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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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4301. LABOR, Destroying.—

All the energies [
of European nations] are expended in the destruction of the labor, property and
lives of their people.—
To President Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 288. Ford ed., x, 257.
(M. 1823)

4302. LABOR, Distribution.—

In Europe,
the best distribution of labor is supposed to
be that which places the manufacturing hands
alongside the agricultural; so that the one
part shall feed both, and the other part furnish
both with clothes and other comforts.
Would that be best here? Egoism and first
appearances say yes. Or would it be better
that all our laborers should be employed in
agriculture? In this case a double or treble
portion of fertile lands would be brought into
culture; a double or treble creation of food
be produced, and its surplus go to nourish the
now perishing births of Europe, who in return
would manufacture and send us in exchange
our clothes and other comforts.—
To M. Say. Washington ed. iv, 527.
(W. Feb. 1804)

4303. LABOR, Distribution.—[continued].

I was once a doubter
whether the labor of the cultivator, aided by
the creative powers of the earth itself, would
not produce more value than that of the manufacturer,
alone and unassisted by the dead
subject on which he acted. In other words,
whether the more we could bring into action
of the energies of our boundless territory, in
addition to the labor of our citizens, the more
would not be our gain? But the inventions of
later times, by labor-saving machines, do as
much now for the manufacturer, as the earth
for the cultivator. Experience, too, has proved
that mine was but half the question. The other
half is whether dollars and cents are to be
weighed in the scale against real independence?
The whole question then is solved; at
least as far as respects our wants.—
To William Sampson. Ford ed., x, 73.
(M. 1817)

See Manufactures.

4304. LABOR, Earnings of.—

Take not
from the mouth of labor the bread it has
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 4. Ford ed., viii, 4.

4305. LABOR, Economy and.—

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.
See Economy.

4306. LABOR, European governments and.—

To constrain the brute force of the people,
the European governments deem it nec


Page 459
essary to keep them down by hard labor,
poverty and ignorance, and to take from
them, as from bees, so much of their earnings,
as that unremitting labor shall be necessary
to obtain a sufficient surplus to sustain a
scanty and miserable life.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 291. Ford ed., x, 226.
(M. 1823)

4307. LABOR, Fruits of.—

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)

4308. LABOR, Government and.—

It behooves
us to avail ourselves of every occasion
* * * for taking off the surcharge[of offices and expense] that it may never be seen
here that, after leaving to labor the smallest
portion of its earnings on which it can subsist,
government shall itself consume the residue
of what it was instituted to guard.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 10. Ford ed., viii, 120.
(Dec. 1801)

4309. LABOR, Land and.—

Where land
is cheap, and rich, and labor dear, the same
labor, spread in a slighter culture over 100
acres, will produce more profit than if concentrated
by the highest degree of cultivation
on a small portion of the lands. When the
virgin fertility of the soil becomes exhausted,
it becomes better to cultivate less, and well.
The only difficulty is to know at what point
of deterioration in the land, the culture should
be increased, and in what degree. [277]
Notes On Arthur Young's Letter. Ford ed., vi, 85.


Arthur Young, an English writer on agriculture,
wrote to President Washington respecting American
lands and their cultivation. Jefferson was consulted
on the subject by Washington.—Editor.

4310. LABOR, Manufactures, Commerce and.—

Too little reliance is to be had on a
steady and certain course of commerce with the
countries of Europe to permit us to depend
more on that than we cannot avoid. Our
best interest would be to employ our principal
labor in agriculture, because to the profits of
labor, which is dear, this adds the profits of
our lands, which are cheap. But the risk of
hanging our prosperity on the fluctuating
counsels and caprices of others renders it
wise in us to turn seriously to manufactures,
and if Europe will not let us carry our provisions
to their manufactures, we must endeavor
to bring their manufactures to our
To David Humphreys. Ford ed., v, 344.
(Pa., June. 1791)

See Commerce and Manufactures.

4311. LABOR, Nobility of.—

My new
trade of nail-making is to me in this country
what an additional title of nobility is, or the
ensigns of a new order are in Europe.—
To M. De Meunier. Ford ed., vii, 14.
(M. 1795)

See Jefferson.

4312. LABOR, Parasites on.—

I think
we have more machinery of government than
is necessary, too many parasites living on the
labor of the industrious.—
To William Ludlow. Washington ed. vii, 378.
(M. 1824)

See Economy.

4313. LABOR, Plundering.—

No other depositories of power[but the people themselves] have ever yet been found, which did
not end in converting to their own profit the
earnings of those committed to their charge.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 36. Ford ed., x, 45.
(M. 1816)

4314. LABOR, Prosperity, Agriculture and.—

A prosperity built on the basis of agriculture
is that which is most desirable to us,
because to the efforts of labor it adds the
efforts of a greater proportion of soil.—
Circular to Consuls. Washington ed. iii, 431.
(Pa., 1792)
See Agriculture.

4315. LABOR, Protecting.—

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)

See Protection.

4316. LABOR, Rioting on.—

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)

4317. LABOR, War and.—

It is[the people's] sweat which is to earn all the expenses of the war, and their blood which is to flow
in expiation of the causes of it.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 272. Ford ed., vii, 334.
(Pa., 1799)

4318. LABORERS, America settled by.

—Our ancestors who migrated hither were
laborers, not lawyers.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 139. Ford ed., i, 444.

4319. LABORERS, American.—

The great
mass of our population is of laborers; our
rich, who can live without labor, either manual
or professional, being few, and of moderate
wealth. Most of the laboring class
possess property, cultivate their own lands,
have families, and from the demand for their
labor are enabled to exact from the rich
and the competent such prices as enable them
to be fed abundantly, clothed above mere
decency, to labor moderately and raise their
families. They are not driven to the ultimate
resources of dexterity and skill, because their
wares will sell although not quite so nice as
those of England. The wealthy, on the other
hand, and those at their ease, know nothing
of what the Europeans call luxury. They
have only somewhat more of the comforts
and decencies of life than those who furnish
them. Can any condition of life be more desirable
than this?—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 377.
(M. 1814)

4320. LABORERS, Encouraging foreign.—

If foreigners come of themselves they
are entitled to all the rights of citizenship;
but I doubt the expediency of inviting them
by extraordinary encouragements. I mean not
that these doubts should be extended to the


Page 460
importation of useful artificers. The policy of
that measure depends on very different considerations.
Spare no expense in obtaining
them. They will after a while go to the plow
and the hoe; but, in the meantime, they will
teach us something we do not know.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 332. Ford ed., iii, 190.

4321. LABORERS, English aristocracy and.—

In the hands of the[English] aristocracy,
the paupers are used as tools to maintain
their own wretchedness, and to keep
down the laboring portion by shooting them
whenever the desperation produced by the
cravings of their stomachs drives them into
riots. Such is the happiness of scientific England.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 377.
(M. 1814)

4322. LABORERS, English aristocracy and.—[continued].

The aristocracy of England,
which comprehends the nobility, the
wealthy commoners, the high grades of priesthood,
and the officers of government, have the
laws and government in their hands[and] have so managed them as to reduce the
eleemosynary class, or paupers, who are
about one-fifth of the whole, below the
means of supporting life, even by labor.
[They] have forced the laboring class,
whether employed in agriculture or the arts,
to the maximum of labor which the construction
of the human body can endure, and to
the minimum of food, and of the meanest
kind, which will preserve it in life, and in
strength sufficient to perform its functions.
To obtain food enough, and clothing, not
only their whole strength must be unremittingly
exerted, but the utmost dexterity also,
which they can acquire; and those of great
dexterity only can keep their ground, while
those of less must sink into the class of
paupers. Nor is it manual dexterity alone,
but the acutest resources of the mind also,
which are impressed into this struggle for
life; and such as have means a little above
the rest, as the master-workman, for instance,
must strengthen themselves by acquiring as
much of the philosophy of their trade as will
enable them to compete with their rivals, and
keep themselves above ground. Hence, the
industry and manual dexterity of their
journeymen and day-laborers, and the science
of their master-workmen, keep them in the
foremost ranks of competition with those of
other nations; and the less dexterous individuals,
falling into the eleemosynary ranks,
furnish materials for armies and navies to
defend their country, exercise piracy on the
ocean, and carry conflagration, plunder and
devastation to the shores of all those who
endeavor to withstand their aggressions.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 376.
(M. 1814)

4323. LABORERS, English aristocracy and.—[further continued].

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

4324. LABORERS, Federal taxes and.—

The poor man in this country who uses nothing
but what is made within his own farm or
family, or within the United States, pays not
a farthing of tax to the General Government
but on his salt; and should we go into
that manufacture, as we ought to do, we will
pay not one cent.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 584. Ford ed., ix, 321.
(M. 1811)

4325. LABORERS, French.—

The encroachments [
in France] by the men on the
offices proper for the women, is a great derangement
in the order of things. Men are
shoemakers, tailors, upholsterers, staymakers,
mantuamakers, cooks, housekeepers, housecleaners [
and] bedmakers. The women,
therefore, to live, are obliged to undertake the
offices which they abandon. They become
porters, carters, reapers, sailors, lock-keepers,
smiters on the anvil, cultivators of the earth,
Travels in France. Washington ed. ix, 351.

4326. LABORERS, French.—[continued].

I set out * * * to take a view of Fontainbleau. For this purpose
I shaped my course towards the highest
of the mountains in sight, to the top of
which was about a league. As soon as I
had got clear of the town I fell in with a
poor woman walking at the same rate with
myself, and going in the same course. Wishing
to know the condition of the laboring
poor, I entered into conversation with her,
which I began by enquiries for the path which
would lead me into the mountain; and thence
proceeded to enquiries into her vocation, condition
and circumstances. She told me she
was a day laborer, at eight sous, or four
pence sterling the day; that she had two
children to maintain, and to pay a rent of
thirty livres for her house (which would consume
the hire of seventy-five days), that often
she could get no employment, and of course
was without bread. As we had walked together
near a mile, and she had so far served
me as a guide, I gave her, on parting, twenty-four
sous. She burst into tears of a gratitude
which I could perceive was unfeigned because
she was unable to utter a word. She had
probably never before received so great an
To Rev. James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 34.
(Pa., 1785)

4327. LABORERS, French.—[further continued].

The laboring people in
France are poorer than in England. They pay
about one-half their produce in rent; the
English, in general, about a third.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 549. Ford ed., iv, 213.
(P. 1786)

4328. LABORERS, Importing.—

Do you
not think it would be expedient to take measures
for importing a number of Germans and
Highlanders? This need not be to such an
extent as to prevent the employment of
eastern laborers, which is eligible for particular
reasons. If you approve of the im


Page 461
portation of Germans, and have a good
channel for it, you will use it, of course. If
you have no channel, I can help you to one. [278]
To Messrs. Johnson, Carroll, and Stewart. Washington ed. iii, 337.
(Pa., 1792)


Johnson, Carroll, and Stewart were the Commissioners
of Washington City.—Editor.

4329. LABORERS, Imprisoned.—

even under a course of correction, might be rendered useful in various labors for
the public, and would be living and long-continued
spectacles to deter others from committing
the like offences.—
Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 148. Ford ed., ii, 204.

4330. LABORERS, Imprisoned.—[continued].

Exhibited as a public spectacle,
with shaved heads and mean clothing,
working on the high roads, produced in the
criminals such a prostration of character, such
an abandonment of self-respect, as, instead of
reforming, plunged them into the most desperate
and hardened depravity of morals and
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 45. Ford ed., i, 53.

4331. LABORERS, Jefferson and.—

made a point of paying my workmen in preference
to all other claimants. I never parted
with one without settling with him, and giving
him either his money or my note. Every
person that ever worked for me can attest
this, and that I always paid their notes pretty
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., v, 34.
(P. 1788)

4332. LABORERS, Skilled.—

While we
have land to labor, let us never wish to see
our citizens occupied at a work-bench or
twirling a distaff. Carpenters, masons,
smiths, are wanting in husbandry; but, for
the general operations of manufacture, let our
workshops remain in Europe. It is better to
carry provisions and materials to workmen
there, than bring them to the provisions and
materials, and with them their manners and
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 405. Ford ed., iii, 269.

See Artisans and Manufacturers.

4333. LABORERS, Slave vs. English.—

Nor in the class of laborers do I mean to
withhold from the comparison that portion
whose color has condemned them, in certain
parts of our Union, to a subjection to the will
of others. Even these are better fed in these
States, warmer clothed, and labor less than
the journeymen or day-laborers of England.
They have the comfort, too, of numerous
families, in the midst of whom they live without
want, or fear of it; a solace which few
of the laborers of England possess. They are
subject, it is true, to bodily coercion; but are
not the hundreds of thousands of British
soldiers and seamen subject to the same, without
seeing, at the end of their career, when
age and accident shall have rendered them
unequal to labor, the certainty, which the
other has, that he will never want? And
has not the British seaman, as much as the
African, been reduced to this bondage by
force, in flagrant violation of his own consent,
and of his natural right in his own per
son? And with the laborers of England generally,
does not the moral coercion of want
subject their will as despotically to that of
their employer, as the physical constraint does
the soldier, the seaman or the slave? But
do not mistake me. I am not advocating
slavery. I am not justifying the wrongs we
have committed on a foreign people, by the
example of another nation committing equal
wrongs on their own subjects. On the contrary,
there is nothing I would not sacrifice
to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige
of this moral and political depravity. But
I am, at present, comparing the condition and
degree of suffering to which oppression has
reduced the man of one color, with the condition
and degree of suffering to which oppression
has reduced the man of another
color; equally condemning both.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 378.
(M. 1814)

4334. LABORERS, Treatment of slave.

—My first wish is that the[colored] laborers
may be well treated; the second that they
may enable me to have that treatment continued
by making as much as will admit it.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 508.
(Pa., 17921792)gt;

4335. LABORERS, White vs. Black.—

The negro does not perform quite as much
work[as the white man performs] nor with
as much intelligence.—
Notes on Arthur Young's Letter. Ford ed., vi, 84.

4336. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Atlas of Patriot Party.—

He was the head and
Atlas of the Patriot party[of the French
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 106. Ford ed., i, 147.

4337. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Busts of.—

The Commonwealth of Virginia, in gratitude
for the services of Major General, the
Marquis de Lafayette, have determined to erect
his bust in their Capitol. Desirous to place a
like monument of his worth, and of their sense
of it, in the country to which they are indebted
for his birth, they have hoped that the city of
Paris will consent to become the depository of
this second testimony of their gratitude. Being
charged by them with the execution of their
wishes, I have the honor to solicit of Messieurs
Le Prevot des Marchands et Echevins, on behalf
of the city, their acceptance of a bust of
this gallant officer, and that they will be pleased
to place it where, doing most honor to him,
it will most gratify the feelings of an allied
nation. It is with true pleasure that I obey the
call of that Commonwealth to render just homage
to a character so great in its first developments,
that they would honor the close of any
other. Their country, covered by a small army
against a great one, their exhausted means supplied
by his talents, their enemies finally forced
to that spot whither their allies and confederates
were collecting to receive them, and a war
which had spread its miseries into the four
quarters of the earth, thus reduced to a single
point where one blow should terminate it, and
through the whole, an implicit respect paid to
the laws of the land; these are facts which
would illustrate any character, and which fully
justify the warmth of those feelings, of which
I have the honor on this occasion to be the
To the Prevot des Marchands et Echevins De Paris. Washington ed. ii, 29.
(P. 1786)


Page 462

4338. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Busts of.—[continued].

The first of the busts of
the Marquis de Lafayette will be finished next
month. I shall present that one to the city of
Paris, because the delay has been noticed by
some. [279]
To Governor Henry. Washington ed. i, 514. Ford ed., iv, 135.
(Pa., 1786)


Jefferson, in behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia,
presented a bust of Lafayette to the City of
Paris in September, 1786. Carlyle, in his history of
the French Revolution (Book v, chapter 8) refers to
this bust as follows: “But surely, for one thing, the
National Guard should have a General! Moreau de
Saint-Méry, he of the `three thousand orders', casts
one of his significant glances on the Bust of Lafayette,
which has stood there ever since the American
War of Liberty. Whereupon, by acclamation, Lafayette
is nominated.”—Editor.

4339. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Busts of.—[further continued].

The inauguration of the
bust of the Marquis de Lafayette has been attended
with a considerable but a necessary delay.
The principle that the King is the sole
fountain of honor in this country opposed a
barrier to our desires, which threatened to be
insurmountable. No instance of a similar proposition
from a foreign power had occurred in
their history. The admitting it in this case,
is a singular proof of the King's friendly disposition
towards the States of America, and
of his personal esteem for the Marquis de
To Governor Randolph. Washington ed. ii, 118.
(P. 1787)

4340. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Dishonored.—

The Marquis de Lafayette, for
signing the prayer which the deputies from
Bretagne were to present, * * * has been disgraced
in the old-fashioned language of the
country; that is to say, the command in the
South of France this summer, which[the government] had given him, is taken away. This
dishonors him at Court, * * * but it will probably
honor him in the eyes of the nation.—
To Mrs. Cutting. Washington ed. ii, 439.
(P. 1788)

4341. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Dishonored.—[continued].

The disgrace of the Marquis
de Lafayette, which at any other period of
their history would have had the worst consequences
for him, will on the contrary, mark
him favorably to the nation, at present. During
the present administration he can expect nothing;
but perhaps it may serve him with their
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 443. Ford ed., v, 43.
(P. 1788)

4342. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Dishonored.—[further continued].

He is disgraced, in the
ancient language of the court, but in truth
honorably marked in the eyes of the nation. The
ministers are so sensible of this, that they have
had, separately, private conferences with him,
to endeavor through him to keep things quiet.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 452.
(P. 1788)

4343. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Dishonored.—[further continued] .

The Marquis de Lafayette
is out of favor with the Court, but in high favor with the nation. I once feared for his
personal liberty, but I hope he is on safe ground
at present.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 538. Ford ed., v, 60.
(P. 1788)

4344. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Dishonored.—[further continued].

There has been a little
foundation for the reports and fears relative to
the Marquis de Lafayette. He has from the
beginning taken openly part with those who
demand a constitution; and there was a moment
that we apprehended the Bastile; but
they ventured on nothing more than to take
from him a temporary service on which he
had been ordered; and this, more to save appearances
for their own authority than anything
else; for at the very moment they pretended
that they had put him into disgrace, they
were constantly conferring and communicating
with him. Since this, he has stood on safe
ground, and is viewed as among the foremost of
the Patriots.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 563. Ford ed., v, 64.
(P. 1789)

4345. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Doyen of heroes.—

Among the few survivors
of our Revolutionary struggles, you are as
distinguished in my affections, as in the eyes of
the world, and especially in those of this country.
You are now, I believe, the doyen of our
military heroes, and may I not say of the soldiers
of liberty in the world?—
To Marquis Lafayette. Ford ed., x, 228.
(M. 1822)

4346. LAFAYETTE. (Marquis de), Fame.—

Of him we may truly say, as was said
of Germanicus, “fruitur famâ sui”.
To Edward Everett. Washington ed. vii, 381.
(M. 1824)

4347. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Foibles.—

He has a great deal of sound genius, is well remarked by the King, and rising
in popularity. He has nothing against him
but the suspicion of republican principles. I
think he will one day be of the ministry. His
foible is a canine appetite for popularity and
fame; but he will get above this.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 108. Ford ed., iv, 366.
(P. 1787)

4348. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), France and America.—

Teach your children
to be, as you are, a cement between our two
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 132. Ford ed., v, 153.
(N.Y., 1790)

4349. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), France and America.—[continued].

The Marquis de Lafayette
stands in such a relation between America
and France, that I should think him perfectly
capable of seizing what is just[commercially] as to both. Perhaps on some occasion of free
conversation, you might find an opportunity of
impressing these truths[respecting commerce
with the West Indies] on his mind, and that
from him, they might be let out at a proper moment,
as matters meriting consideration and
weight, when[the National Assembly] shall be
engaged in the work of forming a constitution
for our neighbors.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 276. Ford ed., v, 364.
(Pa., 1791)

4350. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), France and America.—[further continued].

I think the return of Lafayette
to Paris insures a reconciliation between
them and us. He will so entwist himself with
the envoys that they will not be able to draw off.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 320. Ford ed., vii, 423.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

4351. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), And French liberty.—

Behold you, then, my dear
friend, at the head of a great army, establishing
the liberties of your country against a foreign
enemy. May heaven favor your cause,
and make you the channel through which it May
pour its favors.—
To General Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 450. Ford ed., vi, 78.
(Pa., June. 1792)

4352. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Friendship for.—

I have never ceased to cherish
a sincere friendship for you, and to take
a lively interest in your sufferings and losses.
It would make me happy to learn that they are
to have an end.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. iv, 363.
(W. March. 1801)

4353. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Friendship for.—[continued].

Old men do not easily
contract new friendships, but neither do they
forget old ones. Yours and mine, commenced
in times too awful, has continued through times
too trying and changeful to be forgotten at the
moment when our chief solace is in our recollections.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Ford ed., ix, 302.
(M. 1811)


Page 463

4354. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Gifts of Land.—

I am persuaded, that a gift
of lands by the State of Virginia to the Marquis
de Lafayette would give a good opinion
here[France] of our character, and would reflect
honor on the Marquis. Nor, am I sure
that the day will not come when it might be an
useful asylum to him. The time of life at
which he visited America was too well adapted
to receive good and lasting impressions to permit
him ever to accommodate himself to the
principles of monarchical government; and it
will need all his own prudence, and that of his
friends, to make this country a safe residence
for him. How glorious, how comfortable in reflection,
will it be, to have prepared a refuge
for him in case of a reverse. In the meantime,
he could settle it with tenants from the freest
part of this country, Bretagne. I have never
suggested the smallest idea of this kind to him;
because the execution of it should convey the
first notice. If the State has not a right to give
him lands with their own officers, they could
buy up at cheap prices the shares of others.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 533. Ford ed., iv, 195.
(P. 1786)

4355. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Gifts of Land.—[continued].

The acquisition of Louisiana
* * * has enabled us to do a handsome
thing for Lafayette. He had received a grant
of between eleven and twelve thousand acres
north of Ohio, worth, perhaps, a dollar an acre.
We have obtained permission of Congress to
locate it in Louisiana. Locations can be found
adjacent to the city of New Orleans, in the
island of New Orleans and in its vicinity, the
value of which cannot be calculated.—
To Philip Mazzei. Washington ed. iv, 554.
(W. 1804)

4356. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Gifts of Land.—[further continued].

I wrote in April to Governor
Claiborne in these words: “Congress has
permitted lots to be taken for M. de Lafayette
as low as five hundred acres. This secures to
us the parcel on the canal of Carondelet; but
at the same time cuts off those similar locations
proposed by M. Duplantier. Indeed, it would
not be for the interest of the General to let his
claim get into collision with any public interest.
Were it to lose its popularity, it might excite an
apparition neither agreeable to his feelings nor
interest.” This may already have produced
some effect towards abating the expectations of
M. Duplantier and the fears of the city. Still,
I think it better that Mr. Madison should write
explicitly to him. Indeed, I think we had better
have a consultation, and determine on the
proper limits of the public reservation. For,
however justifiably desirous we may be to relieve
a man who stands so high in the public
affection as Lafayette, still, it should be only by
granting to him such lands as would be granted
to others if not located by him.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 454.
(M. June. 1806)

4357. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Gifts of Land.—[further continued] .

M. Duplantier's zeal had,
in one instance, led us to fear you would be injured
by it. He had comprehended in his
location not only the grounds vacant of all
title in the vicinity of New Orleans, which had
been a principal object in my eye to enable you
speedily to raise a sum of money, but also
grounds which had been reserved and were
necessary for the range of the forts, which had
been left open as a common for the citizens.
Knowing this would excite reclamations dangerous
to your interests, and threatening their
popularity both there and here, I wrote immediately
to Governor Claiborne to get him to
withdraw to a certain extent (about point blank
shot) from the fort, the grounds within that
being necessary for the public. But, in the
meantime, an alarm was excited in the town,
and they instructed their representative in Congress
to claim, for the use of the town and
public, the whole of the vacant lands in its
vicinity. Mr. Gallatin, however, effected a compromise
with him by ceding the grounds next
to the fort, so as to leave your claim clear to all
the lands we originally contemplated for you.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Ford ed., ix, 65.
(W. May. 1807)

4358. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Gifts of Land.—[further continued].

I hope Congress is prepared
to go through with their compliment[to
Lafayette] worthily; that they do not mean to
invite him merely to dine; that provision should
be made for his expenses here, which you know
he cannot afford, and that they will not send
him back empty-handed. This would place
us under indelible disgrace in Europe. Some
three or four good townships in Missouri, or
Louisiana or Alabama, &c., should be in readiness
for him, and may restore his family to the
opulence which his virtues have lost to them.—
To President Monroe. Ford ed., x, 294.
(M. 1824)

4359. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Hampered by instructions.—

As it becomes more
and more possible that the Noblesse will go
wrong, I become uneasy for you. Your principles
are decidedly with the Tiers Etat, and
your instructions against them. A complaisance
to the latter on some occasions, and an adherence
to the former on others, may give
an appearance of trimming between the two
parties, which may lose you both. You will
in the end go over wholly to the Tiers Etat, because
it will be impossible for you to live in
a constant sacrifice of your own sentiments to
the prejudices of the Noblesse. But you would
be received by the Tiers Etat at any future day,
coldly, and without confidence. This appears
to me the moment to take at once that honest
and manly stand with them which your principles
dictate. This will win their hearts forever,
be approved by the world, which marks
and honors you as the man of the people, and
will be an eternal consolation to yourself. The
Noblesse, and especially the Noblesse of
Auvergne, will always prefer men who will do
their dirty work for them. You are not made
for that. They will, therefore, soon drop you,
and the people in that case will perhaps not take
you up. Suppose a scission should take place.
The priests and Nobles will secede, the nation
will remain in place, and, with the King, will
do its own business. If violence should be attempted,
where will you be? You cannot then
take side with the people in opposition to your
own vote, that very vote which will have helped
to produce the scission. Still less can you array
yourself against the people. That is impossible.
Your instructions are indeed a difficulty. But
to state this at its worst, it is only a single difficulty,
which a single effort surmounts. Your
instructions can never embarrass you a second
time, whereas an acquiescence under them will
reproduce greater difficulties every day, and
without end. Besides, a thousand circumstances
offer as many justifications of your departure
from your instructions. Will it be impossible
to persuade all parties that (as for good legislation
two houses are necessary) the placing the
privileged classes together in one house, and
the unprivileged in another, would be better
than a scission? I own, I think it would.
People can never agree without some sacrifices;
and it appears but a moderate sacrifice in each
party, to meet on this middle ground. The
attempt to bring this about might satisfy your


Page 464
instructions, and a failure in it would justify
your siding with the people, even to those who
think instructions are laws of conduct. Forgive
me, my dear friend, if my anxiety for you
makes me talk of things I know nothing about.
You must not consider this as advice. I know
you and myself too well to presume to offer
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 20. Ford ed., v, 91.
(P. May. 1789)

4360. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Hampered by instructions.—[continued].

I am in great pain for
the Marquis de Lafayette. His principles, you
know, are clearly with the people; but having
been elected for the Noblesse of Auvergne,
they have laid him under express instructions
to vote for the decision by orders and not persons.
This would ruin him with the Tiers Etat, and it is not possible he could continue long
to give satisfaction to the Noblesse. I have not
hesitated to press on him to burn his instructions,
and follow his conscience as the only
sure clue, which will eternally guide a man
clear of all doubts and inconsistencies. If he
cannot effect a conciliatory plan, he will surely
take his stand manfully at once with the Tiers
He will in that case be what he pleases
with them, and I am in hopes that base is now
too solid to render it dangerous to be mounted
on it.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. iii, 31. Ford ed., v, 96.
(P. 1789)

4361. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Hampered by instructions.—[further continued].

Forty-eight of the Nobles
have joined the Tiers Etat. * * * The Marquis
de Lafayette could not be of the number, being
restrained by his instructions. He is writing
to his constituents to change his instructions,
or to accept his resignation.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 62.
(P. June. 1789)

4362. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Happier in France.—

Measuring happiness by
the American scale, and sincerely wishing that
of yourself and family, we had been anxious
to see them established on this side of the great
water. But I am not certain that any equivalent
can be found for the loss of that species
of society, to which our habits have been formed
from infancy.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 129. Ford ed., ix, 113.
(W. 1807)

4363. LAFAYETTE, Imprisoned.—

one has wished with more anxiety to see him
once more in the bosom of a nation, who, knowing
his works and his worth, desire to make
him and his family forever their own. [280]
To M. de Lafayette. Washington ed. iv, 145.


M. de Lafayette was the son of Marquis de Lafayette,
and in the United States when Jefferson
wrote to him. The Washington Administration interceded
in behalf of Lafayette and secured his release.—Editor.

4364. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Imprudent but innocent.—

From what I learn
from Viscount Noailles, Lafayette has been
more imprudent than I expected, but certainly
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iii, 550. Ford ed., vi, 240.
(Pa., May. 1793)

4365. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Louisiana and.—

I very much wished your presence
in New Orleans during the late conspiracy
of Burr. * * * It would have been of value, as
a point of union and confidence, for the ancient
inhabitants, American as well as Creole.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Ford ed., ix, 665.
(W. May. 1807)

4366. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Louisiana and.—[continued].

Had you been, as I
wished, at the head of the government of Orleans,
Burr would never have given me one
moment's uneasiness. [281]
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 129. Ford ed., ix, 113.
(W. 1807)


Lafayette was Jefferson's first choice for Governor
of Orleans after its acquisition. See Claiborne.—Editor.

