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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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842. BISHOP (Samuel), Goodrich's removal and.—
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842. BISHOP (Samuel), Goodrich's removal and.—

The removal, as it is called, of
Mr. [Elizur] Goodrich, promises another
subject of complaint. Declarations by myself
in favor of political tolerance, exhortations
to harmony and affection in social intercourse,
and to respect for the equal rights of the minority, have, on certain occasions,
been quoted and misconstrued into assurances
that the tenure of offices was to be undisturbed.
But could candor apply such a
construction? It is not, indeed, in the remonstrance
that we find it; but it leads to
the explanations which that calls for. When
it is considered, that during the late administration,
those who were not of a particular
sect of politics were excluded from all office:
when, by a steady pursuit of this measure,
nearly the whole officers of the United States
were monopolized by that sect; when
the public sentiment at length declared itself,
and burst open the doors of honor and confidence
to those whose opinions they more
approved, was it to be imagined that this
monopoly of office was still to be continued
in the hands of the minority? Does it violate
their equal rights, to assert some rights
in the majority also? Is it political intolerance
to claim a proportionate share in the
direction of the public affairs? Can they
not harmonize in society unless they have
everything in their own hands? If the will
of the nation, manifested by their various


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elections, calls for an administration of government
according with the opinions of those
elected; if, for the fulfilment of that will,
displacements are necessary, with whom can
they so justly begin as with persons appointed
in the last moments of an administration,
not for its own aid, but to begin a
career at the same time with their successors,
by whom they had never been approved,
and who could scarcely expect from them a
cordial coöperation? Mr. Goodrich was one
of these. Was it proper for him to place
himself in office, without knowing whether
those whose agent he was to be would have
confidence in his agency? Can the preference
of another, as the successor to Mr.
Austin, be candidly called a removal of Mr.
Goodrich? If a due participation of office
is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be
obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation,
none. Can any other mode than
that of removal be proposed? This is a painful
office; but it is made my duty, and I meet
it as such. I proceed in the operation with
deliberation and inquiry, that it may injure
the best men least, and effect the purposes of
justice and public utility with the least private
distress; that it may be thrown, as much
as possible, on delinquency, on oppression,
on intolerance, on incompetence, on anterevolutionary
adherence to our enemies. The
remonstrance laments “that a change in the
administration must produce a change in the
subordinate officers,” in other words, that
it should be deemed necessary for all officers
to think with their principal? But on
whom does this imputation bear? On those
who have excluded from office every shade
of opinion which was not theirs? Or on
those who have been so excluded? I lament
sincerely that unessential differences of political
opinion should ever have been deemed
sufficient to interdict half the society from
the rights and blessings of self-government,
to proscribe them as characters unworthy of
every trust. It would have been to me a
circumstance of great relief, had I found a
moderate participation of office in the hands
of the majority. I would gladly have left
to time and accident to raise them to their
just share. But their total exclusion calls
for prompter correctives. I shall correct the
procedure; but that done, disdain to follow
it, shall return with joy to that state of
things, when the only questions concerning
a candidate shall be: Is he honest? Is he
capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 403. Ford ed., viii, 69.
(W. July. 1801)