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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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2339. EARTH, Belongs to the Living.—

The ground * * * I suppose to be selfevident,
“that the earth belongs in usufruct
to the living”;
that the dead have neither
powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied
by any individual ceases to be his
when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 103. Ford ed., v, 116.
(P. 1789)

2340. EARTH, Belongs to the Living.—[continued].

The earth belongs always
to the living generation. They May
manage it, and what proceeds from it, as they
please, during their usufruct.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 106. Ford ed., v, 121.
(P. 1789)

2341. EARTH, Belongs to the Living.—[further continued].

The principle that the
earth belongs to the living and not to the
dead, is of very extensive application and
consequences in every country, and most especially
in France. It enters into the resolution
of the questions, whether the nation
may change the descent of lands holden in
tail? Whether they may change the appropriation
of lands given anciently to the
Church, to hospitals, colleges, orders of chivalry,
and otherwise in perpetuity? whether
they may abolish the charges and privileges
attached on lands, including the whole catalogue,
ecclesiastical and feudal; it goes to
hereditary offices, authorities and jurisdictions;
to hereditary orders, distinctions and
appellations; to perpetual monopolies in commerce,
the arts or sciences; with a long train
of et ceteras; and it renders the question of
reimbursement a question of generosity and
not of right. In all these cases the legislature
of the day could authorize such appropriations
and establishments for their own time,
but no longer; and the present holders, even
where they or their ancestors have purchased,
are in the case of bona fide purchasers of
what the seller had no right to convey.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 107. Ford ed., v, 122.
(P. 1789)

2342. EARTH, Belongs to the Living.—[further continued] .

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 unencumbered, and so
on, successively, from one generation to another
To John Wayles Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 136. Ford ed., ix, 389.
(M. June. 1813)

2343. EARTH, Belongs to the Living.—[further continued].

This corporeal globe, and
everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal


Page 270
inhabitants, during their generation.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 16. Ford ed., x, 44.
(M. 1816)

2344. EARTH, Belongs to the Living.—[further continued] .

Our Creator made the
earth for the use of the living and not of
the dead. Those who exist not have no use,
or right in it no authority or power over it.—
To Thomas Earle. Washington ed. vii, 310.
(M. 1823)

2345. EARTH, Equal Rights in.—

The earth is given as a common stock for man to
labor and live on.—
To Rev. James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 36.
(Pa., 1785)

2346. EARTH, Equal Rights in.—[continued].

If, for the encouragement
of industry, we allow the earth to be
appropriated, we must take care that other
employment be provided to those excluded
from the appropriation. If we do not, the
fundamental right to labor the earth returns
to the employed.—
To Rev. James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 36.
(P. 1785)

2347. EARTH, God's Gift.—

The soil is
the gift of God to the living.—
To John W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 138. Ford ed., ix, 391. M.,

See Generations.

2348. EARTH, Internal Heat of.—

term “central heat” does of itself give us a
false idea of Buffon's hypothesis. If it means
a heat lodged in the centre of the earth, and diffusing
its warmth from thence to the extremities,
then certainly it would be less in propertion
to the distance from that centre, and, of
course, less under the equator than the poles,
on high mountains than in deep valleys. But
Buffon's theory is that this earth was once in
a state of hot fusion, and that it has been, and
still continues to be cooling. What is the
course of this process? A heated body being
surrounded by a colder one, whether solid or
fluid, the heat, which is itself a fluid, flows into
the colder body equally from every point of the
hotter. Hence if a heated spheroid of iron cools
to a given degree, in a given space of time, an
inch deep from its surface in one point, it
has in the same time done the same in any and
every other point. In a given time more, it will
be cooled all around to double that depth. So
that it will always be equally cooled at equal
depths from the surface. This would be the
case with Buffon's earth, if it were a smooth
figure without unevennesses. But it has mountains
and valleys. The tops of mountains will
cool to greater depths in the same time than
the sides of mountains, and than plains in
proportion as the line A. B. is longer than
A. C. or D. E. or F. G. In the valley line
H. I., on depth of the same temperature, will
be the same as on a plain. This, however, is
very different from Buffon's opinion. He says
that the earth, being thinnest at the poles, will
cool sooner there than under the equator, where
it is thicker. If my idea of the process of
cooling be right, his is wrong, and his whole
theory in the Epochs of Nature, is overset.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 369.
(A. 1784)

2349. EARTH, Theory of Creation.—

give one answer to all theorists. That is as
follows: They all suppose the earth a created
existence. They must suppose a Creator then;
and that He possessed power and wisdom to a
great degree. As He intended the earth for
the habitation of animals and vegetables, is it
reasonable to suppose He made two jobs of His
creation, that He first made a chaotic lump and
set it into motion, and then, waiting the ages
necessary to form itself—that when it had done
this, He stepped in a second time, to create the
animals and plants which were to inhabit it?
As a hand of a Creator is to be called in, it
may as well be called in at one stage of the
process as another. We may as well suppose He
created the earth at once, nearly in the state
in which we see it, fit for the preservation of
the beings He placed on it. But, it is said, we
have a proof that He did not create it in its
present solid form, but in a state of fluidity;
because its present shape of an oblate spheroid
is precisely that which a fluid mass, revolving
on its axis, would assume; but I suppose the
same equilibrium, between gravity and centrifugal
force, which would determine a fluid
mass into the form of an oblate spheroid,
would determine the wise Creator of that mass,
if he made it in a solid state, to give it the
same spheroidical form. A revolving fluid
will continue to change its shape, till it attains
that in which its principles of contrary motion
are balanced; for if you suppose them not balanced,
it will change its form. Now, the balanced
form is necessary for the preservation of
a revolving solid. The Creator, therefore, of a
revolving solid, would make it an oblate
spheroid, that figure alone admitting a perfect
equilibrium. He would make it in that form
for another reason; that is, to prevent a shifting
of the axis of rotation. Had He created the
earth perfectly spherical, its axis might have
been perpetually shifting, by the influence of the
other bodies of the system, and by placing the
inhabitants of the earth successively under its
poles, it might have been depopulated; whereas,
being spheroidical, it has but one axis on which
it can revolve in equilibrio. Suppose the axis
of the earth to shift forty-five degrees; then
cut it into one hundred and eighty slices, making
every section in the plane of a circle of
latitude perpendicular to the axis: every one
of these slices except the equatorial one, would
be unbalanced, as there would be more matter
on one side of its axis than on the other.
There could be but one diameter drawn through
such a slice which would divide it into two
equal parts; on every other possible diameter,
the parts would hang unequal. This would produce
an irregularity in the diurnal motion. We
may, therefore, conclude it impossible for the
poles of the earth to shift, if it was made
spheroidically, and that it would be made
spheroidical, though solid, to obtain this end.
I use this reasoning only on the supposition that
the earth has had a beginning. I am sure I
shall read your conjectures on this subject with
great pleasure, though I bespeak, beforehand,
a right to indulge my natural incredulity and
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. ii, 68. Ford ed., iv, 338.
(P. 1786)

2350. EAST INDIES, Trade to.—

and New York have begun trade to the


Page 271
East Indies. Perhaps Boston may follow their
example. But their importations will be sold
only to the country adjacent to them. For a
long time to come, the States south of the Delaware
will not engage in a direct commerce with
the East Indies. They neither have, nor will
have ships or seamen for their other commerce;
nor will they buy East India goods of the northern
States. Experience shows that the States
never bought foreign goods of one another.
The reasons are that they would, in so doing,
pay double freight and charges; and again that
they would have to pay mostly in cash what
they could obtain for commodities in Europe.
I know that the American merchants have
looked with some anxiety to the arrangements
to be taken with Portugal, in expectation that
they could, through her, get their East India
articles on better and more convenient terms;
and I am of opinion, Portugal will come in for
a good share of this traffic with the southern
States, if they facilitate our payments.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 493.
(P. 1785)

2351. EAST AND WEST LINE, Meaning of.—

On the question what is an east and
west line? which, you say, has been a subject
of discussion in the papers, I presume * * * that the parties have differed only in applying
the same appellation to different things. The
one defines an east and west line to be on a
great circle of the earth, passing through the
point of departure, its nadir point, and the
centre of the earth, its plane rectangular, to
that of the meridian of departure. The other
considers an east and west line to be a line on
the surface of the earth, bounding a plane at
right angles with its axis, or a circle of latitude
passing through the point of departure, or in
other words, a line which, from the point of
departure, passes every meridian at a right
angle. Each party, therefore, defining the line
he means, may be permitted to call it an east
and west one, or at least it becomes no longer
a mathematical but a philological question of
the meaning of the words east and west. The
last is what was meant probably by the east
and west line in the treaty of Ghent. The same
has been the understanding in running the numerous
east and west lines which divide our
different States. They have been run by observations
of latitude at very short intervals,
uniting the points of observation by short
direct lines, and thus constituting in fact part
of a polygon of very short sides.—
To Chiles Terril. Washington ed. vii, 260.
(M. 1822)

2352. ECONOMY, Domestic.—

economy * * * [is] of more solid value
than anything else.—
To Mrs. Eppes. D. L. J.127.
(P. 1787)

2353. ECONOMY, Domestic.—[continued].

In household economy,
the mothers of our country are generally
skilled, and generally careful to instruct their
daughters. We all know its value, and that
diligence and dexterity in all its processes
are inestimable treasures. The order and
economy of a house are as honorable to the
mistress as those of the farm to the master,
and if either be neglected, ruin follows, and
children destitute of the means of living.—
To N. Burwell. Washington ed. vii, 103. Ford ed., x, 106.
(M. 1818)

2354. ECONOMY, An Essential Principle.—

Economy in the public expense, that
labor may be lightly burdened, 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.

2355. ECONOMY, An Essential Principle.—[continued].

To expend the public money with the same care and economy
[that] we would practice with our own,
* * * [is one of] the land marks by which
we are to guide ourselves in all our proceedings.—
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 21. Ford ed., viii, 187.
(Dec. 1802)

2356. ECONOMY, An Essential Principle.—[further continued].

The same prudence,
which, in private life, would forbid our paying
our money for unexplained projects, forbids
it in the disposition of the public moneys.—
To Shelton Gilliam. Washington ed. v, 301.
(W. 1808)

2357. ECONOMY, Evil of want of.—

see in England the consequences of the want
of economy; their laborers reduced to live on
a penny in the shilling of their earnings, to
give up bread, and resort to oatmeal and potatoes
for food; and their landholders exiling
themselves to live in penury and obscurity
abroad, because at home the government must
have all the clear profits of their land. In
fact, they see the fee simple of the island
transferred to the public creditors, all its
profits going to them for the interest of their
debts. Our laborers and landholders must
come to this also, unless they severely adhere
to the economy you recommend.—
To Governor Plumer. Washington ed. vii, 19.
(M. 1816)

2358. ECONOMY, Happiness and.—

If we can prevent the government from wasting
the labors of the people, under the pretence of
taking care of them, they must become happy.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. iv, 453. Ford ed., viii, 178.
(W. 1802)

2359. ECONOMY, Honesty and.—

rigid economy of the public contributions,
and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses,
will go far towards keeping the government
honest and unoppressive.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 325. Ford ed., x, 280.
(M. 1823)

2360. ECONOMY, Ignorance of Political.—

I transmit for M. Tracy * * * a
translation of his Economie Politique, which
we have made and published here in the hope
of advancing our countrymen somewhat in
that science; the most profound ignorance of
which threatened irreparable disaster during
the late war, and by the parasite institutions
of banks is now consuming the public
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., x, 116.
(M. 1818)

2361. ECONOMY, Insisting on.—

shall push Congress to the uttermost in
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. iv, 397.
(W. May. 1801)

2362. ECONOMY, Liberty and.—

must make our election between economy and
or profusion and servitude.
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 14. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)


Page 272

2363. ECONOMY, Necessity for.—

are] conscious that our endeavors to reconcile
economy and the public wants must meet
with the approbation of every person, who
attends at all to the dangers impending over
us from circumscribed finances.—
To the President of Congress. Ford ed., ii, 337.
(R. 1780)


learn with great satisfaction that wholesome
economies have been found, sufficient to relieve
us from the ruinous necessity of adding
annually to our debt by new loans. The
deviser of so salutary a relief deserves truly
well of his country.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. vii, 284. Ford ed., x, 251.
(M. 1823)
See Loans.

2365. ECONOMY, Political.—

In so complicated
a science as political economy, no
one axiom can be laid down as wise and expedient
for all times and circumstances, and
for their contraries.—
To Benjamin Austin. Washington ed. vi, 523. Ford ed., x, 10.
(M. Jan. 1816)

2366. ECONOMY, Political.—[continued].

Political economy in
modern times assumed the form of a regular
science first in the hands of the political sect
in France, called the Economists. They made
it a branch only of a comprehensive system
on the natural order of societies. Quesnay
first, Gournay, Le Frosne, Turgot, and Dupont
de Nemours, the enlightened, philanthropic,
and venerable citizen, now of the
United States, led the way in these developments,
and gave to our inquiries the direction
they have since observed. Many sound and
valuable principles established by them have
received the sanction of general approbation.
Some, as in the infancy of a science might be
expected, have been brought into question,
and have furnished occasion for much discussion.
Their opinions on production, and
on the proper subjects of taxation, have been
particularly controverted; and whatever May
be the merit of their principles of taxation,
it is not wonderful they have not prevailed;
not on the questioned score of correctness,
but because not acceptable to the people,
whose will must be the supreme law. Taxation
is, in fact, the most difficult function of
government, and that against which their
citizens are most apt to be refractory. The
general aim is, therefore, to adopt the mode
most consonant with the circumstances and
sentiments of the country. Adam Smith,
first in England, published a rational and
systematic work on Political Economy, adopting
generally the ground of the Economists,
but differing on the subjects before specified.
The system being novel, much argument and
detail seemed then necessary to establish
principles which now are assented to as soon
as proposed. Hence his book, admitted to be
able, and of the first degree of merit, has yet
been considered as prolix and tedious. In
France, John Baptisté Say has the merit of
producing a very superior work on the subject
of Political Economy. His arrangement
is luminous, ideas clear, style perspicuous,
and the whole subject brought within half
the volume of Smith's work. Add to this
considerable advances in correctness and extension
of principles. The work of Senator
[Destutt] Tracy, now announced, comes forward
with all the lights of his predecessors
in the science, and with the advantages of
further experience, more discussion, and
greater maturity of subjects. It is certainly
distinguished by important traits; a cogency
of logic which has never been exceeded in
any work, a rigorous enchainment of ideas,
and constant recurrence to it to keep it in
the reader's view, a fearless pursuit of truth
whithersoever it leads, and a diction so correct
that not a word can be changed but for
the worse * * *—
Introduction to Destutt Tracy's Political Economy. Washington ed. vi, 570.

See Tracy.

2367. ECONOMY, Prodigality vs.—

reform the prodigalities of our predecessors
is * * * peculiarly our duty, and to bring
the government to a simple and economical
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 455. Ford ed., viii, 191.
(W. 1803)

2368. ECONOMY, A Republican virtue.—

I place economy among the first and most
important of republican virtues.—
To Governor Plumer. Washington ed. vii, 19.
(M. 1816)

2369. ECONOMY, A Republican virtue.—[continued].

I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple, 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., 17991799)gt;

2370. ECONOMY, Rigorous.—

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.—
To M. de Pinto. Washington ed. iii, 174.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

2371. ECONOMY, Rigorous.—[continued].

We are endeavoring to
reduce he government to the practice of a
rigorous economy, to avoid burthening the
people, and arming the magistrate with a
patronage of money, which might be used to corrupt and undermine the principles of our
To M. Pictet. Washington ed. iv, 463.
(W. 1803)

2372. ECONOMY, Rigorous.—[further continued].

I may err in my measures,
but never shall deflect from the intention
to fortify the public liberty by every possible
means, and to put it out of the power
of the few to riot on the labors of the many.—
To Judge Tyler. Washington ed. iv, 548.
(W. 1804)


When, merely by avoiding false objects of expense,
we are able, without a direct tax, without
internal taxes, and without borrowing, to make large and effectual payments toward the
discharge of our public debt and the emancipation
of our posterity from that moral canker,
it is an encouragement of the highest
order, to proceed as we have begun, in substituting
economy for taxation, and in pursuing


Page 273
what is useful for a nation placed as we are,
rather than what is practiced by others under
different circumstances.—
Second Annual Message, Washington ed. viii, 19. Ford ed., viii, 185.
(Dec. 1802)

2374. ECONOMY, Wisdom of.—

public economy is such as to offer drudgery
and subsistence only to those entrusted with
its administration,—a wise and necessary precaution
against the degeneracy of the public
To M. de Meunier. Ford ed., vii, 14.
(M. 1795)

2375. EDEN (William), Hatred of the United States.—

Mr. Eden is appointed ambassador
from England to Madrid. To the
hatred borne us by his court and country is
added a recollection of the circumstances of
the unsuccessful embassy to America, of which
he made a part. I think he will carry to Madrid
dispositions to do us all the ill he can.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 158.
(P. 1787)

2376. EDEN (William), Hatred of the United States.—[continued].

We had often * * * occasions of knowing each other. His peculiar
bitterness towards us had sufficiently appeared,
and I had never concealed from him that I considered
the British as our natural enemies, and
as the only nation on earth who wished us ill
from the bottom of their souls. And I am satisfied
that were our continent to be swallowed
up by the ocean, Great Britain would be in a
bonfire from one end to the other.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 323. Ford ed., iv, 469.
(P. 1787)

2377. EDEN (William), Hatred of the United States.—[further continued].

Mr. Eden sets out in a
few days for Madrid. You will have to oppose
in him the most bitter enemy against our
country that exists. His late and sudden elevation
makes the remembrance of the contempt
we showed to his mission in America rankle
the more in his breast.—
To William Carmichael. Ford ed., iv, 453.
(P. 1787)

2378. EDITORS, Contention and.—

The printers can never leave us in a state of perfect
rest and union of opinion. They would
be no longer useful and would have to go to
the plow.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 392. Ford ed., viii, 43.
(W. March. 1801)

2379. EDITORS, Contention and.—[continued].

A coalition of sentiments
is not for the interest of the printers.
They, * * *, live by the zeal they can
kindle, and the schisms they can create. It
is contest of opinion in politics * * * which makes us take great interest in them,
and bestow our money liberally on those who
furnish aliment to our appetite.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 391. Ford ed., viii, 42.
(W. March. 1801)

2380. EDITORS, Ferocity of.—

Our printers
raven on the agonies of their victims,
as wolves do on the blood of the lamb.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 598. Ford ed., ix, 324.
(M. 1811)

2381. EDITORS, Government, People and.—

The printers and the public are very
different personages. The former may lead
the latter a little out of their track, while
the deviation is insensible; but the moment
they usurp their direction and that of their
government, they will be reduced to their
true places.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 598. Ford ed., ix, 324.
(M. May. 1811)

2382. EDITORS, Independence of.—

think an editor should be independent, that
is, of personal influence, and not be moved
from his opinions on the mere authority of
any individual. But with respect to the general
opinion of the political section with which
he habitually accords, his duty seems very
like that of a member of Congress.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 591. Ford ed., ix, 315.
(M. 1811)

2383. EDITORS, Jefferson's Relations with.—

In your letter it is said that, for certain
services performed
by Mr. James Lyon
and Mr. Samuel Morse, formerly editors of
the Savannah Republican, I promised them
the sum of one thousand dollars. This is
totally unfounded. I never promised to any
printer on earth the sum of one thousand dollars,
nor any other sum, for certain services
performed, or for any services which that
expression would imply. I have had no accounts
with printers but for their newspapers,
for which I have paid always the ordinary
price and no more. I have occasionally joined
in moderate contributions to printers, as I
have done, to other descriptions of persons,
distressed or persecuted, not by promise, but
the actual payment of what I contributed.—
To James L. Edwards. Washington ed. vi, 8.
(M. 1811)

2384. EDITORS, Jefferson's Relations with.—[continued].

I take the liberty of requesting
a letter from you bearing testimony to the truth of my never having made to you,
or within your knowledge or information,
any such promise to yourself, your partner
Morse, or any other. My confidence in your
character leaves me without a doubt of your
honest aid in repelling this base and bold
attempt to fix on me practices to which no
honors or powers in this world would ever
have induced me to stoop. I have solicited
none, intrigued for none. Those which my
country has thought proper to confide to me
have been of their own mere motion, unasked
by me. Such practices as this letter-writer
imputes to me, would have proved me unworthy
of their confidence.—
To James Lyon. Washington ed. vi, 10.
(M. 1811)

See Newspapers.

2385. EDUCATION, Abuses of power and.—

Education is the true corrective of
abuses of constitutional power.—
To William C. Jarvis. Washington ed. vii, 179. Ford ed., x, 161.
(M. 1820)

2386. EDUCATION, Amelioration of mankind.—

If the condition of man is to be
progressively ameliorated, as we fondly hope
and believe, education is to be the chief instrument
in effecting it.—
To M. Jullien. Washington ed. vii, 106.
(M. 1818)

2387. EDUCATION, Course of.—

I have
never thought a boy should undertake abstruse
or difficult sciences, such as mathematics
in general, till fifteen years of age at
soonest. Before that time, they are best employed
in learning the languages, which is
merely a matter of memory.—
To Ralph Izard. Washington ed. ii, 428.
(P. 1788)


Page 274

2388. EDUCATION, Devotion to.—

system of general instruction, which shall
reach every description of our citizens from
the richest to the poorest, as it was the earliest,
so will it be the latest of all the public
concerns in which I shall permit myself to
take an interest. Nor am I tenacious of the
form in which it shall be introduced. Be
that what it may, our descendants will be
as wise as we are, and will know how to
amend and amend it, until it shall suit their
circumstances. Give it to us then in any
shape, and receive for the inestimable boon
the thanks of the young and the blessings of
the old, who are past all other services but
prayers for the prosperity of their country,
and blessings for those who promote it.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Ford ed., x. 102.
(M. 1818)

— EDUCATION, Discipline and.—

See Discipline and University of Virginia.

2389. EDUCATION, Drawing.—

I have
been quite anxious to get a good drawing
master in the military or landscape line for
the University [of Virginia]. It is a branch
of male education most highly and justly
valued on the continent of Europe.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., x, 360.
(M. 1826)

— EDUCATION, Elective Studies.—

See University of Virginia.

— EDUCATION, European.—

See Schools.

2390. EDUCATION, Female.—

A plan of
female education has never been a subject of
systematic contemplation with me. It has
occupied my attention so far only as the education
of my own daughters occasionally required.
Considering that they would be
placed in a country situation, wher little aid
could be obtained from abroad, I thought it
essential to give them a solid education, which
might enable them, when become mothers, to
educate their own daughters, and even to direct
the course for sons, should their fathers
be lost, or incapable, or inattentive. * * * A great obstacle to good education is the ordinate
passion prevalent for novels, and the
time lost in that reading which should be instructively
employed. When this poison infects
the mind. it destroys its tone and revolts
it against wholesome reading. Reason and
fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected.
Nothing can engage attention unless dressed
in all the figments of fancy, and nothing so
bedecked comes amiss. The result is a
bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and
disgust towards all the real businesses of
life. This mass of trash, however is not without
some distinction; some few modelling
their narratives, although fictitious, on the
incidents of real life, have been able to make
them interesting and useful vehicles of a
sound morality. Such, I think, are Marmontel's
new Moral Tales, but not his old ones,
which are really immoral. Such are the writings
of Miss Edgeworth, and some of those
of Madame Genlis. For a like reason, too,
much poetry should not be indulged. Some
is useful for forming style and taste. Pope,
Dryden, Thomson, Shakespeare, and of the
French Molière, Racine, the Corneilles, May
be read with pleasure and improvement. The
French language, become that of the general
intercourse of nations, and from their extraordinary
advances, now the depository of
all science, is an indispensable part of education
for both sexes. * * * The ornaments,
too, and the amusements of life, are entitled
to their portion of attention. These, for a
female, are dancing, drawing, and music. The
first is a healthy exercise, elegant and very
attractive for young people. Every affectionate
parent would be pleased to see his
daughter qualified to participate with her
companions, and without awkwardness at
least, in the circles of festivity, of which she
occasionally becomes a part. It is a necessary
accomplishment, therefore, although of
short use; for the French rule is wise, that
no lady dances after marriage. This is
founded in solid physical reasons, gestation
and nursing leaving little time to a married
lady when this exercise can be either safe or
innocent. Drawing is thought less of in this
country than in Europe. It is an innocent
and engaging amusement, often useful, and
a qualification not to be neglected in one who
is to become a mother and an instructor. Music
is invaluable where a person has an ear.
Where they have not, it should not be attempted.
It furnishes a delightful recreation
for the hours of respite from the cares of the
day, and lasts us through life. The taste of
this country, too, calls for this accomplishment
more strongly than for either of the
others. I need say nothing of household
economy, in which the mothers of our country
are generally skilled, and generally careful
to instruct their daughters. We all know
its value, and that diligence and dexterity in
all its processes are inestimable treasures.
The order and economy of a house are as
honorable to the mistress as those of the farm
to the master, and if either be neglected,
ruin follows, and children destitute of the
means of living.—
To N. Burwell. Washington ed. vii, 101. Ford ed., x, 104.
(M. 1818)

— EDUCATION. Fostering Genius.—

See 2398, 2399, 2400.

2391. EDUCATION, Freedom and.—

If a
nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a
state of civilization, it expects what never
was and never will be.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 517. Ford ed., x, 4.
(M. 1816)

2392. EDUCATION, Freedom, Happiness and.—

No other sure foundation can be
devised for the preservation of freedom and
happiness. * * * Preach a crusade against
ignorance; establish and improve the law for
educating the common people. Let our countrymen
know that the people alone can protect
us against the evils [of misgovernment].—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ii, 7. Ford ed., iv, 268.
(P. 1786)

2393. EDUCATION, Friends of.—

A wise
direction of [the force friendly to education]


Page 275
will insure to our country its future prosperity
and safety.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 189. Ford ed., x, 167.

2394. EDUCATION, Good Government and.—

No one more sincerely wishes the
spread of information among mankind than
I do, and none has greater confidence in its
effect towards supporting free and good government.—
To Hugh L. White. Washington ed. v, 521.
(M. 1810)

2395. EDUCATION, Higher.—

I do most
anxiously wish to see the highest degrees of
education given to the higher degrees of
genius, and to all degrees of it, so much as
may enable them to read and understand what
is going on in the world, and to keep their
part of it going on right; for nothing can
keep it right but their own vigilant and distrustful
To Mann Page. Washington ed. iv, 119. Ford ed., vii, 24.
(M. 1795)

2396. EDUCATION, Higher.—[continued].

The greatest good [of
the people] requires, that while they are instructed
in general, competently to the common
business of life, others should employ
their genius with necessary information to
the useful arts, to inventions for saving labor
and increasing our comforts, to nourishing
our health, to civil government, military
science, &c.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 187. Ford ed., x, 166.

2397. EDUCATION, Higher.—[further continued].

When sobered by experience,
I hope our successors will turn
their attention to the advantages of education.
I mean of education on the broad scale, and
not that of the petty academies, as they call
themselves, which are started up in every
neighborhood, and where one or two men,
possessing Latin and sometimes Greek, a
knowledge of the globes, and the first six
books of Euclid, imagine and communicate
this as the sum of science. They commit
their pupils to the theatre of the world, with
just taste enough of learning to be alienated
from industrious pursuits, and not enough to
do service in the ranks of science. * * * I hope the necessity will at length be seen of
establishing institutions here, as in Europe,
where every branch of science useful at this
day, may be taught in its highest degree.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 356. Ford ed., ix, 464.
(M. July. 1814)

2398. EDUCATION, Jefferson's Bills on.—

The bill [on Education in the Revised
Code of Virginia] proposes to lay off every
county into small districts of five or six miles
square, called hundreds, and in each of them
to establish a school for teaching reading,
writing, and arithmetic. The tutor to be
supported by the hundred, and every person
in it entitled to send their children three years
gratis, and as much longer as they please,
paying for it. These schools to be under a
visitor who is annually to choose the boy of
best genius in the school, of those whose parents
are too poor to give them further education,
and to send him forward to one of the
grammar schools, of which twenty are proposed
to be erected in different parts of the
country, for teaching Greek, Latin, geography,
and the higher branches of numerical arithmetio.
Of the boys thus sent in any one year,
trial is to be made at the grammar schools
one or two years, and the best genius of the
whole selected, and continued six years, and
the residue dismissed. By this means twenty
of the best geniuses will be raked from the
rubbish annually, and be instructed at the
public expense, so far as the grammar schools
go. At the end of six years instruction, one-half
are to be discontinued (from among
whom the grammar schools will probably
be supplied with future masters); and the
other half, who are to be chosen for the superiority
of their parts and disposition, are to
be sent and continued three years in the study
of such sciences as they shall choose, at William
and Mary College. * * * The ultimate
result of the whole scheme of education
would be the teaching all the children of
the State reading, writing, and common arithmetic;
turning out ten annually of superior
genius, well taught in Greek, Latin, geography,
and the higher branches of arithmetic;
turning out ten others annually, of still superior
parts, who, to those branches of learning,
shall have added such branches of the
sciences as their genius shall have led them
to; the further furnishing to the wealthier
part of the people convenient schools at which
their children may be educated at their own
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 388. Ford ed., iii, 251.

2399. EDUCATION, Jefferson's Bills on.—[continued].

I have sketched and put
into the hands of a member a bill, delineating
a practicable plan, entirely within the means
they [the Virginia Legislature] already have
on hand, destined to this object. My bill
proposes: 1. Elementary schools in every
county, which shall place every householder
within three miles of a school. 2. District
colleges, which shall place every father within
a day's ride of a college where he may dispose
of his son. 3. An university in a healthy
and central situation, with the offer of the
lands, buildings, and funds of the Central
College, if they will accept that place for their
establishment. In the first will be taught
reading, writing, common arithmetic, and
general notions of geography. In the second,
ancient and modern languages, geography
fully, a higher degree of numerical arithmetic,
mensuration, and the elementary principles
of navigation. In the third, all the useful
sciences in their highest degree. To all of
which is added a selection from the elementary
schools of subjects of the most promising
genius, whose parents are too poor to give
them further education, to be carried at the
public expense through the colleges and university.
The object is to bring into action
that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty
in every country, for want of the means
of development, and thus give activity to a
mass of mind, which, in proportion to our
population, shall be the double or treble of
what it is in most countries. The expense
of the elementary schools for every county,
is proposed to be levied on the wealth of the


Page 276
county, and all children rich and poor, to be
educated at these three years gratis. * * * This is, in fact and substance, the plan I proposed
in a bill forty years ago, but accommodated
to the circumstances of this, instead
of that day.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vii, 94.

