking, the propllrtiol1 which the a((gregate of the other classes of citizens bears in am' Slate to thai of its husbandmen, is the pmportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption. \\'hile we have l.nu] to la\)\\r then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a wurkbench, or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, mas\\ns. smiths, are wall\in,~ in husbandry; but, ior the gcneral operations of manufacture, let our workshops remain in Euru\lc. I t is better to carry pr\,visions and materials to work mi-n tl~ere, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them their manners amI principles. The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made lip in happiness and permanence of government. The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. 11



~s t~e manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic III vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.


A notice of the commercial productions particular to the State, and of those objects which the inhabitants arc obliged to get from Europe and from other parts of the world?

In the year 1758 we exported seventy thousand hogsheads of tobacco, which was the greatest quantity ever produced in this country in one year. But its culture was fast declining at the com~encement c.f this war and that of wheat taken its place; and It must continue to decline on the return of peace. I suspect that the change in the temperature of our climate has become ~ensible to that plant, which to be good, requires an extraordmary degree of heat. But it requires still more indispensably an uncommon fertility of soil; and the price which it co~mands at market will not enable the planter to produce this by manure. Was the supply still to depend on Virginia and l\Iaryla~d alone as its culture becomes more difficult, the price would nse so as to enable the planter to surmount those difficulties and to live. But the western country on the Mississippi, and the midlands of Georgia, having fresh and fertile lands in abundance, and a hotter sun, will be able to undersell these two States, and will oblige them to abandon the raising of tobacco altogether. And a happy obligation for them it will be. It is a ~ul~ure productive of infmite wretchedness. Those employed III It are in a continual state of exertion beyond the power of nature to support. Little food of any kind is raised bv them' so that the men and animals on these farms are badlv fed and the earth is r[pidly impoverished. The cultivation o-f wh:at is the reverse in every circumstance. Besides clothing the earth with herbage, and preserving its fertility, its feeds the laborers plentifully, requires from them only a moderate toil, except in the season of harvest, raises great numbers of animals for food and service, and diffuses plenty anci happiness among



papers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that ever v man should receive those papers, and be capable of reading them. I am convinced t hat those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their general mass an infiuitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former: public opinion is ill the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws eyer did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of <JO\ernin~. thev have divided their nations into

,., " '

two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a

true picture of Europe. Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention, Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them, If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on th-e poor ....


Paris, January 30, 1787

. I am impatient to learn your sentiments on the ~3.te troubles in the Eastern States. So far as I have yet seen, they do not appear to threaten serious consequences. Those States have suffered by the stoppage of the channels of their commerce, which have not yet found other issues. This must render money scarce, and make the people uneasy. This uneasiness has produced acts absolutely unjustifiable; but I hope they will provoke no severities from their governments. A consciousness of those in power that their administration of the public affairs has been honest, may, perhaps, produce toe



great a degree of indignation; and those characters, wherein fear predominates over hope, may apprehend too much from these instances of irregularity. They may conclude too hastily, that nature has formed man insusceptible of any other government than that of force, a conclusion not founded in truth nor experience. Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. I. Without government, as among 'our Indians. 2. Under governments, wherein the will of every one has a just influence; as is the case in England in a slight decree and in our States, in a great one. 3. U~der governmen~ of force; as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics, To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in mv mind. that the first condition is not the best. But I believe 'it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that, enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too; the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosanr libcrtatem quam quiet ani scrvitutem, 1 Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it. that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

.... The Maruuis de La Fayette is a most valuable auxiliary to me. His zeal is unbounded, and his weight with thOSE in power, great. His education having been merely military, t. I prefer freedom with danger to slavery with ease.





and most delicate passions are hackneyed on unworthy objects here, and they carry home the dregs, insufficient to make themselves or anybody else happy. Add to this, that a habit of idleness, an inability to apply themselves to business is acquired, and renders them useless to themselves and their country. These observations are founded in experience. There is no piau' where your pursuit of knowledge will be so little obstructed by foreign objects, as in your own country, nor any, wherein the virtues of the heart will be less exposed to be weakened. Be good, be learned, and be industrious, and you will not want the aid of travelling, to render you precious to your country, dear to your friends, happy within yourself. I repeat my advice, to take a great deal of exercise, and on foot. Health is the first requisite after morality. Write to me often, and be assured of the interest 1 take in your success, as well as the warmth of those sentiments of attachment with which I am, dear I'etcr, your affectionate frienel.



. into the neighborhood, multiplied the guards, had the streets constantly patrolled by strong parties, suspended privileged pl~ces, forbade all club~, etc. The mobs have ceased; perhaps this may be partly owing to the absence of parliament. The Count d'Artois, sent to hold a bed of justice in the Cour des Aides, was hissed and hooted without reserve, by the populace; the carriage of Madame de (I forget the name) in the Queen's livery was stopped by the populace, under a belief that it was l\Iadan:e de Polignac, whom they would have insulted; the Queen, going to the theatre at Versailles with Madame de Polignac, was received with a general hiss. The King lonz in the habit of drowning his cares in wine, plunges de~per ~nd deeper. The Queen cries, but sins on. The Count d'Artois is detested, and Monsieur, the general favorite ....

TO JOliN AD,\l\IS 1


Paris, November [3, [787

.... How do you like our new constitution? I confess there are things in it which stagger all my disposition to subscribe to what such an Assembly has proposed. The house of federal representatives will not be adequate to the manacement of affairs, either foreign or federal. Their President seems a bad edition of a Polish King. He may be elected from four years to four years, for life. Reason and experience prove to us, that a chief magistrate, so continuable, is an office for life. When one or two generations shall have proved that this is an office .for life, it becomes, on every occasion, worthy of intrigue, of bribery, of force, and even of foreign interference. It will be of great consequence to France and England, to have America governed by a Galloman or Angloman. Once in office, and possessing the military force of the Union, without the aid Ql check of a council, he would not be easilv dethroned even iJ the people could be induced to withdraw their votes f;om him. I wish that at the end of the four years, they had made him


Paris, August 30, [787

... , all tongues in Paris (and in Francc as it is said) have been let loose, and never was a license of speaking against the government exercised in London move freely or more universally. Caricatures, placards, buns mots, have been indulged in by all ranks of people, and I know of no well-attested instance of a singlc punishment. For some time mobs of ten, twenty and thirty thousand people collected daily, surrounded the parliament house, huzzacd the members, even entered the doors and examined into their conduct, took the horses out of the carriages of those who did well, ami drew them home. The government thought it prudent to prevent these, drew some regiments

I. J cfferson and Adam's mutual friendship and respect. interrupted for some vcars because of political rliiicrcnccs and personal misunderstundinus, '\\,as part icul.uly strong- in the later years of their lives. Their correspondence is notable [or its philosophic and spirited character.


forever ineligible a second time. Indeed, I think a 1.1 the good of this new constitution might have been couched in three ~r four new articles, to be added to the good, old and ven:r~ble fabric, which should have been preserved even as a religious relique ....



Paris, Norcntbcr [3, [787

.... can history produce an instance of rebellion .~ so houorablv conducted? 1 say nothing of its motives, They were founded 'in ignorance, not wickedness. Gc:d forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebelhon. The.pe~ple cannot be all. and always, well informed. The part which IS wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of t~e facts thev misconceive. If they remain quiet under such nusconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public libert v. \\- e ha ve had thirteen States independent for eleven

- . . 'I t bel

veal's. There has been one rebellion. I iat comes 0 aile re -

iioll in a century and a half, fur each St~~te, \\'IEl~ cou~ltr~ before ever existed a century and a half WIthout a rebellion:

And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people pres:f\'e the spirit of resistance' Let them take arms. The rellle~ly IS ~o ~e( them right as to facts. pardon and pacify them. \\. hat signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed frum time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure ....

TO j,D1ES :\L\orSON

Paris, December 20, [787 I like much the gelleral idea of framing a government, which should go on of itself, peaceably, without needing 1. Colonel William Stephens Smith was an American diplomat and

son-in-law of J olm Adams. .' . K h tts

2. Jefferson has been discussing Shays's insurrection In Massar use "



continual recurrence to the State legislatures. I like the organization of the government into legislative, judiciary and executive. I like the power given the legislature to levy taxes, and for that reason solely, I approve of the greater House being chosen by the people directly. For though I think a House so chosen, will be very far inferior to the present Congress, will be very illy qualified to legislate for the Union, for foreign nations, etc., yet this evil does not weigh against the good, of preserving inviolate the fundamental ~rinciple, that the people are not to be taxed but by representatives chosen immediately by themselves. I am captivated by the compromise of the opposite claims of the great and little States, of the latter to equal, and the former to proportional inf1uence. I am much pleased, too, with the substitution of the method of voting by person, instead of that of voting by Sta tes: and I like the negative given to the Executive, conjointly with a third oi either House; though I should have liked it better, hac! the judiciary been associated for that purpose, or invested separately with a similar power. There are other good things of less moment. I will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, anel without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws uf the land, and not by the laws of nations. To say, as :\lr. Wilson does, that a bill of rights was not necessary, because all is reserved in the case of the general government which is not given, while in the particular ones, all is given which is not reserved, might do for the audience to which it was addressed; but it is surely a gratis dictum, the reverse of which might just as well be said; and it is opposed by strong inferences from the body of the instrument, as well as from the omission of the cause of our present Confederation, which had made the reservation in express terms. It was hard to conclude, because there has been a want of uniformity among the States as to the




cases triable hv jury, because some have been so incautious as to dispense with this mode of t rial ill certain cases, therefore, the more prudent States shall be reduced to the same level of calarnit v. It would have Lel'll much more just and wise to have concIud'ed the other way, that as most of the States had preserved with jealousy this sacred palladium of liberty, those who had wandered, should be brought back to it; and to have established general right rather than general wrong. ~"or I consider all the ill as establishecl, which may be established. I have a right to nothing, which another has 3 right~o take awav : and Congress will have a right to take away trials by jury in all civil cases. Let me add. that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse or rest on inference.

