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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.;

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74. ADAMS (John), Jefferson and Election of.—
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74. ADAMS (John), Jefferson and Election of.—

The public and the papers have
been much occupied lately in placing us in
a point of opposition to each other. I trust
with confidence that less of it has been felt
by ourselves personally. In the retired canton
where I am, I learn little of what is passing;
pamphlets I never see; papers but a few,
and the fewer the happier. Our latest intelligence
from Philadelphia at present is of
the 16th inst., but though at that date your
election to the first magistracy seems not
to have been known as a fact, yet with me
it has never been doubted. I knew it impossible
you should lose a vote North of the
Delaware, and even if that of Pennsylvania
should be against you in the mass, yet that
you would get enough South of that to place
your succession out of danger. I have never
one single moment expected a different issue;
and though I know I shall not be believed, yet
it is not the less true that I have never wished
it. My neighbors as my compurgators could
aver that fact, because they see my occupations
and my attachment to them. Indeed
it is impossible that you may be cheated of
your succession by a trick worthy the subtlety
of your arch-friend of New York [Alexander
Hamilton] who has been able to make
of your real friends tools to defeat their and
your just wishes. Most probably he will be
disappointed as to you; and my inclinations
place me out of his reach. I leave to others
the sublime delights of riding in the storm,
better pleased with sound sleep and a warm
berth below, with the society of neighbors,
friends and fellow-laborers of the earth,
than of spies and sycophants. No one
then will congratulate you with purer disinterestedness
than myself. The share, indeed,
which I may have had in the late vote, I
shall value highly as an evidence of the share
I have in the esteem of my fellow citizens.
But while in this point of view, a few votes
less would be little sensible, the difference in
the effect of a few more would be very sensible
and oppressive to me. I have no ambition
to govern men. It is a painful and thankless
office. Since the day, too, on which you
signed the treaty of Paris our horizon was
never so overcast. I devoutly wish you May
be able to shun for us this war by which our
agriculture, commerce and credit will be destroyed.
If you are, the glory will be all your
own; and that your administration may be
filled with glory, and happiness to yourself
and advantage to us is the sincere wish of one


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who, though in the course of our own voyage
through life various little incidents have happened
or been contrived to separate us, retains
still for you the solid esteem of the moments
when we were working for our independence,
and sentiments of respect and affectionate
attachment. [10]
To John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 153. Ford ed., vii, 95.
(Dec. 28, 1796)


Jefferson sent this letter to Madison who decided
that it would be inexpedient to forward it to Adams.
“I am very thankful,” Jefferson wrote to Madison
in January, 1797 (iv, 166, Ford ed., vii, 115), “for
the discretion you have exercised over the letter.
That has happened to be the case, which I knew to
be possible, that the honest expression of my feelings
towards Mr. Adams might be rendered malapropos from circumstances existing, and known at the seat
of government, but not known by me in my retired