2400. EDUCATION, Jefferson's Explanation of.—

The general objects of this
law are to provide an education adapted to
the years, to the capacity, and the condition
of every one, and directed to their freedom
and happiness. Specific details were not
proper for the law. These must be the business
of the visitors entrusted with its execution.
The first stage of this education being
the schools of the hundreds, wherein the great
mass of the people will receive their instruction,
the principal foundations of future order
will be laid here. Instead, therefore, of
putting the Bible and the Testament into the
hands of the children at an age when their
judgments are not sufficiently matured for
religious inquiries, their memories may here
be stored with the most useful facts from
Grecian, Roman, European and American
history. The first elements of morality, too,
may be instilled into their minds: such as,
when further developed as their judgments
advance in strength, may teach them how to
work out their own greatest happiness, by
showing them that it does not depend on
the condition of life in which chance has
placed them, but is always the result of
a good conscience, good health, occupation,
and freedom in all just pursuits. Those whom
either the wealth of their parents or the adoption
of the State shall destine to higher degrees
of learning, will go on to the grammar
schools, which constitute the next stage,
there to be instructed in the languages. The
learning Greek and Latin, I am told, is going
into disuse in Europe. I know not what their
manners and occupations may call for; but
it would be very ill-judged in us to follow
their example in this instance. There is a
certain period of life, say from eight to fifteen
or sixteen years of age, when the mind, like
the body is not yet firm enough for laborious
and close operations. If applied to such, it
falls an early victim to premature exertion;
exhibiting, indeed, at first, in these young
and tender subjects, the flattering appearance
of their being men while they are yet children,
but ending in reducing them to be children
when they should be men. The memory is
then most susceptible and tenacious of impressions;
and the learning of languages being
chiefly a work of memory, it seems precisely
fitted to the powers of this period,
which is long enough, too, for acquiring the
most useful languages, ancient and modern.
I do not pretend that language is science. It
is only an instrument for the attainment of
science. But that time is not lost which is
employed in providing tools for future operation;
more especially, as in this case, the
books put into the hands of the youth for this
purpose may be such as will, at the same time,
impress their minds with useful facts and
good principles. If this period be suffered
to pass in idleness, the mind becomes lethargic
and impotent, as would the body it inhabits,
if unexercised during the same time.
The sympathy between body and mind during
their rise, progress, and decline, is too
strict and obvious to endanger our being
misled, while we reason from the one to the

As soon as they are of sufficient age, it is
supposed they will be sent from the grammar
schools to the university, which constitutes
our third and last stage, there to study those
sciences which may be adapted to their views.
By that part of our plan which prescribes
the selection of the youths of genius from
among the classes of the poor, we hope to
avail the State of those talents which nature
has sown as liberally among the poor as the
rich, but which perish without use, if not
sought for and cultivated. But of all the
views of this law none is more important,
none more legitimate, than that of rendering
the people the safe, as they are the ultimate,
guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose
the reading in the first stage, where
they will receive their whole education, is
proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical.
History, by apprising them of the
past, will enable them to judge of the future;
it will avail them of the experience of
other times and other nations; it will qualify
them as judges of the actions and designs
of men; it will enable them to know ambition
under every disguise it may assume; and
knowing it, to defeat its views. In every
government on earth is some trace of human
weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy,
which cunning will discover, and
wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve.
Every government degenerates when
trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The
people themselves, therefore, are its only safe
depositories. And to render even them safe,
their minds must be improved to a certain
degree. This indeed is not all that is necessary,
though it be essentially necessary. An
amendment of our Constitution must have
come in aid of the public education. The influence
over government must be shared
among all the people. If every individual
which composes their mass participates of
the ultimate authority, the government will
be safe; because the corrupting the whole
mass will exceed any private resources of
wealth; and public ones cannot be provided
but by levies on the people. In this case every
man would have to pay his own price. The
government of Great Britain has been corrupted,
because but one man in ten has a
right to vote for members of parliament. The
sellers of the government, therefore, get nine-tenths
of their price clear. It has been
thought that corruption is restrained by confining
the right of suffrage to a few of the
wealthier of the people; but it would be more
effectually restrained, by an extension of that
right, to such members as would bid defiance
to the means of corruption.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 388. Ford ed., iii, 252.


Page 277

— EDUCATION, Languages and.—

See Languages.

2401. EDUCATION, Large Cities and.—

I am not a friend to placing young men in populous cities, because they acquire there
habits and partialities which do not contribute
to the happiness of their after life.—
To Doctor Wistar. Washington ed. v, 104. Ford ed., ix, 70.
(W. 1807)

2402. EDUCATION, Law and.—

will be wisely formed, and honestly administered,
in proportion as those who form and
administer them are wise and honest; whence
it becomes expedient for promoting the public
happiness that those persons, whom nature
has endowed with genius and virtue, should
be rendered by liberal education worthy to
receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit
of the rights and liberties of their fellow
citizens; and that they should be called to
that charge without regard to wealth, birth or
other accidental condition or circumstance;
but the indigence of the greater number disabling
them from so educating, at their own
expense, those of their children whom nature
has fitly formed and disposed to become useful
instruments for the public, it is better
that such should be sought for and educated
at the common expense of all, than that the
happiness of all should be confined to the weak
or wicked.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

2403. EDUCATION, Material progress vs.—

People generally have more feeling for
canals and roads than education. However, I
hope we can advance them with equal pace.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 217. Ford ed., ix, 169.
(W. 1807)

2404. EDUCATION, Military instruction.—

We must make military instruction a
regular part of collegiate education. We
can never be safe till this is done. [155]
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 131.
(M. 1813)


Jefferson was the first to suggest military training
in the schools.—Editor.

2405. EDUCATION, Municipal government and.—

Education is not a branch of municipal
government, but, like the other arts
and sciences, an accident only.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vii, 17. Ford ed., x, 51.
(M. 1816)

— EDUCATION, National University.—

See University.

2406. EDUCATION, Neglect of.—

If the
children * * * are untaught, their ignorance
and vices will, in future life cost us
much dearer in their consequences, than it
would have done, in their correction, by a
good education.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Ford ed., x, 99.

2407. EDUCATION, New York vs. Virginia.—

Surely Governor Clinton's display of
the gigantic efforts of New York towards the
education of her citizens will stimulate the
pride as well as the patriotism of our Legislature,
to look to the reputation and safety
of their own country, to rescue it from the
degradation of becoming the Barbary of the
Union, and of falling into the ranks of our
own negroes. To that condition it is fast
sinking. We shall be in the hands of the
other States, what our indigenous predecessors
were when invaded by the science and
arts of Europe. The mass of education in
Virginia, before the Revolution, placed her
with the foremost of her Sister Colonies.
What is her education now? Where is it?
The little we have we import, like beggars,
from other States; or import their beggars to
bestow on us their miserable crumbs. And
what is wanting to restore us to our station
among our confederates? Not more money
from the people. Enough has been raised
by them, and appropriated to this very object.
It is that it should be employed understandingly,
and for their greatest good.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 186. Ford ed., x, 165.

2408. EDUCATION, New York vs. Virginia.—[continued].

Six thousand common
schools in New York, fifty pupils in each,
three hundred thousand in all; one hundred
and sixty thousand dollars annually paid to
the masters; forty established academies, with
two thousand two hundred and eighteen pupils;
and five colleges with seven hundred
and eighteen students; to which last classes
or institutions seven hundred and twenty
thousand dollars have been given; and the
whole appropriations for education estimated
at two and a half millions of dollars! What
a pigmy to this is Virginia become, with a
population almost equal to that of New
York! And whence this difference? From
the difference their rulers set on the value of
knowledge, and the prosperity it produces.
But still, if a pigmy, let her do what a pigmy
may do.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 188. Ford ed., x, 167.

2409. EDUCATION, The People and.—

Above all things, I hope the education of the
common people will be attended to; convinced
that on their good senses we may rely with
the most security for the preservation of a
due degree of liberty. [156]
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 480.
(P. 1787)


In Congress edition: (ii, 332,) “Educate and inform
the whole mass of the people. Enable them to
see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order
and they will preserve them. And it requires no very
high degree of education to convince them of this.
They are the only sure reliance for the preservatior
of our liberty.”—Editor.

2410. EDUCATION, The People and.—[continued].

[To give] information to
the people * * * is the most certain, and
the most legitimate engine of government.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 332.

2411. EDUCATION, The People and.—[further continued].

The diffusion of information,
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.

2412. EDUCATION, The People and.—[further continued] .

Enlighten the people
generally, and tyranny and oppressions of
body and mind will vanish like spirits at the


Page 278
dawn of day.—
To Dupont De Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 592. Ford ed., x, 25.

2413. EDUCATION, The People and.—[further continued].

Nobody can doubt my
zeal for the general instruction of the people.
Who first started that idea? I may surely
say, myself. Turn to the bill in the Revised
Code, which I drew more than forty years
ago, and before which the idea of a plan for
the education of the people, generally, had
never been suggested in this State. There
you will see developed the first rudiments of
the whole system of general education we are
now urging and acting on: and it is well
known to those with whom I have acted on
this subject, that I never have proposed a
sacrifice of the primary to the ultimate grade
of instruction. Let us keep our eye steadily
on the whole system.—
To General Breckenridge. Washington ed. vii, 205.
(M. 1821)

See People.

2414. EDUCATION, Perversion of power and.—

The most effectual means of preventing the perversion of power into tyranny
are to illuminate, as far as practicable,
the minds of the people.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

2415. EDUCATION, Power and.—

the States but our own are sensible that
knowledge is power. The Missouri question
is for power. The efforts now generally
making in all the States to advance
their science is for power, while we are sinking
into the barbarism of our Indian aborigines,
and expect like them to oppose by ignorance
the overwhelming mass of light and
science by which we shall be surrounded. It
is a comfort that I am not to live to see this.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Ford ed., x, 155
(M. 1820)

2416. EDUCATION, Progress through.—

I look to the diffusion of light and education
as the resource most to be relied on for
ameliorating the condition, promoting the virtue,
and advancing the happiness of man.—
To C. C. Blatchly. Washington ed. vii, 263.
(M. 1822)
See 2386.

2417. EDUCATION, The Republic and.—

I have two great measures at heart, without
which no republic can maintain itself in
strength. 1. That of general education, to
enable every man to judge for himself what
will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To
divide every county into hundreds, of such
size that all the children of each will be within
reach of a central school in it.—
To John Tyler. Washington ed. v, 525. Ford ed., ix, 277.
(M. 1810)

2418. EDUCATION, Safety in.—

The information
of the people at large can alone make them the safe, as they are the sole depositary
of our political and religious freedom.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 541.
(M. 1810)

2419. EDUCATION, Self-sufficiency and.—

Our post-revolutionary youth are born
under happier stars than you and I were.
They acquire all learning in their mother's
womb, and bring it into the world ready made.
The information of books is no longer neces
sary; and all knowledge which is not innate,
is in contempt, or neglect at least. Every
folly must run its round; and so, I suppose,
must that of self-learning and self-sufficiency;
of rejecting the knowledge acquired in past
ages, and starting on the new ground of intuition.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 335. Ford ed., ix, 464.
(M. 1814)

2420. EDUCATION, Suffrage and.—

There is one provision [in the new constitution
of Spain] which will immortalize its inventors.
It is that which, after a certain
epoch, disfranchises every citizen who cannot
read and write. This is new, and is the fruitful
germ of the improvement of everything
good, and the correction of everything imperfect
in the present constitution. This will
give you an enlightened people, and an energetic
public opinion which will control and
enchain the aristocratic spirit of the government.—
To Chevalier de Ouis. Washington ed. vi, 342.
(M. 1814)

2421. EDUCATION, Suitable.—

in every order of men the degree of instruction
proportioned to their condition, and to
their views in life.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 189. Ford ed., x, 167.

2422. EDUCATION, System and.—

truth is that the want of common education
with us is not from our poverty, but from the
want of an orderly system. More money is
now paid for the education of a part than
would be paid for that of the whole, if systematically
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 188. Ford ed., x, 167.

2423. EDUCATION, Taxes for.—

tax which will be paid for the purpose of
education is not more than the thousandth
part of what will be paid to kings, priests
and nobles who will rise up among us if we
leave the people in ignorance.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ii, 7. Ford ed., iv, 269.
(P. 1786)

2424. EDUCATION, Taxes for.—[continued].

If the Legislature would
add to the literary fund a perpetual tax of a
cent a head on the population of the State, it
would set agoing at once, and forever maintain,
a system of primary or ward schools,
and an university where might be taught, in
its highest degree, every branch of science
useful in our time and country; and it would
rescue us from the tax of toryism, fanaticism,
and indifferentism to their own State, which
we now send our youth to bring from those
of New England.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 517. Ford ed., x, 4.
(M. 1816)

— EDUCATION, Technical.—

See 2396.

2425. EDUCATION, Tyranny and.—

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny
and oppressions of body and mind will vanish
like evil spirits at the dawn of day.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 592. Ford ed., x, 25.


See 2406.

2426. EDUCATION, The Wealthy and.—

What will be the retribution of the wealthy
individual [for his support of general education]?


Page 279
1. The peopling of his neighborhood
with honest, useful and enlightened citizens,
understanding their own rights and firm in
their perpetuation. 2. When his own descendants
become poor, which they generally
do within three generations (no law of
primogeniture now perpetuating wealth in
the same families), their children will be educated
by the then rich, and the little advance
he now makes to poverty, while rich himself,
will be repaid by the then rich, to his descendants
when become poor, and thus give
them a chance of rising again. This is a
solid consideration, and should go home to
the bosom of every parent. This will be
seed sowed in fertile ground. It is a provision
for his family looking to distant times,
and far in duration beyond what he has now
in hand for them. Let every man count backward
in his own family, and see how many
generations he can go, before he comes to the
ancestor who made the fortune he now holds.
Most will be stopped at the first generation,
many at the second, few will reach the third,
and not one in the State [of Virginia] go beyond
the fifth.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Ford ed., x, 100.
(M. 1818)

— Education, Zeal for.—

See 2388.

2427. ELECTION, Abuses and.—

things go wrong at any time, the people will
set them to rights by the peaceable exercise
of their elective rights.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. v, 5. Ford ed., viii, 435.
(W. 1806)

2428. ELECTION, Care of.—

A jealous
care of the right of election by the people,—
a mild and safe corrective of abuses which
are lopped by the sword of revolution where
peaceable remedies are unprovided, 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, 4.

2429. ELECTION, Contested.—

To retain
the office, when it is probable the majority
was against him [George Clinton] is dishonorable.
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vi, 94.
(Pa., 1792)


Jefferson was discussing the Clinton-Jay contest
for the governorship in New York.—Editor.

2430. ELECTION, Expenditures and.—

The frequent recurrence of this chastening
operation can alone restrain the propensity of
governments to enlarge expense beyond income.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., x, 176.
(M. 1820)

2431. ELECTION vs. FORCE.—

away all show of force, and the people will
bear down the evil propensities of the government
by the constitutional means of election
and petition.—
To Edmund Pendleton. Washington ed. iv, 287. Ford ed., vii, 356.
(Pa., 1799)

2432. ELECTION, Government and.—

Election * * * [is] a fundamental member
in the structure of government.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vii, 18. Ford ed., x, 52.
(M. 1816)


See Elections, Presidential and President.

2433. ELECTION, Republican Government and.—

Governments are more or less
republican as they have more or less of the
element of popular election and control in
their composition—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vi, 608. Ford ed., x, 31.
(M. 1816)

2434. ELECTION, Short Periods of.—

government by representatives, elected by the
people at short periods, was our object; and
our maxim at that day was, “where annual
election ends, tyranny begins”; nor have our
departures from it been sanctioned by the
happiness of their effects.—
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 321. Ford ed., vii, 425.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

2435. ELECTION, Short Periods of.—[continued].

A representative government,
responsible at short periods of election,
* * * produces the greatest sum of happiness
to mankind.—
R. To A. Vermont Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 121.

2436. ELECTION, Short Periods of.—[further continued].

The rights [of the people] to the exercise and fruits of their own industry, can never be protected against the
selfishness of rulers not subject to their control
at short periods.—
To Isaac H. Tiffany. Washington ed. vii, 32.
(M. 1816)

2437. ELECTION, Short Periods of.—[further continued] .

Submit the member of
the Legislature to approbation or rejection at
short intervals.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

2438. ELECTION, Congress and.—

Short elections will keep Congress right.—
To Thomas Ritchie. Washington ed. vii, 192. Ford ed., x, 170.
(M. 1820)

2439. ELECTION, Congress and.—[continued].

The Legislative and executive
branches may sometimes err, but
elections and dependence will bring them to
To Archibald Thweat. Washington ed. vii, 199. Ford ed., x, 184.
(M. 1821)

2440. ELECTIONS, Federal Interference with.—

Till the event of the [Presidential] election is known, it is too soon for me to
say what should be done in such atrocious
cases as those you mention of Federal officers
obstructing the operation of the State governments.
One thing I will say, that as to the
future, interferences with elections, whether
of the State of General Government, by officers
of the latter, should be deemed cause of
removal; because the constitutional remedy
by the elective principle becomes nothing, if
it may be smothered by the enormous patronage
of the General Government.—
To Governor Thomas M'Kean. Washington ed. iv, 350. Ford ed., vii, 486.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2441. ELECTIONS, Federal Interference with.—[continued].

I proposed soon after
coming into office to enjoin the executive officers
from intermeddling with elections, as
inconsistent with the true principles of our
Constitution. It was laid over for consideration;
but late occurrences prove the propriety
of it, and it is now under consideration.—
To De Witt Clinton. Ford ed., viii, 322.
(W. Oct. 1804)


Page 280

2442. ELECTIONS, Federal Interference with.—[further continued].

I think the officers of the
Federal Government are meddling too much
with the public elections. Will it be best to
admonish them privately or by proclamation?—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 559. Ford ed., viii, 320.
(M. Sep. 1804)

2443. ELECTIONS, Federal Interference with.—[further continued] .

You mention that “Dr.
Logan had informed the person that he had
just received a letter from you [me], exhorting
him to use all his influence to procure the
reelection of Governor McKean, for that to
displace him would be extremely injurious to
the republican cause.” Whatever may be the
personal esteem I entertain for Governor McKean,
and the harmony with which we acted
when members of the same body, I never conceived
that that would justify my taking sides
against Mr. Snyder, or endeavoring in any
way to influence the free choice of the State.
I, therefore, have never written any such letter,
nor a letter of such import to any
mortal. And further, my long and intimate
acquaintance with Dr. Logan, and my knowledge
of his strict honor, leave the fullest conviction
in my mind that there has been some
mistake in the hearing, understanding, or
quoting his words.—
To Thomas Liet. Ford ed., viii, 354.
(M. Aug. 1805)

2444. ELECTIONS, Intermeddling with.—

From a very early period of my life I determined
never to intermeddle with elections
of the people, and have invariably adhered to
this determination. In my own country,
where there have been so many elections in
which my inclinations were enlisted, I yet
never interfered. I could the less do it in
the present instance, your people so very distant
from me, utterly unknown to me, and to
whom I also am unknown; and above all, I
a stranger, to presume to recommend one
who is well known to them. The people could
not but put this question to me, “who are
you, pray”?—
To Charles Clay. Washington ed. iii, 469. Ford ed., vi, 111.
(M. 1792)

2445. ELECTIONS, Patronage and.—

Every officer of the government may vote at
elections according to his conscience; but we
should betray the cause committed to our
care, were we to permit the influence of official
patronage to be used to overthrow that cause—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 451. Ford ed., viii, 176.
(W. Oct. 1802)

See Patronage.

2446. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Candidature of Jefferson.—

My name was
brought forward, without concert or expectation
on my part, on my salvation I declare
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 151. Ford ed., vii, 93.
(M. Dec. 1796)

2447. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Candidature of Jeferson.—[continued].

I had neither claims nor
wishes on the subject, though I know it will
be difficult to obtain belief of this. When I
retired from the office of Secretary of State,
it was in the firmest contemplation of never
more returning to Philadelphia. There had
indeed been suggestions in the public papers,
that I was looking towards a succession to the
President's chair, but feeling a consciousness of
their falsehood, and observing that the suggestions
came from hostile quarters, I considered
them as intended merely to excite public odium
against me. I never in my life exchanged a
word with any person on the subject, till I
found my name brought forward generally, in
competition with that of Mr. Adams. Those
with whom I then communicated could say, if
it were necessary, whether I met the call with
desire, or even with a ready acquiescence, and
whether from the moment of my first acquiescence,
I did not devoutly pray that the very
thing might happen which has happened.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 170. Ford ed., vii, 119.
(Pa., May. 1797)

2448. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Candidature of Jeferson.—[further continued].

The first wish of my
heart was that you should have been proposed
for the administration of the government. On
your declining it, I wish anybody rather than
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 150. Ford ed., vii, 91.
(M. Dec. 17, 1796)

2449. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Dispute over.—

It seems possible, that the
Representatives may be divided. This is a difficulty
from which the Constitution has provided
no issue. It is both my duty and inclination,
therefore, to relieve the embarrassment,
should it happen: and in that case, I pray you,
and authorize you fully, to solicit on my behalf
that Mr. Adams may be preferred. He has always
been my senior, from the commencement
of my public life, and the expression of the
public will being equal, this circumstance ought
to give him the preference. And when so
many motives will be operating to induce some
of the members to change their vote, the addition
of my wish may have some effect to preponderate
the scale.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 150. Ford ed., vii, 91.
(M. Dec. 17, 1796)

2450. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Eastern States and.—

I have no expectation
that the Eastern States will suffer themselves
to be so much outwitted, as to be made the
tools for bringing in Pinckney instead of
Adams. I presume they will throw away their
Second Vote. In this case, it begins to appear
possible, that there may be an equal division
where I had supposed the republican vote
would have been considerably minor.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 150. Ford ed., vii, 91.
(M. Dec. 17, 1796)

2451. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Jefferson's Vote.—

I shall highly value, indeed,
the share which I may have had in the
late vote, as an evidence of the share I hold in
the esteem of my countrymen. But in this
point of view, a few votes more or less will be
little sensible, and in every other, the minor
will be preferred by me to the major vote.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 152. Ford ed., vii, 94.
(M. Dec. 1796)

2452. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Jefferson's Vote. mdash; [continued].

I value highly, indeed,
the part my fellow-citizens gave me in their
late vote, as an evidence of their esteem, and
I am happy in the information you are so
kind as to give, that many in the Eastern
quarter entertain the same sentiment.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. iv, 168. Ford ed., vii, 117.
(M. Feb. 1797)

2453. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Jefferson's Vote. mdash; [further continued].

I value the late vote
highly; but it is only as the index of the place
I hold in the esteem of my fellow citizens. In
this point of view, the difference between sixtyeight
and seventy-one votes is little sensible,
and still less that between the real vote, which
was sixty-nine and seventy; because one real
elector in Pennsylvania was excluded from voting


Page 281
by the miscarriage of the votes, and one who was not an elector was admitted to vote.—
To C. F. Volney. Washington ed. iv, 158.
(M. 1797)

2454. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), A Pseudo-President and.—

I observe doubts are still expressed as to the validity of the
Vermont election. Surely, in so great a case,
substance, and not form, should prevail. I
cannot suppose that the Vermont constitution
has been strict in requiring particular forms of
expressing the legislative will. As far as my
disclaimer may have any effect, I pray you to
declare it on every occasion, foreseen or not
foreseen by me, in favor of the choice of the
people substantially expressed, and to prevent
the phenomenon of a Pseudo-President at so
early a day.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 105.
(M. January 16, 1797)

2455. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Result of.—

I have never one moment doubted
the result. I knew it was impossible Mr.
Adams should lose a vote north of the Delaware,
and that the free and moral agency of the
South would furnish him an abundant supplement.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 151. Ford ed., vii, 93.
(M. Dec. 27, 1796)

2456. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Result of.—[continued].

The event of the election
has never been a matter of doubt in my mind.
I knew that the Eastern States were disciplined
in the schools of their town meetings
to sacrifice differences of opinion to the great
object of operating in phalanx, and that the
more free and moral agency practiced in the
other States would always make up the supplement
of their weight. Indeed the vote
comes much nearer to an equality than I had
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 154. Ford ed., vii, 98.
(M. Jan. 1797)

2457. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Vice-Presidency.—

On principles of public
respect I should not have refused [the Presidency];
but I protest before my God, that I
shall, from the bottom of my heart, rejoice at
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 151. Ford ed., vii, 93.
(M. Dec. 1796)

See Vice-Presidency.

2458. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Vice-Presidency. ‐ [continued].

There is nothing I so
anxiously hope as that my name may come out
either second or third. These would be indifferent
to me; as the last would leave me at
home the whole year, and the other two-thirds
of it.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 150. Ford ed., vii, 91.
(M. Dec. 1796)

2459. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Vice-Presidency. ‐ [further continued].

I have no ambition to
govern men; no passion which would lead me
to delight to ride in a storm. Flumina amo,
sylvasque, inglorius.
My attachment to my
home has enabled me to make the calculation
with rigor, perhaps with partiality, to the issue
which keeps me there. The newspapers will
permit me to plant my corn, peas, &c., in hills
or drills as I please (and my oranges, by-thebye,
when you send them), while our eastern
friend will be struggling with the storm which
is gathering over us; perhaps be shipwrecked
in it. This is certainly not a moment to covet
the helm.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 152. Ford ed., vii, 94.
(M. Dec. 1796)

2460. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1796), Vice-Presidency. ‐ [further continued] .

It is difficult to obtain
full credit to declarations of disinclination to
honors, and most so with those who still remain
in the world. But never was there a
more solid unwillingness, founded on rigorous
calculation, formed in the mind of any man.
short of peremptory refusal. No arguments,
therefore, were necessary to reconcile me to a
relinquishment of the first office, or acceptance
of the second. No motive could have induced
me to undertake the first, but that of
putting our vessel upon her republican tack,
and preventing her being driven too far to
leeward of her true principles. And the second
is the only office in the world about which
I cannot decide in my own mind, whether I
had rather have it or not have it. Pride does
not enter into the estimate. For I think with
the Romans of old, that the General of to-day
should be a common soldier to-morrow, if
necessary. But as to Mr. Adams, particularly,
I would have no feelings which would revolt at
being placed in a secondary station to him. I
am his junior in life, I was his junior in Congress,
his junior in the diplomatic line, and
lately his junior in our civil government.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 154. Ford ed., vii, 98.
(M. Jan. 1797)

See 74.

2461. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Action of Adams.—

Mr. Adams embarrasses
us. He keeps the offices of State and War
vacant, but has named Bayard, Minister Plenipotentiary
to France, and has called an unorganized
Senate to meet the fourth of March.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 356. Ford ed., vii, 495.
(W. Feb. 18, 1801)

2462. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Appointments and.—

If the [choice] falls on
me, I shall be embarrassed by finding the offices
vacant, which cannot be even temporarily
filled but with the advice of the Senate, and
that body is called on the fourth of March,
when it is impossible for the new members of
Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina to receive
notice in time to be here. * * * If
the difficulties of the election, therefore, are
got over, there are more and more behind, until
new elections shall have regenerated the constituted
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 352. Ford ed., vii, 488.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2463. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Appointments and.—[continued].

Should [the federalists] yield the election, I have reason to expect, in
the outset, the greatest difficulties as to nominations.
The late incumbents, running away
from their offices and leaving them vacant, will
prevent my filling them without the previous advice of the Senate. How this difficulty is
to be got over I know not.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 355. Ford ed., vii, 491.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2464. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Balloting in House.—

This is the morning of
the election by the House of Representatives.
For some time past, a single individual had
declared he would, by his vote, make up the
ninth State. On Saturday last he changed, and
it stands at present eight one way, six the
other, and two divided. Which of the two
will be elected, and whether either, I deem
perfectly problematical; and my mind has long
been equally made up for any one of the three
events. * * * The defects of our Constitution
under circumstances like the present, appear
very great.—
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 352. Ford ed., vii, 488.
(W. Feb. 11, 1801)

2465. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Balloting in House—[continued].

This is the fourth day of
the ballot, and nothing done; nor do I see
any reason to suppose the six and a half States
here will be less firm, as they call it, than your
thirteen Senators; if so, and the Government
should expire on the 3d of March, by the loss
of its head, there is no regular provision for
reorganizing it, nor any authority but in the
people themselves. They may authorize a con


Page 282
vention to reorganize and even amend the machine.
There are ten individuals in the House
of Representatives, any one of whom, changing
his vote, could save us this troublesome operation.—
To Dr. B. S. Barton. Washington ed. iv, 353. Ford ed., vii, 490.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2466. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Balloting in House—[further continued].

Four days of balloting
have produced not a single change of a vote.
Yet it is confidently believed by most that to-morrow
there is to be a coalition. I know of
no foundation for this belief.
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 354. Ford ed., vii, 490.
(W. Feb. 15, 1801)

2467. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Balloting in House—[further continued] .

After exactly a week's
balloting there at length appeared ten States
for me, four for Burr, and two voted blanks.
This was done without a single vote coming
over. Morris, of Vermont, withdrew, so that
Lyon's vote became that of the State. The
four Maryland federalists put in blanks, so that
the vote of the four republicans became that
of their State. Mr. Hager, of South Carolina
(who had constantly voted for me) withdrew
by agreement, his colleagues agreeing in that
case to put in blanks. Bayard, the sole member
of Delaware, voted blank. They had before
deliberated whether they would come over
in a body, when they saw they could not foree
Burr on the republicans, or keep their body
entire and unbroken to act in phalanx on such
ground of opposition as they shall hereafter be
able to conjure up. Their vote showed what
they had decided on, and is considered as a
declaration of perpetual war; but their conduct
has completely left them without support.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 358. Ford ed., vii, 497.
(W. Feb. 19, 1801)

2468. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Burr and.—

The federalists were confident, at
first, they could debauch Colonel Burr from
his good faith by offering him their vote to
be President, and having seriously proposed it
to him. His conduct has been honorable and
decisive, and greatly embarrasses them.—
To Mary Jefferson Eppes. Ford ed., vii, 478.
(W. Jan. 1801)

2469. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Burr and.—[continued].

Had the election terminated
in the elevation of Mr. Burr, every
republican would, I am sure, have acquiesced
in a moment; because, however it might have
been variant from the intentions of the voters,
yet it would have been agreeable to the Constitution.
No man would more cheerfully have
submitted than myself, because I am sure the
administration would have been republican,
and the chair of the Senate permitting me to
be at home eight months in the year, would, on
that account, have been much more consonant
to my real satisfaction.—
To Thomas McKean. Washington ed. iv, 368. Ford ed., viii, 12.
(W. March. 1801)

2470. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Demanding Terms.—

Many attempts have
been made to obtain terms and promises from
me. I have declared to them unequivocally,
that I would not receive the government on
capitulation, that I would not go into it with
my hands tied.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 354. Ford ed., vii, 491.
(W. Feb. 1801)

See 78.

2471. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Demanding Terms.—[continued].

Aaron Burr, in a suit
between him and Cheetham, has had a deposition
of Mr. Bayard taken which seems to have
no relation to the suit nor to any other object
but to calumniate me. Bayard pretends to
have addressed to me during the pending of
the Presidential election in Feb. 1801. through
General Samuel Smith, certain conditions on
which my election might be obtained, and that
General Smith after conversing with me gave
answers from me. This is absolutely false.
No proposition of any kind was ever made to
me on that occasion by General Smith, nor
any answer authorized by me. And this fact
General Smith affirms at this moment. * * * But the following transactions took place
about the same time, that is to say, while the
Presidential election was in suspense in Congress,
which, though I did not enter at the
time [in the Anas], made such an impression
on my mind that they are now as fresh as to
their principal circumstances as if they had
happened yesterday. Coming out of the Senate
chamber one day I found Gouverneur Morris
on the steps. He stopped me and began a conversation
on the strange and portentous state
of things then existing, and went on to observe
that the reasons why the minority of
States were so opposed to my being elected
were that they apprehended that, 1. I should
turn all federalists out of office. 2. Put down
the Navy. 3. Wipe off the public debt and 4. [158] * * *. That I need only to declare, or authorize
my friends to declare, that I would not
take these steps, and instantly the event of
the election would be fixed. I told him that I
should leave the world to judge of the course
I meant to pursue by that which I had pursued
hitherto; believing it to be my duty to be passive
and silent during the present scene; that
I should certainly make no terms, should never
go into the office of President by capitulation,
nor with my hands tied by any conditions
which should hinder me from pursuing the
measures which I should deem for the public
good. It was understood that Gouverneur
Morris had entirely the direction of the vote
of Lewis Morris of Vermont, who by coming
over to Matthew Lyon would have added another
vote and decided the election. About
the same time, I called on Mr. Adams. We
conversed on the state of things. I observed
to him, that a very dangerous experiment was
then in contemplation, to defeat the Presidential
election by an act of Congress declaring
the right of the Senate to name a President of
the Senate, to devolve on him the government
during any interregnum; that such a measure
would probably produce resistance by force,
and incalculable consequences, which it would
be in his power to prevent by negativing such
an act. He seemed to think such an act justifiable,
and observed it was in my power to
fix the election by a word in an instant, by
declaring I would not turn out the federal
officers, nor put down the Navy, nor spunge the
national debt. Finding his mind made up as
to the usurpation of the government by the
President of the Senate, I urged it no further,
observed the world must judge as to myself of
the future by the past, and turned the conversation
to something else. About the same
time, Dwight Foster of Massachusetts called on
me in my room one night, and went into a very
long conversation on the state of affairs, the
drift of which was to let me understand that
the fears above-mentioned were the only obstacle
to my election, to all of which I avoided
giving any answer the one way or the other.
From this moment he became most bitterly and
personally opposed to me, and so has ever continued.
I do not recollect that I ever had any
particular conversation with General Samuel
Smith on this subject. Very possibly I had,
however, as the general subject and all its
parts were the constant themes of conversation
in the private tête à têtes with our friends.


