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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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2499. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1808), Neutrality of Jefferson.—
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2499. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1808), Neutrality of Jefferson.—

I see with infinite
grief a contest arising between yourself and
another, who have been very dear to each
other, and equally so to me. I sincerely pray
that these dispositions may not be affected between
you; with me I confidently trust they
will not. For independently of the dictates of
public duty, which prescribe neutrality to me,
my sincere friendship for you both will ensure
its sacred observance. I suffer no one
to converse with me on the subject. I already
perceive my old friend Clinton, estranging himself
from me. No doubt lies are carried to him,
as they will be to the other two candidates,
under forms which, however false, he can
scarcely question. Yet, I have been equally
careful as to him also, never to say a word on
this subject. The object of the contest is a fair
and honorable one, equally open to you all;
and I have no doubt the personal conduct of all
will be so chaste, as to offer no ground of dissatisfaction
with each other. But your friends
will not be as delicate. I know too well from
experience the progress of political controversy,
and the exacerbation of spirit into which it
degenerates, not to fear the continuance of your
mutual esteem. One piquing thing said draws
on another, that a third, and always with increasing
acrimony, until all restraint is thrown
off, and it becomes difficult for yourselves to
keep clear of the toils in which your friends
will endeavor to interlace you, and to avoid the
participation in their passions which they will
endeavor to produce. A candid recollection of
what you know of each other will be the true
corrective. With respect to myself, I hope they
will spare me. My longings for retirement are
so strong, that I with difficulty encounter the
daily drudgeries of my duty. But my wish for
retirement itself is not stronger than that of
carrying into it the affections of all my friends.
I have ever viewed Mr. Madison and yourself
as two principal pillars of my happiness. Were
either to be withdrawn, I should consider it as
among the greatest calamities which could assail
my future peace of mind. I have great con


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fidence that the candor and high understanding
of both will guard me against this misfortune,
the bare possibility of which has so far weighed
on my mind, that I could not be easy without
unburthening it.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 247. Ford ed., ix, 177.
(W. Feb. 1808)