Tile second feature I dislike, and strongly dislike, is the abandonment, in every instance, of the principle of .rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of tJ:e PresJ(J~nt. Rea'Son and experience tell us, that the first magistrate wIIl_ always be re-elected if he may be re-elected. He is then an officer for life. This once observed, it becomes of so milch consequence to certain nations to have a friend or a foe at the head of our affairs, that they will interfere wit h money and with an:ls. A Gallol1lan, or an Angllllllan, will he supported by the nat~on he befriends. If once elected, and at a sec()wJ or third election outvoted hv one or two votos. he will pretend false votes, foul play, hold possession of the reins Of. gO\'C!'nlllent, be supported by the States \'()ting for him, especially if they be th~ centr'.ll ones, Ivins; in a compact hody themsclH's. and separating thr-ir opp\ln~nt;; and they will he aided hy one n,ation in. Europe, while the rna [oritv are aided by another. "I he election of a Presiden t of America, some years hence, will be much more .interest ins to certain nations of Europe, than ever the election of a'KiI7rT of Poland was. Reflect on all the instances in history, ancient and modern, of elective monarchies, and say if they rio not give foundation for my fears; the Roman Emperors.


'THO Mel S J e F F E; R SON

the Popes while they were of any importance, the German Emperors till they became hereditary in practice, the Kings of Poland, the Veys of the Ottoman depenclencies. It may be said, that if elections are to be attended with these disorders, the less frequen t ly they are repea tecl the bet ter. But experience says, that to Irce them from disorder, they must be rendered Jess interesting I)), a necessity of change. Xo foreign power, nor domestic party, will waste their blood ancl Illuney to elect a person, who must go out at the end of a short period. The power of removing every fourth year by the vote of the people, is a power which they will not exercise, and if they were disposed to exercise it, they would not be permitted. The King oi Poland is removable "very day by the diet. Ilu t they never remO\'e him. ':\01' would Russia, the Emperor, etc., permit them to do it. Smaller objections are, the appeals on. mat ters of fact as well as laws: and the binding all persons. kgislati\'e, executivc, ane! judiciary by oath, to maintain that constitution. I do 110t pretend to decide, what would be the best method of pro. curing the establishment of the manifolc! good things in this constitution, "mel of getting ric! of the bad. ,rhether by adopting it. in hopes of future amendment; or after it shall have been duly weighed anc! cam'assecl by the people, after seeing the parts they generally dislike, ancl those they ~'enerally approve, to sa:: to them, ""'e see now what you wish. You are willing to gi'e te) your federal government such ane! such powers: but YUH wish, at the same time, to lliI\T such and such fundailJent:d right~ secured to you, and certain so-trees of cnnvulsion taken in":1::. De it so. Send togethc'r deputies again. Let them establish :' our flllllbment::t1 rights hy ,! 5,lcrrFanct declaration, and L'l them pass the parts of the Constituti()n you 11<1\'e appl'm·ec!. These will gi\'e powers to your federal government suitrcient for your hnppincss. ,.

This is what might be said, and would probably produce a speedy, more perfect and more permanent form of government. .-'I.t all events, I hope you will not be discouraged from making other trials, if the present one shoulcl fail. "'e are never per-



mitted to despair of the commonwca lth. I have thus told you Ireelv what J like, and what [ dislike, merely as a matter of curi~sity; fur 1 know it is nut in Illy power to offer matter of inforlll~;ti()n to your judgment, which has been formed after heal'ing and \yeighillg everythillg which the wisdom of man could oiier on these subiects. ~. own, 1 am not a friend to a very energetic gowrnment. 'I t is always oppressive. It places the zovcruors indeed 1110re at their case, at the expense of the people, The late rebellion in }Iassachuselts has given more ala~m, ~han I think it should have done. Calculate that (Inc rebellion in thirteen States in the course of eleven years, is but one for 'Cach State in it rrnturv and a half, 1\0 country should be so lung wir hout one. :'\01' ~yill any degrce of power in the hands of government. prevent insurrections. III England, where the hand of power is hcuvicr than with us, there are seldom half a dozen years without an insurrection. In France, whcr c it is still heavier, but less despotic. as Montcsquieu supposes, than in some other couuuios. and where there are always two or three hundred thous.md men reaclv to crush iusurrections. there have been three in the COlIL"e o-f the three years J have been here, in everv one of which greater numbers were engaged than in ::\Ias'"achusct (s. and a great deal more blood was spilt. In Turkey, wlu-r« the solc nod of the clcspot is death, insurrections are the en'llts of everv day. Compare again the ferocious deprerlations () f t hei r i nS~1 rg(,l~t s, wi t h t he order, the 1110dera tion and the alm.»! sclf-l'xtinf;lIisI1l1lCnt of ours. And say, Ilnally , whether peace is Ilc:;t preserved IJY gi\'ing energy to the government, or information to the people. This last is the most certain, and the must legitimate engine ()f go\'erl1lnenl. Educate and inform the whole I;JaSS of the people, Enable the III to see that it is their interest to preserve IW;lCC and order, aud they will preserve them. And it requires 11\) very high degree of education to convince them of this, Thev are the onlv sure reliance for the preservation of our lihert\:. ,\fter all, it is my principle that the will of the rna ioritv sho~t1d prevail. If they approve the proposed consntuuon il; all its parts, I shall concur in it cheerfully, in



hopes they will amend it, whenever they shall find it works wrong. This reliance cannot deceive us, as long as we remain virtuous: ancl I think we shall be so, as long as agriculture is our principal object, which will be the case, while there remains vacant lands in any part of America. When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe, and go to eating one another as they do there. I have tired you by this time with disquisitions which you have already heard repeated by others a thousand and a thousand times; and therefore, shall only add assurances of the esteem and attachment with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant,

P. S. The instability of our laws is really an immense evil, I think it would be well to provide in our constitutions, that there shall always be a twelvemonth between the engrossing a bill and passing it; that it should then be offered to its passage without changing a word; and that if circllmstances should be thought to require a speedier passage, it should take two-thirds of both Houses, instead of a bare majority.


Paris, Dec. 2I, I7S7

I often doubt whether I should trouble Congress or my friends with ... details of European politics. I know they do not excite that interest in America, of which it is impossible for one to divest himself here. I know, too, that it is a maxim with us, and I think it a wise one, not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of Europe, Still, I think, we should know them. The Turks haw practiced the same maxim of not meddling in the complicated wrangles of this continent. But they have unwisely chosen to be ignorant of them also, and it is this total ignorance of Europe, its combinations anc! its movements, which exposes them to that annihilation possibly about taking place. While there are powers in Europe which fear our views, or have views on us, we should keep an eye on them,


[,£'t't£RS OF

, [(')rln'lns bv donations of land to

( I I rritorv 0 "'. t th

whole ururran ('( cnuur .1' ('I c~I'I'ied there a e

. " t I, 'Cl1g'lfYC( <in, "

aiJle-iJ()died youllg men, ()I)( 'I';l~e a force always ready 011

' , , -ho wouk l()nS I . . las tl e

public exp(,llse \1 . 'I') n hcr was to c ,IS::; 1

f I J\i '\1' Orleans. 1C ( "I II

the S!IO! !o de ('1]( , C f II "I' birth and rna ,e a

' t I ' \'l"lrs () lei, II d

militia accmdlllg t o lC,' _, I', I I, 10 be trained and co. e

,t I ventv-hve Id) (. ,

those Irum twellt) () I " " '1'111'" would have gIl'en us

t ' \\"1111111:', " b

into service at a 11101l1~11, t th;)lISal1~1 \'()ung men, I:repared ~

a force of three hun: 1(:, .: rt [the L'riited States,

c "f ' ~er\'1ce III an~ pd. () , ,

proper trauung. ()[ , I I I that period would remain

' I, I ' s('( I HoUg 1 " " _

while I hose who 1.\( P,IS, , I' 'lor ad iaccnt States.