Page 283
But certain I am, that neither he, nor any other
republican, ever uttered the most distant hint
to me about submitting to any conditions, or
giving any assurance to anybody; and still
more certainly, was neither he nor any other
person ever authorized by me to say what I
would or would not do.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 209. Ford ed., i, 312.
(April. 1806)


MS. cut out.—Ford edition note.

2472. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Doubt Concerning.—

South Carolina (the
only State about which there was uncertainty),
has given a republican vote, and saved us from
the consequences of the annihilation of Pennsylvania.—
To John Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 342. Ford ed., vii, 469.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2473. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Doubt Concerning.—[continued].

The election in South
Carolina has in some measure decided the great
contest. Though as yet we do not know the
actual votes of Tennessee, Kentucky and Vermont,
yet we believe the votes to be on the
whole, J. 73, B. 73, A. 65, P. 64. Rhode Island
withdrew one from P. There is a possibility
that Tennessee may withdraw one from B., and
Burr writes that there may be one vote in Vermont
for J. But I told the latter impossible,
and the former not probable; and that there
will be an absolute parity between the two
Republican candidates.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 342. Ford ed., vii, 470.
(W. Dec. 19, 1800)

2474. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Efforts to Defeat.—

A strong portion in the
House of Representatives will prevent an election
if they can. I rather believe they will not
be able to do it, as there are six individuals of
moderate character, any one of whom coming
over to the republican vote will make a ninth
To Thomas M'Kean. Washington ed. iv, 350. Ford ed., vii, 486.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2475. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Federalists yield.—

The minority in the
House of Representatives, after seeing the impossibility
of electing Burr, the certainty that
a legislative usurpation would be resisted by
arms, and a recourse to a convention to reorganize
and amend the government, held a
consultation on this dilemma, whether it
would be better for them to come over in a
body and go with the tide of the times, or by
a negative conduct suffer the election to be
made by a bare majority, keeping their body
entire and unbroken, to act in phalanx on such
ground of opposition as circumstances shall
offer; and I know their determination on this
question only by their vote of yesterday. [Feb.
17.] Morris, of Vermont, withdrew, which
made Lyon's vote that of his State. The
Maryland federalists put in four blanks, which
made the positive ticket of their colleagues the
vote of the State. South Carolina and Delaware
put in six blanks. So there were ten
States for one candidate, four for another,
and two blanks. We consider this, therefore,
as a declaration of war, on the part of this
band. But their conduct appears to have
brought over to us the whole body of federalists,
who, being alarmed with the danger of a
dissolution of the government, had been made
most anxiously to wish the very administration
they had opposed, and to view it, when obtained,
as a child of their own. They [illegible] too their quondam leaders separated fairly
from them, and themselves relegated under
other banners. Even Hamilton and Higginson
have been partisans for us. This circumstance,
with the unbounded confidence which will at
tach to the new ministry, as soon as known,
will start us on right ground. [159]
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 355. Ford ed., vii, 494.
(W. Feb. 18, 1801)


The last two sentences are omitted in the Congress

2476. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Military Force and.—

How happy that our
army had been disbanded! What might have
happened otherwise seems rather a subject of
reflection than explanation.—
To Nathaniel Niles Register. Washington ed. iv, 377. Ford ed., viii, 24.
(W. March. 1801)

2477. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), National Convention and.—

I have been
above all things, solaced by the prospect which
opened on us, in the event of a non-election
of a President; in which case, the Federal Government
would have been in the situation of a
clock or watch run down. There was no idea
of force, nor of any occasion for it. A convention,
invited by the republican members of
Congress, with the virtual President and Vice-President,
would have been on the ground in
eight weeks, would have repaired the Constitution
where it was defective, and wound it up
again. This peaceable and legitimate resource,
to which we are in the habit of implicit obedience,
superseding all appeal to force, and being
always within our reach, shows a precious
principle of self-preservation in our composition,
till a change of circumstances shall take
place, which is not within prospect at any definite
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 374. Ford ed., viii, 22.
(W. March. 1801)

2478. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), National Convention and.—[continued].

There was general alarm
during the pending of the election in Congress,
lest no President should be chosen, the government
be dissolved, and anarchy ensue. But
the cool determination of the really patriotic
to call a convention in that case, which might
be on the ground in eight weeks, and wind up
the machine again which had only run down
pointed out to my mind a perpetual and peaceable
resource against—[force?]—[160] in
whatever extremity might befall us; and I am
certain a convention would have commanded
immediate and universal obedience.—
To Nathaniel Niles. Washington ed. iv, 377. Ford ed., viii, 24.
(W. March. 1801)


Writing faded in MS.—Editor.

2479. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Parity of Vote.—

[The prospect of a parity
between the two republican candidates] has
produced great dismay and gloom on the republican
gentlemen here, and exultation in the
federalists, who openly declare they will prevent
an election, and will name a President of
the Senate pro tem. by what they say would
only be a stretch of the Constitution.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 343. Ford ed., vii, 470.
(W. Dec. 19, 1800)

2480. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Parity of Vote.—[continued].

We are brought into
dilemma by the probable equality of the two Republican
candidates. The federalists in Congress
mean to take advantage of this, either to prevent
an election altogether, or reverse what has been
understood to have been the wishes of the
people as to the President and Vice-President;
wishes which the Constitution did not permit
them specially to designate. The latter alternative
still gives us a Republican administration.
The former, a suspension of the Federal
Government, for want of a head. This opens to
us an abyss, at which every sincere patriot


Page 284
must shudder.—
To John Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 342. Ford ed., vii, 469.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2481. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Parity of Vote.—[further continued].

Although we have not
official information of the votes for President,
and cannot have until the first week in February,
yet the state of the votes is given on such evidence,
as satisfies both parties that the two republican
candidates stand highest. From South
Carolina we have not even heard of the actual
vote; but we have learned who were appointed
electors, and with sufficient certainty how
they would vote. It is said they would
withdraw from yourself one vote. It has
also been said that a General Smith, of
Tennessee, had declared that he would give
his second vote to Mr. Gallatin, not from
any indisposition towards you, but extreme
reverence to the character of Mr. Gallatin.
It is also surmised that the vote of
Georgia will not be entire. Yet nobody pretends
to know these things of a certainty, and
we know enough to be certain that what it is
surmised will be withheld, will still leave you
four or five votes at least above Mr. Adams.
However, it was badly managed not to have
arranged with certainty what seems to have
been left to hazard. It was the more material,
because I understand several of the high-flying
federalists have expressed their hope that
the two republican tickets may be equal, and
their determination, in that case, to prevent a
choice by the House of Representatives (which
they are strong enough to do), and let the government
devolve on a President of the Senate.
Decency required that I should be so entirely
passive during the late contest that I never
once asked whether arrangements had been
made to prevent so many from dropping votes
intentionally, as might frustrate half the republican
wish; nor did I doubt, till lately, that
such had been made.—
To Aaron Burr. Washington ed. iv, 340. Ford ed., vii, 466.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2482. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Parity of Vote.—[further continued] .

It seems tolerably well
ascertained (though not officially) that the two
republican candidates * * * have a decided
majority; probably of 73 to 65, but
equally probable that they are even between
themselves, and that the federalists are disposed
to make the most of the embarrassment
this occasions, by preventing any election by
the House of Representatives. It is far from
certain that nine representatives in that House
can be got to vote for any candidate. What
the issue of such a dilemma may be cannot be
To Caesar Rodney. Ford ed., vii, 472.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2483. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Party Amalgamation and.—

The suspension
of public opinion [pending the election in the
House of Representatives], the alarm into
which it threw all the patriotic part of the
federalists, the danger of the dissolution of
our Union, and unknown consequences of that,
brought over the great body of them to wish
with anxiety and solicitude for a choice to
which they had before been strenuously opposed.
In this state of mind, they separated
from their congressional leaders, and came over
to us; and the manner in which the last ballot
was given has drawn a fixed line of separation
between them and their leaders. When the
election took effect, it was the most desirable of
events to them. This made it a thing of their
choice, and finding themselves aggregated with
us accordingly, they are in a state of mind to
be consolidated with us, if no intemperate
measures on our part revolt them again. I am
persuaded that weeks of ill-judged conduct
here, has strengthened us more than years of
prudent and conciliatory administration could
have done.—
To Thomas Lomax. Washington ed. iv, 361. Ford ed., vii, 500.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2484. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Party Amalgamation and.—[continued].

Our information from all
quarters is that the whole body of federalists
concurred with the republicans in the last
elections, and with equal anxiety. They had
been made to interest themselves so warmly
for the very choice, which while before the
people they opposed, that when obtained it
came as a thing of their own wishes, and they
find themselves embodied with the republicans,
and their quondam leaders separated from
them; and I verily believe they will remain
embodied with us, so that this conduct of the
minority has done in one week what very
probably could hardly have been effected by
years of mild and impartial administration.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 359. Ford ed., vii, 359.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2485. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), The People and.—

The order and good sense
displayed * * * in the momentous crisis
which lately arose, really bespeak a strength of
character in our nation which augurs well for
the duration of our Republic; and I am much
better satisfied now of its stability than I was
before it was tried.—
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 374. Ford ed., viii, 22.
(W. March. 1801)

2486. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), The People and.—[continued].

The character which our
fellow citizens have displayed on this occasion,
gives us everything to hope for the permanence
of our government.—
To General Warren. Washington ed. iv, 376.
(W. 1801)

2487. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), A President pro tem.—

The federalists appear
determined to prevent an election, and
to pass a bill giving the government to Mr.
Jay, appointed Chief Justice, or to Marshall as
Secretary of State. Yet I am rather of opinion
that Maryland and Jersey will give the seven
republican majorities.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 344. Ford ed., vii, 473.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2488. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), A President pro te.—[continued].

The prospect of preventing
[the Senate from naming a President pro
] is as follows: Georgia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Kentucky, Vermont, Pennsylvania,
and New York can be counted on for their
vote in the House of Representatives, and it
is thought by some that Baer of Maryland, and
Linn, of New Jersey, will come over. Some
even count on Morris, of Vermont. But you
must know the uncertainty of such a dependence
under the operation of caucuses and other
federal engines. The month of February,
therefore, will present us storms of a new
character. Should they have a particular issue,
I hope you will be here a day or two, at
least, before the 4th of March. I know that
your appearance on the scene before the departure
of Congress, would assuage the minority,
and inspire in the majority confidence
and joy unbounded, which they would spread
far and wide on their journey home. Let me
beseech you, then, to come with a view of staying
perhaps a couple of weeks, within which
time things might be put into such a train, as
would permit us both to go home for a short
time, for removal.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 343. Ford ed., vii, 470.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2489. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), A President pro te.—[further continued].

We do not see what is
to be the issue of the present difficulty. The
federalists, among whom those of the republican
section are not the strongest, propose to


Page 285
prevent an election in Congress, and to transfer
the government by an act to the C. J.
(Jay) or Secretary of State, or to let it devolve
on the President pro tem. of the Senate, till
next December, which gives them another
year's predominance, and the chances of future
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 345. Ford ed., vii, 475.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2490. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), A President pro te.—[further continued] .

If the federalists could
have been permitted to pass a law for putting
the government into the hands of an officer,
they would certainly have prevented an election.
But we thought it best to declare openly
and firmly, one and all, that the day such an
act passed, the middle States would arm, and
that no such usurpation, even for a single day,
should be submitted to. This first shook them;
and they were completely alarmed at the resource
for which we declared, to wit, a convention
to reorganize the Government and to
amend it. The very word “convention” gives
them the horrors, as in the present democratical
spirit of America, they fear they should
lose some of the favorite morsels of the Constitution.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 354. Ford ed., vii, 490.
(W. Feb. 1801)

2491. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), The Republic and.—

The storm [Presidential
election] we have passed through proves our
vessel indestructible.—
To M. de Lafayette. Washington ed. iv, 363.
(W. March. 1801)

2492. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), The Republic and. mdash; [continued].

We have passed through
an awful scene in this country. * * * A
few hardy spirits stood firm to their posts, and
the ship has breasted the storm.—
To M. de Lafayette. Washington ed. iv, 363.
(W. March. 1801)

2493. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), The Republic and. mdash; [further continued].

The late chapter of our history furnishes a lesson to man perfectly
new. The times have been awful, but they
have proved an useful truth, that the good
citizen must never despair of the commonwealth.
How many good men abandoned the
deck, and gave up the vessel as lost.—
To Nathaniel Niles. Washington ed. iv, 376. Ford ed., viii, 24.
(W. March. 1801)

2494. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Republicans and.—

The republicans propose
to press forward to an election. If they fail
in this, a concert between the two higher candidates
may prevent the dissolution of the
government and danger of anarchy, by an
operation, bungling indeed and imperfect, but
better than letting the Legislature take the
nomination of the Executive entirely from the
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 345. Ford ed., vii, 475.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2495. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Usurpation and.—

In the event of an usurpation,
I was decidedly with those who were
determined not to permit it. Because that
precedent once set, would be artificially reproduced,
and end soon in a dictator. Virginia
was bristling up, I believe. I shall know the
particulars from Governor Monroe, whom I expect
to meet in a short visit I must make home.—
To Thomas McKean. Washington ed. iv, 369. Ford ed., viii, 12.
(W. March. 1801)

2496. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1804), Appeal to country.—

The abominable slanders
of my political enemies have obliged me
to call for that verdict [on my conduct] from
my country in the only way it can be obtained,
and if obtained, it will be my sufficient voucher
to the rest of the world and to posterity,
and leave me free to seek, at a definite time,
the repose I sincerely wished to have retired to
now. I suffer myself to make no inquiries
as to the persons who are to be placed on the
rolls of competition for the public favor. Respect
for myself, as well as for the public, requires
that I should be the silent and passive
subject of their consideration.—
To Thomas McKean. Ford ed., viii, 293.
(W. Jan. 1804)

2497. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1804), Non-Interference with.—

[I said to Colonel
Burr] that in the election now coming on, I
was observing the same conduct [as in 1800];
held no councils with anybody respecting it,
nor suffered anyone to speak to me on the subject,
believing it my duty to leave myself to
the free discussion of the public; that I do not
at this moment know, nor have ever heard, who
were to be proposed as candidates for the public
choice, except so far as could be gathered
from the newspapers.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 205. Ford ed., i, 302.
(Jan. 1804)

2498. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1804), Non-Interference with.—[continued].

I never interfered directly
or indirectly, with my friends or any
others, to influence the election either for him
[Aaron Burr] or myself. I considered it as
my duty to be merely passive, except that in
Virginia I had taken some measures to procure
for him the unanimous vote of that State, because
I thought any failure there might be
imputed to me.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 205. Ford ed., i, 302.

2499. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1808), Neutrality of Jefferson.—

I see with infinite
grief a contest arising between yourself and
another, who have been very dear to each
other, and equally so to me. I sincerely pray
that these dispositions may not be affected between
you; with me I confidently trust they
will not. For independently of the dictates of
public duty, which prescribe neutrality to me,
my sincere friendship for you both will ensure
its sacred observance. I suffer no one
to converse with me on the subject. I already
perceive my old friend Clinton, estranging himself
from me. No doubt lies are carried to him,
as they will be to the other two candidates,
under forms which, however false, he can
scarcely question. Yet, I have been equally
careful as to him also, never to say a word on
this subject. The object of the contest is a fair
and honorable one, equally open to you all;
and I have no doubt the personal conduct of all
will be so chaste, as to offer no ground of dissatisfaction
with each other. But your friends
will not be as delicate. I know too well from
experience the progress of political controversy,
and the exacerbation of spirit into which it
degenerates, not to fear the continuance of your
mutual esteem. One piquing thing said draws
on another, that a third, and always with increasing
acrimony, until all restraint is thrown
off, and it becomes difficult for yourselves to
keep clear of the toils in which your friends
will endeavor to interlace you, and to avoid the
participation in their passions which they will
endeavor to produce. A candid recollection of
what you know of each other will be the true
corrective. With respect to myself, I hope they
will spare me. My longings for retirement are
so strong, that I with difficulty encounter the
daily drudgeries of my duty. But my wish for
retirement itself is not stronger than that of
carrying into it the affections of all my friends.
I have ever viewed Mr. Madison and yourself
as two principal pillars of my happiness. Were
either to be withdrawn, I should consider it as
among the greatest calamities which could assail
my future peace of mind. I have great con


Page 286
fidence that the candor and high understanding
of both will guard me against this misfortune,
the bare possibility of which has so far weighed
on my mind, that I could not be easy without
unburthening it.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 247. Ford ed., ix, 177.
(W. Feb. 1808)

2500. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1808), Neutrality of Jeffrson.—[continued].

In the present contest in
which you are concerned I feel no passion, I
take no part, I express no sentiment. Whichever
of my friends is called to the supreme
cares of the nation, I know that they will be
wisely and faithfully administered, and as far
as my individual conduct can influence, they
shall be cordially supported.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 255.
(March. 1808)

2501. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1808), Neutrality of Jeffrson.—[further continued].

The Presidential question is clearly up daily, and the opposition subsiding.
It is very possible that the suffrage of the
nation may be undivided. But with this question
it is my duty not to intermeddle.—
To Meriwether Lewis. Washington ed. v, 321. Ford ed., ix, 200.
(W. July. 1808)

2502. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1816), Good Feeling in.—

I have been charmed to
see that a Presidential election now produces
scarcely any agitation. On Mr. Madison's election
there was little, on Monroe's all but none.
In Mr. Adams's time and mine, parties were so
nearly balanced as to make the struggle fearful
for our peace. But since the decided ascendency
of the republican body, federalism has
looked on with silent but unresisting anguish.
In the middle, southern and western States, it is
as low as it ever can be; for nature has made
some men monarchists and tories by their constitution,
and some, of course, there always
will be.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vii, 80. Ford ed., x, 92.
(M. 1817)

2503. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1824), Constitutional Construction and.—

I hope
the choice [of the next President] will fall on
some real republican, who will continue the
administration on the express principles of the
Constitution, unadulterated by constructions reducing
it to a blank to be filled with what everyone
pleases, and what never was intended.—
To Samuel H. Smith. Ford ed., x, 264.
(M. Dec. 1823)

2504. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1824), Constitutional Construction and.—[continued].

On the question of the
next Presidential election, I am a mere lookeron.
I never permit myself to express an opinion,
or to feel a wish on the subject. I indulge
a single hope only, that the choice may fall on
one who will be a friend of peace, of economy,
of the republican principles of our Constitution,
and of the salutary distribution of powers made
by that between the general and the local governments.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. vii, 286. Ford ed., x, 253.
(M. 1823)

2505. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1824), Lafayette's visit and.—

The eclat of Lafayette's
visit has almost merged the Presidential
question on which nothing scarcely is said
in our papers. That question will lie ultimately
between Crawford and Adams; but, at the same
time, the vote of the people will be so distracted
by subordinate candidates, that possibly
they may make no election, and let it go to the
House of Representatives. There, it is thought,
Crawford's chance is best.—
To Richard Rush. Washington ed. vii, 380. Ford ed., x, 322.
(M. Oct. 1824)

2506. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1824), Militarism and.—

This Presidential election
has given me few anxieties. With you this
must have been impossible, independently of the
question, whether we are at last to end our days
under a civil or a military government.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 387.
(M. 1825)

2507. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1824), Passiveness of Jefferson.—

In the Presidential
election I am entirely passive. * * * Both
favorites are republican, both will administer
the government honestly.—
To Thomas Leiper. Ford ed., x, 299.
(M. 1824)

2508. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1824), Sectionalism in.—

Who is to be the next
President? * * * The question will be ultimately
reduced to the northernmost and southernmost
candidate. The former will get every
federal vote in the Union, and many republicans;
the latter, all of those denominated of
the old school;
for you are not to believe that
these two parties are amalgamated, that the lion
and the lamb are lying down together.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 325. Ford ed., x, 280.
(M. 1823)


See Presidency.


See Vegetation.

2509. ELLSWORTH (Oliver), Resignation.—

Ellsworth remains in France for the
benefit of his health. He has resigned his office
of Chief Justice. Putting these two things
together, we cannot misconstrue his views. He
must have had great confidence in Mr. Adams's
continuance to risk such a certainty as he
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 343. Ford ed., vii, 471.
(W. Dec. 1800)

2510. ELOQUENCE, Models of.—

In a
country and government like ours, eloquence is
a powerful instrument, well worthy of the
special pursuit of our youth. Models, indeed,
of chaste and classical oratory are truly too
rare with us; nor do I recollect any remarkable
in England. Among the ancients the most
perfect specimens are perhaps to be found in
Livy, Sallust and Tacitus. Their pith and
brevity constitute perfection itself for an audience
of sages, on whom froth and fancy
would be lost in air. But in ordinary cases,
and with us particularly, more development is
necessary. For senatorial eloquence, Demosthenes
is the finest model; for the bar, Cicero.
The former had more logic, the latter more
imagination. Of the eloquence of the pen, we
have fine samples in English. Robertson,
Sterne, Addison, are of the first merit in the
different characters of composition. Hume, in
the circumstance of style, is equal to any; but
his tory principles spread a cloud over his many
and great excellences. The charms of his style
and matter have made tories of all England,
and doubtful republicans here.—
To G. W. Summers. Washington ed. vii, 231.
(M. 1822)


See Colonies,

2511. EMBARGO, Action advised.—

communications [161] now made [to Congress] showing the great and increasing dangers with
which our vessels, our seamen, and merchandise,
are threatened on the high seas, and elsewhere,
from the belligerent powers of Europe,
and it being of great importance to keep in


Page 287
safety these essential resources, I deem it my
duty to recommend the subject to the consideration
of Congress, who will doubtless perceive
all the advantages which may be expected
from an inhibition of the departure of
our vessels from the ports of the United States.
Their wisdom will also see the necessity of
making every preparation for whatever events
may grow out of the present crisis.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 89. Ford ed., ix, 169.
(Dec. 18, 1807)


The decrees of the French government of November
21, 1806, and of Spain, February 19, 1807, with
the orders of the British government of January and
November, 1807.—Editor.

2512. EMBARGO, Action advised.—[continued].

Although the decree of
the French government of November 21
[1807] comprehended, in its literal terms, the
commerce of the United States, yet the prompt
explanation by one of the ministers of that
government that it was not so understood, and
that our treaty would be respected, the practice
which took place in the French ports conformably
with that explanation, and the recent
interference of that government to procure in
Spain a similar construction of a similar decree
there, had given well-founded expectation that
it would not be extended to us; and this was
much strengthened by the consideration of their
obvious interests. But the information from
our minister at Paris * * * is, that it is
determined to extend the effect of that decree
to us; and it is probable that Spain and the
other Atlantic and Mediterranean States of
Europe will cooperate in the same measure.
The British regulations had before reduced us
to a direct voyage to a single port of their enemies,
and it is now believed they will interdict
all commerce whatever with them. A proclamation,
too, of that government (not officially,
indeed, communicated to us, yet so given out
to the public as to become a rule of action with
them) seems to have shut the door on all negotiation
with us, except as to the single aggression
on the Chesapeake. The sum of these
mutual enterprises on our national rights is
that France, and her allies, reserving for
further consideration the prohibiting our carrying
anything to the British territories, have
virtually done it, by restraining our bringing
a return cargo from them; and Great Britain,
after prohibiting a great proportion of our commerce
with France and her allies, is now believed
to have prohibited the whole. The
whole world is thus laid under interdict by
these two nations, and our vessels, their cargoes
and crews, are to be taken by the one or
the other, for whatever place they may be destined,
out of our own limits. If, therefore, on
leaving our harbors we are certainly to lose
them, is it not better, as to vessels, cargoes,
and seamen, to keep them at home? This is
submitted to the wisdom of Congress, who
alone are competent to provide a remedy.—
To John Mason. Washington ed. v, 217.
(Dec. 1807)

2513. EMBARGO, Action advised.—[further continued].

These decrees and orders,
[162] taken together, want little of amounting
to a declaration that every neutral vessel found
on the high seas, whatsoever be her cargo, and
whatsoever foreign port be that of her departure
or destination, shall be deemed lawful
prize; and they prove, more and, more,
the expediency of retaining our vessels, our
seamen, and property, within our own harbors,
until the dangers to which they are exposed
can be removed or lessened.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 100. Ford ed., ix, 185.
(March. 1808)


Jefferson sent with this message an additional
decree of Bonaparte, dated December 17, 1807, and a
similar decree of the King of Spain, dated January
3, 1808.—Editor.

— EMBARGO, Adams (J. Q.) and.—

See 2587.

2514. EMBARGO, Alternative of war.—

The alternative was between that and war,
and, in fact, it is the last card we have to play,
short of war. [163]
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 265.
(W. March. 1808)


“The Embargo,” says Morse in his Life of Jefferson,
“was a civilized policy, worthy of respect. Moreover,
it was a sensible policy. Jefferson alone understood
in that time the truth, which is now more
generally appreciated, that by sheer growth in population,
wealth and industry, a nation gains the
highest degree of substantial power and authority.—Editor.

2515. EMBARGO, Alternative of war.—[continued].

Could the alternative of
war, or the Embargo, have been presented to
the whole nation, as it occurred to their representatives,
there could have been but the one
opinion that it was better to take the chance
of one year by the Embargo, within which the
orders and decrees producing it may be repealed,
or peace take place in Europe, which
may secure peace to us.—
To Benjamin Smith. Washington ed. v, 293. Ford ed., ix, 194.
(M. May. 1808)

2516. EMBARGO, Alternative of war.—[further continued].

All regard to the rights
of others having been thrown aside, the belligerent
powers have beset the highway of commercial
intercourse with edicts which, taken
together, expose our commerce and mariners,
under almost every destination, a prey to their
fleets and armies. Each party, indeed, would
admit our commerce with themselves, with a
view of associating us in their war against the
other. But we have wished war with neither.
Under these circumstances were passed the laws
of which you complain, by those delegated to
exercise the powers of legislation for you, with
every sympathy of a common interest in exercising
them faithfully. In reviewing these
measures, therefore, we should advert to the
difficulties out of which a choice was of necessity
to be made. To have submitted our
rightful commerce to prohibitions and tributary
exactions from others, would have been to
surrender our independence. To resist them
by armies was war, without consulting the state
of things or the choice of the nation. The
alternative preferred by the Legislature of
suspending a commerce placed under such
unexampled difficulties, besides saving to our
citizens their property, and our mariners to
their country, has the peculiar advantage of
giving time to the belligerent nations to revise
a conduct as contrary to their interests
as it is to our rights.—
Reply to a Boston Repeal Request. Washington ed. viii, 134.
(Aug. 1808)

2517. EMBARGO, Alternative of war.—[further continued] .

We have to choose bebetween
the alternatives of Embargo and war.
There is indeed one and only one other, that
is submission and tribute. For all the federal
propositions for trading to the places permitted
by the edicts of the belligerents, result
in fact in submission, although they do not
choose to pronounce the naked word.—
To Mr. Letue. Washington ed. v, 384.
(W. Nov. 1808)

2518. EMBARGO, Alternative of war.—[further continued].

The measures respecting
our intercourse with foreign nations were the
result of a choice between two evils, either to
call and keep at home our seamen and property,
or suffer them to be taken under the edicts of
the belligerent powers. How a difference of
opinion could arise between these alternatives
is still difficult to explain on any acknowledged
ground, and I am persuaded that when the
storm and agitation characterizing the present


Page 288
prejudice shall have yielded to reason its
usurped place, and especially when posterity
shall pass its sentence on the present times,
justice will be rendered to the course which has
been pursued. To the advantages derived from
the choice which was made will be added the
improvements and discoveries made and making
in the arts, and the establishments in domestic
manufacture, the effects whereof will
be permanent and diffused through our wideextended
R. to A. Maryland Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 164.

2519. EMBARGO, Amendments to law.—

If, on considering the doubts I shall suggest,
you shall still think your draft of a supplementary
Embargo law sufficient, in its present
form, I shall be satisfied. 1. Is not the first paragraph against the Constitution, which
says no preference shall be given to the ports
of one State over those of another? You
might put down those ports as ports of entry,
if that could be made to do. 2. Could not your
second paragraph be made to answer by making
it say, that no clearance shall be furnished
to any vessel laden with provisions or lumber, to go from one port to another of the United
States, without special permission, &c. In that
case, we might lay down rules for the necessary
removal of provisions and lumber, inland,
which should give no trouble to the citizens,
but refuse licenses for all coasting transportation
of those articles but on such applications
from a Governor as may ensure us against
any exportation but for the consumption of his
State. Portsmouth, Boston, Charleston, and
Savannah, are the only ports which cannot be
supplied inland. I should like to prohibit collections,
also, made evidently for clandestine
importation. 3. I would rather strike out the
words, “in conformity with treaty,” in order
to avoid any express recognition at this day
of that article of the British treaty. It has
been so flagrantly abused as to excite the Indians
to war against us, that I should have no
hesitation in declaring it null, as soon as we
see means of supplying the Indians ourselves.
I should have no objections to extend the
exception to the Indian furs purchased by
our traders and sent into Canada.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 267. Ford ed., ix, 189.
(W. March. 1808)

2520. EMBARGO, Approval of.—

It is a
circumstance of great satisfaction that the proceedings
of the government are approved by
the respectable Legislature of Massachusetts,
and especially the late important measure of
the Embargo. The hearty concurrence of the
States in that measure, will have a great effect
in Europe.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 252.
(W. March. 1808)

2521. EMBARGO, Approval of.—[continued].

Through the body of
our country generally our citizens appear
heartily to approve and support the Embargo.—
To Benj. Smith. Washington ed. v, 294. Ford ed., ix, 195.
(M. May. 1808)

2522. EMBARGO, Approval of.—[further continued].

I see with satisfaction
that this measure of self-denial is approved
and supported by the great body of our real
citizens, that they meet with cheerfulness the
temporary privations it occasions.—
R. To A. New Hampshire Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 131.

2523. EMBARGO, Approval of.—[further continued] .

The Embargo appears to
be approved, even by the federalists of every
quarter except yours. [Massachusetts.] To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 265.
(W. March. 1808)

2524. EMBARGO, Approval of.—[further continued].

That the Embargo is approved
by the body of republicans through
the Union, cannot be doubted. It is equally
known that a great proportion of the federalists
approve of it; but as they think it an
engine which may be used advantageously
against the republican system, they countenance
the clamors against it.—
To D. C. Brent. Washington ed. v, 305.
(W. June. 1808)

2525. EMBARGO, Approval of.—[further continued] .

While the opposition to
the late laws of Embargo has in one quarter
amounted almost to rebellion and treason, it
is pleasing to know that all the rest of the
nation has approved of the proceedings of the
constituted authorities. The steady union
* * * of our fellow citizens of South
Carolina, is entirely in their character. They
have never failed in fidelity to their country
and the republican spirit of the Constitution.
Never before was that union more needed or
more salutary than under our present crisis.—
To Mr. Letue. Washington ed. v, 384.
(W. Nov. 1808)

2526. EMBARGO, Authority to suspend.—

The decrees and orders of the belligerent
nations having amounted nearly to declarations
that they would take our vessels
wherever found, Congress thought it best, in
the first instance, to break off all intercourse
with them. They * * * passed an act authorizing
me to suspend the Embargo whenever
the belligerents should revoke their decrees
or orders as to us. The Embargo must
continue, therefore, till they meet again in November,
unless the measures of the belligerents
should change. When they meet again, if these
decrees and orders still continue, the question
which they will have to decide will be, whether
a continuance of the Embargo or war will be
To William Lyman. Washington ed. v, 279.
(W. April. 1808)

2527. EMBARGO, Authority to suspend.—[continued].

If they repeal their orders,
we must repeal our Embargo. If they
make satisfaction for the Chesapeake, we must
revoke our proclamation and generalize its
operation by a law. If they keep up impressments,
we must adhere to non-intercourse,
manufacturer's and a navigation act.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 361. Ford ed., ix, 208.
(M. Sep. 1808)

2528. EMBARGO, Averts war.—

immediate danger * * * of a rupture with
England, is postponed for this year. This is
effected by the Embargo, as the question was
simply between that and war.—
To Charles Pinckney. Washington ed. v, 266.
(W. March. 1808)

2529. EMBARGO, Averts war.—[continued].

The Embargo, keeping at
home our vessels, cargoes and seamen, saves
us the necessity of making their capture the
cause of immediate war; for, if going to England,
France had determined to take them, if
to any other place, England was to take them.
Till they return to some sense of moral duty,
therefore, we keep within ourselves. This
gives time. Time may produce peace in Europe;
peace in Europe removes all causes of
difference, till another European war; and by
that time our debt may be paid, our revenues
clear, and our strength increased.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. v, 227.
(W. Jan. 1808)

2530. EMBARGO, Belligerent Powers and.—

I take it to be an universal opinion that war will become preferable to a continuance

No Page Number

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Thomas Jefferson
Age about 47 years

From the fresco painting by Brumidi. It was painted, at the time Jefferson was Secretary
of State, on the wall in the President's room of the United States Capitol. Brumidi, the
artist, is renowned for his fine figure fresco work. Specimens of his art are to be found in
many of the rooms, corridors, and halls of the United States Capitol.

