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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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7017. PROGRESS, In Science.—
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7017. PROGRESS, In Science.—

One of
the questions, you know, on which our parties
took different sides, was on the improvability
of the human mind in science, in ethics, in
government, &c. Those who advocated reformation
of institutions, pari passu with the
progress of science, maintained that no definite
limits could be assigned to that progress.
The enemies of reform, on the other hand,
denied improvement, and advocated steady
adherence to the principles, practices and institutions
of our fathers, which they represented
as the consummation of wisdom, and
acme of excellence, beyond which the human
mind could never advance. Although in the
passage of your answer alluded to, you expressly
disclaim the wish to influence the
freedom of inquiry, you predict that that will
produce nothing more worthy of transmission
to posterity than the principles, institutions
and systems of education received from their
ancestors. I do not consider this as your
deliberate opinion. You possess, yourself, too
much science, not to see how much is still
ahead of you, unexplained and unexplored.
Your own consciousness must place you as far
before our ancestors as in the rear of posterity.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 126. Ford ed., ix, 387.
(M. 1813)