4367. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), A Notable.—

Lafayette's name was placed on the
list of Notables originally. Afterwards his
name disappeared, but finally was reinstated.
This shows that his character here is not considered
as an indifferent one, and that it excites
agitation. His education in our school has
drawn on him a very jealous eye from a court
whose principles are the most absolute despotism.
* * * The King, who is a good man, is
favorably disposed towards him, and he is supported
by powerful family connections, and by
the public good will. He is the youngest
man of the Notables except one whose office
placed him on the list.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 99. Ford ed., iv, 358.
(P. 1787)

4368. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), In peace and war.—

I joy, my friends, in your joy, inspired by the visit of this our ancient and
distinguished leader and benefactor. His deeds
in the War of Independence you have heard
and read. They are known to you and embalmed
in your memories and in the pages of
faithful history. His deeds in the peace which
followed that war, are perhaps not known to
you; but I can attest them. When I was stationed
in his country, for the purpose of cementing
its friendship with ours and of advancing
our mutual interests, this friend of both was
my most powerful auxiliary and advocate. He
made our cause his own, as in truth it was that
of his native country also. His influence and
connections there were great. All doors of all
departments were open to him at all times; to
me only formally and at appointed times. In
truth I only held the nail, he drove it. Honor
him, then, as your benefactor in peace as well
as in war.—
Speech at Charlottesville Dinner. D. L. J.391.

4369. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Promoter of commerce.—

The assistance of M. de Lafayette in the whole of this business[promoting
commerce] has been so earnest and so
efficacious, that I am in duty bound to place
it under the eye of Congress, as worthy their
notice on this occasion. Their thanks, or such
other notice as they think proper, would be
grateful to him without doubt. He has richly
deserved and will continue to deserve it, whenever
occasions shall arise of rendering services
to the United States.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 47.
(P. 1786)

4370. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Promoter of commerce.—[continued].

The Marquis de Lafayette
is a most valuable auxiliary to me. His
zeal is unbounded, and his weight with those in
power great. His education having been
merely military, commerce was an unknown
field to him. But his good sense enabling him
to apprehend perfectly whatever is explained
to him, his agency has been very efficacious.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 108. Ford ed., iv, 366.
(P. 1787)

4371. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Promoter of commerce.—[further continued].

The Marquis de Lafayette
goes hand in hand with me in all these
[commercial treaty] transactions, and is an invaluable
auxiliary to me. I hope it will not be
imputed either to partiality or affection, my
naming this gentleman so often in my dispatches.
Were I not to do it, it would be a suppression
of truth, and the taking to myself the
whole merit where he has the greatest share.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 228.
(P. 1787)


Page 465

4372. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Promoter of commerce.—[further continued] .

I was powerfully aided by all the influence and the energies of the
Marquis de Lafayette[in the commercial negotiations
with France], who proved himself
equally zealous for the friendship and welfare
of both nations.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 64. Ford ed., i, 90.

4373. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Reminiscences.—

What a history have we to run over from the evening that yourself, Monsieur
Berman, and other patriots settled, in my house
in Paris, the outlines of the constitution you
wished! And to trace it through all the disastrous
chapters of Robespierre, Barras, Bonaparte,
and the Bourbons! These things, however,
are for our meeting.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 378. Ford ed., x, 320.
(M. 1824)

4374. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Revisiting America.—

I have received * * * your letter * * * giving the welcome assurance
that you will visit the neighborhood which, during
the march of our enemy near it, was covered
by his shield from his robberies and ravages.
In passing the line of your former march you
will experience pleasing recollections of the
good you have done. My neighbors of our
academical village have expressed to you * * * their hope that you will accept manifestations
of their feelings, simple indeed, but as cordial
as any you will have received. It will be an
additional honor to the University of the State
that you will have been its first guest.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 378. Ford ed., x, 320.
(M. 1824)

4375. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Revisiting America.—[continued].

You will have seen by
our papers the delirium into which our citizens
are thrown by a visit from General Lafayette.
He is making a triumphant progress through the
States, from town to town, with acclamations
of welcome, such as no crowned head ever
received. It will have a good effect in favor
of the General with the people in Europe, but
probably a different one with their sovereigns.
Its effect here, too, will be salutary as to ourselves,
by rallying us together and strengthening
the habit of considering our country as one
and indivisible, and I hope we shall close it with
something more solid for him than dinners and
balls. The eclat of this visit has almost merged
the presidential question, on which nothing
scarcely is said in our papers.—
To Richard Rush. Washington ed. vii, 380. Ford ed., x, 322.
(M. Oct. 1824)

4376. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Value to France.—

Take care of yourself, * * * for though I think your nation would in any
event work out her salvation, I am persuaded
were she to lose you, it would cost her oceans
of blood, and years of confusion and anarchy.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 132. Ford ed., v, 153.
(N.Y., April. 1790)

4377. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Washington and.—

The President has seen
with satisfaction that the Ministers of the
United States in Europe, while they have
avoided an useless commitment of their nation
on the subject of the Marquis de Lafayette, have
nevertheless shown themselves attentive to his
situation. The interest which the President
himself, and our citizens in general take in the
welfare of this gentleman, is great and sincere,
and will entirely justify all prudent efforts
to save him. I am, therefore, to desire that
you will avail yourself of every opportunity of
sounding the way towards his liberation, of
finding out whether those in whose power he is
are very tenacious of him, of insinuating
through such channels as you shall think suitable,
the attentions of the government and people
of the United States to this object, and
the interest they take in it, and of procuring his
liberation by informal solicitations, if possible.
But if formal ones be necessary, and the moment
should arrive when you shall find that
they will be effectual, you are authorized to
signify, through such channels as you shall find
suitable, that our government and nation, faithful
in their attachments to this gentleman for
the services he has rendered them, feel a lively
interest in his welfare, and will view his liberation
as a mark of consideration and friendship
for the United States, and as a new motive for
esteem, and a reciprocation of kind offices towards
the power to whom they shall be indebted
for this act. A like letter being written to Mr.
Pinckney, you will of course take care, that
however you may act through different channels,
there be still a sufficient degree of concert
in your proceedings.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 524. Ford ed., vi, 202.
(Pa., March. 1793)

4378. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Washington and.—[continued].

For Lafayette my heart
has been constantly bleeding. The influence of
the United States has been put into action, as
far as it could be either with decency or effect.
But I fear that distance and difference of principle
give little hold to General Washington on
the jailers of Lafayette. However, his friends
may be assured that our zeal has not been inactive.—
To Mrs. Church. Ford ed., vi, 454.
(G. Nov. 1793)

4379. LAFAYETTE (Marquis de), Zeal of.—

He offered his services with that zeal
which commands them on every occasion respecting
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 567. Ford ed., iv, 224.
(P. 1786)

See France, Jefferson and Revolution (French).

— LAFITAU (Joseph Francis), Views on Indians.—

See Indians.

4380. LAKE GEORGE, Beauties of.—

Lake George is without comparison, the most
beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour
of mountains into a basin thirty-five miles
long, and two or four miles broad, finely interspersed
with islands, its waters limpid as
crystal, and the mountain sides covered with
rich groves of thuja, silver fir, white pine,
aspen, and paper birch down to the water-edge;
here and there precipices of rock to checker
the scene and save it from monotony. * * * Lake Champlain, though much larger, is a far
less pleasant water. It is muddy, turbulent, and
yields little game.—
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. Ford ed., v, 337.

4381. LAMPS, Improvement in.—

There has been a lamp called the cylinder lamp [282] lately
invented here. It gives a light equal, as is
thought, to that of six or eight candles. It requires
olive oil, but its consumption is not great.
The improvement is produced by forcing the
wick into a hollow cylinder, so that there is a
passage for the air through the hollow. The
idea had occurred to Dr. Franklin a year or two
before, but he tried his experiment with a
rush, which not succeeding he did not prosecute
it. The fact was the rush formed too small
a cylinder; the one used is of an inch diameter,—
To Charles Thomson. Ford ed., iv, 13.
(P. 1784)


Argand's lamp.—Editor.

4382. LAND, Allodial and Feudal tenures.—

An error in the nature of our land


Page 466
holdings * * * crept in at a very early period
of our settlement. The introduction of the
Feudal tenures into the Kingdom of England,
though ancient, is well enough understood to
set this matter in a proper light. In the earlier
ages of the Saxon settlement, Feudal holdings
were certainly altogether unknown, and
very few, if any, had been introduced at the
time of the Norman Conquest. Our Saxon
ancestors held their lands, as they did their personal
property, in absolute dominion, disencumbered
with any superior, answering nearly to
the nature of those possessions which the
Feudalists term Allodial. William, the Norman,
first introduced that system generally.
The land which had belonged to those who fell
in the Battle of Hastings, and in the subsequent
insurrections of his reign, formed a considerable
proportion of the lands of the whole Kingdom.
These he granted out, subject to Feudal duties,
as did he also those of a great number of his
new subjects, who, by persuasions or threats,
were induced to surrender them for that purpose.
But still, much was left in the hands of
his Saxon subjects, held of no superior, and
not subject to Feudal conditions. These, therefore,
by express laws, enacted to render uniform
the system of military defence, were
made liable to the same military duties as if
they had been Feuds; and the Norman lawyers
soon found means to saddle them, also, with all
the other Feudal burthens. But still they had
not been surrendered to the King, they were
not derived from his grant, and therefore they
were not holden of him. A general principle
indeed, was introduced, that “all lands in England
were held either mediately or immediately
of the Crown”; but this was borrowed from
those holdings which were truly Feudal, and
only applied to others for the purposes of illustration.
Feudal holdings were therefore but exceptions
out of the Saxon laws of possession,
under which all lands were held in absolute
right. These, therefore, still form the basis, or
groundwork, of the Common law, to prevail
wheresoever the exceptions have not taken
place. America was not conquered by William,
the Norman, nor were its lands surrendered to
him or any of his successors. Possessions there
are, undoubtedly, of the Allodial nature. Our
ancestors, however, who emigrated hither, were
laborers, not lawyers. The fictitious principle,
that all lands belong originally to the King,
they were early persuaded to believe real; and
accordingly took grants of their own lands
from the Crown. And while the Crown continued
to grant for small sums, and on reasonable
rents, there was no inducement to arrest
the error, and lay it open to the public view.
But his Majesty has lately taken on him to advance
the terms of purchase, and of holding to
the double of what they were, by which means
the acquisition of lands being rendered difficult
the population of our country is likely to be
checked. It is time, therefore to lay this matter
before his Majesty, and to declare, that he
has no right to grant lands of himself.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 138. Ford ed., i, 443.

4383. LAND, Allodial and Feudal tenures.—[continued].

The opinion that our
lands were Allodial possessions is one which
I have very long held, and had in my eye during
a pretty considerable part of my law reading
which, I found, always strengthened it.
* * * This opinion I have thought and still
think to prove if ever I should have time to
look into books again. But this is only meant
with respect to the English law as transplanted
here. How far our acts of Assembly, or acceptance
of grants, may have converted lands
which were Allodial into Feuds, I have never
considered. This matter is now become a mere
speculative point; and we have it in our power
to make it what it ought to be for the public
To—. Ford ed., ii, 78.
(Pa., 1776)

4384. LAND, Allodial and Feudal tenures.—[further continued].

[The question of the public lands] may be considered in the two
points of view, 1st, as bringing a revenue into
the public treasury, 2d, as a tenure. * * * First, is it consistent with good policy or free
government to establish a perpetual revenue?
Is it not against the practice of our wise British
ancestors? Have not the instances in
which we have departed from this, in Virginia,
been constantly condemned by the universal
voice of our country? Is it safe to make the
governing power, when once seated in office, independent
of its revenue? Should we not have
in contemplation and prepare for an event
(however deprecated) which may happen in the
possibility of things; I mean a reacknowledgment
of the British tyrant as our King, and previously
strip him of every prejudicial possession?
Remember how universally the people
ran into the idea of recalling Charles II., after
living many years under a republican government.
As to the second, was not the separation
of the property from the perpetual use of lands
a mere fiction? Is not its history well known,
and the purposes for which it was introduced,
to wit, the establishment of a military system
of defence? Was it not afterwards made
an engine of immense oppression? Is it wanting
with us for the purpose of military defence?
May not its other legal effects (such of them
at least as are valuable) be performed in other
more simple ways? Has it not been the practice
of all other nations to hold their lands as their
personal estate in absolute dominion? Are we
not the better for what we have hitherto abolished
of the Feudal system? Has not every
restitution of the ancient Saxon laws had happy
effects? Is it not better now that we return at
once into that happy system of our ancestors,
the wisest and most perfect ever yet devised by
the wit of man, as it stood before the 8th
To—. Ford ed., ii, 79.
(Pa., 17761776)gt;

See Colonies.

4385. LAND, Allotment.—

From the nature
and purpose of civil institutions, all the
lands within the limits which any particular
society has circumscribed around itself are assumed
by that society, and subject to their
allotment. This may be done by themselves
assembled collectively, or by their legislature,
to whom they may have delegated sovereign
authority; and if they allotted in neither of
these ways, each individual of the society, May
appropriate to himself such lands as he finds
vacant, and occupancy will give him title.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 139. Ford ed., i, 444.

4386. LAND, Appropriation.—

or forfeited lands, shall be appropriated by the Administrator with the consent of the
Privy Council.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 25.
(June. 1776)

4387. LAND, Appropriation.—[continued].

Lands heretofore holden
of the crown in fee simple, and those hereafter
to be appropriated, shall be holden in full and
absolute dominion, of no superior whatever.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 25.
(June. 1776)

4388. LAND, Appropriation.—[further continued].

Every person, of full age,
neither owning nor having owned fifty acres
of land, shall be entitled to an appropriation of
fifty acres, or to so much as shall make up what


Page 467
he owns, or has owned in full and absolute
dominion. And no other person shall be capable
of taking an appropriation.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 25.
(June. 1776)

4389. LAND, Colonial conquest.—

was conquered, and her settlements made and firmly established at the expense of individuals,
and not of the British public. Their
own blood was spilt in acquiring lands for their
settlement, their own fortunes expended in
making that settlement effectual.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 126. Ford ed., i, 430.

4390. LAND, George III. and.—

He has
endeavored to prevent the population of these
States; for that purpose * * * raising the
conditions of new appropriations of lands.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4391. LAND, People and.—

It is too soon
yet in our country to say that every man, who
cannot find employment, but who can find uncultivated
land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it,
paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon
to provide, by every possible means, that as few
as possible shall be without a little portion of
To Rev. James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 36.
(Pa., 1785)

4392. LAND, People and.—[continued].

The small landholders
are the most precious part of a State.—
To Rev. James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 36.
(P. 1785)

4393. LAND, Sovereignty.—

That the
lands within the limits assumed by a nation
belong to the nation as a body, has probably
been the law of every people on earth at some
period of their history. A right of property in
movable things is admitted before the establishment
of government. A separate property
in lands not till after that establishment. The
right to movables is acknowledged by all the
hordes of Indians surrounding us. Yet by no
one of them has a separate property in lands
been yielded to individuals. He who plants a
field keeps possession till he has gathered the
produce, after which one has as good a right
as another to occupy it. Government must be
established and laws provided, before lands can
be separately appropriated, and their owner protected
in his possession. Till then the property
is in the body of the nation, and they, or their
chief as trustee, must grant them to individuals,
and determine the conditions of the grant.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 539.

4394. LAND, Valuation.—

The Confederation,
in its eighth article, decides that the quota of money to be contributed by the several
States shall be proportioned to the value of
landed property in the State. Experience has
shown it impracticable to come at that value.—
Answers to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 286. Ford ed., iv, 141.
(P. 1786)

4395. LAND, Valuation.—[continued].

It seems * * * to be
a principle of universal law that the lands of a
country belong to its sovereign as trustee for
the nation.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 541.

4396. LAND COMPANIES, Early western.—

During the regal government, two companies,
called the Loyal and the Ohio Companies,
had obtained grants from the crown for 800,000 or 1,000,000 of acres of land, each, on
the Ohio, on condition of settling them in a
given number of years. They surveyed some,
and settled them; but the war of 1755 came on,
and broke up the settlements. After it was
over, they petitioned for a renewal. Four other
large companies then formed themselves, called
the Mississippi, the Illinois, the Wabash, and
the Indiana companies, each praying for immense
quantities of land, some amounting to
200 miles square; so that they proposed to cover
the whole country north between the Ohio
and Mississippi, and a great portion of what
is south. All these petitions were depending
without any answer whatever from the crown,
when the Revolution war broke out. The petitioners
had associated to themselves some of
the nobility of England, and most of the characters
in America of great influence. When
Congress assumed the government, they took
some of their body in as partners, to obtain
their influence; and I remember to have heard,
at the time, that one of them took Mr. Gerard
as a partner, expecting by that to obtain the influence
of the French Court, to obtain grants
of those lands which they had not been able to
obtain from the British government. All these
lands were within the limits of Virginia and
that State determined, peremptorily that they
never should be granted to large companies, but
left open equally to all; and when they passed
their land law (which I think was in 1778),
they confirmed only so much of the lands of the
Loyal company, as they had actually surveyed,
which was a very small proportion, and annulled
every other pretension. And when that
State conveyed the lands to Congress (which
was not till 1784), so determined were they to
prevent their being granted to these or any
other large companies, that they made it an
express condition of the cession, that they
should be applied first towards the soldiers'
bounties, and the residue sold for the payment
of the national debt, and for no other purpose.
This disposition has been, accordingly, rigorously
made, and is still going on; and Congress
considers itself as having no authority to dispose
of them otherwise.—
To J. M. G. de Rayneval. Washington ed. iv, 371. Ford ed., viii, 19.
(W. March. 1801)

4397. LAND TAX, Postponed.—

The affluence
of the Treasury has made it possible to
go on a year longer without a land tax.—
To John Taylor. Ford ed., vii, 181.
(Pa., 1797)

4398. LAND TAX, Postponed.—[continued].

The land tax will not be
brought on. The Secretary of the Treasury says
he has money enough. No doubt * * *[this] may be taken up more boldly at the next session,
when most of the elections will be over.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 205. Ford ed., vii, 189.
(Pa., 1798)

4399. LAND TAX, Proposed.—

federalists] already talk * * * of a land Tax.
[This] will probably not be opposed. The
only question will be how to modify it. On
this there may be great diversity of sentiment.
One party will want to make it a new course of
patronage and expense.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 234. Ford ed., vii, 237.
(Pa., 1798)

4400. LAND TAX, Proposed.—[continued].

If the expenses should
exceed three millions they[the federalists] will undertake a land tax. Indeed a land tax
is the decided resource of many, perhaps of a
majority. There is an idea of some of the Connecticut
members to raise the whole money
wanted by a tax on salt; so much do they dread
a land tax.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 243.

4401. LAND TAX, Proposed.—[further continued].

The land tax is now on
the carpet to raise two millions of dollars; yet
I think they must at least double it. * * * I
presume, therefore, the tax on lands, houses


Page 468
and negroes, will be a dollar a head on the
population of each State.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 242. Ford ed., vii, 256.
(Pa., May. 1798)

4402. LAND TAX, Proposed.—[further continued] .

The land tax was yesterday [
May 30] debated, and a majority of six
struck out the 13th section of the classification
of houses, and taxing them by a different scale
from the lands. Instead of this, is to be proposed
a valuation of the houses and lands together.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 244. Ford ed., vii, 261.
(Pa., May. 1798)

4403. LANDS (Indian), Acquirement of title to.—

The State of Georgia, having
granted to certain individuals a tract of country,
within their chartered limits, whereof the Indian
right has never yet been acquired; with
a proviso in the grants, which implies that
those individuals may take measures for extinguishing
the Indian rights under the authority
of that Government, it becomes a
question how far this grant is good? A society,
taking possession of a vacant country, and
declaring they mean to occupy it, does thereby
appropriate to themselves as prime occupants
what was before common. A practice introduced
since the discovery of America, authorizes
them to go further, and to fix the limits
which they assume to themselves; and it seems
for the common good, to admit this right to a
moderate and reasonable extent. If the country,
instead of being altogether vacant, is
thinly occupied by another nation, the right of
the native forms an exception to that of the
newcomers; that is to say, these will only have
a right against all other nations except the natives.
Consequently, they have the exclusive
privilege of acquiring the native right by purchase
or other just means. This is called the
right of preemption, and is become a principle
of the law of nations, fundamental with
respect to America. There are but two means
of acquiring the native title. First, war; for
even war may, sometimes, give a just title.
Second, contracts or treaty. The States of
America before their present Union possessed
completely, each within its own limits, the exclusive
right to use these two means of acquiring
the native title, and, by their act of Union,
they have as completely ceded both to the General
Government. Art. 2d, Section 1st, “The
President shall have power, by and with the
advice and consent of the Senate, to make
treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators
present concur”. Art. 1st, Section 8th, “The
Congress shall have power to declare war, to
raise and support armies”. Section 10th, “No
State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or
confederation. No State shall, without the consent
of Congress, keep troops or ships of war
in time of peace, enter into any agreement or
compact with another State or with a foreign
power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded,
or in such imminent danger as will not
admit of delay”. These paragraphs of the Constitution,
declaring that the General Government
shall have, and that the particular ones
shall not have, the right of war and treaty, are
so explicit that no commentary can explain them
further, nor can any explain them away. Consequently,
Georgia, possessing the exclusive
right to acquire the native title,
but having relinquished
the means of doing it to the General
Government, can only have put her grantee into
her own condition. She could convey to them
the exclusive right to acquire; but she could
not convey what she had not herself, that is
the means of acquiring. For these they must
come to the General Government, in whose
hands they have been wisely deposited for the
purposes both of peace and justice. What is to
be done? The right of the General Government
is, in my opinion, to be maintained. The
case is sound, and the means of doing it as practicable
as can ever occur. But respect and
friendship should, I think, mark the conduct of
the General towards the particular government,
and explanations should be asked and time and
color given them to tread back their steps before
coercion is held up to their view. I am
told there is already a strong party in Georgia
opposed to the act of their government. I should
think it better, then, that the first measures,
while firm, be yet so temperate as to secure
their alliance and aid to the General Government.
Might not the eclat of a proclamation
revolt their pride and passion, and throw them
hastily into the opposite scale? It will be
proper, indeed, to require from the government
of Georgia, in the first moment, that while the
General Government shall be expecting and
considering her explanations, things shall remain
in statu quo, and not a move be made towards
carrying what they have begun into
Opinion on Georgia Land Grants. Washington ed. vii, 467. Ford ed., v, 165.
(May. 1790)

4404. LANDS (Indian), Acquirement of title to.—[continued].

No lands shall be appropriated
until purchased of the Indian native
proprietors; nor shall any purchases be made
of them but on behalf of the public, by authority
of acts of the General Assembly, to be passed
for every purchase specially.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 25.
(June. 1776)

4405. LANDS (Indian), Buying.—

indeed, are always ready to buy land; but we
will never ask but when you wish to sell; and
our laws, in order to protect you against imposition,
have forbidden individuals to purchase
lands from you; and have rendered it
necessary, when you desire to sell, even to a
State, that an agent from the United States
should attend the sale, see that your consent
is freely given, a satisfactory price paid, and
report to us what has been done, for your approbation.
To Brother Handsome Lake. Washington ed. viii, 188.


The extent of territory to which the native Indian
title was extinguished under Jefferson, by purchase,
embraced nearly one hundred millions of

4406. LANDS (Indian), Intrusions on.

—Knowing your disposition to have these
people[the Cherokee Indians] protected in the
possession of their unpurchased lands, I take
the liberty of mentioning to you that the old
Tassel, in a late message to me, complains
of intrusions on their lands, and particularly
of some attempts to take from them the great
island. This, by the late extension of our
[Virginia] boundary, falling, as I understand,
within your State[North Carolina], removes
the application for protection to your Excellency,
whose power alone can extend to the
removal of intrusions from thence. As to so
much of their lands as lie within our latitudes,
as well as the lands of other Indians generally,
our Assembly, now sitting, has in contemplation
authorized the Executive to send patrols
of the military through them from time to time
to destroy the habitations which shall be erected
in them by intruders.—
To the Governor of North Carolina. Ford ed., ii, 275.
(Wg. 1779)

4407. LANDS (Indian), Surrendering.—

You have it peculiarly in your power to
promote among the Indians a sense of the
superior value of a little land, well cultivated,
over a great deal unimproved, and to encourage


Page 469
them to make this estimate truly. The wisdom
of the animal which amputates and abandons to
the hunter the parts for which he is pursued
should be theirs, with this difference, that the
former sacrifices what is useful, the latter what
is not.—
To Benjamin Hawkins. Washington ed. iv, 467. Ford ed., viii, 214.
(W. 1803)

4408. LANDS (Indian), Virginia and.—

That the lands of this colony[Virginia] were
taken from the Indians by conquest, is not so
general a truth as is supposed. I find in our
histories and records, repeated proofs of purchase,
which cover a considerable part of the
lower country; and many more would doubtless
be found on further search. The upper
country, we know, has been acquired altogether
by purchases made in the most unexceptionable
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 339. Ford ed., iii, 196.

4409. LANDS (Public), Disposition of.

The new plan of opening our land office, by
dividing the lands among the States, and selling
them at vendue, * * * separates still more
the interests of the States, which ought to be
made joint in every possible instance, in order
to cultivate the idea of our being one nation,
and to multiply the instances in which the people
shall look to Congress as their head. And
when the States get their portions, they will
either fool them away, or make a job of it to
serve individuals. Proofs of both these practices
have been furnished, and by either of them
that invaluable fund is lost, which ought to
pay our public debt. To sell them at vendue, is
to give them to the bidders of the day, be they
many or few. It is ripping up the hen which
lays golden eggs. If sold in lots at a fixed price,
as first proposed, the best lots will be sold first;
as these become occupied, it gives a value to the
interjacent ones, and raises them, though of
inferior quality, to the price of the first.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 347. Ford ed., iv, 52.
(P. 1785)

4410. LANDS (Public), Monopolies in.—

Vast grants of land are entirely against the
policy of our government. They have ever set
their faces most decidedly against such monopolies.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., x, 202.
(M. 1821)

— LANDS (Public), Plan of land office.

—See Western Territory.

4411. LANDS (Public), Sale.—

I am
against selling the lands at all. The people who
will migrate to the westward, whether they
form part of the old or of a new colony, will be
subject to their proportion of the Continental
debt then unpaid. They ought not to be subject
to more. They will be a people little able
to pay taxes. There is no equity in fixing upon
them the whole burthen of this war, or any
other proportion than we bear ourselves. By
selling the lands to them, you will disgust them,
and cause an avulsion of them from the common
union. They will settle the lands in spite
of everybody.—
To—. Ford ed., ii, 80.
(Pa., 17761776)gt;

4412. LANDS (Public), Sale.—[continued].

The idea of Congress
selling out unlocated lands has been sometimes
dropped, but we have always met the hint with
such determined opposition that I believe it will
never be proposed.—
To—. Ford ed., ii, 80.
(Pa., 1776)

4413. LANDS (Public), Sale.—[further continued].

Congress have * * * passed an ordinance for disposing of their lands
and, I think, a very judicious one. They pro
pose to sell them at auction for not less than
a dollar an acre, receiving their own certificates
of debt as money.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 393.
(P. 1785)

4414. LANDS (Public), Sale.—[further continued] .

I am much pleased with
your land ordinance, and think it improved from
the first, in the most important circumstances.
I had mistaken the object of the division of the
lands among the States. I am sanguine in my
expectations of lessening our debts by this
fund, and have expressed my expectations to
the minister and others here.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 407. Ford ed., iv, 86.
(P. 1785)

4415. LANDS (Public), Sale.—[further continued].

Congress have purchased a very considerable extent of country from the
Indians, and have passed an ordinance laying
down rules for disposing of it. These admit
only two considerations for granting lands: first,
military service rendered during the late war;
and secondly, money to be paid at the time of
granting, for the purpose of discharging their
national debt.—
To Marquis de Poncens. Washington ed. i, 430.
(P. 1785)

4416. LANDS (Public), Sale.—[further continued] .

A provision for the sale
of the vacant lands of the United States is particularly
urged by the important considerations
that they are pledged as a fund for reimbursing
the public debt; that, if timely and judiciously
applied, they may save the necessity
of burthening our citizens with new taxes for
the extinguishment of the principal; and that
being free to pay annually but a limited proportion
of that principal, time lost in beginning the
payments cannot be recovered however productive
the resource may prove in event.—
Paragraph for President's Message. Ford ed., v, 384.

4417. LANDS (Public), Settlers.—

It is
said that wealthy foreigners will come in great
numbers, and they ought to pay for the liberty
we shall have provided for them. True, but make
them pay in settlers. A foreigner who brings
a settler for every one hundred or two hundred
acres of land, to be granted him, pays a better
price than if he had put into the public treasury
five shillings, or five pounds. That settler will
be worth to the public twenty times as much
every year, as on our old plan he would have
paid in one payment.—
To—. Ford ed., ii, 80.
(Pa., 1776)

4418. LANDS (Public), Settlers.—[continued].

I am clear that the lands
should be appropriated in small quantities.—
To—. Ford ed., ii, 80.
(Pa., 1776)

4419. LANDS (Public), Settlers.—[further continued].

I sincerely wish that
your proposition to “purchase a tract of land
in the Illinois on favorable terms, for introducing
a colony of English farmers”, may encounter
no difficulties from the established rules
of our land department. The general law prescribes
an open sale, where all citizens May
compete on an equal footing for any lot of
land which attracts their choice. To dispense
with this in any particular case, requires a
special law of Congress, and to special legislation
we are generally averse, lest a principle
of favoritism should creep in and pervent that
of equal rights. It has, however, been done
on some occasions where a special national
advantage has been expected to overweigh that
of adherence to the general rule. The promised
introduction of the culture of the vine procured
a special law in favor of the Swiss settlement
on the Ohio. That of the culture of oil, wine
and other southern productions, did the same
lately for the French settlement on the Tombigbee.
It remains to be tried whether that of


Page 470
an improved system of farming, interesting to
so great a proportion of our citizens, may not
also be thought worth a dispensation with the
general rule.—
To George Flower. Washington ed. vii, 83.