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Page 289
of the Embargo after a certain time. Should
we not, then, avail ourselves of the intervening
period to procure a retraction of the
obnoxious decrees peaceably, if possible? An
opening is given us by both parties, sufficient
to form a basis for such a proposition. I wish
you, therefore, to consider the following course
of proceeding, to wit: To instruct our ministers
at Paris and London to propose immediately
to both those powers a declaration on
both sides that these decrees and orders shall
no longer be extended to vessels of the United
States, in which case we shall remain faithfully
neutral; but, without assuming the air
of menace, to let them both perceive that if
they do not both withdraw these orders and decrees,
there will arrive a time when our interests
will render war preferable to a continuance
of the Embargo; that when that time
arrives, if one has withdrawn and the other
not, we must declare war against that other;
if neither shall have withdrawn, we must take
our choice of enemies between them. This, it
will certainly be our duty to have ascertained
by the time Congress shall meet in the fall
or beginning of winter; so that taking off the
Embargo, they may decide whether war must
be declared, and against whom.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 257. Ford ed., ix, 179.
(W. March. 1808)

See 2558.

2531. EMBARGO, Benefits of.—

It has
rescued from capture an important capital, and
our seamen from the jails of Europe. It has
given time to prepare for defence, and has
shown to the aggressors of Europe that evil,
as well as good actions, recoil on the doers.—
R. to A. Pittsburg Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 141.

2532. EMBARGO, Benefits of.—[continued].

I have been highly gratified
with the late general expressions of public
sentiment in favor of a measure which alone
could have saved us from immediate war, and
give time to call home eighty millions of property,
twenty or thirty thousand seamen, and
two thousand vessels. These are now nearly
at home, and furnish a great capital, much of
which will go into manufactures, and seamen
to man a fleet of privateers, whenever our citizens
shall prefer war to a longer continuance
of the Embargo. Perhaps, however, the whole
of the ocean may be tired of the solitude it has
made on that element, and return to honest
principles; and his brother robber on the land
may see that, as to us, the grapes are sour.—
To John Langdon. Ford ed., ix, 201.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2533. EMBARGO, Benefits of.—[further continued].

It alone could have saved
us from immediate war, and give time to call
home eighty millions of property, twenty or
thirty thousand seamen, and two thousand
vessels. These are now nearly at home, and
furnish a great capital, much of which will go
into manufactures and remain to man a fleet
of privateers, whenever our citizens shall prefer
war to a longer continuance of the Embargo.
Perhaps, however, the whole of the
ocean may be tired of the solitude it has made
on that element, and return to honest principles,
and that his brother robber on the land
may see that, as to us, the grapes are sour.—
To Governor John Langdon. Washington ed. viii, 132. Ford ed., ix, 201.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2534. EMBARGO, Benefits of.—[further continued] .

We have the satisfaction,
to reflect that in return for the privations by the
measure, and which our fellow citizens in general
have borne with patriotism, it has had the
important effects of saving our mariners and our
vast mercantile property, as well as of affording
time for prosecuting the defensive and provisional
measures called for by the occasion. It
has demonstrated to foreign nations the moderation
and firmness which govern our councils,
and to our citizens the necessity of uniting
in support of the laws and the rights of their
country, and has thus long frustrated those
usurpations and spoliations which, if resisted,
involve war; If submitted to, sacrificed a
vital principle of our national independence.—
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 105. Ford ed., ix, 219.

2535. EMBARGO, Benefits of.—[further continued].

By withdrawing a while
from the ocean we have suffered some loss;
but we have gathered home our immense capital,
exposed to foreign depredation, we have
saved our seamen from the jails of Europe,
and gained time to prepare for the defence of
our country.—
R. to A. Connecticut Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 140.
(Nov. 1808)

2536. EMBARGO, Benefits of.—[further continued] .

The edicts of the two belligerents, forbidding us to be seen on the
ocean, we met by an Embargo. This gave us
time to call home our seamen, ships and property,
to levy men and put our seaports into a
certain state of defence.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 432.
(W. March. 1809)

— EMBARGO, Bonaparte's views on.—

See 861.

2537. EMBARGO, Coasting trade and.—

With respect to the coasting trade, my wish is only to carry into full effect the intentions
of the Embargo laws. I do not wish a single
citizen in any of the States to be deprived
of a meal of bread, but I set down the exercise
of commerce, merely for profit, as nothing when
it carries with it the danger of defeating the
objects of the Embargo.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 297.
(M. May. 1808)

2538. EMBARGO, Coercion of Europe.—

The resolutions of the republican citizens of
Boston are worthy of the ancient character of
the sons of Massachusetts, and of the spirit of
concord with her sister States, which, and
which alone, carried us successfully through
the Revolutionary war, and finally placed us
under that national government, which constitutes
the safety of every part, by uniting for
its protection the powers of the whole. The
moment for exerting these united powers, to
repel the injuries of the belligerents of Europe,
seems likely to be pressed upon us.—
To William Eustis, Washington ed. v, 410. Ford ed., ix, 235.
(W. Jan. 1809)

2539. EMBARGO, Congress and.—

House of Representatives passed last night a
bill for the meeting of Congress on the 22d of
May. This substantially decides the course
they mean to pursue; that is, to let the Embargo
continue till then, when it will cease,
and letters of marque and reprisal be issued
against such nations as shall not then have
repealed their obnoxious edicts. The great majority
seem to have made up their minds on
this, while there is considerable diversity of
opinion on the details of preparation; to wit,
naval force, volunteers, army, non-intercourse.—
To Thomas Lieper. Washington ed. v, 417. Ford ed., ix, 238.
(W. January 21, 1809)

2540. EMBARGO, Duration of.—

The embargo
may go on a certain time, perhaps through the year, without the loss of property
to our citizens, but only its remaining unemployed
on their hands. A time would come.


Page 290
however, when war would be preferable to a
continuance of the Embargo.—
To Charles Pinckney. Washington ed. v, 266.
(W. March. 1808)

2541. EMBARGO, Duration of.—[continued].

The absurd opinion has
been propagated, that this temporary and necessary
arrangement was to be a permanent system,
and was intended for the destruction of
commerce. The sentiments expressed in the
paper you were so kind as to enclose to me,
[address of Boston republicans] show that
those who have concurred in them have judged
with more candor the intentions of their government,
and are sufficiently aware of the tendency
of the excitements and misrepresentations
which have been practiced on this occasion.—
To Dr. William Eustis. Washington ed. v, 410. Ford ed., ix, 235.
(W. Jan. 1809)

2542. EMBARGO, Effect on industry.—

Of the several interests composing those of the
United States, that of manufactures would, of
course, prefer to war a state of non-intercourse,
so favorable to their rapid growth and prosperity.
Agriculture, although sensibly feeling
the loss of market for its produce, would find
many aggravations in a state of war. Commerce
and navigation, or that portion which is
foreign, in the inactivity to which they are
reduced by the present state of things, certainly
experience their full share in the general inconvenience;
but whether war would to them
be a preferable alternative, is a question their
patriotism would never hastily propose. It is
to be regretted, however, that overlooking the
real sources of the sufferings, the British and
French edicts which constitute the actual
blockade of our foreign commerce and navigation,
they have, with too little reflection, imputed
them to laws which have saved them
from greater, and have preserved for our own
use our vessels, property and seamen, instead
of adding them to the strength of those with
whom we might eventually have to contend.
The Embargo, giving time to the belligerent
powers to revise their unjust proceedings, and
to listen to the dictates of justice, of interest
and reputation, which equally urge the correction
of their wrongs, has availed our country
of the only honorable expedient for avoiding
war; and should a repeal of these edicts supersede
the cause for it, our commercial brethren
will become sensible that it has consulted
their interests, however against their own will.
It will be unfortunate for their country if, in
the meantime, these their expressions of impatience,
should have the effect of prolonging
the very sufferings which have produced them,
by exciting a fallacious hope that we may,
under any pressure, relinquish our equal right
of navigating the ocean, go to such ports only
as others may prescribe, and there pay the tributary
exactions they may impose; an abandonment
of national independence and of essential
rights, revolting to every manly sentiment.
While these edicts are in force, no American
can ever consent to a return of peaceable intercourse
with those who maintain them.—
To the Citizens of Boston. Washington ed. viii, 136.
(Aug. 1808)

2543. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—

I am for
going substantially to the object of the law,
and no further; perhaps a little more earnestly
because it is the first expedient, and it is of
great importance to know its full effect.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 292.
(M. May. 1808)

2544. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[continued].

We have such complaints
of the breach of Embargo by fraud and force
on our northern water line, that I must pray
your cooperation with the Secretary of the
Treasury by rendezvousing as many new recruits
as you can in that quarter.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 322.
(W. July. 1808)

2545. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued].

I am clearly of opinion
this law ought to be enforced at any expense,
which may not exceed our appropriation.
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 336.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2546. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued] .

In the support of the
Embargo laws, our only limit should be that
of the appropriations of the department.—
To Robert Smith. Washington ed. v, 337.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2547. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued].

The great leading object
of the Legislature was, and ours in execution of
it ought to be, to give complete effect to the
Embargo laws. They have bidden agriculture,
commerce, navigation, to bow before that object,
to be nothing when in competition with it.
Finding all their endeavors at general rules to
be evaded, they finally gave us the power of
detention as the panacea, and I am clear we
ought to use it freely that we may, by a fair experiment,
know the power of this great weapon,
the Embargo.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 287.
(May. 1808)

2548. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued] .

It is important to crush
every example of forcible opposition to the law.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 271.

2549. EMBARGO, Enforcing.—[further continued].

The pressure of the Embargo,
although sensibly felt by every description
of our fellow citizens, has yet been cheerfully
borne by most of them, under the conviction
that it was a temporary evil, and a necessary one to save us from greater and more
permanent evils,—the loss of property and surrender
of rights. But it would have been more
cheerfully borne, but for the knowledge that,
while honest men were religiously observing
it, the unprincipled along our sea-coast and
frontiers were fraudulently evading it; and that
in some parts they had even dared to break
through it openly, by an armed force too powerful
to be opposed by the collector and his
assistants. To put an end to this scandalous
insubordination to the laws, the Legislature
has authorized the President to empower proper
persons to employ militia, for preventing or
suppressing armed or riotous assemblages of
persons resisting the custom-house officers in
the exercise of their duties, or opposing or
violating the Embargo laws. He sincerely
hopes that, during the short time which these
restrictions are expected to continue, no other
instances will take place of a crime of so deep
a dye. But it is made his duty to take the
measures necessary to meet it. He, therefore,
requests you, as commanding officer of the
militia of your State, to appoint some officer
of the militia, of known respect for the laws,
in or near to each port of entry within your
State, with orders, when applied to by the collector
of the district, to assemble immediately
a sufficient force of his militia, and to employ
them efficaciously to maintain the authority of
the laws respecting the Embargo. * * * He has referred this appointment to your Excellency
because your knowledge of characters,
or means of obtaining it, will enable you to
select one who can be most confided in to exercise
so serious a power, with all the discretion,
the forbearance, the kindness even, which
the enforcement of the law will possibly admit,—ever to bear in mind that the life of a citizen,
is never to be endangered, but as the last
melancholy effort for the maintenance of order


Page 291
and obedience to the laws.—
To the Governors of the States. Washington ed. v, 413. Ford ed., ix, 237.
(W. Jan. 1809)

2550. EMBARGO, Evasions of.—

evasions of the preceding Embargo laws went
so far towards defeating their objects, and
chiefly by vessels clearing out coast-wise, that
Congress, by their act of April 25th, authorized
the absolute detention of all vessels bound
coast-wise with cargoes exciting suspicions of
an intention to evade those laws. There being
few towns on our sea-coast which cannot be
supplied with flour from their interior country,
shipments of flour become generally suspicious
and proper subjects of detention. Charleston
is one of the few places on our seaboard which
need supplies of flour by sea for its own consumption.
That it may not suffer by the cautions
we are obliged to use, I request of your
Excellency, whenever you deem it necessary
that your present or any future stock should
be enlarged, to take the trouble of giving your
certificate in favor of any merchant in whom
you have confidence, directed to the collector
of any port, usually exporting flour, from which
he may choose to bring it, for any quantity
which you may deem necessary for consumption
beyond your interior supplies, enclosing to
the Secretary of the Treasury at the same time
a duplicate of the certificate as a check on the
falsification of your signature. In this way
we may secure a supply of the real wants of
our citizens, and at the same time prevent those
wants from being made a cover for the crimes
against their country which unprincipled adventurers
are in the habit of committing. [164]
To the Governor of South Carolina. Washington ed. v, 286.
(W. May. 1808)


A similar notification was sent to the Governors
of New Orleans, Georgia, Massachusetts and New

2551. EMBARGO, Evasions of.—[continued].

Should these reasonable
precautions [to insure adequate supplies of
flour] be followed, as is surmised in your letter,
by an artificial scarcity, with a view to promote
turbulence of any sort or on any pretext,
I trust for an ample security against this
danger to the character of my fellow citizens of
Massachusetts, which has, I think, been emphatically
marked by obedience to law, and a
love of order. And I have no doubt that whilst
we do our duty, they will support us in it. The
laws enacted by the General Government, have
made it our duty to have the Embargo strictly
enforced, for the general good; and we are
sworn to execute the laws. If clamor ensue,
it will be from the few only, who will clamor
whatever we do.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 341. Ford ed., ix, 206.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2552. EMBARGO, Evasions of.—[further continued].

The belligerent edicts
rendered our Embargo necessary to call home
our ships, our seamen and property. We expected
some effect too from the coercion of
interest. Some it has had; but much less on
account of evasions, and domestic opposition
to it.—
To General Armstrong. Washington ed. v, 433.
(W. March. 1809)

2553. EMBARGO, Exports and.—

fifteen months' continuance it is now discontinued,
because, losing $50,000,000 of exports annually
by it, it costs more than war, which
might be carried on for a third of that, besides
what might be got by reprisal. War, therefore,
must follow if the edicts are not repealed before
the meeting of Congress in May.—
To General Armstrong. Washington ed. v, 433.
(W. March. 1809)

2554. EMBARGO, Fair trial of.—

principle is that the convenience of our citizens
shall yield reasonably, and their taste greatly
to the importance of giving the present experiment
so fair a trial that on future occasions
our legislators may know with certainty
how far they may count on it as an engine for
national purposes.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 309.
(W. July. 1808)

2555. EMBARGO, Federalists and.—

The federalists during their short-lived ascendency
have, by forcing us from the Embargo,
inflicted a wound on our interests which can
never be cured, and on our affections which
will require time to cicatrize. I ascribe all
this to one pseudo-republican, Story. He came
on (in place of Crowningshield, I believe) and
stayed only a few days; long enough, however,
to get complete hold of Bacon, who, giving in
to his representations, became panic-struck,
and communicated his panic to his colleagues,
and they to a majority of the sound members
of Congress. They believed in the alternative
of repeal or civil war, and produced the fatal
measure of repeal.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 529. Ford ed., ix, 277.
(M. July. 1810)

See 2568, 2587.

2556. EMBARGO, Foreign subjects and.—

The principle of our indulgence of vessels
to foreign ministers was, that it was fair
to let them send away all their subjects caught
here by the Embargo, and who had no other
means of getting away.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 347.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2557. EMBARGO, Foreign trade and.—

The Embargo laws will have hastened the day
when an equilibrium between the occupations
of agriculture, manufactures and commerce,
shall simplify our foreign concerns to the exchange
only of that surplus which we cannot
consume for those articles of reasonable comfort,
or convenience, which we cannot produce.—
R. to A. Pennsylvania Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 163.

2558. EMBARGO, France, England and.—

Our ministers at London and Paris were
instructed to explain to the respective governments
there, our disposition to exercise the authority
in such manner as would withdraw the
pretext on which the aggressions were originally
founded, and open a way for a renewal
of that commercial intercourse which it was
alleged on all sides had been reluctantly obstructed.
As each of those governments had
pledged its readiness to concur in renouncing a
measure which reached its adversary through
the incontestable rights of neutrals only, and
as the measure had been assumed by each as a
retaliation for an asserted acquiescence in the
aggressions of the other, it was reasonably expected
that an occasion would have been seized
by both for evincing the sincerity of their
profession, and for restoring to the commerce
of the United States its legitimate, freedom.
The instructions to our ministers with respect
to the different belligerents were necessarily
modified with reference to their different circumstances,
and to the condition annexed by
law to the Executive power of suspension,
requiring a degree of security to our commerce
which would not result from a repeal of the
decrees of France. Instead of a pledge, therefore,
of a suspension of the Embargo as to
her in case of such a repeal, it was presumed
that a sufficient inducement might be found in
other considerations, and particularly in the
change produced by a compliance with our


Page 292
just demands by one belligerent, and a refusal
by the other, in the relations between the other
and the United States. To Great Britain, whose
power on the ocean is so ascendant, it was
deemed not inconsistent with that condition to
state explicitly, that on her rescinding her orders
in relation to the United States their trade
would be opened with her, and remain shut to
her enemy, in case of his failure to rescind his
decrees also. From France no answer has been
received, nor any indication that the requested
change in her decrees is contemplated. The favorable
reception of the proposition to Great
Britain was the less to be doubted, as her orders
of council had not only been referred for
their vindication to an acquiescence on the part
of the United States no longer to be pretended,
but as the arrangement proposed, while it resisted
the illegal decrees of France, involved,
moreover, substantially, the precise advantages
professedly aimed at by the British orders. The
arrangement has, nevertheless, been rejected.
This candid and liberal experiment having thus
failed, and no other event having occurred on
which a suspension of the Embargo by the Executive
was authorized, it necessarily remains
in the extent originally given to it.—
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 103. Ford ed., ix, 214.
(Nov. 1808)

2559. EMBARGO, Frauds under.—

Embargo law is certainly the most embarrassing
one we have ever had to execute. I did not expect
a crop of so sudden and rank growth of
fraud, and open opposition by force could have
grown up in the United States.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 336.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2560. EMBARGO, Frauds under.—[continued].

If the whole quantity of
[flour and corn] had been bonâ fide landed and
retained in Massachusetts, I deemed it certain
there could not be a real want for a considerable
time, and, therefore, desired the issues of
certificates might be discontinued. If, on the
other hand, a part has been carried to foreign
markets, it proves the necessity of restricting
reasonably this avenue to abuse. This is my
sole object, and not that a real want of a single
individual should be one day unsupplied. In
this I am certain we shall have the concurrence
of all the good citizens of Massachusetts, who
are too patriotic and too just to desire, by calling
for what is superfluous, to open a door for
the frauds of unprincipled individuals who
trampling on the laws, and forcing a commerce
shut to all others, are enriching themselves on
the sacrifices of their honester fellow citizens:—sacrifices to which these are generally submitting,
as equally necessary whether to avoid
or prepare for war.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 340. Ford ed., ix, 205.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2561. EMBARGO, Manufactures and.—

The Embargo laws will * * * produce the
inestimable advantage of turning the attention
and enterprise of our fellow citizens, and the
patronage of our State Legislatures, to the establishment
of useful manufacture in our country.—
R. to A. Pennsylvania Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 163.
(M. March. 1809)

2562. EMBARGO, Mitigation of.—

shall be ready to consider any propositions you
may make for mitigating the Embargo law of
April 25th, but so only as not to defeat the object
of the law.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 292.
(M. May. 1808)

2563. EMBARGO, Necessity for.—

live in an age of affliction, to which the history
of nations presents no parallel. We have for
years been looking on Europe covered with
blood and violence, and seen rapine spreading
itself over the ocean. On this element it has
reached us, and at length in so serious a degree,
that the Legislature of the nation has
thought it necessary to withdraw our citizens
and property from it, either to avoid, or to prepare
for engaging in the general contest.—
To Captain McGregor. Washington ed. v, 356.
(M. 1808)

2564. EMBARGO, Necessity for.—[continued].

During the delirium of
the warring powers, the ocean having become a
field of lawless violence, a suspension of our
navigation for a time was equally necessary to
avoid contest, or to enter it with advantage.—
R. to A. Washington ed. viii, 128.
(May. 1808)

2565. EMBARGO, Necessity for.—[further continued].

Those moral principles
and conventional usages which have heretofore
been the bond of civilized nations, which have
so often preserved their peace by furnishing
common rules for the measure of their rights
have now given way to force, the law of barbarians,
and the nineteenth century dawns with
the vandalism of the fifth. Nothing has been
spared on our part to preserve the peace of
our country during this distempered state of
the world.—
R. to A. Ketocton Baptists. Washington ed. viii, 138.

2566. EMBARGO, Necessity for.—[further continued] .

Assailed in our essential
rights by two of the most powerful nations on
the globe, we have remonstrated, negotiated,
and at length retired to the last stand, in the
hope of peaceably preserving our rights. In this
extremity I have entire confidence that no part
of the people in any section of the Union, will
desert the banners of their country, and cooperate
with the enemies who are threatening
its existence.—
R. to A. Massachusetts Militia. Washington ed. viii, 151.

2567. EMBARGO, Necessity for.—[further continued].

The belligerent powers of Europe [France and England] have interdicted
our commerce with nearly the whole
world. They have declared it shall be carried
on with such places, in such articles, and in
such measure only, as they shall dictate: thus
prostrating all the principles of right which
have hitherto protected it. After exhausting
the cup of forbearance and of conciliation to
its dregs, we found it necessary, on behalf of
that commerce, to take time to call it home into
a state of safety, to put the towns and harbors
which carry it on into a condition of defence,
and to make further preparation for enforcing
the redress of its wrongs, and restoring it to its
rightful freedom. This required a certain
measure of time, which, although not admitting
specific limitation, must, from its avowed objects,
have been obvious to all; and the progress
actually made towards the accomplishment
of these objects, proves it now to be near its
To Dr. William Eustis. Washington ed. v, 410. Ford ed., ix, 235.
(W. Jan. 1809)

— EMBARGO, New England and.—

See 2587.

2568. EMBARGO, Opposition to.—

I am
sorry that in some places, chiefly on our northern
frontier, a disposition even to oppose the
law by force has been manifested. In no country
on earth is this so impracticable as in one
where every man feels a vital interest in maintainly
the authority of the laws, and instantly
engages in it as in his own personal cause.
Accordingly, we have experienced this spontaneous
aid of our good citizens in the neighborhoods
where there has been occasion, as I
am persuaded we ever shall on such occasions.
Through the body of our country generally our


Page 293
citizens appear heartily to approve and support
the Embargo.—
To Benjamin Smith. Washington ed. v, 293. Ford ed., ix, 195.
(M. May. 1808)

2569. EMBARGO, Opposition to.—[continued].

That the federalist [of
Massachusetts] may attempt insurrection is
possible, and also that the Governor would sink
before it. But the republican part of the State,
and that portion of the federalists who approve
the Embargo in their judgments, and at any
rate would not court mob-law, would crush it
in embryo. I have some time ago written to
General Dearborn to be on the alert on such an
occasion, and to take direction of the public
authority on the spot. Such an incident will
rally the whole body of republicans of every
shade to a single point,—that of supporting the
public authority.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 347.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2570. EMBARGO, Opposition to.—[further continued].

The case of opposition to
the Embargo laws on the Canada line, I take it
to be that of distinct combinations of a number
of individuals to oppose by force and arms the
execution of those laws, for which purpose they
go armed, fire upon the public guards, in one
instance at least have wounded one dangerously,
and rescue property held under these
laws. This may not be an insurrection in the
popular sense of the word, but being arrayed in
warlike manner, actually committing acts of
war, and persevering systematically in defiance
of the public authority, brings it so fully within
the legal definition of an insurrection, that I
should not hesitate to issue a proclamation
were I not restrained by motives of which your
Excellency seems to be apprized. But as by the
laws of New York an insurrection can be acted
on without a previous proclamation, I should
conceive it perfectly correct to act on it as such,
and I cannot doubt it would be approved by
every good citizen. Should you think proper
to do so, I will undertake that the necessary
detachments of militia, called out in support
of the laws, shall be considered as in the service
of the United States, and at their expense.
* * * I think it so important in example to
crush these audacious proceedings, and to make
the offenders feel the consequences of individuals
daring to oppose a law by force, that no
effort should be spared to compass this object.—
To Governor Tompkins. Washington ed. v, 343.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2571. EMBARGO, Opposition to.—[further continued] .

The tories of Boston
openly threaten insurrection if their importation
of flour is stopped. The next post will
stop it. I fear your Governor is not up to the
tone of these parricides, and I hope, on the
first symptom of an open opposition to the law
by force, you will fly to the scene, and aid in
suppressing any commotion.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 334. Ford ed., ix, 201.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2572. EMBARGO, Opposition to.—[further continued].

I have some apprehension
the tories of Boston, &c., with so poor a
head of a Governor, may attempt to give us
trouble. I have requested General Dearborn to
be on the alert, and fly to the spot where any
open and forcible opposition shall be commenced,
and to crush it in embryo. I am not
afraid but that there is sound matter enough in
Massachusetts to prevent an opposition of the
laws by force.—
To Robert Smith. Washington ed. v, 335.
(M. Aug. 1808)

2573. EMBARGO, Peace and.—

An Embargo
had, by the course of events, become the
only peaceable card we had to play.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 299.
(M. May. 1808)

2574. EMBARGO, Peace and.—[continued].

There never has been a
situation of the world before, in which such
endeavors as we have made would not have secured
our peace. It is probable there never will
be such another. If we go to war now, I fear
we may renounce forever the hope of seeing an
end of our national debt. If we can keep at
peace eight years longer, our income, liberated
from debt, will be adequate to any war, without
new taxes or loans, and our position and
increasing strength put us hors d'insulte from
any nation.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 420. Ford ed., ix, 243.
(W. Jan. 1809)

2575. EMBARGO, Political effects.—

Our Embargo has worked hard. It has in fact
federalized three of the New England States.—
To William Short. Washington ed. v, 436. Ford ed., ix, 249.
(W. March. 1809)

2576. EMBARGO, Proclamation suspending.—

I never doubted the chicanery of
the Anglomen on whatever measures you should
take in consequence of the disavowal of Erskine;
yet I am satisfied that both the proclamations
have been sound. The first has been
sanctioned by universal approbation; and although
it was not literally the case foreseen by
the Legislature, yet it was a proper extension
of their provision to a case similar, though not
the same. It proved to the whole world our
desire of accommodation, and must have satisfied
every candid federalist on that head. It
was not only proper on the well-grounded confidence
that the arrangement would be honestly
executed, but ought to have taken place even
had the perfidy of England been foreseen.
Their dirty gain is richly remunerated to us by
our placing them so shamefully in the wrong,
and by the union it must produce among ourselves.
The last proclamation admits of quibbles,
of which advantage will doubtless be endeavored
to be taken, by those for whom gain is
their God, and their country nothing. But it is
soundly defensible. The British minister assured
us, that the orders of council would be
revoked before the 10th of June. The Executive,
trusting in that assurance, declared by
proclamation that the revocation was to take
place, and on that event the law was to be suspended.
But the event did not take place, and
the consequence, of course, could not follow.
This view is derived from the former non-intercourse
law only, having never read the latter
one. I had doubted whether Congress must not
be called; but that arose from another doubt,
whether their second law had not changed the
ground, so as to require their agency to give
operation to the law.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 463.
(M. Aug. 1809)

2577. EMBARGO, Repeal.—

I thought
Congress had taken their ground firmly for continuing
their Embargo until June and then war.
But a sudden and unaccountable revolution of
opinion took place the last week, chiefly among
the New England and New York members,
and in a kind of panic they voted the 4th of
March for removing the Embargo, and by such
a majority as gave all reason to believe they
would not agree either to war or non-intercourse.
This, too, after we had become satisfied
that the Essex Junto had found their expectation
desperate, of inducing the people
there to either separation or forcible opposition.
The majority of Congress, however, has now
rallied to the removing the Embargo on the 4th
of March, non-intercourse with France and
Great Britain, trade everywhere else, and continued
war preparations.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. v, 424. Ford ed., ix, 244.
(W. Feb. 7, 1809)


Page 294

2578. EMBARGO, Repeal.—[continued].

The House of Representatives
passed yesterday, by a vote of 81 to
40, the bill from the Senate repealing the Embargo
the 4th of March, except against Great
Britain and France and their dependencies, establishing
a non-intercourse with them, and
having struck out the clause for letters of
marque and reprisal, which it is thought the
Senate will still endeavor to reinstate.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. v, 430. Ford ed., ix, 248.
(W. Feb. 28, 1809)

2579. EMBARGO, Repeal.—[further continued].

We have taken off the
Embargo, except as to France and England and
their territories, because fifty millions of exports,
annually sacrificed, are the treble of what
war would cost us: besides, that by war we
should take something, and lose less than at
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 432.
(W. March 2, 1809)

2580. EMBARGO, Repeal.—[further continued] .

The repeal of the Embargo
is the immediate parent of all our present
evils, and has reduced us to a low standing in
the eyes of the world. I should think that even
the federalists themselves must now be made,
by their feelings, sensible of their error. The
wealth which the Embargo brought home safely,
has now been thrown back into the laps of our
enemies, and our navigation completely crushed,
and by the unwise and unpatriotic conduct of
those engaged in it.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 529. Ford ed., ix, 277.
(M. July. 1810)

2581. EMBARGO, Repeal.—[further continued].

Our business certainly
was to be still. But a part of our nation chose
to declare against this, in such a way as to control
the wisdom of the government. I yielded
with others, to avoid a greater evil. But from
that moment, I have seen no system which could
keep us entirely aloof from these agents of destruction.
[France and England.]—
To Dr. Walter Jones. Washington ed. v, 511. Ford ed., ix, 274.
(M. 1810)

2582. EMBARGO, Salutary.—

That the
Embargo laws were salutary and indispensably
necessary to meet the obstructions [of our commerce],
are truths as evident to every candid
man, as it is worthy of every good citizen to declare
his reprobation of that system of opposition
which goes to an avowed and practical resistance
of these laws.—
R. to A. Annapolis Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 150.

