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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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1958. DALRYMPLE (—), Republicanism of.—

Mr. Dalrymple, secretary to the
legation of Mr. Crawford * * * is a young
man of learning and candor, and exhibits a
phenomenon I never before met with, that is,
a republican born on the north side of the
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 501.
(P. 1785)

1959. DANCING, Women and.—

is a necessary accomplishment, although of short use; for the French rule is wise, that
no lady dances after marriage. This is founded
in solid physical reasons.—
To N. Burwell. Washington ed. vii, 102. Ford ed., x, 105.
(M. 1818)

1960. DASHKOFF (M.), Welcome to.—

I hail you with particular pleasure, as the first
harbinger of those friendly relations with your
country [Russia], so desirable to ours.—
To M. Dashkoff. Washington ed. v, 463.
(M. Aug. 1809)

1961. DAVID (Jacques Louis), Paintings of.—

We have nothing new and excellent
in your charming art of painting. In fact, I do
not feel an interest in any pencil but that of
To Madame de Brehan. Washington ed. ii, 591. Ford ed., v, 80.
(P. 1789)

1962. DAYTON (Jonathan), Becomes a Federalist.—

You will have perceived that
Dayton has gone over completely. He expects
to be appointed Secretary of War, in the room
of M'Henry, who, it is said, will retire. He has
been told, as report goes, that they would not
have confidence enough in him to appoint him.
The desire of inspiring them with more, seems
the only way to account for the eclat which he
chooses to give to his conversion. [117]
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 211. Ford ed., vii, 202.
(P. Feb. 1798)


Dayton became implicated with Aaron Burr in his
treasonable enterprise, and in August, 1807, applied
to Jefferson to be admitted to bail. Jefferson declined
on the ground that, “when a person, charged
with an offence, is placed in the possession of the Judiciary
authority, the laws commit to that solely the
whole direction of the case; and any interference
with it on the part of the Executive would be an encroachment
on their independence, and open to just
Ford ed., ix, 126.

1963. DEAD, Binding power of the.—

Rights and powers can only belong to per
sons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed
with will. The dead are not even
things. The particles of matter which composed
their bodies make part now of the
bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals,
of a thousand forms. To what, then, are
attached the rights and powers they held
while in the form of men? A generation May
bind itself as long as its majority continues
in life; when that has disappeared, another
majority is in place, holds all the rights and
powers their predecessors once held, and May
change their laws and institutions to suit
To John Cartwright, Washington ed. vii, 359.
(M. 1824)

See Earth.

1964. DEAD, No Rights attached to.—

The dead have no rights. They are nothing;
and nothing cannot own something. Where
there is no substance, there can be no accident.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 16. Ford ed., x, 44.
(M. 1816)

See Generations.

1965. DEANE (Silas), Official books of.—

About three weeks ago, a person called on
me and informed me that Silas Deane had taken
him in for a sum of one hundred and twenty
guineas, and that being unable to obtain any
other satisfaction, he had laid hands on his
account book and letter book, and had brought
them off to Paris, offer them first to the
United States, if they would repay him his
money, and if not, that he should return to
London, and offer them to the British minister.
I desired him to leave them with me four and
twenty hours, that I might judge whether they
were worth our notice. He did so. They were
two volumes. One contained all his accounts
with the United States, from his first coming
to Europe, to January the 10th, 1781. * * * The other volume contained all his correspondence
from March the 30th to August the 23d,
1777. * * * On perusal of many of them,
I thought it desirable that they should not come
to the hands of the British minister, and from
an expression dropped by the possessor of them,
I believe he would have fallen to fifty or sixty
guineas. I did not think them important
enough, however, to justify my purchasing them
without authority; though, with authority, I
should have done it. Indeed, I would have
given that sum to cut out a single sentence,
which contained evidence of a fact, not proper
to be committed to the hands of enemies. I
told him I would state his proposition to you,
and await orders.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 454.
(P. Aug. 1788)

1966. DEANE (Silas), Official books of.—[continued].

A Monsieur Foulloy,
who has been connected with Deane, lately offered
me for sale two volumes of Deane's letter
books and account books, that he had taken
instead of money which Deane owed him. I
have purchased them on public account. He
tells me Deane has still six or eight volumes
more, and being to return soon to London, he
will try to get them also, in order to make us
pay high for them. You are sensible of the impropriety
of letting such books get into hands
which might make an unfriendly use of them.
You are sensible of the immorality of an exminister's
selling his secrets for money; and
consequently that there can be no immorality
in tempting him with money to part with them;
so that they may be restored to that government
to whom they properly belong. Your
former acquaintance with Deane may, perhaps,
put it in your power to render our country the
service of recovering those books. It would


Page 224
not do to propose it to him as for Congress.
* * * I suppose his distresses and his crapulous
habits will not render him difficult on this
head. On the supposition that there are six
or eight volumes, I think you might venture as
far as fifty guineas, and proportionably for
To Dr. Edward Bancroft. Washington ed. ii, 578.
(P. 1789)

1967. DEANE (Silas), Poverty of.—

Deane is coming over to finish his days in
America, not having one sou to subsist on
elsewhere. He is a wretched monument of
the consequences of a departure from right.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 101. Ford ed., v, 114.
(P. 1789)

1968. DEARBORN (Henry), Appointment to Cabinet.—

On a review of the characters
in the different States proper for the different
departments, I have had no hesitation in
considering you as the person to whom it would
be most advantageous to the public to confide
the Department of War. May I hope that you
will give your country the aid of your talents?—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. iv, 356. Ford ed., vii, 496.
(W. 1801)

1969. DEARBORN (Henry), Esteem for.—

In public or in private, and in all situations,
I shall retain for you the most cordial esteem,
and satisfactory recollections of the harmony
and friendship with which we have run our
race together.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 230. Ford ed., ix, 172.
(W. Jan. 1808)

1970. DEARBORN (Henry), Political Attacks on.—

That you as well as myself, and
all our brethren, have maligners, who from illtemper,
or disappointment, seek opportunities
of venting their angry passions against us, is
well known, and too well understood by our
constituents to be regarded. No man who can
succeed you will have fewer, nor will any one
enjoy a more extensive confidence through the
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 229. Ford ed., ix, 171.
(W. Jan. 1808)

1971. DEARBORN (Henry), Services of.—

The integrity, attention, skill, and economy
with which you have conducted your department
(War) have given me the most complete
and unqualified satisfaction, and this testimony
I bear to it with all the sincerity of truth
and friendship; and should a war come on, there
is no person in the United States to whose management
and care I could commit it with equal
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 229. Ford ed., ix, 171.
(W. 1808)

1972. DEARBORN (Henry), Services of.—[continued].

Nor among the incidents
of the war, will we forget your services. * * * Your capture of York and Fort George first
turned the tide of success in our favor; and
the subsequent campaigns sufficiently wiped
away the disgrace of the first.—
To General Dearborn. Washington ed. vi, 450.
(M. 1815)

1973. DEARBORN (Henry), Retirement of.—

If it were justifiable to look to your
own happiness only, your resolution to retire
from all public business could not but be approved.
But you are too young to ask a discharge
as yet, and the public councils too much
needing the wisdom of our ablest citizens, to relinquish
their claim on you. And surely none
needs your aid more than your own State.—
To General Dearborn. Washington ed. vi, 451.
(M. March. 1815)

1974. DEATH, Blighted by.—

The part
you take in my loss makes an affectionate
concern for the greatness of it. It is great in
deed. Others may lose of their abundance,
but I, of my want, have lost even the half of
all I had. My evening prospects now hang
on the slender thread of a single life. Perhaps
I may be destined to see even this last
cord of parental affection broken. The hope
with which I had looked forward to the moment,
when, resigning public cares to younger
hands, I was to retire to that domestic comfort
from which the last step is to be taken, is
fearfully blighted.—
To John Page. Washington ed. iv, 547.
(W. 1804)

1975. DEATH, A Conqueror.—

When you
and I look back on the country over which
we have passed, what a field of slaughter does
it exhibit! Where are all the friends who
entered it with us, under all the inspring energies
of health and hope? As if pursued by
the havoc of war, they are strewed by the way,
some earlier, some later, and scarce a few
stragglers remain to count the numbers fallen,
and to mark yet, by their own fall, the last
footsteps of their party. Is it a desirable thing
to bear up through the heat of the action, to
witness the death of all our companions,
and merely to be the last victim? I doubt it.
We have, however, the traveller's consolation.
Every step shortens the distance we have to
go; the end of our journey is in sight, the
bed wherein we are to rest, and to rise in the
midst of the friends we have lost.—
To John Page. Washington ed. iv, 547.
(W. 1804)

1976. DEATH, Decay and.—

To me every
mail, in the departure of some contemporary, brings warning to be in readiness myself also,
and to cease from new engagements. It is a
warning of no alarm. When faculty after
faculty is retiring from us, and all the avenues
to cheerful sensation closing, sight failing
now, hearing next, then memory, debility of
body, torpitude of mind, nothing remaining
but a sickly vegetation, with scarcely the relief
of a little locomotion, the last cannot be
but a coup de grace.
To Mr. John Melish. Washington ed. vi, 403.
(M. 1814)

1977. DEATH, Generations and.—

we have lived our generation out, we should
not wish to encroach on another. I enjoy
good health: I am happy in what is around
me, yet I assure you I am ripe for leaving all,
this year, this day, this hour.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 26.
(M. 1816)

1978. DEATH, Generations and.—[continued].

There is a ripeness of time for death, regarding others as well as
ourselves, when it is reasonable we should
drop off, and make room for another growth.
When we have lived our generation out, we
should not wish to encroach on another.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 26.
(M. 1816)

1979. DEATH, Life and.—

When all our
faculties have left, or are leaving us, one by
one, sight, hearing, memory, every avenue of
pleasing sensation is closed, and athymy, debility,
and malaise left in their places; when
friends of our youth are all gone, and a new
generation is risen around us whom we know
not, is death an evil? * * * I think not. I
have ever dreaded a doting old age; and my


Page 225
health has been generally so good, and is
now so good, that I dread it still.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 243. Ford ed., x, 216.
(M. 1822)

1980. DEATH, Meeting after.—

next meeting must be in the country to which
[those years] have flown,—a country for us
not now very distant. For this journey we
shall need neither gold nor silver in our purse,
nor scrip, nor coats, nor staves. Nor is the
provision for it more easy than the preparation
has been kind. Nothing proves more
than this, that the Being who presides over
the world is essentially benevolent. Stealing
from us, one by one, the faculties of enjoyment,
searing our sensibilities, leading us, like
the horse in his mill, round and round the
same beaten circle,

—To see what we have seen,
To taste the tasted, and at each return
Less tasteful; o'er our palates to decant
Another vintage—

Until satiated and fatigued with this leaden
iteration, we ask our own congé. I heard
once a very old friend, who had troubled himself
with neither poets nor philosophers, say
the same thing in plain prose, that he was
tired of pulling off his shoes and stockings at
night and putting them on again in the morning.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 53. Ford ed., x, 70.
(M. 1817)

1981. DEATH, Prepared for.—

Mine is
the next turn, and I shall meet it with good
will; for after one's friends are all gone before
him, and our faculties leaving us, too,
one by one, why wish to linger in mere vegetation,
as a solitary trunk in a desolate field,
from which all its former companions have
To Mrs. Cosway. D. L. J., 374.
(M. 1820)

1982. DEATH, Problem of.—

The great
problem, untried by the living, unreported by
the dead.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vii, 95.

1983. DEATH, A Time for.—

There is a
fulness of time when men should go, and not
occupy too long the ground to which others
have a right to advance.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. vi, 4. Ford ed., ix, 329.

1984. DEATH PENALTY, Crimes Punishable by.—

The General Assembly [of Virginia] shall have no power to pass any law
inflicting death for any crime, excepting murder;
and those offences in the military service
for which they shall think punishment
by death absolutely necessary: and all capital
punishments in other cases are hereby abolished.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 17.
(June. 1776)

1985. DEATH PENALTY, Crimes Punishable by.—[continued].

No crime shall be henceforth
punished by the deprivation of life or
limb, except those hereinafter ordained to be
so punished. [118]
Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 148. Ford ed., ii, 205.


Those crimes, so ordained, were treason and
murder. When Jefferson made this humane proposition,
the penal code of England comprehended
more than two hundred offences, besides treason and
murder, punishable by hanging.—Editor.

1986. DEATH PENALTY, Criminal Reform and.—

The reformation of offenders,
though an object worthy the attention of the
laws, is not effected at all by capital punishments,
which exterminate instead of reforming,
and should be the last melancholy resource
against those whose existence is become
inconsistent with the safety of their fellow
citizens; which also weaken the State, by
cutting off so many who, if reformed, might
be restored sound members to society, who,
even under a course of correction, might be
rendered useful in various labors for the public,
and would be living and long continued
spectacles to deter others from committing
the like offences.—
Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 147. Ford ed., ii, 204.

1987. DEATH PENALTY, Criminal Reform and.—[continued].

Beccaria, and other writers
on crimes and punishments, had satisfied
the reasonable world of the unrightfulness
and inefficacy of the punishment of crimes by
death; and hard labor on roads, canals and
other public works, had been suggested as a
proper substitute. The Revisors [of the Virginia
laws] had adopted these opinions; but
the general idea of our country had not yet
advanced to that point. The bill, therefore,
for proportioning crimes and punishments,
was lost in the House of Delegates by a majority
of a single vote. I learned afterwards,
that the substitute of hard labor in public,
was tried (I believe it was in Pennsylvania)
without success. Exhibited as a public spectacle,
with shaved heads and mean clothing.
working on the high roads, produced in the
criminals such a prostration of character,
such an abandonment of self-respect, as instead
of reforming, plunged them into the
most desperate and hardened depravity of
morals and character.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 45. Ford ed., i, 62.

1988. DEATH PENALTY, Indians and.—

It will be worthy the consideration of the
Legislature, whether the provisions of the
law inflicting on Indians, in certain cases, the
punishment of death by hanging, might not
permit its commutation into death by military
execution, the form of the punishment in the
former way being peculiarly repugnant to
their ideas, and increasing the obstacles to the
surrender of the criminal.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 22.
(Jan. 1802)

1989. DEATH PENALTY, Pardons and.—

If all these people are convicted, there
will be too many to be punished with death.
My hope is that they will send me full statements
of every man's case, that the most
guilty may be marked as examples, and the
less so suffer long imprisonment under reprieves
from time to time.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vii, 363.
(M. 1808)

1990. DEBATE, In Congress.—

Was there ever a proposition so plain as to pass
Congress without a debate?—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 152. Ford ed., iv, 391.
(P. 1787)

See 1473, 1571.


Page 226

1991. DEBATE, Lawyers and.—

If the
present Congress errs in too much talking,
how can it be otherwise in a body to which
the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers,
whose trade it is to question everything,
yield nothing, and talk by the hour? That
one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business
together ought not to be expected.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 58. Ford ed., i, 82.

1992. DEBATE, Secrecy and.—

I am sorry the Federal convention began their deliberations
by so abominable a precedent as that of
tying up the tongues of their members. Nothing
could justify this example but the innocence
of their intentions and ignorance of
the value of public discussions.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 260.
(P. 1787)

1993. DEBATE, Washington and Franklin in.—

I served with General Washington
in the Legislature of Virginia before
the Revolution and, during it, with Dr.
Franklin in Congress. I never heard either
of them speak ten minutes at a time, nor to
any but the main point which was to decide
the question. They laid their shoulders to
the great points, knowing that the little ones
would follow of themselves.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 58. Ford ed., i, 82.

1994. DEBT, Avoiding.—

The maxim of buying nothing but what we have money in
our pockets to pay for lays, of all others, the
broadest foundation for happiness.—
To Mr. Skipwith. Washington ed. ii, 191.
(P. 1787)

1995. DEBT, Avoiding.—[continued].

The maxim of buying
nothing without the money in our pockets to
pay for it, would make of our country one of
the happiest on earth. Experience during the
war proved this; and I think every man will
remember, that under all the privations it
obliged him to submit to during that period,
he slept sounder, and awoke happier than he
can do now.—
To A. Donald. Washington ed. ii, 193. Ford ed., iv, 414.
(P. 1787)

1996. DEBT, Avoiding.—[further continued].

[We should] put off buying
anything until we have the money to pay
for it.—
To Dr. Currie. Washington ed. ii, 219.
(P. 1787)

1997. DEBT, Blessing of a public.—

As the doctrine is that a public debt is a public
blessing, so they [the supporters of State
debt assumption] think a perpetual one is a
perpetual blessing and, therefore, wish to
make it so large that we can never pay it off.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Washington ed. iii, 348. Ford ed., v, 505.
(Pa., 1792)

1998. DEBT, Contracts and.—

If there
was ever any agreement between Mr. Ross
and me to pay him any part of the account
in tobacco, it must be paid in tobacco. But
neither justice nor generosity can call for referring
anything to any other scale than that
of hard money. Paper money was a cheat.
Tobacco was the counter-cheat. Every one
is justifiable in rejecting both except so far as
his contracts bind him.—
To Francis Eppes. Ford ed., v, 211.
(N.Y., 1790)

1999. DEBT, Fashion, Folly and.—

Everything I hear from my own country fills
me with despair as to their recovery from
their vassalage to Great Britain. Fashion
and folly are plunging them deeper and
deeper into distress; and the legislators of the
country becoming debtors also, there seems no
hope of applying the only possible remedy,
that of an immediate judgment and execution.
We should try whether the prodigal might
not be restrained from taking on credit the
gewgaw held out to him in one hand, by seeing
the keys of a prison in the other.—
To T. Pleasants. Washington ed. i, 564.
(P. 1786)

2000. DEBT, Generations and.—

That we
are bound to defray the expenses of the war
within our own time, and unauthorized to
burthen posterity with them, I suppose to
have been proved in my former letter. I will
place the question nevertheless in one additional
point of view. The former regarded
their independent right over the earth; this
over their own persons. There have existed
nations, and civilized and learned nations,
who have thought that a father had a right to
sell his child as a slave, in perpetuity; that
he could alienate his body and industry conjointly,
and à fortiari his industry separately;
and consume its fruits himself. A nation asserting
this fratricide right might well suppose
they could burthen with public as well
as private debt their nati natorum, et qui
nascentur ab illis.
But we, this age, and in
this country especially, are advanced beyond
those notions of natural law. We acknowledge
that our children are born free; that
that freedom is the gift of nature, and not of
him who begot them; that though under our
care during infancy, and therefore of necessity,
under a duly tempered authority, that
care is confided to us to be exercised for the
good of the child only; and his labors during
youth are given as a retribution for the
charges of infancy. As he was never the
property of his father, so when adult he is
sui juris, entitled himself to the use of his
own limbs and the fruits of his own exertions:
so far we are advanced, without mind
enough, it seems, to take the whole step. We
believe, or we act as if we believed, that although
an individual father cannot alienate
the labor of his son, the aggregate body of
fathers may alienate the labor of all their
sons, or of their posterity in the aggregate,
and oblige them to pay for all the enterprises,
just or unjust, profitable or ruinous, into
which our vices, our passions, or our personal
interests may lead us. But I trust that this
proposition needs only to be looked at by
an American to be seen in its true point of
view, and that we shall all consider ourselves
unauthorized to saddle posterity with our
debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves;
and consequently within what May
be deemed the period of a generation, or the
life of the majority. * * * We must raise,
then, ourselves the money for this war, either
by taxes within the year, or by loans; and
if by loans, we must repay them ourselves,
proscribing forever the English practice of
perpetual funding; the ruinous consequences
of which, putting right out of the question,


Page 227
should be a sufficient warning to a considerate
nation to avoid the example.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 196. Ford ed., ix, 396.
Sep. 1813)

See Generations.

2001. DEBT, Generations and.—[continued].

The public expenses of
England during the present reign have
amounted to the fee simple value of the
whole island. If its whole soil could be sold,
farm by farm, for its present market price,
it would not defray the cost of governing it
during the reign of the present King, as managed
by him. Ought not then the right of
each successive generation to be guaranteed
against the dissipations and corruptions of
those preceding, by a fundamental provision
in our Constitution? And, if that has not
been made, does it exist the less; there being
between generation and generation, as between
nation and nation, no other law than
that of nature? And is it the less dishonest
to do what is wrong, because not expressly
prohibited by written law? Let us hope our
moral principles are not yet in that stage of
degeneracy, and that in instituting the system
of finance to be hereafter pursued, we
shall adopt the only safe, the only lawful and
honest one, of borrowing on such short terms
of reimbursement of interest and principal
as will fall within the accomplishment of our
own lives.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 199. Ford ed., ix, 398.
Sep. 1813)

2002. DEBT, Generations and.—[further continued].

It is incumbent on every
generation to pay its own debts as it goes.
A principle which, if acted on, would save
one-half the wars of the world.—
To Destutt Tracy. Ford ed., x, 175.
(M. 1820)
See Generations.

2003. DEBT, Imprisonment for.—

It May
be safely affirmed that neither natural right
nor reason subjects the body of a man to
restraint for debt. It is one of the abuses
introduced by commerce and credit, and
which even the most commercial nations have
been obliged to relax, in certain cases. The
Roman law, the principles of which are the
nearest to natural reason of those of any
municipal code hitherto known, allowed imprisonment
of the body in criminal cases only,
or those wherein the party had expressly submitted
himself to it. The French laws allow
it only in criminal or commercial cases. The
laws of England, in certain descriptions of
cases (as bankruptcy) release the body. Many
of the United States do the same in all cases,
on a cession of property by the debtor.—
To George, Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 396. Ford ed., vi, 38.
(Pa., May. 1792)

2004. DEBT, Imprisonment for.—[continued].

The laws of some countries
punishing the unfortunate debtor by
perpetual imprisonment, he is right to liberate
himself by flight, and it would be wrong to
re-imprison him in the country to which he
flies. Let all process, therefore, be confined
to his property.—
Report on Spanish Convention. Washington ed. iii, 354. Ford ed., v, 484.

— DEBT, Interest on.—

See Interest and Debts Due British.

2005. DEBT, Jefferson's personal.—

will have seen in the newspapers some proceedings
in the Legislature, which have cost
me much mortification. [119] My own debts had
become considerable, but not beyond the effect
of some lopping of property, which would
have been but little felt, when our friend—[120] gave me the coup de grace. Ever since that I
have been paying twelve hundred dollars a
year interest on his debt, which, with my own,
was absorbing so much of my annual income
as that the maintenance of my family
was making deep and rapid inroads on my
capital, and had already done it. Still, sales
at a fair price would leave me competently
provided. Had crops and prices for several
years been such as to maintain a steady competition
of substantial bidders at market, all
would have been safe. But the long succession
of years of stunted crops, of reduced
prices, the general prostration of the farming
business, under levies for the support of
manufacturers, &c., with the calamitous fluctuations
of value in our paper medium, have
kept agriculture in a state of abject depression,
which has peopled the western States
by silently breaking up those on the Atlantic,
and glutted the land market, while it drew off
its bidders. In such a state of things, property
has lost its character of being a resource
for debts. Highland in Bedford, which, in
the days of our plethory, sold readily for from
fifty to one hundred dollars the acre (and
such sales were many then), would not now
sell for more than from ten to twenty dollars,
or one-quarter or one-fifth of its former price.
Reflecting on these things, the practice occurred
to me, of selling, on fair valuation,
and by way of lottery, often resorted to before
the Revolution to effect large sales, and
still in constant usage in every State for individual
as well as corporation purposes. If
it is permitted in my case, my lands here
alone, with the mills, &c., will pay everything
and leave me Monticello and a farm free. If
refused, I must sell everything here, perhaps
considerably in Bedford, move thither with
my family, where I have not even a log hut
to put my head into, and whether ground for
burial, will depend on the depredations which,
under the form of sales, shall have been committed
on my property. The question then
with me was ultrum horum?
To James Madison. Washington ed. vii, 433. Ford ed., x, 376.
(M. Feb. 1826)


Application for authority to dispose of his property
by lottery.—Editor.


W. C. Nicholas.—Editor.

2006. DEBT, Jefferson's personal.—[continued].

Had our land market remained
in a healthy state everything might
have been paid, and have left me competently
provided. But the agricultural branch of industry
with us had been so many years in a
state of abject prostration, that, combined
with the calamitous fluctuations in the value
of our circulating medium, those concerned
in it, instead of being in a condition to purchase,
were abandoning farms no longer
yielding profit, and moving off to the western


Page 228
To George Loyall. Ford ed., x, 380.
(M. 1826)

2007. DEBT, Jefferson's personal.—[further continued].

A long succession of unfruitful
years, long-continued low prices, oppressive
tariffs levied on other branches to
maintain that of manufactures, for the most
flourishing of all, calamitous fluctuations in
the value of our circulating medium, and, in
my case, a want of skill in the management
of our land and labor, these circumstances
had been long undermining the state of agriculture,
had been breaking up the landholders,
and glutting the land market here, while
drawing off its bidders to people the western
country. Under such circumstances agricultural
property had become no resource for
the payment of debts.—
To Thomas Ritchie. Ford ed., x, 381.
(M. 1826)

See 2091.

2008. DEBT, Just Payment of.—

the laws of Virginia are, or may be, will in
no wise influence my conduct. Substantial
justice is my object, as decided by reason,
and not by authority or compulsion.—
To William Jones. Ford ed., iv, 352.
(P. 1787)

2009. DEBT, Misery of.—

I am miserable
till I shall owe not a shilling.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., iv, 343.
(P. 1786)

— DEBT, National.—

See Debt, U. S.

2010. DEBT, Oppressive English.—

George III. in execution of the trust confided
to him, has, within his own day, loaded
the inhabitants of Great Britain with debts
equal to the whole fee-simple value of their
island, and under pretext of governing it,
has alienated its whole soil to creditors who
could lend money to be lavished on priests,
pensions, plunder and perpetual war. This
would not have been so, had the people retained
organized means of acting on their
agents. In this example, then, let us read a
lesson for ourselves, and not “go and do likewise.
To Samuel Kerchival Washington ed. vii, 36. Ford ed., x, 45.
(M. 1816)

2011. DEBT, Oppressive English.—[continued].

The interest of the
[English] national debt is now equal to
such a portion of the profits of all the land
and the labor of the island, as not to leave
enough for the subsistence of those who labor.
Hence the owners of the land abandon
it and retire to other countries, and the laborer
has not enough of his earnings left to
him to cover his back and to fill his belly.
The local insurrections, now almost general,
are of the hungry and the naked, who cannot
be quieted but by food and raiment. But
where are the means of feeding and clothing
them? The landholder has nothing of his own
to give; he is but the fiduciary of those who
have lent him money; the lender is so taxed in
his meat, drink and clothing, that he has but a
bare subsistence left. The landholder, then,
must give up his land, or the lender his debt,
or they must compromise by giving up each
one-half. But will either consent peaceably, to such an abandonment of property? Or
must it not be settled by civil conflict? If
peaceably compromised, will they agree to
risk another ruin under the same government
unreformed? I think not, but I would rather
know what you think; because you have lived
with John Bull, and know better than I do the
character of his herd.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 40.
(M. 1816)

2012. DEBT, Perpetual.—

What is to hinder
[the government] from creating a perpetual
debt? The laws of nature, I answer.
The earth belongs to the living not to the dead.
The will and the power of man expire with his
life, by nature's law. Some societies give it
an artificial continuance, for the encouragement
of industry; some refuse it, as our aboriginal
neighbors, whom we call barbarians.
The generations of men may be considered
as bodies or corporations. Each generation
has the usufruct of the earth during the period
of its continuance. When it ceases to exist
the usufruct passes on to the succeeding generation,
free and unincumbered, and so on,
successively, from one generation to another
forever. We may consider each generation
as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will
of its majority, to bind themselves, but none
to bind the succeeding generation, more than
the inhabitants of another country. Or the
case may be likened to the ordinary one of a
tenant for life, who may hypothecate the land
for his debts, during the continuance of his
usufruct; but at his death, the reversioner
(who is also for life only) receives it exonerated
from all burden. The period of a
generation, or the term of its life, is determined
by the laws of mortality, which, varying
a little only in different climates, offer
a general average to be found by observation.
I turn, for instance, to Buffon's tables, of
twenty-three thousand nine hundred and
ninety-four deaths, and the ages at which
they happened, and I find that of the numbers
of all ages living at one moment, half will be
dead in twenty-four years and eight months.
But (leaving out minors, who have not the
power of self-government) of the adults (of
twenty-one years of age) living at one moment,
a majority of whom act for the society,
one-half will be dead in eighteen years
and eight months. At nineteen years, then,
from the date of a contract, the majority of
the contractors are dead, and their contract
with them. Let this general theory be applied
to a particular case. Suppose the annual
births of the State of New York to be
twenty-three thousand nine hundred and
ninety-four the whole number of its inhabitants,
according to Buffon, will be six hundred
and seventeen thousand, seven hundred
and three of all ages. Of these there would
constantly be two hundred and sixty-nine
thousand two hundred and eighty-six minors,
and three hundred and forty-eight thousand
four hundred and seventeen adults, of which
last, one hundred and seventy-four thousand
two hundred and nine will be a majority. Suppose
that majority, on the first day of the year
1794, had borrowed a sum of money equal
to the fee-simple value of the State, and to
have consumed it in eating, drinking and


Page 229
making merry in their day; or, if you please,
in quarrelling and fighting with their unoffending
neighbors. Within eighteen years
and eight months, one-half of the adult citizens
were dead. Till then, being the majority,
they might rightfully levy the interest
of their debt annually on themselves and
their fellow-revellers, or fellow-champions.
But at that period, say at this moment, a
new majority have come into place, in their
own right, and not under the rights, the conditions,
or laws of their predecessors. Are
they bound to acknowledge the debt, to consider
the preceding generation as having had
a right to eat up the whole soil of their country,
in the course of a life, to alienate it from
them (for it would be an alienation to the
creditors), and would they think themselves
either legally or morally bound to give up
their country and emigrate to another for
subsistence? Every one will say no; that the
soil is the gift of Cod to the living, as much
as it had been to the deceased generation;
and that the laws of nature impose no obligation
on them to pay this debt. And although,
like some other natural rights, this has not
yet entered into any declaration of rights,
it is no less a law, and ought to be acted on
by honest governments. It is, at the same
time, a salutary curb on the spirit of war
and indebtment, which, since the modern
theory of the perpetuation of debt, has
drenched the earth with blood, and crushed
its inhabitants under burthens ever accumulating.
Had this principle been declared
in the British bill of rights, England would
have been placed under the happy disability
of waging eternal war, and of contracting her
thousand millions of public debt. In seeking
then, for an ultimate term for the redemption
of our debts, let us rally to this principle, and
provide for their payment within the term of
nineteen years at the farthest.—
To John Wayles Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 136. Ford ed., ix, 389.
(M. June. 1813)

See Generations.

