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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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8848. VIRTUE, Essence of.—
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8848. VIRTUE, Essence of.—

does not consist in the act we do, but in the
end it is to effect. If it is to effect the happiness
of him to whom it is directed, it is
virtuous, while in a society under different
circumstances and opinions, the same act
might produce pain, and would be vicious.
The essence of virtue is in doing good to
others, while what is good may be one thing
in one society, and its contrary in another.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 40.
(M. 1816)