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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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9035. WASHINGTON (George), Second term.—[continued].
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9035. WASHINGTON (George), Second term.—[continued].

My letter to the President
[May 23, 1792], directed to him at Mount
Vernon, came to him here [Philadelphia]. He
told me of this, and that he would take occasion
of speaking with me on the subject. He did
so this day [July 10]. He began by observing
that he had put it off from day to day, because
the subject was painful, to wit, his remaining
in office, which that letter solicited. He said
that the declaration he had made when he
quitted his military command, of never again
acting in public life, was sincere. That, however,
when he was called on to come forward
to set the present government in motion, it
appeared to him that circumstances were so
changed, as to justify a change in his resolution;
he was made to believe that in two years
all would be well in motion, and he might retire.
At the end of two years he found some
things still to be done. At the end of the third
year, he thought it was not worth while to disturb
the course of things, as in one year more
his office would expire, and he was decided then
to retire. Now he was told there would still
be danger in it. Certainly, if he thought so,
he would conquer his longing for retirement.
But he feared it would be said his former professions
of retirement had been mere affectation,
and that he was like other men, when
once in office he could not quit it. He was sensible,
too, of a decay of his hearing; perhaps
his other faculties might fall off, and he not
be sensible of it. That with respect to the existing
causes of uneasiness, he thought there
were suspicions against a particular party, which
had been carried a great deal too far; there
might be desires, but he did not believe there
were designs to change the form of government
into a monarchy; that there might be a few who
wished it in the higher walks of life, particularly
in the great cities, but that the main body
of the people in the eastern States were as
steadily for republicanism as in the southern.
That the pieces lately published, and particularly
in Freneau's paper, seemed to have in
view the exciting opposition to the government.
That this had taken place in Pennsylvania as
to the Excise law, according to information he
had received from General Hand. That they
tended to produce a separation of the Union,
the most dreadful of all calamities, and that
whatever tended to produce anarchy, tended,
of course, to produce a resort to monarchical
government. He considered those papers as
attacking him directly, for he must be a fool
indeed to swallow the little sugar plums here
and there thrown out to him. That in condemning
the administration of the government,
they condemned him. for if they thought there
were measures pursued contrary to his sentiment,
they must conceive him too careless to
attend to them, or too stupid to understand
them. That though, indeed, he had signed
many acts which he did not approve in all their
parts, yet he had never put his name to one
which he did not think, on the whole, was
eligible. That as to the Bank, which had been
an act of so much complaint, until there was
some infallible criterion of reason, a difference
of opinion must be tolerated. He did not believe
the discontents extended far from the seat
of government. He had seen and spoken with
many people in Maryland and Virginia in his
late journey. He found the people contented
and happy. He wished, however, to be better
informed on this head. If the discontent were
more extensive than he supposed, it might be
that the desire that he should remain in the government
was not general.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 116. Ford ed., i, 198.
(July. 1792)