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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.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1198. CHARITY, Rules in bestowing.
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1198. CHARITY, Rules in bestowing.

—I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable
purposes; and that it is his further duty to
see it so applied as to do the most good of
which it is capable. This I believe to be best
insured, by keeping within the circle of his
own inquiry and information the subjects of
distress to whose relief his contributions shall
be applied. If this rule be reasonable in private
life, it becomes so necessary in my situation,
that to relinquish it would leave me
without rule or compass. The applications
of this kind from different parts of our own,
and foreign countries, are far beyond any
resources within my command. The mission
of Serampore, in the East Indies, the object of
the present application, is but one of many
items. However disposed the mind may feel
to unlimited good, our means having limits,
we are necessarily circumscribed by them.
They are too narrow to relieve even the distresses
under my own eye; and to desert
these for others which we neither see nor
know, is to omit doing a certain good for one
which is uncertain. I know, indeed, there
have been splendid associations for effecting
benevolent purposes in remote regions of the
earth. But no experience of their effect has
proved that more good would not have been
done by the same means employed nearer
home. In explaining, however, my own motives
of action, I must not be understood as
impeaching those of others. Their views are
those of an expanded liberality. Mine May
be too much restrained by the law of usefulness.
But it is a law to me, and with minds
like yours, will be felt as a justification.—
To Dr. Rogers. Washington ed. iv, 589.
(W. 1806)