2013. DEBT, Public.—

At the time we
were funding our national debt, we heard
much about “a public debt being a public
blessing”; that the stock representing it was
a creation of active capital for the aliment
of commerce, manufactures and agriculture.
This paradox was well adapted to the minds
of believers in dreams, and the gulls of that
size entered bonâ fide into it. But the art
and mystery of banks is a wonderful improvement
on that. It is established on the principle
that “private debts are a public blessing
”; that the evidences of those private
debts, called bank notes, become active capital,
and aliment the whole commerce, manufactures,
and agriculture of the United States.
Here are a set of people, for instance, who
have bestowed on us the great blessing of
running in our debt about two hundred millions
of dollars, without our knowing who
they are, where they are, or want property
they have to pay this debt when called on;
nay, who have made us so sensible of the
blessings of letting them run in our debt, that
we have exempted them by law from the re
payment of these debts beyond a given proportion
(generally estimated at one-third).
And to fill up the measure of blessing, instead
of paying, they receive an interest on
what they owe from those to whom they owe;
for all the notes, or evidences of what they
owe, which we see in circulation, have been
lent to somebody on an interest which is
levied again on us through the medium of
commerce. And they are so ready still to
deal out their liberalities to us, that they are
now willing to let themselves run in our debt
ninety millions more, on our paying them the
same premium of six or eight per cent. interest,
and on the same legal exemption from
the repayment of more than thirty millions
of the debt when it shall be called for. But
let us look at this principle in its original
form, and its copy will then be equally understood.
“A public debt is a public blessing.”
That our debt was juggled from forty-three
to eighty millions, and funded at that amount,
according to this opinion a great public blessing,
because the evidences of it could be
vested in commerce, and thus converted into
active capital, and then the more the debt
was made to be, the more active capital was
created. That is to say, the creditors could
now employ in commerce the money due
them from the public, and make from it an
annual profit of five per cent., or four millions
of dollars. But observe, that the public were at
the same time paying on it an interest of exactly
the same amount of four millions of dollars.
Where, then, is the gain to either party,
which makes it a public blessing? There is no
change in the state of things, but of persons
only. A has a debt due to him from the public,
of which he holds their certificate as evidence,
and on which he is receiving an annual interest.
He wishes, however, to have the
money itself, and to go into business with
it. B has an equal sum of money in business,
but wishes now to retire, and live on the interest.
He therefore gives it to A in exchange
for A's certificates of public stock.
Now, then, A has the money to employ in
business, which B so employed before. B
has the money on interest to live on, which
A lived on before; and the public pays the
interest to B which they paid to A before.
Here is no new creation of capital, no additional
money employed, nor even a change
in the employment of a single dollar. The
only change is of place between A and B in
which we discover no creation of capital, nor
public blessing. Suppose, again, the public
to owe nothing. Then A not having lent his
money to the public, would be in possession
of it himself, and would go into business
without the previous operation of selling
stock. Here, again, the same quantity of
capital is employed as in the former case,
though no public debt exists. In neither case
is there any creation of active capital, nor
other difference than that there is a public
debt in the first case, and none in the last;
and we may safely ask which of the two
situations is most truly a public blessing? If,
then, a public debt be no public blessing, we


Page 230
may pronounce, à fortiori, that a private one
cannot be so. If the debt which the banking
companies owe be a blessing to anybody, it is
to themselves alone, who are realizing a solid
interest of eight or ten per cent. on it. As to
the public, these companies have banished
all our gold and silver medium, which, before
their institution, we had without interest,
which never could have perished in
our hands, and would have been our salvation
now in the hour of war; instead of which
they have given us two hundred million of
froth and bubble, on which we are to pay
them heavy interest, until it shall vanish into
air as the Morris notes did. We are warranted,
then, in affirming that this parody
on the principle of “a public debt being a
public blessing,” and its mutation into the
blessing of private instead of public debts, is
as ridiculous as the original principle itself.
In both cases, the truth is, that capital May
be produced by industry, and accumulated
by economy; but jugglers only will propose to
create it by legerdemain tricks with paper.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 239. Ford ed., ix, 411.
(M. Nov. 1813)

2014. DEBT, Running in.—

It is a miserable
arithmetic which makes any single privation
whatever so painful as a total privation
of everything which must necessarily follow
the living so far beyond our income.
What is to extricate us I know not, whether
law, or loss of credit. If the sources of the
former are corrupted, so as to prevent justice,
the latter must supply its place, leave us possessed
of our infamous gains, but prevent all
future ones of the same character.—
To William Hay. Washington ed. ii, 215.
(P. 1787)

2015. DEBT, Running in.—[continued].

How happy a people were we during the war from the single circumstance
that we could not run in debt.—
To Dr. Currie. Washington ed. ii, 219.
(P. 1787)

— DEBT, Of the States.—

See Assumption.

2016. DEBT, Thraldom of.—

Instead of
the unalloyed happiness of retiring unembarrassed
and independent, to the enjoyment
of my estate, which is ample for my limited
views, I have to pass such a length of time
in a thraldom of mind never before known to
me. Except for this, my happiness would
have been perfect.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. v, 509.
(M. 1810)

2017. DEBT, Tormented by.—

The torment
of mind I endure till the moment shall
arrive when I shall not owe a shilling on
earth is such really as to render life of little
value. I cannot decide to sell my lands. I
have sold too much of them already, and
they are the only sure provision for my children;
nor would I willingly sell the slaves as
long as there remains any prospect of paying
my debts with their labor. In this I am governed
solely by views to their happiness,
which will render it worth their while to use
extraordinary exertions for some time to enable
me to put them ultimately on an easier
footing, which I will do the moment they
have paid the debts due from the estate, two-thirds
of which have been contracted by purchasing
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., iv, 416.
(P. 1787)

2018. DEBT (French), Assignats and.—

I have communicated to the President what
passed between us * * * on the subject of
the payments made to France by the United
States in the assignats of that country, since
they have lost their par with gold and silver;
and after conferences, by his instruction, with
the Secretary of the Treasury, I am authorized
to assure you, that the government of the United
States have no idea of paying their debt in a
depreciated medium, and that in the final liquidation
of the payments, which shall have been
made, due regard will be had to an equitable allowance
for the circumstance of depreciation. [121]
To Jean Baptiste Ternant. Washington ed. iii, 294. Ford ed., v, 383.
(Pa., Sep. 1791)


As written by Jefferson, the letter, after the
words “depreciated medium” closed as follows:
“and that they will take measures for making these
payments in their, just value, avoiding all benefit
from depreciation, and desiring on their part to be
guarded against any unjust loss from the circumstances
of mere exchange.” It was changed to meet
the views of Hamilton.—Editor.

2019. DEBT (French), Complaints of officers.—

A second year's interest is become
due [to the French officers]. They have presented
their demands. There is not money here
[Paris] to pay them; the pittance remaining in
Mr. Grand's hands being only sufficient to pay
current expenses three months longer. The dissatisfaction
of these officers is extreme, and
their complaints will produce the worst effect.
The Treasury Board has not ordered their payment,
probably because they knew there would
not be money. The amount of their demand is
about forty-two thousand livres, and Mr. Grand
has in his hands but twelve thousand. I have
thought it my duty, under this emergency, to
ask you whether you could order that sum for
their relief from the funds in Holland? If you
can, I am persuaded it will have the best of
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 510.
(P. 1786)

2020. DEBT (French), Complaints of officers.—[continued].

The payment of the French officers, the last year, had the happiest
effect imaginable. It procured so many advocates
for the credit and honor of the United
States, who were heard in all companies. It
corrected the idea that we were unwilling to
pay our debts. I fear that our present failure
towards them will give new birth to new imputations,
and a relapse of credit.—
To the Treasury Commissioners. Washington ed. i, 521.
(P. 1786)

2021. DEBT (French), Complaints of officers.—[further continued].

The debt to the officers
of France carries an interest of about two thousand
guineas, so we may suppose its principal
is between thirty and forty thousand. This
makes more noise against us than all our other
debts put together.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 164. Ford ed., iv, 399.
(P. 1787)

2022. DEBT (French), Complaints of officers.—[further continued] .

Mr. Adams informs me
he has borrowed money in Holland, which, if
confirmed by Congress, will enable them to pay
not only the interest due here to the foreign
officers, but the principal. Let me beseech you
to reflect on the expediency of transferring
this debt to Holland. All our other debts in
Europe do not injure our reputation so much
as this. These gentlemen have connections both
in and out of office, and these again their connections,
so that our default on this article is
further known, more blamed, and excites worst


Page 231
dispositions against us, than you can conceive.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 209. Ford ed., iv, 422.
(P. 1787)

2023. DEBT (French), Desire to pay.—

We desire strongly to pay off our debt to
France, and for this purpose we will use our
credit as far as it will hold good. * * * Under
these dispositions and prospects, it would grieve
us extremely to see our debt pass into the hands
of speculators, and be subjected ourselves to the
chicaneries and vexations of private avarice.
We desire you, therefore, to dissuade the government
* * * from listening to any overtures
of that kind, and as to the speculators
themselves, whether native or foreign, to inform
them without reserve that our government
condemns their projects, and reserves to
itself the right of paying nowhere but into
the Treasury of France.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 253.
(Pa., 1791)

2024. DEBT (French), Payments discontinued.—

We are informed by the public papers
that the late constitution of France, formally
notified to us, is suspended, and a new
convention called. During the time of this suspension,
and while no legitimate government
exists, we apprehend we cannot continue the
payments of our debt to France, because there is
no person authorized to receive it, and to give
us an unobjectionable acquittal. You are, therefore,
desired to consider the payment as suspended,
until further orders. Should circumstances
oblige you to mention this (which it
is better to avoid if you can), do it with such
solid reasons as will occur to yourself, and accompany
it with the most friendly declarations
that the suspension does not proceed from any
wish in us to delay the payment, the contrary
being our wish, nor from any desire to embarrass
or oppose the settlement of their government
in that way in which their nation shall
desire it; but from our anxiety to pay this debt
justly and honorably, and to the persons really
authorized by the nation (to whom we owe it)
to receive it for their use. Nor shall this suspension
be continued one moment after we can
see our way clear out of the difficulty into which
their situation has thrown us.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 476. Ford ed., vi, 121.
(Pa., Oct. 1792)

2025. DEBT (French), Payments Resumed.—

On the dissolution of the late constitution
in France, by removing so integral a
part of it as the King, the National Assembly,
to whom a part only of the public authority had
been delegated, appear to have considered themselves
as incompetent to transact the affairs
of the nation legitimately. They invited their
fellow-citizens, therefore, to appoint a National
Convention. In conformity with this their
idea of the defective state of the national authority,
you were desired from hence to suspend
further payments of our debt to France till new
orders, with an assurance, however, to the acting
power, that the suspension should not be
continued a moment longer than should be necessary
for us to see the reestablishment of
some person or body of persons authorized to
receive payment and give us a good acquittal;
(if you should find it necessary to give any
assurance or explanation at all.) In the meantime,
we went on paying up the four million
of livres which had been destined by the last
constituted authorities to the relief of St. Domingo.
Before this was completed, we received
information that a National Assembly had met,
with full powers to transact the affairs of the
nation, and soon afterwards, the minister of
France here presented an application for three
millions of livres, to be laid out in provisions
to be sent to France. Urged by the strongest
attachment to that country, and thinking it
even providential that moneys lent to us in distress
could be repaid under like circumstances,
we had no hesitation to comply with the application,
and arrangements are accordingly
taken, for furnishing this sum at epochs accommodated
to the demand and our means of paying
it. * * * We shall certainly use our utmost
endeavors to make punctual payments of the
instalments and interest hereafter becoming exigible,
and to omit no opportunity of convincing
that nation how cordially we wish to serve them.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 521. Ford ed., vi, 199.
(Pa., March. 1793)

2026. DEBT (French), Proposition of Genet.—

I cannot but think that to decline the
propositions [122] of M. Genet on the subject of
our debt, without assigning any reason at all,
would have a very dry and unpleasant aspect indeed.
We are then to examine what are our
good reasons for the refusal, which of them
may be spoken out, and which may not. 1.
Want of confidence in the continuance of the
present form of government, and consequently
that advances to them might commit us with
their successors. This cannot be spoken out.
2. Since they propose to take the debt in produce,
it would be better for us that it should
be done in moderate masses yearly, than all
in one year. This cannot be professed. 3.
When M. de Calonne was Minister of Finance,
a Dutch company proposed to buy up the whole
of our debt, by dividing it into actions or shares.
I think M. Claviere, now Minister of Finance,
was their agent. It was observed to M. de
Calonne, that to create such a mass of American
paper, divide it into shares, and let them deluge
the market, would depreciate the rest of our
paper, and our credit in general; that the credit
of a nation was a delicate and important thing,
and should not be risked on such an operation.
M. de Calonne, sensible of the injury of the operation
to us, declined it. In May, 1791, there
came, through Mr. Otto, a similar proposition
from Schweizer, Jeanneret & Co. We had a
communication on the subject from Mr. Short,
urging this same reason strongly. It was referred
to the Secretary of the Treasury, who,
in a letter to yourself, assigned the reasons
against it, and these were communicated to
Mr. Otto, who acquiesced in them. This objection,
then, having been sufficient to decline
the proposition twice before, and having been
urged to the two preceding forms of government
(the ancient and that of 1791), will not be
considered by them as founded in objections to
the present form. 4. The law allows the whole
debt to be paid only on condition it can be done
on terms advantageous to the United States.
The minister foresees, this objection, and thinks
he answers it by observing the advantage which
the payment in produce will occasion. It would
be easy to show that this was not the sort of advantage
the Legislature meant, but a lower rate
of interest.
5. I cannot but suppose that the
Secretary of the Treasury * * * would, on
examination, be able to derive practical objections
from them. We pay to France but five
per cent. The people of this country would
never subscribe their money for less than six.
If, to remedy this, obligations at less than five
per cent. were offered, and accepted by M.
Genet, he must part with them immediately,
at a considerable discount, to indemnify the loss


Page 232
of the one per cent., and at still greater dis-count
to bring them down to par with our pres-ent
six per cent., so that the operation would
be equally disgraceful to us and losing to them,
&c., &c. I think it very material myself to keep
alive the friendly sentiments of that country,
so far as can be done without risking war or
double payment. If the instalments falling due
this year can be advanced, without incurring
those dangers, I should be for doing it. We
now see by the declaration of the Prince of
Saxe Coburg, on the part of Austria and Prus-sia,
that the ultimate point they desire is to re-store
the constitution of 1791. Were this even
to be done before the pay days of this year,
there is no doubt in my mind but that that gov-ernment
(as republican as the present, except
in the form of its Executive) would confirm an
advance so moderate in sum and time. I
am sure the nation of France would never suf-fer
their government to go to war with us for
such a bagatelle, and the more surely if that
bagatelle shall have been granted by us so as
to please and not displease the nation; so as
to keep their affections engaged on our side.
So that I should have no fear in advancing the
instalments of this year at epochs convenient
to the Treasury. But at any rate I should be
for assigning reasons for not changing the form
of the debt.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 575. Ford ed., vi, 287.
(June. 1793)


That the remainder of the debt be paid at once,
provided the sum be invested in produce.—Editor.

2027. DEBT (French), Reply to Genet.—

The instalments as they are settled by conven-tion
between the two nations far exceed the or-dinary
resources of the United States. To ac-complish
them completely and punctually, we
are obliged to anticipate the revenues of future
terms by loans to as great an extent as we can
prudently attempt. As they are arranged how-ever
by the convention, they give us time for
successive and gradual efforts. But to crowd
these anticipations all into a single one, and
that to be executed, in the present instant, would
more than hazard that state of credit, the pres-ervation
of which can alone enable us to meet
the different payments at the time agreed on. To
do even this hitherto, has required in the opera-tions
of borrowing, time, prudence and pa-tience;
and these operations are still going on in
all the extent they will bear. To press them
beyond this, would be to defeat them both now
and hereafter.—
To Edmond Charles Genet. Ford ed., vi, 294.
(Pa., June. 1793)

2028. DEBT (French), Speculators and.—

I am of opinion, as I always have been, that
the purchase of our debt to France by private
speculators, would have been an operation ex-tremely
injurious to our credit; and that the
consequence foreseen by our banker, that the
purchasers would have been obliged, in order
to make good their payments, to deluge the
markets of Amsterdam with American paper of
all sorts, and to sell it at any price, was a
probable one. And the more so, as we know
that the particular individuals who were en-gaged
in that speculation, possess no means of
their own adequate to the payments they would
have had to make. While we must not doubt
that these motives, together with a proper re-gard
for the credit of the United States, had
real and full weight with our bankers towards
inducing them to counterwork these private
speculations; yet, to ascribe their industry in
this business wholly to these motives, might lead
to a too great and dangerous confidence in
them. It was obviously their interest to defeat
all such speculations, because they tended to
take out of their hands, or at least to divide
with them, the profits of the great operation of
transferring the French debt to Amsterdam,
an object of first rate magnitude to them, and
on the undivided enjoyments of which they
might count, if private speculators could be
baffled. It has been a contest of dexterity and
cunning, in which our champions have obtained
the victory. The manoeuvre of opening a loan
of three millions of florins, has, on the whole,
been useful to the United States, and though
unauthorized, I think should be confirmed. The
measure proposed by the Secretary of the Treas-ury,
of sending a superintendent of their future
operations, will effectually prevent their doing
the like again, and the funding laws leave no
danger that such an expedient might at any fu-ture
time be useful to us.—
Opinion on Foreign Debt. Washington ed. vii, 506. Ford ed., vi, 231.
(Aug. 1790)

2029. DEBT (French), Transfer to Hol-land.—

It being known that M. de Calonne,
the Minister of Finance, is at his wit's ends to
raise supplies for the ensuing year, a proposition
has been made him by a Dutch company to pur-chase
the debt of the United States to this coun-try
[France] for seventy millions of livres in
hand. His necessities dispose him to accede to
the proposition, but a hesitation is produced by
the apprehension that it might lessen our credit
in Europe, and perhaps be disagreeable to Con-gress.
I have been consulted here only by the
agent for that company. I informed him that
I could not judge what effect it might have on
our credit, and was not authorized either to ap-prove
or disapprove of the transaction. I have
since reflected on this subject. If there be
a danger that our payments may not be punc-tual,
it might be better that the discontents
which would thence arise should be transferred
from a court, of whose goodwill we have so
much need, to the breasts of a private company.
But it has occurred to me, that we might find
occasion to do what would be grateful to this
court, and establish with them a confidence in
our honor. I am informed that our credit in
Holland is sound. Might it not be possible,
then, to borrow the four and twenty millions
due to this country and thus pay them their
whole debt at once? This would save them
from any loss on our account. Is it liable to
the objection of impropriety in creating new
debts before we have more certain means of
paying them? It is only transferring from one
creditor to another, and removing the causes of
discontent to persons with whom they would
do us less injury.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 28.
(P. Sep. 1786)

2030. DEBT (French), Transfer to Hol-land.—[continued].

I think it would be ad-visable
to have our debt transferred to individu-als
of your country [Holland]. There could,
and would be no objection to the guarantee re-maining
as you propose; and a postponement
of the first payments of capital would surely
be a convenience to us. For though the re-sources
of the United States are great and grow-ing,
and their dispositions good, yet their ma-chine
is new, and they have not got it to go
well. It is the object of their general wish at
present, and they are all in movement, to set
it in a good train; but their movements are
necessarily slow. They will surely effect it in
the end, because all have the same end in view;
the difficulty being only to get all the thirteen
States to agree on the same means.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. ii, 120.
(P. 1787)

2031. DEBT (French), Transfer to Hol-land.—[further continued].

Would to heaven Con-gress
would authorize you to transfer the debt
of France to Holland before you leave Europe.


Page 233
Most especially is it necessary to get rid of the
debt to the officers. Their connections at Court
are such as to excite very unfavourable feelings
there against us, and some very hard things
have been said (particularly in the Assemblée
des Notables) on the prospect relative to our
debts. The payment of the interest to the officers
would have kept them quiet; but there
are two years now due to them. I dare not
draw for it without instructions.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 181.
(P. 1787)

2032. DEBT (Revolutionary), Divisions of.—

The first and great division of our federal
debt, is, into 1, foreign; and 2, domestic.
The foreign debt comprehends, 1, the loan from
the government of Spain; 2, the loans from the
government of France, and from the Farmers
General; 3, the loans negotiated in Holland by
order of Congress. This branch of our debt
stands absolutely singular; no man in the United
States having ever supposed that Congress, or
their legislatures, can, in any wise, modify or
alter it. They justly view the United States
as the one party, and the lenders as the other,
and that the consent of both would be requisite,
were any modification to be proposed. But with
respect to the domestic debt, they consider Congress
as representing both the borrowers and
lenders, and that the modifications which have
taken place in this have been necessary to do
justice between the two parties, and that they
flowed properly from Congress as their mutual
umpire. The domestic debt comprehends, 1,
the army debt; 2, the loan office debt; 3, the liquidated
debt; and 4, the unliquidated debt. The
first term includes debts to the officers and soldiers
for pay, bounty and subsistence. The
second term means moneys put into the loan
office of the United States. The third comprehends
all debts contracted by quarter-masters,
commissaries, and others duly authorized
to procure supplies for the army, and which
have been liquidated (that is, settled) by commissioners
appointed under the resolution of
Congress, of June 12, 1780, or by the officers
who made the contract. The fourth comprehends
the whole mass of debts, described in the
preceding article, which have not yet been liquidated.
These are in a course of liquidation
and are passing over daily into the third class.
* * * No time is fixed for the payment of
the debts of this third class, that is the liquidated
debt; no fund is yet determined, nor any
firm provision for the interest in the meantime.
The consequence is that the certificates of these
debts sell greatly below par. When I left America,
they could be bought for from two shillings
and sixpence to fifteen shillings in the
pound; this difference proceeding from the circumstance
of some States having provided for
paying the interest on those due in their own
State, which others had not. Hence, an opinion
had arisen with some, and propositions had
even been made in the legislatures, for paying
off the principal of these debts with what they
had cost the holder, and interest on that. This
opinion is far from being general, and I think
will not prevail. But it is among possible
To Messrs. Van Staphorst. Washington ed. i, 471. Ford ed., iv, 106.
(P. 1785)

2033. DEBT (Revolutionary), Foreign.—

As to the foreign debt, Congress is considered
as the representative of one party only, and
I think I can say with truth, that there is not
one single individual in the United States,
either in or out of office, who supposes they
can ever do anything which might impair their
foreign contracts.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. iii, 155. Ford ed., v, 190.
(N.Y., 1790)

DEBT (Revolutionary), Funding of.—See Assumption.

2034. DEBT (Revolutionary), Payment of.—

I am in hopes you will persuade the
States to commit their commercial arrangements
to Congress and to enable them to pay their
debts, interest and capital.—
To Edward Randolph. Washington ed. ii, 211.
(P. 1787)

2035. DEBT (Revolutionary), Payments on.—

The public effects of the United States, such as their paper bills of credit, loan office
bills, &c., were a commodity which varied its
value from time to time. A scale of their value
for every month has been settled according to
what they sold for at market, in silver or gold.
This value in gold or silver, with an interest
of six per cent. annually til payment, is what
the United States pay. This they are able to
pay; but were they to propose to pay off all
their paper, not according to what it cost the
holder, in gold or silver, but according to the
sum named in it, their whole country, if sold,
and all their persons into the bargain, might not
suffice. They would, in this case, make a bankruptcy
where none exists, as an individual
would, who being very able to pay the real debts
he has contracted, would undertake to give to
every man fifty times as much as he had received
from him.—
To M. Trouchin. Washington ed. ii, 360.
(P. 1788)

2036. DEBT (Revolutionary), Principle of Payment.—

The principle on which it [the
paper money debt] shall be paid I take to be
settled, though not directly, yet virtually, by
the resolution of Congress of June 3d, 1784;
that is, that they will pay the holder, or his
representative, what the money was worth at
the time he received it, with an interest from
that time of six per cent. per annum.—
To H. S. Crevecoeur. Washington ed. i, 595. Ford ed., iv, 253.
(P. July. 1786)

2037. DEBT (Revolutionary), Principle of Payment.—[continued].

It is not our desire to
pay off those bills [of exchange] according to
the present depreciation, but according to
their actual value in hard money, at the time
they were drawn with interest. The State having
received value, so far as it is just it should
be substantially paid.—
To Va. Del. in Congress. Ford ed., ii, 500.
(R. 1781)

2038. DEBT (Revolutionary), Principle of Payment.—[further continued].

The loan office certificates
will be settled by the table of depreciation at their true worth in gold or silver at the time
the paper dollars were lent. On that true value
the interest has been paid, and continues to be
paid to the creditors annually in America. That
the principal will also be paid is as sure as
any future fact can be.—
To Messrs. Delap. Washington ed. ii, 102.
(P. 1787)

2039. DEBT (Revolutionary), Redemption of Domestic.—

No man in America ever
entertained a doubt that our foreign debt is to
be paid fully; but some people in America have
seriously contended, that the certificates and
other evidences of our domestic debt, ought
to be redeemed only at what they have cost the
holder. * * * But this is very far from
being a general opinion; a very great majority
being firmly decided that they shall be paid
fully. Were I the holder of any of them, I
should not have the least fear of their full payment.—
To Messrs. Van Staphorst. Washington ed. i, 369. Ford ed., iv, 78.
(P. 1785)

2040. DEBT (Revolutionary), Settlement of Foreign.—

The first act of the new


Page 234
government [under the Constitution] should be
some operation whereby they may assume to
themselves the [first] station [in point of
credit]. Their European debts form a proper
subject for this. Digest the whole, public and
private, Dutch, French and Spanish, into a
table, showing the sum of interest due every
year, and the portions of principal payable the
same year. Take the most certain branch of
revenue, and one which shall suffice to pay the
interest, and leave such a surplus as may accomplish
all the payments of the capital, at
terms somewhat short of those at which they
will become due. Let the surpluses of those
years, in which no reimbursement of principal
falls, be applied to buy up our paper on the exchange
of Amsterdam, and thus anticipate the
demands of principal. In this way, our paper
will be kept up at par; and this alone will enable
us to command in four and twenty hours,
at any time, on the exchange of Amsterdam,
as many millions as that capital can produce.
The same act, which makes this provision for
the existing debts, should go on to open a loan
to their whole amount; the produce of that loan
to be applied, as fast as received, to the payment
of such parts of the existing debts as admit
of payment. The rate of interest to be as
the government should privately instruct their
agent, because it must depend on the effect
these measures would have on the exchange.
Probably it could be lowered from time to time.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 377.
(P. 1788)

2041. DEBT (Revolutionary), Soundness of.—

As a private individual and citizen of America, I can with propriety and truth
deliver it to you as my firm belief, that the
loan office certificate you showed me, and all
others of the same kind, will be paid, principal
and interest, as soon as the circumstances of
the United States will permit; that I do not
consider this as a distant epoch, nor suppose
there is a public debt on earth less doubtful.—
To M. Dirieks. Washington ed. ii, 422.
(P. 1788)

2042. DEBT (Revolutionary), Speculation and.—

In consequence of [the acceptance by nine States of the new Constitution] speculations
are already begun here [Paris], to purchase
up our domestic liquidated debt. Indeed,
I suspect that orders may have been previously
lodged in America to do this, as soon as the new
Constitution was accepted effectually. If it is
thought that this debt should be retained at
home, there is not a moment to lose; and I
know of no means of retaining it but those I
suggested to the Treasury Board. The transfer
of these debts to Europe, will exclusively embarrass,
and perhaps totally prevent the borrowing
any money in Europe, till these shall be
paid off. This is a momentous object, and in
my opinion should receive instantaneous attention.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 455.
(P. Aug. 1788)

2043. DEBT (Revolutionary), Transfer of Domestic.—

If the transfer of the [domestic] debts to Europe meet with any encouragement
from us, we can no more borrow money here, let our necessities be what they will. For
who will give ninety-six per cent. for the
foreign obligations of the same nation, whose
domestic ones can be bought at the same
market for fifty-five per cent.; the former, too,
bearing an interest of only five per cent., while
the latter yields six? If any discouragements
can be honestly thrown on this transfer, it
would seem advisable, in order to keep the
domestic debt at home. It would be a very
effectual one, if, instead of the title existing in
the Treasury books alone, it was made to exist
in loose papers, as our loan office debts do. The
European holder would then be obliged to risk
the title paper of his capital, as well as his interest,
in the hands of his agents in America,
whenever the interest was to be demanded;
whereas, at present, he trusts him with the interest
only. This single circumstance would
put a total stop to all future sales of domestic
debt at this market. [Amsterdam.]—
To the Treasury Board. Washington ed. ii, 368.
(A. 1788)

2044. DEBT (Revolutionary), Western Lands and.—

It is made a fundamental that
the proceeds [of the sale of our lands] shall be
solely and sacredly applied as a sinking fund
to discharge the capital only of the [national] debt.—
To Count Van Hagendorp. Washington ed. i, 466.
(P. 1785)

2045. DEBT (Revolutionary), Western Lands and.—[continued].

It will be yet a twelvemonth
before we shall be able to judge of the
efficacy of our Land office to sink our national
debt. It is made a fundamental, that the proceeds
shall be solely and sacredly applied as a
sinking fund to discharge the capital only of
the debt.—
To Count Van Hogendorp. Washington ed. i, 466. Ford ed., iv, 106.
(P. 1785)

2046. DEBT (Revolutionary), Western Lands and.—[further continued].

I am uneasy at seeing
that the sale of our western lands is not yet
commenced. That precious fund for the immediate
extinction of our debt will, I fear, be
suffered to slip through our fingers. Every
delay exposes it to events which no human
foresight can guard against.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 153. Ford ed., iv, 391.
(P. 1787)

2047. DEBT (Revolutionary), Western Lands and.—[further continued] .

I am very much pleased to hear that our western lands sell so successfully.
I turn to this precious resource as that
which will in every event liberate us from our
domestic debt, and perhaps too from our foreign
one; and this much sooner than I had expected.—
To E. Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 333. Ford ed., iv, 481.
(P. 1787)

2048. DEBT (Revolutionary), Western Lands and.—[further continued].

I am much pleased that
the sale of western lands is so successful. I
hope they will absorb all the certificates of our
domestic debt speedily, in the first place, and
that then, offered for cash, they will do the same
by our foreign one.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 328. Ford ed., iv, 475.
(P. 1787)

2049. DEBT (United States), Dangers of.—

I place economy among the first and
most important of republican virtues, and
public debt as the greatest of the dangers to
be feared.—
To Governor Plumer. Washington ed. vii, 19.
(M. 1816)

2050. DEBT (United States), Economy and.—

I am for applying all the possible savings
of the public revenue to the discharge
of the national debt.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 327.
(Pa., 1799)

2051. DEBT (United States), Evils of.—

If we run into such debts, as that we must be
taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our
necessaries and our comforts, in our labors
and our amusements, for our callings and
our creeds, as the people of England are, our
people, like them, must come to labor sixteen
hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings
of fifteen of these to the government for their
debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth
being insufficient to afford us bread, we must


Page 235
live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes;
have no time to think, no means of calling
the mismanagers to account; but be glad
to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves out
to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 14. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)

2052. DEBT (United States), Increasing.—

A further assumption of State debt has
been proposed by the Secretary of the Treasury
[in order to raise money]. It has been rejected
by a small majority; but the chickens
of the treasury have so many contrivances,
and are so indefatigable within doors and
without, that we all fear they will get it in
yet some way or other.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Washington ed. iii, 348. Ford ed., 505.
(Pa., 1792)

2053. DEBT (United States), Increasing.—[continued].

I am not for increasing,
by every device, the public debt, on the principle
of its being a public blessing.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 327.
(Pa., 1799)

2054. DEBT (United States), Increasing.—[further continued].

A debt of an hundred
millions, growing by usurious interest, and an
artificial paper phalanx, overruling the agricultural
mass of our country, * * * have a
portentous aspect.—
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 321. Ford ed., vii, 425.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

2055. DEBT (United States), Increasing.—[further continued] .

The growth and entailment
of a public debt is an indication soliciting
the employment of the pruning knife.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 212. Ford ed., x, 188.
(M. 1821)

2056. DEBT (United States), Independence and.—

To preserve our independence, we
must not let our rulers load us with perpetual
debt. We must make our election between
economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.

