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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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80. ADAMS (John), Jefferson, Paine and.—[continued].
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80. ADAMS (John), Jefferson, Paine and.—[continued].

I have a dozen times taken
up my pen to write to you, and as often laid
it down again, suspended between opposing
considerations. I determine, however, to write
from a conviction that truth, between candid
minds, can never do harm. The first of Paine's
pamphlets on the “Rights of Man,” which
come to hand here, belonged to Mr. Beckley.
He lent it to Mr. Madison, who lent it to
me; and while I was reading it. Mr. Beckley
called on me for it, and, as I had not finished it,
he desired me, as soon as I should have done so,
to send it to Mr. Jonathan B. Smith, whose
brother meant to reprint it. I finished reading
it, and, as I had no acquaintance with Mr.
Jonathan B. Smith, propriety required that
I should explain to him why I, a stranger
to him, sent him the pamphlet. I accordingly
wrote a note of compliment, informing
him that I did it at the desire of
Mr. Beckley, and, to take off a little of the
dryness of the note, I added that I was glad it
was to be reprinted here, and that something
was to be publicly said against the political
heresies which had sprung up among us, &c. I
thought so little of this note, that I did not
even keep a copy of it; nor ever heard a tittle
more of it, till, the week following, I was
thunderstruck with seeing it come out at the
head of the pamphlet. [11] I hoped, however, it
would not attract notice. But I found, on my
return from a journey of a month, that a writer
came forward, under the signature of “ Publicola,
” attacking not only the author and principles
of the pamphlet, but myself as its sponsor,
by name. Soon after came hosts of other
writers, defending the pamphlet, and attacking
you, by name, as the writer of “Publicola.”
Thus were our names thrown on the public
stage as public antagonists. That you and I differ
in our ideas of the best forms of government,
is well known to us both; but we have
differed as friends should do, respecting the
purity of each other's motives, and confining our
difference of opinion to private conversation.
And I can declare with truth, in the presence of
the Almighty, that nothing was further from my
intention or expectation than to have either
my own or your name brought before the public
on this occasion. The friendship and confidence
which have so long existed between
us, required this explanation from me, and I
know you too well to fear any misconstruction
of the motives of it. Some people here who
would wish me to be, or to be thought, guilty
of improprieties, have suggested that I was
“Agricola,” that I was “Brutus,” &c., &c. I
never did in my life, either by myself or by
any other, have a sentence of mine inserted
in a newspaper without putting my name to
it; and I believe I never shall.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. iii, 270. Ford ed., v, 353.
(Pa., 1791)


The note was as follows: “After some prefatory
remarks, the Secretary of State, Mr. Jefferson, in a
note to a Printer in Philadelphia, accompanying a
copy of this Pamphlet for republication observes:
`I am extremely pleased to find it will be reprinted
here, and that something is at length to be publicly
said against the political heresies which have
sprung up among us. I have no doubt our citizens
will rally a second time round the standard of
Common Sense.' ”—Editor.