University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
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.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
collapse sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

3721. HISTORY, Ancient vs. Modern.—[continued].

I am happier while reading
the history of ancient than of modern times.
The total banishment of all moral principle
from the code which governs the intercourse
of nations, the melancholy reflection that after
the mean, wicked and cowardly cunning of the
cabinets of the age of Machiavelli had given
place to the integrity and good faith which
dignified the succeeding one of a Chatham
and Turgot, that this is to be swept away again
by the daring profligacy and avowed destitution
of all moral principle of a Cartouche and a
Blackbeard, sicken my soul unto death. I
turn from the contemplation with loathing, and
take refuge in the histories of other times,
where, if they also furnished their Tarquins,
their Catalines and Caligulas, their stories are
handed to us under the brand of a Livy, a Sallust
and a Tacitus, and we are comforted with
the reflection that the condemnation of all succeeding
generations has confirmed the sentence
of the historian, and consigned their memories
to everlasting infamy, a solace we cannot have
with the Georges and Napoleons but by anticipation.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 109.
(M. April. 1813)