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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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375. ANTIQUITIES, Roman.—
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375. ANTIQUITIES, Roman.—

Lyons to Nismes I have been nourished with
the remains of Roman grandeur. * * * At
Vienne, the Prætorian Palace, as it is called,
comparable, for its fine proportions, to the
Maison quarrée, defaced by the barbarians who
have converted it to its present purpose, its
beautiful fluted Corinthian columns cut out, in
part, to make space for Gothic windows, and
hewed down, in the residue, to the plane of the
building, was enough * * * to disturb my
composure. At Orange, I thought of you. I was
sure you had seen with pleasure the sublime
triumphal arch of Marius at the entrance of the
city. I went then to the Arenae. Would you believe
that in this eighteenth century, in France,
under the reign of Louis XVI., they are at
this moment pulling down the circular wall of
this superb remain, to pave a road? And that,
too, from a hill which is itself an entire mass of
stone, just as fit, and more accessible. * * * I thought of you again * * * at the Pont
du Gard, a sublime antiquity. and well-preserved;
but most of all here [Nismes], whose
Roman taste, genius and magnificence excite
ideas analogous to yours at every step. * * * You will not expect news. Were I to attempt
to give it, I should tell you stories one thousand
years old. I should detail to you the intrigues
of the courts of the Cæsars, how they affect us
here, the oppressions of their prætors, prefects,
&c. I am immersed in antiquities from morning
to night. For me, the city of Rome is
actually existing in all the splendor of its empire.
I am filled with alarms for the event of
the irruptions daily making on us, by the Goths,
the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Vandals, lest
they should reconquer us to our original barbarism.—
To La Comtesse De Tesse. Washington ed. ii, 132.
(N., 1787 )