4420. LANDS (Public), Squatting.—

Virginia Assembly finding that, in defiance of
their endeavors to discourage and prevent the
settling our western country, people were removing
thither in great numbers, appropriating
lands of their own authority, and meditating to
hold them by force, after propositions, made
and rejected at several sessions for legalizing
those settlements, at length found it necessary
to give way to the torrent, and by their act of
May, 1779, to establish a land office. The irregular
claims and settlements which, in the
meantime, had covered that country, were become
so extensive that no prudent man could
venture to locate a new claim, and so numerous
that, in the common administration of justice,
it would have engrossed the whole time of
our ordinary courts for many years to have
adjusted them. So multifarious were they, at
the same time, that no established principles of
law or equity could be applied for their determination;
many of them being built on customs
and habits which had grown up in that country,
being founded on modes of transmission peculiar
to themselves, and which, having entered almost
into every title, could not be absolutely neglected.
This impressed on the minds of the
Assembly the necessity of sending special commissioners
to settle, on the spot, and without
delay, those various claims, which being once
cleared away would leave the residuary country
open to the acquisition of other adventurers.
The western Counties were accordingly laid off
into Districts for this purpose, and the arrangement
being general, included the territory on
the waters of the Ohio claimed by the State of
Pennsylvania. Whether the Assembly did not
advert to this circumstance, or took for granted
that the commissioners would never consider a
law of this State as meant to be applied to
those who professed themselves the citizens of
another, and had been freely admitted so to
profess themselves by our Government, or
whether they relied that the term of one year,
within which they provided that no grant should
issue on any judgment of the commissioners,
would give them time for the settlement of our
disputed territory, or at least to provide for the
peace of their citizens within it, is not within
my province or power to say. This, however,
I can say, that from an intimate knowledge of
their cordial desire to settle this claim with
them amicably, no motive inconsistent with
that entered into the transaction. In fact the
execution of this commission, guarded as its effects
are by a twelve months' delay of the grants,
appears to be as peaceable and inoffensive as
the mission of so many astronomers to take
the longitude or latitude of the several farms.—
To the President of Congress. Ford ed., ii, 293.
(Wg. 1780)

4421. LANDS (Public), Squatting.—[continued].

There is indeed a clause
in the act of Assembly which might, on first
view, be thought to leave an opening for the
introduction of force. It is that which says that
judgement be rendered, if possession be forcibly
by the party against whom it is,
restitution may be made by the commissioners,
or by any justice, in like manner as might be
done in the case of lands holden by grant actually
issued; a clause very necessary in our
other western country, but not at all applicable
to that part of it claimed by the State of Pennsylvania.
By the laws of this Commonwealth
(the same in this instance with the English
Law), even in the case of lands holden under
actual grant, no restitution can be made after
three years peaceable possession, a term much
shorter than that of any bona fide possessions
in the disputed territory. The latest of these
must be of six or seven years' continuance, the
present dispute having so long subsisted. The
expediency and necessity, therefore, of the general
measure of establishing this temporary
Court, I doubt not but Congress will perceive
and though it is to be wished that the disputed
territory had been excerpted from this jurisdiction,
in order to avoid everything which might
give jealousy or uneasiness to a sister State, or
which might lead them into an apprehension
that we meant to do any act which should
wound the amity between us; yet I hope when
Congress contemplates its effects, they will be
sensible that it only amounts to a settlement on
paper of the rights of individuals derived
from this State, and that no man's possession or
quiet can be disturbed in consequence of any
proceedings under it, until our Legislature
* * * shall have had time to settle finally
with them this unfortunate dispute, or otherwise
to provide against the evils they have
To the President of Congress. Ford ed., ii, 294.
(Wg. 1780)

See Earth, Generations, Western Territory.

4422. LANGDON (John), Patriot.—

were fellow laborers from the beginning of the
first to the accomplishment of the second revolution
in our government, of the same zeal and
the same sentiments, and I shall honor his memory
while memory remains to me.—
To Mark Langdon Hill. Washington ed. vii, 154.
(M. 1820)

4423. LANGUAGE, Distorting.—

we see inspired writings made to speak whatever
opposite controversialists wish them to say, we
cannot ourselves expect to find language incapable
of similar distortion. My expressions
were general; their perversion is in their misapplication
to a particular case.—
To C. Hammond. Washington ed. vii, 216.
(M. 1821)

— LANGUAGE, Neology.—

See Neology.

— LANGUAGE (English), Improvement of.—

See Neology.

4424. LANGUAGE, Purists and.—

I concur
entirely with you in opposition to purists, who would destroy all strength and beauty of
style, by subjecting it to a rigorous compliance
with their rules. Fill up all the ellipses and
syllepses of Tacitus, Sallust, Livy, &c., and the
elegance and force of their sententious brevity
are extinguished. “Auferre, trucidare, rapere,
falsis nominibus, imperium appellant”. “ Deorum
injurias, diis curæ”. “Alieni appetens,
sui profusus; ardens in cupiditatibus; satis
loquentiæ, sapientiæ parum”. “Annibal, peto
pacem”. “Per diem Sol non uret te, neque Luna
per noctem”. Wire-draw these expressions by
filling up the whole syntax and sense, and
they become dull paraphrases on rich sentiments.
We may say then truly with Quintilian,
“Aliud est Grammaticé, aliud Latiné loqui
”. I am no friend, therefore, to what is
called purism.—
To John Waldo. Washington ed. vi, 184.
(M. 1813)

4425. LANGUAGE, Purists and.—[continued].

I am not a friend to a
scrupulous purism of style. I readily sacrifice
the niceties of syntax to euphony and strength.
It is by boldly neglecting the rigorisms of
grammar that Tacitus has made himself the
strongest writer in the world. The hyperesthetics
call him barbarous; but I should be sorry


Page 471
to exchange his barbarisms for their wire-drawn
purisms. Some of his sentences are as strong
as language can make them. Had he scrupulously
filled up the whole of their syntax, they
would have been merely common. To explain
my meaning by an English example, I will quote
the motto of one, I believe, of the regicides of
Charles I., “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience
to God”. Correct its syntax, “Rebellion
against tyrants is obedience to God”, it has
lost all the strength and beauty of the antithesis.—
To Edward Everett. Washington ed. vii, 273.
(M. 1823)

4426. LANGUAGE, Science and.—

I do not pretend that language is science. It is
only an instrument for the attainment of
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 389. Ford ed., iii, 253.

4427. LANGUAGE, Style.—

Style, in writing
or speaking, is formed very early in life,
while the imagination is warm, and impressions
are permanent.—
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 468.
(P. 1785)

4428. LANGUAGE (Anglo-Saxon), Study of.—

I learn from you with great pleasure
that a taste is reviving in England for the
recovery of the Anglo-Saxon dialect of our language;
for a mere dialect it is, as much as those
of Piers Plowman, Gower, Douglas, Chaucer,
Spenser, Shakspeare, Milton, for even much of
Milton is already antiquated. The Anglo-Saxon
is only the earliest we possess of the many
shades of mutation by which the language has
tapered down to its modern form. Vocabularies
we need for each of these stages from Somner
to Bailey, but not grammars for each or any of
them. The grammar has changed so little, in
the descent from the earliest to the present
form, that a little observation suffices to understand
its variations. We are greatly indebted
to the worthies who have preserved the Anglo-Saxon
form, from Dr. Hickes down to Mr. Bosworth.
Had they not given to the public what
we possess through the press, that dialect would
by this time have been irrecoverably lost. I
think it, however, a misfortune that they have
endeavored to give it too much of a learned
form, to mount it on all the scaffolding of the
Greek and Latin, to load it with their genders,
numbers, cases, declensions, conjugations, &c.
Strip it of these embarrassments, vest it in the
Roman type which we have adopted instead of
our English black letter, reform its uncouth
orthography, and assimilate its pronunciation,
as much as may be, to the present English,
just as we do in reading Piers Plowman or
Chaucer, and with the contemporary vocabulary
for the few lost words, we understand it as
we do them. For example, the Anglo-Saxon
text of the Lord's Prayer, as given to us 6th
Matthew, ix., is spelt and written thus, in
the equivalent Roman type: Faeder ure thec
the eart in heafenum, si thin nama ychalgod.
To becume thin rice. Gerrurthe thin willa on
eartham, swa swa on heafenum. Ume doeghw
amti can hlaf syle us to dœg. And forgyfus
ure gyltas, swa swa we forgifath urum gyltendum.
And ne ge-lœdde thu us on costmunge,
ae alys us of yfele.” I should spell and pronounce
thus: “Father our, thou tha art in
heavenum, si thine name y-hallowed. Come
thin ric-y-wurth thine will on eartham, so so
on heavenum: ourn daynhamlican loaf sell us
to-day, and forgive us our guilts so so we forgiveth
ourum guiltendum. And no y-lead thou
us on costnunge, ac a-lease us of evil”. And
here, it is to observed by-the-bye, that there
is but the single word “temptation” in our
present version of this prayer that is not Anglo-
Saxon; for the word “trespasses” taken from
the French (οφειληματα in the original),
might as well have been translated by the Anglo-Saxon

The learned apparatus in which Dr. Hickes
and his successors have muffled our Anglo-Saxon,
is what has frightened us from encountering
it. The simplification I propose
may, on the contrary, make it a regular part of
our common English education. So little reading
and writing was there among our Anglo-Saxon
ancestors of that day, that they had no
fixed orthography. To produce a given sound,
every one jumbled the letters together, according
to his unlettered notion of their power, and
all jumbled them differently, just as would be
done at this day, were a dozen peasants, who
have learnt the alphabet, but have never read,
desired to write the Lord's Prayer. Hence the
varied modes of spelling by which the Anglo-Saxons
meant to express the same sound. The
word many, for example, was spelt in twenty
different ways; yet we cannot suppose they
were twenty different words, or that they
had twenty different ways of pronouncing the
same word. The Anglo-Saxon orthography,
then, is not an exact representation of the
sounds meant to be conveyed. We must drop
in pronunciation the superfluous consonants,
and give to the remaining letters their present
English sound; because, not knowing the true
one, the present enunciation is as likely to be
right as any other, and indeed more so, and
facilitates the acquisition of the language. [284]
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 415.
(M. 1825)


Jefferson, first of all in America, suggested that
the study of Anglo-Saxon be made a part of college

4429. LANGUAGE (Anglo-Saxon), Study of.—[continued].

[The cultivation of the
Anglo-Saxon] is a hobby which too often runs
away with me where I meant not to give up
the rein. Our youth seem disposed to mount
it with me, and to begin their course where
mine is ending.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 418.
(M. 1825)

4430. LANGUAGE (Anglo-Saxon), Study of.—[further continued].

In a letter * * * to
Mr. Crofts who sent * * * me a copy of
his treatise on the English and German languages,
as preliminary to an etymological dictionary
he meditated, I went into explanations
with him of an easy process for simplifying
the study of the Anglo-Saxon, and lessening the
terrors and difficulties presented by its rude
alphabet, and unformed orthography.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 173.
(M. 1820)

4431. LANGUAGE (English), Dialects.—

It is much to be wished that the publication
of the present county dialects of England
should go on. It will restore to us our
language in all its shades of variation. It will
incorporate into the present one all the riches
of our ancient dialects; and what a store this
will be, may be seen by running the eye over
the county glossaries, and observing the words
we have lost by abandonment and disuse,
which in sound and sense are inferior to nothing
we have retained. When these local vocabularies
are published and digested together
into a single one, it is probable we shall find
that there is not a word in Shakspeare which
is not now in use in some of the counties in
England, and from whence we may obtain its
true sense. And what an exchange will their
recovery be for the volumes of idle commentaries
and conjectures with which that divine
poet has been masked and metamorphosed. We
shall find in him new sublimities which we had
never tasted before, and find beauties in our


Page 472
ancient poets which are lost to us now. It is
not that I am merely an enthusiast for Palæ
ology. I set equal value on the beautiful engraftments
we have borrowed from Greece and
Rome, and I am equally a friend to the encouragement
of a judicious neology; a language
cannot be too rich.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 417.
(M. 1825)

4432. LANGUAGE (English), History of.—

We want an elaborate history of the
English language.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 418.
(M. 1825)

4433. LANGUAGE (French), Indispensable.—

The French language is an indispensable
part of education for both sexes.—
To N. Burwell. Washington ed. vii, 102. Ford ed., x, 105.
(M. 1818)

4434. LANGUAGE (French), Learning.

—You will learn to speak it[French] better
from women and children in three months,
than from men in a year.—
To T. M. Randolph. Jr. Washington ed. ii, 176. Ford ed., iv, 404.
(P. 1787)

— LANGUAGE (Gælic), Desire to learn.

—See Ossian.

4435. LANGUAGE (Greek), Ablative case in.—

I owe you particular thanks for the
copy of your translation of Buttman's Greek
Grammar. * * * A cursory view of it
promises me a rich mine of valuable criticism.
I observe he goes with the herd of grammarians
in denying an Ablative case to the Greek language.
I cannot concur with him in that, but
think with the Messrs, of Port Royal who admit
an Ablative. And why exclude it? Is it because
the Dative and Ablative in Greek are
always of the same form? Then there is no
Ablative to the Latin plurals, because in them,
as in Greek, these cases are always in the same
form. The Greeks recognized the Ablative
under the appellation of the πτωσις αφαιρετιχη,
which I have met with and noted from
some of the scholiasts, without recollecting
where. Stephens, Scapula, Hederic acknowledge
it as one of the significations of the word
αφαιρεμαυκος. That the Greeks used it can
not be denied. For one of multiplied examples
which may be produced take the following from
the Hippolytus of Euripides: “ειπε τω τροπω,
δικης Επαισεν αυτου ροπτρου
,” “dice
quo modo justitiæ clava percussit eum” “Quo
are Ablatives, then why not τω τροπω?
And translating it into English, should we use
the Dative [285] or Ablative preposition? It is not
perhaps easy to define very critically what constitutes
a case in the declension of nouns. All
agree as to the Nominative that it is simply
the name of the thing. If we admit that a distinct
case is constituted by any accident or
modification which changes the relation which
that bears to the actors or action of the sentence,
we must agree to the six cases at least;
because for example, to a thing, and from a
thing are very different accidents to the thing.
It may be said that if every distinct accident or
change of relation constitutes a different case,
then there are in every language as many cases
as there are prepositions; for this is the peculiar
office of the preposition. But because we do
not designate by special names all the cases to
which a noun is liable, is that a reason why we
should throw away half of those we have, as is
done by those grammarians who reject all
cases, but the Nominative, Genitive, and Accusative,
and in a less degree by those also
who reject the Ablative alone? As pushing
the discrimination of all the possible cases to
extremities leads us to nothing useful or practicable,
I am contented with the old six cases,
familiar to every cultivated language, ancient
and modern, and well understood by all. I
acknowledge myself at the same time not an
adept in the metaphysical speculations of Grammar.
By analyzing too minutely we often reduce
our subject to atoms, of which the mind
loses its hold.—
To Edward Everett. Washington ed. vii, 272.
(M. 1823)


See Buttman's Datives, p. 230, every one of
which I should consider as under the accident or relation
called Ablative, having no signification of approach
according to his definition of the Dative.—
Note by Jefferson.

4436. LANGUAGE (Greek), Accent.—

Against reading Greek by accent, instead of
quantity, as Mr. Ciceitira, proposes, I raise both
my hands. What becomes of the sublime measure
of Homer, the full sounding rhythm of
Demosthenes, if, abandoning quantity, you
chop it up by accent? What ear can hesitate in
its choice between the two following rhythms?
Τὸν, δ’απαμειβὸμενος προσεφὴ πόδας
ωκὺσ Αχίλλευς
Τον δ’απμειβομενός προςεφὴ ποδας ώχυσ
the latter noted according to prosody, the
former by accent, and dislocating our teeth in
its utterance; every syllable of it, except the
first and last, being pronounced against quantity.
And what becomes of the art of prosody?
Is that perfect coincidence of its rules with the
structure of their verse, merely accidental? or
was it of design, and yet for no use?—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 114.
(M. 1819)

4437. LANGUAGE (Greek), Accent.—[continued].

Of the origin of accentuation,
I have never seen satisfactory proofs.
But I have generally supposed the accents were
intended to direct the inflections and modulations
of the voice; but not to affect the quantity
of the syllables.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 115.
(M. 1819)

4438. LANGUAGE (Greek), Pronunciation.—

Mr. Pickering's pamphlet on the pronunciation
of the Greek, for which I am indebted
to you, I have read with great pleasure.
Early in life, the idea occurred to me that the
people now inhabiting the ancient seats of the
Greeks and Romans, although their languages
in the intermediate ages had suffered great
changes, and especially in the declension of
their nouns, and in the terminations of their
words generally, yet having preserved the body
of the word radically the same, so they would
preserve more of its pronunciation. That, at
least, it was probable that a pronunciation,
handed down by tradition, would retain, as the
words themselves do, more of the original than
that of any other people whose language has
no affinity to that original. For this reason I
learned, and have used the Italian pronunciation
of the Latin. But that of the modern
Greeks I had no opportunity of learning until
I went to Paris. There I became acquainted
with two learned Greeks, Count Carberri, and
Mr. Paradise, and with a lady, a native Greek,
the daughter of Baron de Tott, who did not
understand the ancient language. Carberri and
Paradise both spoke it. From these instructors
I learned the modern pronunciation, and in
general trusted to its orthodoxy. I say, in
because sound being more fugitive than
the written letter, we must, after such a lapse
of time, presume in it some degeneracies, as we
see there are in the written words. We May


Page 473
not, indeed, be able to put our finger on them
confidently, yet neither are they entirely beyond
the reach of all indication. For example,
in a language so remarkable for the euphony
of its sounds, if that euphony is preserved in
particular combinations of its letters, by an
adherence to the powers ordinarily ascribed to
them, and is destroyed by a change of these
powers, and the sound of the word, thereby,
rendered harsh, inharmonious, and inidiomatical,
here we may presume some degeneracy
has taken place.

While, therefore, I gave in to the modern
prounciation generally, I have presumed, as
an instance of degeneracy, their ascribing the
same sound to the six letters, or combinations
of letters, ε, ι, υ, ει, οι, υι, to all of which
they give the sound of our double e in the
word meet. This useless equivalence of three
vowels and three diphthongs did not probably
exist among the ancient Greeks; and the less
probably as, while this single sound, ee, is
overcharged by so many different representative
characters, the sounds we usually give to
these characters and combinations would be left
without any representative signs. This would
imply either that they had not these sounds
in their language, or no signs for their expression.
Probability appears to me, therefore,
against the practice of the modern Greeks of
giving the same sound to all these different
representatives, and to be in favor of that of
foreign nations, who, adopting the Roman
characters, have assimilated to them, in a considerable
degree, the powers of the corresponding
Greek letters. I have, accordingly, excepted
this in my adoption of the modern pronunciation.

I have been more doubtful in the use of the
αυ, ευ, ηυ, ωυ, sounding the υ, upsilon, as
our f or v, because I find traces of that power of
v, or of υ, in some modern languages. To go
no further than our own, we have it in laugh,
cough, trough, enough.
The county of Louisa,
adjacent to that in which I live, was, when I
was a boy, universally pronounced Lovisa.
That it is not the gh which gives the sound of
f or v, in these words, is proved by the orthography
of plough, trough, thought, fraught,
The modern Greeks themselves, too,
giving up υ, upsilon, in ordinary, the sound of
our ee, strengthens the presumption that its
anomalous sound of f or v, is a corruption.
The same may be inferred from the cacophony
of ελαφνε (elavne) for ελαυνε (elawne.)
Αχιλλεφς (Achillefs) for Αχιλλευς (Achilleise,)
εφς (eves) for εϋς (ee-use,) οφκ (ovk)
for (ouk,) ωφιος (ovetos) for ωϋτος (o-u-tos,)
Ζεφς (zevs) for Ζευς (zese,) of which
all nations have made their Jupiter; and the uselessness
of the υ in ευφωνια, which would
otherwise have been spelt εφωνια. I, therefore,
except this also from what I consider as approvable
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 112.
(M. 1819)

4439. LANGUAGE (Greek), Pronunciation.—[continued].

Should Mr. Pickering
ultimately establish the modern pronunciation
of the letters without any exception, I shall
think it a great step gained, and giving up my
exceptions, shall willingly rally to him.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 115.
(M. 1819)

4440. LANGUAGE (Greek), Pronunciation.—[further continued].

If we adhere to the
Erasmian pronunciation we must go to Italy
for it, as we must do for the most probably
correct pronunciation of the language of the
Romans, because rejecting the modern, we must
argue that the ancient pronunciation was prob
ably brought from Greece with the language
itself; and, as Italy was the country to which
it was brought, and from which it emanated to
other nations, we must presume it better preserved
there than with the nations copying from
them, who would be apt to affect its pronunciation
with some of their own national peculiarities.
And in fact, we find that no two nations
pronounce it alike, although all pretend to the Erasmian pronunciation. But the whole subject
is conjectural, and allows, therefore, full
and lawful scope to the vagaries of the human
mind. I am glad, however, to see the question
stirred here; because it may excite among our
young countrymen a spirit of enquiry and criticism,
and lead them to more attention to this
most beautiful of all languages.—
To Mr. Moore. Washington ed. vii, 137.
(M. 1819)

4441. LANGUAGE (Greek), Pronunciation.—[further continued] .

I have little hope of the recovery of the ancient pronunciation of that
finest of human languages, but still I rejoice at
the attention the subject seems to excite
with you, because it is an evidence that our
country begins to have a taste for something
more than merely as much Greek as will pass
a candidate for clerical ordination.—
To John Brazier. Washington ed. vii, 131.

4442. LANGUAGE (Greek), Revival of.

—The modern Greek is not yet so far departed
from its ancient model, but that we
might still hope to see the language of Homer
and Demosthenes flow with purity from the lips
of a free and ingenious people.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 400.
(P. 1785)

4443. LANGUAGE (Greek), Revival of. [continued].

I cannot help looking
forward * * * to the language of Homer
becoming again a living language, as among
possible events.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ii, 267. Ford ed., iv, 444.
(P. 1787)

4444. LANGUAGE (Greek), Revival of. [further continued].

I enjoy Homer in his
own language infinitely beyond Pope's translation
of him, and both beyond the dull narrative
of the same events by Dares Phrygius; and it
is an innocent enjoyment. [286]
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 317. Ford ed., vii, 414.
(Pa., 1800)
See Language (Latin).


Jefferson scarcely passed a day without reading
a portion of the classics.—Rayner's Life of Jefferson
p. 22.

4445. LANGUAGE (Italian), French, Spanish and.—

I fear the learning of Italian
will confound your French and Spanish. Being
all of them degenerated dialects of the Latin,
they are apt to mix in conversation. I have
never seen a person speaking the three languages,
who did not mix them. It is a delightful
language, but late events having rendered
the Spanish more useful, lay it aside to prosecute
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. ii, 237. Ford ed., iv, 428.
(P. 1787)

4446. LANGUAGE (Italian), French, Spanish and.—[continued].

To a person who would
make a point of reading and speaking French
and Spanish, I should doubt the utility of learning
Italian. These three languages, being all
degeneracies from the Latin, resemble one another
so much, that I doubt the probability of
keeping in the head a distinct knowledge of
them all. I suppose that he who learns them
all, will speak a compound of the three, and
neither perfectly.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Washington ed. ii, 177. Ford ed., iv, 405.
(P. 1787)

4447. LANGUAGE (Latin), A luxury.

—To read the Latin and Greek authors in
their original, is a sublime luxury; and I deem
luxury in science to be at least as justifiable


Page 474
as in architecture, painting, gardening, or the
other arts.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 316. Ford ed., vii, 414.
(Pa., 1800)

4448. LANGUAGE (Latin), A luxury. [continued].

I thank on my knees,
him who directed my early education, for having
put into my possession this rich source of
delight; and I would not exchange it for anything
which I could then have acquired, and
have not since acquired.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 317. Ford ed., vii, 414.
(Pa., 1800)

4449. LANGUAGE (Latin), Models of composition.—

I think the Greeks and Romans
have left us the present[purest?] models
which exist of fine composition, whether we examine
them as works of reason, or of style and
fancy; and to them we probably owe these
characteristics of modern composition. I
know of no composition of any other ancient
people, which merits the least regard as a model
for its matter or style.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 316. Ford ed., vii, 414.
(Pa., 1800)

4450. LANGUAGE (Latin), Models of composition.—[continued].

The utilities we derive
from the remains of the Greek and Latin languages
are, first as models of pure taste in writing.
To these we are certainly indebted for the
natural and chaste style of modern composition,
which so much distinguishes the nations to
whom these languages are familiar. Without
these models we should probably have continued
the inflated style of our northern ancestors, or
the hyperbolical and vague one of the East.—
To John Brazier. Washington ed. vii, 131.

4451. LANGUAGE (Latin), Reading.—

We[University of Virginia] must get rid of
this Connecticut Latin, of this barbarous confusion
of long and short syllables, which renders
doubtful whether we are listening to a reader of
Cherokee, Shawnee, Iroquois, or what.—
To Wm. B. Giles. Washington ed. vii, 429. Ford ed., x, 357.
(M. 1825)

4452. LANGUAGE (Latin), Study of.—

The learning of 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.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 389. Ford ed., iii, 253.

4453. LANGUAGE (Latin), Utility of.

—To whom are they[the classical languages] useful? Certainly not to all men. There are
conditions of life to which they must be forever
estranged. * * * To the moralist they
are valuable, because they furnish ethical writings
highly and justly esteemed; although in
my own opinion the moderns are far advanced
beyond them in this line of science; the divine
finds in the Greek language a translation of his
primary code, of more importance to him than
the original because better understood; and, in
the same language, the newer code, with the
doctrines of the earliest fathers. * * * The
lawyer finds in the Latin language the system
of civil law most conformable with the principles
of justice of any which has ever yet been
established among men, and from which much
has been incorporated into our own. The physician
as good a code of his art as has been
given us to this day. * * * The statesman
will find in these languages history, politics,
mathematics, ethics, eloquence, love of country,
to which he must add the sciences of his own
day, for which of them should be unknown to
him? And all the sciences must recur to the
classical languages for the etymon, and sound
understanding of their fundamental terms.
* * * To sum the whole, it may truly be
said that the classical languages are a solid
basis for most, and an ornament to all the
To John Brazier. Washington ed. vii, 131.

4454. LANGUAGE (Spanish), Important to know.—

Our future connection with
Spain renders that the most necessary of the
modern languages, after the French. When
you become a public man, you may have occasion
for it, and the circumstance of your
possessing that language, may give you a preference
over other candidates. [287]
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 399.
(P. 1785)


Peter Carr was Jefferson's nephew.—Editor.

4455. LANGUAGE (Spanish), Important to know.—[continued].

Bestow great attention
on the Spanish language, and endeavor to
acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our
future connections with Spain and Spanish
America, will render that language a valuable
acquisition. The ancient history of a great
part of America, too, is written in that language.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. ii, 238. Ford ed., iv, 428.
(P. 1787)

4456. LANGUAGE (Spanish), Important to know.—[further continued].

Next to French, the
Spanish[language] is most important to an
American. Our connection with Spain is already
important, and will become daily more
so. Besides this, the ancient part of American
history is written chiefly in Spanish.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Washington ed. ii, 177. Ford ed., iv, 405.
(P. 1787)

4457. LANGUAGE (Spanish), Important to know.—[further continued] .

Apply yourself to the
study of the Spanish language with all the assiduity
you can. It and the English covering
nearly the whole face of America, they should
be well known to every inhabitant, who means
to look beyond the limits of his farm.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. ii, 409.
(P. 1788)

4458. LANGUAGES, Filiation of.—

have long considered the filiation of languages
as the best proof we can ever obtain of the
filiation of nations.—
To John S. Vater. Washington ed. v, 599.
(M. 1812)

4459. LANGUAGES, Learning.—

In general,
I am of opinion, that till the age of about
sixteen, we are best employed on languages;
Latin, Greek, French, and Spanish. * * * I think Greek the least useful.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. ii, 192.
(P. 1787)

4460. LANGUAGES, Learning.—[continued].

I suppose there is a portion
of life during which our faculties are ripe
enough for[learning languages], and for nothing
more useful.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 316. Ford ed., vii, 413.
(Pa., 1800)

4461. LANGUAGES, Perfect Knowledge of.—

No instance exists of a person's
writing two languages perfectly. That will always
appear to be his native language, which
was most familiar to him in his youth.—
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 468.
(P. 1785)

4462. LANGUAGES, Perfect Knowledge of.—[continued].

I am of opinion that
there never was an instance of a man's writing
or speaking his native tongue with elegance,
who passed from fifteen to twenty years of age
out of the country where it was spoken.—
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 468.
(P. 1785)

4463. LANGUAGES, Perfect Knowledge of.—[further continued].

Did you ever know an
instance of one who could write in a foreign
language with the elegance of a native? Cicero
wrote Commentaries of his own Consulship in
Greek; they perished unknown, while his native


Page 475
compositions have immortalized him with themselves.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 509.
(M. 1815)

4464. LANGUAGES, Utility.—

I omitted
to say anything of the languages as part of our
proposed[Virginia] University. It was not
that I think, as some do, that they are useless.
I am of a very different opinion. I do not
think them very essential to the obtaining eminent
degrees of science; but I think them very
useful towards it.—
To Joseph Priestly. Washington ed. iv, 316. Ford ed., vii, 413.
(Pa., 1800)

4465. LANGUAGES (Indian), Cherokee.

—Your Cherokee grammar * * * I have
gone over with attention and satisfaction. We
generally learn languages for the benefit of reading
the books written in them. But here our
reward must be the addition made to the philosophy
of language. In this point of view
your analysis of the Cherokee adds valuable
matter for reflection and strengthens our desire
to see more of these languages as scientifically
elucidated. Their grammatical devices for
the modification of their words by a syllable prefixed
to, or inserted in the middle, or added to
its end, and by other combinations so different
from ours, prove that if man came from one
stock, his languages did not. A late grammarian
has said that all words were originally
monosyllables. The Indian languages disprove
this. I should conjecture that the Cherokees,
for example, have formed their language not
by single words, but by phrases. I have known
some children learn to speak, not by a word at
a time, but by whole phrases. Thus the Cherokee
has no name for “father” in the abstract,
but only as combined with some one of his
relations. A complex idea being a fasciculus of
simple ideas bundled together, it is rare that
different languages make up their bundles alike,
and hence the difficulty of translating from
one language to another. European nations
have so long had intercourse with one another,
as to have approximated their complex
expressions much towards one another. But
I believe we shall find it impossible to translate
our language into any of the Indian, or any of
theirs into ours. I hope you will pursue your
undertaking, and that others will follow your
example with other of their languages. It
will open a wide field for reflection on the
grammatical organization of languages, their
structure and character. I am persuaded that
among the tribes on our two continents a great
number of languages, radically different, will
be found. It will be curious to consider how
so many, so radically different, have been preserved
by such small tribes in coterminous settlements
of moderate extent. I had once collected
about thirty vocabularies formed of the
same English words, expressive of such simple
objects only as must be present and familiar
to every one under these circumstances. They
were unfortunately lost. But I remember that
on a trial to arrange them into families or
dialects, I found in one instance that about half
a dozen might be so classed, in another perhaps
three or four. But I am sure that a third,
at least, if not more, were perfectly insulated
from each other. Yet this is the only index
by which we can trace their filiation.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 399.
(M. 1825)

4466. LANGUAGES (Indian), Vocabularies of.—

I had through the course of my
life availed myself of every opportunity of procuring
vocabularies of the languages of every
[Indian] tribe which either myself or my
friends could have access to. They amounted
to about forty, more or less perfect. But in
their passage from Washington to Monticello
the trunk in which they were was stolen and
plundered, and some fragments only of the
vocabularies were recovered. Still, however,
they were such as would be worth incorporation
with a larger work, and shall be at the service
of the historical committee, if they can make
any use of them.—
To Mr. Duponceau. Washington ed. vii, 92.
(M. 1817)

See Aborigines and Indians.

