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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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To state the difference between the classes of
society and the lines of demarcation which
separated them [in Virginia] would be difficult.
The law admitted none except as to our
twelve counsellors. Yet in a country insulated
from the European world, insulated from
its sister colonies, with whom there was
scarcely any intercourse, little visited by foreigners,
and having little matter to act upon
within itself, certain families had risen to
splendor by wealth and the preservation of it
from generation to generation under the law
of entails; some had produced a series of
men of talents; families in general had remained
stationary on the grounds of their
forefathers, for there was no emigration to the
westward in those days; the wild Irish, who
had gotten possession of the valley between
the Blue Ridge and North Mountain, forming


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a barrier over which none ventured to leap,
and would still less venture to settle among.
In such a state of things, scarcely admitting
any change of station, society would settle itself
down into several strata, separated by no
marked lines, but shading off imperceptibly
from top to bottom, nothing disturbing the
order of their repose. There were there aristocrats,
half-breeds, pretenders, a solid yeomanry,
looking askance at those above yet
venturing to jostle them, and last and lowest,
a feculum of beings called overseers, the most
abject, degraded and unprincipled race, always
cap in hand to the Dons who employed
them, and furnishing materials for the exercise
of their pride, insolence and spirit of
To William Wirt. Washington ed. vi, 484. Ford ed., ix, 473.
(M. 1815)