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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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4265. KINGS, Character of European.—
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4265. KINGS, Character of European.—

While in Europe, I often amused myself
with contemplating the characters of the then
reigning monarchs of Europe. Louis XVI.
was a fool, of my own knowledge, and in
despite of the answers made for him at his
trial. The King of Spain was a fool, and
of Naples the same. They passed their lives
in hunting, and despatched two couriers a
week, one thousand miles, to let each other


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know what game they had killed the preceding
days. The King of Sardinia was a fool. All
these were Bourbons. The Queen of Portugal,
a Braganza, was an idiot by nature. And
so was the King of Denmark. Their sons,
as regents, exercised the powers of government.
The King of Prussia, successor to the
great Frederick, was a mere hog in body as
well as in mind. Gustavus of Sweden, and
Joseph of Austria, were really crazy, and
George of England, you know, was in a
straight waistcoat. There remained, then,
none but old Catherine, who had been too
lately picked up to have lost her common
sense. In this state Bonaparte found Europe;
and it was this state of its rulers which lost
it with scarce a struggle. These animals had
become without mind and powerless; and so
will every hereditary monarch be after a few
generations. Alexander, the grandson of
Catherine, is as yet an exception. He is able
to hold his own. But he is only of the third generation. His race is not yet worn out.
And so endeth the Book of Kings, from all
of whom the Lord deliver us.—
To John Langdon. Washington ed. v, 514.
(M. 1810)