4467. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Astronomy and.—

Measures and rhombs
taken on the special surface of the earth, cannot
be represented on a plain surface of paper without
astronomical corrections; and paradoxical
as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that we
cannot know the relative position of two places
on the earth, but by interrogating the sun, moon
and stars.—
To Governor Nicholas. Washington ed. vi, 587.

4468. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Chronometers and.—

Fine time-keepers have
been invented, but not equal to what is requisite,
all of them deriving their motion from a
spring, and not from a pendulum. Indeed these
pursuits have lost much of their consequence
since the improvement of the lunar tables has
given the motion of the moon so accurately, as
to make that a foundation for estimating the
longitude by her relative position at a given moment
with the sun or fixed stars.—
To Captain Grove. Washington ed. v, 374.
(W. 1808)

4469. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Jupiter's Eclipses.—

To get the longitude at
sea by observation of the eclipses of Jupiter's
satellites, two desiderata are wanting: 1st, a
practicable way of keeping the planet and satellite
in the field of a glass magnifying sufficiently
to show the satellites; 2nd, a time-piece which
will give the instant of time with sufficient accuracy
to be useful. The bringing the planet
and satellite to the horizon does not sensibly
facilitate the observation, because the planet in
his ascending and descending course is at such
heights as admit the direct observation with entire
convenience. On the other hand, so much
light is lost by the double reflection as to dim
the objects and lessen the precision with which
the moment of ingress and egress may be
marked. This double reflection also introduces
a new source of error from the inaccuracy of
the instrument; 3rd, the desideratum of a time-piece
which, notwithstanding the motion of the
ship, shall keep time during a whole voyage
with sufficient accuracy for these observations,
has not yet been supplied—
To Captain Grove. Washington ed. v, 374.
(W. 1808)

4470. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Lunar observations.—

While Captain Lewis's
mission was preparing, as it was understood
that his reliance for his longitudes must
be on the lunar observations taken, as at sea,
with the aid of a time-keeper, and I knew that
a thousand accidents might happen to that in
such a journey as his, and thus deprive us of
the principal object of the expedition, to wit,
the ascertaining the geography of that river,
I set myself to consider whether in making observations
at land, that furnishes no resource
which may dispense with the time-keeper, so
necessary at sea. It occurred to me that we
can always have a meridian at land that would
furnish what the want of it at sea obliges us to
supply by the time-keeper. Supposing Captain
Lewis then furnished with a meridian, and having
the requisite tables and nautical almanac


Page 476
with him,—first, he might find the right ascension
of the moon, when on the meridian of
Greenwich, on any given day; then find by observation
when the moon should attain that
right ascension (by the aid of a known star),
and measure her distance in that moment from
his meridian. This distance would be the difference
of longitude between Greenwich and the
place of observation. Or secondly, observe the
moon's passage over his meridian, and her right
ascension at that moment. See by the tables at
Greenwich when she had that right ascension.
That gives her distance from the meridian of
Greenwich, when she was on his meridian. Or
thirdly, observe the moon's distance from his
meridian at any moment, and her right ascension
at that moment; and find from the tables
her distance from the meridian of Greenwich,
when she had that right ascension, which will
give the distance of the two meridians. This
last process will be simplified by taking, for
the moment of observation, that of an appulse
of the moon and a known star, or when the
moon and a known star are in the same vertical.
I suggested this to Mr. Briggs, who considered
it as correct and practicable, and proposed
communicating it to the Philosophical
Society; but I observed that it was too obvious
not to have been thought of before, and supposed
it had not been adopted in practice,
because of no use at sea, where a meridian
cannot be had, and where alone the nations of
Europe had occasion for it. Before his confirmation
of the idea, however, Captain Lewis
was gone. In conversation afterwards with
Baron von Humboldt, he observed that the idea
was correct, but not new; that I would find it
in the third volume of Delalandé. I received,
two days ago, the third and fourth volumes of
Montucla's History of Mathematics, finished and
edited by Delalandé; and find, in fact, that
Morin and Vanlangren, in the Seventeenth
Century, proposed observations of the moon on
the meridian, but it does not appear whether
they meant to dispense with the time-keeper.
But a meridian at sea being too impracticable,
their idea was not pursued.—
To Mr. Dunbar. Washington ed. iv, 578.
(W. 1805)

4471. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Magnetic needle.—

Among other projects
with which we begin to abound in America,
is one for finding the latitude by the variation
of the magnetic needle. The author supposes
two points, one near each pole, through the
northern of which pass all the magnetic meridians
of the northern hemisphere, and through
the southern those of the southern hemisphere.
He determines their present position and periodical
To B. Vaughan. Washington ed. ii, 166.
(P. 1787)

4472. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Magnetic needle.—[continued].

As far as we can conjecture
your idea here[Paris], we imagine you
make a table of variations of the needle, for all
the different meridians. To apply this table
to use, in the voyage between America and
Europe. Suppose the variation to increase a
degree in every one hundred and sixty miles.
Two difficulties occur: 1, a ready and accurate
method of finding the variation of the place;
2, an instrument so perfect as that (though the
degree on it shall represent one hundred and
sixty miles) it shall give the parts of the degree
so minutely as to answer the purpose of the
navigator. * * * I make no question you have
provided against the doubts entertained here,
and I shall be happy that our country may have
the honor of furnishing the old world what it
has so long sought in vain.—
To John Church man. Washington ed. ii, 236.
(P. 1787)

4473. LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, Without chronometer

[288] .—If two persons, at
different points of the same hemisphere (as
Greenwich and Washington, for example), observe
the same celestial phenomenon, at the
same instant of time, the difference of the times
marked by their respective clocks is the difference
of their longitudes, or the distance of their
meridians.* To catch with precision the same
instant of time for these simultaneous observations,
the moon's motion in her orbit is the best
element; her change of place (about a half
second of space in a second of time) is rapid
enough to be ascertained by a good instrument
with sufficient precision for the object. But
suppose the observer at Washington, or in a
desert, to be without a timekeeper; the equatorial
is the instrument to be used in that case.
Again, we have supposed a contemporaneous
observer at Greenwich. But his functions May
be supplied by the nautical almanac, adapted to
that place, and enabling us to calculate for
any instant of time the meridian distances there
of the heavenly bodies necessary to be observed
for this purpose. The observer at Washington,
choosing the time when their position is suitable,
is to adjust his equatorial to his meridian,
to his latitude, and to the plane of his
horizon; or if he is in a desert where neither
meridian nor latitude is yet ascertained, the
advantages of this noble instrument are that
it enables him to find both in the course of a
few hours. Thus prepared, let him ascertain by
observation the right ascension of the moon
from that of a known star, or their horary distance;
and, at the same instant, her horary
distance from his meridian. Her right ascension
at the instant thus ascertained, enter with
that of the nautical almanac, and calculate, by
its tables, what was her horary distance from
the meridian of Greenwich at the instant she
had attained that point of right ascension, or
that horary distance from the same star. The
addition of these meridian distances, if the
moon was between the two meridians, or the
subtraction of the lesser from the greater, if
she was on the same side of both, is the difference
of their longitudes. This general theory
admits different cases, of which the observer
may avail himself, according to the particular
position of the heavenly bodies at the moment
of observation. Case 1st. When the moon is
on his meridian, or on that of Greenwich. Second.
When the star is on either meridian.
Third. When the moon and star are on the same
side of his meridian. Fourth. When they are
on different sides. For instantaneousness of
observation, the equatorial has great advantage
over the circle, or sextant; for being truly placed
in the meridian beforehand, the telescope May
be directed sufficiently in advance of the moon's
motion, for time to note its place on the equatorial
circle, before she attains that point.
Then observe, until her limb touches the crosshairs;
and in that instant direct the telescope
to the star; that completes the observation, and
the place of the star may be read at leisure.
The apparatus for correcting the effects of refraction
and parallax, which is fixed on the
eye-tube of the telescope, saves time by rendering
the notation of altitudes unnecessary,
and dispenses with the use of either a time-keeper
or portable pendulum. I have observed
that, if placed in a desert where neither
meridian nor latitude is yet ascertained the
equatorial enables the observer to find both in
a few hours. For the latitude, adjust by the
cross-levels the azimuth plane of the instrument


Page 477
to the horizon of the place. Bring down the
equatorial plane to an exact parallelism with it,
its pole then becoming vertical. By the nut
and pinion commanding it, and by that of the
semi-circle of declination, direct the telescope
to the sun. Follow its path with the telescope
by the combined use of these two pinions, and
when it has attained its greatest altitude, calculate
the latitude as when taken by a sextant.
For finding the meridian, set the azimuth circle
to the horizon, elevate the equatorial circle to
the complement of the latitude, and fix it by
the clamp and tightening screw of the two
brass segments of arches below. By the declination
semicircle set the telescope to the
sun's declination of the moment. Turn the instrument
towards the meridian by guess, and by
the combined movement of the equatorial and
azimuth circles direct the telescope to the sun,
then by the pinion of the equatorial alone, follow
the path of the sun with the telescope. If
it swerves from that path, turn the azimuth
circle until it shall follow the sun accurately.
A distant stake or tree should mark the meridian,
to guard against its loss by any accidental
jostle of the instrument. The 12 o'clock line
will then be in the true meridian, and the axis
of the equatorial circle will be parallel with that
of the earth. The instrument is then in its true
position for the observations of the night.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 226.
(M. 1821)

See Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Jefferson called this paper “A method of finding
the longitude of a place at land, without a time-keeper ”.—Editor.

4474. LATROBE (B. H.), Building of U. S. Capitol.—

My memory retains no trace
of the particular conversations alluded to[by
you [289] ], nor enables me to say that they are or
are not correct. The only safe appeal for me
is to the general impressions received at the
time, and still retained with sufficient distinctness.
These were that you discharged the
duties of your appointment with ability, diligence
and zeal, but that in the article of expense
you were not sufficiently guarded. You must
remember my frequent cautions to you on this
head, the measures I took, by calling for frequent
accounts of expenditures and contracts,
to mark to you, as well as to myself, when
they were getting beyond the limits of the appropriations,
and the afflicting embarrassments
on a particular occasion where these limits had
been unguardedly and greatly transcended.
These sentiments I communicated to you freely
at the time, as it was my duty to do. Another
principle of conduct with me was to admit
no innovations on the established plans, but on
the strongest grounds. When, therefore, I
thought first of placing the floor of the Representative
chamber on the level of the basement
of the building, and of throwing into its height
the cavity of the dome, in the manner of the
Halle aux Bleds at Paris, I deemed it due to
Dr. Thornton, author of the plan of the Capitol,
to consult him on the change. He not only
consented, but appeared heartily to approve of
the alteration. For the same reason, as well as
on motives of economy, I was anxious, in
converting the Senate chamber into a Judiciary
room, to preserve its original form, and to leave
the same arches and columns standing. On
your representation, however, that the columns
were decayed and incompetent to support the
incumbent weight, I acquiesced in the weight
you proposed, only striking out the addition
which would have made part of the middle
building, and would involve a radical change
in that which had not been sanctioned. I have
no reason to doubt but that in the execution of
the Senate and Court rooms, you have adhered
to the plan communicated to me and approved.
* * * On the whole, I do not believe any one
has ever done more justice to your professional
abilities than myself. Besides constant commendations
of your taste in architecture, and
science in execution, I declared on many and all
occasions that I considered you as the only person
in the United States who could have executed
the Representative Chamber, or who
could execute the middle buildings on any of
the plans proposed.—
To Benjamin H. Latrobe. Washington ed. v, 578.
(M. 1811)

See Architecture.


Latrobe was the architect of the Capitol at Washington.
The quotation is interesting, showing as it
does the impress of Jefferson's taste in architecture.—Editor.

4475. LATROBE (B. H.), Burr's Treason and.—

I believe we shall send on Latrobe
as a witness. He will prove that Aaron Burr
endeavored to get him to engage several thousand
men, chiefly Irish emigrants, whom he had
been in the habit of employing in the works
he directs, under pretence of a canal opposite
Louisville, or of the Washita, in which, had he
succeeded, he could with that force alone have
carried everything before him, and would not
have been where he now is. He knows, too, of
certain meetings of Burr, Bollman, Yrnjo, and
one other whom we have never named yet, but
have him not the less in our view.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 99. Ford ed., ix, 58.
(W. June. 1807)

4476. LATROBE (B. H.), Burr's Treason and.—[continued].

I have had a conversation
with Latrobe. He says it was five hundred
men he was desired to engage. The pretexts
were, to work on the Ohio canal, and be paid
in Washita lands. Your witnesses will some
of them prove that Burr had no interest in the
Ohio canal, and that consequently this was a
mere pretext to cover the real object from the
men themselves, and all others.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 100. Ford ed., ix, 59.
(W. June. 1807)

4477. LAW, Administration.—

Laws will
be * * * honestly administered, in proportion
as those who * * * administer
them are wise and honest.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

4478. LAW, Administration.—[continued].

That people will be happiest
whose laws are best, and are best administered.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

4479. LAW, Agrarian.—

Equal partition
of inheritances[is] the best of all agrarian
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 49. Ford ed., i, 69.

— LAW, Alien and Sedition.—

See Alien
and Sedition Laws.

— LAW, The Common.—

See Common

4480. LAW, Construing.—

which do not result from the words of the
Legislator, but lie hidden in his breast, till
called forth, ex post facto, by subsequent
occasions, are dangerous and not to be justified
by ordinary emergencies.—
Report to Congress. Ford ed., ii, 138.

4481. LAW, Construing.—[continued].

Constructions must not
be favored which go to defeat instead of
furthering the principal object of the law and
to sacrifice the end to the end to the means.—
To W. H. Cabell. Washington ed. v, 159. Ford ed., ix, 94.
(M. 1807)


Page 478

4482. LAW, Construing.—[further continued].

Ingenuity ever should
be exercised[in executive cases] in devising
constructions which may save to the public
the benefit of the law. Its intention is the important
thing; the means of attaining quite
To W. H. Cabell. Washington ed. v, 159. Ford ed., ix, 94.
(M. 1807)

4483. LAW, Construing.—[further continued] .

In the construction of a
law, even in judiciary cases of meum et tuum where the opposite parties have a right and
counter-right in the very words of the law,
the judge considers the intention of the lawgiver
as his true guide, and gives to all the
parts and expressions of the law, that meaning
which will effect, instead of defeating, its
intention. But in laws merely executive,
where no private right stands in the way, and
the public object is the interest of all, a
much freer scope of construction, in favor of
the intention of the law, ought to be taken,
and ingenuity ever should be exercised in
devising constructions, which may save to the
public the benefit of the law. Its intention is
the important thing: the means of attaining
it quite subordinate. It often happens that,
the Legislature prescribing the details of execution,
some circumstance arises unforeseen
or unattended to by them, which would
totally frustrate their intention, were their
details scrupulously adhered to, and deemed
exclusive of all others. But constructions must
not be favored which go to defeat instead of
furthering the principal object of the law, and
to sacrifice the end to the means. It being as
evidently their intention that the end shall be
attained as that it should be effected by any
given means, if both cannot be observed, we
are equally free to deviate from the one as
the other, and more rational in postponing
the means to the end. * * * It is further
to be considered that the Constitution gives
the Executive a general power to carry the
laws into execution. If the present law had
enacted that the service of 30,000 volunteers
should be accepted, without saying anything
of the means, those means would, by the Constitution,
have resulted to the discretion of
the Executive. So if means specified by an
act are impracticable, the constitutional power
remains and supplies them. Often the means
provided specially are affirmative merely, and,
with the constitutional powers, stand well together;
so that either may be used, or the
one supplementary to the other. This aptitude
of means to the end of a law is
essentially necessary for those which are executive;
otherwise the objection that our government
is an impracticable one, would really
be verified.—
To W. H. Cabell. Washington ed. v, 158. Ford ed., ix, 94.
(M. Aug. 1807)

4484. LAW, Construing.—[further continued].

The true key for the construction
of everything doubtful in a law, is the
intention of the law givers. This is most
safely gathered from the words, but may be
sought also in extraneous circumstances, provided
they do not contradict the express
words of the law.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 291.
(M. 1808)

4485. LAW, Construing.—

The omission of a caution
which would have been right, does not
justify the doing what is wrong. Nor ought
it to be presumed that the Legislature meant
to use a phrase in an unjustifiable sense, if
by rules of construction it can be ever strained
to what is just.—
To Isaac McPherson. Washington ed. vi, 176.
(M. 1813)

4486. LAW, Construing.—[further continued].

The question whether
the judges are invested with exclusive authority
to decide on the constitutionality of a law,
has been heretofore a subject of consideration
with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly
there is not a word in the Constitution
which has given that power to them more than
to the Executive or Legislative branches.
Questions of property, of character and of
crime being ascribed to the judges, through a
definite course of legal proceeding, laws involving
such questions belong, of course, to
them; and as they decide on them ultimately
and without appeal, they of course decide for
The constitutional validity of the
law or laws again prescribing Executive action,
and to be administered by that branch
ultimately and without appeal, the Executive
must decide for themselves also, whether, under
the Constitution, they are valid or not.
So also as to laws governing the proceedings
of the Legislature, that body must judge for
the constitutionality of the law, and
equally without appeal or control from its coordinate
branches. And, in general, that
branch which is to act ultimately, and without
appeal, on any law, is the rightful expositor
of the validity of the law, uncontrolled
by the opinions of the other coordinate
To W. H. Torrance. Washington ed. vi, 461. Ford ed., ix, 517.
(M. 1815)

4487. LAW, Construing.—[further continued] .

It may be said that contradictory
decisions may arise in such case,
and produce inconvenience. This is possible,
and is a necessary failing in all human proceedings.
Yet the prudence of the public
functionaries, and authority of public opinion,
will generally produce accommodation. Such
an instance of difference occurred between the
judges of England (in the time of Lord Holt)
and the House of Commons, but the prudence
of those bodies prevented inconvenience from
it. So in the cases of Duane and of William
Smith, of South Carolina, whose characters of
citizenship stood precisely on the same
ground, the judges in a question of meum and
tuum which came before them, decided that
Duane was not a citizen; and in a question of
membership, the House of Representatives,
under the same words of the same provision,
adjudged William Smith to be a citizen. This
is what I believe myself to be sound.—
To W. H. Torrance. Washington ed. vi, 462. Ford ed., ix, 518.
(M. 1815)

4488. LAW, Construing.—[further continued].

There is another opinion
entertained by some men of such judgment
and information as to lessen my confidence in
my own. That is, that the Legislature alone
is the exclusive expounder of the sense of the
Constitution, in every part of it whatever.
And they allege in its support, that this


Page 479
branch has authority to impeach and punish
a member of either of the others acting contrary
to its declaration of the sense of the
Constitution. It may, indeed, be answered
that an act may still be valid although the
party is punished for it, right or wrong.
However, this opinion which ascribes exclusive
exposition to the Legislature, merits respect
for its safety, there being in the body
of the nation a control over them, which, if
expressed by rejection on the subsequent exercise
of their elective franchise, enlists public
opinion against their exposition, and encourages
a judge or executive on a future occasion
to adhere to their former opinion. Between
these two doctrines, every one has a
right to choose, and I know of no third meriting
any respect.—
To W. H. Torrance. Washington ed. vi, 462. Ford ed., ix, 518.
(M. 1815)

4489. LAW, Cruel French.—

Nor should
we wonder at * * *[the] pressure[for
a fixed constitution in 1788-9] when we consider
the monstrous abuses of power under
which they[the French] people were ground
to powder; when we pass in review the * * * cruelty of the criminal code.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 86. Ford ed., i, 118.

4490. LAW, Enacting.—

Laws will be
wisely formed * * * in proportion as those
who form * * * them are wise and honest.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

4491. LAW, Enforcing.—

Laws made by
common consent must not be trampled on
by individuals.—
To Colonel Vanneter. Ford ed., iii, 24.
(R. 1781)

4492. LAW, Enforcing.—[continued].

I hope, on the first symptom
of an open opposition to the[Embargo] law by force, you will fly to the scene, and
aid in suppressing any commotion.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 334.
(M. 1808)

4493. LAW, Equality before the.—

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

4494. LAW, Execution of.—

The execution
of the laws is more important than the
making them.—
To M. L'Abbé Arnond. Washington ed. iii, 82. Ford ed., v, 104.
(P. 1789)

4495. LAW, Executive discretion and.—

There are cases in the books where the word
“may” has been adjudged equivalent to
“shall”, but the term “is authorized” unless
followed by “and required” was, I
think, never so considered. On the contrary,
I believe it is the very term which Congress
always use towards the Executive when they
mean to give a power to him, and leave the
use of it to his discretion. It is the very
phrase on which there is now a difference
in the House of Representatives, on the bill
for raising 6,000 regulars, which says, “there
shall be raised”, and some desire it to say,
“the President is authorized to raise”, leaving
him the power with a discretion to use it
or not.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 259.
(W. March. 1808)

4496. LAW, Federal, State and Common.—

Of all the doctrines which have ever
been broached by the Federal Government,
the novel one, of the common law being in
force and cognizable as an existing law in
their courts, is to me the most formidable.
All their other assumptions of un-given powers
have been in the detail. The bank law, the
treaty doctrine, the Sedition act, Alien act,
the undertaking to change the State laws of
evidence in the State courts by certain parts
of the Stamp act, &c., &c., have been solitary,
unconsequential, timid things, in comparison
with the audacious, bare-faced and sweeping
pretension to a system of law for the United
States, without the adoption of their Legilature,
and so infinitely beyond their power to
adopt. If this assumption be yielded to, the
State courts may be shut up, as there will then
be nothing to hinder citizens of the same State
suing each other in the Federal courts in every
case, as on a bond for instance, because the
common law obliges payment of it, and the
common law they say is their law. I am
happy you have taken up the subject; and I
have carefully perused and considered the
notes you enclosed, and find but a single
paragraph which I do not approve. It is that
wherein you say, that laws being emanations
from the legislative department, and, when
once enacted, continuing in force from a presumption
that their will so continues, that that
presumption fails and the laws of course fall,
on the destruction of that legislative department.
I do not think this is the true bottom
on which laws and the administering them
rest. The whole body of the nation is the
sovereign legislative, judiciary, and executive
power for itself. The inconvenience of meeting
to exercise these powers in person, and their
inaptitude to exercise them, induce them to
appoint special organs to declare their legislative
will, to judge and to execute it. It is
the will of the nation which makes the law
obligatory; it is their will which vacates or
annihilates the organ which is to declare and
announce it. They may do it by a single person,
as an Emperor of Russia (constituting
his declarations evidence of their will), or by
a few persons, as the aristocracy of Venice,
or by an application of councils, as in our
former regal government, or our present republican
one. The law being law because it
is the will of the nation, is not changed by
their changing the organ through which they
choose to announce their future will; no more
than the acts. I have done by one attorney
lose their obligation by my changing or discontinuing
that attorney. This doctrine has
been, in a certain degree, sanctioned by the
Federal Executive. For it is precisely that
on which the continuance of obligation from
our treaty with France was established, and
the doctrine was particularly developed in a
letter to Gouverneur Morris, with the approbation
of President Washington and his Cabinet.
Mercer once prevailed on the Virginia
Assembly to declare a different doctrine in
some resolutions. These met universal disapprobation
in this, as well as the other


Page 480
States, and if I mistake not, a subsequent
Assembly did something to do away the authority
of their former unguarded resolutions.
In this case, as in all others, the true principle
will be quite as effectual to establish the
just deductions. Before the Revolution, the
nation of Virginia had, by the organs they
then thought proper to constitute, established
a system of laws, which they divided into
three denominations of 1, common law; 2,
statute law; 3, chancery; or, if you please,
into two only of 1, common law; 2, chancery.
When, by the Declaration of Independence,
they chose to abolish their former organs of
declaring their will, the acts of will already
formally and constitutionally declared, remained
untouched. For the nation was not
dissolved, was not annihilated; its will, therefore,
remained in full vigor, and on the establishing
the new organs, first of a convention,
and afterwards a more complicated legislature,
the old acts of national will continued
in force, until the nation should, by
its new organs, declare its will changed. The
common law, therefore, which was not in
force when we landed here, nor till we had
formed ourselves into a nation, and had manifested
by the organs we constituted that the
common law was to be our law, continued
to be our law, because the nation continued
in being, and because though it changed the
organs for the future declarations of its will,
yet it did not change its former declarations
that the common law was its law. Apply
these principles to the present case. Before
the Revolution there existed no such nation as
the United States; they then first associated
as a nation, but for special purposes only.
They had all their laws to make, as Virginia
had on her first establishment as a nation.
But they did not, as Virginia had done, proceed
to adopt a whole system of laws ready
made to their hand. As their association as
a nation was only for special purposes, to
wit, for the management of their concerns
with one another and with foreign nations,
and the States composing the association
chose to give to it powers for those purposes
and no others, they could not adopt any general
system, because it would have embraced
objects on which this association had no right
to form or declare a will. It was not the organ
for declaring a national will in these
cases. In the cases confided to them, they
were free to declare the will of the nation,
the law; but until it was declared there could
be no law. So that the common law did not
become, ipso facto, law on the new association; it could only become so by a positive
adoption, and so far only as they were authorized
to adopt. I think it will be of great
importance when you come to the proper part,
to portray at full length the consequences
of this new doctrine, that the common law is
the law of the United States, and that their
courts have, of course, jurisdiction coextensive
with that law, that is to say, general over
all cases and persons. But, great heavens!
Who could have conceived in 1789, that
within ten years we should have to combat
such windmills?—
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 301. Ford ed., vii, 383.
(M. Aug. 1799)

4497. LAW, Federal, State and Common.—[continued].

Though long estranged
from legal reading and reasoning, and little
familiar with the decisions of particular
judges, I have considered that respecting the
obligation of the common law in this country
as a very plain one, and merely a question of
document. If we are under that law, the
document which made us so can surely be
produced; and as far as this can be produced,
so far we are subject to it, and farther
we are not. Most of the States did, I
believe, at an early period of their legislation,
adopt the English law, common and
statute, more or less in a body, as far as
localities admitted of their application. In
these States, then, the common law, so far
as adopted, is the lex-loci. Then comes the
law of Congress, declaring that what is law in
any State, shall be the rule of decision in
their courts, as to matters arising within
that State, except when controlled by their
own statutes. But this law of Congress has
been considered as extending to civil cases
only; and that no such provision has been
made for criminal ones. A similar provision,
then, for criminal offences, would, in like
manner, be an adoption of more or less of the
common law, as part of the lex-loci, where the
offence is committed; and would cover the
whole field of legislation for the General Government.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vii, 73. Ford ed., x, 87.
(M. 1817)

See Common Law.

4498. LAW, George III. vs.—

His Majesty
has permitted our laws to be neglected
in England for years, neither confirming them
by his assent, nor annulling them by his negative:
so that such of them as have no suspending
clause we hold on the most precarious
of all tenures, his Majesty's will; and
such of them as suspend themselves till his
Majesty's assent be obtained, we have feared,
might be called into existence at some future
and distant period, when the time and change
of circumstances shall have rendered them destructive
to his people here. And to render
this grievance still more oppressive, his Majesty
by his instructions has laid his Governors
under such restrictions, that they can pass no
law of any moment unless it have such suspending
clause: so that, however immediate
may be the call for legislative interposition,
the law cannot be executed till it has twice
crossed the Atlantic, by which time the evil
may have spent its whole force.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 136. Ford ed., i, 440.