To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 14. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)

2057. DEBT (United States), Interest.—

I once thought that in the event of a war
we should be obliged to suspend paying the
interest of the public debt. But a dozen years
more of experience and observation on our
people and government, have satisfied me
it will never be done. The sense of the necessity
of public credit is so universal and so
deeply rooted, that no other necessity will prevail
against it.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 401.
(M. Nov. 1814)

2058. DEBT (United States), Louisiana and.—

Should the acquisition of Louisiana be
constitutionally confirmed and carried into effect,
a sum of nearly thirteen millions of dollars
will then be added to our public debt,
most of which is payable after fifteen years;
before which term the present existing debts
will all be discharged by the established operation
of the sinking fund.—
Third Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 27. Ford ed., viii, 271.
(Oct. 1803)

2059. DEBT (United States), Manufactures and.—

The British war has left us in
debt; but that is a cheap price for the good it
has done us. The establishment of the neces
sary manufactures among ourselves, the proof
that our government is solid, can stand the
shock of war, and is superior even to civil
schism, are precious facts for us; and of these
the strongest proofs were furnished, when,
with four eastern States tied to us, as dead to
living bodies, all doubt was removed as to the
achievements of the war, had it continued.
But its best effect has been the complete suppression
of party. The federalists who were
truly American (and their great mass was
so), have separated from their brethren who
were mere Anglomen, and are received with
cordiality into the republican ranks.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 66. Ford ed., x, 83.
(M. 1817)

2060. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—

It is proposed to provide additional
funds, to meet the additional debt [assumption],
by a tax on spirituous liquors, foreign
and home-made, so that the whole interest
will be paid by taxes on consumption. If
a sufficiency can now be raised in this way
to pay the interest at present, its increase by
the increase of population (suppose five per
cent. per annum), will alone sink the principal
within a few years, operating as it will in the
way of compound interest. Add to this what
may be done by throwing in the aid of western
lands and other articles as a sinking fund,
and our prospect is really a bright one.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 198. Ford ed., v, 250.
(Pa., 1790)

2061. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—[continued].

No man is more ardently
intent to see the public debt soon and
sacredly paid off than I am. This exactly
marks the difference between Colonel Hamilton's
views and mine, that I would wish the
debt paid to-morrow; he wishes it never to
be paid, but always to be a thing wherewith to corrupt and manage the Legislature.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 464. Ford ed., vi, 105.
(M. 1792)

2062. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—[further continued].

The simple question appears
to me to be what did the public owe,
principal and interest, when the Secretary's
[Hamilton's] taxes began to run? If less,
it must have been paid; but if he was paying
old debts with one hand and creating new
ones with the other, it is such a game as Mr.
Pitt is playing.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. vi, 113.
(M. Sep. 1792)

2063. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—[further continued] .

The honest payment of
our debts, I deem [one of the] essential principles
of our government and, consequently.
[one] which ought to shape its administration.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 4. Ford ed., viii, 5.

2064. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—[further continued].

The economies [of the
first republican Congress] have enabled us to
suppress all the internal taxes, and still to
make such provision for the payment of the
public debt as to discharge that in eighteen
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 430.
(W. April. 1802)

2065. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—[further continued] .

I consider the fortunes
of our republic as depending, in an eminent


Page 236
degree, on the extinguishment of the public
debt before we engage in any war; because
that done, we shall have revenue enough to
improve our country in peace and defend it
in war, without recurring either to new taxes
or loans. But if the debt should once more
be swelled to a formidable size, its entire, discharge
will be despaired of, and we shall be
committed to the English career of debt, corruption
and rottenness, closing with revolution.
The discharge of the public debt, therefore,
is vital to the destinies of our government,
and it hangs on Mr. Madison and yourself
alone. We shall never see another President
and Secretary of the Treasury making
all their objects subordinate to this. Were
either of you to be lost to the public, that
great hope is lost.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 477. Ford ed., ix, 264.
(M. 1809)

2066. DEBT (United States), Payment of.—[further continued].

There are two measures
which if not taken we are undone. * * * [The second [123] is] to cease borrowing money,
and to pay off the national debt. If this cannot
be done without dismissing the army,
and putting the ships out of commission, haul
them up high and dry, and reduce the army to
the lowest point at which it was ever established.
There does not exist an engine so
corruptive of the government and so demoralizing
of the nation as a public debt. It will
bring on us more ruin at home than all the
enemies from abroad against whom this army
and navy are to protect us. What interest
have we in keeping ships in service in the
Pacific Ocean? To protect a few speculative
adventurers in a commerce dealing in nothing
in which we have an interest. As if the Atlantic
and Mediterranean were not large
enough for American capital! As if commerce
and not agriculture was the principle
of our association.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Ford ed., x, 193.
(M. Aug. 1821)


The first was to arrest the progress of centralization
under the decisions of the Supreme Court.——Editor.

2067. DEBT (United States), Perpetuation of.—

As the doctrine is that a public debt
is a public blessing, so they think a perpetual
one is a perpetual blessing, and therefore
wish to make it so large that we can never
pay it off.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Washington ed. iii, 348. Ford ed., v, 505.
(Pa., April. 1792)

2068. DEBT (United States), Prosperity and.—

We are ruined if we do not overrule
the principles that “the more we owe, the
more prosperous we shall be”; “that a public
debt furnishes the means of enterprise”;
“that if ours should be once paid off, we
should incur another by any means however
To James Monroe. Ford ed., v, 320.
(Pa., 1791)

2069. DEBT (United States), Public Faith and.—

The payments made in discharge
of the principal and interest of the
national debt, will show that the public faith
has been exactly maintained.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 11. Ford ed., viii, 121.
(Dec. 1801)

2070. DEBT (United States), Public Faith and.—[continued].

To preserve the faith of
the nation by an exact discharge of its debts
and contracts * * * [is one of] the landmarks
by which we are to guide ourselves in
all our proceedings.—
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 21. Ford ed., viii, 187.
(Dec. 1802)

2071. DEBT (United States), Purchasing.—

The saving of interest on the sum so
to be bought [of the national debt] may be
applied in buying up more principal, and
thereby keep this salutary operation going.—
Opinion on Foreign Debt. Washington ed. vii, 507. Ford ed., v, 233.

2072. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—

The receipts of external duties for the
last twelve months have exceeded those of
any former year, and the ratio of increase has
been also greater than usual. This has enabled
us to answer all the regular exigencies
of government, to pay from the treasury in
one year upwards of eight millions of dollars,
principal and interest, of the public debt, exclusive
of upwards of one million paid by the
sale of bank stock, and making in the whole
a reduction of nearly five millions and a
half of principal; and to have now in the
treasury four millions and a half of dollars,
which are in a course of application to a further
discharge of debt and current demands.—
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 18. Ford ed., viii, 184.
(Dec. 1802)

2073. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—[continued].

The amount of debt paid
for the year ending September 30, 1803, is
about three millions one hundred thousand
dollars, exclusive of interest, and making,
with the payment of the preceding year, a discharge
of more than eight millions and a half
of dollars of the principal of that debt, besides
the accruing interest; and there remain
in the treasury nearly six millions of
dollars. [124]
Third Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 26. Ford ed., viii, 271.
(Oct. 1803)


In the six millions are to be included two millions
of dollars which had been appropriated with a view
of purchasing New Orleans and other territory. This
fact is set forth in the message.—Editor.

2074. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—[further continued].

Eleven millions and a
half of dollars, received in the course of the
year ending on the 30th of September last,
have enabled us, after meeting all the ordinary
expenses of the year, to pay upwards of
$3,600,000 of the public debt, exclusive of
interest. This payment, with those of the two
preceding years, has extinguished upwards of
twelve millions of the principal, and a greater
sum of interest, within that period.—
Fourth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 38. Ford ed., viii, 331.
(Nov. 1804)

2075. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—[further continued] .

The receipts * * * during
the year * * * have exceeded the
sum of thirteen millions of dollars, which,
with not quite five millions in the treasury
at the beginning of the year, have enabled
us, after meeting other demands, to pay nearly
two millions of the debt contracted under the
British treaty and convention, upwards of
four millions of principal of the public debt,


Page 237
and four millions of interest. These payments,
with those which had been made in
three years and a half preceding, have extinguished
of the funded debt nearly eighteen
millions of principal.—
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 52. Ford ed., viii, 395.
(Dec. 1805)

2076. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—[further continued].

The receipts * * * during
the year * * * have amounted to
near fifteen millions of dollars, which have
enabled us, after meeting the current demands,
to pay two millions seven hundred
thousand dollars of the American claims, in
part of the price of Louisiana; to pay of the
funded debt upward of three millions of principal,
and nearly four of interest; and in addition,
to reimburse, * * * nearly two
millions of five and a half per cent. stock.
These payments and reimbursements of the
funded debt, with those which have been
made in four years and a half preceding, will,
at the close of the present year, have extinguished
upward of twenty-three millions of
Sixth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 67. Ford ed., viii, 493.
(Dec. 1806)

2077. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—[further continued] .

The receipts have
amounted to near sixteen millions of dollars,
which, with the five millions and a half in the
treasury at the beginning of the year, have
enabled us * * * to pay more than four
millions of the principal of our funded debt.
These payments, with those of the preceding
five and a half years, have extinguished of
the funded debt twenty-five millions and a
half of dollars, being the whole which could
be paid or purchased within the limits of law,
and of our contracts, and have left us in the
treasury eight millions and a half of dollars.—
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 88. Ford ed., ix, 164.
(Oct. 1807)

2078. DEBT (United States), Reduction of.—[further continued].

The receipts have
amounted to near eighteen millions of dollars,
which with the eight millions and a half in
the treasury at the beginning of the year,
have enabled us * * * to pay two millions
three hundred thousand dollars of the
principal of our funded debt, and left us in
the treasury, on that day, near fourteen millions
of dollars. * * * These payments,
with those made in the six years and a half
preceding, will have extinguished thirty-three
millions five hundred and eighty thousand
dollars of the principal of the funded debt,
being the whole which could be paid or purchased
within the limits of the law and our
contracts; and the amount of principal thus
discharged will have liberated the revenue
from about two millions of dollars of interest,
and added that sum annually to the disposable
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 109. Ford ed., ix, 224.
(Nov. 1808)

2079. DEBT (United States), Republicans and.—

An alarm has been endeavored
to be sounded as if the republican interest
was indisposed to the payment of the
public debt. Besides the general object of the
calumny, it was meant to answer the special
one of electioneering. Its falsehood was so
notorious that it produced little effect.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 493. Ford ed., vi, 143.
(Pa., Dec. 1792)

2080. DEBT (United States), Sacredness of.—

The evidences of the public debt are solid
and sacred. I presume there is not a man in
the United States who would not part with
his last shilling to pay them.—
To Francis Eppes. Ford ed., v, 507.
(Pa., April. 1792)

2081. DEBT (United States), Sacredness of.—[continued].

There can never be a fear
but that the paper which represents the public
debt will be ever sacredly good. The public
faith is bound for this, and no change of
system will ever be permitted to touch this;
but no other paper stands on ground equally
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 343. Ford ed., v, 460.
(Pa., March. 1792)

2082. DEBT (United States), Statements of.—

An accurate statement of the
original amount and subsequent augmentations
or diminutions of the public debt, to be
continued annually [in the message to Congress],
is an article on which we have conferred
before. A similar statement of the
annual expenses of the government for a
certain period back, and to be repeated annually,
is another wholesome necessity we
should impose on ourselves and our successors.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 181.
(W. Dec. 1802)

2083. DEBT (United States), Time and.—

No nation can make a declaration against
the validity of long-contracted debts, so disinterestedly
as we, since we do not owe a
shilling which will not be paid with ease,
principal and interest, by the measures you
[the new government] have taken, within
the time of our own lives.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 108. Ford ed., v, 123.
(P. 1789)
See Generations.

2084. DEBT (United States), Wars and.—

Our distance from the wars of Europe, and
our disposition to take no part in them, will,
we hope, enable us to keep clear of the debts
which they may occasion to other powers.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. iii, 155. Ford ed., v, 190.
(N.Y., 1790)

2085. DEBT (United States), Wars for Commerce and.—

No earthly consideration
could induce my consent to contract such a
debt as England has by her wars for commerce,
to reduce our citizens by taxes to such
wretchedness, as that laboring sixteen of the
twenty-four hours, they are still unable to afford
themselves bread, or barely to earn as
much oatmeal or potatoes as will keep soul
and body together. And all this to feed the
avidity of a few millionary merchants, and
to keep up one thousand ships of war for the
protection of their commercial speculations.—
To William H. Crawford. Washington ed. vii, 7. Ford ed., x, 35.
(M. 1816)

— DEBTORS, Fugitives.—

See Fugitives.

2086. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, British government and.—

It is uncertain how far we
should have been able to accommodate our opin


Page 238
ions [in the settlement of the debts]. But the
absolute aversion of the [British] government
to enter into any arrangement [with Mr.
Adams and myself] prevented the object from
being pursued. Each country is left to do justice
to itself and to the other, according to its
own ideas, as to what is past; and to scramble
for the future as well as they can; to regulate
their commerce by duties and prohibitions and,
perhaps, by cannons and mortars; in which
event, we must abandon the ocean, where we
are weak, leaving to neutral nations the carriage
of our commodities; and measure with
them on land, where they alone can lose. [125]
To James Ross. Washington ed. i, 562. Ford ed., iv, 218.
(P. 1786)


These were debts due by Americans to British
merchants and others previous to the war of the

2087. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, British government and.—[continued].

I wish it were in my
power to inform you that arrangements were
at length taken between the two nations for
carrying into complete execution the late treaty
of peace, and for settling those conditions which
are essential to the continuance of a commerce
between them. I suppose all arrangement is
thought unnecessary here [London], as the subject
has not been deemed worthy of a conference
[with Mr. Adams and myself]. Both nations
are left to pursue their own measures, and
it is not easy to foresee what these will be.—
To Alexander McCaul. Ford ed., iv, 202.
(L. April. 1786)

2088. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Executions for.—

The immensity of the [Virginia] debt [to British creditors] was another reason
for forbidding such a mass of property to be
offered for sale under execution at once, as,
from the small quantity of circulating money,
it must have been sold for little or nothing,
whereby the creditor would have failed to receive
his money, and the debtor would have
lost his whole estate without being discharged
of his debt. [126]
Report to Congress. Washington ed. ix, 241. Ford ed., iv, 127.


Report to Congress of a conference with Count
de Vergennes, respecting commercial arrangements.—Editor.

2089. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Interest on.—

It is a general sentiment in America that
the principal of these debts should be paid, and
that that alone is stipulated by the treaty. But
they [the British] think the interest also
which arose before and since the war, is
justly due. They think it would be as unjust
to demand interest during the war. They urge
that during that time they could not pay the
debt, for that of the remittances attempted,
two-thirds on an average were taken by the
nation to whom they were due; that during that
period they had no use of the money, as from
the same circumstances of capturing their produce
on the sea, tobacco sold at 5s. the hundred,
which was not sufficient to bear the expenses
of the estate; that they paid taxes and other
charges on the property during that period, and
stood its insurers in the ultimate event of the
war. They admit, indeed, that such individual
creditors, as were not engaged in privateering
against them, have lost this interest; but that
it was the fault of their own nation, and that
this is the case where both parties having lost,
each may justifiably endeavor to save himself.
Setting aside this portion of the interest, I am
persuaded the debts in America are generally
good, and that there is an honest intention to
pay them.—
To Alexander McCaul. Ford ed., iv, 203.
(L. 1786)

2090. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Interest on.—[continued].

While the principal, and
interest preceding and subsequent to the war,
seem justly due from us [to the British], that
which accrued during the war does not. Interest
is a compensation for the use of money.
Their money, in our hands, was in the form of
lands and negroes. Tobacco, the produce of
these lands and negroes (or as I may call it,
the interest of them), being almost impossible
of conveyance to the markets of consumption,
because taken by themselves in its way there,
sold during the war, at five or six shillings the
hundred. This did not pay taxes, and for tools
and other plantation charges. A man who
should have attempted to remit to his creditor
tobacco, for either principal or interest, must
have remitted it three times before one cargo
would have arrived safe; and this from the
depredations of their own nation, and often of
the creditor himself; for some of the merchants
entered deeply into the privateering business.
The individuals, who did not, say they have
lost this interest; the debtor replies that he
has not gained it, and that it is a case, where a
loss having been incurred, every one tries to
shift it from himself. The known bias of the
human mind from motives of interest should
lessen the confidence of each party in the justice
of their reasoning; but it is difficult to
say which of them should make the sacrifice,
both of reason and interest.—
To James Ross. Washington ed. i, 562. Ford ed., iv, 218.
(P. 1786)
See Interest on Money.

2091. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Jefferson's Personal.—

With respect to myself, I
acknowledge to you that I do not think an interest
justly demandable during the war.
Whatever I owed, with interest previous and
subsequent to the war, I have taken measures
for paying as speedily as possible. My chief
debts are to yourself, and to Mr. Jones, of
Bristol. In the year 1776, before there was a
shilling of paper money issued, I sold land for
£4200 to pay these two debts. I did not receive
the money till it was not worth oak leaves.
I have lost the principal and interest of these
debts once then in attempting to pay them.
Besides this, Lord Cornwallis's army took off
thirty of my slaves, burned one year's crop of
tobacco in my houses, and destroyed another
in the fields with other damages to the amount
of three or four thousand pounds. Still, I am
renewing my efforts to pay what I justly ought;
and I hope these will be more successful. My
whole estate is left in the hands of Mr. Lewis,
of Albemarle, and Mr. Eppes, of Chesterfield,
to apply its whole profits to the payment of
my debts. * * * Till payment is effected,
I shall not draw one shilling from the estate,
nor resume its possession. * * * I think it
very possible that you will not concur with me
in opinion as to the intermediate interest; and
that so far I shall meet your censure. Both
parties are liable to feel too strongly the arguments
which tend to justify their endeavors to
avoid this loss. Yet after making allowances
for this prejudice, it seems to me impossible
but that the hardships are infinitely greater on
our side than on yours. You have lost the interest
but it is not we who have gained it. We
deem your nation the aggressors. They took
those profits which arose from your property in
our hands, and inflicted on us immeasurable
losses besides. I urge these considerations because,
while they decide my own opinion, I wish
them to weigh so much as to preserve me yours,
which I highly esteem, and should be afflicted
were I to lose it.—
To Alexander McCaul. Ford ed., iv, 204.
(L. 1786)


Page 239

2092. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Jefferson's Personal.—[continued].

I am desirous of arranging
with you such just and practicable conditions
as will ascertain to you the terms at
which you will receive my part of your debt,
and give me the satisfaction of knowing that
you are contented. * * * The first question
which arises is as to the article of interest. For
all the time preceding the war, and all subsequent
to it, I think it reasonable that interest
should be paid; but equally unreasonable during
the war. Interest is a compensation for the
use of money. Your money in my hands is in
the form of lands and negroes. From these,
during the war, no use, no profits could be derived.
Tobacco is the article they produce.
That can only be turned into money at a foreign
market. But the moment it went out of our
ports for that purpose, it was captured either
by the King's ships, or by those of individuals.
The consequence was that tobacco, worth from
twenty to thirty shillings the hundred, sold generally
in Virginia during the war for five shillings.
This price, it is known, will not maintain
the laborer and pay taxes. There was no surplus
of profit then to pay an interest. In the
meanwhile we stood insurers of the lives of the
laborers, and of the ultimate issue of the war.
He who attempted during the war to remit
either his principal or interest, must have expected
to remit three times to make one payment;
because it is supposed that two out of
three parts of the shipments were taken. It
was not possible, then, for the debtor to derive
any profit from the money which might enable
him to pay an interest, nor yet to get rid of the
principal by remitting it to his creditor.—
To William Jones. Ford ed., iv, 352.
(P. 1787)

2093. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Jefferson's Personal.—[further continued].

Besides these reasons in
favor of the general mass of debtors, I have
some peculiar to my own case. In the year
1776, before a shilling of paper money was issued,
I sold lands to the amount of four thousand
two hundred pounds sterling. In order to
pay these two debts I offered the bonds of the
purchasers to your agent, Mr. Evans, if he
would acquit me, and accept of the purchasers
as debtors in my place. They were as sure as
myself had he done it. These debts, being
turned over to you, would have been saved to
you by the treaty of peace, but he declined it.
Great sums of paper money were afterwards
issued. This depreciated, and payment was
made me in this money when it was but a
shadow. Our laws do not entitle their own
citizens to require repayment in these cases,
though the treaty authorizes the British creditor
to do it. Here, then, I lost the principal and
interest once. Again Lord Cornwallis encamped
ten days on an estate of mine at Elk island,
having his headquarters in my house. He
burned all the tobacco houses and barns on
the farm, with the produce of the former year
in them. He burned all the enclosures, and
wasted the fields in which the crop of that year
(it was the month of June), was growing. He
killed or carried off every living animal, cutting
the throats of those which were too young for
service. Of the slaves, he carried away thirty.
The useless and barbarous injury he did me,
in that instance, was more than would have
repaid your debt, principal and interest. Thus
I lost it a second time. Still I lay my shoulder
assiduously to the payment of it a third time.
In doing this, however, I think yourself will be
of opinion that I am authorized in justice to
clear it of every article not demandable in strict
right. Of this nature I consider interest during
the war.—
To William Jones. Ford ed., iv, 353.

2094. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Jefferson's Personal.—[further continued] .

Another question is as
to the paper money I deposited in the treasury
of Virginia towards the discharge of this debt.
I before observed that I had sold lands to the
amount of four thousand two hundred pounds
sterling before a shilling of paper money was
emitted, with a view to pay this debt. I received
this money in depreciated paper. The
State was then calling on those who owed
money to British subjects to bring it into the
treasury, engaging to pay a like sum to the
creditor at the end of the war. I carried the
identical money therefore to the Treasury,
where it was applied, as all the money of the
same description was, to the support of the war.
Subsequent events have been such that the State
cannot, and ought not to pay the same nominal
sum in gold or silver which they received in
paper, nor is it certain what they will do. *
* * Whatever the State decides you shall receive
* * * the debt fully. I am ready to
remove all difficulty arising from this deposit,
to take back to myself the demand against the
State, and to consider the deposit as originally
made for myself and not for you.—
To William Jones. Ford ed., iv, 355.
(P. 1787)

See 2005 to 2010.

2095. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Liquidation of.—

There are two circumstances of
difficulty in the payment of these debts. To
speak of [Virginia], the particular State with
which you and I are best acquainted, we know
that its debt is ten times the amount of its circulating
cash. To pay that debt at once then is a
physical impossibility. Time is requisite. Were
all the creditors to rush to judgment together,
a mass of two millions of property would be
brought to market, where there is but the tenth
of that sum of money in circulation to purchase
it. Both debtor and creditor would be ruined,
as debts would be thus rendered desperate
which are in themselves good. Of this truth
I find the merchants here [London] sufficiently
sensible, and I have no doubt we should have
arranged the article of time to mutual satisfaction,
allowing judgment to pass immediately,
and dividing the execution into instalments.—
To Alexander McCaul. Ford ed., iv, 202.

2096. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Plan to pay.—

They [British merchants whom I met in
London] were certainly disposed to consent to
accommodation as to the article of debts. I was
not certain, when I left England, that they
would relinquish the interest during the war.
A letter received since, from the first character
among the American merchants in Scotland,
satisfies me they would have relinquished it
to insure the capital and residue of interest.
Would to heaven all the States, therefore, would
settle a uniform plan. To open the courts to
them, so that they might obtain judgments;
to divid the executions into so many equal annual
instalments, as that the last might be paid
in the year 1790; to have the payments in actual
money, and, to include the capital, and interest
preceding and subsequent to the war,
would give satisfaction to the world, and to the
merchants in general. Since it is left for each
nation to pursue their own measures in the execution
of the late treaty, may not Congress with
propriety recommend a mode of executing that
article respecting the debts, and send it to each
State to be passed into law. Whether England
gives up the [Western] posts or not, these debts
must be paid, or our character stained with infamy
among all nations and through all time.


Page 240
As to the satisfaction for slaves carried off, it is
a bagatelle, which, if not made good before the
last instalment becomes due, may be secured
out of that.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 565. Ford ed., iv, 221.
(P. 1786)

2097. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Privateering and.—

With respect to the creditors
in Great Britain, they mostly turned their attention
to privateering; and arming the vessels
they had before employed in trading with us,
they captured on the seas, not only the produce
of the farms of their debtors, but of those of the
whole State. They thus paid themselves by
capture more than their annual interest, and we
lost more. Some merchants, indeed, did not
engage in privateering. These lost their interest.
But we did not gain it. It fell into the
hands of their countrvmen. It cannot, therefore,
be demanded of us. As between these
merchants and their debtors, it is the case
where, a loss being incurred, each party May
justifiably endeavor to shift it from himself.
Each has an equal right to avoid it. One party
can never expect the other to yield a thing to
which he has as good a right as the demander;
we even think he has a better right than the
demander in the present instance. This loss
has been occasioned by the fault of the nation
which was creditor. Our right to avoid it, then,
stands on less exceptionable ground than theirs.
But it will be said, that each party thought the
other the aggressor. In these disputes there is
but one umpire, and that has decided the question
where the world in general thought the
right lay.—
To William Jones. Ford ed., iv, 353.