2583. EMBARGO, Seamen and.—

difficulties of the crisis will certainly fall with
greater pressure on some descriptions of citizens
than on others; and on none perhaps with
greater than our seafaring brethren. Should
any means of alleviation occur within the range
of my duties, I shall with certainty advert to the
situation of the petitioners, and, in availing the
nation of their services, aid them with a substitute
for their former occupations.—
To Captain McGregor. Washington ed. v, 357.
(M. 1808)

2584. EMBARGO, Submission, or War?—

The questions of submission, of war, or Embargo,
are now before our country as unembarrassed
as at first. Submission and tribute, if
they be our choice, will be no baser now than
at the date of the Embargo. But if, as I trust,
that idea be spurned, we may now decide on
the other alternatives of war and Embargo,
with the advantage of possessing all the means
which have been rescued from the grasp of
R. to A. Connecticut Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 141.
(Nov. 1808)

2585. EMBARGO, Submission, or War?—[continued].

The congressional campaign
is just opening. Three alternatives alone
are to be chosen from. 1. Embargo. 2. War.
3. Submission and tribute. And, wonderful to
tell, the last will not want advocates. The real
question, however, will lie between the two first,
on which there is considerable division. As yet,
the first seems most to prevail; but opinions
are by no means yet settled down. Perhaps the
advocates of the second may, to a formal declaration
of war, prefer general letters of marque
and reprisal, because, on a repeal of their edicts
by the belligerent, a revocation of the letters
of marque restores peace without the delay, difficulties,
and ceremonies of a treaty. On this occasion,
I think it is fair to leave to those who
are to act on them, the decisions they prefer,
being to be myself but a spectator. I should not
feel justified in directing measures which those
who are to execute them would disapprove. Our
situation is truly difficult. We have been pressed
by the belligerents to the very wall, and all further
retreat is impracticable.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 387. Ford ed., ix, 227.
(W. Nov. 1808)

2586. EMBARGO, Submission, or War?—[further continued].

Under a continuance of
the belligerent measures which, in defiance of
laws which consecrate the rights of neutrals,
overspread the ocean with danger, it will rest
with the wisdom of Congress to decide on the
course best adapted to such a state of things;
and bringing with them, as they do, from every
part of the Union, the sentiments of our constituents,
my confidence is strengthened, that in
forming this decision they will, with an unerring
regard to the essential rights and interests
of the nation, weigh and compare the painful
alternatives out of which a choice is to be made.
Nor should I do justice to the virtues which on
other occasions have marked the character of
our fellow citizens, if I did not cherish an equal
confidence that the alternative chosen, whatever
it may be, will be maintained with all the fortitude
and patriotism which the crisis ought to inspire.—
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 105. Ford ed., ix, 220.
(Nov. 1808)

2587. EMBARGO, The Union and.—

John Quincy Adams called on me pending the
Embargo, and while endeavors were making to
obtain its repeal. He made some apologies for
the call, on the ground of our not being then in
the habit of confidential communications, but
that that which he had then to make, involved
too seriously the interest of our country not to
overrule all other considerations with him, and
make it his duty to reveal it to myself particularly.
I assured him there was no occasion for
any apology for his visit; that, on the contrary,
his communications would be thankfully received,
and would add a confirmation the more
to my entire confidence in the rectitude and
patriotism of his conduct and principles. He
spoke then of the dissatisfaction of the Eastern
portion of our confederacy with the restraints
of the Embargo then existing, and their restlessness
under it; that there was nothing which
might not be attempted, to rid themselves of it.
That he had information of the most unquestionable
certainty, that certain citizens of the
Eastern States (I think he named Massachusetts
particularly) were in negotiation with agents of
the British government, the object of which was
an agreement that the New England States
should take no further part in the war then
going on; that, without formally declaring their
separation from the Union of the States, they
should withdraw from all aid and obedience to
them; that their navigation and commerce should
be free from restraint and interruption by the
British; that they should be considered and
treated by them as neutrals, and as such might
conduct themselves towards both parties; and,


Page 295
at the close of the war, be at liberty to rejoin
the confederacy. He assured me that there was
imminent danger that the convention would take
place; that the temptations were such as might
debauch many from their fidelity to the Union;
and that, to enable its friends to make head
against it, the repeal of the Embargo was absolutely
necessary. I expressed a just sense of
the merit of this information, and of the importance
of the disclosure to the safety and even
the salvation of our country; and however reluctant
I was to abandon the measure (a measure
which persevered in a little longer, we
had subsequent and satisfactory assurance
would have effected its object completely),
from that moment, and influenced by that information,
I saw the necessity of abandoning
it, and instead of effecting our purpose by
this peaceable weapon, we must fight it out,
or break the Union. I then recommended to
yield to the necessity of a repeal of the Embargo,
and to endeavor to supply its place by
the best substitute, in which they could procure
a general concurrence.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. vii, 424. Ford ed., x, 353.
(M. Dec. 1825)

2588. EMBARGO, The Union and.—[continued].

Far advanced in my eightythird
year, worn down with infirmities which
have confined me almost entirely to the house
for seven or eight months past, it afflicts me
much to receive appeals to my memory for
transactions so far back as that which is the
subject of your letter. My memory is, indeed,
become almost a blank, of which no better proof
can probably be given you than by my solemn
protestation, that I have not the least recollection
of your intervention between Mr. John Q.
Adams and myself, in what passed on the subject
of the Embargo. Not the slightest trace of
it remains in my mind. Yet I have no doubt of
the exactitude of the statement in your letter.
And the less, as I recollect the interview with
Mr. Adams, to which the previous communications
which had passed between him and yourself
were probably and naturally the preliminary.
That interview I remember well; not, indeed,
in the very words which passed between us,
but in their substance, which was of a character
too awful, too deeply engraved, in my mind,
and influencing too materially the course I had
to pursue, ever to be forgotten. * * * I cannot
too often repeat that this statement is not pretended
to be in the very words which passed;
that it only gives faithfully the impression remaining
on my mind. The very words of a conversation
are too transient and fugitive to be so
long retained in remembrance. But the substance
was too important to be forgotten, not only
from the revolution of measures it obliged me
to adopt, but also from the renewals of it in
my memory on the frequent occasions I have
had of doing justice to Mr. Adams, by repeating
this proof of his fidelity to his country,
and of his superiority over all ordinary considerations
when the safety of that was brought
into question.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. vii, 424. Ford ed., x, 351.
(M. 1825)

2589. EMBARGO, The Union and.—[further continued].

You ask my opinion of
the propriety of giving publicity to what is
stated in your letter, as having passed between
Mr. John Quincy Adams and yourself. Of
this no one can judge but yourself. It is one
of those questions which belong to the forum
of feeling. This alone can decide on the degree
of confidence implied in the disclosure;
whether under no circumstances it was to be
communicated to others? It does not seem to
be of that character, or at all to wear that aspect.
They are historical facts which belong
to the present, as well as future times. I
doubt whether a single fact, known to the
world, will carry as clear conviction to it, of
the correctness of our knowledge of the treasonable
views of the federal party of that day,
as that disclosed by this, the most nefarious
and daring attempt to dissever the Union, of
which the Hartford Convention was a subsequent
chapter; and both of these having failed,
consolidation becomes the fourth chapter of
the next book of their history. But this opens
with a vast accession of strength from their
younger recruits, who, having nothing in them
of the feelings or principles of '76, now look
to a single and splendid government of an
aristocracy, founded on banking institutions,
and moneyed incorporations under the guise
and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures,
commerce and navigation, riding and
ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared
yeomanry. This will be to them a next
best blessing to the monarchy of their first
aim, and perhaps the surest stepping-stone to
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. vii, 428. Ford ed., x, 356.
(M. 1825)

2590. EMBARGO, The Union and.—[further continued] .

During the continuance
of the Embargo Mr. John Quincy Adams informed
me of a combination (without naming any one
concerned in it), which had for its object a severance
of the Union, for a time at least. Mr.
Adams and myself not being then in the habit
of mutual consultation and confidence, I considered
it as the stronger proof of the purity
of his patriotism, which was able to lift him
above all party passions when the safety of
his country was endangered.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 431.
(M. 1826)

2591. EMBARGO, War preferable.—

peace does not take place in Europe, and if
France and England will not consent to withdraw
the operation of their decrees and orders
from us, when Congress shall meet in December,
they will have to consider at what point
of time the Embargo, continued, becomes a
greater evil than war.—
Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 265.
(W. March. 1808)

2592. EMBARGO, War preferable.—[continued].

Should neither peace,
nor a revocation of the decrees and orders in
Europe take place, the day cannot be distant
when the Embargo will cease to be preferable
to open hostility. Nothing just or temperate
has been omitted on our part, to retard or avoid
this unprofitable alternative.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 299.
(M. May. 1808)

2593. EMBARGO, War preferable.—[further continued].

How long the continuance
of the Embargo may be preferable to war, is a question we shall have to meet, if
the decrees and orders and war continue.—
To Benjamin Smith. Washington ed. vii, 293. Ford ed., ix, 195.
(M. May. 1808)

2594. EMBARGO, War of 1812 and.—

That a continuance of the Embargo for two
months longer would have prevented our war,
* * * I have constantly maintained.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 465. Ford ed., ix, 521.
(M. 1815)

2595. EMBARGO (Virginian), Power to lay.—

The Administrator [of Virginia] shall
not possess the prerogative. * * * of laying
embargoes, or prohibiting the exportation
of any commodity for a longer space than forty
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)

2596. EMBARGO (Virginian), Proclamation of.—

Whereas, the exportation of


Page 296
provisions from the State [of Virginia] will be
attended with manifest injury to the United
States, by supplying the enemy, and by rendering
it difficult for the public agents and contractors
to procure supplies for the American
troops, and will, moreover, give encouragement
to engrossers and monopolizers to prosecute
their baneful practices, I have thought fit
by and with the advice and consent of the Council
of State, to issue this, my proclamation,
for laying an embargo on provisions * * * to continue until the first of May next.—
Embargo Proclamation. Ford ed., ii, 281.
(Nov. 1779)

2597. EMIGRATION, The Colonies and.—

These [emigration and settlement] were
effected at the expense of our own blood and
treasure, unassisted by the wealth or the
strength of Great Britain. [165]
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck it out.—Editor.

2598. EMIGRATION, The Colonies and.—[continued].

Our emigration from
England to this country gave her no more
rights over us, than the emigrations of the
Danes and Saxons gave to the present authorities
of the mother country over England.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 8. Ford ed., i, 12.

See Expatriation.

2599. EMIGRATION, Eastern.—

emigrations from the Eastern States are what
I have long counted on. The religious and
political tyranny of those in power with you,
cannot fail to drive the oppressed to milder
associations of men, where freedom of mind
is allowed in fact as well as in pretense.—
To Dr. B. Waterhouse. Ford ed., ix, 533.
(M. 1815)

— EMIGRATION (European).—

See Immigration.

2600. ENEMIES, Bias of.—

An enemy
generally says and believes what he wishes.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. ii, 367.
(A. 1788)

2601. ENEMIES, Distinction and.—

That you have enemies, you must not doubt,
when you reflect that you have made yourself
To James Steptoe. Washington ed. i, 324. Ford ed., iii, 63.

2602. ENEMIES, Injured friends as.—

An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.—
French Treaties Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 618. Ford ed., vi, 225.

2603. ENEMIES, National.—

We must
endeavor to forget our former love for them.
[the English people], and hold them as we
hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in
peace friends.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

2604. ENEMIES, Official and private.—

I hail the day which is to relieve me from being viewed as an official enemy. In private
life, I never had above one or two.—
To William Short. Ford ed., ix, 51.
(W. May. 1807)

2605. ENEMIES, Patronage and.—

do not mean to leave arms in the hands of
active enemies.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 544. Ford ed., viii, 304.

2606. ENEMIES, Political.—

Men of energy
of character must have enemies; because
there are two sides to every question,
and taking one with decision, and acting on
it with effect, those who take the other will
of course be hostile in proportion as they feel
that effect.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 62.
(M. 1817)

2607. ENEMIES, Political.—[continued].

Dr. Franklin had many
political enemies, as every character must,
which, with decision enough to have opinions,
has energy and talent to give them effect on
the feelings of the adversary opinion.—
To Robert Walsh. Washington ed. vii, 108. Ford ed., x, 116.
(M. 1818)

2608. ENEMIES, Political.—[further continued].

In public life, a man
whose political principles have any decided
character, and who has energy enough to give
them effect, must always expect to encounter
political hostility from those of adverse principles.—
To Richard M. Johnson. Washington ed. v, 256.
(W. 1808)

2609. ENEMY GOODS, Right to seize.—

I believe it cannot be doubted, but that by
the general laws of nations, the goods of a
friend found in the vessel of an enemy are
free, and the goods of an enemy found in the
vessel of a friend are lawful prize. Upon
this principle, I presume, the British armed
vessels have taken the property of French
citizens found in our vessels, in the cases
mentioned, [166] and I confess I should be at a
loss on what principle to reclaim it. It is
true that sundry nations, desirous of avoiding
the inconveniences of having their vessels
stopped at sea, ransacked, carried into port,
and detained, under pretense of having enemy
goods aboard, have, in many instances, introduced
by their special treaties another principle between them, that enemy bottoms shall
make enemy goods, and friendly bottoms
friendly goods; a principle much less embarrassing
to commerce, and equal to all
parties in point of gain and loss. But this
is altogether the effect of particular treaty,
controlling in special cases the general principle
of the law of nations, and therefore
taking effect between such nations only as
have so agreed to control it. England has
generally determined to adhere to the rigorous
principle, having, in no instance, as far
as I can recollect, agreed to the modification of
letting the property of the goods follow that
of the vessel, except in the single one of her
treaty with France. We have adopted this
modification in our treaties with France, the
United Netherlands and Russia; and therefore,
as to them, our vessels cover the goods
of their enemies, and we lose our goods when
in the vessels of their enemies. * * * With
England, Spain, Portugal, and Austria, we
have no treaties; therefore, we have nothing
to oppose to their acting according to the
general law of nations, that enemy goods are
lawful prize though found in the bottom of


Page 297
a friend.—
To E. C. Genet. Washington ed. iv, 24. Ford ed., vi, 356.
(Pa., July. 1793)


The capture of French citizens, with their slaves
and merchandise, while on their way, in merchant
vessels of the United States, from the French West
Indies to the United States.—Editor.

2610. ENEMY GOODS, Right to seize.—[continued].

I believe I may safely
affirm * * * that France is the gainer,
and we the loser by the principle of our treaty.
Indeed, we are the losers in every direction of
that principle; for when it works in our favor,
it is to save the goods of our friends; when
it works against us, it is to lose our own;
and we shall continue to lose while the rule
is only partially established. When we shall
have established it with all nations, we shall
be in a condition neither to gain nor lose,
but shall be less exposed to vexatious searches
at sea. To this condition we are endeavoring
to advance; but as it depends on the
will of other nations as well as our own, we
can only obtain it when they shall be ready to
To E. C. Genet. Washington ed. iv, 25. Ford ed., vi, 357.
(Pa., July. 1793)

See Free Ships, Free Goods.


See Government.

— ENGINE, The Steam.—

See Steam.

2611. ENGLAND, American antagonism.—

The war between France and England
seems to be producing an effect not
contemplated. All the old spirit of 1776, rekindling
the newspapers from Boston to
Charleston, proves this; and even the monocrat
papers are obliged to publish the most
furious philippics against England. A French
frigate took a British prize off the capes of
Delaware the other day, and sent her up here
[Philadelphia]. Upon her coming into sight,
thousands and thousands of the yeomanry of
the city crowded and covered the wharves.
Never before was such a crowd seen there;
and when the British colors were seen reversed,
and the French flying above them,
they burst into peals of exultation.
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iii, 548. Ford ed., vi, 238.
(Pa., May. 1793)

— ENGLAND, American colonies and.—

See Colonies.

2612. ENGLAND, Amity with.—

No two
nations on earth can be so helpful to each
other as friends, nor so hurtful as enemies.
And in spite of their insolence, I have ever
wished for an honorable and cordial amity
with them as a nation.—
To Robert Walsh. Ford ed., x, 155.
(M. 1820)

— ENGLAND, Anglo-Saxon language.—

See Languages.

2613. ENGLAND, Aristocratic Government.—

The English government never
dies because their King is no part of it; he is
a mere formality and the real government is
the aristocracy of the country, for the House
of Commons is of that class.—
To Doctor Samuel Brown. Washington ed. vi, 165.
(M. 1813)

2614. ENGLAND, Bonaparte and.—

events which have taken place in France have
lessened in the American mind the motives
of interest which it felt in that Revolution,
and its amity towards that country now rests
on its love of peace and commerce. We see,
at the same time, with great concern, the position
in which Great Britain is placed, and
should be sincerely afflicted were any disaster
to deprive mankind of the benefit of such a
bulwark against the torrent which has for
some time been bearing down all before it.
But her power and powers at sea seem to
render everything safe in the end.—
To Sir John Sinclair. Washington ed. iv, 491.
(W. June. 1803)
See Bonaparte.

— ENGLAND, Burning of U. S. Capitol by.—

See Capitol.

— ENGLAND, Canada and.—

See Canada.

2615. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—

Our people and merchants must consider
their business as not yet settled with England.
After exercising the self denial which
was requisite to carry us through the war,
they must push it a little further to obtain
proper peace arrangements with them. They
can do it the better as all the world is open to
them; and it is very extraordinary if the
whole world besides cannot supply them with
what they may want.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 40.
(P. 1785)

2616. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[continued].

If we can obtain from
Great Britain reasonable conditions of commerce
(which, in my idea, must forever include
an admission into her [West India] islands), the freest ground between these two
nations would seem to be the best. But if
we can obtain no equal terms from her, perhaps
Congress might think it prudent, as Holland
has done, to connect us unequivocally
with France. Holland has purchased the protection
of France. The price she pays, is aid
in time of war.
It is interesting for us to purchase
a free commerce with the French islands.
But whether it is best to pay for it
by aids in war, or by privileges in commerce,
or not to purchase it at all,
is the question.—
Report to Congress. Washington ed. ix, 244. Ford ed., iv, 130.
(P. 1785)

2617. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued].

Nothing will bring the
British to reason but physical obstruction, applied
to their bodily senses. We must show
that we are capable of foregoing commerce
with them, before they will be capable of consenting
to an equal commerce. We have all
the world besides open to supply us with gewgaws,
and all the world to buy our tobacco.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 36.
(P. 1785)

2618. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued] .

I know nothing which
would act more powerfully as a sumptuary
law with our people than an inhibition of
commerce with England. They are habituated
to the luxuries of that country and will have
them while they can get them. They are unacquainted
with those of other countries; and
therefore will not very soon bring them so
far into fashion as that it shall be thought
disreputable not to have them in one's house,
or on their table.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 37.
(P. 1785)


Page 298

2619. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued].

England declines all arrangements
with us. They say their commerce
is so necessary to us, that we shall not
deny it to ourselves for the sake of the carrying
business, as the only trade they leave us
is that with Great Britain immediately, and
that is a losing one. I hope we shall show
them we have sense and spirit enough to suppress
that, or at least to exclude them from
any share in the carriage of our commodities.
Their spirit towards us is deeply hostile and
they seem as if they did not fear a war with
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. i, 559.
(P. 1786)

2620. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued] .

With respect to a commercial
treaty with this country, be assured that the government not only has it not in
contemplation at present to make any, but that
they do not conceive that any circumstances
will arise which shall render it expedient for
them to have any political connection with us.
They think we shall be glad of their commerce
on their own terms.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Washington ed. i, 541. Ford ed., iv, 206.
(L. April. 1786)

2621. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued].

The English think we
cannot prevent our countrymen from bringing
our trade into their laps. A conviction of
this determines them to make no terms of
commerce with us. They say they will
pocket our carrying trade as well as their
own. Our overtures of commercial arrangements
have been treated with a derision,
which shows their firm persuasion that we
shall never unite to suppress their commerce,
or even to impede it.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 550. Ford ed., iv, 214.
(P. 1786)

2622. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued] .

That no commercial arrangements
between Great Britain and the
United States have taken place, cannot be
imputed to us. The proposition has surely
been often enough made, perhaps too often.—
To Sir John Sinclair. Washington ed. iii, 283.
(Pa., 1791)

2623. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued]..

The bill lately passed in England, prohibiting the business of this
country with France from passing through
the medium of England, is a temporary embarrassment
to our commerce, from the unhappy
predicament of its all hanging on the
pivot of London. It will be happy for us,
should it be continued till our merchants May
establish connections in the countries in
which our produce is consumed, and to
which it should go directly.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 580. Ford ed., vi, 300.
(Pa., June. 1793)

2624. ENGLAND, Commerce with.—[further continued] .

My opinion of the British
government is, that nothing will force
them to do us justice but the loud voice of
their people, and that this can never be excited
but by distressing their commerce.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iv, 106. Ford ed., vi, 510.
(M. 1794)

See Duties, Embargo, Navigation and Treaties.

2625. ENGLAND, Conciliation with.—

I look upon all cordial conciliation with England
as desperate during the life of the present
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 465.
(M. Aug. 1809)

2626. ENGLAND, Corruption of government.—

We know that the government of
England, maintaining itself by corruption at
home, uses the same means in other countries
of which she has any jealousy, by subsidizing
agitators and traitors among themselves to
distract and paralyze them. She sufficiently
manifests that she has no disposition to spare
To Governor Plumer. Washington ed. vi, 415.
See Hartford Convention.

2627. ENGLAND, Crisis in.—

I believe
with you that the crisis of England is come.
What will be its issue it is vain to prophesy;
so many thousand contingencies may turn up
to affect its direction. Were I to hazard a
guess, it would be that they will become a
military despotism. Their recollections of the
portion of liberty they have enjoyed will render
force necessary to retain them under
pure monarchy. Their pressure upon us has
been so severe and so unprincipled, that we
cannot deprecate their fate, though we might
wish to see their naval power kept up to the
level of that of the other principal powers
separately taken.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 552. Ford ed., ix, 286.
(M. 1810)

2628. ENGLAND, Crisis in.—[continued].

What England is to become
on the crush of her internal structure,
now seeming to be begun, I cannot foresee.
Her moneyed interests, created by her paper
system, and now constituting a baseless mass
of wealth equal to that of the owners of the
soil, must disappear with that system, and the
medium for paying great taxes thus failing,
her navy must be without support. That it
shall be supported by permitting her to claim
dominion of the ocean, and to levy tribute on
every flag traversing that, as lately attempted
and not yet relinquished, every nation must
contest, even ad internecionem. And yet,
that retiring from this enormity, she should
continue able to take a fair share in the
necessary equilibrium of power on that element,
would be the desire of every nation.—
To Thomas Law. Washington ed. v, 557. Ford ed., ix, 293.
(M. 1811)

2629. ENGLAND, Crisis in.—[further continued].

The approach of this
crisis is, I think, visible, in the departure of
her precious metals, and depreciation of her
paper medium. We, who have gone through
that operation, know its symptoms, its course,
and consequences. In England, they will be
more serious than elsewhere, because half the
wealth of her people is now in that medium,
the private revenue of her money-holders, or
rather of her paper-holders, being, I believe,
greater than that of her land-holders. Such
a proportion of property, imaginary and
baseless as it is, cannot be reduced to vapor
but with great explosion. She will rise out
of its ruins. however, because her lands, her
houses, her arts will remain, and the greater
part of her men. And these will give her
again that place among nations which is proportioned
to her natural means, and which we
all wish her to hold.—
To James Maury. Washington ed. vi, 52. Ford ed., ix, 349.
(M. April. 1812)

— ENGLAND, Debts to citizens of.—

See Debts Due British.


Page 299

2630. ENGLAND, Detested.—

The Count
de Moustier [French Minister] will find the
affections of the Americans with France, but
their habits with England. Chained to that
country by circumstances, embracing what
they loathe, they realize the fable of the living
and the dead bound together.—
To Comte de Moustier. Washington ed. ii, 295.
(P. 1787)

2631. ENGLAND, Dread of United States.—

Great Britain, in her pride and ascendency,
has certainly hated and despised us
beyond every earthly object. Her hatred May
remain, but the hour of her contempt is passed
and is succeeded by dread; not a present, but
a distant and deep one. It is the greater as
she feels herself plunged into an abyss of
ruin from which no human means point out
an issue. We also have more reason to hate
her than any nation on earth.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 41. Ford ed., x, 66.
(M. 1816)

See Hartford Convention.

— ENGLAND, Embargo and.—

See Embargo.

2632. ENGLAND, Flagitious government.—

The regeneration of the British government
will take a longer time than I have
to live. * * * I shall make my exit with
a bow to it, as the most flagitious of governments
I leave among men.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 77. Ford ed., ix, 367.
(M. Aug. 1812)

2633. ENGLAND, Flagitious government.—[continued].

I consider [the British] government as the most flagitious which has
existed since the days of Philip of Macedon,
whom they make their model. It is not only
founded in corruption itself, but insinuates
the same poison into the bowels of every
other, corrupts its councils, nourishes factions,
stirs up revolutions, and places its own
happiness in fomenting commotions and civil
wars among others, thus rendering itself truly
the hostis humani generis.
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 46.

2634. ENGLAND AND FRANCE, Banditti.—

Our lot happens to have been cast in
an age when two nations to whom circumstances
have given a temporary superiority
over others, the one by land, the other by sea,
throwing off all restraints of morality, all
pride of national character, forgetting the
mutability of fortune, and the inevitable doom
which the laws of nature pronounce against
departure from justice, individual or national,
have declared to treat her reclamations with
derision, and to set up force instead of reason
as the umpire of nations. Degrading themselves
thus from the character of lawful societies
into lawless bands of robbers and
pirates, they are abusing their brief ascendency
by desolating the world with blood and
rapine. Against such a banditti, war had become
less ruinous than peace, for then peace
was a war on one side only.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 195. Ford ed., ix, 396.
Sep. 1813)

2635. ENGLAND AND FRANCE, Banditti.—[continued].

How much to be lamented
that the world cannot unite and destroy
these two land and sea monsters. The
one drenching the earth with human gore, the
other ravaging the ocean with lawless piracies
and plunder.—
To Dr. Samuel Brown. Washington ed. vi, 165.
(M. July. 1813)

2636. ENGLAND, Friendly advances of.—

Our successors have deserved well of
their country in meeting so readily the first
friendly advance ever made to us by England.
I hope it is the harbinger of a return to the
exercise of common sense and common good
humor, with a country with which mutual
interests would urge a mutual and affectionate
intercourse. But her conduct hitherto has
been towards us so insulting. so tyrannical
and so malicious, as to indicate a contempt
for our opinions or dispositions respecting
her. I hope she is now coming over to a
wiser conduct, and becoming sensible how
much better it is to cultivate the good will
of the government itself, than of a faction
hostile to it; to obtain its friendship gratis
than to purchase its enmity by nourishing at
great expense a faction to embarrass it, to
receive the reward of an honest policy rather
than of a corrupt and vexatious one. I trust
she has at length opened her eyes to federal
falsehood and misinformation, and learned, in
the issue of the Presidential election, the folly
of believing them. Such a reconciliation to
the government, if real and permanent, will
secure the tranquillity of our country, and
render the management of our affairs easy
and delightful to our successors, for whom
I feel as much interest as if I were still in
their place. Certainly all the troubles and
difficulties in the government during our
time proceeded from England; at least all
others were trifling in comparison with them.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 455.
(M. June. 1809)

— ENGLAND, Friendship with United States.—

See Friendship.

— ENGLAND, George III.—

See George

2637. ENGLAND, Governing principles.—

Great Britain's governing principles
are conquest, colonization, commerce, monopoly.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ix, 414. Ford ed., v, 229.

2638. ENGLAND, Growth of United States and.—

Have you no statesmen who can
look forward two or three score years? It
is but forty years since the battle of Lexington.
One-third of those now living saw that
day, when we were about two millions of people,
and have lived to see this, when we are
ten millions. One-third of those now living
who see us at ten millions, will live another
forty years, and see us forty millions; and
looking forward only through such a portion
of time as has passed since you and I were
scanning Virgil together (which I believe
is near three score years), we shall be seen to
have a population of eighty millions, and of
not more than double the average density of
the present. What may not such a people be
worth to England as customers and friends?
And what might she not apprehend from
such a nation as enemies?—
To James Maury. Washington ed. vi, 467.
(M. 1815)


Page 300

2639. ENGLAND, Growth of United States and.—[continued].

Our growth is now so
well established * * * that we may safely
call ourselves * * * forty millions in
forty years. * * * Of what importance
then to Great Britain must such a nation be,
whether as friends or foes?
To Sir John Sinclair. Washington ed. vii, 22.
(M. 1816)

2640. ENGLAND, Hatred of United States.—

In spite of treaties, England is still
our enemy. Her hatred is deep rooted and
cordial, and nothing is wanting with her
but the power, to wipe us and the land we
live in out of existence. Her interest, however,
is her ruling passion; and the late
American measures have struck at that so
vitally, and with an energy, too, of which she
had thought us quite incapable, that a possibility
seems to open of forming some arrangement
with her. When they shall see decidedly,
that, without it, we shall suppress
their commerce with us, they will be agitated
by their avarice on the one hand, and their
hatred and their fear of us, on the other.
The result of this conflict of dirty passions is
yet to be awaited.—
To John Langdon. Washington ed. i, 429.
(P. 1785)

2641. ENGLAND, Hatred of United States.—[continued].

That nation [England],
hates us, their ministers hate us, and their
King, more than all other men, hates us.
They have the impudence to avow this;
though they acknowledge our trade important
to them * * * I think their hostility
towards us is much more deeply rooted at
present, than during the war.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 550. Ford ed., iv, 214.
(P. 1786)

2642. ENGLAND, Hatred of United States.—[further continued].

The English hate us because
they think our prosperity filched from
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 553. Ford ed., ix, 287.
(M. 1810)

2643. ENGLAND, Hatred of United States.—[further continued] .

England would prefer
losing an advantage over her enemy to giving
one to us It is an unhappy state of mind for
her, but I am afraid it is the true one.—
To James Ronaldson. Washington ed. v, 553.
(M. 1810)

2644. ENGLAND, Hatred of United States.—[further continued].

A friendly, a just, and a
reasonable conduct on the part of the British
might make us the main pillar of their prosperity
and existence. But their deep-rooted
hatred to us seems to be the means which
Providence permits to lead them to their final
catastrophe. “Nullam enim in terris gentem
esse, nullum infestiorem populum, nomini
said the General who erased Capua
from the list of powers. What nourishment
and support would not England receive from
an hundred millions of industrious descendants,
whom some of her people now born will
live to see here? What their energies are,
she has lately tried. And what has she not
to fear from an hundred millions of such men,
if she continues her maniac course of hatred
and hostility to them? I hope in God she will
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. vi, 448.
(M. March. 1815)

2645. ENGLAND, Hostility of.—

I think
the King, ministers, and nation are more bitterly
hostile to us at present, than at any
period of the late war. A like disposition
on our part has been rising for some time.
In what events these things will end, we
cannot foresee. Our countrymen are eager in
their passions and enterprises, and not disposed
to calculate their interests against these.
Our enemies (for such they are, in fact),
have for twelve years past followed but one
uniform rule, that of doing exactly the contrary
of what reason points out. Having,
early during our contest, observed this in the
British conduct, I governed myself by it in
all prognostications of their measures; and I
can say, with truth, it never failed me but
in the circumstance of their making peace
with us. [167]
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 552.
(P. May. 1786)

See Treaties.


This was written immediately after Adams and
Jefferson had reported to Congress their failure to negotiate
a commercial treaty with England.—Editor.

2646. ENGLAND, Hostility of.—[continued].

The spirit of hostility to
us has always existed in the mind of the
King, but it has now extended itself through
the whole mass of the people, and the majority
in the public councils. In a country,
where the voice of the people influences so
much the measures of administration, and
where it coincides with the private temper of
the King, there is no pronouncing on
future events. It is true they have nothing
to gain and much to lose by a war with us. But interest is not the strongest passion in
the human breast.—
To James Ross. Washington ed. i, 561. Ford ed., iv, 217.
(P. 1786)

2647. ENGLAND, Hostility of.—[further continued].

The Marquis of Lansdowne
is thoroughly sensible of the folly
of the present measures of this country, as
are a few other characters about him. Dr.
Price is among these, and is particularly disturbed
at the present prospect. He acknowledges,
however, that all change is desperate;
which weighs more, as he is intimate with
Mr. Pitt. This small band of friends, favorable
as it is, does not pretend to say one word
in public on our subject.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 544.
(L. 1786)

2648. ENGLAND, Hostility of.—[further continued] .

There is no party in our
favor here [London] either in power or out
of power. Even the opposition concur with
the ministry and the nation in this. I can
scarcely consider as a party the Marquis of
Landsdowne, and a half dozen characters
about him, such as Dr. Price, &c., who are
impressed with the utility of a friendly connection
with us. The former does not venture
this sentiment in parliament, and the latter
are not in situations to be heard. * * * Were the Marquis to come into the ministry
(of which there is not the most distant prospect ),
he must adopt the King's system, or
go out again, as he did before, for daring to
depart from it.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Washington ed. i, 541. Ford ed., iv, 206.
(L. 1786)

2649. ENGLAND, Hostility of.—[further continued].

The English are still our
enemies. The spirit existing there, and rising
in America, has a very lowering aspect. To
what events it may give birth, I cannot foresee.
We are young and can survive them;
but their rotten machine must crush under
the trial.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. i, 553.
(P. 1786)


Page 301

— ENGLAND, Impressment of American sailors.—

See Impressment.

