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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.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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9006. WASHINGTON (George), Estimate of.—

His mind was great and powerful,
without being of the very first order; his penetration
strong, though not so acute as that of
a Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he
saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was
slow in operation, being little aided by invention
or imagination, but sure in conclusion. Hence
the common remark of his officers, of the advantage
he derived from councils of war, where,
hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever
was best; and certainly no general ever planned
his battles more judiciously. But if deranged
during the course of the action, if any member
of his plan was dislocated by sudden circumstances,
he was slow in readjustment. The
consequence was that he often failed in the field,
and rarely against an enemy in station, as at
Boston and York. He was incapable of fear,
meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern.
Perhaps the strongest feature in his
character was prudence, never acting until every
circumstance, every consideration, was maturely
weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but,
when once decided, going through with his purpose,
whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity
was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I
have ever known, no motives of interest or
consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being
able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in
every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a
great man. His temper was naturally irritable
and high toned; but reflection and resolution
had obtained a firm and habitual ascendency
over it. If ever, however, it broke its bonds,
he was most tremendous in his wrath. In his
expenses he was honorable, but exact; liberal
in contributions to whatever promised utility;
but frowning and unyielding on all visionary
projects, and all unworthy calls on his charity.
His heart was not warm in its affections; but
he exactly calculated every man's value, and
gave him a solid esteem proportioned to it. His
person was fine, his stature exactly what one
would wish, his deportment easy, erect and
noble; the best horseman of his age, and the
most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback.
Although in the circle of his friends,
where he might be unreserved with safety, he
took a free share in conversation, his colloquial
talents were not above mediocrity, possessing
neither copiousness of ideas, nor fluency of
words. In public, when called on for a sudden
opinion, he was unready, short and embarrassed.
Yet he wrote readily, rather diffusely, in an
easy and correct style. This he had acquired
by conversation with the world, for his education
was merely reading, writing, and common
arithmetic, to which he added surveying at a
later day. His time was employed in action
chiefly, reading little, and that only in agriculture
and English history. His correspondence
became necessarily extensive, and, with journalizing
his agricultural proceedings, occupied most
of his leisure hours within doors. On the
whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect,
in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and
it may truly be said, that never did nature and
fortune combine more perfectly to make a man
great, and to place him in the same constellation
with whatever worthies have merited from man
an everlasting remembrance. For his was the
singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies
of his country successfully through an arduous
war for the establishment of its independence;
of conducting its councils through the birth of a
government, new in its forms and principles,
until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly
train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws
through the whole of his career, civil and military,
of which the history of the world furnishes
no other example. How, then, can it be
perilous for you to take such a man on your
shoulders? I am satisfied the great body of
republicans think of him as I do. We were,
indeed, dissatisfied with him on his ratification
of the British treaty. But this was short-lived.
We knew his honesty, the wiles with which he
was encompassed, and that age had already
begun to relax the firmness of his purposes; and
I am convinced he is more deeply seated in the
love and gratitude of the republicans, than in
the Pharisaical homage of the federal monarchists.
For he was no monarchist from preference
of his judgment. The soundness of that gave
him correct views of the rights of man, and his
severe justice devoted him to them. He has
often declared to me that he considered our
new Constitution as an experiment on the practicability
of republican government, and with
what dose of liberty man could be trusted for
his own good; that he was determined the experiment
should have a fair trial, and would lose
the last drop of his blood in support of it.
* * * I felt on his death with my countrymen,
that verily a great man hath fallen this
day in Israel.—
To Dr. Walter Jones. Washington ed. vi, 286. Ford ed., ix, 448.
(M. Jan. 1814)