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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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4259. KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS (1799), Outlines of.—
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4259. KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS (1799), Outlines of.—

I thought something
essentially necessary to be said, in order to
avoid the inference of acquiescence; that a resolution
or declaration should be passed: 1. Answering
the reasonings of such of the States
as have ventured into the field of reason, and
that of the Committee of Congress, taking some
notice, too, of those States who have either
not answered at all, or answered without reasoning.
2. Making firm protestation against the
precedent and principle, and reserving the right
to make this palpable violation of the Federal
Compact the ground of doing in future whatever
we might now rightfully do should repetitions
of these and other violations of the compact render it expedient. 3. Expressing in
affectionate and conciliatory language our warm
attachment to union with our sister States,
and to the instrument and principles by which
we are united; that we are willing to sacrifice
to this everything but the rights of self-government
in those important points which we have
never yielded, and in which alone we see liberty,
safety and happiness; that not at all
disposed to make every measure of error or of
wrong a cause of scission, we are willing to look
on with indulgence, and to wait with patience
till those passions and delusions shall have
passed over, which the Federal Government
have artfully excited to cover its own abuses
and conceal its designs, fully confident that
the good sense of the American people, and their
attachment to those very rights which we are
now vindicating, will, before it shall be too late,
rally with us round the true principles of our
Federal compact. This was only meant to give
a general idea of the complexion and topics of
such an instrument. Mr. Madison * * * does
not concur in the reservation proposed above;
and from this I recede readily, not only in deference
to his judgment, but because, as we
should never think of separation but for repeated
and enormous violations, so these, when
they occur, will be cause enough of themselves.
To these topics, however, should be
added animadversions on the new pretensions
to a common law of the United States. * * * As to the preparing anything, I must decline it,
to avoid suspicions (which were pretty strong
in some quarters on the late occasion), and because
there remains still (after their late loss)
a mass of talents in Kentucky sufficient for
every purpose. The only object of the present
communication is to procure a concert in the
general plan of action[as it is extremely desirable
that Virginia and Kentucky should pursue
the same track on this occasion [273] ]. Be
sides, how could you better while away the road
from hence to Kentucky, than in meditating
this very subject, and preparing something
yourself, than whom nobody will do it better.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. iv, 305. Ford ed., vii, 390.
(M. Sep. 5, 1799)


Part in brackets not in letter-press copy.—Ford
ed. Note.