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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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7151. RANDOLPH (John), Defection.—[further continued].
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7151. RANDOLPH (John), Defection.—[further continued].

His course [in opposition
to the administration] has excited considerable
alarm. Timid men consider it as a proof of the weakness of our government, and
that it is to be rent into pieces by demagogues,
and to end in anarchy. I survey the scene with
a different eye and draw a different augury from
it. In a House of Representatives of a great
mass of good sense, Mr. Randolph's popular
eloquence gave him such advantages as to place
him unrivalled as a leader of the House; and
although not conciliatory to those whom he led,
principles of duty and patriotism induced many
of them to swallow humiliations he subjected
them to, and to vote as was right, as long as he
kept the path of right himself. The sudden
defection of such a man could not but produce
a momentary astonishment, and even dismay;
but for a moment only. The good sense of the
House rallied around its principles, and without
any leader pursued steadily the business of the
session, did it well, and by a strength of vote
which has never before been seen. Upon all
trying questions, exclusive of the federalists,
the minority of republicans voting with him has
been from four to six or eight, against from
ninety to one hundred; and although he treats
the federalists with ineffable contempt, yet,
having declared eternal opposition to this administration,
and consequently associated with
them, in his votes, he will * * * end with
them. The augury I draw from this is, that
there is a steady, good sense in the Legislature,
and in the body of the nation, joined with good
intentions, which will lead them to discern and
to pursue the public good under all circumstances
which can arise, and that no ignis
will be able to lead them long astray.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 9. Ford ed., viii, 447.
(W. May. 1806)