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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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7420. RETALIATION, Barbarous.—
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7420. RETALIATION, Barbarous.—

English have burned our Capitol and President's
House by means of their force. We can burn
their St. James's and St. Paul's by means of our
money, offered to their own incendiaries, of
whom there are thousands in London who
would do it rather than starve. But it is
against the laws of civilized warfare to employ
secret incendiaries. Is it not equally so to
destroy the works of art by armed incendiaries?
Bonaparte, possessed at times of almost every
capital of Europe, with all his despotism and
power, injured no monument of art. If a nation,
breaking through all the restraints of civilized
character, uses its means of destruction
(power, for example) without distinction of objects,
may we not use our means (our money
and their pauperism) to retaliate their barbarous
ravages? Are we obliged to use for
resistance exactly the weapons chosen by them
for aggression? When they destroyed Copenhagen
by superior force, against all the laws
of God and man, would it have been unjustifiable
for the Danes to have destroyed their ships
by torpedoes? Clearly not; and they and we
should now be justifiable in the conflagration of
St. James's and St. Paul's. And if we do not
carry it into execution, it is because we think
it more moral and more honorable to set a good
example, than follow a bad one.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 380.
(M. 1814)