2650. ENGLAND, Influence in United States.—

The English can do us, as enemies,
more harm than any other nation; and in
peace and in war, they have more means of
disturbing us internally. Their merchants
established among us, the bonds by which
our own are chained to their feet, and the
banking combinations interwoven with the
whole, have shown the extent of their control,
even during a war with her. They are the
workers of all the embarrassments our finances
have experienced during the war. Declaring
themselves bankrupt, they have been
able still to chain the government to a dependence
on them, and had the war continued,
they would have reduced us to the inability
to command a single dollar. They dared to
proclaim that they would not pay their obligations,
yet our government could not venture
to avail themselves of this opportunity
of sweeping their paper from the circulation,
and substituting their own notes bottomed on
specific taxes for redemption, which every one
would have eagerly taken and trusted, rather
than the baseless trash of bankrupt companies;
our government, I say, have still been
overawed from a contest with them, and has
even countenanced and strengthened their influence,
by proposing new establishments, with
authority to swindle yet greater sums from
our citizens. This is the British influence to
which I am an enemy, and which we must
subject to our government, or it will subject
us to that of Britain.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. vi, 449.
(M. March. 1815)

2651. ENGLAND, Insolence.—

Of all nations
on earth, the British require to be
treated with the most hauteur. They require
to be kicked into common good manners.—
To Colonel W. S. Smith. Washington ed. ii, 284.
(P. 1787)

— ENGLAND, Intrigues to destroy U. S. Government.—

See 1097.

— ENGLAND, Jay's treaty.—

See Jay

2652. ENGLAND, Jefferson and.—

As a
political man, the English shall never find any
passion in me either for or against them.
Whenever their avarice of commerce will let
them meet us fairly half way, I should meet
them with satisfaction, because it would be
for our benefit.—
To Francis Kinloch. Washington ed. iii, 197. Ford ed., v, 248.
(Pa., 1790)

2653. ENGLAND, Jefferson and.—[continued].

I told [Mr. Erskine] I
was going out of the Administration and,
therefore, might say to him things which I
would not do were I to remain in. I wished
to correct an error which I, at first, thought
his Government above being led into from
newspapers, but I apprehend they had
adopted it. This was the supposed partiality
of the Administration and particularly myself
in favor of France and against England. I
observed that when I came into the Administration,
there was nothing I so much desired
as to be on a footing of intimate friendship
with England; that I knew as long as she
was our friend no enemy could hurt; that
I would have sacrificed much to have effected
it, and, therefore, wished Mr. King to have
continued there as a favorable instrument;
that if there had been an equal disposition on
their part, I thought it might have been effected;
for although the question of impressments
was difficult on their side and insuperable
with us, yet had that been the sole question,
we might have shoved along in the hope
of some compromise; that indeed there was a
ground of accommodation which his ministry
had on two occasions yielded to for a short
time, but retracted; that during the administration
of Mr. Addington and the short one
of Mr. Fox, I had hoped such a friendship
practicable, but that during all other administrations,
I had seen a spirit so adverse to us
that I now despaired of any change. That he
might judge from the communications now
before Congress whether there had been any
partiality to France to whom, he would see,
we had never made the proposition to revoke
the Embargo immediately, which we did to
England, and, again, that we had remonstrated
strongly to them on the style of Mr.
Champagny's letter, but had not to England
on that of Canning, equally offensive; that
the letter of Canning, now reading to Congress,
was written in the high ropes and
would be stinging to every American breast.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 336.
(Nov. 1808)

2654. ENGLAND, Jefferson and.—[further continued].

With respect to myself I saw great reason to believe their ministers
were weak enough to credit the newspaper
trash about a supposed personal enmity in
myself towards England. This wretched party
imputation was beneath the notice of wise
men. England never did me a personal injury,
other than in open war; and for numerous
individuals there, I have great esteem
and friendship. And I must have had a mind
far below the duties of my station, to have
felt either national partialities or antipathies
in conducting the affairs confided to me.
My affections were first for my own country,
and then, generally, for all mankind; and
nothing but minds placing themselves above
the passions, in the functionaries of this country,
could have preserved us from the war to
which their provocations have been constantly
urging us.—
To Thomas Law. Washington ed. v, 556. Ford ed., ix, 292.
(M. 1811)

2655. ENGLAND, Jefferson and.—[further continued] .

The English newspapers
suppose me the personal enemy of their
nation. I am not so. I am the enemy to its
injuries, as I am to those of France. If I
could permit myself to have national partialities,
and if the conduct of England would
have permitted them to be directed towards
her, they would have been so. * * * Had
I been personally hostile to England, and
biased in favor of either the character or
views of her great antagonist, the affair of
the Chesapeake put war into my hand. I
had only to open it and let havoc loose. But
if ever I was gratified with the possession of
power, and of the confidence of those who had
entrusted me with it, it was on that occasion
when I was enabled to use both for the pre


Page 302
vention of war, towards which the torrent of
passion here was directed almost irresistibly,
and when not another person in the United
States, less supported by authority and favor,
could have resisted it. And now that a definitive
adherence to her impressments and Orders
of Council renders war no longer unavoidable,
my earnest prayer is that our government
may enter into no compact of common
cause with the other belligerent, but keep
us free to make a separate peace, whenever
England will separately give us peace and future
security. But Lord Liverpool is our witness
that this can never be but by her removal
from our neighborhood.—
To James Maury. Washington ed. vi, 53. Ford ed., ix, 349.
(M. April. 1812)

2656. ENGLAND, Kindred ties.—

the English people under a government which
should treat us with justice and equity, I
should myself feel with great strength the ties
which bind us together, of origin, language,
laws, and manners; and I am persuaded the
two people would become in future, as it was
with the ancient Greeks, among whom it was
reproachful for Greek to be found fighting
against Greek in a foreign army. [168]
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 45.
(M. 1816)


Adams wrote in reply: “Britain will never be
our friend until we are her master. This will happen
in less time than you and I have been struggling
with her power, provided we remain united.”—

2657. ENGLAND, Loss of America.—

The object of the present ministry is to buoy
up the nation with flattering calculations of
their present prosperity, and to make them
believe they are better without us than with
us. This they seriously believe: for what
is it men cannot be made to believe! * * * The other day * * * a General Clark, a
Scotchman and ministerialist * * * introduced
the subject of American affairs, and
in the course of the conversation told me that
were America to petition Parliament to be
again received on their former footing, the
petition would be very generally rejected.
He was serious in this, and I think it * * * is the sentiment perhaps of the nation. In
this they are wise, but for a foolish reason.
They think they lost more by suffering us
to participate of their commercial privileges,
at home and abroad, than they lose by our political
severance. The true reason, however,
why such an application should be rejected
is. that in a very short time, we should oblige
them to add another hundred millions to their
debt in unsuccessful attempts to retain the
subjection offered to them. They are at present
in a frenzy, and will not be recovered
from it till they shall have leaped the precipice
they are now so boldly advancing to.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Washington ed. i, 541. Ford ed., iv, 207.
(L. 1786)

2658. ENGLAND, Madison, Jefferson and.—

Her ministers have been weak enough
to believe from the newspapers that Mr.
Madison and myself are personally her enemies.
Such an idea is unworthy a man of
sense; as we should have been unworthy our
trusts could we have felt such a motive of
public action. No two men in the United
States have more sincerely wished for cordial
friendship with her; not as her vassals or
dirty partisans, but as members of coequal
States, respecting each other, and sensible of
the good as well as the harm each is capable
of doing the other. On this ground, there
was never a moment we did not wish to embrace
her. But repelled by their aversions,
feeling their hatred at every point of contact,
and justly indignant at its supercilious manifestations,
that happened which has happened,
that will follow which must follow, in progressive
ratio, while such dispositions continue
to be indulged. I hope they will see
this, and do their part towards healing the
minds and cooling the temper of both nations.—
To Mr. Maury. Washington ed. vi, 468.
(M. 1815)
See Friendship with England.

2659. ENGLAND, Maritime rivalry.—

The only rivalry that can arise is on the ocean.
England may, by petty larceny, thwartings,
check us on that element a little, but nothing
she can do will retard us one year's growth.
We shall be supported there by other nations,
and thrown into their scale to make a part
of the great counterpoise to her navy. If,
on the other hand, she is just to us, conciliatory,
and encourages the sentiment of family
feelings and conduct, it cannot fail to befriend
the security of both. We have the seamen
and materials for fifty ships of the line, and
half that number of frigates; and were France
to give us the money and England the dispositions
to equip them, they would give to
England serious proofs of the stock from
which they are sprung, and the school in
which they have been taught: and added to
the efforts of the immensity of seacoast lately
united under one power, would leave the state
of the ocean no longer problematical. Were,
on the other hand, England to give the
money, and France the dispositions to place
us on the sea in all our force, the whole
world, out of the continent of Europe, might
be our joint monopoly. We wish for neither
of these scenes. We ask for peace and justice
from all nations; and we will remain
uprightly neutral in fact, though leaning in
belief to the opinion that an English ascendency
on the ocean is safer for us than that
of France.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 12. Ford ed., viii, 449.
(W. May. 1806)

2660. ENGLAND, Mendacity of Press.—

The British government * * * have it
much at heart to reconcile their nation to
the loss of America. This is essential to the
repose, perhaps even to the safety of the King
and his ministers. The most effectual engines
for this purpose are the public papers. You
know well that that government always kept
a kind of standing army of news-writers,
who, without any regard to truth, or to what
should be like truth, invented and put into the
papers whatever might serve the ministers.
This suffices with the mass of the people, who
have no means of distinguishing the false
from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.


Page 303
When forced to acknowledge our independence,
they were forced to redouble their efforts
to keep the nation quiet. Instead of a
few of the papers formerly engaged, they
now engage every one. No paper, therefore,
comes out without a dose of paragraphs
against America. These are calculated for
a secondary purpose also, that of preventing
the emigrations of their people to America.—
To Count Van Hogendorp. Washington ed. i, 464. Ford ed., iv, 103.
(P. 1785)

2661. ENGLAND, Morality of government.—

It may be asked, what, in the nature
of her government, unfits England for the observation
of moral duties? In the first place,
her King is a cipher; his only function being
to name the oligarchy which is to govern her.
The parliament is, by corruption, the mere
instrument of the will of the administration.
The real power and property in the government
is in the great aristocratical families of
the nation. The nest of office being too small
for all of them to cuddle into at once, the
contest is eternal, which shall crowd the
other out. For this purpose, they are divided
into two parties, the “Ins” and the “Outs,”
so equal in weight that a small matter turns
the balance. To keep themselves in, when
they are in, every stratagem must be practiced,
every artifice used which may flatter
the pride, the passions or power of the nation.
Justice, honor, faith, must yield to the
necessity of keeping themselves in place. The
question whether a measure is moral, is never
asked; but whether it will nourish the avarice
of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of
their navy, or produce any other effect which
may strengthen them in their places. As to
engagements, however positive, entered by
the predecessors of the “Ins,” why, they
were their enemies: they did everything
which was wrong; and to reverse everything
which they did, must, therefore, be right.
This is the true character of the English government
in practice, however different its
theory; and it presents the singular phenomenon
of a nation, the individuals of which
are as faithful to their private engagements
and duties, as honorable, as worthy, as those
of any nation on earth, and whose government
is yet the most unprincipled at this day
known. In an absolute government there can
be no such equiponderant parties. The despot
is the government. His power suppressing
all opposition, maintains his ministers
firm in their places. What he has contracted,
therefore, through them, he has the power to
observe with good faith; and he identifies his
own honor and faith with that of his nation,—
To John Langdon. Washington ed. v, 513.
(M. March. 1810)

2662. ENGLAND, Morality of government.—[continued].

England presents a singular
phenomenon of an honest people whose
constitution, from its nature, must render
their government forever dishonest; and accordingly,
from the time that Sir Robert
Walpole gave the constitution that direction
which its defects permitted, morality has been
expunged from their political code.—
To James Ronaldson. Washington ed. v, 554.
(M. 1810)

2663. ENGLAND, Morality of government.—[further continued].

I consider the government
of England as totally without morality,
insolent beyond bearing, inflated with vanity
and ambition, aiming at the exclusive dominion
of the sea, lost in corruption, of deep-rooted
hatred towards us, hostile to liberty
wherever it endeavors to show its head, and
the eternal disturber of the peace of the
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 463. Ford ed., ix, 510.
(M. June. 1815)

2664. ENGLAND, National debt.—

George the Third and his minister, Pitt, and
successors, have spent the fee simple of the
kingdom under pretense of governing it;
their sinecures, salaries, pensions, priests,
prelates, princes and eternal wars, have mortgaged
to its full value the last foot of their
soil. They are reduced to the dilemma of a
bankrupt spendthrift, who, having run
through his whole fortune, now asks himself
what he is to do? It is in vain he dismisses
his coaches and horses, his grooms, liveries,
cooks and butlers. This done, he still finds
he has nothing to eat. What was his property
is now that of his creditors; if still in
his hands, it is only as their trustee. To
them it belongs, and to them every farthing
of its profits must go. The reformation of
extravagance comes too late. All is gone.
Nothing is left for retrenchment or frugality
to go on. The debts of England, however, being due from the whole nation to one-half
of it, being as much the debt of the creditor
as debtor, if it could be referred to a court of
equity, principles might be devised to adjust
it peaceably. Dismiss their parasites, ship
off their paupers to this country, let the land-holders
give half their lands to the money
lenders, and these last relinquish one-half of
their debts. They would still have a fertile
island, a sound and effective population to
labor it, and would hold that station among
political powers, to which their natural resources
and faculties entitle them. They
would no longer indeed, be the lords of the
ocean and paymasters of all the princes of the
earth. They would no longer enjoy the luxuries
of pirating and plundering everything
by sea, and of bribing and corrupting everything
by land; but they might enjoy the more
safe and lasting luxury of living on terms of
equality, justice and good neighborhood with
all nations. As it is, their first efforts will
probably be to quiet things awhile by the
palliatives of reformation; to nibble a little
at pensions and sinecures, to bite off a bit
here, and a bit there to amuse the people;
and to keep the government agoing by encroachments
on the interest of the public debt,
one per cent. of which, for instance, withheld,
gives them a spare revenue of ten millions for
present subsistence, and spunges, in fact, two
hundred millions of the debt. This remedy
they may endeavor to administer in broken
doses of a small pill at a time. The first May
not occasion more than a strong nausea in the
money lenders; but the second will probably
produce a revulsion of the stomach, barbarisms.
and spasmodic calls for fair settlement
and compromise. But it is not in the char


Page 304
acter of man to come to any peaceable compromise
of such a state of things. The
princes and priests will hold to the flesh-pots,
the empty bellies will seize on them, and
these being the multitude, the issue is obvious,
civil war, massacre, exile as in France,
until the stage is cleared of everything but
the multitude, and the lands get into their
hands by such processes as the revolution will
engender. [169]
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 43.
(M. 1816)


The debt of Great Britain amounted at this period
to eight hundred millions of pounds sterling. “It
was in truth,” says Macaulay (Hist. of England,
c. 19) “a gigantic, a fabulous, debt; and we can
hardly wonder that the cry of despair should have
been louder than ever.”—Editor.

2665. ENGLAND, National debt.—[continued].

I have long considered
the present crises of England, and the origin
of the evils which are lowering over her as
produced by enormous excess of her expenditures
beyond her income. To pay even the
interest of the debt contracted, she is obliged
to take from the industrious so much of their
earnings as not to leave them enough for
their backs and bellies. They are daily,
therefore, passing over to the pauper-list, to
subsist on the declining means of those still
holding up, and when these shall also be exhausted,
what next? Reformation cannot
remedy this. It could only prevent its recurrence
when once relieved from the debt. To
effect that relief I see but one possible and
just course. Considering the funded and real
property as equal, and the debt as much of the
one as the other, for the holder of property
to give up one-half to those of the funds, and
the latter to the nation the whole of what
it owes them. But this the nature of man
forbids us to expect without blows, and blows
will decide it by a promiscuous sacrifice of
life and property. The debt thus, or otherwise
extinguished, a real representation introduced
into the government of either property
or people, or of both, renouncing eternal
war, restraining future expenses to future
income, and breaking up forever the consuming
circle of extravagance, debt, insolvency,
and revolution, the island would then again
be in the degree of force which nature has
measured out to it in the scale of nations,
but not at their head. I sincerely wish she
could peaceably get into this state of being,
as the present prospects of southern Europe
seem to need the acquisition of new weights
in their balance, rather than the loss of old
To Edward Everett. Washington ed. vii, 232.
(M. 1822)

2666. ENGLAND, Natural enemies of United States.—

I consider the British as our
natural enemies, and as the only nation on
earth who wish us ill from the bottom of their
souls. And I am satisfied that, were our continent
to be swallowed up by the ocean, Great
Britain would be in a bonfire from one end
to the other.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 323. Ford ed., iv, 469.
(P. 1787)

— ENGLAND, Neutral rights and.—

See Neutrality.

— ENGLAND, Parliament of.—

See Parliament.

2667. ENGLAND, People of.—

The individuals
of the [British] nation I have ever
honored and esteemed, the basis of their character
being essentially worthy.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 46.

2668. ENGLAND, Perversity of Court.—

The British conduct, hitherto, has been
most successfully prognosticated by reversing
the conclusions of right reason.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 237.

2669. ENGLAND, Perversity of Court.—[continued].

Ever since the accession of the present King of England. that court
has unerringly done what common sense
would have dictated not to do.—
To William Carmichael. Ford ed., iv, 453.
(P. 1787)

2670. ENGLAND, Perversity of Court.—[further continued].

I never yet found any
other general rule for foretelling what the
British will do, but that of examining what
they ought not to do.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 283. Ford ed., iv, 456.
(P. 1787)

2671. ENGLAND, Perversity of Court.—[further continued] .

We, I hope, shall be left
free to avail ourselves of the advantages of
neutrality; and yet, much I fear the English,
or rather their stupid King, will force us
out of it. For thus I reason. By forcing us
into the war against them, they will be engaged
in an expensive land war, as well as
a sea war. Common sense dictates, therefore,
that they should let us remain neuter:
ergo, they will not let us remain neuter.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 283. Ford ed., iv, 456.
(P. 1787)

2672. ENGLAND, Piratical policy of.—

A pirate spreading misery and ruin over the
face of the ocean.—
To Dr. Walter Jones. Washington ed. v, 511. Ford ed., ix, 274.
(M. 1810)

2673. ENGLAND, Piratical policy of.—[continued].

As for France and England,
with all their preëminence in science,
the one is a den of robbers, and the other of
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 37. Ford ed., ix, 333.
(M. 1812)

2674. ENGLAND, Piratical policy of.—[further continued].

A nation of buccaneers,
urged by sordid avarice, and embarked in the
flagitious enterprise of seizing to itself the
maritime resources and rights of all other nations.—
To Henry Middleton. Washington ed. vi, 91.
(M. Jan. 1813)

2675. ENGLAND, Piratical policy of.—[further continued] .

The principle that force
is right, is become the principle of the nation
itself. They would not permit an honest
minister, were accident to bring such an one
into power, to relax their system of lawless
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. v, 501. Ford ed., ix, 272.
(M. 1810)

2676. ENGLAND, Policy towards United States.—

England has steadily endeavored to
make us her natural enemies.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 459.
(M. 1815)

2677. ENGLAND, Prototype of.—

modern Carthage.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 552. Ford ed., ix, 287.
(M. 1810)

2678. ENGLAND, Punic faith of.—

is to be our security, that when embarked for
her [Great Britain] in the war [with Bonaparte],
she will not make a separate peace,


Page 305
and leave us in the lurch? Her good faith!
The faith of a nation of merchants! The
Punica fides of modern Carthage! Of the
friend and protectress of Copenhagen! Of
the nation who never admitted a chapter of
morality into her political code! And is now
boldly avowing that whatever power can
make hers, is her's of right. Money, and
not morality, is the principle of commerce and
commercial nations.—
To John Langdon. Washington ed. v, 513.
(M. March. 1810)

2679. ENGLAND, Punished.—

is now a living example that no nation however
powerful, any more than an individual,
can be unjust with impunity. Sooner or later
public opinion, an instrument merely moral
in the beginning, will find occasion physically
to inflict its sentences on the unjust. Nothing
else could have kept the other nations of
Europe from relieving her under her present
crisis. The lesson is useful to the weak as
well as the strong.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 300.
(M. April. 1804)

2680. ENGLAND, Reconquest of United States.—

Monroe's letter is of an awful complexion,
and I do not wonder the communication
it contains made some impression on
him. To a person placed in Europe, surrounded
by the immense resources of the nations
there, and the greater wickedness of
their courts, even the limits which nature
imposes on their enterprises are scarcely
sensible. It is impossible that France and
England should combine for any purpose;
their mutual distrust and deadly hatred of
each other admit no cooperation. It is impossible
that England should be willing to see
France repossess Louisiana, or get a footing
on our continent, and that France should
willingly see the United States reannexed to
the British dominions. That the Bourbons
should be replaced on their throne and agree
to any terms of restitution, is possible; but
that they and England joined, could recover
us to British dominion, is impossible. If
these things are not so, then human reason is
of no aid in conjecturing the conduct of nations.
Still, however, it is our unquestionable
interest and duty to conduct ourselves
with such sincere friendship and impartiality
towards both nations, as that each may see
unequivocally, what is unquestionably true,
that we may be very possibly driven into her
scale by unjust conduct in the other.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 557. Ford ed., viii, 314.
(M. Aug. 1804)

2681. ENGLAND, Reduction of.—

If, indeed,
Europe has matters to settle which May
reduce this hostis humani generis to a state
of peace and moral order. I shall see that
with pleasure, and then sing, with old Simeon,
nunc dimittas Domine.
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vi, 407.
(M. 1814)

2682. ENGLAND, Reduction of.—[continued].

While it is much our interest
to see this power reduced from its towering and borrowed height, to within the
limits of its natural resources, it is by no
means our interest that she should be brought
below that, or lose her competent place among
the nations of Europe.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 45.

2683. ENGLAND, Reform.—

I am in
hopes a purer nation will result, and a purer
government be instituted, one which, instead
of endeavoring to make us their natural enemies,
will see in us, what we really are, their
natural friends and brethren, and more interested
in a fraternal connection with them
than with any other nation on earth.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 46.

2684. ENGLAND, As a republic.—

Probably the old hive will be broken up by
a revolution, and a regeneration of its principles
render intercourse with it no longer
contaminating. A republic there like ours,
and a reduction of their naval power within
the limits of their annual facilities of payment,
might render their existence even interesting
to us. It is the construction of their
government, and its principles and means of
corruption, which make its continuance inconsistent
with the safety of other nations.
A change in its form might make it an honest
one, and justify a confidence in its faith and
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 76. Ford ed., ix, 366.
(M. Aug. 1812)

2685. ENGLAND, Reunion with.—

I am
sincerely one of those who still wish for reunion
with their parent country, and would
rather be in dependence on Great Britain,
properly limited, than on any nation on earth,
or than on no nation.—
To John Randolph. Washington ed. i, 201. Ford ed., i, 484.
(M. Aug. 1775)

2686. ENGLAND, Self-interest and.—

England is a nation which nothing but views
of interest can govern.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 414.
(P. 1785)

2687. ENGLAND, Self-interest and.—[continued].

Her interest is her ruling
passion; and the late American measures
have struck at that so vitally, and with an
energy, too, of which she had thought us
quite incapable, that a possibility seems to
open of forming some arrangement with
her. When they shall see decidedly, that
without it, we shall suppress their commerce
with us, they will be agitated by their avarice,
on the one hand, and their hatred and
their fear of us on the other. The result of
this conflict of dirty passions is yet to be
To John Langdon. Washington ed. i, 429.
(P. 1785)

2688. ENGLAND, Self-interest and.—[further continued].

The administration of
Great Britain are governed by the people,
and the people by their own interested wishes
without calculating whether they are just or
capable of being effected.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 36.
(P. 1785)

2689. ENGLAND, Selfishness of.—

selfish principles render her incapable of honorable patronage or disinterested cooperation.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 68. Ford ed., x, 85.
(M. 1817)

2690. ENGLAND, Subjugation of.—

The subjugation of England would, indeed,


Page 306
be a general calamity. But happily it is impossible.
Should it end in her being only republicanized,
I know not on what principle
a true republican of our country could lament
it, whether he considers it as extending
the blessings of a purer government to other
portions of mankind, or strengthening the
cause of liberty in our own country by the
influence of that example. I do not, indeed,
wish to see any nation have a form of government
forced on them; but if it is to be
done, I should rejoice at its being a freer
one. [170]
To Peregrine Fitzhugh. Washington ed. iv, 217. Ford ed., vii, 211.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)


Jefferson was writing on the meditated invasion
of England by France.—Editor.

2691. ENGLAND, Tory principles of.—

To judge from what we see published [in
England], we must believe that the spirit of
toryism has gained nearly the whole of the
nation; that the whig principles are utterly
extinguished except in the breasts of certain
descriptions of dissenters. This sudden change
in the principles of a nation would be a
curious morsel in the history of man.—
To Benjamin Vaughan. Ford ed., v, 333.
(Pa., 1791)

2692. ENGLAND, Tyrant of ocean.—

Great Britain has certainly * * * declared
to our government by an official
paper, that the conduct of France towards
her during this war has obliged her to take
possession of the ocean, and to determine
that no commerce shall be carried on with the
nations connected with France; that, however,
she is disposed to relax in this determination
so far as to permit the commerce
which may be carried on through the British
ports. I have, for three or four years been
confident that, knowing that he own resources
were not adequate to the maintenance
of her present navy, she meant with it to
claim the conquest of the ocean, and to permit
no nation to navigate it, but on payment
of a tribute for the maintenance of the fleet
necessary to secure that dominion. A thousand
circumstances brought together left me
without a doubt that that policy directed all
her conduct, although not avowed. This is
the first time she has thrown off the mask.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. v, 606. Ford ed., ix, 326.
(M. Aug. 1811)

2693. ENGLAND, Tyrant of ocean.—[continued].

I own, that while I rejoice,
for the good of mankind, in the deliverance
of Europe from the havoc which would
never have ceased while Bonaparte should
have lived in power, I see with anxiety the
tyrant of the ocean remaining in vigor, and
even participating in the merit of crushing
his brother tyrant.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 353. Ford ed., ix, 461.
(M. July. 1814)
See Ocean.

2694. ENGLAND, Unfaithful to alliances.—

The nature of the English government
forbids, of itself, reliance on her engagements;
and it is well known she has been
the least faithful to her alliances of any nation
of Europe, since the period of her history
wherein she has been distinguished for
her commerce and corruption, that is to say,
under the houses of Stuart and Brunswick.
To Portugal alone she has steadily adhered,
because, by her Methuin treaty, she had made
it a colony, and one of the most valuable to
To John Langdon. Washington ed. v, 313.
(M. 1810)

2695. ENGLAND, United States and.—

These two nations [the United States and Great Britain], holding cordially together,
have nothing to fear from the united world.
They will be the models for regenerating the
condition of man, the sources from which
representative government is to flow over the
whole earth.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 415.
(M. 1825)

2696. ENGLAND, United States and Colonies of.—

It is the policy of Great Britain
to give aliment to that bitter enmity between
her States [in America] and ours, which May
secure her against their ever joining us. But
would not the existence of a cordial friendship
between us and them, be the best bridle
we could possibly put into the mouth of England?—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 489.
(P. 1785)

2697. ENGLAND, United States, France and.—

We learn that Thornton thinks we are not as friendly now to Great Britain as before
our acquisition of Louisiana. This is
totally without foundation. Our friendship
to that nation is cordial and sincere. So is
that with France. We are anxious to see
England maintain her standing, only wishing
she would use her power on the ocean
with justice. If she had done this heretofore,
other nations would not have stood
by and looked on with unconcern on a conflict
which endangers her existence. We are
not indifferent to its issue, nor should we
be so on a conflict on which the existence of
France should be in danger. We consider each
as a necessary instrument to hold in check
the disposition of the other to tyrannize over
other nations.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., viii, 291.
(W. Jan. 1804)

— ENGLAND, War of 1812.—

See War.

2698. ENGLAND, War with.—

is not likely to offer war to any nation, unless
perhaps to ours. This would cost us our
whole shipping, but in every other respect we
might flatter ourselves with success.—
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. i, 435.
(P. 1785)

2699. ENGLAND, War with.—[continued].

I judge that a war with
America would be a popular war in England.
Perhaps the situation of Ireland may deter
the ministry from hastening it on.—
To R. Izard. Washington ed. i, 442.
(P. 1785)

2700. ENGLAND, War with.—[further continued].

I observed to Mr. Erskine
[British Minister] that if we wished
war with England, as the federalists charged
us, and I feared his government might believe,
nothing would have been so easy when
the Chesapeake was attacked, and when even
the federalists themselves would have concurred;
but, on the contrary, that our endeavors
had been to cool down our countrymen,
and carry it before their government.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 337.
(Nov. 1808)


Page 307

2701. ENGLAND, War with.—[further continued] .

During the eight years of my administration. there was not a year
that England did not give us such cause as
would have provoked a war from any European
government. But I always hoped that
time and friendly remonstrances would bring
her to a sounder view of her own interests,
and convince her that these would be promoted
by a return to justice and friendship
towards us.—
To Dr. George Logan. Washington ed. vi, 215. Ford ed., ix, 421.
(M. Oct. 1813)

— ENGLAND, Western Posts.—

See Posts.

2702. ENGRAVING, New method.—

One new invention in the arts is worth mentioning.
It is a mixture of the arts of engraving
and printing, rendering both cheaper.
Write or draw anything on a plate of brass
with the ink of the inventor, and in half an
hour he gives you engraved copies of it, so
perfectly like the original that they could not
be suspected to be copies. His types for printing
a whole page are all in one solid piece. An
author, therefore, only prints a few copies of his
work, from time to time, as they are called for.
This saves the loss of printing more copies
than may possibly be sold, and prevents an
edition from being ever exhausted.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 534. Ford ed., iv, 197.
(P. 1786)

2703. ENGRAVING, New method.—[continued].

There is a person here
[Paris] who has hit on a new method of engraving.
He gives you an ink of his own composition.
Write on copper plates anything of
which you would wish to take several copies,
and, in an hour. the plate will be ready to strike
them off; so of plans, engravings, &c. This
art will be amusing to individuals, if he should
make it known.—
To David Rittenhouse. Washington ed. i, 516.
(P. 1786)

2704. ENTAIL IN VIRGINIA, Abolition.—

On the 12th of October, 1776, I obtained
leave (in the Virginia Legislature) to
bring in a bill declaring tenants in tail to
hold their lands in fee-simple. In the earlier
times of the colony, when lands were to be
obtained for little or nothing, some provident
individuals procured large grants; and, desirous
of founding great families for themselves,
settled them on their descendants in
fee-tail. The transmission of this property
from generation to generation, in the same
name, raised up a distinct set of families, who,
being privileged by law in the perpetuation
of their wealth, were thus formed into a
Patrician order, distinguished by the splendor
and luxury of their establishments. From
this order, too. the King habitually selected
his Counsellors of State; the hope of which
distinction devoted the whole corps to the
interests and will of the crown. To annul
this privilege, and instead of an aristocracy of
wealth, of more harm and danger, than benefit,
to society, to make an opening for the aristocracy
of virtue and talent, which nature
has wisely provided for the direction of the
interests of Society, and scattered with equal
hand through all its conditions, was deemed
essential to a well-ordered republic. To effect
it, no violence was necessary, no deprivation
of natural right, but rather an enlarge
ment of it by a repeal of the law. For this
would authorize the present holder to divide
the property among his children equally, as
his affections were divided; and would place
them, by natural generation on the level of
their fellow citizens. But this repeal was
strongly opposed by Mr. Pendleton, who was
zealously attached to ancient establishments.
* * * Finding that the general principle
of entails could not be maintained, he took
his stand on an amendment which he proposed,
instead of an absolute abolition, to
permit the tenant in tail to convey in fee-simple,
if he chose it; and he was within a
few votes of saving so much of the old law.
But the bill passed finally for entire abolition.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 36. Ford ed., i, 49.

