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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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6713. POLICY (American), Principles.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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6713. POLICY (American), Principles.—

On the question you propose [James Monroe],
whether we can, in any form, take a
bolder attitude than formerly in favor of liberty,
I can give you but commonplace ideas.
They will be but the widow's mite, and
offered only because requested. The matter
which now embroils Europe, the presumption
of dictating to an independent nation the
form of its government, is so arrogant, so
atrocious, that indignation, as well as moral
sentiment, enlists all our partialities and
prayers in favor of one, and our equal execrations
against the other. I do not know,
indeed, whether all nations do not owe to
one another a bold and open declaration of
their sympathies with the one party, and their
detestation of the conduct of the other. But
farther than this we are bound to go; and indeed,
for the sake of the world, we ought not
to increase the jealousies, or draw on ourselves
the power of this formidable confederacy
[The Holy Alliance], I have ever deemed
it fundamental for the United States never
to take active part in the quarrels of Europe.
Their political interests are entirely distinct
from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their
balance of power, their complicated alliances,
their forms and principles of government,
are all foreign to us. They are nations of
eternal war. All their energies are expended
in the destruction of the labor, property and
lives of their people. On our part, never
had a people so favorable a chance of trying
the opposite system, of peace and fraternity
with mankind, and the direction of all our
means and faculties to the purposes of improvement
instead of destruction. With Europe
we have few occasions of collision, and
these, with a little prudence and forbearance,
may be generally accommodated. Of the
brethren of our own hemisphere, none is yet,
or for an age to come will be, in a shape,
condition, or disposition to war against us.
And the foothold which the nations of Europe
had in either America, is slipping from under
them, so that we shall soon be rid of their
neighborhood. Cuba alone seems at present
to hold up a speck of war to us. Its possession
by Great Britain would indeed be a
great calamity to us. Could we induce her to
join us in guaranteeing its independence
against all the world, except Spain, it would
be nearly as valuable to us as if it were our
own. [389] But should she take it, I would not
immediately go to war for it; because the
first war on other accounts will give it to
us; or the island will give itself to us, when
able to do so. While no duty, therefore,
calls on us to take part in the present war of
Europe, and a golden harvest offers itself in
reward for doing nothing, peace and neutrality
seem to be our duty and interest. We
may gratify ourselves, indeed, with a neutrality
as partial to Spain as would be justifiable
without giving cause of war to her
adversary; we might and ought to avail ourselves
of the happy occasion of procuring and
cementing a cordial reconciliation with her,
by giving assurance of every friendly office
which neutrality admits, and especially,
against all apprehension of our intermeddling
in the quarrel with her colonies. And I
expect daily and confidently to hear of a
spark kindled in France, which will employ
her at home, and relieve Spain from all further
apprehension of danger. That England
is playing false with Spain cannot be doubted.
Her government is looking one way and rowing
another. * * * You will do what is
right, leaving the people of Europe to act
their follies and crimes among themselves,
while we pursue in good faith the paths of
peace and prosperity.—
To President Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 287. Ford ed., x, 257.
(M. June. 1823)


Page 700

See note under Cuba.—Editor..