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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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6150. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—[further continued] .
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6150. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—[further continued] .

The address of the Ward
Committee of Philadelphia on the subject of
removals from office was received. I cannot
answer it, because I have given no answers
to the many others I have received from
other quarters. * * * Although no person
wishes more than I do to learn the opinions
of respected individuals, because they enable
me to examine, and often to correct my own,
yet I am not satisfied that I ought to admit
the addresses even of those bodies of men
which are organized by the Constitution (the
Houses of Legislature for instance) to influence
the appointment to office for which the
Constitution has chosen to rely on the independence
and integrity of the Executive, controlled
by the Senate, chosen both of them
by the whole Union. Still less of those bodies
whose organization is unknown to the Constitution.
As revolutionary instruments
(when nothing but revolution will cure the
evils of the State) they are necessary and
indispensable, and the right to use them is
inalienable by the people; but to admit them
as ordinary and habitual instruments as a
part of the machinery of the Constitution,
would be to change that machinery by introducing
moving powers foreign to it, and to
an extent depending solely on local views,
and therefore incalculable. The opinions offered
by individuals, and of right, are on a
different ground; they are sanctioned by the
Constitution; which has also prescribed, when
they choose to act in bodies, the organization,
objects and rights of those bodies. * * * This view of the subject forbids me, in my
judgment, to give answers to addresses of
this kind. [372]
To William Duane. Ford ed., viii, 255.
(M. 1803)


The letter containing this extract was not sent to
Mr. Duane.—Editor.