4499. LAW, George III. vs.—[continued].

He[George III.] has
endeavored to pervert the exercise of the
kingly office in Virginia into a detestable and
insupportable tyranny * * * by denying
to his governors permission to pass laws of
immediate and pressing importance, unless
suspended in their operations for his assent,
and, when so suspended, neglecting to attend
to them for many years.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., i, 9.
(June. 1776)

No Page Number

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Thomas Jefferson
Age about 58 years

From a painting by Gilbert Stuart in the possession of the Hon. T. Jefferson Coolidge. Mr.
Jefferson's family have always considered this portrait the best likeness painted.

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Page 481

4500. LAW, George III. vs.—[further continued].

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and
pressing importance, unless suspended in their
operation till his assent should be obtained;
and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected
to attend to them.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4501. LAW, George III. vs.—[further continued] .

He has combined, with
others, * * * for abolishing our most valuable
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4502. LAW, George III. vs.—[further continued].

He has [suffered] the
administration of justice [totally to cease in
some of these States], refusing his assent to
laws for establishing judiciary powers. [290]
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck out the words in brackets,
changed “suffered” to “obstructed” and inserted
“by” before “refusing”.—Editor.

4503. LAW, George III. vs.—[further continued] .

He has refused his assent
to laws the most wholesome and necessary
for the public good.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4504. LAW, George III. vs.—[further continued].

He has refused to pass
other laws for the accommodation of large
districts of people, unless those people would
relinquish the right of representation in the
legislature * * *.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4505. LAW, Ignorance.—

Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. If it
were, the laws would lose their effect, because
it can be always pretended.—
To M. Limozin. Washington ed. ii, 338.
(P. 1787)

4506. LAW, Instability.—

The instability
of our laws is really an immense evil. I
think it would be well to provide in our constitutions
that there shall always be a twelve-month
between the engrossing a bill and passing
it; that it should then be offered to its
passage without changing a word; and that
if circumstances should be thought to require
a speedier passage, it should take two-thirds
of both Houses, instead of a bare majority.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 333. Ford ed., iv, 480.
(P. 1787)

4507. LAW, Intention of.—

the words of a law will bear two meanings,
one of which will give effect to the law, and
the other will defeat it, the former must be
supposed to have been intended by the Legislature,
because they could not intend that
meaning, which would defeat their intention,
in passing that law; and in a statute, as in a
will, the intention of the party is to be sought
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 328.
(M. July. 1808)

4508. LAW, Intention of.—[continued].

Anciently before the improvement,
or, perhaps, the existence of the
Court of Chancery, the judges did not
restrain themselves to the letter of the
law. They allowed themselves greater latitude,
extending the provisions of every law,
not only to the cases within its letter, but to
those also which came within the spirit and
reason of it. This was called the equity of the
law, but it is now very long since certainty
in the law has become so highly valued by
the nation, that the judges have ceased to extend
the operation of laws beyond those cases
which are clearly within the intention of the
legislators. This intention is to be collected
principally from the words of the law; only
where these are ambiguous they are permitted
to gather further evidence from the history
of the times when the law was made, and the
circumstances which produced it.—
To Phillip Mazzei. Ford ed., iv, 109.
(P. 1785)

— LAW, International.—

See Belligerents,
Contraband, Enemy Goods, Free Ships, Neutrality, Privateers, and Treaties.

4509. LAW, Lex Talionis.—

The Lex
although a restitution of the Common
Law, * * * [is] revolting to the
humanized feelings of modern times. An eye
for an eye, and a hand for a hand, will exhibit
spectacles in execution whose moral effect
would be questionable; and even the
membrum pro membro of Bracton, or the
punishment of the offending member, although
long authorized by our law, for the
same offence in a slave, has been not long
since repealed, in conformity with public sentiment.
This needs reconsideration. [291]
To George Wythe. Washington ed. i, 146. Ford ed., ii, 204.
(M. 1778)


From Jefferson's letter to George Wythe enclosing
the draft of the bill for “Proportioning Crimes and
Punishments in cases heretofore capital”.—Editor.

4510. LAW, Lynch.—

It is more dangerous
that even a guilty person should be punished
without the forms of law, than that he
should escape.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 399. Ford ed., v, 26.
(P. 1788)

4511. LAW, Lynch.—[continued].

There is no country
which is not sometimes subject to irregular
interpositions of the people. There is no
country able, at all times, to punish them.
There is no country which has less of this to
reproach itself with than the United States,
nor any, where the laws have more regular
course, or are more habitually and cheerfully
acquiesced in.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 413. Ford ed., vi, 54.
(Pa., May. 1792)

— LAW, Moral.—

See Morality.

4512. LAW, Obedience to.—

He is a bad
citizen who can entertain a doubt whether the
law will justify him in saving his country, or
who will scruple to risk himself in support
of the spirit of a law, where unavoidable accidents
have prevented a literal compliance
with it.—
Letter to County Magistrates. Ford ed., ii, 431.
(R. 1781)

4513. LAW, Obedience to.—[continued].

While the laws shall be
obeyed all will be safe.—
From Jefferson's MSS. Ford ed., viii, 1.

4514. LAW, Obedience to.—[further continued].

That love of order and
obedience to the laws, which so remarkably
characterize the citizens of the United States,
are sure pledges of internal tranquillity.—
To Benjamin Waring. Washington ed. iv, 378.
(W. March. 1801)

— LAW, Patent.—

See Patents.


Page 482

4515. LAW, Protests against.—

the principles of our Constitution give just latitude to inquiry, every citizen faithful to it
will deem embodied expressions of discontent,
and open outrages of law and patriotism, as
dishonorable as they are injurious.—
R. to A. Leesburg Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 161.

4516. LAW, Reason and.—

Sound reason
should constitute the law of every country.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 531.

4517. LAW, Retrospective.—

I agree in
an almost unlimited condemnation of retrospective
laws. The few instances of wrong
which they redress are so overweighed by the
insecurity they draw over all property and
even over life itself, and by the atrocious violations
of both to which they lead, that it is
better to live under the evil than the remedy.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 470. Ford ed., v, 176.

4518. LAW, Retrospective.—[continued].

The sentiment that ex
post facto
laws are against natural right, is so
strong in the United States, that few, if any,
of the State Constitutions have failed to proscribe
them. The Federal Constitution, indeed,
interdicts them in criminal cases only;
but they are equally unjust in civil as in criminal
cases, and the omission of a caution
which would have been right, does not justify
the doing what is wrong.—
To Isaac McPherson. Washington ed. vi, 176.
(M. 1813)

4519. LAW, Retrospective.—[further continued].

Every man should be
protected in his lawful acts, and be certain
that no ex post facto law shall punish or endanger
him for them.—
To Isaac McPherson. Washington ed. vi, 175.
(M. Aug. 1813)

4520. LAW, Retrospective.—[further continued] .

Nature and reason, as
well as all our constitutions, condemn retrospective
conditions as mere acts of power
against right.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 515. Ford ed., x, 2.
(M. 1816)

4521. LAW, Roman vs. Feudal.—

French code, like all those of middle and
southern Europe, was originally Feudal, with
some variations in the different provinces, formerly
independent, of which the kingdom of
France had been made up. But as circumstances
changed, and civilization and commerce
advanced, abundance of new cases and
questions arose, for which the simple and unwritten
laws of Feudalism had made no provision.
At the same time, they had at hand
the legal system of a nation highly civilized,
a system carried to a degree of conformity
with natural reason attained by no other.
The study of this system, too, was become
the favorite of the age, and offering ready
and reasonable solutions of all the new cases
presenting themselves, was recurred to by a
common consent and practice; not, indeed, as
laws, formally established by the legislator of
the country, but as a Ratio Scripta, the dictate,
in all cases, of that sound reason which should
constitute the law of every country. Over
both of these systems, however, the occasional
edicts of the monarch are paramount, and
amend and control their provisions whenever
he deems amendment necessary; on the gen
eral principle that “leges posteriores priores
Subsequent laws abrogate those
which are prior.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 530.

4522. LAW, Roman vs. Feudal.—[continued].

The following instances
will give some idea of the steps by which the
Roman gained on the Feudal laws. A law
of Burgundy provided “Si quis post hoc
barbarus vel testari voluerit, vel donare, aut
Romanam consuetudinem, aut barbaricam,
esse servandam, sciat”.
“If any barbarian
subject hereafter shall desire to dispose by legacy
or donation, let him know that either the
Roman or barbarian law is to be observed.”
And one of Lotharius II. of Germany, going
still further, gives to every one an election
of the system under which he chose to live,
“Volumus ut cunctus populus Romanus interrogatur
quali lege vult vivere; ut tali
lege, quali professi sunt vivere vivant; illisque
denuntiatur, ut hoc unus-quis-que,
tam judices, quam judices, vel reliquus
populus sciat, quod si offensionem contra
eandem legem fecerint, eidem legi, quâ profitentur
vivere, subjaceant”.
“We will that
all the Roman people shall be asked by what
law they wish to live; that they may live
under such law as they profess to live by;
and that it be published, that every one,
judges, as well as generals, or the rest of
the people, may know that if they commit
offence against the said law, they shall be
subject to the same law by which they profess
to live.” Ency. Method. Jurisprudence.
Coutume. 399. Presenting the uncommon
spectacle of a jurisdiction attached to persons,
instead of places. Thus favored, the Roman
became an acknowledged supplement to the
Feudal or customary law; but still, not under
any act of the legislature, but as “raison
écrite”, “written reason”: and the cases to
which it is applicable, becoming much the
most numerous, it constitutes in fact the mass
of their law.—
Note in Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 531.

4523. LAW, Sanguinary.—

The experience
of all ages and countries has shown that
cruel and sanguinary laws defeat their own
purpose, by engaging the benevolence of mankind
to withhold prosecutions, to smother
testimony, or to listen to it with bias, and
by producing in many instances a total dispensation
and impunity under the names of
pardon and privilege of clergy; when, if the
punishment were only proportioned to the injury,
men would feel it their inclination, as
well as their duty, to see the laws observed.—
Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 148. Ford ed., ii, 204.

— LAW, The Sedition.—

See Alien and Sedition Laws, and Sedition Law.

4524. LAW, Simplicity.—

Laws are made
for men of ordinary understanding, and
should therefore, be construed by the ordinary
rules of common sense. Their meaning is
not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties,
which may make anything mean everything
or nothing, at pleasure. It should be
left to the sophisms of advocates, whose trade
it is, to prove that a defendant is a plaintiff,


Page 483
though dragged into court, torto collo, like
Bonaparte's volunteers, into the field in
chains, or that a power has been given because
it ought to have been given, et alia

To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 297. Ford ed., x, 231.
(M. 1823)

— LAW, Study of.—

See Lawyers.

4525. LAW, Style of.—

In its [the bill
“proportioning crimes and punishments”, in
the Virginia Revised Code] style I have
aimed at accuracy, brevity, and simplicity,
preserving, however, the very words of the
established law, wherever their meaning had
been sanctioned by judicial decisions, or rendered
technical by usage. The same matter,
if couched in the modern statutory language,
with all its tautologies, redundancies, and
circumlocutions, would have spread itself over
many pages, and been unintelligible to those
whom it most concerns. Indeed, I wished to
exhibit a sample of reformation in the barbarous
style into which modern statutes have
degenerated from their ancient simplicity.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. i, 146. Ford ed., ii, 203.
(M. 1778)

See 4531.

4526. LAW, Style of.—[continued].

In the execution of my
part [of the revision of the Virginia laws],
I thought it material not to vary the diction
of the ancient statutes by modernizing it,
nor to give rise to new questions by new expressions.
The text of these statutes had been
so fully explained and defined by numerous
adjudications, as scarcely ever now to produce
a question in our courts.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 44. Ford ed., i, 60.

4527. LAW, Style of.—[further continued].

I am pleased with the
style and diction of your laws [in Louisiana
Code]. Plain and intelligible as the ordinary
writings of common sense, I hope it will produce
imitation. Of all the countries on earth
of which I have any knowledge, the style
of the acts of the British parliament is the
most barbarous, uncouth and unintelligible.
It can be understood by those alone who are
in the daily habit of studying such tautologous,
involved and parenthetical jargon.
Where they found their model, I know not.
Neither ancient nor modern codes, nor even
their own early statutes, furnish any such example.
And, like faithful apes, we copy it
To Edward Livingston. Washington ed. vii, 404.
(M. 1825)

4528. LAW, Transcending.—

The question
you propose, whether circumstances do not
sometimes occur, which make it a duty in
officers of high trust, to assume authorities
beyond the law, is easy of solution in principle,
but sometimes embarrassing in practice.
A strict observance of the written laws is
doubtless one of the high duties of a good
citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws
of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving
our country when in danger, are of higher obligation.
To lose our country by a scrupulous
adherence to written law, would be to lose the
law itself, with life, liberty, property, and all
those who are enjoying them with us; thus
absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.
When in the battle of Germantown, General
Washington's army was annoyed from Chew's
house, he did not hesitate to plant his cannon
against it, although the property of a citizen.
When he besieged Yorktown, he levelled the
suburbs, feeling that the laws of property
must be postponed to the safety of the nation.
While the army was before York, the Governor
of Virginia [Jefferson] took horses, carriages,
provisions, and even men by force, to
enable that army to stay together till it could
master the public enemy; and he was justified.
A ship at sea in distress for provisions, meets
another having abundance, yet refusing a supply;
the law of self-preservation authorizes
the distressed to take a supply by force. In
all these cases, the unwritten laws of necessity,
of self-preservation, and of the public
safety, control the written laws of meum and
tuum. Further to exemplify the principle, I
will state an hypothetical case. Suppose it
had been made known to the Executive of
the Union in the autumn of 1805, that we
might have the Floridas for a reasonable sum,
that that sum had not indeed been so appropriated
by law, but that Congress were to
meet within three weeks, and might appropriate
it on the first or second day of their
session. Ought he, for so great an advantage
to his country, to have risked himself by
transcending the law and making the purchase?
The public advantage offered, in this
supposed case, was indeed immense, but a
reverence for law and the probability that the
advantage might still be legally accomplished
by a delay of only three weeks, were powerful
reasons against hazarding the act. But
suppose it foreseen that a John Randolph
would find means to protract the proceeding
on it by Congress, until the ensuing spring,
by which time new circumstances would
change the mind of the other party. Ought
the Executive, in that case, and with that foreknowledge,
to have secured the good to his
country, and to have trusted to their justice
for the transgression of the law? I think he
ought, and that the act would have been approved.
After the affair of the Chesapeake,
we thought war a very possible result. Our
magazines were illy provided with some necessary
articles, nor had any appropriations
been made for their purchase. We ventured,
however, to provide them, and to place our
country in safety; and stating the case to
Congress, they sanctioned the act. To proceed
to the conspiracy of Burr, and particularly
to General Wilkinson's situation in New
Orleans. In judging this case, we are bound
to consider the state of the information, correct
and incorrect, which he then possessed.
He expected Burr and his band from above,
a British fleet from below, and he knew there
was a formidable conspiracy within the city.
Under these circumstances, was he justifiable,
first, in seizing notorious conspirators? On
this there can be but two opinions; one, of the
guilty and their accomplices; the other, that
of all honest men. Secondly, in sending them
to the seat of government, when the written
law gave them a right to trial in the territory?


Page 484
The danger of their rescue, of their continuing
their machinations, the tardiness and
weakness of the law, apathy of the judges,
active patronage of the whole tribe of lawyers,
unknown disposition of the juries, an hourly
expectation of the enemy, salvation of the
city, and of the Union itself, which would
have been convulsed to its centre, had that
conspiracy succeeded; all these constituted a
law of necessity and self-preservation, and
rendered the salus populi supreme over the
written law. The officer who is called to act
on this superior ground, does indeed risk himself
on the justice of the controlling powers of
the Constitution, and his station makes it his
duty to incur that risk. But those controlling
powers, and his fellow citizens generally, are
bound to judge according to the circumstances
under which he acted. They are not
to transfer the information of this place or
moment to the time and place of his action;
but to put themselves into his situation. We
knew here [Washington] that there never was
danger of a British fleet from below, and
that Burr's band was crushed before it reached
the Mississippi. But General Wilkinson's information
was very different, and he could act
on no other. From these examples and principles
you may see what I think on the question
proposed. They do not go to the case
of persons charged with petty duties, where
consequences are trifling, and time allowed for
a legal course, nor to authorize them to take
such cases out of the written law. In these,
the example of over-leaping the law is of
greater evil than a strict adherence to its imperfect
provisions. It is incumbent on those
only who accept of great charges, to risk
themselves on great occasions, when the
safety of the nation, or some of its very
high interests are at stake. An officer is
bound to obey orders; yet he would be a bad
one who should do it in cases for which they
were not intended, and which involved the
most important consequences. The line of
discrimination between cases may be difficult;
but the good officer is bound to draw it at his
own peril, and throw himself on the justice
of his country and the rectitude of his motives.—
To J. B. Colvin. Washington ed. v, 542. Ford ed., ix, 279.
(M. Sep. 1810)

4529. LAW, Transcending.—[continued].

On great occasions every
good officer must be ready to risk himself in
going beyond the strict line of law, when the
public preservation requires it; his motives
will be a justification as far as there is any
discretion in his ultra-legal proceedings, and
no indulgence of private feelings.—
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. v, 40.
(W. 1807)

4530. LAW, Transcending.—[further continued].

Should we have ever gained our Revolution, if we had bound our
hands by manacles of the law, not only in the
beginning, but in any part of the revolutionary
To James Brown. Washington ed. v, 379. Ford ed., ix, 211.
(W. 1808)

See 1852.

4531. LAW, Virginia's Revised Code.—

The [Revision] Committee was appointed in
the latter part of 1776, and reported in the
spring or summer of 1779. At the first and
only meeting of the whole committee (of five
persons), the question was discussed whether
we would attempt to reduce the whole body of
the law into a code, the text of which should become
the law of the land? We decided against
that, because every word and phrase in that text
would become a new subject of criticism and
litigation, until its sense should have been settled
by numerous decisions, and that, in the
meantime, the rights of property would be in
the air. We concluded not to meddle with the
common law, i. e., the law preceding the existence
of the Statutes, further than to accommodate
it to our new principles and circumstances;
but to take up the whole body of statutes
and Virginia laws, to leave out everything
obsolete or improper, insert what was wanting,
and reduce the whole within as moderate a
compass as it would bear, and to the plain
language of common sense, divested of the
verbiage, the barbarous tautologies and redundancies
which render the British statutes unintelligible.
From this, however, were excepted
the ancient statutes, particularly those commented
on by Lord Coke, the language of which
is simple, and the meaning of every word so
well settled by decisions, as to make it safest
not to change words where the sense was to be
retained. After setting our plan. Colonel Mason
declined undertaking the execution of any part
of it, as not being sufficiently read in the law.
Mr. Lee very soon afterwards died, and the
work was distributed between Mr. Wythe, Mr.
Pendleton and myself. To me was assigned the
common law (so far as we thought of altering
it) and the statutes down to the Reformation,
or the end of the reign of Elizabeth; to Mr.
Wythe, the subsequent body of the statutes, and
to Mr. Pendleton the Virginia laws. This distribution
threw into my part the laws concerning
crimes and punishments, the law of descents,
and the laws concerning religion. After completing
our work separately, we met (Mr. W.,
Mr. P., and myself) in Williamsburg, and held
a long session, in which we went over the first
and second parts in the order of time, weighing
and correcting every word, and reducing them
to the form in which they were afterwards reported.
When we proceeded to the third part,
we found that Mr. Pendleton had not exactly
seized the intentions of the committee, which
were to reform the language of the Virginia
laws, and reduce the matter to a simple style
and form. He had copied the acts verbatim, only omitting what was disapproved; and some
family occurrence calling him indispensably
home, he desired Mr. Wythe and myself to
make it what we thought it ought to be, and
authorized us to report him as concurring in
the work. We accordingly divided the work,
and reexecuted it entirely so as to assimilate
its plan and execution to the other parts, as well
as the shortness of the time would admit, and
we brought the whole of the British Statutes
and laws of Virginia into 127 acts, most of
them short. This is the history of that work
as to its execution. * * * Experience has convinced
me that the change in the style of the
laws was for the better, and it has sensibly
reformed the style of our laws from that time
downwards, insomuch that they have obtained,
in that respect, the approbation of men of consideration
on both sides of the Atlantic.
Whether the change in the style and form of
the criminal law, as introduced by Mr. Taylor,
was for the better, is not for me to judge. The
digest of that act employed me longer than I
believe all the rest of the work, for it rendered
it necessary for me to go with great care over
Bracton, Britton, the Saxon statutes, and the
works of authority on criminal law; and it
gave me great satisfaction to find that, in general,


Page 485
I had only to reduce the law to its ancient Saxon condition, stripping it of all the innovations
and rigorisms of subsequent times, to
make it what it should be. The substitution of
the penitentiary, instead of labor on the high
road, and of some other punishments truly objectionable,
is a just merit to be ascribed to Mr.
Taylor's law. When our report was made, the
idea of a penitentiary had never been suggested;
the happy experiment of Pennsylvania we had
not then the benefit of.—
To Skelton Jones. Washington ed. v, 459.
(M. 1809)

4532. LAW, Virginia's Revised Code.—[continued].

When I left Congress in
1776, it was in the persuasion that our whole
code (of Virginia) must be reviewed, adapted
to our republican form of government; and
now that we had no negatives of Councils,
Governors, and Kings to restrain us from doing
right, that it should be corrected, in all its
parts, with a single eye to reason, and the good
of those for whose government it was framed.
Early, therefore, in the session of '76, to which
I returned, I moved and presented a bill for the
revision of the laws which was passed on the
24th of October; and on the 5th of November,
Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Wythe, George Mason,
Thomas L. Lee, and myself, were appointed a
committee to execute the work. We agreed to
meet at Fredericksburg to settle the plan of
operation, and to distribute the work. We
met there accordingly on the 13th of January,
1777. The first question was, whether we
should propose to abolish the whole existing
system of laws, and prepare a new and complete
Institute, or preserve the general system, and
only modify it to the present state of things.
Mr. Pendleton, contrary to his usual disposition
in favor of ancient things, was for the
former proposition, in which he was joined by
Mr. Lee. To this it was objected, that to
abrogate our whole system would be a bold
measure, and probably far beyond the views
of the legislature; that they had been in the
practice of revising from time to time the laws
of the Colony, omitting the expired, the repealed,
and the obsolete, amending only those
retained, and probably meant we should now
do the same, only including the British statutes
as well as our own; that to compose a new Institute,
like those of Justinian and Bracton, or
that of Blackstone, which was the model proposed
by Mr. Pendleton, would be an arduous
undertaking, of vast research, of great consideration
and judgment; and when reduced to
a text, every word of that text, from the imperfections
of human language, and its incompetence
to express distinctly every shade of
idea, would become a subject of question and
chicanery, until settled by repeated adjudications;
and this would involve us for ages in litigation,
and render property uncertain until,
like the statutes of old, every word had been
tried and settled by numerous decisions, and by
new volumes of reports and commentaries; and
that no one of us, probably, would undertake
such a work which, to be systematical, must be
the work of one hand. This last was the
opinion of Mr. Wythe, Mr. Mason, and myself.
When we proceeded to the distribution of the
work, Mr. Mason excused himself, as, being no
lawyer, he felt himself unqualified for the work,
and he resigned soon after. Mr. Lee excused
himself on the same ground, and died, indeed,
in a short time. The other two gentlemen,
therefore, and myself divided the work among
us. The common law and statutes to the
4 James I. (when our separate legislature was
established) were assigned to me; the British
statutes, from that period to the present day, to
Mr. Wythe; and the Virginia laws to Mr. Pendleton.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 42. Ford ed., i, 57.

4533. LAW, Virginia's Revised Code.—[further continued].

In giving this account of
the laws of which I was myself the mover and
draughtsman, I, by no means, mean to claim to
myself the merit of obtaining their passage. I
had many occasional and strenuous coadjutors
in debate, and one, most steadfast, able and
zealous; who was himself a host. This was
George Mason.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 40. Ford ed., i, 56.

4534. LAW, Virginia's Revised Code.—[further continued] .

We were employed in
this work (revising Virginia laws) from January,
1777, to February, 1779, when we met at
Williamsburg, that is to say, Mr. Pendleton,
Mr. Wythe and myself; and meeting day by day,
we examined critically our several parts, sentence
by sentence, scrutinizing and amending,
until we had agreed on the whole. We then
returned home, had fair copies made of our
several parts, which were reported to the General
Assembly, June 18, 1779, by Mr. Wythe
and myself, Mr. Pendleton's residence being
distant, and he having authorized us by letter
to declare his approbation. We had, in this
work, brought so much of the Common Law as
it was thought necessary to alter, all the British
statutes from Magna Charta to the present day,
and all the laws of Virginia, from the establishment
of our Legislature, in the 4th Jac. 1. to
the present time, which we thought should be
retained, within the compass of one hundred
and twenty-six bills, making a printed folio of
ninety pages only. Some bills were taken out,
occasionally, from time to time, and passed;
but the main body of the work was not entered
on by the Legislature until after the general
peace, in 1785, when, by the unwearied exertions
of Mr. Madison, in opposition to the
endless quibbles, chicaneries, perversions, vexations
and delays of lawyers and demi-lawyers,
most of the bills were passed by the Legislature,
with little alteration.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 44. Ford ed., i, 61.

4535. LAW, Voluntary support of.—

The voluntary support of laws, formed by
persons of their own choice, distinguishes peculiarly
the minds capable of self-government.
The contrary spirit is anarchy, which of necessity
produces despotism.—
R. to A. Philadelphia Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 145.

4536. LAW OF WASTE, Explained.—

The main objects of the law of Waste in England are: 1, to prevent any disguise of the
lands which might lessen the reversioner's
evidence of title, such as the change of
pasture into arable, &c.; 2, to prevent any
deterioration of it, as the cutting down forest,
which in England is an injury. So careful is
the law there against permitting a deterioration
of the land, that though it will permit
such improvements in the same line, as
manuring arable lands, leading water into
pasture lands, &c., yet it will not permit improvements
in a different line, such as erecting
buildings, converting pasture into arable,
&c., lest these should lead to a deterioration.
Hence we might argue in Virginia, that
though the cutting down of forest in Virginia
is, in our husbandry, rather an improvement
generally, yet it is not so always, and therefore
it is safer never to admit it. Consequently,
there is no reason for adopting different rules


Page 486
of waste here from those established in England.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. iii, 452. Ford ed., vi, 91.
(Pa., 1792)

4537. LAWS OF ENGLAND, History.—

The laws of England, in their progress from
the earliest to the present times, may be
likened to the road of a traveller, divided into
distinct stages or resting places, at each of
which a review is to be taken of the ground
passed over so far. The first of these was
Bracton's De Legibus Angliæ; the second
Coke's Institutes; the third the Abridgment
of the Law
by Matthew Bacon; and the
fourth, Blackstone's Commentaries. Doubtless
there were others before Bracton which have
not reached us. Alfred, in the preface to his
laws, says they were compiled from those of
Ina, Offa, and æthelbert, into which, or
rather preceding them, the clergy have interpolated
the 20th, 21st, 22d, 23d and 24th chapters
of Exodus, so as to place Alfred's preface
to what was really his, awkwardly
enough in the body of the work. An interpolation,
the more glaring, as containing laws
expressly contradicted by those of Alfred.
This pious fraud seems to have been first
noted by Howard, in his Coutumes Anglo
and the pious judges of England
have had no inclination to question it. * * * This digest of Alfred of the laws of the
Heptarchy into a single code, common to the
whole Kingdom, by him first reduced into
one, was probably the birth of what is called
the Common law. He has been styled, “ Magnus
Juris Anglicani Conditor”; and his code,
the Dom-Dec, or Doom-Book. That which
was afterwards under Edward the Confessor,
was but a restoration of Alfred's with some
intervening alterations. And this was the code
which the English so often, under the Norman
princes, petitioned to have restored to
them. But, all records previous to the Magna
having been early lost, Bracton's is
the first digest of the whole body of law
which has come down to us entire. What
materials existed for it in his time we know
not, except the unauthoritative collections of
Lambard and Wilkins, and the treatise of
Glanville, tempore H. 2. Bracton's is the
more valuable, because being written a very
few years after the Magna Charta, which
commences what is called the statute law, it
gives us the state of the common law in its
ultimate form, and exactly at the point of
division between the Common and Statute
law. It is a most able work, complete in its
matter and luminous in its method. The statutes
which introduced changes began now to
be preserved; applications of the law to new
cases by the courts, began soon after to be
reported in the Year-Books, these to be
methodized and abridged by Fitzherbert,
Broke, Rolle, and others; individuals continued
the business of reporting; particular
treatises were written by able men, and all
these, by the time of Lord Coke, had formed
so large a mass of matter as to call for a
new digest, to bring it within reasonable compass.
This he undertook in his Institutes, harmonizing all the decisions and opinions
which were reconcilable, and rejecting those
not so. This work is executed with so much
learning and judgment, that I do not recollect
that a single position in it has ever been judicially
denied. And although the work loses
much of its value by its chaotic form it May
still be considered as the fundamental code of
the English law. The same processes recommencing
of statutory changes, new divisions,
multiplied reports, and special treatises, a new
accumulation had formed, calling for new reduction,
by the time of Matthew Bacon. His
work, therefore, although not pretending to
the textual merit of Bracton's, or Coke's, was
very acceptable. His alphabetical arrangement,
indeed, although better than Coke's
jumble, was far inferior to Bracton's. But
it was a sound digest of the materials existing
on the several alphabetical heads under
which he arranged them. His work was not
admitted in Westminster Hall; yet it was the
manual of every judge and lawyer, and, what
better proves its worth, has been its daily
growth in the general estimation. A succeeding
interval of changes and additions of
matter produced Blackstone's Commentaries,
the most lucid in arrangement which had yet
been written, correct in its matter, classical
in style, and rightfully taking its place by
the side of the Justinian Institutes. But, like
them, it was only an elementary book. It did
not present all the subjects of the law in all
their details. It still left it necessary to recur
to the original works of which it was the summary.
The great mass of law books from
which it was extracted, was still to be consulted
on minute investigations. It wanted,
therefore, a species of merit which entered
deeply into the value of those of Bracton,
Coke and Bacon. They had in effect swept
the shelves of all the materials preceding
them. To give Blackstone, therefore, a full
measure of value, another work is still wanting,
to wit: to incorporate with his principles
a compend of the particular cases subsequent
to Bacon, of which they are the essence. This
might be done by printing under his text a
digest like Bacon's, continued to Blackstone's
time. It would * * * increase its value
peculiarly to us, because just here we break
off from the parent stem of the English
law, unconcerned in any of its subsequent
changes or decisions.—
To Dr. Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 291.
(M. 1814)

4538. LAWS OF NATURE, Opposition to.—

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislator
to frame laws in opposition to the laws
of nature, and to arm them with the terrors
of death. This is truly creating crimes in
order to punish them.—
Note on Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 159. Ford ed., ii, 218.