2705. ENTAIL IN VIRGINIA, Abolition.—[continued].

The repeal of the laws
of entail would prevent the accumulation and
perpetuation of wealth, in select families, and
preserve the soil of the country from being
daily more and more absorbed in mortmain. [171]
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 49. Ford ed., i, 69.


The bill for the abolition of entails was one of the
measures of which Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography
(i, 49,) as follows: “I considered four of these
bills [of the Revised Code of Va.], passed or reported,
as forming a system by which every fibre
would be eradicated of ancient or future aristocracy;
and a foundation laid for a government
truly republican; and all this would be effected without
the violation of a single natural right of any one
individual citizen.” The other three bills were those
abrogating the right of Primogeniture, establishing
Religious Freedom, and providing a system of
general education.—Editor.

2706. ENTAIL IN VIRGINIA, Preamble to Bill.—

Whereas the perpetuation of
property in certain families by means of gifts
made to them in fee-simple is contrary to
good policy, tends to deceive fair traders who
give credit on the visible possession of such
estates, discourages the holder thereof from
taking care and improving the same, and sometimes
does injury to the morals of youth by
rendering them independent of, and disobedient
to, their parents; and whereas the former
method of docking such estates tail by special
act of assembly, formed for every particular
case, employed very much the time of the
legislature, was burthensome to the public, and
also to the individual who made application
for such acts, Be it enacted &c. [172]
Bill to Abolish Entails. Ford ed., ii, 103.

See 477, 478, 479, 480.


In his Life of Jefferson, Parton, (210) says: “It
was the earliest and quickest of Jefferson's triumphs,
though he did not live long enough to outlast the
enmity his victory engendered. Some of the old
Tories found it in their hearts to exult that he, who
had disappointed so many fathers, lost his only son
before it was a month old.”—Editor.


See Alliances.


The glow of one warm thought is to me
worth more than money.—
To Charles McPherson. Washington ed. i, 196. Ford ed., i, 414.
(A. 1773)

2708. EPICURUS, Doctrines of.—

doctrines of Epicurus, notwithstanding the calumnies
of the Stoics and caricatures of Cicero,
is the most rational system remaining of the


Page 308
philosophy of the ancients, as frugal of vicious
indulgence, and fruitful of virtue as the hyperbolical
extravagances of his rival sects.—
To Charles Thompson. Washington ed. vi, 518. Ford ed., x, 6.
(M. 1816)

2709. EPICURUS, Doctrines of.—[continued].

I am an Epicurean. I
consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines
of Epicurus as containing everything rational
in moral philosophy which Greece and
Rome have left us. Epictetus indeed, has
given us what was good of the Stoics; all beyond,
of their dogmas, being hypocrisy and
grimace. Their great crime was in their calumnies
of Epicurus and misrepresentations of
his doctrines; in which we lament to see the
candid character of Cicero engaging as an accomplice.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 138. Ford ed., x, 143.
(M. 1819)

2710. EPICURUS, Syllabus of Doctrines.—

[I send you] a syllabus of the doctrines
of Epicurus:

Physical.—The Universe eternal.

Its parts, great and small, interchangeable.

Matter and Void alone.

Motion inherent in matter which is weighty
and declining.

Eternal circulation of the elements of bodies.

Gods, an order of beings next superior to
man, enjoying in their sphere, their own felicities;
but not meddling with the concerns
of the scale of beings below them.

Moral.—Happiness the aim of life.

Virtue the foundation of happiness.

Utility the test of virtue.

Pleasure active and In-do-lent.

In-do-lence is the absence of pain, the true

Active, consists in agreeable motion; it is
not happiness, but the means to produce it:

Thus the absence of hunger is an article of
felicity; eating the means to obtain it.

The summum bonum is to be not pained in
body, nor troubled in mind.—i. e. In-do-lence
of body, tranquillity of mind.

To procure tranquillity of mind we must
avoid desire and fear, the two principal diseases
of the mind.

Man is a free agent.

Virtue consists in, 1. Prudence. 2. Temperance.
3. Fortitude. 4. Justice.

To which are opposed, 1. Folly. 2. Desire.
3. Fear. 4. Deceit.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 141. Ford ed., x, 146.
(M. 1819)
See Short.

2711. EPITAPH, Written by Jefferson.—

Here Was Buried
Thomas Jefferson
Of the Declaration Of
American Independence,
The Statute of Virginia
For Religious Freedom, And
Father Of the University
Of Virginia.
Born April 2d
1743. O. S.
[July 4
1826] Ford ed., x. 396.

2712. EQUALITY, America and.—

America no other distinction between man
and man had ever been known but that of
persons in office, exercising powers by authority
of the laws, and private individuals.
Among these last, the poorest laborer stood
on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire,
and generally on a more favored one
whenever their rights seemed to jar. It has
been seen that a shoemaker, or other artisan,
removed by the voice of his country
from his work bench into a chair of office,
has instantly commanded all the respect and
obedience which the laws ascribe to his office.
But of distinction by birth or badge,
they had no more idea than they had of
the mode of existence in the moon or planets.
They had heard only that there were such,
and knew that they must be wrong.—
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 270. Ford ed., iv, 174.
(P. 1786)

See Aristocracy.

2713. EQUALITY, Constitutions and.—

The foundation on which all [our constitutions] are built is the natural equality of
man, the denial of every preeminence but
that annexed to legal office, and particularly
the denial of a preeminence by birth.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 334. Ford ed., iii, 466.
(A. 1784)

See Government.

2714. EQUALITY, Law and.—

An equal
application of law to every condition of man
is fundamental.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. vii, 175. Ford ed., ix, 62.
(M. 1807)

2715. EQUALITY, Political.—

All men
are created equal.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson. See Equal Rights and Rights of Man.

2716. EQUALITY, Privileges.—

To unequal
privileges among members of the same
society the spirit of our nation is, with one
accord, adverse.—
Reply to Address.—— Washington ed. iv, 394.
(W. May. 1801)

See Privileges.

2717. EQUAL RIGHTS, Aggression on.—

No man has a natural right to commit aggression
on the equal rights of another; and
this is all from which the laws ought to restrain
To F. W. Gilmer. Washington ed. vii, 3. Ford ed., x, 32.
(M. 1816)

2718. EQUAL RIGHTS, Government and.—

The true foundation of republican government
is in the equal right of every citizen,
in his person and property, and in their management.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

2719. EQUAL RIGHTS, Government and.—[continued].

The equal rights of man,
and the happiness of every individual, are
now acknowledged to be the only legitimate
objects of government.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 319.
(M. 1823)

2720. EQUAL RIGHTS, Immovable.—

The immovable basis of equal rights and reason.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. iv, 169. Ford ed., vii, 118.
(M. 1797)

2721. EQUAL RIGHTS, Perversion of.—

To special legislation we are generally
averse, lest a principle of favoritism should
creep in and pervert that of equal rights.—
To George Flower. Washington ed. vii, 83.


Page 309

2722. EQUAL RIGHTS, Political.—

basis of our [Virginia] Constitution is in opposition
to the principle of equal political
rights, refusing to all but freeholders any
participation in the natural right of self-government.
* * * However nature May
by mental or physical disqualifications have
marked infants and the weaker sex for the
protection rather than the direction of government,
yet among the men who either pay
or fight for their country, no line of right
can be drawn.—
To John Hambden Pleasants. Washington ed. vii, 345. Ford ed., x, 303.
(M. 1824)

2723. EQUAL RIGHTS, Political.—[continued].

Even among our citizens
who participate in the representative privilege,
the equality of political rights is entirely
prostrated by our [Virginia] Constitution.
Upon which principle of right or
reason can any one justify the giving to
every citizen of Warwick as much weight
in the government as to twenty-two equal
citizens in London, and similar inequalities
among the other counties? If these fundamental
principles are of no importance in
actual government, then no principles are
important, and it is as well to rely on the
dispositions of administration, good or evil,
as on the provisions of a constitution.—
To John Hambden Pleasants. Washington ed. vii, 344. Ford ed., x, 303.
(M. 1821)

See Rights.


See Chancellors.

2724. ERROR, Correcting.—

There is
more honor and magnanimity in correcting
than perserving in an error.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 598.

2725. ERROR, Correcting.—[continued].

We have always a right
to correct ancient errors, and to establish
what is more conformable to reason and convenience.
This is the ground we must take.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 82.
(M. 1801)

2726. ERROR, Correcting.—[further continued].

It is better to correct
error while new, and before it becomes inveterate
by habit and custom.—
Congress Report. Ford ed., ii, 136.

2727. ERROR, Deplored.—

When I embarked
in the government, it was with a
determination to intermeddle not at all with
the Legislature, and as little as possible with
my co-departments. The first and only instance
of variance from the former part of
my resolution, I was duped into by the Secretary
of the Treasury [Hamilton] and
made a tool for forwarding his schemes, not
then sufficiently understood by me; and of
all the errors of my political life, this has occasioned
me the deepest regret. [173]
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 460. Ford ed., vi, 102.
(M. 1792)

See Assumption.


The assumption of the State debts.—Editor.

2728. ERROR, Evils of.—

Error bewilders
us in one false consequence after another
in endless succession.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 149. Ford ed., x, 153.
(M. 1819)

2729. ERROR, Human Nature and.—

The weakness of human nature, and the
limits of my own understanding, will produce
errors of judgment sometimes injurious
to your interests.—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 45. Ford ed., viii, 347.

2730. ERROR, Human Nature and.—[continued].

I have no pretensions to exemption from error. In a long course of
public duties, I must have committed many.
And I have reason to be thankful that, passing
over these, an act of duty has been selected
as a subject of complaint, which the
delusions of self interest alone could have
classed among them, and in which, were
there error, it has been hallowed by the benedictions
of an entire province, an interesting
member of our national family, threatened
with destruction by the bold enterprise
of one individual. [174]
The Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 601.


Edward Livingston in the New Orleans Batture
suit against Jefferson.—Editor.

2731. ERROR, Human Nature and.—[further continued].

I cannot have escaped
error. It is incident to our imperfect nature.
But I may say with truth, my errors have
been of the understanding, not of intention;
and that the advancement of [the people's] rights and interests has been the constant
motive of every measure.—
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 110. Ford ed., ix, 225.

2732. ERROR, Human Nature and.—[further continued] .

I may have erred at
times. No doubt I have erred. This is the
law of human nature. [175]
Speech to the U. S. Senate. Washington ed. iv, 362. Ford ed., vii, 501.


From a short speech read to the Senate on retiring
from the Vice-Presidency.—Editor.

2733. ERROR, Ignorance and.—

is preferable to error; and he is
less remote from the truth who believes nothing,
than he who believes what is wrong.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 277. Ford ed., iii, 119.

2734. ERROR, Indulgence to honest.—

For honest errors, indulgence may be hoped.—
Speech to the U. S. Senate. Washington ed. iv, 362. Ford ed., vii, 501.

2735. ERROR, Indulgence to honest.—[continued].

I shall often go wrong,
through defect of judgment. When right,
I shall often be thought wrong by those
whose positions will not command a view of
the whole ground. I ask your indulgence
for my own errors, which will never be intentional;
and your support against the errors
of others, who may condemn what they
would not if seen in all its parts.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 5. Ford ed., viii, 5.

2736. ERROR, Judges and.—

If, indeed,
a judge goes against law so grossly, so palpably,
as no imputable degree of folly can
account for, and nothing but corruption, malice
or wilful wrong can explain, and especially
if circumstances prove such motives, he
may be punished for the corruption, the malice.
the wilful wrong; but not for the error.—
The Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 602.


Page 310

2737. ERROR, Judges and.—[continued].

I repeat that I do not charge the judges with wilful and ill-intentioned
error, but honest error must be arrested
where its toleration leads to public
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 82. Ford ed., i, 113.

2738. ERROR, Officials and.—

Our Constitution
has wisely distributed the administration
of the Government into three distinct
and independent departments. To each
of these it Belongs to administer law within
its separate jurisdiction. The judiciary in
cases of meum and tuum, and of public
crimes; the Executive, as to laws executive
in their nature; the Legislature in various
cases which belong to itself, and in the important
function of amending and adding to
the system. Perfection in wisdom, as well
as in integrity, is neither required, nor expected
in these agents. It belongs not to
man. Were the judge who, deluded by sophistry,
takes the life of an innocent man, to
repay it with his own; were he to replace,
with his own fortune, that which his judgment
has taken from another, under the beguilement
of false deductions; were the Executive,
in the vast mass of concerns of first
magnitude, which he must direct, to place
his whole fortune on the hazard of every
opinion; were the members of the Legislature
to make good from their private substance
every law productive of public or private injury;
in short, were every man engaged in
rendering service to the public bound in his
body and goods to indemnification for all his
errors, we must commit our public affairs
to the paupers of the nation, to the sweepings
of hospitals and poor houses, who, having
nothing to lose, would have nothing to
risk. The wise know their weakness too
well to assume infallibility; and he who
knows most, knows how little he knows.
The vine and the fig tree must withdraw,
and the brier and bramble assume their
places. But this is not the spirit of our law.
It expects not impossibilities. It has consecrated
the principle that its servants are not
answerable for honest error of judgment.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 602.

2739. ERROR, Officials and.—[continued].

If a functionary of the highest trust, acting under every sanction
which the Constitution has provided for his
aid and guide, and with the approbation, expressed
or implied, of its highest councils,
still acts on his own peril, the honors and
offices of his country would be but snares to
ruin him. [176]
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 603.


Jefferson for his action in the New Orleans Batture
Case, while President, was sued by Edward
Livingston, who asked damages in the sum of $100,000.—Editor.

2740. ERROR, The people and.—

The people will err sometimes and accidentally,
but never designedly and with a systematic
and persevering purpose of overthrowing the
free principles of the government.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 319.
(M. 1823)

2741. ERROR, The people and.—[continued].

Do not be too severe
upon the errors of the people, but reclaim
them by enlightening them.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 100. Ford ed., iv, 360.
(P. 1787)

2742. ERROR, Pointing out.—

I would
be glad to know when any individual member
[of Congress] thinks I have gone wrong in
any instance. If I know myself, it would
not excite ill blood in me, while it would
assist to guide my conduct, perhaps to justify
it, and to keep me to my duty, alert.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 327. Ford ed., iv, 474.
(P. 1787)

2743. ERROR, Political enemies and.—

The best indication of error which my experience
has tested, is the approbation of the
federalists. Their conclusions necessarily follow
the false bias of their principles.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 592. Ford ed., ix, 316.
(M. 1811)

2744. ERROR, Reason and.—

The same
facts impress us differently. This is enough
to make me suspect an error in my process of
reasoning, though I am not able to detect
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 593.
(P. 1786)

2745. ERROR, Reason vs.—

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is
left free to combat it.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 3. Ford ed., viii, 3.

2746. ERROR, Suppression of.—

It is safer to suppress an error in its first conception
than to trust to any after-correction.—
Circular to Foreign Ministers. Washington ed. iii, 509. Ford ed., vi, 180.
(Pa., 1793)

2747. ERROR, Time, truth and.—

and truth will at length correct error.—
To C. F. Volney. Washington ed. iv, 572.
(W. 1805)

2748. ERROR, Toleration of.—

[the University of Virginia] we are not
afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead,
nor to tolerate any error so long as reason
is left free to combat it.—
To Mr. Roscoe. Washington ed. vii, 196.
(M. 1820)

2749. ERROR, Triumphant.—

Error has
often prevailed by the assistance of power
or force. Truth is the proper and sufficent
antagonist to error.—
Notes on Religion. Ford ed., ii, 102.

2750. ERROR, Truth vs.—

Truth is the
proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and
has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless,
by human interposition, disarmed of her natural
weapons, free argument and debate, errors
ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted
freely to contradict them.—
Statute of Religious Freedom. Washington ed. viii, 455. Ford ed., ii, 239.

2751. ERROR, Truth vs.—[continued].

It is error alone which
needs the support of government. Truth can
stand by itself.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 401. Ford ed., iii, 264.

2752. ERSKINE (William), Character.—

I hope and doubt not that Erskine will
justify himself. My confidence is founded in
a belief of his integrity, and in the—of
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 465.
(M. Aug. 1809)


Page 311

2753. ESCHEAT, Bank charter and.—

The bill for establishing a National Bank
undertakes * * * to form the subscribers
into a corporation [and] to enable them
in their corporate capacities, to put the lands
[they are authorized to hold] out of the
reach of forfeiture or escheat; and so far is
against the laws of Forfeiture and Escheat.
National Bank Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 555. Ford ed., v, 284.

2754. ESCHEAT, Bank charter and.—[continued].

All the property, real
and personal, within the Commonwealth [of
Virginia], belonging * * * to any British
subject, * * * shall be deemed to be
vested in the Commonwealth, the real estate
by way of escheat, and the personal estate by
Escheats and Forfeitures Bill. Ford ed., ii, 184.
(May. 1779)

2755. ESCHEAT, Bill concerning.—

During the connection which subsisted between
the now United States of America and
the other parts of the British empire, and their
subjection to one common Prince the inhabitants
of either part had all the rights of natural
born subjects in the other, and so might
lawfully take and hold real property, and transmit
the same by descent to their heirs in fee-simple,
which could not be done by mere
aliens; * * * and, in like manner, had acquired
personal property which, by their common
laws, might be possessed by any other
than an alien enemy, and transmitted to executors
and administrators; but when, by the
tyrannies of that Prince, and the open hostilities
committed by his armies and subjects, inhabitants
of the other parts of his dominions,
on the good people of the United States, they
are obliged to wage war in defence of their
rights, and finally to separate themselves from
the rest of the British empire, to renounce all
subjection to their common Prince, and to
become sovereign and independent States, the
said inhabitants of the other parts of the
British empire become aliens and enemies to
the said States, and as such incapable of holding
the property, real or personal, so acquired
therein, and so much thereof as was within
this Commonwealth became by the laws vested
in the Commonwealth.—
Escheats and Forfeitures Bill. Ford ed., ii, 182.
(May. 1779)

2756. ESCHEAT, Bill concerning.—[continued].

The General Assembly
[of Virginia], though provoked by the example
of their enemies to a departure from that generosity
which so honorably distinguishes the
civilized nations of the present age, yet desirous
to conduct themselves with moderation and temper,
by an act passed * * * in 1777, took
measures for preventing * * * the property
of British subjects in this Commonwealth from
waste and destruction, by putting * * * [it] into the hands and under the management of
commissioners, * * * so that it might be
in their power, if reasonable at some future day,
to restore to the former proprietors * * * [its] full value.—
Escheats and Forfeitures Bill. Ford ed., ii, 183.
(May. 1779)


See Titles.

2757. ESTAING (Count d'), Land-grant to.—

The State of Georgia has given twenty
thousand acres of land to the Count d'Estaing.
This gift is considered here [France] as very
honorable to him, and it has gratified him much.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 533. Ford ed., iv, 195.
(P. 1786)

2758. ESTEEM, Basis of.—

Integrity of
views more than their soundness, is the basis
of esteem.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 273. Ford ed., vii, 335.
(Pa., 1799)

2759. ETHICS, Law and.—

I consider
ethics, as well as religion, as supplements
to law in the government of man.—
To Mr. Woodward. Washington ed. vii, 339.
(M. 1824)

2760. ETHICS, System of.—

I have but
one system of ethics for men and for nations,—to be grateful, to be faithful to all engagements
and under all circumstances, to
be open and generous, promoting in the long
run even the interests of both; and I am
sure it promotes their happiness.—
To La Duchesse D'Auville. Washington ed. iii, 135. Ford ed., v, 153.
(N.Y., 1790)


See Aborigines and Indians.

2761. ETIQUETTE, Disputed points.—

I am sorry that your first impressions [of the
United States] have been disturbed by matters of
etiquette. * * * These disputes are the most
insusceptible of determination, because they have
no foundation in reason. Arbitrary and senseless
in their nature, they are arbitrarily decided
by every nation for itself. These decisions are
meant to prevent disputes, but they produce ten
where they prevent one. It would have been
better, therefore, in a new country to have excluded
etiquette altogether; or if it must be
admitted in some form or other, to have it
depend on some circumstance founded in nature,
such as the age or stature of the parties.—
To Comte de Moustier. Washington ed. ii, 388. Ford ed., v, 10.
(P. 1788)

2762. ETIQUETTE, Liberation from.—

The distance of our nation [from Europe] and
difference of circumstances liberate [it], in some
degree, from an etiquette, to which it is a
stranger at home as well as abroad.—
To M. de Pinto. Washington ed. iii, 175.
(N.Y., 1790)

2763. ETIQUETTE, Rules of.—

I. In order
to bring the members of society together in
the first instance, the custom of the country has
established that residents shall pay the first visit
to strangers, and, among strangers, first comers
to later comers, foreign and domestic; the character
of stranger ceasing after the first visits.
To this rule there is a single exception. Foreign
ministers, from the necessity of making
themselves known, pay the first visit to the
ministers of the nation, which is returned. II.
When brought together in society, all are perfectly
equal, whether foreign or domestic, titled
or untitled, in or out of office. All other observances
are but exemplifications of these two
principles. I. 1st. The families of foreign ministers,
arriving at the seat of government, receive
the first visit from those of the national
ministers, as from all other residents. 2d.
Members of the Legislature and of the Judiciary,
independent of their offices, have a right
as strangers to receive the first visit. II. 1st.
No title being admitted here, those of foreigners
give no precedence. 2d. Differences of grade
among diplomatic members, give no precedence.
3d. At public ceremonies, to which the Government
invites the presence of foreign ministers
and their families, a convenient seat or station
will be provided for them, with any other
strangers invited and the families of the national
ministers, each taking place as they arrive,
and without any precedence. 4th. To


Page 312
maintain the principle of equality, or of pêle
and prevent the growth of precedence out
of courtesy, the members of the Executive will
practice at their own houses, and recommend an
adherence to the ancient usage of the country,
of gentlemen in mass giving precedence to the
ladies in mass, in passing from one apartment
* * * into another. [177]
Jefferson Papers. Washington ed. ix, 454. Ford ed., viii, 276.


Jefferson indorsed this paper as follows: “This
rough paper contains what was agreed upon.” That
is by the cabinet.—Editor.

2764. EUROPE, America and.—

all the defects of our constitutions, whether
general or particular, the comparison of our
governments with those of Europe, are like
a comparison of heaven and hell. England,
like the earth, may be allowed to take the
intermediate station.—
To Joseph Jones. Washington ed. ii, 249. Ford ed., iv, 438.
(P. 1787)

2765. EUROPE, Antagonism to America.—

What is the whole system of Europe
towards America but an atrocious and insulting
tyranny? One hemisphere of the
earth, separated from the other by wide seas
on both sides, having a different system of interests
flowing from different climates, different
soils, different productions, different
modes of existence, and its own local relations
and duties, is made subservient to all
the petty interests of the other, to their laws,
their regulations, their passions and wars, and
interdicted from social intercourse, from the
interchange of mutual duties and comforts
with their neighbors, enjoined on all men by
the laws of nature. Happily these abuses of
human rights are drawing to a close on both
our continents, and are not likely to survive
the present mad contest of the lions and tigers
of the other.—
To Clement Caine. Washington ed. vi, 13. Ford ed., ix, 329.
(M. 1811)

2766. EUROPE, Balance of power in.—

We especially ought to pray that the powers
of Europe may be so poised and counterpoised
among themselves, that their own
safety may require the presence of all their
force at home, leaving the other quarters of
the globe in undisturbed tranquillity.—
To Dr. Crawford. Washington ed. vi, 33.
(M. Jan. 1812)

2767. EUROPE, Estimate of.—

me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe!
* * * You are curious perhaps to know
how this new scene has struck a savage of
the mountains of America. Not advantageously,
I assure you. I find the general fate
of humanity here most deplorable. The
truth of Voltaire's observation offers itself
perpetually, that every man here must be
either the hammer or the anvil. It is a true
picture of that country to which they say we
shall pass hereafter, and where we are to see
God and his angels in splendor, and crowds
of the damned trampled under their feet.
While the great mass of the people are thus
suffering under physical and moral oppression,
I have endeavored to examine more
nearly the condition of the great, to appreciate
the true value of the circumstances in
their situation, which dazzle the bulk of
spectators, and, especially, to compare it with
that degree of happiness which is enjoyed in
America by every class of people. Intrigues
of love occupy the younger, and those of
ambition, the elder part of the great. Conjugal
love having no existence among them,
domestic happiness, of which that is the basis,
is utterly unknown. In lieu of this, are substituted
pursuits which nourish and invigorate
all our bad passions, and which offer
only moments of ecstacy amidst days and
months of restlessness and torment. Much,
very much inferior, this, to the tranquil,
permanent felicity with which domestic society
in America blesses most of its inhabitants;
leaving them to follow steadily those
pursuits which health and reason approve,
and rendering truly delicious the intervals of
those pursuits. In Science, the mass of the
people are two centuries behind ours; their
literati, half a dozen years before us. Books,
really good, acquire just reputation in that
time, and so become known to us, and communicate
to us all their advances in knowledge.
Is not this delay compensated by our
being placed out of the reach of that swarm
of nonsensical publications which issue daily
from a thousand presses, and perish almost
in issuing? With respect to what are termed
polite manners, without sacrificing too much
the sincerity of language, I would wish my
countrymen to adopt just so much of European
politeness, as to be ready to make
all those little sacrifices of self, which really
render European manners amiable, and relieve
society from the disagreeable scenes to
which rudeness often subjects it. Here, it
seems that a man might pass a life without
encountering a single rudeness. In the
pleasures of the table, they are far before us,
because, with good taste they unite temperance.
They do not terminate the most sociable
meals by transforming themselves into
brutes. I have never yet seen a man drunk
in France, even among the lowest of the people.
Were I to proceed to tell you how
much I enjoy their architecture, sculpture,
painting, music, I should want words. It is
in these arts they shine. The last of them,
particularly, is an enjoyment, the deprivation
of which with us, cannot be calculated.—
To Mr. Bellini. Washington ed. i, 444.
(P. 1785)

2768. EUROPE, Exclusion from America.—

We consider the interests of Cuba,
Mexico and ours as the same, and that the
object of both must be to exclude all European
influence from this hemisphere.—
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. v, 381.
(W. Oct. 1808)

See Monroe Doctrine.

2769. EUROPE, Governments of.—

declares that man is the only
animal which devours his own kind, for I
can apply no milder term to the governments
of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich
on the poor.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 100. Ford ed., iv, 360.
(P. 1787)

2770. EUROPE, Ignorance in.—

superstition, poverty, and oppression of
body and mind, in every form, are so firmly
settled on the mass of the people, that their


Page 313
redemption from them can never be hoped.
If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set
themselves to work to emancipate the minds
of their subjects from their present ignorance
and prejudices, and that, as zealously
as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand
years would not place them on that high
ground, on which our common people are now
setting out. Ours could not have been so
fairly placed under the control of the common
sense of the people had they not been separated
from their parent stock, and kept from
contamination, either from them, or the other
people of the old world, by the intervention
of so wide an ocean. To know the worth
of this, one must see the want of it here.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ii, 7.
(P. 1786)

2771. EUROPE, Intercourse with.—

During the present paroxysm of the insanity
of Europe, we have thought it wisest to
break off all the intercourse with her.—
To General Armstrong. Washington ed. v, 280. Ford ed., ix, 194.
(W. 1808)

— EUROPE, Kings of.—

See Kings.

2772. EUROPE, Pretensions of.—

In Europe,
nothing but Europe is seen, or supposed
to have any right in the affairs of
To M. Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 436.
(W. April. 1802)

2773. EUROPE, Republican Government in.—

Whether the state of society in
Europe can bear a republican government, I
doubted, you know, when with you, and I
do now. A hereditary chief, strictly limited,
the right of war vested in the legislative body,
a rigid economy of the public contributions,
and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses,
will go far towards keeping the government
honest and unoppressive.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 325. Ford ed., x, 280.
(M. 1823)

2774. EUROPE, A world apart.—

I consider
Europe, at present, as a world apart
from us, about which it is improper for us
even to form opinions, or to indulge any
wishes but the general one, that whatever is
to take place in it, may be for its happiness. [178]
To Julian V. Niemcewiez. Washington ed. v, 69.
(M. April. 1807)


Niemcewiez was the assumed name of Kosciusko
when he left the United States for Europe in 1807.——Editor.

2775. EUSTIS (William), Character.—

Whether the head of the War Department is
equal to his charge, I am not qualified to decide.
I knew him only as a pleasant gentlemanly
man in Society; and the indecision of his
character added to the amenity of his conversation.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 81. Ford ed., ix, 368.
(M. Oct. 1812)

2776. EVILS, Choice of.—

It is the melancholy
law of human societies to be compelled
sometimes to choose a great evil in
order to ward off a greater.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 399.
(M. 1814)

2777. EVILS, Cure of.—

It is a happy circumstance
in human affairs that evils which
are not cured in one way will cure themselves
in some other.—
To Sir John Sinclair. Washington ed. iii, 283.
(Pa., 1791)

2778. EVILS, Good from.—

When great
evils happen, I am in the habit of looking
out for what good may arise from them as
consolations to us and Providence has in fact
so established the order of things, as that most
evils are the means of producing some good.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 335. Ford ed., vii, 458.
(M. 1800)

2779. EXAMPLE, Good and bad.—

have ever deemed it more honorable and more
profitable, too, to set a good example than to
follow a bad one.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vi, 405.
(M. 1814)

2780. EXCISE, Defined.—

Impost is a
duty paid on an imported article, in the moment
of its importation, and of course it is
collected in the seaports only. Excise is a
duty on an article, whether imported or raised
at home, and paid in the hands of the consumer
or retailer. * * * These are the
true definitions of these words as used in
England, and in the greater part of the United
States. But in Massachusetts, they have
perverted the word excise to mean a tax on
all liquors, whether paid in the moment of
importation or at a later moment, and on
nothing else. So that on reading the debates
of the Massachusetts convention, you must
give this last meaning to the word excise.—
To J. Sarsfield. Washington ed. iii, 17.
(P. 1798)

2781. EXCISE LAW, Enactment.—

It is proposed to provide additional funds, to
meet the additional debt [created by the
Assumption], by a tax on spirituous liquors,
foreign and home-made, so that the whole
interest will be paid by taxes on consumption.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. v, 198. Ford ed., v, 250.
(Pa., Nov. 1790)

2782. EXCISE LAW, Infernal.—

The excise
law is an infernal one. The first error
was to admit it by the Constitution; the second,
to act on that admission; the third and
last will be, to make it the instrument of dismembering
the Union, and setting us all
afloat to choose which part of it we will adhere
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 112. Ford ed., vi, 518.
(M. Dec. 1794)

2783. EXCISE LAW, Objectionable.—

Congress * * * have passed an excise
bill, which, considering the present circumstances
of the Union, is not without objection.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., v, 282.
(Feb. 1791)

2784. EXCISE LAW, Objectionable.—[continued].

The excise law I have
condemned uniformly from its first conception.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 563. Ford ed., vi, 261.
(Pa., May. 1793)

2785. EXCISE LAW, Odious.—

The accumulation
of debt * * * [created by
the Assumption] has obliged [us] * * * to resort to an excise law, of odious character
with the people, partial in its operation, unproductive
unless enforced by arbitrary and vexatious
means, and committing the authority


Page 314
of the government in parts where resistance
is most probable, and coercion least practicable.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 361. Ford ed., vi, 2.
(Pa., May. 1702)

2786. EXCISE LAW, Resisted.—

people in the western parts of this State
[Pennsylvania] have been to the excise officer,
and threatened to burn his house, &c.
They were blackened and otherwise disguised,
so as to be unknown. He has resigned, and
H [amilton] says there is no possibility of
getting the law executed there, and that probably
the evil will spread. A proclamation is
to be issued, and another instance of my being
forced to appear to approve what I have
condemned uniformly from its first conception.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 563. Ford ed., vi, 261.
(Pa., May. 1793)

2787. EXCISE LAW, Riots and.—

respect to the transactions against the excise
law, it appears to me that you are all swept
away in the torrent of governmental opinions,
or that we do not know what these transactions
have been. We know of none which,
according to the definitions of the law, have
been anything more than riotous. There was
indeed a meeting to consult about a separation.
But to consult on a question does not
amount to a determination of that question
in the affirmative, still less to the acting on
such a determination; but we shall see, I
suppose, what the court lawyers, and courtly
judges and would-be ambassadors will make
of it.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 111. Ford ed., vi, 517.
(M. Dec. 1794)

2788. EXCISE LAW Tea-act and.—

Make friends with the trans-Alleganians.
They are gone if you do not. Do not let
false pride make a tea-act of your excise law.—
To W. B. Giles. Ford ed., vi, 516.
(Dec. 1794)

2789. EXCISE LAW, Unnecessary.—

The excise system, which I considered as prematurely
and unnecessarily introduced, I was
* * * glad to see fall. It was evident that
our existing taxes were then equal to our
existing debts. It was clearly foreseen also
that the surplus from excise would only become
aliment for useless offices, and would
be swallowed in idleness by those whom it
would withdraw from useful industry.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. vii, 284. Ford ed., x, 251.
(M. 1823)

2790. EXCISE LAW, Unpopular.—

excessive unpopularity of the excise and bank
bills in the South I apprehend will produce a
stand against the Federal Government.—
To William Short. Ford ed., v, 296.
(May. 1791)

2791. EXECUTIVE, Appointment of.—

The Executive powers shall be exercised in
manner following: One person, to be called
the [Administrator], shall be annually appointed
by the House of Representatives on
the second day of their first session, who,
after having acted [one] year, shall be incapable
of being again appointed to that office
until he shall have been out of the same
[three] years. [179]
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 17.
(June. 1776)


The brackets are in the text of the instrument as
drawn by Jefferson. The quotation, with those that
immediately follow it, marks the development of
Jefferson's ideas on the subject of State executive

2792. EXECUTIVE, Appointment of.—[continued].

The Executive powers
shall be exercised by a Governor, who shall
be chosen by joint ballot of both houses of
Assembly, and * * * shall remain in
office five years, and be ineligible a second
Proposed Va. Constitution. Washington ed. viii, 446. Ford ed., iii, 325.

