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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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7145. RANDOLPH (Edmund), Principles and practice.—
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7145. RANDOLPH (Edmund), Principles and practice.—

Though he mistakes his
own political character in the aggregate, yet he
gives it * * * in the detail [in his pamphlet
entitled “Vindication”]. Thus, he supposes
himself a man of no party (page 97);
that his opinions not containing any systematic
adherence to party, fall sometimes on one side
and sometimes on the other (page 58). Yet he
gives you these facts, which show that they
fall generally on both sides, and are complete
inconsistencies. 1. He never gave an opinion
in the cabinet against the rights of the people
(page 97); yet he advised the denunciation of
the popular [Democratic] societies (page 67).
2. He would not neglect the overtures of a commercial
treaty with France (page 79); yet he
always opposed it while Attorney General, and
never seems to have proposed it while Secretary
of State. 3. He concurs in resorting to the militia
to quell the pretended insurrections in the
west (page 81), and proposes an augmentation
from twelve thousand five hundred to fifteen
thousand, to march against men at their
ploughs (page 80); yet on the 5th of August he
is against their marching (pages 83, 101), and
on the 25th of August he is for it (page 84).
4. He concurs in the measure of a mission extraordinary
to London (as inferred from page
58), but objects to the men, to wit, Hamilton
and Jay (page 58). 5. He was against granting
commercial powers to Mr. Jay (page 58); yet
he besieged the doors of the Senate to procure
their advice to ratify. 6. He advises the President
to a ratification on the merits of the [Jay]


Page 737
treaty (page 97), but to a suspension till the
provision order is repealed (page 98). The fact
is, that he has generally given his principles
to the one party, and his practice to the other,
the oyster to one, the shell to the other. Unfortunately,
the shell was generally the lot of his
friends, the French and republicans, and the
oyster of their antagonists. Had he been firm
to the principles he professes in the year 1793,
the President would have been kept from an
habitual concert with the British and anti-republican
party. But at that time I do not know
which Randolph feared most, a British fleet, or
French disorganizers. Whether his conduct is
to be ascribed to a superior view of things, an
adherence to right without regard to party, as he
pretends, or to an anxiety to trim between both,
those who know his character and capacity will
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. iv, 125. Ford ed., vii, 40.
(M. Dec. 1795)