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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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4256. KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS (1798), History of.—
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4256. KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS (1798), History of.—

At the time when the
Republicans of our country were so much
alarmed at the proceedings of the Federal ascendency
in Congress, in the Executive and
the Judiciary departments, it became a matter
of serious consideration how head could be
made against their enterprises on the Constitution.
The leading Republicans in Congress
found themselves of no use there, browbeaten,
as they were, by a bold and overwhelming majority.
They concluded to retire from that field,
take a stand in the State Legislatures, and endeavor
there to arrest their progress. The
Alien and Sedition laws furnished the particular
occasion. The sympathy between Virginia
and Kentucky was more cordial, and more intimately
confidential, than between any other
two States of Republican policy. Mr. Madison
came into the Virginia Legislature. I was
then in the Vice-Presidency, and could not leave
my station. But your father, Colonel W. C.
Nicholas, and myself happening to be together,
the engaging the cooperation of Kentucky in
an energetic protestation against the constitutionality
of those laws, became a subject of
consultation. Those gentlemen pressed me
strongly to sketch resolutions for that purpose,
your father undertaking to introduce them to
that Legislature, with a solemn assurance, which
I strictly required, that it should not be known
from what quarter they came. I drew and delivered
them to him, and in keeping their origin
secret, he fulfilled his pledge of honor. Some
years after this, Colonel Nicholas asked me if I
would have any objection to its being known
that I had drawn them. I pointedly enjoined
that it should not. Whether he had unguardedly
intimated it before to any one, I know
not; but I afterwards observed in the papers
repeated imputations of them to me; on which,
as has been my practice on all occasions of
imputation, I have observed entire silence.
The question, indeed, has never before been
put to me, nor should I answer it to any other
than yourself; seeing no good end to be proposed
by it, and the desire of tranquillity inducing
with me a wish to be withdrawn from public
notice. [272]
To—Nicholas. Washington ed. vii, 229.
(M. Dec. 1821)


In the Ford edition, vii, 290, but addressed to
John Cabel Breckenridge.—Editor.