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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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6054. OFFICE, A duty.—
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6054. OFFICE, A duty.—

To my fellow-citizens
the debt of service has been fully and
faithfully paid. I acknowledge that such a
debt exists, that a tour of duty, in whatever
line he can be most useful to his country,
is due from every individual. It is not easy
perhaps to say of what length exactly this
tour should be, but we may safely say of what
length it should not be. Not of our whole life,
for instance, for that would be to be born a
slave,—not even of a very large portion of it.
I have now been in the public service four
and twenty years; one half of which has
been spent in total occupation with their affairs,
and absence from my own. I have
served my tour then.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 577. Ford ed., vi, 290.
(June. 1793)