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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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3895. INDEPENDENCE, First idea of American.—

In July 1775, a separation from
Great Britain and establishment of republican
government had never yet entered into any
person's mind. * * * Independence, and
the establishment of a new form of government,
were not even the objects of the people
at large. One extract from the pamphlet
called “Common Sense” had appeared in the
Virginia papers in February, and copies of the
pamphlet itself had got in a few hands. But
the idea had not been opened to the mass of
the people in April, much less can it be said
that they had made up their minds in its
favor. [246]
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 363. Ford ed., iii, 225.

See Colonies, Declaration of Independence, Parliament and Revolution (American).


In the Ford edition (iii, 226) attention is called to
a letter written by Jefferson from Philadelphia, May,
16, 1776, to Thomas Nelson, in which he said: “I wish
much to see you here, yet hope you will contrive
to bring on as early as you can in convention the
great questions of the session. I suppose they will
tell us what to say on the subject of Independence,
but hope respect will be expressed to the right opinion
in other Colonies who may happen to differ from
them. When at home I took great pains to enquire
into the sentiments of the people on that head, in the
upper counties I think I may safely say nine out of
ten are for it.”—Editor.