2098. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Slaves and.—

The British army, after ravaging the
State of Virginia, had sent off a very great number
of slaves to New York. By the seventh
article of the treaty of peace, they stipulated not
to carry away any of these. Notwithstanding
this, it was known, when they were evacuating
New York, that they were carrying away the
slaves. General Washington made an official
demand of Sir Guy Carleton, that he should
cease to send them away. He answered, that
these people had come to them under promise
of the King's protection, and that that promise
should be fulfilled in preference to the stipulation
in the treaty. The State of Virginia,
to which nearly the whole of these slaves belonged,
passed a law to forbid the recovery of
debts due to British subjects. They declared,
at the same time, they would repeal the law, if
Congress were of opinion they ought to do it.
But, desirous that their citizens should be discharging
their debts, they afterwards permitted
British creditors to prosecute their suits, and
to receive their debts in seven equal and annual
payments; relying that the demand for the
slaves would be either admitted or denied in
time to lay their hands on some of the latter
payments for reimbursement.—
Report to Congress. Washington ed. ix, 240. Ford ed., iv, 127.

2099. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Virginia Loan and.—

A citizen of the Commonwealth [of Virginia], who is debtor to a British subject,
may lodge the money due, or any part
thereof, in the * * * loan office, accounting
sixteen pence of the lawful money of the Commonwealth,
or two-thirds of a dollar in bills of
credit there current, equal to twelve pence of
any such debt payable in the debtor's name,
signed by the commissioner of the loan office,
and delivering the same to the Governor whose
receipt shall discharge the debt. [127]
British Property Bill. Ford ed., ii, 200.


The courts held that payments under [this law] did not liquidate the debts. * * * Among those
to suffer the most was Jefferson, who had paid into
the loan-office moneys due by him to John Randolph,
Kippent & Co., and William Jones.—Note Ford

2100. DEBTS DUE BRITISH, Sum of Virginia's.—

Virginia certainly owed two millions
sterling to Great Britain at the conclusion
of the war. Some have conjectured the debt as
high as three millions. I think that State owed
near as much as all the rest put together. This
is to be ascribed to peculiarities in the tobacco
trade. The advantages made by the British
merchants, on the tobaccos consigned to them,
were so enormous, that they spared no means
of increasing those consignments. A powerful
engine for this purpose was the giving good
prices and credit to the planter, till they got
him more immersed in debt than he could pay,
without selling his lands or slaves. They then
reduced the prices given for his tobaccos, so
that, let his shipments be ever so great, and his
demand of necessaries ever so economical, they
never permitted him to clear off his debt.
These debts had become hereditary from father
to son, for many generations, so that the planters
were a species of property, annexed to certain
mercantile houses in London.—
Answer to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 250. Ford ed., iv, 155.
(P. 1786)

2101. DECIMAL SYSTEM, Advantages of.—

The most easy ratio of multiplication and
division, is that by ten. Everyone knows the
facility of Decimal Arithmetic. Every one
remembers, that when learning Money-Arithmetic,
he used to be puzzled with adding the
farthings, taking out the fours and carrying
them on; adding the pence, taking out the
twelves and carrying them on; adding the
shillings, taking out the twenties and carrying
them on; but when he came to the
pounds, where he had only tens to carry forward,
it was easy and free from error. The
bulk of mankind are schoolboys through life.
These little perplexities are always great to
them. And even mathematical heads feel the
relief of an easier, substituted for a more difficult
process. Foreigners, too, who trade and
travel among us, will find a great facility in
understanding our coins and accounts from
this ratio of subdivision. Those who have
had occasion to convert the livres, sols and
deniers of the French; the gilders, stivers
and pfennings of the Dutch; the pounds, shillings,
pence, and farthings of these several
States, into each other, can judge how much
they would have been aided, had their several
subdivisions been in a decimal ratio. Certainly,
in all cases, where we are free to
choose between easy and difficult modes of
operation, it is most rational to choose the
easy. The Financier [Robert Morris], therefore,
in his report, well proposes that our
coins should be in decimal proportion to one
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 163. Ford ed., iii, 447.

2102. DECIMAL SYSTEM, Approbation of.—

The experiment made by Congress
in the year one thousand seven hundred and
eighty-six, by declaring that there should be


Page 241
one money of account and payment through
the United States, and that its parts and multiples
should be in a decimal ratio, has obtained
such general approbation, both at home
and abroad, that nothing seems wanting but
the actual coinage, to banish the discordant
pounds, shillings, pence and farthings of the
different States, and to establish in their
stead the new denominations.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 477.
(July. 1790)

2103. DECIMAL SYSTEM, France and.—

The convenience of [the decimal system] in
our moneyed system has been approved by all,
and France has followed the example.—
To John Quincy Adams. Washington ed. vii, 89.
(M. 1817)

2104. DECIMAL SYSTEM, Weights, Measures and.—

The divisions into dimes,
cents and mills is now so well understood
that it would be easy of introduction into the
kindred branches of weights and measures.
I use, when I travel, an odometer of Clarke's
invention, which divides the mile into cents,
and I find every one comprehends a distance
readily, when stated to him in miles and
cents; so he would in feet and cents, pounds
and cents, &c.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 53. Ford ed., i. 75.

— DECIUS, Charges of.—

See Randolph,


See Appendix. [128]


The principles asserted in the Declaration are
classified in this work. The text of the Declaration,
as drawn by Jefferson, with the alterations made by
Congress, is given in the Appendix.—Editor.

2105. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Action in Congress.—

On the
15th of May, 1776, the Convention of Virginia
instructed their delegates in Congress, to propose
to that body to declare the Colonies independent
of Great Britain, and appointed a
committee to prepare a declaration of rights,
and plan of government.

“In Congress, Friday, June 7, 1776. The
delegates [129] from Virginia moved, in obedience
to instructions from their constituents that the
Congress should declare, that these United Colonies
are, and of right ought to be, free and
independent States, that they are absolved from
all allegiance to the British crown, and that all
political connection between them and the State
of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved;
that measures should be immediately
taken for procuring the assistance of foreign
powers, and a Confederation be formed to
bind the Colonies more closely together. The
House being obliged to attend at that time to
some other business, the proposition was referred
to the next day, when the members were
ordered to attend punctually at ten o'clock.

Saturday, June 8. They proceeded to take
it into consideration, and referred it to a committee
of the whole, into which they immediately
resolved themselves, and passed that day
and Monday, the 10th, in debating on the subject.
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 12. Ford ed., i, 18.
(1821) [130]


Richard H. Lee, being the oldest member of the
Virginia delegation, was selected to make the motion.—Editor.


The quoted paragraphs are from notes made by
Jefferson in the Congress.—Editor.

2106. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Action in Congress.—[continued].

It appearing in the course
of these debates [on Independence], that the
Colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina
were not yet matured for falling from
the parent stem, but that they were fast advancing
to that state, it was thought most
prudent to wait a while for them, and to postpone
the final decision to July 1st; but, that
this might occasion as little delay as possible,
a committee was appointed to prepare
a Declaration of Independence.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 17. Ford ed., i, 24.

2107. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Action in Congress.—[further continued].

On Monday, the 1st of July, the House resolved itself into a committee
of the whole, and resumed the consideration
of the original motion [to declare the
Colonies independent States] made by the
delegates of Virginia, which, being again debated
through the day, was carried in the affirmative
by the votes of New Hampshire,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
New Jersey, Maryland. Virginia, North Carolina,
and Georgia. South Carolina and Pennsylvania
voted against it. Delaware had but
two members present and they were divided.
The delegates from New York declared they
were for it themselves, and were assured their
constituents were for it; but that their instructions
having been drawn near a twelvemonth
before, when reconciliation was still
the general object, they were enjoined by
them to do nothing which should impede that
object. They, therefore, thought themselves
not justifiable in voting on either side, and
asked leave to withdraw from the question,
which was given them. The committee rose
and reported their resolution to the House.
Mr. Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina,
then requested the determination might be put
off to the next day, as he believed his colleagues,
though they disapproved of the resolution,
would then join in it for the sake of
unanimity. The ultimate question, whether
the House would agree to the resolution of
the committee, was accordingly postponed to
the next day, when it was again moved, and
South Carolina concurred in voting for it.
In the meantime, a third member had come
post from the Delaware counties, and turned
the vote of that Colony in favor of the resolution.
Members of a different sentiment
attending that morning from Pennsylvania
also, her vote was changed, so that the whole
twelve Colonies, who were authorized to vote
at all, gave their voices for it; and within a
few days (July 9) the convention of New
York approved of it, and thus supplied the
void occasioned by the withdrawing of her
delegates from the vote.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 18. Ford ed., i, 24.


The committee
were John Adams, Dr. Franklin,
Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston and
myself. * * *. The committee * * * desired me to do it. [131] It was accordingly
done, and being approved by them, I reported


Page 242
it to the House on Friday, the 28th of June,
when it was read, and ordered to lie on the
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 17. Ford ed., i, 24.

See 2119.


To write the Declaration.—Editor.

2109. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Consideration of.—

proceeded * * * on July 1st to consider
the Declaration of Independence, which had
been reported and laid on the table the Friday
preceding, and on Monday referred to a
committee of the whole. * * * The debates,
having taken up the greater parts of
the 2d, 3d and 4th days of July, were, on the
evening of the last, closed; the Declaration
was reported by the committee, agreed to
by the House, and signed by every member
present, except Mr. [John] Dickinson. [132]
Autiobiography. Washington ed. i, 19. Ford ed., i, 28.

See 2122.


“Thus,” says Knight, in his History of England,
“on the 4th of July, was completed what has been
not unjustly termed the most memorable public
document which history records.”—Editor.


I enclose [you] a
copy of the Declaration of Independence, as
agreed to by the House, and also as originally
framed. You will judge whether it is the
better or worse for the critics.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Washington ed. i, 204. Ford ed., ii, 59.
(Pa., July 8, 1776)

2111. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copies of.—[continued].

I am not able to give
you any particular account of the paper
handed you by Mr. Lee, as being either the
original or a copy of the Declaration of Independence,
sent by myself to his grandfather.
The draft, when completed by myself,
with a few verbal amendments by Dr. Franklin
and Mr. Adams, two members of the
Committee, in their own handwriting, is now
in my possession, and a fair copy of this was
reported to the Committee, passed by them
without amendment, and then reported to
Congress. This latter should be among the
records of the old Congress; and whether
this or the one from which it was copied
and now in my hands, is to be called the original,
is a question of definition. To that in my
hands, if worth preserving, my relations with
our University [of Virginia] give irresistible
claims. Whenever, in the course of the composition,
a copy became overcharged, and difficult
to be read with amendments, I copied
it fair, and when that also was crowded with
other amendments, another fair copy was
made, &c. These rough drafts I sent to distant
friends who were anxious to know what
was passing. But how many and to whom I
do not recollect. One sent to Mazzei was
given by him to the Countess de Tesse (aunt
of Madame de Lafayette) as the original and
is probably now in the hands of her family.
Whether the paper sent to R. H. Lee was
one of these, or whether, after the passage
of the instrument. I made a copy for him,
with the amendments of Congress, may, I
think, be known from the face of the paper.—
To John Vaughan. Washington ed. vii, 409. Ford ed., x, 345.
(M. 1825)


See 2115.


On the 7th of
June, 1776, the delegates from Virginia,
moved, in obedience to instructions from their
constituents, that Congress should declare the
Thirteen United Colonies to be independent
of Great Britain, that a Confederation should
be formed to bind them together, and measures
be taken for procuring the assistance of
foreign powers. The House ordered a punctual
attendance of all their members the next
day at ten o'clock, and then resolved themselves
into a committee of the whole, and
entered on the discussion. It appeared in
the course of the debates that seven States,
viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina,
and Georgia, were decided for a separation;
but that six others still hesitated, to
wit. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina.
Congress, desirous of unanimity, and seeing
that the public mind was advancing rapidly
to it, referred the further discussion to the
1st of July, appointing in the meantime a
Committee to prepare a Declaration of Independence,
a second to form Articles for the
Confederation of the States, and a third to
propose measures for obtaining foreign aid.
On the 28th of June, the Declaration of Independence
was reported to the House, and
was laid on the table for the consideration of
the members. On the 1st day of July, they
resolved themselves into a committee of the
whole, and resumed the consideration of the
motion of June 7 [declaring independence].
It was debated through the day, and at length
was decided in the affirmative by the vote of
nine States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.
Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted
against it. Delaware, having but two members
present, was divided. The delegates from
New York declared they were for it, and
their constitutents also; but that the instructions
against it which had been given them a
twelvemonth before, were still unrepealed;
that their convention was to meet in a few
days, and they asked leave to suspend their
vote till they could obtain a repeal of their
instructions. Observe that all this was in a
committee of the whole Congress, and that
according to the mode of their proceedings,
the resolution of that committee to declare
themselves independent was to be put to
the same persons reassuming their forms as a
Congress. It was now evening, the members
exhausted by a debate of nine hours, during
which all the powers of the soul had been distended
with the magnitude of the object, and
the delegates of South Carolina desired that
the final decision might be put off to the next
morning that they might still weigh in their
own minds their ultimate vote. It was put
off, and in the morning of the 2d of July,
they joined the other nine States in voting for
it. The members of the Pennsylvania delegation,


Page 243
too, who had been absent the day before came in and turned the vote of their State in
favor of independence, and a third member
of the State of Delaware, who, hearing of the
division in the sentiment of his two colleagues,
had travelled post to arrive in time,
now came in and decided the vote of that
State also for the resolution. Thus twelve
States voted for it at the time of its passage,
and the delegates of New York, the thirteenth
State, received instructions within a few days
to add theirs to the general vote; so that
* * * there was not a dissenting voice.
Congress proceeded immediately to consider
the Declaration of Independence which had
been reported by their Committee on the 28th
of June. The several paragraphs of that
were debated for three days, viz., the 2d, 3d,
and 4th of July. In the evening of the 4th,
they were finally closed, and the instrument
approved by an unanimous vote, and signed
by every member, except Mr. Dickinson.—
To The Editor of the Journal de Paris. Washington ed. ix, 309. Ford ed., iv, 440.
(P. Aug. 1787)


With respect to
our rights, and the acts of the British government
contravening those rights, there was but
one opinion on this side of the water. All
American whigs thought alike on these subjects.
When forced, therefore, to resort to
arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal
of the world was deemed proper for our justification.
This was the object of the Declaration
of Independence. Not to find out
new principles, or new arguments, never before
thought of, not merely to say things
which had never been said before; but to
place before mankind the common sense of
the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to
command their assent, and to justify ourselves
in the independent stand we were compelled
to take. Neither aiming at originality
of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from
any particular and previous writing, it was
intended to be an expression of the American
mind, and to give to that expression the
proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.
All its authority rests, then, on the
harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether
expressed in conversation, in letters, printed
essays, or in the elementary books of public
right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney,
To Henry Lee. Washington ed. vii, 407. Ford ed., x, 343.
(M. 1825)


Many excellent
persons opposed it on doubts whether we
were provided sufficiently with the means of
supporting it, whether the minds of our constituents
were yet prepared to receive, &c.,
who, after it was decided, united zealously in
the measures it called for.—
To William P. Gardner. Ford ed., ix, 377.
(M. 1813)

2115. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Opposition to.—[continued].

When the Declaration
of Independence was under the consideration of
Congress, there were two or three unlucky expressions
in it which gave offence to some members.
The words “Scotch and other foreign
auxiliaries.” excited the ire of a gentleman or
two of that country. Severe strictures on the
conduct of the British King, in negativing our
repeated repeals of the law which permitted the
importation of slaves, were disapproved by some
Southern gentlemen whose reflections were not
yet matured to the full abhorrence of that traffic.
Although the offensive expressions were immediately
yielded, these gentlemen continued their
depredations on other parts of the instrument.
I was sitting by Dr. Franklin who perceived
that I was not insensible to these mutilations.
“I have made it a rule,” said he, “whenever
in my power, to avoid becoming the draftsman
of papers to be reviewed by a public body. I
took my lesson from an incident which I will
relate to you. When I was a journeyman
printer, one of my companions, an apprentice
hatter, having served out his time, was about to
open shop for himself. His first concern was
to have a handsome signboard, with a proper inscription.
He composed it in these words:
John Thompson, Hatter, makes and sells hats
for ready money,” with a figure of a hat subjoined.
But he thought he would submit to
his friends for their amendments. The first
he showed it to thought the word “hatter”
tautologous, because followed by the words,
“makes hats,” which show he was a hatter. It
was struck out. The next observed that the
word “makes” might as well be omitted, because
his customers would not care who made
the hats. If good and to their mind, they would
buy by whomsoever made. He struck it out.
A third said he thought the words “for ready
money,” were useless as it was not the custom
of the place to sell on credit. Everyone who
purchased expected to pay. They were parted
with, and the inscription now stood, “John
Thompson sells hats.” “Sells hats,” says his
next friend? Why nobody will expect you to
give them away. What, then, is the use of
that word? It was stricken out, and “hats”
followed it,—the rather as there was one painted
on the board. So his inscription was reduced
ultimately to “John Thompson” with the figure
of a hat subjoined—
Anecdotes of Dr. Franklin. Washington ed. viii, 500. Ford ed., x, 119.
(M. 1818)


See 2119.

2116. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, People of England and.—

The pusillanimous idea that we had any friends in England worth keeping terms with,
still haunted the minds of many. For this
reason, those passages which conveyed censure
on the people of England were struck
out, lest they should give them offence.—
Autopiography. Washington ed. i, 19. Ford ed., i, 28.


Mr. Barralet's
sketch of the ornaments proposed to accompany
the publication of the Declaration of Independence,
contemplated by Mr. Murray and yourself,
has been received. I am too little versed in
the art of design to be able to offer any suggestions
to the artist. As far as I am a judge,
the composition appears to be judicious and
well-imagined. Were I to hazard a suggestion,
it should be that Mr. Hancock, as President
of Congress, should occupy the middle and
principal place. No man better merited than
did Mr. John Adams to hold a most conspicuous
place in the design.—
To William P. Gardner. Ford ed., ix, 377.
(M. Feb. 1813)


Page 244

2118. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Pictures of.—[continued].

The painting lately executed
by Col. Trumbull, I have never seen,
but as far back as the days of Horace, at least,
we are told that “pictoribus atque poetis;
Quidlibet audendi semper fuit œqua potestas.”
He has exercised this licentia pictoris in like
manner in the surrender at Yorktown, where
he has placed Lord Cornwallis at the head of
the surrender, although it is well known that he
was excused by General Washington from appearing.—
To S. A. Wells. Ford ed., x, 133.
(M. 1819)

2119. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Recollections of by Adams.—

You have doubtless seen Timothy Pickering's
Fourth of July observations on the Declaration
of Independence. If his principles
and prejudices, personal and political, gave
us no reason to doubt whether he had truly
quoted the information he alleges to have
received from Mr. Adams, I should then say,
that in some of the particulars, Mr. Adams's
memory has led him into unquestionable error.
At the age of eighty-eight, and fortyseven
years after the transactions of Independence,
this is not wonderful. Nor should
I, at the age of eighty, on the small advantage
of that difference only, venture to oppose my
memory to his, were it not supported by written
notes, taken by myself at the moment,
and on the spot. He says. “the Committee
of five, to wit, Dr. Franklin, Sherman, Livingston,
and ourselves, met, discussed the
subject, and then appointed him and myself
to make the draft; that we, as a sub-committee,
met, and after the urgencies of each
on the other, I consented to undertake the
task; that the draft being made, we, the sub-committee,
met, and conned the paper over,
and he does not remember that he made, or
suggested a single alteration.” Now these
details are quite incorrect. The Committee
of five met; no such thing as a sub-committee
was proposed, but they unanimously pressed
on myself alone to undertake the draft. I
consented; I drew it; but before I reported
it to the Committee, I communicated it separately
to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, requesting
their correction, because they were
the two members of whose judgments and
amendments I wished most to have the benefit,
before presenting it to the Committee;
and you have seen the original paper now
in my hands, with the corrections of Dr.
Franklin and Mr. Adams interlined in their
own handwritings. Their alterations were
two or three only, and merely verbal I
then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the
Committee, and from them, unaltered, to
Congress. This personal communication and
consultation with Mr. Adams, he has misremembered
into the actings of a sub-committee,
Pickering's observations, and Mr. Adams's
in addition, “that it contained no new
ideas, that it is a common-place compilation,
its sentiments hackneyed in Congress for two
years before, and its essence contained in
Otis's pamphlet,” may all be true. Of that
I am not to be the judge. Richard Henry Lee
charged it as copied from Locke's Treatise on
Civil Government. Otis's pamphlet I never
saw, and whether I had gathered my ideas
from reading on reflection, I do not know. I
know only that I turned to neither book nor
pamphlet while writing it. I did not consider
it as any part of my charge to invent new
ideas altogether, and to offer no sentiment
which had ever been expressed before. Had
Mr. Adams been so restrained, Congress
would have lost the benefit of his bold and
impressive advocacy of the rights of the Revolution.
For no man's confident and fervid
addresses, more than Mr. Adam's, encouraged
and supported us through the difficulties
surrounding us, which, like the ceaseless action
of gravity, weighed on us by night and
by day. Yet, on the same ground, we May
ask what of these elevated thoughts was new,
or can be affirmed never before to have entered
the conceptions of man? Whether,
also, the sentiments of Independence and the
reasons for declaring it, which make so
great a portion of the instrument, had been
hackneyed in Congress for two years before
the 4th of July, '76. or this dictum also of
Mr. Adams be another slip of memory, let
history say. This, however, I will say for
Mr. Adams, that he supported the Declaration
with zeal and ability, fighting fearlessly
for every word of it. As for myself, I thought
it a duty to be, on that occasion, a passive
auditor of the opinions of others, more impartial
judges than I could be, of its merits
or demerits. During the debate I was sitting
by Dr. Franklin, and he observed that I was
writhing a little under the acrimonious criticisms
on some of its parts; and it was on
that occasion, that by way of comfort, he
told me the story of John Thompson, the
hatter, and his new sign. Timothy thinks the
instrument the better for having a fourth of it
expunged. He would have thought it still
better, had the other three-fourths gone out
also, all but the single sentiment (the only
one he approves), which recommends friendship
to his dear England, whenever she is
willing to be at peace with us. His insinuations
are that although “the high tone of the
instrument was in unison with the warm
feelings of the times, this sentiment of habitual
friendship to England should never be
forgotten, and that the duties it enjoins
should especially be borne in mind on every
celebration of this anniversary.” In other
words, that the Declaration, as being a libel
on the government of England, composed in
times of passion, should now be buried in
utter oblivion, to spare the feelings of our
English friends and Angloman fellow-citizens.
But it is not to wound them that we
wish to keep it in mind; but to cherish the
principles of the instrument in the bosoms
of our fellow-citizens; and it is a heavenly
comfort to see that these principles are yet
so strongly felt. as to render a circumstance
so trifling as this lapse of memory of Mr.
Adams, worthy of being solemnly announced
and supported at an anniversary assemblage
of the nation on its birthday. In opposition,
however, to Mr. Pickering. I pray God that
these principles may be eternal.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. vii, 304. Ford ed., x, 267.
(M. Aug. 1823)

See 64.


Page 245


See 2120.

2120. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Semi-centennial of.—

kind invitation I received from you, on the
part of the citizens of the city of Washington,
to be present with them at their celebration
on the fiftieth anniversary of American Independence,
as one of the surviving signers
of an instrument pregnant with our own and
the fate of the world, is most flattering to
myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment
proposed for the comfort of
such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings
of sickness, to be deprived by it of a
personal participation in the rejoicings of
that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under
circumstances not placed among those we are
permitted to control. I should, indeed, with
peculiar delight, have met and exchanged
there congratulations personally with the
small band, the remnant of that host of worthies,
who joined with us on that day, in the
bold and doubtful election we were to make
for our country, between submission or the
sword; and to have enjoyed with them the
consolatory fact, that our fellow-citizens,
after half a century of experience and prosperity,
continue to approve the choice we
made. May it be to the world, what I believe
it will be (to some parts sooner, to
others later, but finally to all), the signal of
arousing men to burst the chains under which
monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded
them to bind themselves, and to assume
the blessings and security of self-government.
That form which we have substituted,
restores the free right to the unbounded
exercise of reason and freedom of opinion.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights
of man. The general spread of the light of
science has already laid open to every view
the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind
has not been born with saddles on their backs,
nor a favored few, booted and spurred, ready
to ride them legitimately, by the grace of
God. These are grounds of hope for others.
For ourselves, let the annual return of this
day forever refresh our recollections of these
rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.
I will ask permission here to express the
pleasure with which I should have met my
ancient neighbors of the city of Washington
and its vicinity, with whom I passed so many
years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse
which so much relieved the anxieties
of the public cares, and left impressions
so deeply engraved in my affections, as never
to be forgotten. With my regret that ill
health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance,
be pleased to receive for yourself,
and those for whom you write, the assurance
of my highest respect and friendly
attachments. [133]
To Roger C. Weightman. Washington ed. vii, 450. Ford ed., x, 390.
(M. June 24, 1826)


This was the last letter written by Jefferson. He
died on the following Fourth of July.—Editor.


Governor McKean,
in his letter to McCorkle of July 16th,
1817, has thrown some lights on the transactions
of that day; but, trusting to his memory
chiefly, at an age when our memories are not
to be trusted, he has confounded two questions,
and ascribed proceedings to one which
belonged to the other. These two questions
were, 1st, the Virginia motion of June the
7th, to declare Independence; and 2d, the actual
Declaration, its matter and form. Thus
he states the question on the Declaration itself
as decided on the 1st of July; but it was
the Virginia motion which was voted on
that day in Committee of the Whole; South
Carolina, as well as Pennsylvania, then voting
against it. But the ultimate decision
in the House, on the report of the Committee,
being, by request, postponed to the next morning;
all the States voted for it except New
York, whose vote was delayed for the reason
before stated. It was not till the 2d of
July, that the Declaration itself was taken
up; nor till the 4th, that it was decided, and
it was signed by every member present, except
Mr. Dickinson.—
To Samuel A. Wells. Washington ed. i, 120. Ford ed., x, 130.
(M. 1819)

2122. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Signers of.—[continued].

The subsequent signatures
of members who were not then present,
and some of them not yet in office, is easily
explained, if we observe who they were; to
wit, that they were of New York and Pennsylvania.
New York did not sign till the
15th, because if was not till the 9th (five
days after the general signature), that their
convention authorized them to do so. The
Convention of Pennsylvania, learning that it
had been signed by a minority only of their
delegates, named a new delegation on the
20th, leaving out Mr. Dickinson, who had
refused to sign. Willing and Humphreys who
had withdrawn, reappointing the three members
who had signed, Morris, who had not
been present, and five new ones, to wit, Rush,
Clymer, Smith, Taylor and Ross; and Morris,
and the five new members were permitted to
sign, because it manifested the assent of their
full delegation and the express will of their
Convention, which might have been doubted
on the former signature of a minority only.
Why the signature of Thornton, of New
Hampshire, was permitted so late as the 4th
of November, I cannot now say; but undoubtedly
for some particular reason which
we should find to have been good had it been
expressed. These were the only post-signers,
and you see that there were solid reasons for
receiving those of New York and Pennsylvania,
and that this circumstance in no wise
affects the faith of this Declaratory Charter
of our rights, and of the rights of man.—
To Samuel A. Wells. Washington ed. i, 120. Ford ed., x, 130.
(M. 1819)

2123. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Signers of.—[further continued].

I have received the new
publication of the Secret Journals of Congress,
wherein is stated a resolution of July
19th, 1776, that the Declaration passed on the
4th, be fairly engrossed on parchment, and
when engrossed, be signed by every member;
and another of August 2d, that being engrossed
and compared at the table, it was


Page 246
signed by the members; that is to say, the
copy engrossed on parchment (for durability )
was signed by the members, after being
compared at the table, with the original one
signed on paper as before stated.—
Memorandum by Jefferson. Washington ed. i, 122. Ford ed., x, 132.
(Aug. 1822)

2124. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Signers of.—[further continued] .

I observe your toast of
Mr. [John] Jay on the 4th of July [1823] wherein you say that the omission of his
signature to the Declaration of Independence
was by accident. Our impressions as to this
fact being different, I shall be glad to have
mine corrected, if wrong. Jay, you know,
had been in constant opposition to our laboring
majority. Our estimate at the time was,
that he, Dickinson and Johnson of Maryland,
by their ingenuity, perseverance and
partiality to our English connection, had constantly
kept us a year behind where we ought
to have been in our preparations and proceedings.
From about the date of the Virginia
instructions of May 15th, 1776, to declare
Independence, Mr. Jay absented himself
from Congress, and never came there again
until December, 1778. Of course, he had no
part in the discussions or decision of that
question. The instructions to their Delegates
by the Convention of New York, then sitting,
to sign the Declaration, were presented to
Congress on the 15th of July only, and on
that day the journals show the absence of
Mr. Jay, by a letter received from him, as
they had done as early as the 29th of May by
another letter. And I think he had been
omitted by the convention on a new election of
Delegates, when they changed their instructions.
Of this last fact, however, having no
evidence but an ancient impression, I shall
not affirm it. But whether so or not, no
agency of accident appears in the case. This
error of fact, however, whether yours or
mine, is of little consequence to the public.
But truth being as cheap as error, it is as well
to rectify it for our own satisfaction.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 308. Ford ed., x, 271.
(M. 1823)

2125. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Signers of.—[further continued].

