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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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4359. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Hampered by instructions.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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4359. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Hampered by instructions.—

As it becomes more
and more possible that the Noblesse will go
wrong, I become uneasy for you. Your principles
are decidedly with the Tiers Etat, and
your instructions against them. A complaisance
to the latter on some occasions, and an adherence
to the former on others, may give
an appearance of trimming between the two
parties, which may lose you both. You will
in the end go over wholly to the Tiers Etat, because
it will be impossible for you to live in
a constant sacrifice of your own sentiments to
the prejudices of the Noblesse. But you would
be received by the Tiers Etat at any future day,
coldly, and without confidence. This appears
to me the moment to take at once that honest
and manly stand with them which your principles
dictate. This will win their hearts forever,
be approved by the world, which marks
and honors you as the man of the people, and
will be an eternal consolation to yourself. The
Noblesse, and especially the Noblesse of
Auvergne, will always prefer men who will do
their dirty work for them. You are not made
for that. They will, therefore, soon drop you,
and the people in that case will perhaps not take
you up. Suppose a scission should take place.
The priests and Nobles will secede, the nation
will remain in place, and, with the King, will
do its own business. If violence should be attempted,
where will you be? You cannot then
take side with the people in opposition to your
own vote, that very vote which will have helped
to produce the scission. Still less can you array
yourself against the people. That is impossible.
Your instructions are indeed a difficulty. But
to state this at its worst, it is only a single difficulty,
which a single effort surmounts. Your
instructions can never embarrass you a second
time, whereas an acquiescence under them will
reproduce greater difficulties every day, and
without end. Besides, a thousand circumstances
offer as many justifications of your departure
from your instructions. Will it be impossible
to persuade all parties that (as for good legislation
two houses are necessary) the placing the
privileged classes together in one house, and
the unprivileged in another, would be better
than a scission? I own, I think it would.
People can never agree without some sacrifices;
and it appears but a moderate sacrifice in each
party, to meet on this middle ground. The
attempt to bring this about might satisfy your


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instructions, and a failure in it would justify
your siding with the people, even to those who
think instructions are laws of conduct. Forgive
me, my dear friend, if my anxiety for you
makes me talk of things I know nothing about.
You must not consider this as advice. I know
you and myself too well to presume to offer
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 20. Ford ed., v, 91.
(P. May. 1789)