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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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9155. WIRT (William), Seat in Congress.—

I pray you that this letter may be
sacredly secret, because it meddles in a line
wherein I should myself think it wrong to
intermeddle, were it not that it looks to a
period when I shall be out of office, but others
might think it wrong notwithstanding that
circumstance. I suspected, from your desire
to go into the army, that you disliked your profession,
notwithstanding that your prospects in
it were inferior to none in the State. Still, I
know that no profession is open to stronger
antipathies than that of the law. The object
of this letter, then, is to propose to you to come
into Congress. That is the great commanding
theatre of this nation, and the threshold to
whatever department of office a man is qualified
to enter. With your reputation, talents,
and correct views, used with the necessary
prudence, you will at once be placed at the head
of the republican body in the House of Representatives;
and after obtaining the standing
which a little time will ensure you, you May
look, at your own will, into the military, the
judiciary, diplomatic, or other civil departments,
with a certainty of being in either whatever
you please. And in the present state of what
may be called the eminent talents of our country,
you may be assured of being engaged
through life in the most honorable employments.
If you come in at the next election,
you will begin your course with a new administration.
That administration will be opposed
by a faction, small in numbers, but governed
by no principle but the most envenomed malignity.
They will endeavor to batter down the
Executive before it will have time, by its purity
and correctness, to build up a confidence with
the people, founded on experiment. By supporting
them you will lay for yourself a broad
foundation in the public confidence, and indeed
you will become the Colossus of the republican
government of your country. * * * Perhaps I ought to apologize for the frankness
of this communication. It proceeds from an
ardent zeal to see this government (the idol of
my soul) continue in good hands, and from a
sincere desire to see you whatever you wish to
be.—
To William Wirt. Washington ed. v, 233.
(W. Jan. 1808)