Of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence, I see now living
not more than half a dozen on your side of the
Potomac, and on this side, myself alone.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 37. Ford ed., ix, 334.
(M. Jan. 1812)

2126. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Signers of.—[further continued] .

I think Mr. Adams will
outlive us all, I mean the Declaration-men, although
our senior since the death of Colonel
Floyd. It is a race in which I have no ambition
to win.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. vii, 214. Ford ed., x, 191.
(M. Aug. 1821)


The clause
[in the draft] reprobating the enslaving the
inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance
to South Carolina and Georgia, who
had never attempted to restrain the importation
of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still
wished to continue it. Our northern brethren
also, I believe, felt a little tender under those
censures, for though their people had very
few slaves themselves, yet they had been
pretty considerable carriers of them to others.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 19. Ford ed., i, 28.


The genuine effusion
of the soul of our country at that time. [134]
To Dr. James Mease. Washington ed. vii, 410. Ford ed., x, 346.
(M. 1825)

See Fourth of July.


Bancroft in volume 8, chapter 70, of the History
of the United States, says, “this immortal State
paper which, for its composer, was the aurora of enduring
fame, was `the genuine effusion of the soul
of the country at that time', the revelation of its
mind, when in its youth, its enthusiasm, its sublime
confronting of danger, it rose to the highest creative
powers of which man is capable”.—Editor.


This holy
bond of our Union.—
To Dr. James Mease. Washington ed. vii, 410. Ford ed., x, 346.
(M. 1825)

2130. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Virginia Constitution and.

—The [Virginia] Constitution, with the Preamble,
was passed on the 29th of June [1776],
and the Committee of Congress had only the
day before that reported to that body the
draft of the Declaration of Independence.
The fact is, that that Preamble was prior in
composition to the Declaration; and both
having the same object, of justifying our
separation from Great Britain, they used
necessarily the same materials of justification,
and hence their similitude. [135]
To Augustus B. Woodward. Washington ed. vii, 406. Ford ed., x, 342.
(M. 1825)


Jefferson wrote the Preamble of the Virginia
Constitution. The phraseology of the indictment in
it of George III. is nearly the same as that in the


The Declaration
of Independence was written in a house
on the north side of Chestnut Street, Philadelphia,
between Third and Fourth, not a corner
house. Heiskell's tavern, which has been
pointed out as the house, is not the true one.—
From Daniel Webster's Conversation with Jefferson. Ford ed., x, 327.

2132. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Where written.—[continued].

At the time of writing
the Declaration, I lodged in the house of a Mr.
Graaf, a new brick house, three stories high, of
which I rented the second floor, consisting of a
parlor and bedroom, ready furnished. In that
parlor I wrote habitually, and in it wrote this
paper, particularly. So far I state from written
proofs in my possession. The proprietor, Graaf,
was a young man, son of a German, and then
newly married. I think he was a bricklayer,
and that his house was on the south side of
Market street, probably between Seventh and
Eighth streets, and if not the only house on
that part of the street, I am sure there were
few others near it. I have some idea that it
was a corner house, but no other recollections
throwing light on the question, or worth communication.
To Dr. James Mease. Washington ed. vii, 410. Ford ed., x, 346.
(M. 1825)


Page 247

Jefferson had been asked to supply this information.
In the letter, from which the quotation is
made, he wrote: “It is not for me to estimate the
importance of the circumstances concerning which
your letter makes inquiry. They prove, even in
their minuteness, the sacred attachments of our fellow
citizens to the event of which the paper of July
4th, 1776, was but the declaration, the genuine effusion
of the soul of our country at that time. Small
things may, perhaps, like the relics of saints, help to
nourish our devotion to this holy bond of our Union,
and keep it longer alive and warm in our affections.
This effect may give importance to circumstances,
however small.” Editor.


seem to think the Mecklenburg Declaration
genuine. I believe it spurious. I deem it to
be a very unjustifiable quiz, like that of the
volcano, so minutely related to us as having
broken out in North Carolina, some half a
dozen years ago, in that part of the country,
and perhaps in that very county of Mecklenburg
for I do not remember its precise locality. If
this paper be really taken from the Raleigh
Register, as quoted, I wonder it should have escaped
Ritchie, who culls what is good from
every paper, as the bee from every flower; and
the National Intelligencer, too, which is edited
by a North Carolinian; and that the fire should
blaze out all at once in Essex, [137] one thousand
miles from where the spark is said to have
fallen. But if really taken from the Raleigh
Register, who is the narrator, and is the name
subscribed real, or is it as fictitious as the paper
itself? It appeals, too, to an original book,
which is burned, to Mr. Alexander, who is
dead, to a joint letter from Caswell, Hughes
and Hooper, all dead, to a copy sent to the dead
Caswell, and another sent to Dr. Williamson,
now probably dead, whose memory did not
recollect, in the history he has written of North
Carolina, this gigantic step of its county of
Mecklenburg. Horry, too, is silent in his history
of Marion, whose scene of action was the
county bordering on Mecklenburg. Ramsay,
Marshall, Jones, Girardin, Wirt, historians of
the adjacent States, all silent. When Mr.
Henry's resolutions, far short of Independence,
flew like lightning through every paper, and
kindled both sides of the Atlantic, this flaming
declaration of the same date, of the independence
of Mecklenburg county, of North Carolina,
absolving it from the British allegiance,
and abjuring all political connection with that
nation, although sent to Congress too, is never
heard of. It is not known even a twelvemonth
after, when a similar proposition is
first made in that body. Armed with this bold
example, would not you have addressed our
timid brethren in peals of thunder on their tardy
fears? Would not every advocate of Independence
have rung the glories of Mecklenburg
county in North Carolina, in the ears of the
doubting Dickinson and others, who hung so
heavily on us? Yet the example of independent
Mecklenburg county, in North Carolina,
was never once quoted. The paper speaks, too,
of the continued exertions of their delegation
(Caswell, Hooper, Hughes) “in the cause of
liberty and independence.” Now, you remember
as well as I do, that we had not a greater
tory in Congress than Hooper; that Hughes was
very wavering, sometimes firm, sometimes feeble,
according as the day was clear or cloudy;
that Caswell, indeed, was a good whig, and kept
these gentlemen to the notch, while he was present;
but that he left us soon, and their line of
conduct became then uncertain until Penn came,
who fixed Hughes and the vote of the State. I
must not be understood as suggesting any doubtfulness
in the State of North Carolina. No
State was more fixed or forward. Nor do I
affirm, positively, that this paper is a fabrication;
because the proof of a negative can only
be presumptive. But I shall believe it such
until positive and solemn proof of its authenticity
be produced. And if the name of McKnitt
be real, and not a part of the fabrication,
it needs a vindication by the production of such
proof. For the present, I must be an unbeliever
in the apocryphal gospel.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 128. Ford ed., x, 136.
(M. July. 1819)


Adams had sent Jefferson a paper clipping about
it from the Essex (Mass.) Register.—Editor.

2134. DEFENCE, Coast.—

A steady, perhaps,
a quickened pace in preparations for the
defence of our seaport towns and waters; an
early settlement of the most exposed and vulnerable
parts of our country; a militia so organized
that its effective portions can be called
to any point in the Union, or volunteers instead
of them to serve a sufficient time, are
means which may always be ready yet never
preying on our resources until actually called
into use. They will maintain the public interests
while a more permanent force shall be in
course of preparation.—
Sixth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 69. Ford ed., viii, 495.
(Dec. 1806)

See Militia.

2135. DEFENCE, Coast.—[continued].

For the purposes of defence,
it has been concluded to combine—1st,
land batteries, furnished with heavy cannon
and mortars, and established on all the points
around the place favorable for preventing vessels
from lying before it; 2d, movable artillery
which may be carried * * * to
points unprovided with fixed batteries; 3d,
floating batteries; and 4th, gunboats, which
may oppose an enemy at its entrance and cooperate
with the batteries for his expulsion.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 79. Ford ed., ix, 23.
(Feb. 1807)

— DEFENCE, Gunboats and.—

See Gunboats.

2136. DEFENCE, National.—

To draw
around the whole nation the strength of the
General Government, as a barrier against foreign
foes * * * is [one of the] functions
of the General Government on which you
have a right to call.—
Reply to Vermont Address. Washington ed. iv, 418.
(W. 1801)

2137. DEFENCE, Naval.—

I am for such a naval force only * * * as may protect
our coasts and harbors * * *.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 328.
(Pa., 1799)

See Navy.

2138. DEFENCE, Personal.—

One loves
to possess arms, though they hope never to
have occasion for them.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iv, 143. Ford ed., vii, 84.
(M. 1796)

2139. DEFENCE, Preparations for.—

The moment our peace was threatened [by
the attack on the Chesapeake], I deemed it indispensable
to secure a greater provision of
those articles of military stores with which
our magazines were not sufficiently furnished.
To have awaited a previous and special sanction
by law would have lost occasions which
might not be retrieved. I did not hesitate,
therefore, to authorize engagements for such
supplements to our existing stock as would
render it adequate to the emergencies threatening


Page 248
us; and I trust that the Legislature, feeling the same anxiety for the safety of our
country, so materially advanced by this protection,
will approve, when done, what they
would have seen so important to be done, if
then assembled.—
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 87. Ford ed., ix, 161.
(Oct. 1807)
See Law, Transcending.

2140. DEFENCE, Readiness for.—

we are endeavoring * * * to obtain by
friendly negotiation a peaceable redress of the
injury [suspension of deposit at New Orleans],
and effectual provision against its
repetition, let us array the strength of the
nation, and be ready to do with promptitude
and effect whatever a regard to justice and
our future security may require.—
To—. Washington ed. iv, 469.
(W. Feb. 1803)

2141. DEFENCE, Readiness for.—[continued].

Although our prospect
is peace, our policy and purpose are to
provide for defence by all those means to
which our resources are competent.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 19.
(W. 1806)

2142. DEFENCE, The States and.—

the ordinary safety of the citizens of the several
States, whether against dangers from
within or without, reliance has been placed
either on the domestic means of the individuals,
or on those provided by the respective
To Jacob J. Brown. Washington ed. v, 240.
(W. 1808)

See Fortifications.

— DEFENCE, Torpedoes.—

See Torpedoes.

2143. DEITY, Assistance Implored.—

We commit our injuries to the even-handed
justice of that Being, Who doth no wrong,
earnestly beseeching Him to illuminate the
councils, and prosper the endeavors of those
to whom America hath confided her hopes,
that through their wise direction we May
again see reunited the blessings of liberty,
property, and harmony with Great Britain.—
Address Virginia House of Burgesses to Lord Dunmore. Ford ed., i, 459.
(June. 1775)

2144. DEITY, Assistance Implored.—[continued].

We devoutly implore assistance
of Almighty God to conduct us happily
through this great conflict.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 476.
(July. 1775)

2145. DEITY, Beneficence of.—

It hath
pleased the Sovereign Disposer of all human
events to give to this [Revolution] appeal an
issue favorable to the rights of the States.—
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 441. Ford ed., iii, 321.

2146. DEITY, Deliver of the Distressed.—

When the measure of their [the Slaves] tears shall be full, when their groans
shall have involved heaven itself in darkness,
doubtless, a God of justice will awaken to
their distress, and by diffusing light and liberality
among their oppressors, or, at length, by
His exterminating thunder, manifest His attention
to the things of this world, and that
they are not left to the guidance of a blind
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 279. Ford ed., iv, 185.
(P. 1786)

2147. DEITY, Existence of.—

I think that
every Christian sect gives a great handle to
atheism by their general dogma, that, without
a revelation, there would not be sufficient
proof of the being of a God. Now, one-sixth
of mankind only are supposed to be Christians;
the other five-sixths, then, who do not
believe in the Jewish and Christian revelation,
are without a knowledge of the existence of
a God! This gives completely a gain de
to the disciples of Ocellus, Timoeus,
Spinosa, Diderot and D'Holbach. The argument
which they rest on as triumphant and
unanswerable is, that in every hypothesis of
cosmogony, you must admit an eternal pre-existence
of something; and according to the
rule of sound philosophy, you are never to
employ two principles to solve a difficulty
when one will suffice. They say, then, that it
is more simple to believe at once in the eternal
pre-existence of the world, as it is now going
on, and may forever go on by the principle of
reproduction which we see and witness, than
to believe in the eternal pre-existence of an
ulterior cause, or Creator of the world, a
Being whom we see not and know not, of
whose form, substance, and mode, or place of
existence, or of action, no sense informs us,
no power of the mind enables us to delineate
or comprehend. On the contrary, I hold
(without appeal to revelation) that when we
take a view of the universe, in all its parts,
general or particular, it is impossible for the
human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction
of design, consummate skill, and indefinite
power in every atom of its composition.
The movements of the heavenly
bodies, so exactly held in their course by
the balance of centrifugal and centripetal
forces; the structure of our earth itself, with
its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere;
animal and vegetable bodies, examined
in all their minutest particles; insects, mere
atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as
man or mammoth; the mineral substances,
their generation and uses; it is impossible, I
say, for the human mind not to believe,
that there is in all this, design, cause, and
effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of
all things from matter and motion, their preserver
and regulator while permitted to exist
in their present forms, and their regeneration
into new and other forms. We see, too, evident
proofs of the necessity of a superintending
power. to maintain the universe in its
course and order. Stars, well known, have
disappeared, new ones have come into view;
comets in their incalculable courses, may run
foul of suns and planets, and require renovation
under other laws; certain races of
animals are become extinct; and were there
no restoring power. all existences might extinguish
successively, one by one, until all
should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. So
irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent
and powerful agent, that, of the infinite
numbers of men who have existed through
all time, they have believed, in the proportion
of a million at least to a unit, in the hypothesis
of an eternal pre-existence of a


Page 249
Creator, rather than in that of a self-existent
universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment
renders this more probable, than that of the
few in the other hypothesis. Some early
Christians, indeed, have believed in the coeternal
pre-existence of both the Creator and
the world, without changing their relation of
cause and effect. That this was the opinion
of St. Thomas, we are informed by Cardinal
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 281.
(M. 1823)

2148. DEITY, Favor Invoked.—

that Infinite Power which rules the destinies
of the universe, lead our councils to what is
best, and give them a favorable issue for your
peace and prosperity.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 5. Ford ed., viii, 6.

2149. DEITY, Goodness of.—

When we assemble together to consider the state of
our beloved country, our just attentions are
first drawn to those pleasing circumstances
which mark the goodness of that Being from
whose favor they flow, and the large measure
of thankfulness we owe for His bounty.—
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 15. Ford ed., viii, 181.
(Dec. 1802)

2150. DEITY, Gratitude to the.—

we devoutly return thanks to the Beneficent
Being who has been pleased to breath into our
sister nations the spirit of conciliation and
forgiveness, we are bound with peculiar gratitude
to be thankful to Him that our own peace
has been preserved.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 6. Ford ed., viii, 109.
(Dec. 1801)

2151. DEITY, Inalienable Rights and.—

All men are * * * endowed by their
Creator with inalienable rights.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

2152. DEITY, Liberty and the.—

We * * * most solemnly, before God and the
world declare that, * * * the arms we
have been compelled to assume we will use
with perseverance, exerting to their utmost
energies all those powers which our Creator
hath given us, to preserve that liberty which
He committed to us in sacred deposit * * *.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 476.
(July. 1775)

2153. DEITY, National Equality and the.—

When * * * it becomes necessary
for one people * * * to assume among
the powers of the earth the * * * equal
station to which the laws of nature and of
nature's God entitle them * * *.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

2154. DEITY, An Overruling.—

We are not in a world ungoverned by the laws and
the power of a Superior Agent. Our efforts
are in His hand, and directed by it; and He
will give them their effect in His own time. [138]
To David Barrow. Washington ed. vi, 456. Ford ed., ix, 516.
(M. 1815)


Jefferson was writing on the subject of negro

2155. DEITY, Prayers to.—

I offer my
sincere prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the
Universe, that He may long preserve our
country in freedom and prosperity.—
To Benjamin Waring. Washington ed. iv, 379.
(W. March. 1801)

2156. DEITY, Prayers to.—[continued].

I join in addressing Him whose Kingdom ruleth over all, to direct the
administration of their affairs to their own
greatest good.—
Reply to Vermont Address. Washington ed. iv, 419.
(W. 1801)

2157. DEITY, Prayers to.—[further continued].

That the Supreme Ruler
of the universe may have our country under
His special care, will be among the latest of
my prayers.—
R. to A. Virginia Assembly. Washington ed. viii, 149.

2158. DEITY, Protection of.—

We join
you [Washington] in commending the interests
of our dearest country to the protection
of Almighty God, beseeching Him to dispose
the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve
the opportunity afforded them of becoming a
happy and respectable nation. And for you
we address to Him our earnest prayers, that
a life so beloved may be fostered with all His
care; that your days may be happy as they
have been illustrious; and that He will finally
give you that reward which this world cannot
give. [139]
Address of Congress to General Washington. Rayner's Life of Jefferson,226.


The quotation is from the Reply of Congress to
General Washington on surrendering his commission
Dec., 1783. The paper was written by Jefferson,
but is not in either of the two principal editions of
his writings.—Editor.

2159. DEITY, Protection of.—[continued].

I reciprocate your kind
prayers for the protection and blessing of
the Common Father and Creator of man.—
R. to A. Danbury Baptists. Washington ed. viii, 114.

2160. DEITY, Submission to.—

is to be our destiny, wisdom as well as
duty, dictates that we should acquiesce in
the will of Him whose it is to give and take
away, and be contented in the enjoyment of
those who are still permitted to be with us.—
To John Page. Washington ed. iv, 547.

2161. DEITY, Supplications to.—

I shall need the favor of that Being in whose hands
we are, Who led our forefathers, as Israel of
old, from their native land, and planted them
in a country flowing with all the necessaries
and comforts of life; Who has covered our
infancy with His providence, and our riper
years with His wisdom and power; and to
whose goodness I ask you to join with me
in supplications, that He will so enlighten
the minds of your servants, guide their councils,
and prosper their measures, that whatsoever
they do shall result in your good, and
shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and
approbation of all nations.—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 45. Ford ed., viii, 347.

2162. DEITY, Supplications to.—[continued].

I return your kind prayers
with supplications to the same Almighty
Being for your future welfare and that of
our beloved country.—
R. to A. of Baltimore Baptists. Washington ed. viii, 138.


Page 250

2163. DEITY, Supplications to.—[further continued].

I supplicate the Being in
whose hands we all are, to preserve our
country in freedom and independence, and to
bestow on yourselves the blessings of His
R. to A. North Carolina Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 126.

2164. DEITY, Supplications to.—[further continued] .

I join in supplications to that Almighty Being, Who has heretofore
guarded our councils, still to continue His
gracious benedictions towards our country.—
R. to A. New London Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 152.

2165. DELAWARE, Anglomany in.—

Delaware is on a poise, as she has been since
1775, and will be till Anglomany with her
yields to Americanism.—
To C. F. Volney. Washington ed. iv, 573.
(W. 1805)

2166. DELAWARE, An English County.—

Delaware will probably remain what it
ever has been, a mere county of England,
conquered indeed, and held under by force,
but always disposed to counter-revolution.
I speak of its majority only.
To Mr. Bidwell. Washington ed. v, 14.
(W. 1806)

2167. DELAY, Danger in.—

An instant of delay in executive proceedings may be fatal
to the whole nation.—
To James Barbour. Washington ed. vi, 40. Ford ed., ix, 337.
(M. 1812)

2168. DELUGE, Arguments against the.—

Near the eastern foot of the NorthMountain
[of Virginia] are immense bodies of
Schist, containing impressions of shells in a
variety of forms. I have received petrified
shells of very different kinds from the first
sources of Kentucky, which bear no resemblance
to any I have ever seen on the tide-waters. It
is said that shells are found in the Andes, in
South America, fifteen thousand feet above the
level of the ocean. This is considered by many,
both of the learned and unlearned, as a proof
of an universal deluge. To the many considerations
opposing this opinion, the following May
be added: The atmosphere, and all its contents,
whether of water, air, or other matter, gravitate
to the earth; that is to say, they have
weight. Experience tells us, that the weight of
all these together never exceeds that of a column
of mercury of 31 inches height, which is
equal to one of rain water of 35 feet high. If
the whole contents of the atmosphere, then
were water, instead of what they are, it would
cover the globe but 35 feet deep; but as these
waters, as they fell, would run into the seas,
the superficial measure of which is to that of the
dry parts of the globe, as two to one, the seas
would be raised only 52½ feet above their present
level, and of course would overflow the
lands to that height only. In Virginia this would
be a very small proportion even of the champaign
country, the banks of our tide waters
being frequently, if not generally, of a greater
height. Deluges beyond this extent, then, as
for instance to the North mountain or to Kentucky,
seem out of the laws of nature. But
within it they may have taken place to a greater
or less degree, in proportion to the combination
of natural causes which may be supposed to have
produced them.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 275. Ford ed., iii, 116.

2169. DELUGE, Cases of a Partial.—

History renders probably some instances of a
partial deluge in the country lying around the
Mediterranean Sea. It has been often supposed,
(2 Buffon Epoques, 96) and it is not unlikely
that that sea was once a lake. While such, let
us admit an extraordinary collection of the
waters of the atmosphere from the other parts
of the globe to have been discharged over that
and the countries whose waters run into it.
Or without supposing it a lake, admit such an
extraordinary collection of the waters of the
atmosphere, and an influx from the Atlantic
ocean, forced by long-continued Western winds.
That lake, or that sea, may thus have been so
raised as to overflow the low lands adjacent to
it, as those of Egypt and Armenia, which, according
to a tradition of the Egyptians and Hebrews,
were overflowed about 2300 years before
the Christian era; those of Attica, said to have
been overflowed in the time of Ogyges, about
500 years later; and those of Thessaly, in the
time of Deucalion, still 300 years posterior.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. vii, 275. Ford ed., iii, 117.

2170. DELUGE, Mountain Shells and the.—

But such deluges as those will not account
for the shells found in the higher lands.
A second opinion has been entertained; which
is that, in times anterior to the records either
of history or tradition, the bed of the ocean,
the principal residence of the shelled tribe, has,
by some great convulsion of nature, been heaved
to the heights at which we now find shells and
other remains of marine animals. The favorers
of this opinion do well to suppose the great
events on which it rests to have taken place beyond
all the eras of history; for within these,
certainly, none such are to be found; and we
may venture to say farther, that no fact has
taken place, either in our own days, or in the
thousands of years recorded in history, which
proves the existence of any natural agents,
within or without the bowels of the earth, of
force sufficient to heave, to the height of 15,000
feet, such masses as the Andes. The difference
between the power necessary to produce such an
effect, and that which shuffled together the different
parts of Calabria in our days, is so immense,
that, from the existence of the latter we
are not authorized to infer that of the former.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 276. Ford ed., iii, 118.

2171. DELUGE, Voltaire's Shell theory and.—

M. de Voltaire has suggested a third
solution of this difficulty (Quest Encycl. Coquilles ).
He cites an instance in Touraine,
where, in the space of 80 years a particular
spot of earth had been twice metamorphosed
into soft stone, which had become hard when
employed in building. In this stone, shells of
various kinds were produced, discoverable at
first only with the microscope, but afterwards
growing with the stone. From this fact, I suppose
he would have us infer that, besides the
usual process for generating shells by the elaboration
of earth and water in animal vessels,
nature may have provided an equivalent operation,
by passing the same materials through the
pores of calcareous earths and stones; as we
see calcareous drop-stones generating every day
by percolation of water through limestone and
new marble forming in the quarries from which
the old has been taken out; and it might be
asked, whether it is more difficult for nature to
shoot the calcareous juice into the form of a
shell, than other juices into the form of crystals,
plants, animals, according to the construction
of the vessels through which they pass?
There is a wonder somewhere. Is it greatest on
this branch of the dilemma; on that which supposes
the existence of a power of which we
have no evidence in any other case; or on the


Page 251
first, which requires us to believe the creation
of a body of water, and its subsequent annihilation?
The establishment of the instance, cited
by M. de Voltaire, of the growth of shells unattached
to animal bodies, would have been that
of his theory. But he has not established it.
He has not even left it on ground so respectable
as to have rendered it an object of inquiry to
the literati of his own country. Abandoing
this fact, therefore, the three hypotheses are
equally unsatisfactory; and we must be contented
to acknowledge that this great phenomenon
is as yet unsolved. Ignorance is preferable
to error; and he is less remote from truth who
believes nothing, than he who believes what is
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 276. Ford ed., iii, 118.

2172. DELUSION, A policy of.—

against the principles of the great body
of the American people, the delusion of the
people is necessary to the dominant party.
I see the extent to which that delusion has
been already carried, and I see there is no
length to which it may not be pushed by a
party in possession of the revenues and the
legal authorities of the United States, for a
short time, indeed, but yet long enough to
admit much particular mischief. There is no
event, therefore, however atrocious, which
may not be expected.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. iv, 254. Ford ed., vii, 277.
(M. 1798)

See X. Y. Z. Plot.

2173. DELUSION, Recovery from.—

Our fellow citizens have been led hood-winked
from their principles, by a most extraordinary
combination of circumstances. But the band
is removed, and they now see for themselves.—
To John Dickinson. Washington ed. iv, 366. Ford ed., viii, 7.
(W. March. 1801)

2174. DELUSION, Recovery from.—[continued].

The late chapter of our
history * * * furnishes a new proof of
the falsehood of Montesquieu's doctrine that
a republic can be preserved only in a small
territory. The reverse is the truth. Had our
territory been a third only of what it is, we
were gone. But while frenzy and delusion
like an epidemic, gained certain parts, the
residue remained sound and untouched, and
held on till their brethren could recover from
the temporary delusion.—
To Nathaniel Niles. Washington ed. iv, 376. Ford ed., viii, 24.
(W. March. 1801)

2175. DELUSION, Recovery from.—[further continued].

The return of our citizens
from the frenzy into which they had been
wrought, partly by ill conduct in France,
partly by artifices practiced on them, is almost
entire, and will, I believe, become quite so.—
To Thomas Paine. Washington ed. iv, 370. Ford ed., viii, 18.
(W. March. 1801)


See Parties, People,
Representation, Republicans and Self-government.

2176. DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES, Federalist condemnation of.—

The denunciation
of the Democratic Societies is one of the
extraordinary acts of boldness of which we
have seen so many from the faction of monocrats.
It is wonderful, indeed, that the President
[Washington] should have permitted
himself to be the organ of such an attack on
the freedom of discussion, the freedom of
writing, printing and publishing. It must
be a matter of rare curiosity to get at the
modifications of these rights proposed by
them, and to see what line their ingenuity
would draw between democratical societies,
whose avowed object is the nourishment of
the republican principles of our Constitution,
and the Society of the Cincinnati, a self-created
one, carving out for itself hereditary
distinctions, lowering over our Constitution
eternally, meeting together in all parts of the
Union, periodically, with closed doors, accumulating
a capital in their separate treasury,
corresponding secretly and regularly, and
of which society the very persons denouncing
the democrats are themselves the fathers,
founders and high officers. Their sight must
be perfectly dazzled by the glittering of
crowns and coronets, not to see the extravagance
of the proposition to suppress the
friends of general freedom, while those who
wish to confine that freedom to the few are
permitted to go on in their principles and practices.
I here put out of sight the persons whose
misbehavior has been taken advantage of to
slander the friends of popular rights; and I
am happy to observe that as far as the circle
of my observation and information extends,
everybody has lost sight of them, and views
the abstract attempt on their natural and constitutional
rights in all its nakedness. I have
never heard, or heard of, a single expression
or opinion which did not condemn it as an
inexcusable aggression.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 111. Ford ed., vi, 516.
(M. Dec. 1794)

2177. DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES, Freedom of Speech and.—

The attempt which has been made to restrain the liberty of our
citizens meeting together, interchanging sentiments
on what subjects they please, and stating
their sentiments in the public papers, has
come upon us a full century earlier than I
expected. To demand the censors of public
measures to be given up for punishment, is
to renew the demand of the wolves in the
fable that the sheep should give up their dogs
as hostages of the peace and confidence
established between them.—
To William Branch Giles. Ford ed., vi, 515.
(M. Dec. 1794)

2178. DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES, Hamilton's Hostility to.—

The servile copyist
of Mr. Pitt thought he, too, must have his
alarms his insurrections, and plots against
the Constitution. Hence the incredible fact
that the freedom of association, of conversation,
and of the press, should in the fifth year
of our government, have been attacked under
the form of a denunciation of the Democratic
Societies, a measure which even England, as
boldly as she is advancing to the establishment
of an absolute monarchy, has not yet
been bold enough to attempt.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 16.
(M. May. 1795)

2179. DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES, Proposed bill against.—

We are in suspense in
Virginia to see the fate and effect of Mr.
Pitt's bill against democratic societies. I


Page 252
wish extremely to get at the true history of
this effort to suppress freedom of meeting,
speaking, writing and printing. * * * Pray get the outlines of the bill Sedgwick
intended to have brought in for this purpose.
This will enable us to judge whether we have
the merit of the invention; whether we were
really beforehand with the British minister on
this subject, whether he took his hint from
our proposition, or whether the concurrence
in the sentiment is merely the result of the
general truth that great men will think alike
and act alike, though without intercommunication.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. iv, 132. Ford ed., vii, 65.
(M. March. 1796)

2180. DEMOCRATS, Americans as.—

We of the United States are constitutionally
and conscientiously Democrats.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 589. Ford ed., x, 22.


