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3951. INFORMATION, Essential to Executive.—

It is essential for the public interest
that I should receive all the information
possible respecting either matters or persons
connected with the public. To induce people
to give this information, they must feel assured
that when deposited with me it is
secret and sacred. Honest men might justifiably
withhold information, if they expected
the communication would be made public, and
commit them to war with their neighbors and
friends. This imposes the duty on me of considering
such information as mere suggestions
for inquiry, and to put me on my guard;
and to injure no man by forming any opinion
until the suggestion be verified. Long ex
perience in this school has by no means
strengthened the disposition to believe too
easily. On the contrary, it has begotten an
incredulity which leaves no one's character
in danger from any hasty conclusion.—
To John Smith. Washington ed. v, 77.
(M. 1807)

See Publicity.