' ) I"Td III I lelr 0\1 I., d

at horur-, IlalJIc 1,1 re ," II I' " completed what I deem«

These I \I'() ll1e:ISUITS \\ Oil ( l,l\ C [ ur country. They would

. I l ir securuv 0 (I, , [ I

necessary [or I lC ('II I, e ': ut Irorn 111C IT()\'C'rnlll:'nt 0 tlre

' ret I rruu-n '.-' I I

helve gin'lI me, on m~ ',t1 at havinz found, I\, ien

I t .. , reflection. 1.. ',-' "I

nation. Ihe C()IIS() <I II,:> '", ,t tOWIl in a condition 0

'. it : slll"le scapoi .', I

was called to It, u. ... r- inale privat ecr or pilate,

• , '" bv 'I SlIla "

repel ;1 len' o[ contribut ion ".: 1'1 1~1"()I'ks and gunboats, as

' "I'" I1repa!c( J, ' • II

had left C\Tn' h,11 JOI ~(1 "t ' 'IWII'11St auv probab e

' " I "t of scour: ~ ',..," . ,

to be in a i'(,;I:;on,tiJ e ~lcl e " 'n I and planted With an

' 'fO'I'rs'llC/ulld"

a.u.rck : lite IcO'nlI1)'), 0 I L s s : " tc "t'! 11' n nrl the whole tel"

c , .. ,' t f ' Ih plU IC I) , c ..' •

intcrnal \mce suliicieu 01 , ',I 1)\, such a classification

.' I "t tcs ora;[IllZC'(. ,

ritorv of the 11111e( , a I., ~ it 11](' l;clleilL o[ all n s young

- I', "s would "IIC I .. 'I I ad,

o[ its 11\:1 e torcr-. u, ',"', I (1, t of a midd e anc

' , , , ' " sen'lce, ,UlI ,let . "J] I

popul.it iuu [(11 ,Ietl\( , , .I'llt '11C"(' measures WI ,

. ' .. ,'. le!Pl1ce.) l ~ .0

\"lllced <l£';c'jo[' :;lal[(Ill.tI~ ( ", 'Il() to Ihe purest prn:

' , 'r I!' I 'SIICCeSSIl\, \, , .' II

hope, be cornpu-t ('( 1} ,11,) '" ,1 1, , wisdom and Ioresig 1

'I f republica» jXllrll)lb:n, ,((,(,S ,I


\ t 111'111 on e.ut h. 'elf I

seCOI1l () no , '" -v- "I word as to 11l) S ,

' cuunt: \ _'1)\\, 'I d

:-;0 much a:; to Ill) ,,, .', II, I) )50m of 111\' Iaini y, all

'II "here 1'1 He I. •

retired to :\Iuullce 0, \, , " " "j)l) se to which I have

1 '",] C1110\ ,I I L . ~

surrounded by my )001--.", , ",:" devoted to correspon

' , \1' 111()J'IlIIl":, <II ( I I

lone a str.mgcr. - ;, "', 11\' shops mv gare en, or

e- . r "F [ al:l 111 I .' ", , ,

From breakfast to (llln,! , ., Ir III dinner (0 clark, I gl\ e

. " mv l arms : 10 Iri I'

Ilf)rseback <l1110n,-, -', ' hbors 'mel rrcne s:

' . "Itil Ll l V nClg., ,

sorictv and rccrl.'atlon 1\ 1" I read, My health IS

- 'I t arlv bee -t uue,

from candle IJg it 0 e: .

rr'f! 0 M.~ S .7 e F F £ R SON

.ect: and my strength considerably reinforceel by the activity of the course 1 pursue; perhaps it is as great as usually falls [0 the lot of near sixty-se',en years of age, 1 talk of ploughs and harrows, of seeding and harvesting, with my neighbors, and of politics too, if they choose, with as little resen'e as the fest of my fellow citizens, and feel, at lellgth, the bleSSing of ~eing free to say and do what I please, without being re:;ponsible for it to any mortal. A part of my occupation, and by no means the least pleasing, is the direction of the studies of such young men as ask it. They place themseh'es in the neighboring village, and have the use of Illy library and counsel. and make a part of my society, In ad\'ising the course of Iheir reading, I endeavor to keep their attention fixed on the main objects of all science, the freedom and happiness of man, So that coming to bear a share in the councils and gO\'ernrnenr of their country, they will keep ever in view the sole objects of all legitimate government. ,

J1JOtiticc!!o, J1Jarci[ 5, ISIC

, , , , The practice of I\:ings marrying only in tbe families of l\:ings, has been Ihat of Europe for S()llle centuries, .\'011', take any race of animals, conllne them in idlencss and inaction, whether in a slyc, a stai)le or a state.room, pamper theIll with high diet, gratify all their sexual appetiles, illlnIersc them in sensualities, nourish their passions, let everything benrl be [ore them, and banish whate\'er might lead them to think, anel in a few generations they become all body and no mind; and this, too, by a law of nature, by that very law by which we are in the constant practice of changing the characters and propensities of the allimals we raise for our own purposes, Such is the regimen in raising Kings, and in this way they hal'e gone On for centuries, "'hile in Europe, I often alllllsed

1. GO\'cmor of Xew Hampshire,



t.er T e R S (J F

mvself with contemplating the characters of the then reigning sovereigns of Europe. Louis 1 he X v I. wa-, a Iool, of. my OW~l knowledge. and in de.'pite of th« answer» made for him at his trial. The t';'ing of :';pain was a Iool , anr] of Naples the sa~]e. They passed their lives in hunting. and despatched two COUriers a week. our- thousand miles. lo let each other know what game thev had killed the preceding clays. The King of Sardinia was a f:101. I\lI these were Bourbons. The Queen of Portugal, a Braganza, was an idiot hy nature. Anrl so was the King of Denmark. Their SOilS. as regcnts. excrcised the powers of government. The l,-ing of Prussia. successor to the great Frederick, was a mere hog in body as \\"C'II as in mind. Gustavus of Swe?en, and Joseph of Austria. were really crazy, and George of ~',ngland' vou know. was ill a straight waistcoat. There remained. then' ;]one but old Catharine, who had been too lately picked up ;0 have lost her common sense. In. this state ~onapar~e founc! Europe; and it was this state of Its rulers \~hlch los~ It with scarce a struggle. These animals hac! become Without mind and powerless; and so will every hereditary monarch. be ~fter a few generations. Alexander, the grandson of Catharine, IS as vet anexception. He is able to hold his 0\\,11. But he is only of the third gcneration. His race is not yet worn out. ,~nd so endeth the book of I,-ings, frum all of whom the Lord deliver us, and have you, my friend, and all such good men and true, in His holy keeping.


Monticello, illay 26, 1810

.... I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in ~trength. I..That of general education, to enable every man to Judge .fo.r himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the childn:n o.f :~ch will b-e within reach of a central school in it. But this division looks to many other fundamental provisions. Every hundred,



besides a school, should have a justice of the peace, a constable and a captain of militia. These offICers, or some others within the hundred, should be a corporation to manage '11\ its concerns, to take care of its roads, its poor, and its police by patrols, etc. (as the selectment of the eastern townships). Every hundred should elect one or two jurors to serve where requisite, and all other elections should be made in the hundreds separately, and the votes of all the hundreds be brought together. Our present captaincies might be declared hundreds for the present, with a power to the courts to alter them occasionally. These little republics would be the main strength of the great one. ire owe to them the vigor given to our rcvolution in its commencement in the Eastern States, and by them the Eastern States were enabled to repeal tIle embargo in opposition to tue :.\Iiddle, Southern and Western States, and their large and lubberly division into counties which can never be assembled. General orders are given out from a centre to the foreman of every hundred, as to the sergeants of an army, and the whole nation is thrown into energetic action, in the same direction in one instant and as one man. and becomes absolutely irresistible. Could I once see this I should consider it as the dawn of the salvation of the republic, and say wit h old Simeon, "nunc dimittis Domine." But our children will be as \\"ise as we are, ana will establish in the fullness of time those things not yet ripe for establishment. So be it, and to yourself health, happiness and long life.

M ont iccllo, ,·ll1gIlS! 12, 1S10

.... Our laws. language, religion. politics and manners are so deeply laid in English foundations, that we shall never

1. \\"illiam Duane. journalist and politician. was an ar.quuirn.mr c of Jefferson ui manv years standing. As editor oi the Aurora, the most powerful mouthpiece oi the J efiersonians, he had exerted considerable influence during the Iormativo years of the Union.


l.[IT['!~S OF

. , t . i, ,iC'1 i\ cd [rom nature at

,. f 111](1 ot ]l1"lIcl ~ .r:

the OrIglll () all~' 'I I" ~ldl1lit :1 11,11111<11 an.l ('\'('11 an h:relll-

,ill, it \\oliid 1.)(' ~~lIgll.:1111 i, :1"1"('(';[ II~' t Iw'ic \ViJ" have s(,llO.usly 1.11 v 1If.':!1I 10111\ int.u .. I . ..,. liviclual Ii,,, or natural right ,

.. I I tl .uhjcct tl;ll IHI 11]( ",' B

COIi'iI( crc( 1(' 'i ' " .. I' 1'111(1 for instance. y an

, -rtv all aLl(, 0 , .