The appellation of aristocrats and
democrats is the true one expressing the essence
of all [political parties].—
To H. Lee. Washington ed. vii, 376. Ford ed., x, 318.
(M. 1824)

2182. DEMOCRATS, The People and.—

Democrats consider the people as the safest
depository of power in the last resort; they
cherish them, therefore, and wish to leave
in them all the powers to the exercise of
which they are competent.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 391. Ford ed., x, 335.
(M. 1825)

2183. DENMARK, Commerce with.—

The Baron de Blome, minister plenipotentiary
at this court (France) from Denmark, informed
me in February that he was instructed by his
court to give notice to the ministers from the
United States, appointed to negotiate a treaty
of commerce with them, that the Baron de
Waltersdorff, formerly commissioned by them
for the same purpose, had received another destination
which called him to the West Indies;
that they were sensible of the advantages which
would arise to the two countries from a commercial
intercourse; that their ports accordingly
were placed on a very free footing as they supposed
ours to be also; that they supposed the commerce
on each port might be well conducted under
the actual arrangements, but that whenever any
circumstances should arise which would render
particular stipulations more eligible, they would
be ready to concur with the United States in
establishing them, being desirous of continuing
on the terms of the strictest harmony and
friendship with them.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 571.
(P. 1786)

2184. DENMARK, Prize Claims against.—

Dr. Franklin, during his residence
at this court [Versailles] was instructed by
Congress to apply to the court of Denmark for a
compensation for certain vessels and cargoes,
taken from the English during the late war,
by the American squadron under the command
of Commodore Paul Jones, carried into
a port of Denmark, and by order of the court
of Denmark, redelivered to the English. Dr.
Franklin made the application through Baron
de Waltersdorff, at that time charged with other
matters relative to the two countries of Denmark
and the United States of America. Baron
de Waltersdorff, after having written to his
court, informed Dr. Franklin that he was authorized
to offer a compensation of ten thousand
guineas. This was declined, because it
was thought that the value of the prizes was the
true measure of compensation, and that that
ought to be inquired into. Baron de Waltersdorff
left this court sometime after, on a visit
only, as he expected, to Copenhagen, and the
matter was suffered to rest till his return. This
was constantly expected till you did me the
honor of informing me that he had received
another destination. It being now, therefore,
necessary to renew our application, it is thought
better that Commodore Paul Jones should repair
in person to Copenhagen. His knowledge of
the whole transaction will best enable him to
represent it to that court, and the world has
had too many proofs of the justice and magnanimity
of his Danish Majesty to leave a doubt
that he will order full justice to be done to
those brave men who saw themselves deprived
of the spoils, won by their gallantry, and at
the hazard of their lives, and on whose behalf
the justice and generosity of His Majesty is
now reclaimed.—
To Baron Blome. Washington ed. ii, 13.
(P. 1786)

2185. DENMARK, Prize Claims against.—[continued].

I am instructed * * * to bring again under the consideration of
* * * the King of Denmark the case of the
three prizes taken from the English during the
late war, by an American squadron under the
command of Commodore Paul Jones, put into
Bergen in distress, there rescued from our possession
by orders from the court of Denmark,
and delivered back to the English. * * * The United States continue to be very sensibly
affected by this delivery of their prizes to Great
Britain, and the more so, as no part of their
conduct had forfeited their claim to those rights
of hospitality which civilized nations extend to
each other. [140]
To Le Comte Bernstorff. Washington ed. ii, 347.
(P. Jan. 1788)


Congress directed Jefferson to appoint a special
agent to Copenhagen to present the claim. He selected
Paul Jones. The claims were paid.—Editor.

2186. DENNIE (Joseph), A Monarchist.—

Among the [Federalist] writers, Dennie,
the editor of the Portfolio, who was a kind
of oracle with them, and styled “the Addison of
America,” openly avowed his preference of
monarchy over all other forms of government,
prided himself on the avowal, and maintained
it by argument freely and without reserve in
his publications.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 390. Ford ed., x, 334.
(M. 1825)

— DEPARTMENTS, Government.—

See Cabinet.

2187. DEPENDENCE, Evils of.—

begets subservience and venality,
suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares
fit tools for the designs of ambition.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 405. Ford ed., iii, 269.

2188. DEPORTATION ACT, Denounced.—

By the act for the suppression of
riots and tumults in the town of Boston (14.
G. 3), passed also in the last session of Parliament,
a murder committed there is, if the
Governor pleases, to be tried in the court of
King's Bench, in the island of Great Britain,
by a jury of Middlesex. The witnesses, too,
on receipt of such a sum as the Governor
shall think it reasonable for them to expend,
are to enter into recognizance to appear at


Page 253
the trial. This is, in other words, taxing them
to the amount of their recognizance; and
that amount may be whatever a Governor
pleases. For who does his Majesty think can
be prevailed on to cross the Atlantic for the
sole purpose of bearing evidence to a fact?
His expenses are to be borne, indeed, as they
shall be estimated by a Governor; but who are
to feed the wife and children whom he leaves
behind, and who have had no other subsistence
but his daily labor? Those epidemical
disorders, too, so terrible in a foreign climate,
is the cure of them to be estimated among the
articles of expense, and their danger to be
warded off by the almighty power of a Parliament?
And the wretched criminal, if he
happen to have offended on the American
side, stripped of his privilege of trial by peers
of his vicinage, removed from the place
where alone full evidence could be obtained,
without money, without counsel, without
friends, without exculpatory proof, is tried
before judges predetermined to condemn.
The cowards who would suffer a countryman
to be torn from the bowels of their society, in
order to be thus offered a sacrifice to Parliamentary
tyranny, would merit that everlasting
infamy now fixed on the authors of the act!—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 133. Ford ed., i, 438.

2189. DEPORTATION ACT, Denounced.—[continued].

They [Parliament] have
declared that American subjects, charged
with certain offences, shall be transported beyond
sea to be tried before the very persons
against whose pretended sovereignty the offence
is supposed to be committed.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 468.
(July. 1775)

2190. DEPORTATION ACT, Denounced.—[further continued].

The proposition [of Lord
North] is altogether unsatisfactory * * * because it does not propose to repeal the *
* * acts of Parliament transporting us into
other countries, to be tried for criminal
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 480.
(July. 1775)

2191. DEPORTATION ACT, George III. and.—

He [George III.] has endeavored to pervert the exercise of the kingly office in
Virginia into a detestable and insupportable
tyranny * * * by combining with others
to subject us to a foreign jurisdiction, giving
his assent to their pretended acts of legislation
* * * for transporting us beyond
the seas to be tried for pretended offences.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 11.
(June. 1776)

2192. DEPORTATION ACT, George III. and.—[continued].

He has combined, with
others, * * * for transporting us beyond
seas to be tried for pretended offences.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

2193. DEPORTATION ACT, Unexecuted.—

Notwithstanding the laws the English
made, I think they never ventured to
carry a single person to be tried in England.
They knew that reprisals would be made,
and probably on the person of the governor
who ventured on the measure.—
Notes on M. Soule's Work. Washington ed. ix, 300. Ford ed., iv, 307.
(P. 1786)

2194. DEPORTATION OF ALIENS, Sedition laws and.—

The imprisonment of a
person under the protection of the laws of
this Commonwealth [Kentucky], on his failure
to obey the simple order of the President
to depart out of the United States, as is undertaken
by * * * [the] act, intituled “An
Act concerning Aliens,” is contrary to the
Constitution, one amendment to which has
provided that “no person shall be deprived
of liberty without due process of law”; and
that another having provided, that “in all
criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy
the right to public trial, by an impartial jury,
to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses
against him, to have compulsory process
for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and
to have the assistance of counsel for his defence,
” the same act, undertaking to authorize
the President to remove a person out of the
United States, who is under the protection of
the law, on his own suspicion, without accusation,
without jury, without public trial,
without confrontation of the witnesses
against him, without hearing witnesses in
his favor, without defence, without counsel,
is contrary to the provision also of the
Constitution, is therefore not law, but utterly
void, and of no force; that transferring
the power of judging any person, who
is under the protection of the laws, from the
courts to the President of the United States,
as is undertaken by the same act concerning
aliens, is against the article of the Constitution
which provides that “the judicial power
of the United States shall be vested in courts,
the judges of which shall hold their offices
during good behavior;” and * * * the
said act is void for that reason also. And it
is further to be noted, that this transfer of
judiciary power is to that magistrate of the
General Government who already possesses
all the Executive, and a negative on all Legislative
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 467. Ford ed., vii, 297.

2195. DEPORTATION OF ALIENS, Sedition laws and.—[continued].

The war hawks talk of
septembrizing, deportation, and the examples
for quelling sedition set by the French Executive.
All the firmness of the human mind
is now in a state of requisition.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 238. Ford ed., vii, 246.
(Pa., April. 1798)

2196. DESCENTS, Law of.—

shall go according to the laws of Gavelkind,
save only that females shall have equal rights
with males.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 26.
(June. 1776)

2197. DESCENTS, Law of.—[continued].

The bill for establishing
a National Bank undertakes * * * to form the
subscribers into a corporation [and] to enable
them, in their corporate capacities, to transmit
these [141] lands, on the death of a proprietor,


Page 254
to a certain line of successors; and so far
changes the course of Descents.
National Bank Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 555. Ford ed., v, 284.


Lands held by aliens in their capacity as stookholders
of the bank.—Editor.

2198. DESERTERS, British, in Virginia.—

The number of deserters from the
British army who have taken refuge in this
State [Virginia] is now considerably augmenting.
These people, notwithstanding their coming
over to us, being deemed in law alien enemies,
and as such not admissible to be citizens,
are not within the scope of the Militia and
Invasion laws, under which citizens alone can
be embodied.—
To the County Lieutenants. Ford ed., ii, 513.
(R. 1781)

2199. DESERTERS, Political.—

In all
countries where parties are strongly marked, as
the monocrats and republicans here, there will
always be deserters from the one side to the
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 27.
(M. Sep. 1795)

2200. DESERTERS, Punishment of.—

The desertions of your militia have taken away
the necessity of answering the question how
they shall be armed. * * * I have sent expresses
into all the counties from which those
militia went, requiring the County Lieutenants
to exert themselves in taking them; and
such is the detestation with which they have
been received, that I have heard from many
counties they were going back of themselves.
You will of course, hold courts martial on
them, and make them soldiers for eight months.—
To General Stevens. Washington ed. i, 252. Ford ed., ii, 338.
(R. 1780)

See Hessians.

2201. DESPAIR, The Republic and.—

We are never permitted to despair of the
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 331.
(P. 1787)

2202. DESPOTISM, Revolution and.—

When a long train of abuses and usurpations,
begun at a distinguished period and pursuing
invariably the same object, evinces a design
to reduce them under absolute despotism, it
is their right, it is their duty, to throw off
such government, and to provide new guards
for their future security. [142]
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck out the words in italics.—Editor.

2203. DESPOTISM, Single and Divided.—

The question * * * whether a pure
despotism in a single head, or one which is
divided among a king, nobles, priesthood,
and numerous magistracy, is the least bad,
I should be puzzled to decide; but I hope [the
French people] will have neither, and that
they are advancing to a limited, moderate
government, in which [they] * * * will
have a good share.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 445. Ford ed., v, 45.
(P. 1788)

2204. DESPOTISM, Submission to.—

the pulse of his [George the Third's] people
shall beat calmly under this experiment, [143] another and another will be tried, till the
measure of despotism be filled up.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 133. Ford ed., i, 438.


Boston Port Bill.—Editor.

2205. DESPOTISM, Unlimited.—

It delights
me to find that there are persons who
still think that all is not lost in France: that
their retrogradation from a limited to an unlimited
despotism is but to give themselves a
new impulse. But I see not how or when.
The press, the only tocsin of a nation, is completely
silenced there, and all means of a
general effort taken away. However, I am
willing to hope, as long as anybody will hope
with me; and I am entirely persuaded that
the agitations of the public mind advance its
powers, and that at every vibration between
the points of liberty and despotism, something
will be gained for the former. As men
become Letter informed, their rulers must respect
them the more.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. iv, 452. Ford ed., viii, 177.
(W. Nov. 1802)

2206. DESPOTS, Methods of.—

It is the
old practice of despots, to use a part of the
people to keep the rest in order.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. iv, 246. Ford ed., vii, 263.
(Pa., 17981798)gt;

— D'ESTAING, Count.—

See Estaing.

2207. DETAIL, Importance of.—

In government,
as well as in every other business of
life, it is by division and sub-division of
duties alone, that all matters, great and small,
can be managed to perfection.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 13. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)

2208. DETROIT, Contemplated Capture.—

The exposed and weak state of our
western settlements and the danger to which
they are subject from the northern Indians, acting
under the influence of the British post at
Detroit, render it necessary for us to keep from
five to eight hundred men on duty for their
defence. This is a great and perpetual expense.
Could that post be reduced and retained,
it would cover all the States to the
southeast of it. We have long meditated the
attempt under the direction of Colonel Clark,
but the expense would be so great that whenever
we have wished to take it up, the circumstance
has obliged us to decline it. Two different estimates
make it amount to two millions of pounds,
present money. We could furnish the men,
provisions and every necessary, except powder,
had we the money, or could the demands from
us be so far supplied from other quarters as
to leave it in our power to apply such a sum
to that purpose; and, when once done, it
would save annual expenditures to a great
amount. When I speak of furnishing the men,
I mean they should be militia; such being the
popularity of Colonel [George Rogers] Clark,
and the confidence of the Western people in
him, that he could raise the requisite number at
any time. We, therefore, beg leave to refer this
matter to yourself to determine whether such
an enterprise would not be for the general good,
and if you think it would, to authorize it at the
general expense. This is become the more reasonable
if, as I understand, the ratification of
the Confederation has been rested on our cession
of a part of our Western claim; a cession
which (speaking my private opinion) I verily
believe will be agreed to if the quantity demanded
is not unreasonably great. Should this
proposition be approved of, it should be immediately
made known to us, as the season is now
coming on at which some of the preparations
must be made.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 259. Ford ed., ii, 346.
(R. 1780)


Page 255

2209. DETROIT, Expedition against.—

The face of things has so far changed as to
leave it no longer optional in us to attempt or
decline the expedition [against Detroit], but
compels us to decide in the affirmative, and to
begin our preparations immediately. The army
the enemy at present have in the South, the reinforcements
still expected there, and their determination
to direct their future exertions to
that quarter, are not unknown to you. The
regular force, proposed on our part to counter
act those exertions, is such, either from the
real or supposed inability of this State, as by
no means to allow a hope that it may be effectual.
It is, therefore, to be expected that the
scene of war will either be within our country,
or very nearly advanced to it; and that our
principal dependence is to be on militia, for
which reason it becomes incumbent to keep as
great a proportion of our people as possible
free to act in that quarter. In the meantime,
a combination is forming in the westward,
which, if not diverted, will call thither a principal
and most valuable part of our militia. From
intelligence received, we have reason to expect
that a confederacy of British and Indians, to
the amount of two thousand men, is formed for
the purpose of spreading destruction and dismay
through the whole extent of our frontier
in the Spring. * * * There seems to me
but one method of preventing this, which is,
to give the western enemy employment in their
own country. The regular force Colonel Clark
already has, with a proper draft from the militia
beyond the Alleghany, and that of three or
four of our most northern counties, will be
adequate to the reduction of Fort Detroit, in
the opinion of Colonel Clark. * * * We
have, therefore, determined to undertake it,
and commit it to his direction. Whether the
expense of the enterprise shall be defrayed by
the Continental or State expense, we will leave
to be decided hereafter by Congress. * * * In the meantime, we only ask the loan of such
necessaries as, being already at Fort Pitt, will
save time and an immense expense of transportation.
* * * I hope your Excellency will
think yourself justified in lending us this aid,
without awaiting the effect of an application
elsewhere, as such a delay would render the
undertaking abortive. * * * Independent
of the favorable effects which a successful enterprise
against Detroit must produce to the
United States in general, by keeping in quiet
the frontier of the northern ones, and leaving
our western militia at liberty to aid those of
the South, we think the like friendly office performed
by us to the States, whenever desired,
and almost to the absolute exhausture of our
own magazines, gives well-founded hopes that
we may be accommodated on this occasion.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 279. Ford ed., ii, 375.
(R. Dec. 1780)

2210 DETROIT, Importance of.—

If the
post at Detroit be reduced we shall be quiet
in future on our frontier, and thereby immense
treasures of blood and money be saved; we shall
be at leisure to turn our whole force to the rescue
of our eastern country from subjugation;
we shall divert through our own country a
branch of commerce which the European States
have thought worthy of the most important
struggles and sacrifices, and in the event of
peace on terms which have been contemplated
by some powers, we shall form to the American
Union a barrier against the dangerous extension
of the British Province of Canada, and
add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and
fertile country, thereby converting dangerous
enemies into valuable friends.—
To General George R. Clark. Ford ed., ii, 390.
(R. Dec. 1780)

2211. DETROIT, Instructions to Gen. Clark.—

A powerful army forming by our enemies
in the south renders it necessary for us
to reserve as much of our militia as possible,
free to act in that quarter. At the same time,
we have reason to believe that a very extensive
combination of British and Indian savages is
preparing to invest our western frontier. To
prevent the cruel murders and devastations
which attend the latter species of war, and at
the same time to prevent its producing a powerful
diversion of our force from the southern
quarter, in which they mean to make their principal
effort, and where alone success can be
decisive of their ultimate object, it becomes
necessary that we aim the first stroke in the
western country, and throw the enemy under
the embarrassments of a defensive war rather
than labor under them ourselves. We have
therefore, determined that an expedition shall
be undertaken, under your command, at a very
early season of the approaching year, into the
hostile country beyond the Ohio, the principal
object of which is to be the reduction of the
British post at Detroit, and, incidental to it, the
acquiring possession of Lake Erie.—
To General George Rogers Clark. Ford ed., ii, 383.
(R. Dec. 25, 1780)

2212. DETROIT, Instructions to Gen. Clark.—[continued].

Should you succeed in
the reduction of the Post, you are to promise
protection to the persons and property of the
French and American inhabitants, or of such at
least as shall not, on tender, refuse to take the
oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth. You
are to permit them to continue under the laws
and form of government under which they at
present live, only substituting the authority of
this Commonwealth in all instances in lieu of
that of his British Majesty, and exercising
yourself under that authority, till further order,
those powers which the British Commandant of
the Post, or his principal in Canada, hath used
regularly to exercise. To the Indian neighbors
you will hold out either fear or friendship, as
their disposition and your actual situation May
render most expedient.—
To General George Rogers Clark. Ford ed., ii, 389.
(R. Dec. 1780)

2213. DETROIT, Territory acquired.—

The posts of Detroit and Mackinac, having
been originally intended by the governments
which established and held them, as mere depots
for the commerce with the Indians, very
small cessions of land around were obtained or
asked from the native proprietors, and these
posts depended for protection on the strength
of their garrisons. The principle of our government
leading us to the employment of such
moderate agrrisons in time of peace, as May
merely take care of the post, and to a reliance
on the neighboring militia for its support in
the first moments of war, I have thought it
would be important to obtain from the Indians
such a cession of the neighborhood of these
posts as might maintain a militia proportioned
to this object; and I have particularly contemplated,
with this view, the acquisition of the
eastern moiety of the peninsula between the
Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Erie, extending
it to the Connecticut reserve, as soon as it
could be effected with the perfect good will of
the natives. By a treaty concluded at Detroit,
on the 17th of November last, with the Ottawas,
Chippewas, Wyandotts, and Pottawatomies, so
much of this country has been obtained as ex


Page 256
tends from about Saginaw bay southwardly to
the Miami of the lakes, supposed to contain
upwards of five millions of acres, with a prospect
of obtaining, for the present, a breadth
of two miles for a communication from the
Miami to the Connecticut reserve. The Senate
having advised and consented to this treaty, I
now lay it before both Houses of Congress for
the exercise of their constitutional powers as to
the means of fulfilling it.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 94.
(Jan. 1808)

2214. DETROIT, War of 1812.—

respect to the unfortunate loss of Detroit and
our army, I with pleasure see the animation it
has inspired through our whole country, but
especially through the Western States, and the
determination to retrieve our loss and our honor
by increased exertions.—
To Thomas C. F. Tournoy. Washington ed. vi, 83.
(M. Oct. 1812)

— DIAL.—

See Sun-dial.

2215. DICKINSON (John), Character.—

A more estimable man, or truer patriot, could
not have left us. Among the first of the advocates
for the rights of his country when assailed
by Great Britain, he continued to the last the
orthodox advocate of the true principles of our
new government, and his name will be consecrated
in history as one of the great worthies
of the Revolution. We ought to be grateful
for having been permitted to retain the
benefit of his counsel to so good an old age.—
To Joseph Bringhurst. Washington ed. v, 249.
(W. 1808)
See Declaration of Independence.

2216. DICKINSON (John), Character.—[continued].

He was so honest a man,
and so able a one that he was greatly indulged
even by those who could not feel his scruples. [144]
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 11. Ford ed., i, 17.


John Dickinson was one of the delegates from
Delaware in the Continental Congress and in the
proceedings leading up to the Declaration of Independence,
he, to quote Jefferson (i, 11), “retained
the hope of reconciliation with the mother country,
and was unwilling it should be lessened by offensive

2217. DICKINSON (John), Congress and.—

Congress gave a signal proof of their
indulgence to Mr. Dickinson, and of their great
desire not to go too fast for any respectable
part of our body, in permitting him to draw
their second petition to the King according to
his own ideas, and passing it with scarcely
any amendment. The disgust against this humility
was general; and Mr. Dickinson's delight
at its passage was the only circumstance
which reconciled them to it. The vote being
passed, although further observation on it was
out of order, he could not refrain from rising
and expressing his satisfaction, and concluded
by saying, “there is but one word, Mr. President,
in the paper which I disapprove, and that
is the word Congress”; on which Ben. Harrison
rose and said, “there is but one word in the
paper, Mr. President, of which I approve, and
that is the word Congress.”—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 11. Ford ed., i, 17.

2218. DICKINSON (John), Writings of.—

Of the papers of July, 1775, I recollect well
that Mr. Dickinson drew the petition to the
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 194. Ford ed., ix, 419.
(M. 1813)

2219. DICTATOR, Attempt in Virginia to appoint a.—

In December, 1776, our [Virginia] circumstances being much distressed, it
was proposed in the House of Delegates to
create a dictator, invested with every power
legislative, executive, and judiciary, civil and
military of life, and of death, over our persons
and over our properties; and in June, 1781,
again under calamity, the same proposition
was repeated, and wanted a few votes only
of being passed. One who entered into this
contest from a pure love of liberty, and a
sense of injured rights, who determined to
make every sacrifice, and to meet every
danger for the reestablishment of those rights
on a firm basis, who did not mean to expend
his blood and substance for the wretched purpose
of changing this master for that, but to
place the powers of governing him in a plurality
of hands of his own choice, so that the
corrupt will of no one man might in future
oppress him, must stand confounded and dismayed
when he is told, that a considerable
portion of that plurality had meditated the
surrender of them into a single hand, and, in
lieu of a limited monarch, to deliver him over
to a despotic one! How must he find his
efforts and sacrifices abused and baffled, if
he may still by a single vote, be laid prostrate
at the feet of one man! In God's name, from
whence have they derived this power? Is
it from our ancient laws? None such can be
produced. Is it from any principle in our new
Constitution, expressed or implied? Every
lineament expressed or implied, is in full opposition
to it. Its fundamental principle is,
that the State shall be governed as a Commonwealth.
It provides a republican organization,
proscribes under the name of prerogative
the exercise of all powers undefined by
the laws; places on this basis the whole system
of our laws; and by consolidating them
together, chooses that they should be left to
stand or fall together, never providing for any
circumstances, nor admitting that such could
arise, wherein either should be suspended; no,
not for a moment. Our ancient laws expressly
declare, that those who are but delegates
themselves, shall not delegate to others
powers which require judgment and integrity
in their exercise. Or was this proposition
moved on a supposed right in the movers, of
abandoning their posts in a moment of distress?
The same laws forbid the abandonment
of that post, even on ordinary occasions;
and much more a transfer of their powers
into other hands and other forms, without
consulting the people. They never admit the
idea that these, like sheep or cattle, may be
given from hand to hand without an appeal
to their own will. Was it from the necessity
of the case? Necessities which dissolve a
government, do not convey its authority to
an oligarchy or a monarchy. They throw
back, into the hands of the people, the powers
they had delegated, and leave them as individuals
to shift for themselves. A leader May
offer, but not impose himself, nor be imposed
on them. Much less can their necks be submitted
to his sword, their breath be held at
his will or caprice. The necessity which
should operate these tremendous effects
should at least be palpable and irresistible.
Yet in both instances, where it was feared, or
pretended with us, it was belied by the event.


Page 257
It was belied, too, by the preceding experience
of our sister States, several of whom
had grappled through greater difficulties without
abandoning their forms of government.
When the proposition was first made, Massachusetts
had found even the government of
committees sufficient to carry them through
an invasion. But we at the time of that
proposition, were under no invasion. When
the second was made, there had been added
to this example those of Rhode Island, New
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, in all
of which the republican form had been found
equal to the task of carrying them through
the severest trials. In this State alone did
there exist so little virtue, that fear was to
be fixed in the hearts of the people, and to
become the motive of their exertions, and
the principle of their government? The very
thought alone was treason against the people;
was treason against mankind in general; as
riveting forever the chains which bow down
their necks, by giving to their oppressors a
proof, which they would have trumpeted
through the universe, of the imbecility of republican
government, in times of pressing
danger, to shield them from harm. Those
who assume the right of giving away the
reins of government in any case, must be sure
that the herd, whom they hand on to the rods
and hatchet of the dictator, will lay their
heads on the block, when he shall nod to
them. But if our Assemblies supposed such a
resignation in the people, I hope they mistook
their character. I am of opinion, that the
government, instead of being braced and invigorated
for greater exertions under their
difficulties, would have been thrown back
upon the bungling machinery of county committees
for administration, till a convention
could have been called, and its wheels again
set into regular motion. What a cruel moment
was this for creating such an embarrassment,
for putting to the proof, the attachment
of our countrymen to republican government?—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 368. Ford ed., iii, 231.

2220. DICTATOR, Misapplied Precedent for.—

Those who meant well, of the advocates
of this measure (and most of them
meant well, for I knew them personally, had
been their fellow-laborer in the common
cause, and had often proved the purity of
their principles), had been seduced in their
judgment by the example of an ancient republic,
whose constitution and circumstances
were fundamentally different. They had
sought this precedent in the history of Rome,
where alone it was to be found, and where at
length, too, it had proved fatal. They had
taken it from a republic rent by the most
bitter factions and tumults, where the government
was of a heavy-handed unfeeling aristocracy,
over a people ferocious and rendered
desperate by poverty and wretchedness; tumults
which could not be allayed under the
most trying circumstances, but by the omnipotent
hand of a single despot. Their constitution,
therefore, allowed a temporary tyrant
to be erected, under the name of a dic
tator; and that temporary tyrant, after a few
examples, became perpetual. They misapplied
this precedent to a people mild in their
dispositions, patient under their trial, united
for the public liberty, and affectionate to their
leaders. But if from the constitution of the
Roman government there resulted to their
senate a power of submitting all their rights
to the will of one man, does it follow that the
Assembly of Virginia have the same authority?
What clause in our Constitution has
substituted that of Rome, by way of residuary
provision, for all cases not otherwise provided
for? Or if they may step ad libitum into any other form of government for precedents
to rule us by, for what oppression May
not a precedent be found in this world of the
bellum omnium in omnia! Searching for the
foundations of this proposition, I can find
none which may pretend a color of right or
reason, but the defect * * * that there
being no barrier between the legislative, executive,
and judiciary departments, the Legislature
may seize the whole; that having
seized it and possessing a right to fix their
own quorum, they may reduce that quorum
to one, whom they may call a chairman,
speaker, dictator, or any other name they
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 370. Ford ed., iii, 234.

2221. DICTIONARY, An Anglo-Saxon.—

There are several things wanting to promote
this improvement. [The recovery of the
lost Anglo-Saxon and other words.] To reprint
the Saxon books in modern type; reform
their orthography; publish in the same way the
treasures still existing in manuscript. And
more than all things we want a dictionary on
the plan of Stephens or Scapula, in which the
Saxon root, placed alphabetically, shall be followed
by all its cognate modifications of nouns,
verbs, &c., whether Anglo-Saxon, or found in
the dialects of subsequent ages.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 418.
(M. 1825)

See Languages.

2222. DICTIONARIES, Neology and.—

Dictionaries are but the depositories of words
already legitimated by usage. Society is the
workshop in which new ones are elaborated.
When an individual uses a new word, if illformed,
it is rejected in society; if well formed,
adopted, and after due time, laid up in the depository
of dictionaries.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 175.
(M. 1820)

See Languages.

