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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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418. APPROPRIATIONS, Estimates and.—[continued].
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418. APPROPRIATIONS, Estimates and.—[continued].

Congress, aware that too
minute a specification has its evil as well as a
too general one, does not make the estimate
a part of their law, but gives a sum in gross,
trusting the Executive discretion for that
year, and that sum only; so in other departments,
as of War, for instance, the estimate
of the Secretary specifies all the items of
clothing, subsistence, pay, &c., of the army.
And Congress throws this into such masses
as they think best, to wit, a sum in gross for
clothing, another for subsistence, a third for
pay, &c., binding up the Executive discretion
only by the sum, and the object generalized to
a certain degree. The minute details of the
estimate are thus dispensed with in point of
obligation, and the discretion of the officer is
enlarged to the limits of the classification
which Congress thinks it best for the public
interest to make.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 529.