4539. LAWS OF NATURE, Writers on.—

Those who write treatises of natural law,
can only declare what their own moral sense
and reason dictate in the several cases they
state. Such of them as happen to have feelings
and a reason coincident with those of the wise
and honest part of mankind, are respected and
quoted as witnesses of what is morally right


Page 487
or wrong in particular cases. Grotius, Puffendorf,
Wolf, and Vattel are of this number.
Where they agree their authority is strong;
but where they differ (and they often differ),
we must appeal to our own feelings and reason
to decide between them.—
Opinion on French Treaties. Washington ed. vii, 618. Ford ed., vi, 225.

4540. LAWS OF VIRGINIA, Collection of.—

The only object I had in making my collection
of the laws of Virginia, was to save all
those for the public which were not then already
lost, in the hope that at some future day
they might be republished. Whether this be by
public or private enterprise, my end will be
equally answered. [292]
To William Walter Henning. Washington ed. v, 31. Ford ed., ix, 10.
(W. 1807)


They were published by Henning.—Editor.

4541. LAWYERS, Antipathies and.—

No profession is open to stronger antipathies
than that of the law.—
To Wm. Wirt. Washington ed. v, 233.
(W. 1808)

4542. LAWYERS, Blackstone.—

I am
sure you join me in lamenting the general
defection of lawyers and judges from the free principles of government. I am sure they do
not derive this degenerate spirit from the
father of our science, Lord Coke. But it
may be the reason why they cease to read
him, and the source of what are now called
“Blackstone Lawyers”.—
To Dr. Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 296.
(M. 1814)

4543. LAWYERS, Education of.—

on the study of the law with that of politics
and history. Every political measure will,
forever, have an intimate connection with the
laws of the land; and he, who knows nothing
of these, will always be perplexed and often
foiled by adversaries having the advantage of
that knowledge over him. Besides, it is a
source of infinite comfort to reflect, that under
chance of fortune, we have a resource in ourselves
from which we may be able to derive
an honorable subsistence.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Washington ed. ii, 176. Ford ed., iv, 405.
(P. 1787)

4544. LAWYERS, Education of.—[continued].

I have long lamented the
depreciation of law science. The opinion
seems to be that Blackstone is to us what the
Alkoran is to the Mahometans, that everything
which is necessary is in him; and what
is not in him is not necessary. I still lend my
counsel and books to such young students as
will fix themselves in the neighborhood.
Coke's Institutes and reports are their first,
and Blackstone their last book, after an intermediate
course of two or three years. It is
nothing more than an elegant digest of what
they will then have acquired from the real
fountains of the law. Now, men are born
scholars, lawyers, doctors; in our day this was
confined to poets.—
To John Tyler. Washington ed. v, 524. Ford ed., ix, 276.
(M. 1810)

4545. LAWYERS, Education of.—[further continued].

Begin with Coke's four
Institutes. These give a complete body of the
law as it stood in the reign of the First James,
an epoch the more interesting to us, as we
separated at that point from English legislation,
and acknowledged no subsequent statu
tory alternations. Then passing over (for occasional
reading as hereafter proposed) all the
reports and treatises to the time of Matthew
Bacon, read his abridgment, compiled about
one hundred years after Coke',s in which they
are all embodied. This gives numerous applications
of the old principles to new cases,
and gives the general state of the English law
at that period. Here, too, the student should
take up the Chancery branch of the law, by
reading the first and second abridgments of
the cases in Equity. The second is by the
same Matthew Bacon, the first having been
published some time before. The alphabetical
order adopted by Bacon, is certainly not as
satisfactory as the systematic. But the arrangement
is under very general and leading
heads, and these, indeed, with very little difficulty,
might be systematically instead of alphabetically
arranged and read. Passing now
in like manner over all intervening reports and
tracts, the student may take up Blackstone's
Commentaries, published about twenty-five
years later than Bacon's abridgment, and giving
the substance of these new reports and
tracts. This review is not so full as that of
Bacon, by any means, but better digested.
Here, too, Wooddeson should be read as supplementary
to Blackstone, under heads too
shortly treated by him. Fonblanque's edition
of Francis's Maxims of Equity, and Bridgman's
Digested Index, into which the latter
cases are incorporated, are also supplementary
in the Chancery branch, in which Blackstone
is very short. This course comprehends about
twenty-six 8vo. volumes, and reading four or
five hours a day would employ about two
years. After these, the best of the reporters
since Blackstone should be read for the new
cases which have occurred since his time.
* * * By way of change and relief for another
hour or two in the day, should be read
the law-tracts of merit which are many, and
among them all those of Baron Gilbert are of
the first order. In these hours, too, may be
read Bracton and Justinian's Institutes. The
method of these two last works is very much
the same, and their language often quite so.
Justinian is very illustrative of the doctrines
of Equity, and is often appealed to, and
Cooper's edition is the best on account of the
analogies and contrasts he has given of the
Roman and English law. After Bracton,
Reeves's History of the English Law may be
read to advantage. During this same hour or
two of lighter law reading, select and leading
cases of the reporters may be successively
read, which the several digests will have
pointed out and referred to. I have here
sketched the reading in Common Law and
Chancery which I suppose necessary for a
reputable practitioner in those courts. But
there are other branches of law in which, although
it is not expected he should be an
adept, yet when it occurs to speak of them, it
should be understandingly to a decent degree.
These are the Admiralty law, Ecclesiastical
law, and the Law of Nations. I would name
as elementary books in these branches, Molloy
de Jure Maritimo; Brown's Compend of


Page 488
the Civil and Admiralty Law; the Jura Ecclesiastica,
and Les Institutions du Droit de
la Nature et des Gens de Reyneval.
these six hours of law reading, light and
heavy, and those necessary for the reports of
the day, for exercise and sleep, which suppose
to be ten or twelve, there will be six or eight
hours for reading history, politics, ethics,
physics, oratory, poetry, criticism, &c., as
necessary as law to form an accomplished
To Dabney Terrell. Washington ed. vii, 207.
(M. 1821)

4546. LAWYERS, Future Judges and.—

I think the bar of the General Court a proper
and excellent nursery for future judges, if it
be so regulated that science may be encouraged
and may live there. But this can never
be if an inundation of insects is permitted to
come from the county courts, and consume
the harvest. These people, traversing the
counties, seeing the clients frequently at their
own courts, or, perhaps, at their own houses,
must of necessity pick up all the business.
The convenience of frequently seeing their
counsel, without going from home, cannot be
withstood by the country people. Men of
science, then (if there were to be any), would
only be employed as auxiliary counsel in difficult
cases. But can they live by that?
Certainly not. The present members of that
kind therefore must turn marauders in the
county courts; and in future none will have
leisure to acquire science. I should, therefore,
be for excluding the county court attorneys;
or rather for taking the General Court lawyers
from the incessant drudgery of the county
courts and confining them to their studies, that
they may qualify themselves as well to support
their clients, as to become worthy successors
to the bench.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. i, 211. Ford ed., ii, 166.

4547. LAWYERS, History and.—

especially, is necessary to form a lawyer.—
To John Garland Jefferson. Ford ed., v, 180.
(N.Y., 1790)

4548. LAWYERS, Monarchy and.—

join in your reprobation of our * * * lawyers, for their adherence to England and
monarchy, in preference to their own country
and its Constitution. * * * They have,
in the mother country, been generally the
firmest supporters of the free principles of
their constitution. But there, too, they have
changed. I ascribe much of this to the substitution
of Blackstone for my Lord Coke, as
an elementary work.—
To Horatio G. Spafford. Washington ed. vi, 334.
(M. 1814)

— LAWYERS, In office.—

See Congress.

4549. LAWYERS, Opinions of.—

On every question the lawyers are about equally
divided, and were we to act but in cases where
no contrary opinion of a lawyer can be had,
we should never act.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 369.
(M. 1808)

4550. LAWYERS, Politics and.—

study of the law qualifies a man to be useful
to himself, to his neighbors, and to the public.
It is the most certain stepping stone to public
preferment in the political line.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. iii, 144. Ford ed., v, 172.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

4551. LAWYERS, Prosperity of.—

fear the want of business. A man who qualifies
himself well for his calling never fails of
employment in it.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. iii, 452. Ford ed., vi, 92.
(Pa., 1792)

4552. LAWYERS, Success of.—

It is superiority
of knowledge which can alone lift
you above the heads of your competitors, and
insure you success.—
To John Garland Jefferson. Ford ed., v, 182.
(N.Y., 1790)

4553. LAWYERS, Too many.—

Law is quite overdone. It is fallen to the ground,
and a man must have great powers to raise
himself in it to either honor or profit. The
mob of the profession get as little money and
less respect, than they would by digging the
earth. The followers of Æsculapius are also
numerous. Yet I have remarked that wherever
one sets himself down in a good neighborhood,
not preoccupied, he secures to himself
its practice, and if prudent, is not long in
acquiring whereon to retire and live in comfort.
The physician is happy in the attachment
of the families in which he practices.
All think he has saved some one of them,
and he finds himself everywhere a welcome
guest, a home in every house. If, to the consciousness
of having saved some lives, he can
add that of having at no time, from want of
caution, destroyed the boon he was called on
to save, he will enjoy, in age, the happy reflection
of not having lived in vain; while
the lawyer has only to recollect how many, by
his dexterity, have been cheated of their right
and reduced to beggary.—
To David Campbell. Washington ed. v, 499.
(M. 1810)

4554. LAWYERS, Trade of.—

Their trade is to question everything, yield nothing and
talk by the hour. That one hundred and fifty
lawyers should do business together ought not
to be expected.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 58. Ford ed., i, 82.

— LEAGUE, The marine.—

See 1335.

4555. LEANDER, Case of the.—

satisfactory information has been received that
Henry Whitby, commanding a British armed
vessel called the Leander, did, on the 25th day
of the month of April [1806], within the waters
and jurisdiction of the United States, and near
to the entrance of the harbor of New York, by
a cannon shot fired from the said vessel, Leander,
commit a murder on the body of John
Pearce, a citizen of the United States, * * * I do, hereby, especially enjoin, and require all
officers, having authority, civil or military,
* * * within the limits or jurisdiction of the
United States * * * to apprehend * * * the
said Henry Whitby, * * * and him * * * deliver
to the civil authority, * * * to be proceeded
against according to law.—
Proclamation. Ford ed., viii, 445.
(May. 1806)

4556. LEAR (Tobias), Secretary of the Navy.—

If General Smith does not accept [the Secretaryship of the Navy], there is no remedy
but to appoint Lear permanently. He is equal


Page 489
to the office if he possessed equally the confidence
of the public.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 14.
(W. March. 1801)

4557. LEARNING, Classical.—

For classical
learning I have ever been a zealous advocate.
* * * I have not, however, carried so far
as you do my ideas of the importance of a
hypercritical knowledge of the Greek and Latin
languages. I have believed it sufficient to possess
a substantial understanding of their authors.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 390.
(M. 1814)

4558. LEARNING, Classical.—[continued].

Among the values of
classical learning, I estimate the luxury of reading
the Greek and Roman authors in all the
beauties of their originals. And why should
not this innocent and elegant luxury take its
preeminent stand ahead of all those addressed
merely to the senses? I think myself more indebted
to my father for this than for all the
other luxuries his cares and affections have
placed within my reach; and more now than
when younger, and more susceptible of delights
from other sources. When the decays of age
have enfeebled the useful energies of the mind,
the classic pages fill up the vacuum of ennui, and become sweet composers to that rest of the
grave into which we are all sooner or later to
To John Brazier. Washington ed. vii, 131.

See Education, Languages, Science, and University.

4559. LEDYARD (John), Explorer.—

1786, while at Paris, I became acquainted with
John Ledyard, of Connecticut, a man of genius,
of some science, and of fearless courage and
enterprise. He had accompanied Captain Cook
in his voyage to the Pacific, had distinguished
himself on several occasions by an unrivalled
intrepidity, and published an account of that
voyage, with details unfavorable to Cook's deportment
towards the savages, and lessening our
regrets at his fate. Ledyard had come to Paris
in the hope of forming a company to engage
in the fur trade of the Western coast of America.
He was disappointed in this, and, being
out of business, and of a roaming, restless character,
I suggested to him the enterprise of
exploring the western part of our continent,
by passing through St. Petersburg to Kamschatka,
and procuring a passage thence in some
of the Russian vessels to Nootka Sound, whence
he might make his way across the continent to
the United States; and I undertook to have the
permission of the Empress of Russia solicited.
He eagerly embraced the proposition, and M. de
Sémoulin, the Russian Ambassador, and more
particularly Baron Grimm, the special correspondent
of the Empress, solicited her permission
for him to pass through her dominions, to
the western coast of America. And here I
must correct a material error which I have
committed in another place, to the prejudice
of the Empress. In writing some notes of the
life of Captain Lewis, prefixed to his “ Expedition
to the Pacific”, I stated that the Empress
gave the permission asked, and afterwards retracted
it. This idea, after a lapse of twenty-six
years, had so insinuated itself into my
mind, that I committed it to paper, without the
least suspicion of error. Yet I find, on recurring
to my letters of that date, that the Empress
refused permission at once, considering
the enterprise as entirely chimerical. But
Ledyard would not relinquish it, persuading
himself that, by proceeding to St. Petersburg,
he could satisfy the Empress of its practicability,
and obtain her permission. He went accordingly,
but she was absent on a visit to some
distant part of her dominions [the Crimea], and
he pursued his course to within two hundred
miles of Kamschatka, where he was overtaken
by an arrest from the Empress, brought back to
Poland, and there dismissed. I must therefore,
in justice, acquit the Empress of ever having
for a moment countenanced, even by the indulgence
of an innocent passage through her
territories, this interesting enterprise.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 68. Ford ed., i, 94.

4560. LEDYARD (John), Imaginative.—

He is a person of ingenuity and information. Unfortunately, he has too much imagination.—
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. ii, 276. Ford ed., iv.

4561. LEDYARD (John), Poverty.—

had a letter from Ledyard lately, dated at St.
Petersburg. He had but two shirts, and yet
more shirts than shillings. Still he was determined
to obtain the palm of the first circumambulator
of the earth. He says, that having
no money, they kick him from place to place,
and thus he expects to be kicked round the
To J. Bannister, Jr. Washington ed. ii, 150.
(P. 1787)

4562. LEDYARD (John), Penetrating Africa.—

A countryman of ours, a Mr. Ledyard
of Connecticut, set out from Paris, some
time ago, for St. Petersburg, to go thence to
Kamschatka, thence to cross over to the western
coast of America, and penetrate through the
continent to the other side of it. He had got
within a few days' journey of Kamschatka,
when he was arrested by order of the Empress
of Russia, sent back, and turned adrift in
Poland. He went to London; engaged under
the auspices of a private society, formed there
for pushing discoveries into Africa; passed by
Paris * * * for Marseilles, where he will embark
for Alexandria and Grand Cairo; thence
explore the Nile to its source, cross the head of
the Niger, and descend that to its mouth. He
promises me, if he escapes through his journey,
he will go to Kentucky, and endeavor to penetrate
westerly to the South Sea.—
To Rev. James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 433.
(P. 1788)

4563. LEDYARD (John), Penetrating Africa.—[continued].

My last accounts of Ledyard
were from Grand Cairo. He was just been
plunging into the unknown regions of Africa,
probably never to emerge again. If he returns,
he has promised me to go to America and
penetrate from Kentucky to the western side
of the continent.—
To William Carmichael. Ford ed., v, 75.
(P. 1789)

4564. LEE (Arthur), In the Treasury.—

I am sorry to see a possibility of Arthur Lee's
being put into the Treasury. He has no talents
for the office, and what he has will be employed
in rummaging old accounts to involve
you in eternal war with Robert Morris; and
he will, in a short time, introduce such dissensions
into the commission as to break it up.
If he goes on the other appointment to Kaskaskia,
he will produce a revolt of that settlement
from the United States.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 348. Ford ed., iv, 53.
(P. 1785)

4565. LEE (Richard Henry), In Convention.—

I shall return to Virginia after the 11th of August. I wish my successor may be
certain to come before that time; in that case
I shall hope to see you and not Wythe, in convention,
that the business of Government, which
is of everlasting concern, may receive your
To Richard Henry Lee. Washington ed. i, 204.

4566. LEE (Richard Henry), In the Revolution.—

I presume you have received a copy of the Life of Richard H. Lee, from his


Page 490
grandson of the same name, author of the
work. You and I know that he merited much
during the Revolution. Eloquent, bold, and
ever watchful at his post, of which his biographer
omits no proof. I am not certain whether
the friends of George Mason, of Patrick Henry,
yourself, [293] and even of General Washington,
may not reclaim some feathers of the plumage
given him, noble as was his proper and original
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 422. Ford ed., x, 347.
(M. 1825)


The address of this letter was lost.—Editor.

4567. LEE (Richard Henry), As a soldier.—

I am glad to see the romance of Lee
removed from the shelf of history to that of
fable. Some small portion of the transactions
he relates were within my own knowledge; and
of these I can say he has given more falsehood
than fact; and I have heard many officers declare
the same as to what had passed under
their eyes.—
To William Johnson. Ford ed., x, 222.
(M. 1822)

4568. LEE (Richard Henry), As a Writer.—

[John] Marshall, in the first volume
of his history [of Washington], chap. 3, p. 180,
ascribes the petition to the King, of 1774 (1
Journ. Cong. 67) to the pen of Richard Henry
Lee. I think myself certain it was not written
by him, as well from what I recollect to have
heard, as from the internal evidence of style.
His was loose, vague, frothy, rhetorical. He
was a poorer writer than his brother Arthur;
and Arthur's standing may be seen in his Monitor's
letters, to insure the sale of which, they
took the precaution of tacking to them a new
edition of the Farmers' letters like Mezentins,
who, “Mortua jungebat corpora vivis”.
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 193. Ford ed., ix, 418.
(M. 1813)


See Money.

4569. LEGISLATION, The colonists and.—

To continue their [the Colonists] connection
with the friends whom they had left,
they arranged themselves by charters of compact
under the same common king, who thus
completed their powers of full and perfect legislation
and became the link of union between
the several parts of the empire.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 465.
(July. 1775)

4570. LEGISLATION, The colonists and.—[continued].

The proposition [of Lord
North] is altogether unsatisfactory * * * because they [Parliament] do not renounce
the power * * * of legislating for us themselves
in all cases whatsoever.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 480.
(July. 1775)

4571. LEGISLATION, Dignity of.—

dignity of legislation admits not of changes
backwards and forwards.—
To Count de Montmorin. Washington ed. ii, 531.
(P. 1788)

4572. LEGISLATION, Ex post facto.—

I recollect no case where a question simply
between citizens of the same State, has been
transferred to the foreign department, except
that of inhibiting tenders but of metallic
money, and ex post facto legislation.—
To Edward Livingston. Washington ed. vii, 342. Ford ed., x, 300.
(M. 1824) [294]


By Johnson in his Life of General Nathaniel

4573. LEGISLATION, Indiscriminate.—

To show they [Parliament] mean no discontinuance
of injury, they pass acts at the very
time of holding out this proposition, for restraining
the commerce and fisheries of the
province of New England, and for interdicting
the trade of the other colonies with
all foreign nations. This proves unequivocally
they mean not to relinquish the exercise
of indiscriminate legislation over us.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 480.
(July. 1775)

4574. LEGISLATION, Powers of.—

the nature of things, every society must, at
all times, possess within itself the sovereign
powers of legislation. The feelings of human
nature revolt against the supposition of a state
so situated, as that it may not, in any emergency,
provide against dangers which, perhaps,
threaten immediate ruin.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 138. Ford ed., i, 443.

4575. LEGISLATION, Reform in.—

will not be able to undo all which the two
preceding Legislatures * * * have done.
Public faith and right will oppose this. But
some parts of the system may be rightfully
reformed; a liberation from the rest unremittingly
pursued as fast as right will permit,
and the door shut in future against similar
commitments of the nation.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 362. Ford ed., vi, 4.
(Pa., May. 1792)

4576. LEGISLATION, Self-government and.—

Rather than submit to the rights of
legislating for us, assumed by the British
Parliament, * * * I would lend my hand
to sink the whole Island in the ocean.—
To John Randolph. Washington ed. i, 201. Ford ed., i, 484.
(M. Aug. 1775)

4577. LEGISLATURES, Conference committees.—

The House of Delegates has
desired [a] conference in order to preserve
that harmony and friendly correspondence
with the Senate, which is necessary for the
discharge of their joint duties of legislation,
and to prevent, both now and in future, the
delay of public business, and injury which
may accrue to individuals, should the two
Houses differ in opinion as to the distinct
office of each.—
Report to Congress. Ford ed., ii, 135.

4578. LEGISLATURES, Convening.—

He [George III.] has endeavored to pervert
the exercise of the kingly office in Virginia
into a detestable and insupportable tyranny
* * * by refusing to call legislatures for a long
space of time, thereby leaving the political
system without any legislative head.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 10.
(June. 1776)

4579. LEGISLATURES, Convening.—[continued].

He has called together
legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable,
and distant from the depositary of
their public records, for the sole purpose of
fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Page 491

4580. LEGISLATURES, Credentials.—

The Legislature shall form one house only for
the verification of their credentials.—
Notes for a Va. Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 521.

4581. LEGISLATURES, Depotism and.—

All the powers of government, legislative,
executive, and judiciary, result to the legislative
body. The concentrating these in the
same hands is precisely the definition of despotic
government. It will be no alleviation
that these powers will be exercised by a plurality
of hands, and not by a single one. One
hundred and seventy-three despots would
surely be as oppressive as one. Let those
who doubt it turn their eyes on the republic
of Venice.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 361. Ford ed., iii, 223.

4582. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—

One of the articles of impeachment
against Trestlain and the other Judges of
Westminster Hall, in the reign of Richard the
Second, for which they suffered death, as
traitors to their country, was, that they had
advised the king that he might dissolve his Parliament
at any time; and succeeding kings have
adopted the opinion of these unjust Judges.
Since the reign of the Second William, however,
under which the British constitution was settled
on its free and ancient principles, neither his
Majesty, nor his ancestors, have exercised such
a power of dissolution in the Island of Great
Britain [295] ; and when his Majesty was petitioned,
by the united voice of his people there, to dissolve
the present Parliament, who had become
obnoxious to them, his Ministers were heard to
declare, in open Parliament, that his Majesty
possessed no such power by the constitution.
But how different their language, and his practice,
here! To declare, as their duty required,
the known rights of their country, to oppose the
usurpations of every foreign judicature, to disregard
the imperious mandates of a minister or
governor, have been the avowed causes of dissolving
Houses of Representatives in America.
But if such powers be really invested in his
Majesty, can he suppose they are there placed to
awe the members from such purposes as these?
When the representative body have lost the confidence
of their constituents, when they have notoriously
made sale of their most valuable rights,
when they have assumed to themselves powers
which the people never put into their hands,
then, indeed, their continuing in office becomes
dangerous to the State, and calls for an exercise
of the power of dissolution. Such being the
causes for which the representative body should,
and should not be dissolved, will it not appear
strange to an unbiased observer, that that of
Great Britain was not dissolved, while those
of the Colonies have repeatedly incurred that
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 137. Ford ed., i, 441.


“Since this period the King has several times
dissolved the parliament a few weeks before its expiration,
merely as an assertion of right.”—Note by

“On further inquiry, I find two instances of dissolutions
before the Parliament would, of itself, have
been at an end: viz., the Parliament called to meet
August 24, 1698, was dissolved by King William, December
19, 1700, and a new one called to meet February
6, 1701, which was also dissolved, November 11,
1701, and a new one met December 30, 1701.”—Note
by Jefferson.

4583. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—[continued].

Your Majesty, or your
governors, have carried this power [to dissolve
legislatures] beyond every limit known, or provided
for, by the laws. After dissolving one
House of Representatives, they have refused to
call another, so that, for a great length of time,
the legislature provided by the laws has been
out of existence. From the nature of things,
every society must at all times possess within
itself the sovereign powers of legislation. The
feelings of humanity revolt against the supposition
of a state so situated as that it May
not, in any emergency, provide against dangers
which, perhaps, threaten immediate ruin.
While those bodies are in existence to whom the
people have delegated the powers of legislation,
they alone possess and may exercise those
powers. But when they are dissolved by the
lopping off of one or more of their branches,
the power reverts to the people, who may exercise
it to unlimited extent, either assembling
together in person, sending deputies, or in any
other way they may think proper. [296] We forbear
to trace consequences further; the dangers
are conspicuous with which this practice is
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 137. Ford ed., i, 442.


A note in Jefferson's pamphlet copy of the
“Rights,” &c., reads: “Insert `and the frame of
government, thus dissolved, should the people take
upon them to lay the throne of your Majesty prostrate,
or to discontinue their connection with the
British empire, none will be so bold as to decide
against the right or the efficacy of such avulsion'.”—Editor.

4584. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—[further continued].

When the representative
body have lost the confidence of their constituents,
when they have notoriously made sale of
their most valuable rights, when they have assumed
to themselves powers which the people
never put into their hands, then, indeed, their
continuing in office becomes dangerous to the
State, and calls for an exercise of the power
of dissolution.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 137. Ford ed., i, 442.

4585. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—[further continued] .

By one act they [Parliament] have suspended the powers of one American
legislature, and by another have declared
they may legislate for us themselves in all
cases whatsoever. These two acts alone form
a basis broad enough whereon to erect a despotism
of unlimited extent.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 469.
(July. 1775)

4586. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—

He [George III.] has
endeavored to pervert the exercise of the kingly
office in Virginia into a detestable and insupportable
tyranny * * * by dissolving legislative
assemblies, repeatedly and continually, for
opposing with manly firmness his invasions on
the rights of the people.—
Proposed Virginia Constitution. Washington ed. ii, 10.
(June. 1776)

4587. LEGISLATURES, Dissolution by George III.—[further continued].

He [George III.] has
dissolved Representative houses repeatedly and
continually [297] for opposing with manly firmness
his invasions on the rights of the people.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck out “and continually”.—Editor.

4588. LEGISLATURES, Division of.—

The Legislature shall be separated by lot into
two chambers, which shall be called [a and w] [298] on the first day of their session in every week;
which separation shall be effected by presenting
to the representatives from each county
separately a number of lots equal to their own
number, if it be an even one or to the next
even number above, if their number be odd,


Page 492
one half of which lots shall be distinctively
marked for the one chamber and the other
half for the other, and each member shall be,
for that week, of the chamber whose lot he
draws. Members not present at the first
drawing for the week shall draw on their
first attendance after.—
Notes for a Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 521.


The brackets and enclosures are Jefferson's.——Editor.

4589. LEGISLATURES, Division of.—[continued].

Each chamber shall appoint
a speaker for the session, and it shall be weekly decided by lot between the two
speakers, of which chamber each shall be for
the ensuing week; and the chamber to which
he is allotted shall have one the less in the
lots presented to his colleagues for that week.—
Notes for a Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 521.

4590. LEGISLATURES, Division of.—[further continued].

Our legislatures are composed
of two houses, the Senate and Representatives,
elected in different modes, and for
different periods, and in some States, with a
qualified veto in the Executive chief. But to
avoid all temptation to superior pretensions of
the one over the other house, and the possibility
of either erecting itself into a privileged
order, might it not be better to choose at the
same time and in the same mode, a body sufficiently
numerous to be divided by lot into
two separate houses, acting as independently
as the two houses in England, or in our governments,
and to shuffle their names together
and redistribute them by lot, once a week for
a fortnight? This would equally give the benefit
of time and separate deliberation, guard
against an absolute passage by acclamation,
derange cabals, intrigues, and the count of
noses, disarm the ascendency which a popular
demagogue might at any time obtain over
either house, and render impossible all disputes
between the two houses, which often
form such obstacles to business.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 321.
(M. 1823)

4591. [ Further continued]

In the structure of our legislatures,
we think experience has proved the
benefit of subjecting questions to two separate
bodies of deliberants; but in constituting
these, natural right has been mistaken, some
making one of these bodies, and some both,
the representatives of property instead of persons;
whereas the double deliberation might
be as well obtained without any violation of
true principle, either by requiring a greater
age in one of the bodies, or by electing a
proper number of representatives of persons,
dividing them by lots into two chambers, and
renewing the division at frequent intervals, in
order to break up all cabals.—
To John Cartwright. Washington ed. vii, 357.
(M. 1824)

4592. LEGISLATURES, Election of members.—

So many [representatives] only shall be deemed elected as there are units
actually voting on that particular election, adding
one for any fraction of votes exceeding the
half unit. Nor shall more be deemed elected
than the number last apportioned. If a county
has not a half unit of votes, the Legislature
shall incorporate its votes with those of some
adjoining county.—
Notes for a Va. Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 520.

