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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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2838. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—[continued].
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2838. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—[continued].

My opinion on the right
of expatriation has been, so long ago as the
year 1776, consigned to record in the act
of the Virginia code, drawn by myself, recognizing
the right expressly, and prescribing
the mode of exercising it. The evidence
of this natural right, like that of our right
to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the
pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble
and sophistical investigations of reason, but
is impressed on the sense of every man. We
do not claim these under the charters of
kings or legislators, but under the King of
kings. If he has made it a law in the nature
of man to pursue his own happiness, he has
left him free in the choice of place as well as
mode; and we may safely call on the whole
body of English jurists to produce the map
on which nature has traced, for each individual,
the geographical line which she forbids
him to cross in pursuit of happiness.
It certainly does not exist in his mind.
Where, then, is it? I believe, too, I might
safely affirm, that there is not another nation,
civilized or savage, which has ever denied
this natural right. I doubt if there is another
which refuses its exercise. I know it
is allowed in some of the most respectable
countries of continental Europe, nor have I


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ever heard of one in which it was not. How
it is among our savage neighbors, who have
no law but that of Nature, we all know.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vii, 73. Ford ed., x, 87.
(M. 1817)