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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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2549. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued].
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2549. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued].

The pressure of the Embargo,
although sensibly felt by every description
of our fellow citizens, has yet been cheerfully
borne by most of them, under the conviction
that it was a temporary evil, and a necessary one to save us from greater and more
permanent evils,—the loss of property and surrender
of rights. But it would have been more
cheerfully borne, but for the knowledge that,
while honest men were religiously observing
it, the unprincipled along our sea-coast and
frontiers were fraudulently evading it; and that
in some parts they had even dared to break
through it openly, by an armed force too powerful
to be opposed by the collector and his
assistants. To put an end to this scandalous
insubordination to the laws, the Legislature
has authorized the President to empower proper
persons to employ militia, for preventing or
suppressing armed or riotous assemblages of
persons resisting the custom-house officers in
the exercise of their duties, or opposing or
violating the Embargo laws. He sincerely
hopes that, during the short time which these
restrictions are expected to continue, no other
instances will take place of a crime of so deep
a dye. But it is made his duty to take the
measures necessary to meet it. He, therefore,
requests you, as commanding officer of the
militia of your State, to appoint some officer
of the militia, of known respect for the laws,
in or near to each port of entry within your
State, with orders, when applied to by the collector
of the district, to assemble immediately
a sufficient force of his militia, and to employ
them efficaciously to maintain the authority of
the laws respecting the Embargo. * * * He has referred this appointment to your Excellency
because your knowledge of characters,
or means of obtaining it, will enable you to
select one who can be most confided in to exercise
so serious a power, with all the discretion,
the forbearance, the kindness even, which
the enforcement of the law will possibly admit,—ever to bear in mind that the life of a citizen,
is never to be endangered, but as the last
melancholy effort for the maintenance of order


Page 291
and obedience to the laws.—
To the Governors of the States. Washington ed. v, 413. Ford ed., ix, 237.
(W. Jan. 1809)