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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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7692. SALARIES, Foreign Ministers.—
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7692. SALARIES, Foreign Ministers.—

The bill on the intercourse with foreign nations
restrains the President from allowing
to Ministers Plenipotentiaries, or to Congress,
more than $9,000, and $4,500 for their
“personal services, and other expenses”.
This definition of the object for which the
allowance is provided appearing vague, the
Secretary of State thought it his duty to confer
with the gentlemen heretofore employed
as ministers in Europe, to obtain from them,
in aid of his own information, an enumeration
of the expenses incident to these offices,
and their opinion which of them would be
included within the fixed salary, and which
would be entitled to be charged separately.
He, therefore, asked a conference with the


Page 788
Vice-President, who was acquainted with the
residences of London and the Hague, and the
Chief Justice, who was acquainted with that
of Madrid. The Vice-President, Chief Justice,
and Secretary of State concurred in the
opinion that the salaries named by the act
are much below those of the same grade at
the courts of Europe, and less than the public
good requires they should be. Consequently,
that the expenses not included within the
definition of the law, should be allowed as an
additional charge. [441]
Opinion on Salaries. Washington ed. vii, 501.


There is an impression that we owe to Jefferson
the system of paying extravagantly low salaries to
high men. Not so. He was far too good a republican
to favor an idea so aristocratic. Make offices desirable,
he says, if you wish to get superior men to fill
them. * * * There is nothing in the writings of
Jefferson which gives any show of support to temptation
salaries or to ignorant suffrage.—James Parton's
Life of Jefferson, 378.