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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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2242. DISPUTATION, Avoid.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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2242. DISPUTATION, Avoid.—

In stating
prudential rules for our government in
society, I must not omit the important one of
never entering into dispute or argument with
another. I never saw an instance of one
of two disputants convincing the other by
argument. I have seen many, on their getting
warm, becoming rude, and shooting one another.
Conviction is the effect of our own
dispassionate reasoning, either in solitude,
or weighing within ourselves, dispassionately,
what we hear from others, standing uncommitted
in argument ourselves. It was
one of the rules which, above all others, made
Dr. Franklin the most amiable of men in
society, “never to contradict anybody.” If he
was urged to announce an opinion, he did it
rather by asking questions, as if for information,
or by suggesting doubts. When I hear
another express an opinion which is not mine,
I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion,
as I to mine; why should I question it? His
error does me no injury, and shall I become
a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of
argument to one opinion? If a fact be misstated,
it is probable he is gratified by a belief
of it, and I have no right to deprive him
of the gratification. If he wants information,
he will ask it, and then I will give it in
measured terms; but if he still believes his
own story, and shows a desire to dispute the
fact with me, I hear him and say nothing. It
is his affair, not mine, if he prefers error.—
To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Washington ed. v, 390. Ford ed., ix, 232.
(W. 1808)