4593. LEGISLATURES, Election of members.—[further continued].

Every elector may vote for as many representatives as were apportioned
by the Legislature to his county at the
last establishment of the unit.—
Notes for a Va. Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 520.

4594. LEGISLATURES, Election of members.—[further continued].

There are parts of the
new constitution of Spain in which you would
expect, of course, that we should not concur.
* * * One of these is the aristocracy, quater
of her legislators; for the ultimate
electors of these will themselves have been
three times sifted from the mass of the people,
and may choose from the nation at large
persons never named by any of the electoral
To Chevalier de Onis. Washington ed. vi, 342.
(M. 1814)

4595. LEGISLATURES, Election of members.—[further continued] .

Let every man who
fights or pays, exercise his just and equal
right in the election of the legislature.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

4596. LEGISLATURES, Freedom of action.—

The House of Representatives, when
met, shall be free to act according to their
own judgment and conscience.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 15.
(June. 1776)

4597. LEGISLATURES, Interregnum of.—

He [George III.] has refused for a long
time after such dissolutions [of representative
houses] to cause others to be elected, whereby
the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation,
have returned to the people at large
for their exercise, the State remaining, in the
meantime, exposed to all the dangers of invasion
from without and convulsions within.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4598. LEGISLATURES, Officers of.—

The General Assembly shall have power to
appoint the speakers of their respective
houses, treasurer, auditors, attorney general,
register, all general offices of the military,
their own clerks and serjeants, and no other
officers, except where, in other parts of this
constitution, such appointment is expressly
given them.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Washington ed. viii, 446. Ford ed., iii, 325.

4599. LEGISLATURES, The people and.—

The people are not qualified to legislate.
With us, therefore, they only choose the legislators.—
To L'Abbé Arnond. Washington ed. iii, 89. Ford ed., v, 103.
(P. 1789)

4600. LEGISLATURES, Powers of.—

Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of
the rightful limits of their power; that their
true office is to declare and enforce only our
natural rights and duties, and to take none of
them from us.—
To F. W. Gilmer. Washington ed. vii, 3. Ford ed., x, 32.
(M. 1816)

4601. LEGISLATURES, Privileges.—

The members [of the General Assembly], during
the attendance on the General Assembly,
and for so long a time before and after as
shall be necessary for travelling to and from
the same, shall be privileged from all personal


Page 493
restraint and assault, and shall have no other
privilege whatsoever.—
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 444. Ford ed., iii, 324.

4602. LEGISLATURES, Privileges.—[continued].

The Legislature shall
form one house only for * * * what relates
to their privileges.—
Notes for a Va. Constitution. Washington ed. vi, 521.

4603. LEGISLATURES, Qualifications of Members.—

Any member of the * * * Assembly accepting any office of profit under
this State, or the United States, or any of
them, shall thereby vacate his seat, but shall
be capable of being reelected.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Washington ed. viii, 445. Ford ed., iii, 325.

4604. LEGISLATURES, Qualifications of Members.—[continued].

Of this General Assembly,
the treasurer, attorney general, register,
ministers of the gospel, officers of the regular
armies of this State, or of the United States,
persons receiving salaries or emoluments from
any power foreign to our confederacy, those
who are not resident in the county for which
they are chosen delegates, or districts for
which they are chosen senators, those who are
not qualified as electors, persons who shall
have committed treason, felony, or such other
crime as would subject them to infamous punishment,
or shall have been convicted by due
course of law of bribery or corruption, in
endeavoring to procure an election to the said
assembly, shall be incapable of being members.
All others, not herein elsewhere excluded,
who may elect, shall be capable of being
elected thereto.—
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 445. Ford ed., iii, 324.

4605. LEGISLATURES, Size of.—

Is it
meant to confine the legislative body to their
present numbers, that they may be the
cheaper bargain whenever they shall become
worth a purchase?—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 136. Ford ed., i, 441.

4606. LEGISLATURES, Size of.—[continued].

Twelve hundred men in
one room are too many.—
To Thomas Paine. Washington ed. iii, 71.
(P. 1789)

4607. LEGISLATURES, Size of.—[further continued].

The [National] Assembly
[of France] proceeds slowly in the forming
their constitution. The original vice of
their numbers causes this, as well as a tumultuous
manner of doing business.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 115.
(P. 1789)

4608. LEGISLATURES, Size of.—[further continued] .

Render the [Virginia] legislature a desirable station by lessening the
number of representatives (say to 100) and
lengthening somewhat their term, and proportion
them equally among the electors.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. iii, 315. Ford ed., v, 410.
(Pa., 1791)

4609. LEGISLATURES, Size of.—[further continued].

Reduce the legislature to
a convenient number for full, but orderly discussion.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

4610. LEGISLATURES, Slothful.—

sloth of the [French National] Assembly ( unavoidable
from their number) has done the
most sensible injury to the public cause. The
patience of a people who have less of that
quality than any other nation in the world,
is worn threadbare.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 115.
(P. Sep. 1789)

4611. LEGISLATURES, Suspension of.—

The act passed in the seventh year of the
reign of George III., having been a peculiar
attempt, must ever require peculiar mention.
It is entitled, “An Act for Suspending the
Legislature of New York”. One free and
independent legislature hereby takes upon itself
to suspend the powers of another, free
and independent as itself; thus exhibiting a
phenomenon unknown in nature, the creator
and creature of its own power.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 131. Ford ed., i, 435.

4612. LEGISLATURES, Suspension of.—[continued].

The proposition [of Lord
North] is altogether unsatisfactory * * * because they (Parliament) do not renounce
the power of suspending our own legislatures.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 480.
(July. 1775)

4613. LEGISLATURES, Suspension of.—[further continued].

He [George III.] has
endeavored to pervert the exercise of the
kingly office in Virginia into a detestable and
unsupportable tyranny * * * by combining
with others to subject us to a foreign jurisdiction,
giving his assent to their pretended
acts of legislation * * * for suspending
our own legislatures, and declaring themselves
invested with power to legislate for us
in all cases whatsoever.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 11.
(June. 1776)

4614. LEGISLATURES, Two chambers.—

The purpose of establishing different houses of legislation is to introduce the influence of
different interests or different principles.
Thus in Great Britain, it is said, their constitution
relies on the House of Commons for
honesty, and the Lords for wisdom; which
would be a rational reliance, if honesty were
to be bought with money, and if wisdom were
hereditary. In some of the American States,
the delegates and senators are so chosen, as
that the first represent the persons, and the
second the property of the State. But with
us, wealth and wisdom have equal chance for
admission into both houses. We do not,
therefore, derive from the separation of our
legislature into two houses, those benefits
which a proper complication of principles is
capable of producing, and those which alone
can compensate the evils which may be produced
by their dissensions.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 301. Ford ed., iii, 223.

4615. LEGISLATURES, Two chambers.—[continued].

For good legislation two houses are necessary.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 20. Ford ed., v, 92.
(P. 1789)

4616. LEGISLATURES, Two chambers.—[further continued].

I find my countrymen * * * thinking with the National Assembly
[of France] in all points except that of a
single house of legislation. They think their
own experience has so decidedly proved the
necessity of two Houses to prevent the tyranny
of one that they fear that this single error
will shipwreck your new constitution. I am


Page 494
myself persuaded that theory and practice are
not at variance in this instance, and that you
will find it necessary hereafter to add another
To Duke De La Rochefoucauld. Washington ed. iii, 136.
(N.Y., 1790)

4617. LEGISLATURES, Tyranny of.—

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.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 5. Ford ed., v, 83.
(P. 1789)

4618. LEGISLATURES, Unit of representation.—

The Legislature shall provide
that returns be made to themselves periodically
of the qualified voters in every county,
by their name and qualification; and from the
whole number of qualified voters * * * such an unit of representation shall be
* * * taken as will keep the number of representatives
within the limits of 150 and 300,
allowing to every county a representative for
every unit and fraction of more than half an
unit it contains.—
Notes for a Va. Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 520.

4619. LEGISLATURES, Usurpation of power.—

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions
and unacknowledged by our laws,
giving his assent to their acts of pretended
legislation for * * * suspending our own
legislatures and declaring themselves invested
with power to legislate for us in all cases
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

4620. LEGISLATURES, Vacancies.—

Vacancies in the House of Representatives,
by death or disqualification, shall be filled by
the electors, under a warrant from the
Speaker of the said house.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 14.
(June. 1776)

4621. LEGISLATURES, Virginia.—

Legislation shall be exercised by two separate
houses, to wit, a House of Representatives,
and a House of Senators, which shall be
called the General Assembly of Virginia.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 13.
(June. 1776)

4622. LEGISLATURES, Virginia.—[continued].

The House of Representatives
shall be composed of persons
chosen by the people annually on the first
day of October, and shall meet in General
Assembly on the first day of November following,
and so, from time to time, on their
own adjournments, or at any time when summoned
by the Administrator, and shall continue
sitting so long as they shall think the
public service requires.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 14.
(June. 1776)

4623. LEGISLATURES, Virginia.—[further continued].

The Senate shall consist of not less than [15] [299] nor more than [50]
members, who shall be appointed by the
House of Representatives. One-third of them
shall be removed out of office by lot at the
end of the first [three] years, and their places
be supplied by a new appointment; one other
third shall be removed by lot, in like manner,
at the end of the second [three] years and
their places be supplied by a new appointment;
after which one-third shall be removed
annually at the end of every [three]
years according to seniority. When once removed,
they shall be forever incapable of being
reappointed to that House. Their qualifications
shall be an oath of fidelity to the
State, and of duty in their office, the being
[31] years of age at the least, and the having
given no bribe, directly or indirectly, to obtain
their appointment. While in the senatorial
office, they shall be incapable of holding
any public pension, or post of profit, either
themselves, or by others for their use.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 15.
(June. 1776)


The brackets and figures within them are Jefferson's.—Editor.

4624. L'ENFANT (Major), Dismissal of.—

It having been found impracticable to employ
Major L'Enfant about the Federal city, in
that degree of subordination which was lawful
and proper, he has been notified that his services
are at an end. It is now proper that he
should receive the reward of his past services;
and the wish that he should have no just cause
of discontent, suggests that it should be liberal.
The President thinks of two thousand five
hundred, or three thousand dollars; but leaves
the determination to you. [300]
To Messrs. Johnson, Carroll and Stewart. Washington ed. iii, 336.
(Pa., 17921792)gt;


L'Enfant was a French engineer who was employed
in laying out the City of Washington.—Editor.

4625. LETHARGY, Fatal to liberty.—

Lethargy is the forerunner of death to the
public liberty.—
To W. S. Smith. Washington ed. ii, 318. Ford ed., iv, 467.
(P. 1787)

4626. LETTERS, Answering.—

of writing ten or twelve letters a day, which I
have been in the habit of doing as a thing in
course, I put off answering my letters now
farmer-like, till a rainy day, and then find
them sometimes postponed by other necessary
To John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 103. Ford ed., vi, 505.
(M. April. 1794)

4627. LETTERS, Distorted.—

Every word
which goes from me, whether verbally or in
writing, becomes the subject of so much
malignant distortion, and perverted construction,
that I am obliged to caution my friends
against admitting the possibility of my letters
getting into the public papers or a copy of them
to be taken under any degree of confidence.—
To Edward Dowse. Washington ed. iv, 477.
(W. 1803)

4628. LETTERS, Gleams of light.—

letters * * * serve, like gleams of light, to cheer
a dreary scene; where envy, hatred, malice, revenge,
and all the worst passions of men, are
marshalled to make one another as miserable
as possible.—
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. D. L. J.248.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

4629. LETTERS, Private.—

I have generally
great aversion to the insertion of my letters
in the public papers; because of my passion for
quiet retirement, and never to be exhibited in
scenes on the public stage.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 254.
(M. 1822)

4630. LETTERS, Sanctity of.—

I should
wish never to put pen to paper; and the more


Page 495
because of the treacherous practice some people
have of publishing one's letters without leave.
Lord Mansfield declared it a breach of trust,
and punishable at law. I think it should be a
penitentiary felony.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 244. Ford ed., x, 216.
(M. 1822)

4631. LETTERS, Unanswered.—

The constant
pressure of business has forced me to follow
the practice of not answering letters which
do not necessarily require it.—
To Robert Williams. Washington ed. v, 209. Ford ed., ix, 166.
(W. 1807)

4632. LETTER-WRITING, Dangers of.—

The abuse of confidence by publishing my letters has cost me more than all other pains,
and makes me afraid to put pen to paper in a
letter of sentiment.—
To C. Hammond. Washington ed. vii, 217.
(M. 1821)

4633. LETTER-WRITING, Dangers of.—[continued].

I sometimes expressly
desire that my letter may not be published; but
this is so like requesting a man not to steal
or cheat, that I am ashamed of it after I have
done it.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. vii, 223. Ford ed., x, 193.
(M. 1821)

4634. LETTER-WRITING, Drudgery of.—

From sunrise to one or two o'clock, and
often from dinner to dark, I am drudging at
the writing table. And all this to answer letters
into which neither interest nor inclination on
my part enters; and often from persons whose
names I have never before heard. Yet, writing
civilly, it is hard to refuse them civil answers.
This is the burthen of my life, a very grievous
one indeed, and one which I must get rid of.
Delaplaine lately requested me to give him a
line on the subject of his book; meaning, as I
well knew, to publish it. This I constantly refuse;
but in this instance yielded, that in
saying a word for him I might say two for myself.
I expressed in it freely my sufferings
from this source; hoping it would have the effect
of an indirect appeal to the discretion of
those, strangers and others, who, in the most
friendly dispositions, oppress me with their
concerns, their pursuits, their projects, inventions
and speculations, political, moral, religious,
mechanical, mathematical, historical, &c., &c. I
hope the appeal will bring me relief, and that
I shall be left to exercise and enjoy correspondence
with the friends I love, and on subjects
which they, or my own inclinations present.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 54. Ford ed., x, 71.
(M. 1817)

4635. LETTER-WRITING, Relief from.—

It occurs then, that my condition of existence,
truly stated in that letter, if better known,
might check the kind indiscretions which are
so heavily oppressing the departing hours of
life. Such a relief [from letter-writers] would,
to me, be an ineffable blessing. But yours,
* * * equally interesting and affecting, should
accompany that to which it is an answer. The
two, taken together, would excite a joint interest,
and place before our fellow-citizens the
present condition of two ancient servants, who
having faithfully performed their forty or fifty
campaigns, stipendiis omnibus expletus, have a
reasonable claim to repose from all disturbance
in the sanctuary of invalids and superannuates.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 254. Ford ed., x, 218.
(M. 1822)

4636. LETTER-WRITING, Voluminous.—

I do not know how far you may suffer,
as I do, under the persecution of letters, of
which every mail brings me a fresh load. They
are letters of enquiry, for the most part, always
of good will, sometimes from friends whom I
esteem, but much oftener from persons whose
names are unknown to me, but written kindly
and civilly, and to which, therefore, civility requires
answers. * * * I happened to turn to
my letter-list some time ago, and a curiosity
was excited to count those received in a single
year. It was the year before the last. I found
the number to be one thousand two hundred and
sixty-seven, many of them requiring answers of
elaborate research, and all to be answered with
due attention and consideration. Take an average
of this number for a week or a day, and I
will repeat the question * * * is this life? At
best, it is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees
no end to his circle but in death. To such a
life, that of a cabbage is paradise.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 254. Ford ed., x, 218.
(M. 1822)


The drudgery of letter writing often
denies me the leisure of reading a single page
in a week.—
To Ezra Stiles. Washington ed. vii, 127.
(M. 1819)

4638. LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, Jefferson suggests.—

The river Missouri,
and the Indians inhabiting it, are not
as well known as is rendered desirable by their
connection with the Mississippi, and consequently
with us. It is, however, understood,
that the country on that river is inhabited by
numerous tribes, who furnish great supplies of
furs and peltry to the trade of another nation,
carried on in a high latitude, through an infinite
number of portages and lakes, shut up
by ice through a long season. The commerce
on that line could bear no competition with that
of the Missouri, traversing a moderate climate,
offering, according to the best accounts, a continued
navigation from its source, and possibly
with a single portage, from the Western Ocean,
and finding to the Atlantic a choice of channels
through the Illinois or Wabash, the Lakes
and Hudson, through the Ohio and Susquehanna,
or Potomac or James rivers, and through
the Tennessee and Savannah rivers. An intelligent
officer, with ten or twelve chosen men,
fit for the enterprise, and willing to undertake
it, taken from our posts, where they may be
spared without inconvenience, might explore the
whole line, even to the Western Ocean; have
conferences with the natives on the subject of
commercial intercourse; get admission among
them for our traders, as others are admitted;
agree on convenient deposits for an interchange
of articles; and return with the information required,
in the course of two summers. Their
arms and accoutrements, some instruments of
observation, and light and cheap presents for the
Indians, would be all the apparatus they could
carry, and with an expectation of a soldier's portion
of land on their return, would constitute
the whole expense. Their pay would be going
on, whether here or there. While other civilized
nations, have encountered great expense to enlarge
the boundaries of knowledge, by undertaking
voyages of discovery, and for other literary
purposes, in various parts and directions, our
nation seems to owe to the same object, as well
as to its own interests, to explore this, the only
line of easy communication across the continent,
and so directly traversing our own part
of it. The interests of commerce place the
principal object within the constitutional powers
and care of Congress, and that it should incidentally
advance the geographical knowledge of
our continent, cannot be but an additional gratification.
The nation claiming the territory, regarding
this as a literary pursuit, which it is in
the habit of permitting within its Dominions,
would not be disposed to view it with jealousy,


Page 496
even if the expiring state of its interests there
did not render it a matter of indifference. The
appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars
“for the purpose of extending the external
commerce of the United States”, while understood
and considered by the Executive as giving
the legislative sanction, would cover the undertaking
from notice, and prevent the obstructions
which interested individuals might otherwise
previously prepare in its way.—
Confidential Message. Washington ed. viii, 243. Ford ed., viii, 201.
(Jan. 1803)

4639. LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, Preparations.—

I had long deemed it
incumbent on the authorities of our country to
have the great western wilderness beyond the
Mississippi explored, to make known its geography,
its natural productions, its general character
and inhabitants. Two attempts which I
had myself made formerly, before the country
was ours, the one from west to east, the other
from east to west, had both proved abortive.
When called to the administration of the general
government, I made this an object of early
attention, and proposed it to Congress. They
voted a sum of five thousand dollars for its
execution, and I placed Captain Lewis at the
head of the enterprise. No man within the
range of my acquaintance united so many of
the qualifications necessary for its successful
direction. But he had not received such an
astronomical education as might enable him to
give us the geography of the country with the
precision desired. The Missouri and Columbia,
which were to constitute the tract of his journey,
were rivers which varied little in their
progressive latitudes, but changed their longitudes
rapidly and at every step. To qualify him
for making these observations, so important to
the value of the enterprise, I encouraged him
to apply himself to this particular object, and
gave him letters to Doctor Patterson and Mr.
Ellicott, requesting them to instruct him in the
necessary processes. Those for the longitude
would, of course, be founded on the lunar distances.
But as these require essentially the aid
of a time-keeper, it occurred to me that during
a journey of two, three, or four years, exposed
to so many accidents as himself and the instrument
would be, we might expect with certainty
that it would become deranged, and in a desert
country where it could not be repaired. I
thought it then highly important that some
means of observation should be furnished him
which should be practicable and competent to
ascertain his longitudes in that event. The equatorial
occurred to myself as the most promising
substitute. I observed only that Ramsden, in his
explanation of its uses, and particularly that of
finding the longitude at land, still required his
observer to have the aid of a time-keeper. But
this cannot be necessary, for the margin of the
equatorial circle of this instrument being
divided into time by hours, minutes and seconds,
supplies the main functions of the time-keeper,
and for measuring merely the interval
of the observations, is such as not to be neglected.
A portable pendulum for counting, by
an assistant, would fully answer that purpose.
I suggested my fears to several of our best
astronomical friends, and my wishes that other
processes should be furnished him, if any could
be, which might guard us ultimately from disappointment.
Several other methods were proposed,
but all requiring the use of a time-keeper.
That of the equatorial being recommended by
none, and other duties refusing me time for
protracted consultations, I relinquished the idea
for that occasion. But if a sound one, it should
not be neglected. Those deserts are yet to be
explored, and their geography given to the
world and ourselves with a correctness worthy
of the science of the age. The acquisition of
the country before Captain Lewis's departure
facilitated our enterprise, but his time-keeper
failed early in his journey. His dependence,
then, was on the compass and log-line, with the
correction of latitudes only; and the longitudes
of the different points of the Missouri, of the
Stony Mountains, the Columbia and Pacific, at
its mouth, remain yet to be obtained by future
To——. Washington ed. vii, 224.
(M. 1821)
See Latitude and Longitude.

4640. LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, Preparations.—[continued].

In the journey you are
about to undertake * * * should you reach the
Pacific Ocean * * * and be * * * without
money * * * your resource * * * can only be
the credit of the United States; for which purpose
I hereby authorize you to draw on the
Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of War,
and of the Navy of the United States, according
as you may find your drafts will be most
negotiable, for the purpose of obtaining money
or necessaries for yourself and men; and I
solemnly pledge the faith of the United States
that these drafts shall be paid punctually
* * * And to give more entire satisfaction
and confidence to those who may be disposed to
aid you, I, Thomas Jefferson, President of the
United States of America, have written this
letter of general credit for you with my own
hand, and signed it with my name.—
To Captain Meriwether Lewis. Washington ed. iv, 492.
(W. July 4, 1803)


The expedition of Messrs.
Lewis and Clark, for exploring the river Missouri,
and the best communication from that
to the Pacific ocean, has had all the success
which could have been expected. They have
traced the Missouri nearly to its source, descended
the Columbia to the Pacific ocean,
ascertained with accuracy the geography of that
interesting communication across our continent,
learned the character of the country, of its commerce,
and inhabitants; and it is but justice to
say that Messrs. Lewis and Clark, and their
brave companions, have by this arduous service
deserved well of their country.—
Sixth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 66. Ford ed., viii, 492.
(Dec. 1806)

4642. LEVEES, Presidential.—

Randolph tells James Madison and myself a
curious fact which he had from Lear. When
the President went to New York, he resisted
for three weeks the efforts to introduce levees.
At length he yielded, and left it to Humphreys
and some others to settle the forms. Accordingly
an antechamber and presence room were
provided, and when those who were to pay their
court were assembled, the President set out,
preceded by Humphreys. After passing through
the antechamber, the door of the inner room
was thrown open, and Humphreys entered first,
calling out with a loud voice, “the President
of the United States”. The President was so
much disconcerted with it, that he did not recover
from it the whole time of the levee, and
when the company was gone, he said to Humphreys,
“Well, you have taken me in once, but
by God you shall never take me in a second
time”.—The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 132. Ford ed., i, 216.

4643. LEVEES, Washington's explanation.—

President Washington [in conversation
with me] went lengthily into the late attacks
on him for levees, &c., and explained
how he had been led into them by the persons
he consulted at New York; and that if he could


Page 497
but know what the sense of the public was, he
would most cheerfully conform to it.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 132. Ford ed., i, 216.
(Feb. 1793)
See Ceremony, Etiquette and Forms.

4644. LIANCOURT (Duke de), Appeal for.—

I wish the present government would
permit M. de Liancourt's return. He is an honest
man, sincerely attached to his country, and
very desirous of being permitted to live retired
in the bosom of his family. My sincere affection
for his connections at Rocheguyon * * * would render it a peculiar felicity to me to be
any ways instrumental in having him restored
to them. I have no means, however, unless you
can interpose without giving offence.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 88.
(M. 1796)

4645. LIANCOURT (Duke de), Patriot.—

The bearer hereof is the Duke de Liancourt,
one of the principal noblemen of France, and
one of the richest. All this he has lost in the
revolutions of his country, retaining only his
virtue and good sense, which he possesses in a
high degree. He was President of the National
Assembly of France in its earliest stage, and
forced to fly from the proscriptions of Marat.—
To Mr. Hite. Washington ed. iv, 145.
(M. 1796)

4646. LIBELS, Federal cognizance.—

Libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally
with heresy and false religion, are withheld
from the cognizance of Federal tribunals.—
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 466. Ford ed., vii, 295.

4647. LIBELS, Guarding against.—

have seen in the New York papers a calumny
which I suppose will run through the Union,
that I had written by Doctor Logan letters
to Merlin and Talleyrand. On retiring from
the Secretary of State's office, I determined
to drop all correspondence with France,
knowing the base calumnies which would be
built on the most innocent correspondence. I
have not, therefore, written a single letter to
that country, within that period except to Mr.
Short on his own affairs merely which are
under my direction, and once or twice to
Colonel Monroe. By Logan, I did not write
even a letter to Mr. Short, nor to any other
person whatever. I thought this notice of
the matter due to my friends, though I do not
go into the newspapers with a formal declaration
of it.—
To Aaron Burr. Ford ed., vii, 259.
(M. Nov. 1798)

4648. LIBELS, Jefferson and.—

At this
moment my name is running through all the
city [Philadelphia] as detected in a criminal
correspondence with the French Directory,
and fixed upon me by the documents from our
Envoys, now before the two Houses. The
detection of this by the publication of the
papers, should they be published, will not
relieve all the effects of the lie, and should
they not be published, they may keep it
up as long and as successfully as they
did and do that of my being involved
in Blount's conspiracy.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 233.
(Pa., April. 1798)

4649. LIBELS, Jefferson and.—[continued].

Party passions are indeed
high. Nobody has more reasons to know it
than myself. I receive daily bitter proofs of
it from people who never saw me, nor know
anything of me but through “Porcupine”
[William Cobbett] and Fenno.—
To James Lewis, Jr. Washington ed. iv, 241. Ford ed., vii, 250.
(Pa., May. 1798)

4650. LIBELS, Jefferson and.—[further continued].

Our very long intimacy
as fellow laborers in the same cause, the
recent expressions of mutual confidence
which had preceded your mission [to France],
the interesting course which that had taken,
and particularly and personally as it regarded
yourself, made me anxious to hear from you
* * *. I was the more so, too, as I had myself,
during the whole of your absence, as well
as since your return, been a constant butt for
every shaft of calumny which malice and
falsehood could form, and the presses, public
speakers, or private letters disseminate. One
of these, too, was of a nature to touch yourself;
as if, wanting confidence in your efforts,
I had been capable of usurping powers committed
to you, and authorizing negotiations
private and collateral to yours. The real
truth is, that though Doctor Logan, the pretended
missionary, about four or five days before
he sailed for Hamburg, told me he was
going there, and thence to Paris, and asked
and received from me a certificate of his
citizenship, character, and circumstances of
life, merely as a protection, should he be molested
on his journey, in the present turbulent
and suspicious state of Europe, yet I
had been led to consider his object as relative
to his private affairs; and though, from an intimacy
of some standing, he knew well enough
my wishes for peace and my political sentiments
in general, he nevertheless received
then no particular declaration of them, no
authority to communicate them to any mortal,
nor to speak to any one in my name, or in
anybody's name, on that, or on any other
subject whatever; nor did I write by him a
scrip of a pen to any person whatever. This
he has himself honestly and publicly declared
since his return; and from his well-known
character and every other circumstance, every
candid man must perceive that his enterprise
was dictated by his own enthusiasm, without
consultation or communication with any one;
that he acted in Paris on his own ground,
and made his own way. Yet to give some
color to his proceedings, which might implicate
the republicans in general. and myself
particularly, they have not been ashamed to
bring forward a supposititious paper, drawn by
one of their own party in the name of Logan,
and falsely pretended to have been presented
by him to the government of France; counting
that the bare mention of my name
therein, would connect that in the eye of the
public with this transaction.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 266. Ford ed., vii, 325.
(Pa., Jan. 1799)

4651. LIBELS, Jefferson and.—[further continued] .

It is hardly necessary
for me to declare to you, on everything
sacred, that the part they assigned to me was
entirely a calumny. Logan called on me four
or five days before his departure, and asked
and received a certificate (in my private
capacity) of his citizenship and circumstances
of life, merely as a protection, should he be


Page 498
molested in the present turbulent state of
Europe. I have given such to an hundred
others, and they have been much more frequently
asked and obtained by tories than
whigs. I did not write a scrip of a pen by
him to any person. From long acquaintance
he knew my wishes for peace, and my political
sentiments generally, but he received no particular
declaration of them nor one word of
authority to speak in my name, or anybody's
name on that or any other subject. It was an
enterprise founded in the enthusiasm of his
own character. He went on his own ground,
and made his own way. His object was
virtuous, and the effect meritorious.—
To Edmund Pendleton. Washington ed. iv, 276. Ford ed., vii, 338.
(Pa., 1799)

4652. LIBELS, Jurisdiction over.—

does the [my] opinion of the unconstitutionality,
and consequent nullity of that law,
[Sedition] remove all restraint from the overwhelming
torrent of slander, which is confounding
all vice and virtue, all truth and
falsehood, in the United States. The power
to do that is fully possessed by the several
State Legislatures. It was reserved to them,
and was denied to the General Government,
by the Constitution, according to our construction
of it. While we deny that Congress have
a right to control the freedom of the press,
we have ever asserted the right of the States,
and their exclusive right, to do so. They
have accordingly, all of them, made provisions
for punishing slander, which those who
have time and inclination, resort to for the
vindication of their characters.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 561. Ford ed., viii, 311.
(M. 1804)

4653. LIBELS, Newspaper.—

shall be liable to legal prosecution for printing
and publishing false facts, injurious to the
party prosecuting; but they shall be under
no other restraint.—
French Charter of Rights. Washington ed. iii, 47. Ford ed., v, 102.
(P. 1789)

4654. LIBELS, Newspaper.—[continued].

In those States where
they do not admit even the truth of allegations
to protect the printer, they have gone
too far.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 561. Ford ed., viii, 311.
(M. 1804)

4655. LIBELS, Newspaper.—[further continued].

No inference is here intended,
that the laws, provided by the States
against false and defamatory publications,
should not be enforced; he who has time,
renders a service to public morals and public
tranquillity, in reforming these abuses by the
salutary coercions of the law.—
Second Inaugural. Address. Washington ed. viii, 44. Ford ed., viii, 346.