<l :wparatc jlllIP,( 1 ~ In ,I" t ',' whether fixed or movable,

' I I- 1\' 111(1 red \\ "I J:'\ CI , f r

lllllvcrsa aw , , . is the propertv 0

, lIv .md III r onnuou, I "

belongs to all mvn CqU,l .' '.', I t \ -hcn he relinquishes

t· I' vho llccuple~ 1"ll1 \ . .

the moment 0 ,lIi11 \1 " , "tl it Stable ownership IS

' t hc ipcrt v gocs ',\ I I ,~ f

the uccupatloll, ic PI( L , :' '" late in the progress 0

f 'I law n nd IS glHn a , f

the gift Il sOCIa , ': "'1'" I VI the Iuzitive er-

. I' I I I ' cunous Ihen. I <111]( C, , b . b

<lIClt'l\', t wuuu .It '. II of na t ura l right, e

.' . . . - '" " lual lnaiu, cou (, ,

men tnt run III an ~n(lI\ 1<, '. 1,1 . iperty. I f nature has made

, I' .clu 'I\'C .uu] sta .ne 11I(, • I .

rla irm« 1II cxc S , " I ' all olhers of exc usive

I ' lr C;U'iccptlble 1 ian d , I

anv OIlC llll1g ess '.' f the thinking power called an IC ea,

I;ropert y, it is lhe aCUm,l 0 " , ,I, ')(IC~e,S 'IS Ionz as he keeps

. 1"1 I '\'exc!wil\(\I,·'···' n .

which all lilt ivi: ua 111,1. . ·.·.·1" I" I it forces itself into

. If I, t tl ' moment u is Lilli bC( , .

it tu 11I1lIS(, : uu IC "I tl ' receiver cannot dispossess

. f' -crv one <III( ie "

the possession 0 n: , ~ .. " loo i,~ that no one possesses

himself of it. lis peculIar CII,ll,lcler,', "" 'the whole of it. He who

the less, because every ot het P(~S,~~Cc~I~II~'tl'IIL'li(ln himself without

. If' IIIC' r('((,I\ u," ,

receives all II r-a 10111 I' J' 1 t, his taper at mine, receives

. '" ' he 11'](1 I!,(.J S ' , d

lessen11lg nune : ,IS. ';1'1 at ideas should freely sprea

'I t hrl"'nlnu 11K. ],1 I t I

lioht wr! iou u.u i«. rv I I f I' llie moru! anc mu ua

r- I . '('I' the" (I Je, 0

Irom one to allot ]('1 0\, rv t of his condition, seems

, f ']1111 m.provctuen

illstruL'lIOIl 0 man ', , '1 I ' " I 'lith' designed by nature, t 11'11'1' hcen jlC'cuiIarly an: ,)lll(\lI( 'LI' "'II space with.

II c, 1 1'" , fire Cxp:lnsl I C 0\ el d " , ,

when she made t u-m, 11',( .'., . t .md like the air In

' I'" I' 0.; t Y III a 11\ po Ill, ' .

out losseuing t ieu (en, I . II," . IIr physical being. incapable

, I I " " t h' mil\'(' a II( 1,1, C " . ' . I

wh ic I we )'(,1 e, ,", , , )ri'ltion, lnvenliolls t len can.

_ t or ('xci I' <;1\ t' dplll 01 • .

of rnnliucmen (ll. ".". '. , -rt v Societv mav give an

, . I" 'I sull'ncl 01 jll()llll .' , . '

not. 111 nature. )( "-"_ ,',' f -om them as an encour-

. 'lll)'hcprol!!'i:lIblllg It , ,. bu

exclUSive nv I (l .'. " -hich 111'11' pr orl uce utility, U

t pursue 1(lc'.!~ \\ ' '. d

ual'mcnl to IIIClI Il ' , " . I' t I the will an can,

rv " 1 IJl' done, a(co[( IlIg e ,

this.lIIay Of Ill.!,) no wil huut claim or complaint from

veuu-nce of the society,

anybody. , .. ,

"if/OJ/.iS ,7E:FFE:RSON

;l[(II1I;cd/o, Ort obr» 13. IS13

, .. , To compare the morals of the Old, with those of the New Testament, would require an attentive study of the former, a search through all its books for its precepts, and thwugh all its history for its practices, and the principles they prove. As commentaries, too, on these, the philosophy of the Hebrews must be inquired into, their ~1ishlla, their Cemara, Cabbala, j'ezirah, Sohal', Cosri, and their Tallllud, IlIUSt be examined and understood, in order to do them full justice. Brucker, it would seem, has gone deeply into these repositories of their ethics, and Enfield, his epitomizer concludes in these words: "Ethics were so little understood among the Jews, that in their whole compilation called the Talmud, there is only une treatise on moral subjects. Their books of morals chien" consisted in a minute enumeration of duties. From the iaw of :\1oses were deduced six hundred and thirteen precepts, which were divided into two classes, afllrmative and negative, two hundred and forty-eight in the former, and three hundred and sixty-five in the latter. It may serve to give the reader some idea of the low stale of moral philosophy among the Jews in the middle age, to add that of the two hundred and forty-eight affirmative precepts, only three were comidered as ouJigatory upon women, and t ha t in order to obtain sah'a tion , it was judged suffIcient to fultill any one single law in the hour of death; lhe observance of the rest being deemed necessary, only

10 increase the felicity of the future liie. \\'hat a wretched depravity of sentiment and manners lIIUSt have prevailed, UL'forc such corrupt maxims could have obtJin~d creelit! It is impossible to collect Irorn these writings a consistent series of moral doctrine," Enfield, B, 4, chapter 3. It was the reforiualion of this "wretched depravity" of morals which Jesus undertook. In extracting the pure principles which he taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they


I, E IT e R S (j F

, I I, '(' travestied them into

11,~\C 11('('11 l11uill('(I,!Jy pr)('sh, wno 1,1\ I t t- (0 them-

e< f riLhes au: powrt

' f 'I' Il1s1rtlllll'l1t, 1) 1 ' ist lhe

\ ;11,011', "1111,,, " ]'1' ( ,'Is 'mil J' otuns S,

' s' I Sl1llS' (he .1 II.lIS,. '_ ' 'S 1

,('1\'(",_ \\ ( 11111' (\ ,: 1 ' I: 'I, -lics lhl' Cnosti«: a nr

(' '1"llll'S Ill' .l CL " , , I

'-,(;W\ I ilL'., ,lI1d ,,)111" Il 'I emanations their Logos am

• , '- , "cs 'll1l ", I

Scholastics, thcn- bSl'n. " , male and female, with a OI~g

Demiurgos, ,i1~on5 and I ~;r111]()ll;'\ sav at once, of nonsense, \\ e

[I ic etc 01, S 1.1 • - I' , lect even

[rain 0 (' co, C ',' " , I " l1]lIP n-ange ists, St' ,

must reduce our volume to (lCI ~lI()f [esus, paring off the a,mIrom t hem, the \'ery WOlds UU}I " beon led bv forgetting

IJh;iJ()lipisl11s iut o which ,lhey 11a\trll'lcl'1'~,llen' fr~m him, by

, , " I 1" \\' 1'1 c c ,

often or not U1l( crSLIIH "": ','_ I r, dicta and expressing

, -. . 'l'llIIO'h.lS 1]:" I

'Ji\-in" (heir own I111SL011L "1' I' 1 not understood t iern-

co"" - 1 -- \Yint (le\ 1.1( ime and

unintclliuiblv tor others , -" the most sublime am

'- - I 1'C111'11l11l1"

elves There will be IUlIl1l _.' . "", been offered to man,

s, . , , _ " I- which has e\ u ,

benevolent code ot 11101.1 S , ior 111\, own lise, by cutting

I 11'1\'(' performed this operatll,)n lll] ')]_ 'mel arranging the

' f tl 'prll1trc )Ot", " ,

verse bv verse out () ll, J -hich is as easily distiu-

- 'I " . ,'denth- his, an( \\ is au octavo

mutter whir 1 I~ (\ I, I 'II The result IS an oc c

' j- Is ill 'I dunghi , ' , ch

uuishnble as l lan, 101]( . '1 iphisticated doctrines, su

,-. f HC 'lI1C uus: r • , I tl

of Iort y-six pages, () pl ; I- the unlettered Apost es, ~e

'1° were pro lr ssed and acier OI~ J,) 'f the first century. Their

,.. ] I Cluistians 0 II , ,

Apostolic Fathers, an( ~ ie I: : Iter limes, in order to legltlPlat oniz int; sr.ccessors, iuclcer , h. a I' I incorporated into the

' '\ 'hich thev l.1C " , itiv

mate the corrupl ions \ _" - __ t, disavow the pl'11111 we

' [ lind II nccessai \ \l .. , tl of

doctrines of JeslIs, 0 ',_' - inles from the mou 1

I I t, ken then plll1el] . v

Christians, who Jar d , I the Fathers cntemporar:

. f [I' S Apostles, <Inc L c I tics

Jeslls uimsc) ,0 11.. " .. t ' I their followers as iere ,

~\'ith them. They eXCOml11UJ1It.l (I ''. _ uarne of Ebionites or

' I . ith the Ujl]!IU )IIOUS ,

lnanding t 1l:'l11 \\1



TO JOliN :\V.-\~lS

MOlZticr,l(o, Oct ob cr 2S, ISIJ

I ' is 'I natural arisioc-

' that there 1 , c

, , , I agree With you 1, I' . r' virtue and talents,

- The grounds of t us ,I e

among men _ .