2223. DIFFICULTIES, True way out of.—

If you ever find yourself environed with
difficulties and perplexing circumstances, out of
which you are at a loss how to extricate yourself,
do what is right, and be assured that that
will extricate you the best out of the worst situations.
Though you cannot see, when you take
one step, what will be the next, yet follow truth,
justice, and plain dealing, and never fear their
leading you out of the labyrinth, in the easiest
manner possible. The knot which you thought
a Gordian one, will untie itself before you.
Nothing is so mistaken as the supposition that
a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty
by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by
trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice. This
increases the difficulties tenfold; and those, who
pursue these methods, get themselves so involved
at length, that they can turn no way but


Page 258
their infamy becomes more exposed.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 396.
(P. 1785)

2224. DIGNITY, Maintain.—

With the
British who respect their own dignity so
much, ours must not be counted at naught.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 182. Ford ed., v, 224.
(N.Y., 1790)

2225. DIPLOMACY, Demeanor.—

what will be said or done, preserve your sang
immovably, and to every obstacle, oppose
patience, perseverance, and soothing language.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 342. Ford ed., v, 459.
(Pa., 1792)


The new government
has now for some time been under way.
* * * Abuses under the old forms have
led us to lay the basis of the new in a rigorous
economy of the public contributions. This
principle will show itself in our diplomatic
establishments; and the rather, as at such a
distance from Europe, and with such an ocean
between us, we hope to meddle little in its
quarrels or combinations. Its peace and its
commerce are what we shall court; and to
cultivate these, we propose to place at the
courts of Europe most interesting to us diplomatic
characters of economical grade, and
shall be glad to receive like ones in exchange.—
To M. de Pinto. Washington ed. iii, 174.
(N.Y., 1790)


I am for * * * little or no diplomatic establishment.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 328.
(Pa., 17991799)gt;


The diplomatic establishment
in Europe will be reduced to three
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. iv, 396. Ford ed., viii, 52.
(W. May. 1801)

2229. DIPLOMATIC ESTABLISHMENT, Reduction of.—[continued].

We call in our diplomatic
missions, barely keeping up those to the most
important nations. There is a strong disposition
in our countrymen to discontinue even
these; and very possibly it may be done.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iv, 415. Ford ed., viii, 98.
(W. 1801)

See Ministers.


See Apportionment
and Taxation.


See Executives.

2230. DISCIPLINE, Education and.—

The article of discipline is the most difficult
in American education. Premature ideas of
independence, too little repressed by parents,
beget a spirit of insubordination, which is the
great obstacle to science with us, and a principal
cause of its decay since the Revolution.
I look to it with dismay in our institution
[the Virginia University] as a breaker ahead,
which I am far from being confident we shall
be able to weather.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vii, 268. Ford ed., x, 244.
(M. 1822)

2231. DISCIPLINE, Education and.—[continued].

The rock which I most
dread is the discipline of the institution [the
University of Virginia], and it is that on
which most of our public schools labor. The
insubordination of our youth is now the
greatest obstacle to their education. We May
lessen the difficulty, perhaps, by avoiding too
much government, by requiring no useless observances,
none which shall merely multiply
occasion for dissatisfaction, disobedience and
revolt by referring to the more discreet of
themselves the minor discipline, the grayer to
the civil magistrates, as in Edinburgh. [145]
To George Ticknor. Washington ed. vii, 301.
(M. 1823)


The introduction of the “honor system”, in collegiate
education, as one of Jefferson's great reforms.—Editor.

2232. DISCIPLINE, Military.—

dispositions and arrangements will not do
without a certain degree of bravery and discipline
in those who are to carry them into
To General Gates. Washington ed. i, 314. Ford ed., iii. 52.
(R. 1781)

2233. DISCIPLINE, Military.—[continued].

The breaking men to
military discipline is breaking their spirits to
principles of passive obedience.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 392.
(P. 1788)

— DISCOUNT, Banks of.—

See Banks.

2234. DISCRETION, Exercise of.—

operations at such a distance [case of Naval
Agent Eaton in Tripoli], it becomes necessary
to leave much to the discretion of the agents
employed, but events may still turn up beyond
the limits of that discretion. Unable in such
case to consult his government, a zealous
citizen will act as he believes that would
direct him were it apprised of the circumstances,
and will take on himself the responsibility.
In all these cases, the purity and
patriotism of the motives should shield the
agent from blame, and even secure the sanction
where the error is not too injurious. [146]
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 56.
(P. 1806)


In this message, Jefferson laid before Congress
the case of Hamet Caramalli, with whom Eaton, as
the agent of the U. S. Government, had cooperated
in the attempt to recover his throne from the usurping
Bashaw of Tripoli.—Editor.

2235. DISCRETION, Law and.—

A full representation at the ensuing session [of
Congress] will doubtless * * * take
measures for ensuring the authority of the
laws over the corrupt maneuvers of the heads
of departments under the pretext of exercising
discretion in opposition to law.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., vi, 195.
(Pa., 1793)


See Duties.

2236. DISINTERESTEDNESS, Losses through.—

I retired much poorer than when I
entered the public service. [147]
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 151. Ford ed., vii, 93.
(M. 1796)


“Few persons,” says Parton in his Life of Jefferson
(p. 147) “have ever performed public duty at such
a sacrifice of personal feeling and private interest as
did Thomas Jefferson.”—Editor.

2237. DISINTERESTEDNESS, Practice of.—

I prefer public benefit to all personal
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 203. Ford ed., ix, 402.
Sep. 1813)

2238. DISINTERESTEDNESS, Private fortune and.—

When I first entered on


Page 259
the stage of public life (now twenty-four
years ago), I came to a resolution never to
engage while in public office in any kind of
enterprise for the improvement of my fortune
* * *. I have never departed from it in
a single instance; and I have in multiplied
instances found myself happy in being able
to decide and to act as a public servant, clear
of all interest, in the multiform questions
that have arisen, wherein I have seen others
embarrassed and biased by having got themselves
into a more interested situation. Thus
I have thought myself richer in contentment
than I should have been with any increase
of fortune. * * * My public career is now
closing, and I will go through on the principle
on which I have hitherto acted.—
To——. Washington ed. iii, 527.
(Pa., 1793)

2239. DISINTERESTEDNESS, Private fortune and.—[continued].

I do not wish to make
a shilling [as Minister to France], but only
my expenses to be defrayed, and in a moderate
To Samuel Osgood. Washington ed. i, 452.
(P. 1785)

2240. DISINTERESTEDNESS, Private fortune and.—[further continued].

I have the consolation of
having added nothing to my private fortune,
during my public service, and of retiring with
hands as clean as they are empty.—
To Count Diodati. Washington ed. v, 62.
(W. 1807)


I had been thirteen years engaged in
public service and, during that time, I had so
totally abandoned all attention to my private
affairs as to permit them to run into great disorder
and ruin.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 318. Ford ed., iii, 56.
(M. 1782)

2242. DISPUTATION, Avoid.—

In stating
prudential rules for our government in
society, I must not omit the important one of
never entering into dispute or argument with
another. I never saw an instance of one
of two disputants convincing the other by
argument. I have seen many, on their getting
warm, becoming rude, and shooting one another.
Conviction is the effect of our own
dispassionate reasoning, either in solitude,
or weighing within ourselves, dispassionately,
what we hear from others, standing uncommitted
in argument ourselves. It was
one of the rules which, above all others, made
Dr. Franklin the most amiable of men in
society, “never to contradict anybody.” If he
was urged to announce an opinion, he did it
rather by asking questions, as if for information,
or by suggesting doubts. When I hear
another express an opinion which is not mine,
I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion,
as I to mine; why should I question it? His
error does me no injury, and shall I become
a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of
argument to one opinion? If a fact be misstated,
it is probable he is gratified by a belief
of it, and I have no right to deprive him
of the gratification. If he wants information,
he will ask it, and then I will give it in
measured terms; but if he still believes his
own story, and shows a desire to dispute the
fact with me, I hear him and say nothing. It
is his affair, not mine, if he prefers error.—
To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Washington ed. v, 390. Ford ed., ix, 232.
(W. 1808)

2243. DISPUTATION, Political.—

are two classes of disputants most frequently
to be met with among us. The first is of
young students, just entered the threshold of
science, with a first view of its outlines, not
yet filled up with the details and modifications
which a further progress would bring to their
knowledge. The other consists of the illtempered
and rude men in society, who have
taken up a passion for politics. From both of
these classes of disputants, * * * keep
aloof, as you would from the infected subjects
of yellow fever or pestilence. Consider
yourself, when with them, as among the
patients of Bedlam, needing medical more
than moral counsel. Be a listener only, keep
within yourself, and endeavor to establish
with yourself the habit of silence, especially
on politics. In the fevered state of our country,
no good can ever result from any attempt to
set one of these fiery zealots to rights, either
in fact or principle. They are determined as
to the facts they will believe, and the opinions
on which they will act. Get by them, therefore,
as you would by an angry bull; it is not
for a man of sense to dispute the road with
such an animal. You will be more exposed
than others to have these animals shaking
their horns at you, because of the relation in
which you stand with me. Full of political
venom, and willing to see me and to hate me
as a chief in the antagonistic party, your presence
will be to them what the vomit grass is
to the sick dog, a nostrum for producing
ejaculation. Look upon them exactly with
that eye, and pity them as objects to whom
you can administer only occasional ease.
My character is not within their power. It is
in the hands of my fellow citizens at large,
and will be consigned to honor or infamy by
the verdict of the republican mass of our
country, according to what themselves will
have seen, not what their enemies and mine
shall have said. Never, therefore, consider these
puppies in politics as requiring any notice
from you, and always show that you are not
afraid to leave my character to the umpirage
of public opinion.—
To Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Washington ed. v, 391. Ford ed., ix, 232.
(W. 1808)

2244. DISPUTES, Children and.—

In little
disputes with your companions, give way
rather than insist on trifles, for their love and
the approbation of others will be worth more
to you than the trifle in dispute. [148]
To Francis Eppes. D. L. J.365.


Eppes was a little grandson.—Editor.

2245. DISSENSION, Evils of Political.—

Political dissension is doubtless a less evil than the lethargy of despotism, but still it is
a great evil, and it would be as worthy the
efforts of the patriot as of the philosopher, to
exclude its influence, if possible, from social
life. The good are rare enough at best.
There is no reason to subdivide them by


Page 260
artificial lines. But whether we shall ever be
able so far to perfect the principles of society,
as that political opinions shall, in its intercourse,
be as inoffensive as those of philosophy,
mechanics, or any other, may well be
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 176. Ford ed., vii, 128.
(Pa., 1797)

See Social Intercourse.

2246. DISTRIBUTION, Laws of.—

bill for establishing a National Bank undertakes
* * * to form the subscribers
into a corporation [and] to enable them, in
their corporate capacities, * * * to transmit
personal chattels to successors in a certain
line; and, so far, is against the laws of Distribution.

National Bank Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 555. Ford ed., v, 285.

2247. DISUNION, New England and.—

The fog which arose in the east in the last
moments of my service, will doubtless clear
away and expose under a stronger light the
rocks and shoals which have threatened us
with danger. It is impossible the good citizens
of the east should not see the agency
of England, the tools she employs among
them, and the criminal arts and falsehoods of
which they have been the dupes.—
To Governor Wright. Washington ed. viii, 167.
See Hartford Convention and Secession.


See Deity.


See Navy.

2248. DOLLAR, Adaptedness for Unit.—

In fixing the Unit of Money, these circumstances
are of principal importance. 1. That
it be of convenient size to be applied as a
measure to the common money transactions
of life. 2. That its parts and multiples be in
an easy proportion to each other, so as to
facilitate the money arithmetic. 3. That the
unit and its parts or divisions, be so nearly of
the value of some of the known coins,
as that
they may be of easy adoption for the people.
The Spanish dollar seems to fulfil all these
conditions. Taking into our view all money
transactions, great and small, I question if a
common measure of more convenient size than the Dollar could be proposed. The value
of 100, 1,000, 10,000 dollars is well estimated
by the mind; so is that of the tenth or the
hundredth of a dollar. Few transactions are
above or below these limits. The expediency
of attending to the size of the money Unit
will be evident to anyone who will consider
how inconvenient it would be to a manufacturer
or merchant, if, instead of the yard for
measuring cloth, either the inch or the mile
had been made the Unit of Measure. [149]
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 162. Ford ed., iii, 446.

See Decimal System.


Parton in his Life of Jefferson says: “Two years
before, Gouverneur Morris, a clerk in the office of
his uncle Robert Morris, had conceived the most
happy idea of applying the decimal system to the notation
of money. But it always requires several
men to complete one great thing. The details of the
system devised by Gouverneur Morris were so cumbrous
and awkward as almost to neutralize the simplicity
of the leading idea. Jefferson rescued the
fine original conception by proposing our present
system of dollars and cents; the dollar to be the Unit
and the largest silver coin.”—Editor.

2249. DOLLAR, Adaptedness for Unit.—[continued].

The Unit, or Dollar, is
a known coin, and the most familiar of all,
to the minds of the people. It is already
adopted from South to North; has identified
our currency, and therefore happily offers
itself as a Unit already introduced. Our
public debt, our requisitions, and their appointments,
have given it actual and long
possession of the place of Unit. The course
of our commerce, too, will bring us more of
this than of any other foreign coin, and,
therefore, renders it more worthy of attention.
I know of no Unit which can be proposed in
competition with the dollar, but the Pound.
But what is the Pound? 1547 grains of fine
silver in Georgia; 1289 grains in Virginia,
Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts
and New Hampshire; 1031 1-4 grains in
Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New
Jersey; 966 3-4 grains in North Carolina and
New York. Which of these shall we adopt?
To which State give that preeminence of
which all are so jealous? And on which
impose the difficulties of a new estimate of
their corn, their cattle and other commodities?
Or shall we hang the pound sterling,
as a common badge, about all their necks?
This contains 1718 3-4 grains of pure silver.
It is difficult to familiarize a new coin to the
people; it is more difficult to familiarize them
to a new coin with an old name. Happily,
the dollar is familiar to them all, and is already
as much referred to for a measure of
value, as are their respective provincial
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 165. Ford ed., iii, 448.

2250. DOLLAR, Advantages as Unit.—

The Financier [Robert Morris] * * * seems to concur with me in thinking his
smallest fractional division too minute for
a Unit and, therefore, proposes to transfer
that denomination to his largest silver coin,
containing 1000 of the units first proposed,
(1440) and worth about 4s. 2d. lawful, or
25-36 of a Dollar. The only question then
remaining between us is, whether the Dollar,
or this coin, be best for the Unit. We both
agree that the ease of adoption with the people,
is the thing to be aimed at. As to the
Dollar, events have overtaken and superseded
the question. It is no longer a doubt whether
the people can adopt it with ease; they have
adopted it, and will have to be turned out of
that into another tract of calculation, if another
Unit be assumed. They have now two
Units, which they use with equal facility,
viz., the Pound of their respective State, and
the Dollar. The first of these is peculiar to
each State; the second, happily, common to
all. In each State, the people have an easy
rule of converting the pound of their State
into dollars, or dollars into pounds; and this
is enough for them, without knowing how this
may be done in every State of the Union.
Such of them as live near enough the borders
of their State to have dealings with their
neighbors, learn also the rule of their neighbors;
thus, in Virginia and the Eastern
States, where the dollar is 6s. or 3-10 of a


Page 261
pound, to turn pounds into dollars, they multiply
by 10 and divide by three. To turn dollars
into pounds, they multiply by 3 and divide
by 10. Those in Virginia who live near to
Carolina, where the dollar is 8s. or 4-10 of a
pound, learn the operation of that State,
which is a multiplication by 4, and division
by 10, et e converso. Those who live near
Maryland, where the dollar is 7s. 6d. or 3-8 of
a pound, multiply by 3, and divide by 8, et e
All these operations are easy, and
have been found, by experience, not too much
for the artithmetic of the people, when they
have occasion to convert their old Unit into
dollars, or the reverse.—
Supplementary Explanations. Washington ed. i, 171. Ford ed., iii, 455.

See Money, Unit.

2251. DOLLAR, Advantages as Unit.—[continued].

In the States where
the dollar is 3-10 of a pound, this Unit
[of the Financier] will be 5-24. Its conversion
into the pound, then, will be by a multiplication
of 5 and a division by 24. In the
States where the dollar is 3-8 of a pound, this
Unit will be 25-96 of a pound, and the operation
must be to multiply by 25, and divide by
96, et e converso. Where the dollar is 4-10 of
a pound, this Unit will be 5-18. The simplicity
of the fraction and, of course, the
facility of conversion and reconversion is,
therefore, against this Unit, and in favor of
the dollar, in every instance. The only advantage
it has over the dollar, is, that it will
in every case, express our farthing without a
remainder; whereas, though the dollar and its
decimals will do this in many cases, it will
not in all. But, even in these, by extending
your notation one figure further, to wit, to
thousands, you approximate to perfect accuracy
within less than the two-thousandth
part of a dollar; an atom in money which
every one would neglect. Against this single
inconvenience, the other advantages of the
dollar are more than sufficient to preponderate.
This Unit will present to the people a
new coin, and whenever they endeavor to estimate
its value by comparing it with a
Pound, or with a Dollar, the Units they now
possess, they will find the fraction very compound,
and, of course, less accommodated to
their comprehension and habits than the dollar.
Indeed, the probability is, that they
could never be led to compute in it generally.—
Supplementary Explanations. Washington ed. i, 171. Ford ed., iii, 455.

2252. DOLLAR, Coinage.—

If we adopt
the Dollar for our Unit, we should strike four
coins, one of gold, two of silver, and one of
copper, viz.: 1. A golden piece, equal in value
to ten dollars: [150] 2. The Unit or Dollar itself,
of silver: 3. The tenth of a Dollar, of silver
also: 4. The hundredth of a Dollar, of copper.—
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 163. Ford ed., iii, 447.


Jefferson subsequently added the five-dollar gold
coin to the list.—Editor.

2253. DOLLAR, Coinage.—[continued].

Perhaps it would not be
amiss to coin three more pleces of silver, one
of the value of five-tenths, or half a dollar,
one of the value of two-tenths, which would
be equal to the Spanish pistereen, and one of
the value of five coppers, which would be
equal to the Spanish half-bit. We should
then have five silver coins, viz.:

1. The Unit or Dollar;

2. The half dollar or five-tenths:

3. The double-tenth, equal to 2, or one-fifth of
a dollar, or to the pistereen;

4. The tenth, equal to a Spanish bit:

5. The five copper piece, equal to 5, or onetwentieth
of a dollar, or the half bit.—
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 166. Ford ed., iii, 450.

2254. DOLLAR, Copper coinage and.—

The hundredth [of a dollar], or copper, will
differ little from the copper of the four Eastern
States, which is 1-108 of a dollar; still
less from the penny of New York and North
Carolina, which is 1-96 of a dollar; and somewhat
more from the penny or copper of Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland,
which is 1-90 of a dollar. It will be about
the medium between the old and the new coppers
of these States, and will, therefore, soon
be substituted for them both. In Virginia,
coppers have never been in use. It will be as
easy, therefore, to introduce them there of
one value as of another. The copper coin
proposed will be nearly equal to three-fourths
of their penny, which is the same with the
penny lawful of the Eastern States.—
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 165. Ford ed., iii, 449.

2255. DOLLAR, Copper coinage and.—[continued].

The Financier [Robert
Morris] supposes that the 1-100 part of a dollar
is not sufficiently small, where the poor
are purchasers or vendors. If it is not, make
a smaller coin. But I suspect that it is small
enough. Let us examine facts, in countries
where we are acquainted with them. In
Virginia, where our towns are few, small,
and, of course, their demand for necessaries
very limited, we have never yet been able to
introduce a copper coin at all. The smallest
coin which anybody will receive there is the
half-bit, or the 1-20 of a dollar. In those
States where the towns are larger and more
populous, a more habitual barter of small
wants has called for a copper coin of 1-90, 1-96,
or 1-108 of a dollar. In England, where the
towns are many and populous, and where
ages of experience have matured the conveniences
of intercourse, they have found that
some wants may be supplied for a farthing,
or 1-208 of a dollar, and they have accommodated
a coin to this want. This busines is
evidently progressive. In Virginia, we are
far behind. In some other States, they are
further advanced, to wit, to the appreciation
of 1-90, 1-96, 1-108 of a dollar. To this most
advanced state, then, I accommodated my
smallest coin in the decimal arrangement, as
a money of payment, corresponding with the
money of account. I have no doubt the time
will come when a smaller coin will be called
for. When that comes, let it be made. It
will probably be the half of the copper I
suppose, that is to say, 5-1000 or 005 of a
dollar, this being very nearly the farthing of
England. But it will be time enough to make


Page 262
it, when the people shall be ready to receive
Supplementary Explanations. Washington ed. i, 173. Ford ed., iii, 456.

2256. DOLLAR, Copper coinage and.—[further continued].

The Secretary of State
is * * * uncertain whether, instead of the
larger copper coin, the Legislature might not
prefer a lighter one of billon, or mixed metal,
as is practiced with convenience, by several
other nations.—
Coinage Report. Washington ed. vii, 463.
(April. 1790)

2257. DOLLAR, Grains of Silver in.—

we determine that a Dollar shall be our Unit,
we must then say with precision what a Dollar
is. This coin, struck at different times,
of different weights and fineness, is of different
values. Sir Isaac Newton's assay and
representation to the Lords of the Treasury,
in 1717, of those which he examined, make
their values as follows:

dwt. grs. 
The Seville piece
of eight 
17—12  containing 387 grains
of pure silver 
The Mexico piece
of eight 
17—10  5-9 containing 385 1-2
grains of pure silver. 
The Pillar piece of eight.  17—9  containing 385 3-4
grains of pure silver. 
The new Seville piece
of eight 
14—  containing 308 7-10
grains of pure silver. 

The Financier states the old Dollar as containing
376 grains of fine silver, and the new
365 grains. If the Dollars circulating among
us be of every date equally, we should examine
the quantity of pure metal in each and
from them form an average for our Unit.
This is a work proper to be committed to
mathematicians as well as merchants, and
which should be decided on actual and accurate
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 167. Ford ed., iii, 451.

See Gold and Silver.

2258. DOLLAR, Grains of Silver in.—[continued].

Congress, in 1786, established
the Money Unit at 375.64 Troy grains
of pure silver. It is proposed to enlarge this
by about the third of a grain in weight, or a
mill in value; that it is to say, to establish
it at 376 (or, more exactly, 375.989343)
instead of 375.64 grains; because it will be
shown that this, as the unit of coin, will link
in system with the units of length, surface,
capacity, and weight, whenever it shall be
thought proper to extend the decimal ratio
through all these branches. It is to preserve the
possibility of doing this, that this very minute
alteration is proposed. * * * Let it be declared,
therefore, that the money unit or dollar
of the United States, shall contain 371.262
American grains of pure silver.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 487.
(July. 1790)

2259. DOLLAR, Grains of Silver in.—[further continued].

Let the Money Unit, or
dollar, contain eleven-twelfths of an ounce of
pure silver. This will be 376 Troy grains (or
more exactly, 375.989343 Troy grains), which
will be about a third of a grain (or more exactly ,.349343
of a grain) more than the
present unit. This, with the twelfth of alloy
already established, will make the dollar or
unit, of the weight of an ounce, or of a cubic
inch of rain water, exactly. The series of
mills, cents, dimes, dollars, and eagles, to
remain as already established.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 490.
(July. 1790)

2260. DOLLAR, Grains of Silver in.—[further continued] .

The pure silver in a dollar
* * * [is] fixed by law at 347¼
grains, and all debts and contracts * * * [are] bottomed on that value * * *.—
To Dr. Robert Patterson. Washington ed. vi, 22.
(M. Nov. 1811)

2261. DOLLAR, Proportion of Alloy.—

Some alloy is necessary to prevent the coin
from wearing too fast; too much, fills our
pockets with copper, instead of silver. The
silver coin assayed by Sir Isaac Newton,
varied from 1 1-2 to 76 pennyweights alloy, in
the pound Troy of mixed metal. The British
standard has 18 dwt.; the Spanish coins assayed
by Sir Isaac Newton, have from 18
to 19 1-2 dwt.; the new French crown has in
fact 19 1-2, though by edict, it should have
20 dwt., that is 1-12. The taste of our countrymen
will require that their furniture plate
should be as good as the British standard.
Taste cannot be controlled by law. Let it
then give the law, in a point which is indifferent
to a certain degree. Let the Legislature
fix the alloy of furniture plate at 18 dwt.,
the British standard, and Congress that of
their coin at one ounce in the pound, the
French standard. This proportion has been
found convenient for the alloy of gold coin,
and it will simplify the system of our mint
to alloy both metals in the same degree. The
coin, too, being the least pure, will be the less
easily melted into plate. These reasons are
light, indeed, and, of course, will only weigh
if no heavier ones can be opposed to them.—
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 167. Ford ed., iii, 451.

2262. DOLLAR, Proportion of Alloy.—[continued].

As to the alloy for gold
coin, the British is an ounce in the pound;
the French, Spanish and Portuguese differ
from that, only from a quarter of a grain, to
a grain and a half. I should, therefore, prefer
the British, merely because its fraction
stands in a more simple form, and facilitates
the calculations into which it enters.—
Notes on a Money Unit. Washington ed. i, 168. Ford ed., iii, 452.

2263. DOLLAR, Proportion of Alloy.—[further continued].

I concur with you in
thinking that * * * the alloy should be
the same in both metals.—
To Alexander Hamilton. Washington ed. iii, 330.
(Feb. 1792)

2264. DOLLAR, Reducing Value of.—

With respect to the dollar, it must be admitted
by all the world, that there is great uncertainty
in the meaning of the term, and therefore
all the world will have justified Congress
for their first act of removing the uncertainty
by declaring what they understand by the
term; but the uncertainty once removed,
exists no longer, and I very much doubt now
a right to change the value, and especially to
lessensit. It would lead to so easy a mode
of paying off their debts. Besides, the parties
injured by this reduction of the value would


Page 263
have so much matter to urge in support of the
first point of fixation.—
To Alexander Hamilton. Washington ed. iii, 330.

2265. DOLLAR, Reducing Value of.—[continued].

Should it be thought that
Congress may reduce the value of the dollar,
I should be for adopting for our unit, instead
of the dollar, either one ounce of pure silver,
or one ounce of standard silver, so as to keep
the unit of money a part of the system of
measures, weights and coins.—
To Alexander Hamilton. Washington ed. iii, 330.

2266. DOLLAR, Stopping Coinage.—

should approve of your employing the Mint on
small silver coins, rather than on dollars
and gold coins, so far as the consent of those
who employ it can be obtained. It would be
much more valuable to the public to be supplied
with abundance of dimes and half dimes,
which would stay among us, than with dollars
and eagles which leave us immediately. Indeed
I wish the law authorized the making
two-cent and three-cent pieces of silver, and
golden dollars, which would all be large
enough to handle, and would be a great convenience
to our own citizens.—
To Robert Patterson. Washington ed. v, 61.
(W. March. 1807)

2267. DOLLAR, Summary Review of measures.—

Congress as early as January 7,
1782, had turned their attention to the moneys
current in the several States, and had directed
the Financier, Robert Morris, to report to
them a table of rates at which the foreign
coins should be received at the treasury.
That officer, or rather his assistant, Gouverneur
Morris, answered them on the 15th, in
an able and elaborate statement of the denominations
of money current in the several
States, and of the comparative value of the
foreign coins chiefly in circulation with us,
He went into the consideration of the necessity
of establishing a standard of value with
us, and of the adoption of a money Unit. He
proposed for that Unit, such a fraction of
pure silver as would be a common measure
of the penny of every State, without leaving
a fraction. This common divisor he found
to be the 1-1440 of a dollar, or 1-1600 of the
crown sterling. The value of a dollar was,
therefore, to be expressed by 1440 units, and
of a crown by 1600; each Unit containing a
quarter of a grain of fine silver. Congress
turning again their attention to this subject
the following year, the Financier, by a letter
of April 30, 1783, further explained and urged
the Unit he had proposed; but nothing more
was done on it until the ensuing year, when it
was again taken up, and referred to a committee,
of which I was a member. The general
views of the Financier were sound, and the
principle was ingenious on which he proposed
to found his Unit; but it was too minute for
ordinary use, too laborious for computation,
either by the head or in figures. The price
of a loaf of bread, 1-20 of a dollar, would be
72 units. A pound of butter 1-5 of a dollar,
288 units. A horse or bullock of eighty dollars
value would require a notation of six
figures, to wit, 115,200, and the public debt,
suppose of eighty millions, would require
twelve figures, to wit, 115,200,000,000 units.
Such a system of money-arithmetic would be
entirely unmanageable for the common purposes
of Society. I propose, therefore, instead
of this, to adopt the Dollar as our Unit of account
and payment, and that its divisions and
sub-divisions should be in the decimal ratio.
I wrote some Notes on the subject, which I
submitted to the consideration of the Financier.
I received his answer and adherence to
his general system, only agreeing to take for
his Unit one hundred of those he first proposed,
so that a Dollar should be 14 40-100,
and a crown 16 units. I replied to this, and
printed my notes and reply on a flying sheet,
which I put into the hands of the members
of Congress for consideration, and the Committee
agreed to report on my principle. This
was adopted the ensuing year, and is the system
which now prevails.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 52. Ford ed., i, 73.

See Money, Unit.


See Money.

