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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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887. BONAPARTE (N.), Rights of Nations and.—[further continued] .
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887. BONAPARTE (N.), Rights of Nations and.—[further continued] .

At length Bonaparte has
got on the right side of a question. From
the time of his entering the legislative hall to
his retreat to Elba, no man has execrated him
more than myself. I will not except even the
members of the Essex Junto; although for
very different reasons; I, because he was warring
against the liberty of his own country,
and independence of others; they, because he
was the enemy of England, the Pope and the
Inquisition. But at length, and as far as we
can judge, he seems to have become the choice
of his nation. At least, he is defending the
cause of his nation, and that of all mankind,
the rights of every people to independence
and self-government. He and the allies have
now changed sides. They are parcelling out
among themselves, Poland, Belgium, Saxony,
Italy, dictating a ruler and government to
France, and looking askance at our republic,
the splendid libel on their governments, and
he is fighting for the principles of national
independence of which his whole life hitherto
has been a continued violation. He has
promised a free government to his own country,
and to respect the rights of others; and
although his former conduct inspires little
confidence in his promises, yet we had better
take the chance of his word for doing right,
than the certainty of the wrong which his adversaries
are doing and avowing. If they
succeed ours is only the boon of the Cyclops
to Ulysses, of being the last devoured. [53]
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 490. Ford ed., ix, 529.
(M. Aug. 1815)


To the letter from which this extract is taken Jefferson
appended a postscript as follows: “I had finished
my letter yesterday and this morning (Aug.
11), received the news of Bonaparte's second abdication.
Very well. For him, personally, I have no
feeling but reprobation. The representatives of the
nations have deposed him. They have taken the
allies at their word, that they had no object in the
war but his removal. The nation is now free to give
itself a good government, either with or without a
Bourbon; and France, unsubdued, will still be a bridle
on the enterprises of the combined powers, and a
bulwark to others.”—Editor.