2793. EXECUTIVE, Appointment of.—[further continued].

Render the Executive
[of Virginia] a more desirable post to men of
abilities by making it more independent of
the Legislature. To wit, let him be chosen
by other electors, for a longer time, and ineligible
forever after. Responsibility is a tremendous
engine in a free government. Let
him feel the whole weight of it then, by taking
away the shelter of his Executive Council.
Experience both ways has already established
the superiority of this measure.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. iii, 315. Ford ed., v, 410.
(Pa., 1791)

2794. EXECUTIVE, Appointment of.—[further continued] .

Submit the members of
the Legislature to approbation or rejection at
short intervals. Let the Executive be chosen
in the same way, and for the same term,
by those whose agent he is to be; and leave
no screen of a Council behind which to skulk
from responsibility.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

2795. EXECUTIVE, Appointment of.—[further continued].

Under the Administrator
shall be appointed by the same House [Representatives] and at the same time, a
Deputy-Administrator, to assist his principal
in the discharge of his office, and to succeed,
in case of his death before the year shall have
expired, to the whole powers thereof during
the residue of the year.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 18.
(June. 1776)

2796. EXECUTIVE, Appointment of.—[further continued] .

The Deputy-Administrator
shall have session and suffrage with the Privy Council.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 20.
(June. 1776)

2797. EXECUTIVE, Authority of.—

Administrator shall possess the power formerly
held by the King; save only that he
shall be bound by acts of the legislature,
though not expressly named.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 18.
(June. 1776)

2798. EXECUTIVE, Authority of.—[continued].

The Administrator shall
not possess the prerogative * * * of raising
or introducing armed forces, building
armed vessels, forts or strongholds.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)

2799. EXECUTIVE, Authority of.—[further continued].

The Administrator [of
Virginia] shall not possess the prerogative
* * * of retaining or recalling a member
of the State, but by legal process pro delicto
vel contractu.

Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)


Page 315

2800. EXECUTIVE, Authority of.—[further continued] .

All other [180] officers, civil
and military, shall be appointed by the Administrator;
but such appointment shall be
subject to the negative of the Privy Council,
saving, however, to the Legislature a power
of transferring to any other persons the appointment
of such officers, or any of them.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 21.
(June. 1776)


Except members of the Privy Council, delegates
to Congress, treasurer of the Colony, attorneygeneral,
high sheriffs and coroners.—Editor.

2801. EXECUTIVE, Authority over.—

The Administrator shall be liable to action,
though not to personal restraint, for private
duties or wrongs.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 18.
(June. 1776)

2802. EXECUTIVE, The Confederation and.—

As the Confederation had made no provision for a visible head of the government
during vacations of Congress, and such
a one was necessary to superintend the executive
business, to receive and communicate
with foreign ministers and nations, and to assemble
Congress on sudden and extraordinary
emergencies, I proposed early in April, 1784,
the appointment of a committee to be called
the “Committee of the States,” to consist
of a member from each State, who should
remain in session during the recess of Congress:
that the functions of Congress should
be divided into Executive and Legislative, the
latter to be reserved, and the former, by a
general resolution, to be delegated to that
Committee. This proposition was afterwards
agreed to; a Committee appointed, who entered
on duty on the subsequent adjournment
of Congress, quarrelled very soon, split
into two parties, abandoned their post, and
left the government without any visible head
until the next meeting in Congress. We have
since seen the same thing take place in the
Directory of France; and I believe it will forever
take place in any Executive consisting of
a plurality. Our plan, best, I believe, combines
wisdom and practicability, by providing
a plurality of counsellors, but a single Arbiter
for ultimate decision.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 54. Ford ed., i, 75.

2803. EXECUTIVE, The Confederation and.—[continued].

I was in France when
we heard of this schism and separation of our
Committee, and, speaking with Dr. Franklin of
this singular disposition of men to quarrel and
divide into parties, he gave his sentiments, as
usual, by way of apologue. He mentioned the
Eddystone lighthouse in the British channel, as
being built on a rock in the mid-channel, totally
inaccessible in winter from the boisterous character
of that sea, in that season; that, therefore,
for the two keepers, employed to keep up the
lights, all provisions for the winter were necessarily
carried to them in autumn, as they could
never be visited again till the return of the
milder season; that, on the first practicable day
in the spring a boat put off to them with fresh
supplies. The boatmen met at the door one of
the keepers and accosted him with a “How
goes it, friend”? “Very well”. “How is your
companion”? “I do not know”. “Don't
know? Is he not here”? “I can't tell”. “Have
not you seen him to-day”? “No”. “When
did you see him”? “Not since last fall”.
“You have killed him”? “Not I, indeed”.
They were about to lay hold of him, as having
certainly murdered his companion: but he desired
them to go upstairs and examine for themselves.
They went up, and there found the
other keeper. They had quarrelled, it seems,
soon after being left there, had divided into two
parties, assigned the cares below to one, and
those above to the other, and had never spoken
to, or seen one another since.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 54. Ford ed., i, 76.

2804. EXECUTIVE, The Confederation and.—[further continued].

The idea of separating
the executive business of the Confederacy
from Congress, as the Judiciary is already in
some degree, is just and necessary. I had
frequently pressed on the members individually,
while in Congress, the doing this by
a resolution of Congress for appointing an
Executive committee to act during the sessions
of Congress, as the Committee of the
States was to act during their vacations. But
the referring to this Committee all executive
business, as it should present itself, would require
a more persevering self-denial than I
suppose Congress to possess. It will be much
better to make that separation by a Federal
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 152. Ford ed., iv, 390.
(P. June. 1787)

2805. EXECUTIVE, Control over.—

Executive [branch of the government], possessing
the rights of self-government from
nature cannot be controlled in the exercise
of them but by a law, passed in the forms
of the Constitution.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 499. Ford ed., v, 209.

2806. EXECUTIVE, Corruption of a plural.—

All executive directories become
mere sinks of corruption and faction.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. vii, 190. Ford ed., x, 169.

2807. EXECUTIVE, French Consulate.—

Without much faith in Bonaparte's heart, I
have so much in his head, as to indulge another
train of reflection. The republican
world has been long looking with anxiety on
the two experiments going on of a single elective Executive here, and a plurality there.
Opinions have been considerably divided on
the event in both countries. The greater
opinion there has seemed to be heretofore
in favor of a plurality; here it has been very
generally, though not universally, in favor of
a single elective Executive. After eight or
nine years' experience of perpetual broils and
factions in their Directory, a standing division
(under all changes) of three against two,
which results in a government by a single
opinion, it is possible they may think the experiment
decided in favor of our form, and
that Bonaparte may be for a single executive,
limited in time and power, and flatter himself
with the election to that office; and that
to this change the nation may rally itself; perhaps
it is the only one to which all parties
could be rallied. In every case it is to be
feared and deplored that that nation has yet
to wade through half a century of disorder
and convulsions.—
To Henry Innes. Washington ed. iv, 315. Ford ed., vii, 412.
(Pa., Jan. 1800)


Page 316

2808. EXECUTIVE, French Directory.—

I fear the oligarchical Executive of the
French will not do. We have always seen a
small council get into cabals and quarrels,
the more bitter and relentless the fewer they
are. We saw this in our Committee of the
States; and that they were from their bad
passions, incapable of doing the business of
their country. I think that for the prompt,
clear and consistent action so necessary in
an Executive, unity of person is necessary as
with us. I am aware of the objection to
this, that the office becoming more important
may bring on serious discord in elections. In
our country, I think it will be long first; not
within our day, and we may safely trust to
the wisdom of our successors the remedies of
the evils to arise in theirs.—
To John Adams. Ford ed., vii, 56.
(M. Feb. 1796)

2809. EXECUTIVE, French Directory.—[continued].

I had formerly looked
with great interest to the experiment which
was going on in France of an Executive Directory,
while that of a single elective Executive
was under trial here. I thought the issue
of them might fairly decide the question between
the two modes. But the untimely fate
of that establishment cut short the experiment.
I have not, however, been satisfied
whether the dissensions of that Directory
(and which I fear are incident to a plurality)
were not the most effective cause of the successful
usurpations which overthrew them.
It is certainly one of the most interesting
questions to a republican, and worthy of great
To Judge Woodward. Washington ed. v, 449.
(M. May. 1809)

2810. EXECUTIVE, Jealousy of the.—

The Executive in our governments is not the
sole, it is scarcely the principal object of my
jealousy. The tyranny of the legislatures is
the most formidable dread at present and will
be for many years. That of the Executive
will come in its turn, but it will be at a
remote period.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 5. Ford ed., v, 83.
(P. 1789)

2811. EXECUTIVE, The people and.—

The people are not qualified to exercise themselves
the Executive department; but they are
qualified to name the person who shall exercise
it. With us, therefore, they choose
this officer every four years.—
To M. L'Abbé Arnond. Washington ed. iii, 81. Ford ed., v, 103.
(P. 1789)

2812. EXECUTIVE, The people and.—[continued].

In times of peace the
people look most to their representatives; but
in war, to the Executive solely.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. v, 501. Ford ed., ix, 272.
(M. 1810)

2813. EXECUTIVE, Republican and monarchical.—

A monarchical head should
confide the execution of its will to departments
consisting each of a plurality of hands,
who would warp that will as much as possible
towards wisdom and moderation, the two
qualities it generally wants. But a republican
head, founding its decrees, originally, in these
two qualities, should commit them to a single
hand for execution, giving them, thereby, a
promptitude which republican proceedings
generally want.—
Answers to M. De Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 247. Ford ed., iv, 151.
(P. 1786)

2814. EXECUTIVE, Single and plural.—

When our present government was first established,
we had many doubts on this question,
and many leanings towards a supreme executive council. It happened that at that
time the experiment of such an one was commenced
in France, while a single Executive
was under trial here. We watched the
motions and effects of these two rival plans,
with an interest and anxiety proportioned to
the importance of a choice between them.
The experiment in France failed after a short
course, and not from any circumstances peculiar
to the times or nation, but from those
internal jealousies and dissensions in the
Directory, which will ever arise among men
equal in power, without a principal to decide
and control their differences. We had tried
a similar experiment in 1784, by establishing
a Committee of the States, composed of a
member from every State, then thirteen, to
exercise the executive functions during the
recess of Congress. They fell immediately
into schisms and dissensions, which became at
length so inveterate as to render all cooperation
among them impracticable; they dissolved
themselves, abandoning the helm of
government, and it continued without a head,
until Congress met the ensuing winter. This
was then imputed to the temper of two or
three individuals; but the wise ascribed it to
the nature of man. The failure of the French
Directory, and from the same cause, seems to
have authorized a belief that the form of a
plurality, however promising in theory, is impracticable
with men constituted with the ordinary
passions. While the tranquil and
steady tenor of our single Executive, during
a course of twenty-two years of the most
tempestuous times the history of the world
has ever presented, gives a rational hope that
this important problem is at length solved.
Aided by the counsels of a cabinet of heads of
departments. originally four, but now five, with
whom the President consults, either singly or
altogether, he has the benefit of their wisdom
and information, brings their views to one
centre, and produces an unity of action and
direction in all the branches of the government.
The excellence of this construction of
the executive power has already manifested
itself here under very opposite circumstances.
During the administration of our first President,
his cabinet of four members was equally
divided by as marked an opposition of principle
as monarchism and republicanism could
bring into conflict. Had that cabinet been a
Directory, like positive and negative quantities
in algebra, the opposing wills would have
balanced each other and produced a state of
absolute inaction. But the President heard
with calmness the opinions and reasons of
each, decided the course to be pursued, and
kept the government steadily in it, unaffected
by the agitation. The public knew well the
dissensions of the cabinet, but never had an
uneasy thought on their account, because they


Page 317
knew also they had provided a regulating
power which would keep the machine in
steady movement. I speak with an intimate
knowledge of these scenes, quorum pars fui; as I may of others of a character entirely
opposite. The third administration, which
was of eight years, presented an example of
harmony in a cabinet of six persons, to which
perhaps history has furnished no parallel.
There never arose, during the whole time, an
instance of an unpleasant thought or word
between the members. We sometimes met
under differences of opinion, but scarcely ever
failed, by conversing and reasoning, so to
modify each other's ideas, as to produce an
unanimous result. Yet, able and amicable as
these members were, I am not certain this
would have been the case, had each possessed
equal and independent powers. Ill-defined
limits of their respective departments, jealousies,
triffling at first, but nourished and
strengthened by repetition of occasions, intrigues
without doors of designing persons to
build an importance to themselves on the
divisions of others, might from small beginnings,
have produced persevering oppositions,
But the power of decision in the President
left no object for internal dissension, and external
intrigue was stifled in embryo by the
knowledge which incendiaries possessed, that
no division they could foment would change
the course of the executive power. I am not
conscious that my participations in executive
authority have produced any bias in favor of
the single Executive; because the parts I
have acted have been in the subordinate, as
well as superior stations, and because, if I
know myself, what I have felt, and what I
have wished, I know that I have never been
so well pleased, as when I could shift power
from my own, on the shoulders of others; nor
have I ever been able to conceive how any
rational being could propose happiness to
himself from the exercise of power over
others. I am still, however, sensible of the
solidity of your principle, that, to insure the
safety of the public liberty, its depository
should be subject to be changed with the
greatest ease possible, and without suspending
or disturbing for a moment the movements
of the machine of government. You
apprehend that a single Executive, with eminence
of talent, and destitution of principle,
equal to the object, might, by usurpation, render
his powers hereditary. Yet I think history
furnishes as many examples of a single
usurper arising out of a government by a
plurality, as of temporary trusts of power
in a single hand rendered permanent by usurpation.
I do not believe, therefore, that this
danger is lessened in the hands of a plural
Executive. Perhaps it is greatly increased,
by the state of inefficiency to which they are
liable from feuds and divisions among themselves.
The conservative body you propose
might be so constituted, as, while it would be
an admirable sedative in a variety of smaller
cases, might also be a valuable sentinel and
check on the liberticide views of an ambitious
individual. I am friendly to this idea. But
the true barriers of our liberty in this country
are our State governments; and the wisest
conservative power ever contrived by man, is
that of which our Revolution and present
government found us possessed. Seventeen
distinct States, amalgamated into one as to
their foreign concerns, but single and independent
as to their internal administration,
regularly organized with a legislature and
governor resting on the choice of the people,
and enlightened by a free press, can never be
so fascinated by the arts of one man, as to
submit voluntarily to his usurpation. Nor
can they be constrained to it by any force he
can possess. While that may paralyze the
single State in which it happens to be encamped,
sixteen others, spread over a country
of two thousand miles diameter, rise up on
every side, ready organized for deliberation by
a constitutional legislature, and for action by
their governor, constitutionally the commander
of the militia of the State, that is to
say, of every man in it able to bear arms; and
that militia. too, regularly formed into regiments
and battalions, into infantry, cavalry
and artillery, trained under officers general
and subordinate, legally appointed, always in
readiness, and to whom they are already in
habits of obedience. The republican government
of France was lost without a struggle
because the party of “un et indivisible” had
prevailed; no provisional organization existed
to which the people might rally under
authority of the laws, the seats of the Directory
were virtually vacant, and a small
force sufficed to turn the legislature out of
their chamber, and to salute its leader chief
of the nation. But with us, sixteen out of
seventeen States rising in mass, under regular
organization, and legal commanders,
united in object and action by their Congress,
or, if that be in duresse, by a Special Convention,
present such obstacles to an usurper as
forever to stifle ambition in the first conception
of that object. Dangers of another
kind might more reasonably be apprehended
from this perfect and distinct organization,
civil and military, of the States; to wit, that
certain States from local and occasional discontents,
might attempt to secede from the
Union. This is certainly possible; and would
be befriended by this regular organization.
But it, is not probable that local discontents
can spread to such an extent, as to be
able to face the sound parts of so extensive
an Union; and if ever they should reach the
majority, they would then become the regular
government, acquire, the ascendency in
Congress, and be able to redress their own
grievances by laws peaceably and constitutionally
passed. And even the States in
which local discontents might engender a
commencement of fermentation, would be
paralyzed and self-checked by that very division
into parties into which we have fallen,
into which all States must fall wherein men
are at liberty to think, speak, and act freely,
according to the diversities of their individual
conformations, and which are, perhaps,
essential to preserve the purity of the gov


Page 318
ernment, by the censorship which these
parties habitually exercise over each other.—
To M. Destutt Tracy. Washington ed. v, 567. Ford ed., ix, 306.
(M. Jan. 1811)

2815. EXECUTIVE, Single and plural.—[continued].

If experience has ever
taught a truth, it is that a plurality in the
Supreme Executive will forever split in the
discordant factions, distract the nation, annihilate
its energies, and force the nation, to
rally under a single head, generally an usurper.
We have, I think, fallen on the happiest
of all modes of constituting the Executive,
that of easing and aiding our President,
by permitting him to choose Secretaries of
State, of Finance, of War, and of the Navy,
with whom he may advise, either separately
or all together, and remedy their divisions
by adopting or controlling their opinions at
his discretion; this saves the nation from the
evils of a divided will, and secures to it a
steady march in the systematic course which
the President may have adopted for that of
his administration.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 321.
(M. 1823)

See President.

2816. EXERCISE, Amount of.—

Not less
than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 294.
(P. 1786)

2817. EXERCISE, Amount of.—[continued].

Give about two hours
every day, to exercise; for health must not be
sacrificed to learning. A strong body makes
the mind strong. [181]
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 397.
(P. 1785)


Peter Carr was Jefferson's nephew.—Editor.

2818. EXERCISE, Amount of.—[further continued].

I give more time to exercise
of the body than of the mind, believing it
wholesome to both.—
To David Howell. Washington ed. v, 555.
(M. 1810)

2819. EXERCISE, Carriage.—

A carriage
is no better than a cradle.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 293.
(P. 1786)

2820. EXERCISE, The gun and.—

As to
the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While
this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it
gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to
the mind. Games played with ball, and others
of that nature, are too violent for the body,
and stamp no character on the mind. Let your
gun, therefore, be the constant companion of
your walks.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 397.
(P. 1785)

2821. EXERCISE, Health and.—

are not to consider yourself as unemployed while
taking exercise. That is necessary for your
health, and health is the first of all objects.—
To Martha Jefferson. Ford ed., iv, 372.

2822. EXERCISE, Health and.—[continued].

Exercise and recreation
are as necessary as reading: I will say rather
more necessary, because health is worth more
than learning.—
To John Garland Jefferson. Ford ed., v, 180.
(N.Y., 1790)

2823. EXERCISE, Horseback.—

A horse
gives but a kind of half exercise.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 293.
(P. 1786)
See Horses.

2824. EXERCISE, Invigoration by.—

The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 293.
(P. 1786)

2825. EXERCISE, Love of.—

The loss of
the power of taking exercise would be a sore
affliction to me. It has been the delight of my
retirement to be in constant bodily activity,
looking after my affairs. It was never damped
as the pleasures of reading are, by the question
cui bono? * * * Your works show that of
your mind. The habits of exercise which your
calling has given to both, will tend long to preserve
them. The sedentary character of my
occupations sapped a constitution naturally
strong and vigorous, and draws it to an earlier
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. vi, 4. Ford ed., ix, 328.

2826. EXERCISE, Reading and.—

think of taking a book with you. The object of
walking is to relax the mind. You should, therefore,
not permit yourself even to think while you
walk; but divert yourself by the objects surrounding
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 398.
(P. 1785)

2827. EXERCISE, Time for.—

I would
advise you to take your exercise in the afternoon;
not because it is the best time for exercise,
for certainly it is not, but because it is the
best time to spare from your studies; and habit
will soon reconcile it to health, and render it
nearly as useful as if you gave to that the more
precious hours of the day.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 398.
(P. 1785)

2828. EXERCISE, Time for.—[continued].

When you shall find
yourself strong, [182] you may venture to take your
walks in the evening, after the digestion of the
dinner is pretty well over. This is making a
compromise between health and study. The latter
would be too much interrupted were you to
take from it the early hours of the day, and
habit will soon render the evening's exercise as
salutary as that of the morning. I speak this
from my own experience, having, from an early
attachment to study, very early in life, made this
arrangement of my time, having ever observed
it, and still observing it, and always with perfect
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 294.
(P. 1786)


Randolph was in feeble health, and while in that
condition Jefferson recommended the middle of the
day for walking.—Editor.

2829. EXERCISE, Walking.—

Of all exercises
walking is the best. * * * No one
knows, till he tries, how easily a habit of walking
is acquired. A person who never walked
three miles will in the course of a month become
able to walk fifteen or twenty without
fatigue. I have known some great walkers, and
had particular accounts of many more; and I
never knew or heard of one who was not healthy
and long lived.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 293.
(P. 1786)

2830. EXERCISE, Walking.—[continued].

Walking is the best possible
exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very
far. The Europeans value themselves on having
subdued the horse to the uses of man; but I
doubt whether we have not lost more than we
have gained, by the use of this animal. No one
has occasioned so much the degeneracy of the
human body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as
far in a day, for a long journey, as an enfeebled
white does on his horse: and he will tire the
best horses. There is no habit you will value so
much as that of walking far without fatigue.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 398.
(P. 1785)

2831. EXERCISE, Walking.—[further continued].

Take a great deal of exercise
and on foot.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. ii, 241. Ford ed., iv, 433.
(P. 1787)


Page 319

2832. EXERCISE, Weather and.—

weather should be little regarded. A person not
sick will not be injured by getting wet. It is
but taking a cold bath which never gives a
cold to any one. Brute animals are the most
healthy, and they are exposed to all weather
and, of men, those are healthiest who are the
most exposed. The recipe of these two descriptions
of beings is simple diet, exercise and the
open air, be its state what it will: and we May
venture to say that this recipe will give health
and vigor to every other description.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 294.
(P. 1786)

2833. EXILE, Punishment by.—

[is] the most rational of all punishments for
meditated treason.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. vi, 8.
(M. 1811)

2834. EXPANSION, Safety in.—

I know
that the acquisition of Louisiana has been
disapproved by some, from a candid apprehension
that the enlargement of territory
would endanger its Union. But who can
limit the extent to which the federative principle
may operate effectively? The larger
our association, the less will it be shaken
by local passions.—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 41. Ford ed., viii, 344.
See Territory.

2835. EXPATRIATION, Assertion of the right.—

Our ancestors, before their emigration
to America, were the free inhabitants
of the British dominions in Europe, and possessed
a right, which nature has given to all
men, of departing from the country in which
chance, not choice, has placed them, of going
in quest of new habitations, and of there establishing
new societies, under such laws and
regulations as, to them, shall seem most
likely to promote public happiness. Their
Saxon ancestors had, under this universal
law, in like manner, left their native wilds
and woods in the North of Europe, had possessed
themselves of the Island of Britain,
then less charged with inhabitants, and had
established there that system of laws which
has so long been the glory and protection of
that country. Nor was ever any claim of
superiority or dependence asserted over them
by that mother country from which they had
migrated; and were such a claim made, it
is believed his Majesty's subjects in Great
Britain have too firm a feeling of the rights
derived to them from their ancestors, to
bow down the sovereignty of their State before
such visionary pretensions. And it is
thought that no circumstance has occurred
to distinguish, materially, the British from
the Saxon emigration. [183]
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 125. Ford ed., i, 429.


Rayner in his Life of Jefferson (c. 3) says: “The
correct definition and answer of the great question
which formed the hinge of the American Revolution,
to wit, of the right of taxation without representation,
were original with Mr. Jefferson. He,
following out the right of expatriation into all its
legitimate consequences, advanced at once, to the
necessary conclusion, and the only one which he
deemed orthodox or tenable—that there was no
political connection whatever between the Parliament
of Great Britain and the Colonies: and consequently,
that it had no right to tax them in any case—not even for the regulation of commerce. The
other patriots, either not admitting the right of expatriation,
or, which is most likely, not having pursued
to the same extent, its necessary results, conceded
the authority of Parliament over the Colonies,
for the purposes of commercial regulation, though
not of raising revenue.”—Editor.

2836. EXPATRIATION, Great Britain and.—

Every attempt of Great Britain to enforce
her principle of “Once a subject, always
a subject”, beyond the case of her own
ought to be repelled.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 251.

2837. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—

I hold the right of expatriation to be
inherent in every man by the laws of nature,
and incapable of being rightfully taken from
him even by the united will of every other person
in the nation. If the laws have provided
no particular mode by which the right of expatriation
may be exercised, the individual
may do it by any effectual and unequivocal
act or declaration. The laws of Virginia
have provided a mode; Mr. Cooper is said
to have exercised his right solemnly and
exactly according to that mode, and to have
departed from the commonwealth; whereupon
the law declares that “he shall henceforth
be deemed no citizen”. Returning afterwards
he returns an alien, and must proceed
to make himself a citizen if he desires
it, as every other alien does. At present, he
can hold no lands, receive nor transmit any
inheritance, nor enjoy any other right peculiar
to a citizen. The General Government
has nothing to do with this question. Congress
may, by the Constitution, “establish
an uniform rule of naturalization”, that is,
by what rule an alien may become a citizen;
but they cannot take from a citizen his natural
right of divesting himself of the character
of a citizen by expatriation.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 458.
(W. June. 1806)

2838. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—[continued].

My opinion on the right
of expatriation has been, so long ago as the
year 1776, consigned to record in the act
of the Virginia code, drawn by myself, recognizing
the right expressly, and prescribing
the mode of exercising it. The evidence
of this natural right, like that of our right
to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the
pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble
and sophistical investigations of reason, but
is impressed on the sense of every man. We
do not claim these under the charters of
kings or legislators, but under the King of
kings. If he has made it a law in the nature
of man to pursue his own happiness, he has
left him free in the choice of place as well as
mode; and we may safely call on the whole
body of English jurists to produce the map
on which nature has traced, for each individual,
the geographical line which she forbids
him to cross in pursuit of happiness.
It certainly does not exist in his mind.
Where, then, is it? I believe, too, I might
safely affirm, that there is not another nation,
civilized or savage, which has ever denied
this natural right. I doubt if there is another
which refuses its exercise. I know it
is allowed in some of the most respectable
countries of continental Europe, nor have I


Page 320
ever heard of one in which it was not. How
it is among our savage neighbors, who have
no law but that of Nature, we all know.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vii, 73. Ford ed., x, 87.
(M. 1817)

2839. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—[further continued].

Expatriation [is] a natural
right, * * * acted on as such by all
nations, in all ages.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 8. Ford ed., i, 13.

2840. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—[further continued] .

Early in the session [of
the Virginia Assembly] of May, 1799, I prepared
and obtained leave to bring in a bill
declaring who should be deemed citizens,
asserting the natural right of expatriation,
and prescribing the mode of exercising it.
This, when I withdrew from the House, on
the 1st of June following, I left in the hands
of George Mason, and it was passed on the
26th of that month. [184]
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 40. Ford ed., i, 55.


This act is of constitutional and historical importance
as the first enactment placing the doctrine
of expatriation on a legal basis.—Editor.

2841. EXPERIENCE, Governmental.—

Forty years of experience in government is
worth a century of book-reading.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 15. Ford ed., x, 42.
(M. 1816)

2842. EXPERIMENT, Trying.—

precept is wise which directs us to try all
things, and hold fast that which is good.—
To William Drayton. Washington ed. ii, 347.
(P. 1788)

— EXPLORATION, Lewis and Clark.—

See Lewis and Clark, and Ledyard.

2843. EXPORTS, Taxation of.—

Your pamphlet is replete with sound views, some
of which will doubtless be adopted. Some
may be checked by difficulties. None more
likely to be so than the proposition to amend
the Constitution, so as to authorize Congress
to tax exports. The provision against this
in the framing of that instrument, was a
sine qua non with the States of peculiar productions,
as rice, indigo, cotton and tobacco,
to which may now be added sugar. A jealousy
prevailing that to the few States producing
these articles, the justice of the others might
not be a sufficient protection in opposition to
their interest, they moored themselves to this
anchor. Since the hostile dispositions lately
manifested by the Eastern States, they would
be less willing than before to place themselves
at their mercy; and the rather, as
the Eastern States have no exports which
can be taxed equivalently. It is possible,
however, that this difficulty might be got
over; but the subject looking forward beyond
my time, I leave it to those to whom its burdens and benefits will belong, adding
only my prayers for whatever may be best
for our country.—
To Andrew G. Mitchell. Washington ed. vi, 483.
(M. 1815)

2844. EXTRAVAGANCE, Deplored.—

All my letters [from America] are filled with
details of our extravagance. From these accounts,
I look back to the time of the war
as a time of happiness and enjoyment, when
amidst the privation of many things not essential
to happiness, we could not run in debt,
because nobody would trust us; when we
practiced by necessity the maxim of buying
nothing but what we had money in our pockets
to pay for; a maxim which, of all others,
lays the broadest foundation for happiness.—
To Mr. Shipwith. Washington ed. ii, 191.
(P. 1787)

2845. EXTRAVAGANCE, Discontent and.—

A continuation of inconsiderate expense
seems to have raised the [French] nation to the highest pitch of discontent.—
To M. de Crevecœur. Washington ed. ii, 234.
(P. 1787)

2846. EXTRAVAGANCE, Evil of.—

I consider the extravagance which has seized
[my countrymen] as a more baneful evil than
toryism was during the war. It is the more
so, as the example is set by the best and
most amiable characters among us.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 550. Ford ed., iv, 214.
(P. 1786)

2847. EXTRAVAGANCE, Governmental.—

If we can prevent the government
from wasting the labors of the people, under
the pretence of taking care of them, they
must become happy.—
To Thomas Cooper, Washington ed. iv, 453. Ford ed., viii, 178.
(W. 1802)

2848. EXTRAVAGANCE, Governmental.—[continued].

Private fortunes are destroyed
by public as well as by private extravagance.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 14. Ford ed., x, 42.
(M. 1816)

2849. EXTRAVAGANCE, Governmental.—[further continued].

The increase of expense
beyond income is an indication soliciting the
employment of the pruning knife.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 212. Ford ed., x, 188.
(M. 1821)

2850. EXTRAVAGANCE, Wanton.—

Our predecessors, in order to increase expense,
debt, taxation, and patronage, tried
always how much they could give.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 445. Ford ed., viii, 191.
(W. 1803)