2268. DOUBT, Caution in.—

In case of
doubt, it is better to say too little than too
To President Washington. Ford ed., v, 369.
(Pa., 1791)

2269. DRAFT, Unpopularity of.—

Virginia a draft was ever the most unpopular
and impracticable thing that could be attempted.
Our people, even under the monarchical
government, had learned to consider
it as the last of all oppressions.—
To John Adams. Ford ed., ii, 129.
(Wg. 1777)

2270. DRAWBACKS, Evils of.—

respect to the interests of the United States
in this exuberant commerce which is now
bringing war on us, we concur perfectly. It
brings us into collision with other powers
in every sea, and will force us into every war
of the European powers. The converting this
great agricultural country into a city of Amsterdam,—a mere headquarters for carrying on
the commerce of all nations with one another,
is too absurd. Yet this is the real object of the
drawback system,—it enriches a few individuals,
but lessens the stock of native productions,
by withdrawing from them all the hands
thus employed. It is essentially interesting to
us to have shipping and seamen enough to
carry our surplus produce to market; but beyond
that, I do not think we are bound to
give it encouragement by drawbacks or premiums.
I wish you may be right in supposing
that the trading States would now be willing
to give up the drawbacks, and to denationalize
all ships taking foreign articles on board
for any other destination than the United
States, on being secured by discriminating
duties, or otherwise in the exclusive carryage
of the produce of the United States. I should
doubt it. Were such a proposition to come
from them, I presume it would meet with little
difficulty. Otherwise, I suppose it must wait
till peace, when the right of drawback will be
less valued than the exclusive carryage of
our own produce.—
To Benjamin Stoddert. Washington ed. v, 426. Ford ed., ix, 245.
(W. Feb. 1809)


Page 264

2271. DRAWBACKS, Introduction of.—

This most heterogeneous principle was
transplanted into ours from the British system
by a man [Alexander Hamilton] whose mind
was really powerful, but chained by native
partialities to everything English; who had
formed exaggerated ideas of the superior perfection
of the English constitution, the superior
wisdom of their government, and sincerely
believed it for the good of this country
to make them their model in everything; without
considering that what might be wise and
good for a nation essentially commercial, and
entangled in complicated intercourse with
numerous and powerful neighbors, might not
be so for one essentially agricultural, and insulated
by nature from the abusive governments
of the old world.—
To William H. Crawford. Washington ed. vii, 6. Ford ed., x, 34.
(M. 1816)

2272. DRAWBACKS, Repeal of.—

inordinate extent given to commerce among
us by our becoming the factors of the whole
world, has enabled it to control the agricultural
and manufacturing interests. When a
change of circumstances shall reduce it to an
equilibrium with these, to the carrying our produce only, to be exchanged for our wants,
it will return to a wholesome condition for
the body politic, and that beyond which it
should never be encouraged to go. The repeal
of the drawback system will either effect
this, or bring sufficient sums into the treasury
to meet the wars we shall bring on by our
covering every sea with our vessels. But
this must be the work of peace. The correction
will be after my day, as the error
originated before it.—
To Larkin Smith. Washington ed. v, 441.
(M. April. 1809)

2273. DRAWBACKS, Wars and.—

I returned
from Europe after our government had
got under way, and had adopted from the
British code the law of drawbacks. I early
saw its effects in the jealousies and vexations
of Britain; and that, retaining it, we must become,
like her, an essentially warring nation,
and meet, in the end, the catastrophe impending
over her. No one can doubt that this
alone produced the Orders of Council, the
depredations which preceded, and the war
which followed them. Had we carried but our
own produce, and brought back but our own
wants, no nation would have troubled us.
* * * When war was declared, and especially
after Massachusetts, who had produced it,
took side with the enemy waging it, I pressed
on some confidential friends in Congress to
avail us of the happy opportunity of repealing
the drawbacks and I do rejoice to find that
you are in that sentiment. * * * It is one
of three great measures necessary to insure us
permanent prosperity. It preserves our peace.—
To William H. Crawford. Washington ed. vii, 7. Ford ed., x, 35.
(M. 1816)

2274. DREAMS, Hints from.—

We sometimes
from dreams pick up some hint worth improving
by * * * reflection.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., x, 249.
(M. 1823)

2275. DREAMS, Utopian.—

Mine, after
all, may be an Utopian dream, but being inno
cent, I have thought I might indulge in it till
I go to the land of dreams, and sleep there with
the dreamers of all past and future times. [151]
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vii, 95.


Jefferson was discussing his popular and higher
education plans for Virginia.—Editor.

2276. DRESS, Economy and.—

The article
of dress is perhaps that in which economy
is the least to be recommended. It is so important
[in married life] to each to continue
to please the other, that the happiness of both
requires the most pointed attention to whatever
may contribute to it—and the more as
time makes greater inroads on our person.
Yet, generally, we become slovenly in proportion
as personal decay requires the contrary.—
To Mary Jefferson Eppes. D. L. J.247.
(Pa., 1798)

2277. DRESS, Women's.—

Some ladies
think they may, under the privileges of the
déshabille, be loose and negligent of their
dress in the morning. But be you, from the
moment you rise till you go to bed, as cleanly
and properly dressed as at the hours of dinner
or tea.—
To Martha Jefferson. D. L. J.71.


See Intemperance.

2278. DUANE (William), Assistance to.—

The zeal, the disinterestedness, and the
abilities with which you have supported the
great principles of our [political] revolution,
the persecutions you have suffered, and the
firmness and independence with which you have
suffered them, constitute too strong a claim on
the good wishes of every friend of elective government
to be effaced by a solitary case of difference
in opinion. Thus I think, and thus I
believed my much-esteemed friend Lieper would
have thought; and I am the more concerned he
does not, as it is so much more in his power to
be useful to you than in mine. His residence,
and his standing at the great seat of the moneyed
institutions, command a credit with them,
which no inhabitant of the country, and of agricultural
pursuits only, can have. The two or
three banks in our uncommercial State are too
distant to have any relations with the farmers
of Albemarle. We are persuaded you have not
overrated the dispositions of this State to support
yourself and your paper. They have felt
its services too often to be indifferent in the
hour of trial. They are well aware that the
days of danger are not yet over. And I am
sensible that if there were any means of bringing
into concert the good will of the friends
of the “Aurora” scattered over this State, they
would not deceive your expectations. One
month sooner might have found such an opportunity
in the assemblage of our Legislature in
Richmond. But that is now dispersed not to
meet again under a twelvemonth. We, here,
are but one of a hundred counties, and on consulation
with friends of the neighborhood, it is
their opinion that if we can find an endorser
resident in Richmond, ten (for that is indispensable )
or twelve persons of this county would
readily engage, as you suggest, for their $100
each, and some of them for more. It is believed
that the republicans in that city can and
will do a great deal more; and perhaps their
central position may enable them to communicate
with other counties. We have written to
a distinguished friend to the cause of liberty
there to take the lead in the business, as far as


Page 265
concerns that place; and for our own, we are
taking measures for obtaining the aid of the
bank of the same place. In all this I am merely
a cipher. Forty years of almost constant absence
from the State have made me a stranger
in it, have left me a solitary tree, from around
which the axe of time has felled all the companions
of its youth and growth. I have, however,
engaged some active and zealous friends
to do what I could not. * * * But our support
can be but partial, and far short, both in
time and measure, of your difficulties. They
will be little more than evidences of our friendship.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 575. Ford ed., ix, 311.
(M. 1811)

2279. DUANE (William), Character of.—

I believe Duane to be a very honest man
and sincerely republican; but his passions are
stronger than his prudence, and his personal as
well as general antipathies render him very
intolerant. These traits lead him astray, and
require his readers, even those who value him
for his steady support of the republican cause,
to be on their guard against his occasional aberrations.—
To William Wirt. Washington ed. v, 595. Ford ed., ix, 319.
(M. 1811)

2280. DUANE (William), Defection of.—

After so long a course of steady adherence
to the general sentiments of the republicans, it
would afflict me sincerely to see you separate
from the body, become auxiliary to the enemies
of our government, who have to you been the
bitterest enemies, who are now chuckling at the
prospect of division among us, and, as I am told,
are subscribing for your paper.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 592. Ford ed., ix, 316.
(M. April. 1811)

2281. DUANE (William), Office for.—

Duane's defection from the republican ranks,
his transition to the federalists, and giving triumph,
in an important State, to wrong over
right, have dissolved, of his own seeking, his
connection with us. Yet the energy of his
press when our cause was laboring, and all but
lost under the overwhelming weight of its powerful
adversaries, its unquestionable effect in
the revolution produced in the public mind,
which arrested the rapid march of our government
towards monarchy, overweigh in fact the
demerit of his desertion, when we had become
too strong to suffer from it sensibly. He is, in
truth, the victim of passions which his principles
were not strong enough to control. Although,
therefore, we are not bound to clothe
him with the best robe, to put a ring on his
finger, and to kill the fatted calf for him, yet neither should we leave him to eat husks with
the swine. [152]
To James Monroe. Ford ed., x, 275.
(M. 1823)


From a letter recommending Duane for office.——Editor.

2282. DUANE (William), Office for.—[continued].

I received a letter from
some friend of yours who chose to be anonymous,
suggesting that your situation might be
bettered, and the government advantaged by
availing itself of your services in some line.
I immediately wrote to a friend whose situation
enabled him to attend to this. I have received
no answer but hope it is kept in view. I am
long since withdrawn from the political world,
think little, read less, and know all but nothing
of what is going on; but I have not forgotten
the past, nor those who were fellow laborers in
the gloomy hours of federal ascendency when
the spirit of republicanism was beaten down, its
votaries arraigned as criminals, and such threats
denounced as posterity would never believe.
My means of service are slender; but such as
they are, if you can make them useful to you
in any solicitation, they shall be sincerely employed.—
To William Duane. Ford ed., x, 276.
(M. 1824)

2283. DUEL, Murder by.—

committeth murder by way of duel shall suffer
death by hanging; and if he were the
challenger, his body, after death, shall be gibbetted.
He, who removeth it from the gibbet,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and the
officer shall see that it be replaced.—
Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 150. Ford ed., ii, 207.

2284. DUER (William), Failure of.—

The stock-jobbing speculations have occupied
some of our countrymen to such a degree as to
give sincere uneasiness to those who would
rather see their capitals employed in commerce,
manufactures, buildings and agriculture. The
failure of Mr. Duer, the chief of that description
of people, has already produced some other
bankruptcies, and more are apprehended. He
had obtained money from great numbers of
small tradesmen and farmers, tempting them by
usurious interest, which has made the distress
very extensive.—
To David Humphreys. Ford ed., v, 502.
(Pa., April. 1792)

2285. DUER (William), Failure of.—[continued].

Duer the King of the
alley, is under a sort of check. The stocksellers
say he will rise again. The stockbuyers count
him out, and the credit and fate of the nation
seem to hang on the desperate throws and
plunges of gambling scoundrels.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 455.
(Pa., 1792)

2286. DUER (William), Outbreak against.—

It was reported here [Philadelphia] last night, that there had been a collection
of people round the place of Duer's confinement,
of so threatening an appearance, as to
call out the Governor and militia, and to be fired
on by them, and that several of them were
killed. I hope it is not true. Nothing was wanting
to fill up the criminality of this paper system,
but to shed the blood of those whom it had
cheated of their substance.—
To Francis Eppes. Ford ed., v, 508.
(April. 1792)

2287. DUER (William), Threats of.—

Duer now threatens that, if he is not relieved
by certain persons, he will lay open to the world
such a scene of villainy as will strike it with astonishment.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vi, 213.
(Pa., 1793)

2288. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Agency of.—

Would it not be worth while to continue the
agency of Dumas? * * * He is undoubtedly
in the confidence of some one who has a part in
the Dutch government, and who seems to allow
him to communicate to us.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 8.
(P. 1784)

2289. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Agency of.—[continued].

Mr. Dumas, very early
in the [Revolutionary] war, was employed first
by Dr. Franklin, afterwards by Mr. Adams, to
transact the affairs of the United States in
Holland. Congress never passed any express
vote of confirmation, but they opened a direct
correspondence with Mr. Dumas, sent him
orders to be executed, confirmed and augmented
his salary, made that augmentation retrospective,
directed him to take up his residence in
their hotel at the Hague, and passed such
other votes from time to time as established
him de facto their agent at the Hague. On the
change in the organization of our government
in 1789, no commission nor new appointment


Page 266
took place with respect to him, though it did in
most other cases; yet the correspondence with
him from the office of Foreign Affairs has been
continued, and he has regularly received his
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 331. Ford ed., v, 437.
(Pa., 1792)

2290. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Congress and.—

On the 18th of this month, I received a
letter from his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes,
expressing the interest which he takes
in your welfare, and recommending you to Congress.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. i, 528. Ford ed., iv, 190.
(P. 1786)

2291. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Congress and.—[continued].

I am pressed on so many
hands to recommend Dumas to the patronage
of Congress, that I cannot avoid it. Everybody
speaks well of him, and his zeal in our
cause. Anything done for him will gratify this
court [France], and the patriotic party in Holland,
as well as some distinguished individuals.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. i, 557.
(P. 1786)

2292. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Congress and.—[further continued].

I enclose you a letter from the Count de Vergennes in favor of Mr.
Dumas. With the services of this gentleman to
the United States, yourself and Dr. Franklin
are better acquainted than I am. Those he
has been able to render towards effecting the
late alliance between France and the United
Netherlands are the probable ground of the
present application.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 524.
(P. 1786)

2293. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Congress and.—[further continued] .

I was gratified with the
receipt of your favor * * * containing a
copy of the resolution of Congress of October
24th, 1785, in your favor, and which I wish had
been more so.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. i, 528.
(P. 1786)

2294. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Holland and.—

Besides former applications to me in favor
of Dumas, the Rhingrave of Salm (the effective
minister of the government of Holland, while
their two embassadors here are ostensible, and)
who is conducting secret arrangements for them
with this court, presses his interests on us. It
is evident the two governments make a point
of it. You ask why they do not provide for
him themselves? I am not able to answer the
question, but by a conjecture that Dumas's
particular ambition prefers an appointment
from us. I know all the difficulty about this
application which Congress has to encounter.
I see the reasons against giving him the primary
appointment at that court, and the difficulty
of his accommodating himself to a subordinate
one. Yet I think something must be done
in it to gratify this court [France], of which
we must be always asking favors. In these
countries, personal favors weigh more than public
interest. The minister who has asked a
gratification for Dumas, has embarked his own
feelings and reputation in that demand. I do
not think it was discreet by any means. But
this reflection might, perhaps, aggravate a disappointment.
I know not really what you can
do; but yet hope something will be done.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 568. Ford ed., iv, 226.
(P. 1786)

2295. DUMAS (C. W. F.), Holland and.—[continued].

Dumas is a great favorite
both of Holland and France.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 526.
(P. 1786)

2296. DUMOURIEZ (C. F.), Apostacy of.—

From the steadiness of the French people
on the defection of so popular and capital a
commander as Dumouriez, we have a proof that
nothing can shake their republicanism.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 8. Ford ed., vi, 325.

2297. DUMOURIEZ (C. F.), A scoundrel.—

Dumouriez was known to be a scoundrel
in grain. I mentioned this from the beginning
of his being placed at the head of the
armies; but his victories at length silenced me.
His apostasy has now proved that an unprincipled
man, let his other fitnesses be what they
will, ought never to be employed. It has
proved, too, that the French army, as well as
nation, cannot be shaken in their republicanism.
Dumouriez's popularity put it to as severe a
proof as could be offered.—
To Dr. George Gilmer. Washington ed. iv, 5. Ford ed., vi, 324.
(Pa., 1793)

2298. DUMOURIEZ (C. F.), Without Virtue.—

No confidence in Dumouriez's virtue
opposes the story that he has gone over to
the Austrians; for he has none.—
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. Ford ed., vi, 267.
(Pa., 17931793)gt;

2299. DUNBAR (William), Esteem for.—

I recommend to your particular civilities
and respect Mr. William Dunbar, a person of
great worth and wealth in New Orleans, and
one of the most distinguished citizens of the
United States in point of science. He is a correspondent
of mine in that line in whom I set
great store. As a native of Britain, he must
have a predilection towards her; but as to every
other nation he is purely American.—
To William C. Claiborne. Ford ed., viii, 72.
(W. 1801)

2300. DUNMORE (Lord), Defeated.—

Lord Dunmore has commenced hostilities in
Virginia. That people bore with everything,
till he attempted to burn the town of Hampton.
They opposed and repelled him, with considerable
loss on his side, and none on ours. It has
raised our countrymen into a perfect phrenzy.—
To John Randolph. Washington ed. i, 203. Ford ed., i, 492.
(Pa., Nov. 1775)

2301. DUPLICITY, Disdained.—

I disdain
everything like duplicity.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 194. Ford ed., vii, 166.
(M. 1797)

2302. DUPONT DE NEMOURS, Ameriea and.—

I pray you to cherish Dupont. He
has the best disposition for the continuance of
friendship between the two nations, and perhaps
you may be able to make a good use of
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 434. Ford ed., viii, 147.
(W. 1802)

2303. DUPONT DE NEMOURS, Confidence in.—

You will perceive the unlimited
confidence I repose in your good faith, and in
your cordial dispositions to serve both countries,
when you observe that I leave the letters
for Chancellor Livingston open for your perusal.
The first page respects a cipher, as do the
loose sheets folded with the letter. These are
interesting to him and myself only, and therefore
are not for your perusal. It is the second,
third, and fourth pages which I wish you to
read, to possess yourself of completely, and
then seal the letter with wafers stuck under
the flying seal, that it may be seen by nobody
else if any accident should happen to you. I
wish you to be possessed of the subject, because
you may be able to impress on the government
of France the inevitable consequences of their
taking possession of Louisiana; and though, as
I here mention, the cession of New Orleans


Page 267
and the Floridas to us would be a palliation,
yet I believe it would be no more, and that this
measure will cost France, and perhaps not very
long hence, a war which will annihilate her on
the ocean, and place that element under the
despotism of two nations, which I am not reconciled
to the more because my own would be
one of them.—
To M. Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 435.
(W. April. 1802)

2304. DUPONT DE NEMOURS, Louisiana Purchase and.—

The confidence which
the government of France reposes in you, will
undoubtedly give great weight to your information
[with respect to Louisiana]. An equal confidence
on our part, founded on your knowledge
of the subject, your just views of it, your good
dispositions towards this country, and my long
experience of your personal faith and friendship,
assure me that you will render between us
all the good offices in your power. The interests
of the two countries being absolutely
the same as to this matter, your aid may be
conscientiously given. It will often, perhaps,
be possible for you, having a freedom of communication,
omnibus horis, which diplomatic
gentlemen will be excluded from by forms, to
smooth difficulties by representations and reasonings,
which would be received with more
suspicion from them. You will thereby render
great good to both countries.—
To P. S. Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 457. Ford ed., viii, 205.
(W. Feb. 1803)

2305. DUPUIS (C. F.), Works of.—

undertaking [to read] the twelve volumes of
Dupuis, is a degree of heroism to which I could
not have aspired even in my younger days. I
have been contented with the humble achievement
of reading the analysis of his work by
Destutt Tracy, in two hundred pages octavo. I
believe I should have ventured on his own
abridgment of the work, in one octavo volume,
had it ever come to my hands; but the marrow
of it in Tracy has satisfied my appetite; and
even in that, the preliminary discourse of the
analyser himself, and his conclusion, are worth
more in my eye than the body of the work.
For the object of that seems to be to smother
all history under the mantle of allegory. If histories
so unlike as that of Hercules and Jesus,
can, by a fertile imagination and allegorical
interpretations, be brought to the same tally, no
line of distinction remains between fact and
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 38.
(M. 1816)

2306. DUTIES, Discriminating.—

It is true we must expect some inconvenience in
practice from the establishment of discriminating
duties. But in this, as in so many other
cases, we are left to choose between two evils.
These inconveniences are nothing when
weighed against the loss of wealth and loss
of force, which will follow our perseverance in
the plan of indiscrimination. When once it
shall be perceived that we are either in the
system, or in the habit, of giving equal advantages
to those who extinguish our commerce
and navigation by duties and prohibitions,
as to those who treat both with liberality
and justice, liberality and justice will be
converted by all into duties and prohibitions.
It is not to the moderation and justice of
others we are to trust for fair and equal access
to market with our productions, or for
our due share in the transportation of them;
but to our means of independence, and the
firm will to use them. Nor do the incon
veniences of discrimination merit consideration.
* * * Perhaps not a commercial
nation on earth is without them.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 650. Ford ed., vi, 483.
(Dec. 1793)

2307. DUTIES, Discriminating.—[continued].

Between nations who
favor our productions and navigation and
those who do not favor them, one distinction
alone will suffice; one set of moderate duties
for the first, and a fixed advance on these as
to some articles; and prohibitions as to others,
for the last.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 650. Ford ed., vi, 483.
(Dec. 1793)

2308. DUTIES, Discriminating.—[further continued].

If the commercial regulations
had been adopted which our Legislature
were at one time proposing, we should
at this moment have been standing on such an
eminence of safety and respect as ages can
never recover. But having wandered from
that, our object should now be to get back,
with as little loss as possible, and, when peace
shall be restored to the world, endeavor so to
form our commercial regulations as that justice
from other nations shall be their mechanical
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 177. Ford ed., vii, 129.
(Pa., May. 1797)

2309. DUTIES, Discriminating.—[further continued] .

To those [nations] who
refuse the admission [to the West Indies] we
must refuse our commerce, or load theirs by
odious discriminations in our ports.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 351. Ford ed., iv, 58.
(P. 1785)

2310. DUTIES, Prohibitory.—

any nation, contrary to our wishes, suppose it
may better find its advantage by continuing
its system of prohibitions, duties and regulations,
it behooves us to protect our citizens,
their commerce and navigation, by counter
prohibitions, duties and regulations, also.
Free commerce and navigation are not to be
given in exchange for restrictions and vexations;
nor are they likely to produce a relaxation
of them.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 647. Ford ed., vi, 480.
(Dec. 1793)

2311. DUTIES, Reciprocal.—

Some nations
not yet ripe for free commerce in all
its extent, might still be willing to mollify
its restrictions and regulations for us, in proportion
to the advantages which an intercourse
with us might offer. Particularly
they may concur with us in reciprocating the
duties to be levied on each side, or in compensating
any excess of duty by equivalent
advantages of another nature.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 646. Ford ed., vi, 479.
(Dec. 1793)

2312. DUTIES, Retaliatory.—

has passed an act, the first object of
which seemed to be, to retaliate on the British
commercial measures, but in the close of it,
they impose double duties on all goods imported
in bottoms not wholly owned by citizens
of our States. New Hampshire has followed
the example. This is much complained
of here [France], and will probably draw retaliating
measures from the States of Europe,


Page 268
if generally adopted in America, or not corrected
by the States which have adopted it.
It must be our endeavor to keep them quiet
on this side the water, under the hope that our
countrymen will correct this step; as I trust
they will do. It is no ways akin to their general
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 475.
(P. 1785)

See Tariff.

2313. DUTIES (Governmental), Division of.—

In government, as well as in every
other business of life, it is by division and
subdivision of duties alone, that all matters,
great and small, can be managed to perfection.
And the whole is cemented by giving
to every citizen, personally, a part in the administration
of the public affairs.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 13. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)

— DUTIES, Natural.—

See Duty and Natural Rights.

2314. DUTY, Ability and.—

A debt of
service is due from every man to his country
proportioned to the bounties which nature and
fortune have measured to him.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 152. Ford ed., vii, 94.
(M. 1796)

See Office.

2315. DUTY, Administrative.—

On taking
this station [Presidency] on a former
occasion, I declared the principles on which
I believed it my duty to administer the affairs
of our commonwealth. My conscience tells
me that I have, on every occasion, acted up
to that declaration, according to its obvious
import, and to the understanding of every
candid mind.—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 40. Ford ed., viii, 342.

2316. DUTY, Administrative.—[continued].

It was my lot to be
placed at the head of the column which made
the first breach in the ramparts of federalism,
and to be charged, on that event, with the
duty of changing the course of the government
from what we deemed a monarchical
to its republican tack. This made me the
mark for every shaft which calumny and
falsehood could point against me. I bore them
with resignation, as one of the duties imposed
on me by my post. But * * * it was
among the most painful duties from which I
hoped to find relief in retirement.—
To Mark Langdon Hill. Washington ed. vii, 154.
(M. 1820)

2317. DUTY, Age and.—

I should not
shrink from the post of duty, had not the decays
of nature withdrawn me from the list
of combatants.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 211. Ford ed., x, 188.
(M. 1821)

2318. DUTY vs. COMFORT.—

your domestic comforts for a few months,
and reflect that to be a good husband and
good father at this moment, you must be also
a good citizen.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 189. Ford ed., vii, 151.
(Pa., 1797)

2319. DUTY, Danger and.—

I would
really go away [from Philadelphia] because
I think there is rational danger [from the
yellow fever], but that I had before announced
that I should not go till the begin
ning of October, and I do not like to exhibit
the appearance of panic. Besides that, I
think there might serious ills proceed from
there being not a single member of the administration
in place.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vi, 419.
(Sep. 1793)

2320. DUTY, Filial.—

A lively and lasting
sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed
on the mind of a son or daughter by
reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes
of ethics and divinity that ever were
To Robert Skipwith. Ford ed., i, 398.

2321. DUTY, Fulfilled.—

I determined to
set out for Virginia as soon as I could clear
my own letter files. I have now got through
it so as to leave not a single letter unanswered,
or anything undone, which is in a
state to be done.—
To President Washington. Ford ed., vi, 428.

2322. DUTY, Honest discharge of.—

He who has done his duty honestly, and according
to his best skill and judgment, stands acquitted before God and man.—
The Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 602.

2323. DUTY, Imperial.—

Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit
where you fail. [153]
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 141. Ford ed., i, 446.


To George III.—Editor.


We have, willingly, done injury to no man; and have
done for our country the good which has
fallen in our way, so far as commensurate
with the faculties given us. That we have
not done more than we could, cannot be imputed
to us as a crime before any tribunal.
I look, therefore, to the crisis as one “qui
summum nec metuit diem nec optat.”

To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 154.

2325. DUTY TO MANKIND.—[continued].

I have done for my
country, and for all mankind, all that I
could do, and I now resign my soul, without
fear, to my God; my daughter, to my country.
Rayner's Life of Jefferson.554.


B. L. Rayner, in his Life of Jefferson, says:
“These were the last words Jefferson articulated.
* * * All that was heard from him afterwards, was
a hurried repetition, in indistinct and scarcely audible
accents, of his favorite ejaculation, Nunc Dimittis,
Domine—Nunc Dimittis, Domine.”

2326. DUTY, Men of eminence and.—

Some men are born for the public. Nature
by fitting them for the service of the human
race on a broad scale, has stamped them with
the evidences of her destination and their
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 455. Ford ed., viii, 190.
(W. 1803)

2327. DUTY, Merit and.—

If it be found
that I have done my duty as other faithful
citizens have done, it is all the merit I
R. To A. Georgetown Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 159.

2328. DUTY, Merit and.—[continued].

One of those who entered
into public life at the commencement
of an era the most extraordinary which the


Page 269
history of man has ever yet presented to his
contemplation, I claim nothing more, for
the part I have acted in it, than a common
merit of having, with others, faithfully endeavored
to do my duty in the several stations
allotted to me.—
R. To A. Virginia Assembly. Washington ed. viii, 148.

2329. DUTY, Natural.—

Every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the
necessities of the society; and this is all the
laws should enforce on him.—
To F. W. GilMer. Washington ed. vii, 3. Ford ed., x, 32.
(M. 1816)

2330. DUTY, Natural.—[continued].

No man having a natural
right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit
to the umpirage of an impartial third.—
To F. W. Gilmer. Washington ed. vii, 3. Ford ed., x, 32.
(M. 1816)

See Natural Rights.

2331. DUTY, Obstacles and.—

The zealous
citizen, unable to do his duty so soon
as was prescribed, will do it as soon as he
Letter to Members of Va. Assembly. Ford ed., ii, 434.
(R. 1781)

2332. DUTY, Office and.—

Could I have
persuaded myself that public offices were
made for private convenience, I should undoubtedly
have preferred a continuance in
the French mission, which placed me nearer
to you; but believing, on the contrary, that
a good citizen should take his stand where
the public authority marshals him, I have
To Madame La Duchesse D'Auville. Washington ed. iii, 134. Ford ed., v, 153.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

2333. DUTY, Rank and.—

I think with
the Romans of old, that the general of to-day
should be a common soldier to-morrow,
if necessary.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 155. Ford ed., vii, 99.

2334. DUTY, Rewards for.—

The first of
all our consolations is that of having faithfully
fulfilled our duties; the next, the approbation
and good will of those who have
witnessed it.—
To James Fisback. Washington ed. v, 471.
(M. 1809)

2335. DUTY, Right and.—

Our part is to
pursue with steadiness what is right, turning
neither to right nor left for the intrigues
or popular delusions of the day, assured that
the public approbation will in the end be with
To General Breckenridge. Washington ed. vii, 238.
(M. 1822)

2336. DUTY, Silent performance of.—

The attaching circumstance of my present office
[Minister to France] is that I can do its
duties unseen by those for whom they are
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 587. Ford ed., v, 78.
(P. 1789)

2337. DUTY, Silent performance of.—[continued].

My great wish is to go
on in a strict but silent performance of my
duty; to avoid attracting notice, and to keep
my name out of newspapers.—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 587. Ford ed., v, 78.
(P. 1789)

2338. DUTY, Suborned from.—

Those whom the Constitution had placed as guards
to its portals are sophisticated or suborned
from their duties.—
To Dr. J. B. Stuart. Washington ed. vii, 65.
(M. 1817)

— DUTY, Tours of Official.—

See Office.