---------- .... -- .. --~


Formerly, bodily powers gave place among the aristoi, RlIt since the invention of gunpowder has armed the weak as well as the strong with missile death, bodily strength, like beauty, good humor, politeness and other accomplishments, has become but an auxiliary ground of distinction, There is also an artificial aristocracy, founded on wealth and birth, without either \-irtue or talents: for with these it would belong to the first class, The natural aristocracy I consider as the most preciolls gift of nature, for the instruction, the trusts, and government of societ~-, And indeed, it would havs been inconsistent in creation to haw formed man for the social state, and not to ha'-e prcl\-idecl virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society, May we not even say, that that form of gO\-ernment is the best, which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi iuto the offices of gOYernmenP The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in gO\-en1il1ent, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendency, , , , ,

With respect to aristocracy, we should further consider, that before the establishment of the American States, nothing was known to history but the man of the old world, crowded within limits either small or overcharged, and steepcd in the vice." which that situation generates, A government adapted to such men would be one thing: but a very different one, that 1'01 the man of these States, Here every one may have land te labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation 'IS not onlv to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provfde for a cessation from labor in old age, Everyone, by his property, or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the support of law and order. And such men may safely and ad\-antageously reserve to themselves a wholesome control over their public affairs, and a degree of freedom, Which, in the hands of the canaili» of the cities of Europe, would be instantly pen'erted to the demolition and destruction of everything pub-

lic and private, The histury of the last twenty-I!\'e years of France; and of the last forty years in AllIerica, nay of its last




Ill'OWS the truth of both parts of this two hundred years,

obsucrvatilln,. 1;III'()[lC'1 lll'lIlfTe has sensibly taken place in the

LI t even 111, , , '" I h

mind of 111:ln, ~ci('ncc had lib:ratcd .. ~he ;~ll~I,sll (\~i~~~~ ~~el~ ',' I ' I (I reflect and the American ex,lm)1 e ,I

rea: .t I " .. 1 'I' consequently inzs of ric-:ht ill til!' people. An lIlSUITe('[JIl,n t: ~"" ,~' i birth

c>, I I ' ur.u-r- 'IU;]lIIst ram: ant ,

begun, of science, ,ta ent s, au: co "',' 't'l i in its first effort,

hi '11 have [allen !lito contempt. It h'l~ .11 ec I f it

w IC I ,". tl instrument usee or I s because thc moh-: of tne cines, Ie, , -ice could

c I I, "d I' ianornnce. poverty, auu \IC ,

acc01l1phsIIl11~nt, ( e l,lse, )')1 ," ,t 'on But the \;'orld will recover not be rr-st ra inr-d 10 rat rona ac I, 'c,' .,', . ressive

I ,', f this first catastrophe. xcience I" )llOg , ,

Iron, tIC p.\IIIC 0 .' '" I . I' "t mav be hall til

and talents and enterprise on the a crt. '[C)SI~1 )(l\,'e'r from their

·c gO\'crna r; [. ,

the people (If (he couutrv. a 1I11ll , • irtl and tinsel-

principles and suiJordin:lticlI,l; a~ld ra,nk: al.I~I"bu~l. ':' th~re.

. ,'1\ f 'II, shrink uuo IIIslgl11ilC,lnlc, C\ en

anstocracy \\ I Ill". ~ " ,'rrl t to meddle with, It suffices for

This, however. we h.l\ e 111\,:1:11_ lition of our O\~'II citizens

if tl 1110l"1! 'l!HI JlI\SICd U)])( . f

us, I. _ ne ",'01' t t il~ abl« and good for tIl(' direction 0

qualifies them to :-;t er '" f -lections ~, such short

,:tl ' "CUITcncC () (, ,,' uc

their govcrumcnt , \1\ II 11.1 Il t lisplacc 'Ill unfaithful servant,

Periods a~ will ella) c I rom ()! " ""J'. (11"II)le

' .' . I't l ' 111:1\,' le IITeme, ...,.

before the mischict he mer 1 ,I l'~

TO j)n. TIII),~L\S ('()()I'l-:J.:. I

J!(JIllic"rffli. I anuory 16, 18/4

. ,1' if 't ',0 a secret wh» wrote the commentary

'> o u a:-;, I I ,,<. , , I " rr

' . ',") 1St he a secret dUring the aut 101 S I e.

on :\IontfC'f1l1lell, I t nil. I' t it .. ' written bv a Frenchman,

I ' , t pre'cnt t J.l I \\,IS , .

I may on y s.~~ a r c . French is now ill my possession, that It t h.u thc oriuinal :\~S. III , I tl ' t I should

' b 1 I lit d In General Duane, .IIIC 1.1 .

was translatei an: C! I C '.' .. ' I t I" if '1111' one would

" t ,"C' i! !1"1·111,.c! ill its Cll"Jgllli! 'lng u-, c

'CJOICC () "t '" d Iice

" ,,', c, Fn~li,h ",cicnlisl. eriucltor, a n ,le.-

r , Dr. Thnln;l~ ( no} n-r, 1,'lI1HH:, 'Y - " ,.', t, Dr I nscph Priestley 1 "as a

thinker. like his II'in,,1 :IIHi,leli()\\ c,p.,I.I.L l "

:lose friend of Tho!ll:h Jl'lIl'rSPIl.



undertake it. i\To book Gin suffer more by translatiolJ, b('ca(l~e of the severe correctness of the original in tlIe choice of its terms, 1 have taken measures for securing to the author lIis justly-earned fame, whene\'er his death or other cirCl!mslallce~ may render it safe for him. Like you, I do not agree with him in everything, and ha\'e had some correspondencc with him 011 particular points. But on the whole, it is a most valuable work, one which I think wil! form an epoch in the science of governmerit, and which I wish to see in the hand:; of every American stUdent, as the elemclltary and fundamcntal- institute of that important branch of human science ... ,

TO .:\IuKsIECR );. {_;. UUFIEF 1

Jlollticcllo, .1pril 19, 18 I.';

DEAR SIR,- Your favor of tIle 6th instant is just rccei\'ed. and r shall with equal willingness and truth, state the degree of agency you had, l'icspecting the cop)' of .\1. dc Hecourt's book, which came to my hands. That gcntlel11an in. formed me, by letter, that he was about to publish a volume in French, "Sur la C're;;tioll du .:IIonclc, un Systeme d'Organisation Primiti\'e," which, its title promised to be, either a geulogical or astronomical work. I subscribed; and, when pub, lished, he sen t me a copy: and as you were lI1y corresp. llHlell [ in the book line in Philadelphia, I took the liberty of c1c~iriJlg him to call Oll you for the price, which, he aftcrwards inf,'rl11fcl me, you \\'cre so kind as to pay him for me, being. 1 belie v e, two dollars. But the sole cop," which carne to 1111.' was from himself directly, and, as far as 1 know, was never seclI by you.

I am really mortitled to be told that, ill tile ['lIited States 0/ 0/ Ameriw, a fact like this can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offcllcc against rcligioll; that

I. ,\;'icholas Gouin ])utlcf "a,; a bo,.ksdil'r in Philadelphia and the author of .\"iI/II/I' nil'plll vr d . H" \\':is, o vcr a pL'riud ui 1113m' "cars, one of Jefferson's l'r:ncipal 1)I)ck ;)\'>:('11t.~.

6' - .),)


our just rights that we resort to government at all) it must be so extensive as that local egoisms may never reach its greater part; that Oil every particular question, a majority may be found in its councils free from particular interests. and giving, therefore, an uniform prevalence to the principles of justice. The smaller the societies, the more violent and more convulsive their schisms. \Ye have chanced to live in an age which will probably be distinguished in history, for its experiments in government on a larger scale than has yet taken place. But we shall not live to see the result. The grosser absurdities, such as hereditary magistracies, we shall see exploded in our clay, long experience having already pronounced condemnation against them. But what is to be the substitute? This our children or grandchildren will answer. \\- e may we satisfied with the certain knowledge that none can ever be tried, so stupid, so unrighteous, so oppressive, so destructive of every end for which honest men enter into government, as that which their forefathers had established, and their fathers alone venture to tumble headlong fr0111 the stations they have so long abused. It is unfortunate, that the efforts of mankind to recover the freedum of which they have been so long deprived, will be accompanied with \'i()le~1Ce, with errors, and even with crimes. But while we weep over the means, we must pray fur the end.

But I have been insensibly led by the general complexion of the times, from the particular case of (;eneva, to those to which it bears no similitude. Of that we hope good things. Its inhabitants must be too much enlightened, too well experienced in the blessings of freedom andulldisturbed industry, to tolerate long a contrary state of things. I should be happy to hear that their government perfects itself , and leaves room for the honest, the industrious and wise: in which case, your own talents, and those of the persons for whom you have interested yourself, will, 1 am sure, Imd welcome and distinction. My good wishes will always attend you, as a consequence of the esteem and regard with which 1 am, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.




Xl onticdla, I'irginia, Apr. 29, 95

.... I think it fortunate for the United States to have become the asylum for so many virtuous patriots of different denominations: but their circumstances, with which YOU were so well acquainteci b.efore, enabled them to be but a bare asylll~, & to offer nothing for them but an entire freedom to use their own means & facuIties as thev please. There is no such thing ~n this country as.'vvhat would -be called wealth in Europe. ~he richest ar~ but a little at ease, & obliged to pay the most ngorous attention to their affairs to keep them together. I do not mean to speak here of the Beaujons of America. For we haye. some of these tho' happily they are but ephemeral. Our public economy also is such as to offer drudgery and subsistence only to those entrusted with its administration a wise Ii necessary precaution against the degeneracy of the public servo ants. In our private pursuits it is a great advantaze that everv honest employment is deemed honorable. I am n~\'self a nail. maker. On returning home a fter an absence of ten vears I found my farms so much deranged that I saw eviclcnth' tl;ev would be a burden to me instead of a support till I could -re"el;erate them; & consequently that it was uecessarv for m~ to find sO.me other resource in the meantime. I thought for awhile of takll1g up the manufacture of pot-ash, which requires but sma_ll advances of money. I concluded at length however to begm a manufacture of ~lails, which needs little or 110 capital, & I now e~lploy a dozen little boys from ro. to r6. years of age, overl~okll1g all the cl~tails of their business myself &: drawing :rom It a profit on which I can get along till I can put mv farms into a course of yielding profit. My new trade of nail-making

I. 1\1. de Meusnier was introduccd to J effcrson by the Due de 1:1 Rochefoucauld. He obtained much detailed information about the United States trom Jefferson for hi, article in the Encyclopedie AI ethodiqlte [Ford.] -'




is to me in this country what an additional title of nobility or the ensigns of a new order arc in Europe ....

