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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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7559. RHODE ISLAND, Characteristics of.—
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7559. RHODE ISLAND, Characteristics of.—

How happens it that Rhode Island
is opposed to every useful proposition? Her
geography accounts for it, with the aid of one
or two observations. The cultivators of the
earth are the most virtuous citizens, and possess
most of the amor patriæ. Merchants are the
least virtuous, and possess the least of the
amor patriæ. The latter reside principally in
the seaboard towns, the former in the interior
country. Now, it happened that of the territory
constituting Rhode Island and Connecticut,
the part containing the seaports was
erected into a State by itself, called Rhode
Island, and that containing the interior country
was erected into another State called Connecticut.
For though it has a little seacoast, there
are no good ports in it. Hence it happens that
there is scarcely one merchant in the whole
State of Connecticut, while there is not a single
man in Rhode Island who is not a merchant
of some sort. Their whole territory is but a
thousand square miles, and what of that is in
use is laid out in grass farms almost entirely.
Hence they have scarcely anybody employed in
agriculture. All exercise some species of commerce.
This circumstance has decided the
character of these two States. The remedies
to this evil are hazardous. One would be to
consolidate the two States into one. Another
would be to banish Rhode Island from the
Union. A third, to compel her submission to
the will of the other twelve. A fourth, for the
other twelve to govern themselves according
to the new propositions, and to let Rhode Island
go on by herself according to the ancient
articles. But the dangers and difficulties attending
all these remedies are obvious.—
Answers to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 288. Ford ed., iv, 143.
(P. 1786)