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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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7473. REVOLUTION (American), Beginning of.—
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7473. REVOLUTION (American), Beginning of.—

The question who commenced
the Revolution? is as difficult as that of the
first inventors of a thousand good things. For
example, who first discovered the principle of
gravity? Not Newton; for Galileo, who died
the year that Newton was born, had measured
its force in the descent of gravid bodies. Who
invented the Lavoiserian chemistry? The English
say Dr. Black, by the preparatory discovery
of latent heat. Who invented the steamboat?
Was it Gerbert, the Marquis of Worcester,
Newcommen, Savary, Papin, Fitch, Fulton? The
fact is, that one new idea leads to another,
that to a third, and so on through a course
of time until some one, with whom no one of
these ideas was original, combines all together,
and produces what is justly called a new invention.
I suppose it would be as difficult to
trace our Revolution to its first embryo. We
do not know how long it was hatching in the
British cabinet before they ventured to make
the first of the experiments which were to develop
it in the end and to produce complete
parlimentary supremacy. Those you mention
in Massachusetts as preceding the Stamp Act,
might be the first visible symptoms of that
design. The proposition of that Act in 1764,
was the first here. Your opposition, therefore,
preceded ours, as occasion was sooner given
there than here, and the truth, I suppose, is,
that the opposition in every colony began
whenever the encroachment was presented to it.
This question of priority is as the inquiry
would be who first, of the three hundred Spartans,
offered his name to Leonidas?—
To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse. Washington ed. vii, 99. Ford ed., x, 102.
(M. 1818)