TO r.lANN P.-\(;E 1

Mont ic cll o, ,111,1;1I5t 30, 1i95

.... I do most anxiouslv wish to see the highest degrees of education given to the },;gher degrees of genius, and to all degrees of it, so much as may enable them to read ann understand what is going on in the world, and to keep their part of it going on right: for nothing can keep it r ight but their own vigilant and distrustful superintendence. I do not believe with the Rocheloucaulds and Montaignes, that fourteen out of fifteen men are rogues: I believe a great abatement from that i,roportion may be made in favor of general honesty. But I have always found that rogues would be uppermost, and I do not know that the proportion is too strong for the higher orders, and for those who, rising above the swinish multitude, always contrive to nestle themselves into the places of power and profit. These rogues set out with stealing the people's good opinion, and then steal from them the right of withdrawing it, by contriving laws anc! associations against the power of the people themselves. Our part of the country is in considerable fermentation, on what they suspect to be a recent roguery of this kind. Thev say that while all hands were below deck mending sails, splicing ropes, and everv one at his own business, and the captain in his cabin attending to his log book anel chart, a rogue of a pilot has run them into an enemy's port. But metaphor apart, there is much dissatisfaction with .:'IlL Jay and his treaty. For my part, J consider myself now but as (I passenger, leaving the world and its government to those who are likely to live longer in it. That you may be among the longeSL of these, is my sincere prayer. ...

1. Son of Mann Page, the eminent Virginia planter and councilman,




Monticcllo, January 16, 1796

. In my le~ter which accompanied the box con taining my collection of printed laws, I promised to send you by post a statemen: of the contents of the box. On taking up the subject I found It better to take a more general review of the whole of the laws .1 possessed, as well manuscript as printed, as also of those ,w~lch I do n_ot possess, and SUppose to be no longer e:tant. 1111s gcn.eral new you will have in the enclosed paper, "hereof the articles stated to be printed constitute the contents of the box I sent you. Those in manuscript were not sent because not supposed to have been within your view, and be~ cause some of them will not bear removal beinc so rotten that in turning over a leaf it sometimes falls i~to po~vder. Thes~ I prese~\'e by. wrapping and sewing them up in oil cloth, so that I~elther atr nor moisture can have access to them. V ery early in the course of my researches into the laws of \'irginia, I observed that .many of . them were already lost, and many mo~e ~n the pomt of bemg lost, as existing only in single copies in the hands of careful or curious individuals, on whose death they would probably be used for waste paper. I set my~elf therefore to work, to collect all which were then existing, m order that when the day should come in which the public should advert to the magnitude of their loss in these precious monume~ts of our property, and our history, a part of their regret mIght be spared by information that a portion had been saved from the wreck, which is worthy of their attention and preservation In searching after these remains, I spared neither tm:e, trouble, nor expen:e; and am of opinion that scarcely any I~w escaped me, which was in being as late as the year 1790111 the middle or southern parts of the State. In the lJ~rthern parts, perhaps something might still be found. In the cJerk's offices in the ancient .counti:s, some of these manuscript copies

of the laws may possibly still exist, which used to be furnished




shivering and shrinking in body fro III the ('old we ,n(~\: experience Illy thcrmonu.u-r h.iviru; hccn <I:, low ;I~ r,~' jIJI~ morning, 'i\I}; greatest oppre,-;"illl1 i:, ;1 cllrrl',Spllllll('ill'l' "illi"til1~ly laliorious the extent of which I have 1)('('11 I(\IJ~~ cndC<lVUrlllg to curtail.' This keeps me at the drudgery of tile writing-table all the prime hours of the day, leaving fur the gratification of my appetite fur reading, only what I can stl:;11 f~'OI~1 the h_ou,rs of sleep. Could I reduce this epistolary corvec within the 11l11I~S of mv friends and ailairs, and give the t ime r,>(leel1led. from It .to re~ding and retlection, to history, ethics, mathematiCs,. my hf~ ,yould be as happy as the infmnitics I)f a,~t' woulr] admit. and I should look lin its consuuun.u iou with t lu- composnre of one

" ' , III" t uit diem IICC OjJitli." 1 ••••

q III S If III I I III III 11(,( c-

TI) JOSEPH ( '. (',\IlEI.I.'

M onticctio, Fcbruar» 2, 1816

Ko mv Irieud , the way to have good and saf« govern~l~n~, 'is no~ tl; trust it nil to Pill', Lut t o di\id('_it :!mon.~ the manv , distributing tll everyone exactly thl: Iunctions he. I~ competent to. Let the national gm'er11mcIlt lJe entrusted .wlth the defe1lce of the nation, and its forci;~\1 ;11\1\ federal re.latlUl1s; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State gcner:tlly; the COlll~ties with the local COI1CI~rns of the counties, and each ware! ?Irect the interests within itself. It is by dividing and sulxlividing these repu blics from t~e !~rcat na.t iunal one (!():\'ntl~rougl; all its subordinations, until It ends 111 the adnlIIllstl ation 0 every mall'S farm by himself; by placing under everyone what his own eve mav superintend, that all will he done for ~he best. ,rhat ha~ destroyed liberty ~ll1d the ri!J~Li of 21}I,n 111 e\'er~ gO\'ernl11ent which 1];]5 ever ec;"tedunder tne sun: I'he general

.' "\\"ho neither Iea r !lor desire 111\' last da v." . . k . , 2, Joseph Carrington CatwIi was j cffc rsuu's principal co-wer cer 111 eshblishing the Cniwl'sity ot \ lq;lI1l:L



izing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate. And I do believe that if the Almighty has not decreed that man shall never be free, (and it is a blasphemy to believe it.) that the secret will be found to be in the making himself the depository of the powers respecting himself, so far as he is competent to them, and delegating only what is beyond his competence by a synthetical process, to higher anel higher orders of functionaries, so as to trust fewer and fewer powers in proportion as the trustees become more and more oligarchical. The elementary republics 01 uie wards, the county republics, the State republics, and the republic of the Union, would form a gradation of authorities, standing each on the basis of law, hoI cling every one its dele. gated share of powers, and constituting truly a system of fundamental balances and checks for the government. "'here every man is R sharer in the direction of his ward-republic, or of some of the higner ones, and feels that he is a participator ill the government of affairs, not merely at an election one clay in the year, bu t every day; when there shall not be a III a n in the State who will not be a member of some one of its councils, great or small, he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power be wrested from him by a Cresar or a Bonaparte. How powerfully did we feel the energy of this organization in the case of emhargo? I felt the foundations of the government shaken under my feet by the :\ ew England townships. There was not an individual in their States whose body was not thrown with all its momentum into action; and although the whole of the other States were known to be in favor of the measure, yet the organization of this little selfish minority enabled it to overrule the L'nion, "-hat would the unwieldy counties of the Middle, the South, and the West do? Call a county meeting, and the drunken lounzers at and about the court-houses would ha\'e collected, the distances being too great for the good people and the industrious generally to attend. The character of those who really met would have been



the measure of the weight they would have had in the scale of public opinion. As Cato, then, concluded every speech with the words, "Cart h ago drlcntlc est," so do I every opinion, with tl:e injuct ion, "divide the counties into wards." Begin them only for a single purpose: they will soon show for what others they are the best instruments. Cod bless you, and all our rulers, and give them the wisdom, as [ am sure they have the will, to fortify us against the dCl?;eneracv of our g'.)yernlllt'nt, and the concentrati'oll of all its powers ill the hands of the one, the few, the well-born or the many.

TO :'111'- JOSEPH :'IIILLlC,,\N 1

Monticello, April 6, ISI6

Sm,-Your Iavor of :'IIarch 6th did not come to hand until the 15th. I then expected [ should finish revising the translation of Tracy's book within a week, and could send the whole together. I got through it, hut, 011 further consideration, thought I ought to read it over again, lest any errors should have been Idt ill it. It was fortunate I did so, for 1 found several little errors. The whole i" now done and forwarded by this mail, with a title, and something I have written which may serve for a Prospectus, and indeed Ior a Preface also, with a little alteration ....

~h' n.uuc must in nowise appear connected with the work.

I have 110 ohiect ion t() vour n.uuing me ill roin-crsat ian, but not ill print, as the person to whom the original was conununicated. Although the author puts his n.une to the work, yet, if called to account for it !J\' his gm'erlllllcnt, he means to disavow it, which its publication at such a distance will euahlc him to clo. But he would 110t think himself at liberty tu do this if avowedly sanetioued hv me here. The Lest open mark of approbation I can give is to subscribe for a dozen copies; or if you would prefer

1. J oscph Millican wa s a well-known Georgetown bockdcaler whorn J effcrsun had known and respected [or years.



it, you may place 011 your subscription paper a lct t cr in these words: "Sir, 1 subscribe with pleasure for a dozen C11I'il',' oi the invaluable book you are about to publish on Political J·:mIl0i,1v. I should be happy to see it in the hands of t".en: '\'~~l'ric;l\ citizen." ...

