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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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7423. RETALIATION, Destructive.—
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7423. RETALIATION, Destructive.—

Humane conduct on our part was found to produce
no effect; the contrary therefore was to be
tried. If it produces a proper lenity to our
prisoners in captivity, it will have the effect
we meant; if it does not, we shall return a
severity as terrible as universal. * * * If,
declining the tribunal of truth and reason,
they choose to pervert this into a contest of
cruelty and destruction, we will contend with
them in that line, and measure out misery to
those in our power in that multiplied proportion
which the advantage of superior numbers enables
us to do. * * * Iron will be retaliated


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by iron * * *; prison ships by prison
ships, and like for like in general. [423]
To Col. Mathews. Washington ed. i, 234. Ford ed., ii, 262.


The practical inculcation of such a lesson produced
a sensible humiliation in the conduct of the
enemy, through the subsequent stages of the war.
The door of British magnanimity, which was barred
to the dictates of reason, justice, and national honor,
was compelled, reluctantly, to yield to the cries of
their own countrymen, and the fatal admonitions of
experience.—Rayner's Life of Jefferson, New York
edition, p. 194.