TITLE.-",,\ Treatise on Political E(f)]\oll~',' !J\- the C"lInt Destutt Tracy, member uf the Senate and lu;tit,:'te "i I:rance. and of the American Philosophical Suciety. to Irhich j, preIJ:;cd a supplement to 'I preceding work 011 the l.-ildcrcta\l(lin!~ pr Elements of Icle')ll'~~\·. by the same author. with an aualvt ir.i l table. and all introduction on the Iacultv of the will, H<!n:Li,,'d

from the unpublished Frellch original. ..' '

Prospect us. - Political Economy in modern time, assumed the form of a regular science first in the hands of the j',)iitical sect in France. called the Economists. Thev macie it a hr.mch only of i: comprehensive system on the natural order of societies. Our-snai first. Gournny, Le Frosne. Tur[!()t .u«l I iupont de K emours. the enlightened, philanthropic, and ',-elle,'::, ':e cit i .. zen, 110\\" of the l.'uitcd States, led the wav in these developments, and g:l\'c to our inquiries the direction t ht-v hav« SIIICt' observed. :'IIan~" sound ami valu ible principles esiabli3her! hv them, have recei"ed the sanction of .c:encral approhat ion. Some, as in the infancy of a science miaht be expected, have been brought into question. and have furnished occasion Ior much discussion. Their opinion« on production. a!11! on ihe jlmpcr subjections of taxation, have been particularly cUllti'(l\l'l'ted: and whatever may iie the merit of their principles of taxation, it is not wonderful t hey have not prevailed: not Oil the qurstioned score of correctness, but because not acceptable to the people, whose will must be the supreme law. Tax.u ion is ill fact the most difficult junction elf gm'emlllent-and that agail!st which their citizens are most apt to be refractory. The gene;'al aim is therefore to adopt the mode most consonant with the (ircurnstances and sentiments of the count rv.

Adam Smith, first in England, published a rational and sys-



opinion directly, yet T always supposed him, to be of tile school of Didcrot , I l';\lemilcrl, l ilIolhuch : the Ilrsl of whom COI11- mined his svstem of atheism tl, writing in "Lc bon SCllS," and the last in his ,;.\ vst tnt r de /" ;YI//II/,I'," I t was a numerous school in the Catholic ~()Unl ric», while thcint'ldclity (If the Protestant took generally the Iorm of t hoism. The f(ll"l11er always insisted that it was a mere qncst ion ()f dr-Iinit i..n het wccu them, the hypostasis of which, on hot h sides, \\'as ".Y!ltll/'e," or "tltc Universe;' that both agreed in the order of the existing sys.tel11, but tl~e one supposed it Irum ell'mit~·, the other as ha\'1l1~ begun, 111 time .. \nd whr n the atheist descanted on the unceasing 1110tIOn and circulation of nuu ter through the .mimal. vegetable and mineral k inudoms. never resting, never annihilated, always channinz fUI"m, aud under all forms gifted wit h the power of repn;rlllction; the theist pointing "to the heavens abl::'(', and to the earth henc.u h, and to the waters under th,c earth, asked, if these did 11lJt proclaim a first C!U5C, p()ssessing intelligence and powcr : power in the production, and intelligence in the design and ronst.mt pre~el"\'ation of the 5ys~el11; urged the pal[;alJle existrnce of final causes: that the eye was made to see, and the ear to hear, :U1d not that we see because \~e have eves and hear because we have ears: an answer obVIOUS t? tile ~em('s, as that of w~dking across t he rOOIl1" was to the pl~llosopher dl'lll11l15tr;lting the non-existence "" n~()tiol1. It was. 111 IYH()I bach's conven t ieles that Rousse.; 1I imagined all the inachin.uions against him were contrived: and he left, in his Confessions, thc' most biting anecdote» of Grinuu.


Jlollti(cllo, 11Ia_\' 2S, 1816 J)E,\R SIR, = Or, mv return from a long journey and considerable absence from l;omc, I fuund here the copy of your I, ] ohn Tn ylnr of Cal'<lli~c I \:ir~inia I, polit ira l wri tc r , agric~lturist, and philosopher of a:c:rarian linernlis m. was the autho,r ~)f ..til l nquir y into the Principles and Policy oj lite C01'cnl1llCIlI of the United States.



"Enquiry into the Principles of our Government," which vou had been so kind as to send me; and for which I pray Ylll; to accept my thanks, The difficulties of getting new works in our situation, inland and without a single bookstore, are such as had prevented my obtaining a copy before: and letters which had accumulated during my absence, anc! were calling for answers, have not yet permitted me to girl' to the whole a thorough reading: yet certain that you and I could not think differently on the fundamon tals of rigb t Iul gm'ernl11C!1 t , I was impatient, and availed myself of the intervals of repose fr0111 the writing-table, to obtain a cursorv idea of the bodv of the

work. "

I see ill it much ;natter for profound reflection: much which should confirm our adhesion, in practice, to the good principies of our Constitution, and fix our attention on what is vet to be made good. The sixth section on the good moral principles of our government, I found so interesting and replete with sound principles, as to postpone my letter-writing to its thorough perusal and consideration. Besides much other cood matter it settles unauswerably the right of instructing representatives, and their duty to obey. The system of banking we have botl~ equally and ever reprobated, I contemplate it as a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, \ViII end in their destruction, which is already hit by til(' gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens. Funding I consider as limited, rightfully, to a redemption of the debt within the Iivr-s of a majority of the generation contracting it: everv generation coming equally, by the laws of the Creator of the world to the free possession of the earth He made for their subsistence, unincumbered by their predecessors, who, like them, were liu t tenants for life, You have successfully and completely pulverized ~IL Adams' system of orders, and his opening the mantle of republicanism to every government of laws, whether consistent or not with natural right. Indeed, it must be acknowledged, that the term republic is of very vague application in every language, Wit-



ness the self-styled republics of Holland, Switzerland. Genoa, Venice. Poland. \\"ere I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea. I would say, purely and simply, it means a g0V' ernment by its citizens in mass. acting directly and personally. according to rules estahlished by the majority: and that every other government is more or less republican. in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very nurrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicahle beyond the extent of a 1\ ew England township. The first shade from this pure element. which. like that of pure vital air. cannot sustain l;(e of itself, would be where the powers of the gO\·erJ1ment. lJell1g divided, should be exercised each by rcpresent at ivcs chosen either pro hac 1,icc,' or for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents. This T should consider as the nearest approach to a purc republic, which is practicable on a large scale of country or nonula tion. And we have examples of it in some of our State Constitutions. which, if not poisoned by priest-craft. would prm'c its excellence over all mixtures with other clements: and, with only equal doses of poison, would still be the best. Other shades of republicanism may be found in other forms of g()n:rnl11l'nt, where the executive, judiciary and legislative functions. and the different branches of the latter, are chosen by the people more or less directly. for longer terms of years, or for life, or made hereditary: or where there are mixtures of authnrit ics, some dependent on, and others independent of the people. The Iurt lu-r the departure from direct and constant cont rol hy the cit izcns. the less has the govemment of the ingredient of republicanism; e\"idently none where the authorities arc hereditary. as in France, Venice, etc., or self-chosen, as in Holland: and little. where for life. in pro, portion as the life continues in being after the act 01 election.

The purest rr-puhliran feature in the government of ou .. own State, is the House of Representatives. The Senate i~

1. For the occasion.


equally ~o the first year, less the second, and so on. The Exe cutl:'~ still le~s, because not chosen by the people directly. The ]ud.lclary seno~sly anti-republican, because for life; a;ld the

national arm WIelded. as vou observe bv 1111'II't I d .

. . - ,. arv ea ers, Ir-

responsible but to themselves Add to t111'S tl .:. .

. . . . 1e \ICIOUS consn-

tution of our county courts (to whom the justice th .,

ti dmi . , Eo execu-

ive a nurustratjon, the taxation, police, the militarv appoint-

ments of the COU?t_v, and nearly all our daily concerns are confide~), self-appointed, self-continued, holding their authorities for hfe, and. WIth an impossibility of breaking in on the perpetual succession of any faction once I)ossessed of th b h Thev . I' e enc.

ey are I~ trut 1, t~e executive, the judiciary, and the mili.

tary of their respective counties, and the sum of the counties makes the State. And add, also, that one-half of our brethren ':ho fight and pay t~xes, are excluded, like Helots, from the n~hts of representation, as if society were instituted for the soil, an? not for the men inhabiting it; or one-half of these could d.lspose of the rights and the will of the other half with-

out their consent. '

"Wha t constitutes 0. State?

Not high-ro.ised battlerncnts, or Iabord mound

, .. Thick \\'0.11, or moo.ted gate; ,

1\ ot Cl ties proud. with spires and turrets crown 'd ; No: men. high-minded men'

;\len. who their duties kno\\:'

But know their rights: and knowing. dare maiutain.

These constitute a State."

. In. the Gener~l Government, the House of Representati"'Cs IS ~1alIIly republ~can; the Senate scarcely so at all, as not elected bv the people directly, and so long secured even against those who do elect ~hem; the EXecutive 1110re republican than the Senat~, from Its shorter term, its election bv the people in practice, (for they vote for A only on an assuranc- that he ~vill vot.e for B,) and because, ill practice also, a principle of roration seems to be II1 a Course of establishment: the judiciary



independent of the nation, their coercion by impeachment bee

ing found nugatory, ,

I f then the cnntrul of the people over the organs of their gove;'nn1el;t be the measure of its republicanism, and I conIess I know no other measure, it must he agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the p,eople have le:s ,regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require, :-\lHI this I ascribe, not to a~1.\' W~ll1t ,of republican dispositions in those who formed these (onstltu~l:lI1S, but to a submission of true principle to European auihorities, to speculators on gO\'ernlllcnt, whose fears of the people have been inspired by the populace of their own great cities, and 'were uniustlv entertained against the independent, the happy, and th~refo;'e orrlerlv citizens of the l:nited States, :\Iuch 1 apprehend that the zoldeu moment is past fur reforming these heresies, The Iunctionaries of public puwcr rarely strengthen in their Iispositions to abridge it, and an ull~rganized call, for timel!, amendment is not likely to prcvuil '1.gall1st an orgamzed OPPOSItion to it. \"e are ulw.ivs told that things arc going on well: why change them? "elliS/I; bCJlC, JlOJl si 111110,11'," said the Italian, "let him who stand::; \\'CII, stand still." This is true; and I verilv helicv« they would go Oll well with us under an absoh,lte monarch, while our present character remains, of order, 111- dustrv and love of peace. and restrained, as he would be, by the prop~r spirit of the people. But it is while it I:cmains ~uch" we should provide a[!;ainst the runscqucuccs of Ils deterioration, And let us rest in the hope that it will yet be dune, and spare ourselves the pain of evils which may never happen, ,

On this view of the import. of the term rcpnbtic, instead or saying; as has been said, "that it may mean anything or nothins; " we mav say with truth and meaning, th.u governments 7:re more (;r Ie,,:,; republican, as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition; and believing, as I do, that the mass of the citizens IS the safest depository ~f their clWII rights and especially, that the evils



flowing from the duperies of the people, are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient. And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies: and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale,

I salute you with constant friendship and respect.


Jlollticcllo, Luly 12, 1816

... , I am not among those who fear the people, They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom, And to preserve their independence, we must. not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. \\'e must make our election between CCOIIOIII)' and liberty, or projusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that \\'e must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like th"m, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, gi\'e the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficieut to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes: have :10 time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to acco.mt ; but be glad to obtain subsistence br hiring our5eh'cs to rivet their chains on the necks of our frllow suffers. Our land-holders, too, like theirs, retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of

I. Samuel Kercheval had written Jefferson concerning a revision of the first Constitution of Virginia,


the nation. This example reads to us the salutary lesson, that private Iort.uncs arc destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance, And tlIi:; is the tcndcnc)' of ail human gO\'ernments. A departure from principle in oue instance becomes. a precedent for a ;;econd; that second fur a third: and so on, till the bulk of the socictv is reduced to be mere automatons of miserv to have ill) sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. 'i'l~en begins, indeed, the hcll unt oin niu in ill ollllli.a, which some philosophers observing to he so ueueral in thl.s world, have mistaken it fur the na tur.il, instead ot the abusive state of man. Aucl the furl' horse of this frightful t c.un is public debt. Taxation Iollows that, and ill ih train v';'c','hl'dness and op-

pression. ,

Some men look at coust itut ious ',\'ill, S;;;1Ctil11(1111011S reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant too sacred to

, t : •

be touched. They ascrilll' to the mCI1 (If t h.- prl'Cl'l,Il,g age a \\,IS-

dum more than human and suppose "hat tbey did to be beyond amendment. I knew t h.u ,'gl' we-ll: I belongcd to it, and labored with it. l t (\::.c;cn'cd well of its country, I t \\,~IS very like the present, bu; \\';th()u~ thl' experience of the prcs(,llt: and forty years of experience ill government is worth a century of bo~kreading; and this they would S;IY themselves, were they to rise from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried ch~\I1ges in Lt\\'~~ amI Clll1stitlltions. I think moderate imperfections had bctter he horne with ; because,' when ol1.ce known we accommod.n c ourselves to t horu, and lmel practcial nu-aus 'of correcting their ill effects. But T know also, that laws and institutions must gil band in hand with tbe progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, 1I10re enlightened, ,15 new discoveries arc made, new truths cl.i sci used , and manners and opini()ns change with the change of C.1rcumsta.llces, institutions must advance also, and keep pace \\'Ith the tlTI1.es. \\'e miuht as well require a man to wear still the coat which fit ted l;il11 when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the rcuill1clI of their barbarous ancestors. I t is this preposterous idea which has lately deluged Europe ill blood, Their mon-



archs, instead of wisely yielding to the gradual change of circumstances, of favoring progressive accommodation to progressive improvement, have clung to old abuses, entrenched themselves behind steady habits, and obliged their subjects to seek through blood and violence rash and ruinous innovations which, had they been referred to the peaceful deliberations and collected wisdom of the nation, would have been put into acceptable and salutary forms. Let liS follow no such 'examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs. Let us, as our sister States have done, avail ourseh'es of our reason and experience. to correct the crudt essavs of our fIrst and unexperienced, although wise, virtuous, and- well-meaning councils. A.nd lastly, let us provide in our Constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, nature herself indicates. By the European tables of mortality, of the adults li\'ing at anyone moment of time, a majority will be dead in about nineteen years. At the end of that period then, a new majority is come into place: or, in other words, a new generation. Each generation is as independent of the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before. It has then, like them, a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own happiness; consequently, to accommodate to the circumstances in which it fl11ds itself, that received from its predecessors; and it is for the peace and good of mankind, that a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or twenty years, should be prO\'ided by the =onstitution; so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time, if anything human can so long endure. It is now fortv vears since the constitution of Virginia was formed. The 5a:;le- tables inform us, that, within that period, two-thirds of the adults then living are now dead. Have then the remaining third, 'even if they had the wish, the right to hold in obedience to their will. and to laws heretofore made by them, the other two-thirds, who; with themselves, compose the present mass at adults? If they


L C' 'T'T e R S o F

1 I,? The dead? But the dead have no rig. hts.

have not W 10 1,IS, I . \\'h r

They ar~ nothing; and nothing cannot O\:n son;e,t ~mg, e ~

there is no substance, there can be no aCG.dent. 1 hIS co~poreal

' 1 1 t 1 ItS preseu t COl porea

globe and everything upon It, .ie ung ( . . ht

' ' .,.. a r- ti Thev alone have a ng

inhabitants, duriru; their genera ion. - d to de-

I' t ""I' ti 'c tile concern of themselves alone, an

to uirec \\ 1,1 0 "nl

clare the law of that direction; and, th,IS deci3.ratlon, ca~ hOt tY

,. '1'1 t ajority then has a fig 0

be made bv their majoruy. ia m: , , 'I I C

. , . , 'ntioll:' nd to ma ,e the 011-

depute repreo:entatl\"c~ to a conve " hi' B t

stitution what t hev think will be the bes~ .. for t ems: ",~s, u h ' illect their \:oice? This is the real difficulty. If ll1\ ited ,b!

ow C( '", r district meetings, these divi-

private authoritv ()l l(lUnt~ () , ' 'II 1

SI'Oll'S 'll'~ 'll Ltr';e'th,lt few will attend.; and their \. 'OlcI'el \bYI )C .,. ,., II·' tl wou l e ope

. rfectly, or falsely, pronounced. ere , len, TI

~~l]~~e acl\:'l'ntaaes of the \yard divisions I have pro}loscc\'1 \~

11~\'Or ~f e'\"en,"'ward, on a question like the pres~n,t, wou (bC~

1 ". • , I' ", 01 ItS mem elS,

his ward together, take the SImp e ) ea 1lI 11<1)" .

convev these to the county court, who \,"mild, hand on Ithu~e ,of

. , I' tl uit v : and t ie voice

~II its wards to he the proper gencla ,HI II ." I· , 11\'

cr I I "f,"I' Iullv anc peaceaurj

of the whole people woukl re tHIS ,1I1 ~ , ". , " f tl

expressed, discussed, and decided by the common. I.~'b()n?t ':I~

ietv I f this avenue he shut to the call 01 sufferance. I \\1

sOCle \ " . " I "C shall ao on

I-e'itself heard through that 01 Iorce, ,11:[ \\ , c '''_' '

~:ac~thcr nations are doing, in the r-ndlrss Circle uf OpPI e~s~on,

, . . uti "Illd oppression rebcllion , reformation,

rebelhon, retormu Illn, , . ,

again; and so on forever. ,

TO Jail" ;\11,\:-15

Monticello, Au gust I, ISI6 \\'e shall have our follies without doubt. ,Some one

'I I .... ill' afloat But oms will be the

or more of them WI I a \\ ,I}" " " _ it i Bizotrv

' l I" I . trv not ol [esui 15n1. j b _

follies of enthusiasm. no 0 )Igo "" ,.'~ I', f

is the disease u r ignora nee, 0 r morbid mind:; en~ 1 usiasm t~e

'h C d buovant j;ducatiun and free c!JSCUSSIOI1 are

t e Iree an ." ~


antidotes of both, We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism, Old Europe will haw to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, uncler the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can, What a colossus shall we be when the southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it secure as a ral!iance for the reason and freedom of the globe r I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past,-so good night ! I will dream on, always fancying that Xl rs, Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries.


Jlollticcllo, l anunrv I I, ISI7

lowe you, dear Madam, a thousand thanks for the letters communicatecl in your favor of December r jth, and now returned, They give me more information than I possessed before, of the family of Mr. Tracy. But what is infinitely inter. esting, is the scene of the exchange of Louis XVIII. for Bona. parte. \rhat lessons of wisdom .:\lr. Adams must have read in that short space of time! More than fall to the lot of others in the course of a long life, Man, and the man of Paris, uncler those circumstances, must have been a subject of profound speculation! It would be a singular addition to that spectacle, to see the same beast in the cage of St. Helena, like a lion in the tower. That is probably the closing verse of the chapter of his crimes. But not so with Louis. He has other vicissitudes to go through.

I cummunicated the letters, according to your permission, to my grand-daughter, Ellen Randolph, who read them with pleasure and edifIcation, She is justly sensible of, and flattered by your kind notice of her; and additionally so, by the favorable recollections of our northern visiting friends, If Monti,

I. Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams,


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