4656. LIBELS, Newspaper.—[further continued] .

We have received from
your [Massachusetts] presses a very malevolent
and incendiary denunciation of the administration,
bottomed on absolute falsehood
from beginning to end. The author would
merit exemplary punishment for so flagitious
a libel, were not the torment of his own
abominable temper punishment sufficient for
even as base a crime as this.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 264.
(W. March. 1808)

4657. LIBELS, Newspaper.—[further continued].

Mr. Wagner's malignity, like that of the rest of his tribe of brother
printers, who deal out calumnies for federal
readers, gives me no pain. When a printer
cooks up a falsehood, it is as easy to put it
into the mouth of a Mr. Fox, as of a smaller
man, and safer in that of a dead than a living
To Thomas Law. Washington ed. v, 555. Ford ed., ix, 291.
(M. 1811)

4658. LIBELS, Prosecutions for.—

a full range is proper for actions by individuals,
either private or public, for slanders affecting
them, I would wish much to see the experiment
tried of getting along without public
prosecutions for libels. I believe we can do it.
Patience and well doing, instead of punishment,
if it can be found sufficiently efficacious,
would be a happy change in the instruments
of government.—
To Levi Lincoln. Ford ed., viii, 139.
(March. 1802)

4659. LIBELS, Punishment for.—

I might
have filled the courts of the United States
with actions for slanders, and have ruined,
perhaps many persons who are not innocent.
But this would be no equivalent for the loss
of character. I leave them, therefore, to the
reproof of their own consciences. If these do
not condemn them, there will yet come a
day when the false witness will meet a Judge
who has not slept over his slanders.—
To Uriah M'Gregory. Washington ed. iv, 333.
(M. 1800)

4660. LIBELS, Sedition law and.—

Randolph has proposed an inquiry [in Congress] into certain prosecutions at common law in
Connecticut, for libels on the government, and
not only himself but others have stated them
with such affected caution, and such hints at the
same time, as to leave on every mind the impression
that they had been instituted either by
my direction, or with my acquiescence, at least.
This has not been denied by my friends, because
probably the fact is unknown to them. I shall
state it for their satisfaction, and leave it to
be disposed of as they think best. I had observed
in a newspaper some dark hints of a
prosecution in Connecticut, but so obscurely
hinted that I paid little attention to it. Some
considerable time after, it was again mentioned,
so that I understood that some prosecution
was going on in the federal court there, for
calumnies uttered from the pulpit against me
by a clergyman. I immediately wrote to Mr.
Granger, who, I think, was in Connecticut at
the time, stating that I had laid it down as a
law to myself, to take no notice of the thousand
calumnies issued against me, but to trust my
character to my own conduct, and the good
sense and candor of my fellow citizens; that I
had found no reason to be dissatisfied with that
course, and I was unwilling it should be broke
through by others as to any matter concerning
me; and I, therefore, requested him to direct the
district attorney to dismiss the prosecution.
Some time after this, I heard of subpœnas being
served on General Lee, David M. Randolph,
and others, as witnesses to attend the trial. I
then for the first time conjectured the subject
of the libel. I immediately wrote to Mr. Granger,
to require an immediate dismission of the
prosecution. The answer of Mr. Huntington,
the district attorney, was that these subpœnas
had been issued by the defendant without his
knowledge, that it had been his intention to dismiss
all the prosecutions at the first meeting


Page 499
of the court, and to accompany it with an
avowal of his opinion, that they could not be
maintained, because the federal court had no
jurisdiction over libels. This was accordingly
done. I did not till then know that there were
other prosecutions of the same nature, nor do I
now know what were their subjects. But all
went off together; and I afterwards saw in the
hands of Mr. Granger, a letter written by the
clergyman, disavowing any personal ill will
towards me, and solemnly declaring he had
never uttered the words charged. I think Mr.
Granger either showed me, or said there were
affidavits of at least half a dozen respectable
men, who were present at the sermon and
swore no such expressions were uttered, and as
many equally respectable men who swore the
contrary. But the clergyman expressed his
gratification at the dismission of the prosecution.
* * * Certain it is, that the prosecutions
had been instituted, and had made considerable
progress, without my knowledge, that
they were disapproved by me as soon as
known, and directed to be discontinued. The
attorney did it on the same ground on which
I had acted myself in the cases of Duane, Callendar
and others; to wit, that the Sedition law
was unconstitutional and null, and that my obligation
to execute what was law, involved that of
not suffering rights secured by valid laws to
be prostrated by what was no law.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. v, 452. Ford ed., ix, 253.
(M. 1809)

4661. LIBELS, Voltaire and.—

I send you
Voltaire's legacy to the King of Prussia,—a
libel which will do much more injury to Voltaire
than to the King. Many of the traits in the
character of the latter to which the former gives
a turn satirical and malicious, are real virtues.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 44.
(P. 1785)

4662. LIBERTY, America and.—

last hope of human liberty in this world rests
on us. We ought, for so dear a stake, to sacrifice
every attachment and every enmity.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 577. Ford ed., ix, 313.
(M. 1811)

4663. LIBERTY, America and.—[continued].

When we reflect that
the eyes of the virtuous all over the earth are
turned with anxiety on us, as the only depositories
of the sacred fire of liberty, and that
our falling into anarchy would decide forever
the destinies of mankind, and seal the political
heresy that man is incapable of self-government,
the only contest between divided
friends should be who will dare farthest into
the ranks of the common enemy.—
To John Hollins. Washington ed. v, 597.
(M. 1811)

See 296.

4664. LIBERTY, Attachment to.—

attachment to no nation on earth should supplant
our attachment to liberty.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 470.

4665. LIBERTY, Blood and.—

The tree
of liberty must be refreshed from time to
time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.—
To W. S. Smith. Washington ed. ii, 319. Ford ed., iv, 467.
(P. 1787)

4666. LIBERTY, Blood and.—[continued].

A warm zealot for the
attainment and enjoyment by all mankind of
as much liberty, as each may exercise without
injury to the equal liberty of his fellow citizens.
I have lamented that in France the
endeavors to obtain this should have been attended
with the effusion of so much blood.—
To M. de Meunier. Ford ed., vii, 13.
(M. April. 1795)

4667. LIBERTY, Concern for.—

concern for the liberty of my fellow
citizens will cease but with life to animate my
Reply to Address. Washington ed. v, 262.

4668. LIBERTY, Contagious.—

The disease
of liberty is catching.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 194. Ford ed., x, 179.
(M. 1820)

4669. LIBERTY, Degeneracy and.—

astonishes me to find such a change wrought
in the opinions of our countrymen since I
left them, as that three-fourths of them should
be contented to live under a system which
leaves to their governors the power of taking
from them the trial by jury in civil cases,
freedom of religion, freedom of the press,
freedom of commerce, the habeas corpus laws,
and of yoking them with a standing army.
This is a degeneracy in the principles of liberty
to which I had given four centuries instead
of four years.—
To William Stephens Smith. Ford ed., v, 3.
(P. Feb. 1788)

4670. LIBERTY, Degrees of.—

I would
rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending
too much liberty than to those attending
too small a degree of it.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. iii, 314. Ford ed., v, 409.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

4671. LIBERTY, Despotism and.—

agitations of the public mind advance its
powers, and at every vibration between the
points of liberty and despotism, something
will be gained for the former.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. iv, 452. Ford ed., viii, 177.
(W. Nov. 1802)

4672. LIBERTY, European.—

send that the glorious example of France May
be but the beginning of the history of European
liberty, and that you may live many
years in health and happiness to see at length
that heaven did not make man in its wrath.—
To La Duchesse D'Auville. Washington ed. iii, 135. Ford ed., v. 154.
(N.Y., April. 1790)

4673. LIBERTY, European.—[continued].

God send that all the
nations who join in attacking the liberties of
France may end in the attainment of their
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. iii, 451. Ford ed., vi, 88.
(Pa., 1792)

4674. LIBERTY, First of all.—

to the great object of Liberty every smaller
motive and passion.—
To the President of Congress. Ford ed., ii, 298.
(Wg. 1780)

4675. LIBERTY, France and.—

atrocious proceedings of France towards this
country, had well nigh destroyed its liberties.
The Anglomen and monocrats had so artfully
confounded the cause of France with
that of freedom, that both went down in the
same scale.—
To T. Lomax. Washington ed. iv, 301. Ford ed., vii, 374.
(M. March. 1799)

4676. LIBERTY, France and.—[continued].

May you see France reestablished
in that temperate portion of lib


Page 500
erty which does not infer either anarchy or
licentiousness, in that high degree of prosperity
which would be the consequence of
such a government, in that, in short, which
the constitution of 1789 would have insured
it, if wisdom could have stayed at that point
the fervid but imprudent zeal of men, who
did not know the character of their own
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 120.
(May. 1813)

4677. LIBERTY, Free Press and.—

functionaries of every government have propensities
to command at will the liberty and
property of their constituents. There is no
safe deposit for these but with the people
themselves; nor can they be safe with them
without information. Where the press is free,
and every man able to read, all is safe.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 517. Ford ed., x, 4.
(M. 1816)

4678. LIBERTY, French Revolution and.—

The success of the French Revolution
will ensure the progress of liberty in Europe,
and its preservation here.—
To Edmund Pendleton. Ford ed., v, 358.
(Pa., 1791)

4679. LIBERTY, French Revolution and.—[continued].

The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest,
and was ever such a prize won with so
little innocent blood?—To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 502. Ford ed., vi, 154.
(Pa., 1793)

4680. LIBERTY, French Revolution and.—[further continued].

I continue eternally attached
to the principles of your [French] Revolution. I hope it will end in the establishment
of some firm government, friendly
to liberty, and capable of maintaining it. If
it does, the world will become inevitably free.—
To J. P. Brissot de Warville. Ford ed., vi, 249.
(Pa., 1793)

4681. LIBERTY, Gift of God.—

All men
* * * are endowed by their Creator with
inherent [301] and inalienable rights. Among
these * * * [is] liberty.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck out “inherent” and inserted

4682. LIBERTY, Gift of God.—[continued].

Can the liberties of a
nation be thought secure when we have removed
their only firm basis, a conviction in
the minds of the people that these liberties
are of the gift of God?—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 404. Ford ed., iii, 267.

4683. LIBERTY, Government and.—

The natural progress of things is for liberty
to yield and government to gain ground.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 404. Ford ed., v, 20.
(P. 1788)

4684. LIBERTY, Government and.—[continued].

The policy of the American
government is to leave their citizens free,
neither restraining nor aiding them in their
To M. L'Hommande. Washington ed. ii, 236.
(P. 1787)

4685. LIBERTY, Government and.—[further continued].

The freedom and happiness
of man * * * are the sole objects of
all legitimate government.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. v, 50.
(M. 1810)

4686. LIBERTY, Happiness and.—

It is
our glory that we first put the ball of liberty
into motion, and our happiness that, being
foremost, we had no bad examples to follow.—
To Tench Coxe. Ford ed., vii, 22.
(M. 1795)

4687. LIBERTY, Kosciusko and.—

Kosciusko is as pure a son of liberty as
I have ever known, and of that liberty which
is to go to all, and not to the few or the rich
To Horatio Gates. Washington ed. iv, 212. Ford ed., vii, 204.
(Pa., 1798)

4688. LIBERTY, Life and.—

The God
who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same
time: the hand of force may destroy, but it
cannot disjoin them. [302]
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 142. Ford ed., i, 447.


“Ab eo libertas, a quo spiritus,” was the motto
on one of Jefferson's seals.—Editor.

4689. LIBERTY, Light and.—

Light and
liberty go together.—
To Tench Coxe. Ford ed., vii, 22.
(M. 1795)

4690. LIBERTY, Light and.—[continued].

I will not believe our labors
are lost. I shall not die without a hope
that light and liberty are on steady advance.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 217.
(M. 1821)

4691. LIBERTY, Love of.—

The commotions
in Massachusetts [303] are a proof that the
people love liberty, and I could not wish
them less than they have.—
To Ezra Stiles. Washington ed. ii, 77.
(P. 1786)


Shays's Rebellion.—Editor.

4692. LIBERTY, Napoleon and.—

If the
hero [Napoleon] who has saved you from a
combination of enemies, shall also be the
means of giving you as great a portion of
liberty as the opinions, habits and character of
the nation are prepared for, progressive preparation
may fit you for progressive portions
of that first of blessings, and you may in
time attain what we erred in supposing could
be hastily seized and maintained, in the
present state of political information among
your citizens at large.—
To M. Cabanis. Washington ed. iv, 496.
(W. 1803)

4693. LIBERTY, Natural.—

Under the
law of nature, we are all born free.—
Legal Argument. Ford ed., i, 380.

4694. LIBERTY, No easy road to.—

We are not to expect to be translated from
despotism to liberty in a feather bed.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 132. Ford ed., v, 152.
(N.Y., 1790)

4695. LIBERTY, No easy road to.—[continued].

The ground of liberty is
to be gained by inches and we must be contented
to secure what we can get, from time
to time, and eternally press forward for what
is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men
to do even what is for their own good.—
To Rev. Charles Clay. Washington ed. iii, 126. Ford ed., v, 142.
(M. 1790)

4696. LIBERTY, Order and.—

ourselves the combined blessing of liberty
and order, we wish the same to other countries.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 318.
(M. 1823)


Page 501

— LIBERTY, Personal.—

See Personal Liberty.

4697. LIBERTY, Preservation of.—

We do then most solemnly, before God and the
world declare that, regardless of every consequence,
at the risk of every distress, the
arms we have been compelled to assume we
will use with the perseverance, exerting to
their utmost energies all those powers which
our Creator hath given us, to preserve that
liberty which He committed to us in sacred
deposit and to protect from every hostile hand
our lives and our properties.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 474.
(July. 1775)

4698. LIBERTY, Preservation of.—[continued].

I am convinced that, on
the good sense of the people, we may rely
with the most security for the preservation
of a due degree of liberty.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 480.
(P. 1787)

4699. LIBERTY, Preservation of.—[further continued].

The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 332.

4700. LIBERTY, Preservation of.—[further continued] .

The preservation of the holy fire is confided to us by the world, and
the sparks which will emanate from it will
ever serve to rekindle it in other quarters
of the globe, Numinibus secundis.
To Rev. Mr. Knox. Washington ed. v, 503.
(M. 1810)

4701. LIBERTY, Preparation for.—

full measure of liberty is not now perhaps
to be expected by your nation, nor am I confident
they are prepared to preserve it. More
than a generation will be requisite, under the
administration of reasonable laws favoring
the progress of knowledge in the general mass
of the people, and their habituation to an
independent security of person and property,
before they will be capable of estimating the
value of freedom, and the necessity of a
sacred adherence to the principles on which
it rests for preservation. Instead of that liberty
which takes root and growth in the
progress of reason, if recovered by mere
force or accident, it becomes, with an unprepared
people, a tyranny still, of the many, the
few, or the one.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vi, 421. Ford ed., ix, 505.
(M. Feb. 1815)

4702. LIBERTY, The Press and.—

liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom
of the press, nor that be limited without
danger of losing it.—
To John Jay. Ford ed., iv, 186.
(P. 1786)

See Press and Newspapers.

4703. LIBERTY, Progress of.—

I cordially
wish well to the progress of liberty in
all nations, and would forever give it the
weight of our countenance.—
To T. Lomax. Washington ed. iv, 301. Ford ed., vii, 374.
(M. March. 1799)

4704. LIBERTY, Resistance and.—

What country can preserve its liberties if its
rulers are not warned from time to time that
the people preserve the spirit of resistance?—
To W. S. Smith. Washington ed. ii, 318. Ford ed., iv, 467.
(P. 1787) See Rebellion.

4705. LIBERTY, Restricted.—

I had
hoped that Geneva was familiarized to such a
degree of liberty, that they might without
difficulty or danger fill up the measure to its
maximum; a term, which, though in the insulated
man, bounded only by his natural
powers, must, in society, be so far restricted
as to protect himself against the evil passions
of his associates, and consequently, them
against him.—
To M. D'Ivernois. Washington ed. iv, 114. Ford ed., vii, 4.
(M. Feb. 1795)

4706. LIBERTY, Royalty and.—

public liberty may be more certainly secured
by abolishing an office [royalty] which all experience
hath shown to be inveterately inimical
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 12.
(June. 1776)

4707. LIBERTY, Royalty and.—[continued].

It is impossible for you
to conceive what is passing in our conclave,
and it is evident that one or two at least,
under pretence of avoiding war on the one
side, have no great antipathy to run foul of
it on the other, and to make a part in the
confederacy of princes against human liberty.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 563. Ford ed., vi, 261.
(Pa., May. 1793)

4708. LIBERTY, Royalty and.—[further continued].

I am not for * * * joining in the confederacy of kings to war
against the principles of liberty.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 328.
(Pa., 17991799)gt;

4709. LIBERTY, Sacred.—

For promoting
the public happiness, 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 they should be
called to that charge without regard to
wealth birth, or other accidental condition or
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

4710. LIBERTY, Sacred.—[continued].

The most sacred cause
that ever man was engaged in. [304]
Opinion on the “Little Sarah”. Washington ed. ix, 155. Ford ed., vi, 344.


Jefferson was referring to the first French Republic.—Editor.

4711. LIBERTY, Safeguards of.—

I disapproved
from the first moment [in the new
Constitution] the want of a bill of rights, to
guard liberty against the legislative as well
as the executive branches of the government.—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 586. Ford ed., v, 76.
(P. March. 1789)

4712. LIBERTY, Safeguards of.—[continued].

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.—
To M. Destutt Tracy. Washington ed. v, 569. Ford ed., ix, 308.
(M. 1811)

4713. LIBERTY, Science and virtue.—

Liberty is the great parent of science and of
virtue; and a nation will be great in both
in proportion as it is free.—
To Dr. Willard. Washington ed. iii, 17.
(P. 1789)


Page 502

4714. LIBERTY, Science and virtue.—[continued].

The general spread of the
light of science has already laid open to every
view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind
has not been born with saddles on their
backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred,
ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace
of God.—
To Roger C. Weightman. Washington ed. vii, 451. Ford ed., x, 391.
(M. 1826)

4715. LIBERTY, Sea of.—

The boisterous
sea of liberty is never without a wave.—
To Richard Rush. Washington ed. vii, 182.
(M. 1820)

4716. LIBERTY, Security for.—

agree particularly in the necessity of some
* * * better security for civil liberty.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. iv, 259. Ford ed., vii, 309.
(M. 1798)

4717. LIBERTY, Security for.—[continued].

Since, by the choice of
my constituents, I have entered on a second
term of administration, I embrace the opportunity
to give this public assurance, * * * that I will zealously cooperate with you in
every measure which may tend to secure the
liberty, property, and personal safety of our
fellow citizens, and to consolidate the republican
forms and principles of our government.—
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 53. Ford ed., viii, 396.
(Dec. 1805)

4718. LIBERTY, Subversion of.—

moderation and virtue of a single character
have probably prevented this Revolution from
being closed, as most others have been, by
a subversion of that liberty it was intended
to establish.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 335. Ford ed., iii, 467.
(A. 1784)

4719. LIBERTY, Universal.—

The ball
of liberty is now so well in motion that it
will roll round the globe.—
To Tench Coxe. Ford ed., vii, 22.
(M. 1795)

4720. LIBERTY, Universal.—[continued].

I sincerely pray that all
the members of the human family may, in
the time prescribed by the Father of us all,
find themselves securely established in the
enjoyment of * * * liberty.—
Reply to Address. Washington ed. viii, 119.

4721. LIBERTY, Universal.—[further continued].

That we should wish to see the people of other countries free, is as
natural, and at least as justifiable, as that one
king should wish to see the kings of other
countries maintained in their despotism.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vii, 78. Ford ed., x, 90.
(M. 1817)

4722. LIBERTY vs. WEALTH.—

a cruel reflection that a rich country cannot
long be a free one.—
Travels in France. Washington ed. ix, 319.

4723. LIBRARY, Circulating.—

would do more extensive good at small expense
than the establishment of a small circulating
library in every county.—
To John Wyche. Washington ed. v, 448.
(M. 1809)

4724. LIBERTY, Founding.—

shall be paid out of the treasury [of Virginia] every year the sum of two thousand pounds,
to be laid out in such books and maps as May
be proper to be preserved in a public library;
which library shall be established at the town
of Richmond.—
Public Library Bill. Ford ed., ii, 236.

4725. LIBRARY, Free.—

No person shall
remove any book or map out of the library;
* * * but the same [may] be made useful
by indulging the researches of the learned
and curious, within the said library, without
fee or reward.—
Public Library Bill. Ford ed., ii, 236.

4726. LIBRARY, Jefferson's.—

know my collection, its condition and extent.
I have been fifty years making it, and have
spared no pains, opportunity or expense, to
make it what it is. While residing in Paris,
I devoted every afternoon I was disengaged,
for a summer or two, in examining all the
principal book stores, turning over every book
with my own hand, and putting by everything
which related to America, and indeed whatever
was rare and valuable in every science. Besides
this, I had standing orders during the
whole time I was in Europe, on its principal
book-marts, particularly Amsterdam, Frankfort,
Madrid and London, for such works relating to
America as could not be found in Paris. So
that in that department particularly, such a collection
was made as probably can never again
be effected, because it is hardly probable that
the same opportunities, the same time, industry,
perseverance and expense, with some knowledge
of the bibliography of the subject, would again
happen to be in concurrence. During the same
period, and after my return to America, I was
led to procure, also, whatever related to the
duties of those in the high concerns of the nation.
So that the collection, which I suppose
is of between nine and ten thousand volumes,
while it includes what is chiefly valuable in
science and literature generally, extends more
particularly to whatever belongs to the American
Statesman. In the diplomatic and parliamentary
branches, it is particularly full.—
To S. H. Smith. Washington ed. vi, 383. Ford ed., ix, 486.
(M. Sep. 1814)

4727. LIBRARY, Sale to Congress.—

is long since I have been sensible it ought not
to continue private property, and had provided
that at my death, Congress should have the
refusal of it at their own price. But the loss
they have now incurred, makes the present the
proper moment for their accommodation, without
regard to the small remnant of time and
the barren use of my enjoying it. I ask of your
friendship, therefore, to make for me the tender
of it to the Library Committee of Congress, not
knowing myself of whom the Committee consists.
Nearly the whole are well bound, abundance
of them elegantly, and of the choicest
editions existing. They may be valued by
persons named by themselves, and the payment
made convenient to the public. * * * I do
not know that it contains any branch of science
which Congress would wish to exclude from
their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to
which a member of Congress may not have occasion
to refer. But such a wish would not
correspond with my views of preventing its dismemberment.
My desire is either to place it
in their hands entire, or to preserve it so
here. [305]
To S. H. Smith. Washington ed. vi, 384. Ford ed., ix, 486.
(M. Sep. 1814)

See 1133.


Jefferson's library was purchased by the United
States Government for the use of Congress. The
price paid was $23,950.—Editor.

4728. LIBRARY, Sale to Congress.—[continued].

The arrangement [of the
library at Monticello] is as follows: 1. Ancient


Page 503
History. 2. Modern do. 3. Physics. 4. Nat.
Hist. proper. 5. Technical Arts. 6. Ethics.
7. Jurisprudence. 8. Mathematics. 9. Gardening,
architecture, sculpture, painting, music,
poetry. 10. Oratory. 11. Criticism. 12. Polygraphical.—
To James Ogilvie. Ford ed., viii, 418.
(W. 1806)

4729. LIES, Circulating.—

There is an
enemy somewhere endeavoring to sow discord
among us. Instead of listening first,
then doubting, and lastly believing anile tales
handed round without an atom of evidence,
if my friends will address themselves to me
directly, as you have done, they shall be informed
with frankness and thankfulness.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. iv, 590. Ford ed., viii, 431.
(W. 1806)

4730. LIES, Fearless of.—

The man who
fears no truths has nothing to fear from lies.—
To Dr. George Logan. Ford ed., x, 27.
(M. 1816)

4731. LIES, Folly of.—

It is of great
importance to set a resolution, not to be
shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is
no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible;
and he who permits himself to tell a lie once,
finds it much casier to do it a second and
third time, till at length it becomes habitual;
he tells lies without attending to it, and
truths without the world's believing him.
This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of
the heart, and in time depraves all its good
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 396.
(P. 1785)

4732. LIES, Newspaper.—

There was an
enthusiasm towards us all over Europe at
the moment of the peace. The torrent of lies
published unremittingly in every day's London
papers first made an impression and produced
a coolness. The republication of these
lies in most of the papers of Europe (done
probably by authority of the governments to
discourage emigrations), carried them home
to the belief of every mind. They supposed
everything in America was anarchy, tumult
and civil war. The reception of the Marquis
Lafayette gave a check to these ideas.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 413.
(P. 1785)

4733. LIES, Newspaper.—[continued].

It has been so impossible
to contradict all their lies, that I have determined
to contradict none; for while I
should be engaged with one, they would publish
twenty new ones. Thirty years of public
life have enabled most of those who read
newspapers to judge of one for themselves.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 448.
(Ep., May. 1800)

4734. LIES, Political.—

Were I to buy off
every federal lie by a sacrifice of two or three
thousand dollars, a very few such purchases
would make me as bankrupt in reputation as
in fortune. To buy off one lie is to give a
premium for the invention of others. From
the moment I was proposed for my present
office, the volumes of calumny and falsehood
issued to the public, rendered impracticable
every idea of going into the work of finding
and proving. I determined, therefore, to go
straight forward in what was right, and to
rest my character with my countrymen not on
depositions and affidavits, but on what they
should themselves witness, the course of my
life. I have had no reason to be dissatisfied
with the confidence reposed in the public; on
the contrary, great encouragement to persevere
in it to the end.—
To William A. Burwell. Ford ed., ix, 229.
(W. 1808)

4735. LIES, Political.—[continued].

Many of the [federal] lies would have required only a simple denial,
but I saw that even that would have led
to the infalliable inference, that whatever I
had not denied was to be presumed true. I
have, therefore, never done even this, but to
such of my friends as happen to converse on
these subjects, and I have never believed that
my character could hang upon every two-penny
lie of our common enemies.—
To William A. Burwell. Ford ed., ix, 230.
(W. 1808)

4736. LIES, Political.—[further continued].

The federalists, instead
of lying me down, have lied themselves down.—
To William A. Burwell. Ford ed., ix, 230.
(W. 1808)

4737. LIES, Useless.—

I consider it always
useless to read lies.—
To De Witt Clinton. Washington ed. iv, 520.
(W. 1803)

4738. LIFE, Art of.—

The art of life is the art of avoiding pain; and he is the best pilot
who steers clearest of the rocks and shoals
with which it is beset.—
To Mrs. Cosway. Washington ed. ii, 37. Ford ed., iv, 317.
(P. 1786)

4739. LIFE, Chronicles of.—

Fifteen volumes
of anecdotes and incidents, within the
compass of my own time and cognizance,
written by a man of genius, of taste, of point,
an acquaintance, the measure and traverses of
whose mind I know, could not fail to turn the
scale in favor of life during their perusal.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 27.
(M. 1816)

4740. LIFE, City.—

A city life offers
* * * more means of dissipating time, but
more frequent also and more painful objects
of vice and wretchedness. New York, for example,
like London seems to be a cloacina of all the depravities of human nature. Philadelphia
doubtless has its share. Here [Virginia],
on the contrary, crime is scarcely
heard of, breaches of order rare, and our
societies, if not refined, are rational, moral
and affectionate at least.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 310.
(M. 1823)

4741. LIFE, Declining.—

I endeavor to
beguile the wearisomeness of declining life by
the delights of classical reading and of
mathematical truths, and by the consolations
of a sound philosophy, equally indifferent to
hope and fear.—
To W. Short. Washington ed. vii, 140. Ford ed., x, 145.
(M. 1819)

4742. LIFE, Enjoyment of.—

I sincerely
pray that all the members of the human family
may, in the time prescribed by the Father of
us all, find themselves securely established in
the enjoyment of life, liberty and happiness.—
Reply to Address. Washington ed. viii, 119.


Page 504

4743. LIFE, Government and.—

The care
of human life and happiness, and not their
destruction, is the first and only legitimate
object of good government.—
R. to A. Maryland Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 165.

4744. LIFE, Happiness and.—

The Giver of life * * * gave it for happiness and not
for wretchedness.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 319. Ford ed., iii, 59.
(M. 1782)

4745. LIFE, Individual.—

In a government
bottomed on the will of all, the life
* * * of every individual citizen becomes
interesting to all.—
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 50. Ford ed., viii, 392.

4746. LIFE, Jefferson's habits of.—

am retired to Monticello, where, in the bosom
of my family, and surrounded by my books, I
enjoy a repose to which I have been long a
stranger. My mornings are devoted to correspondence.
From breakfast to dinner, I am
in my shops, my garden, or on horseback among
my farms; from dinner to dark, I give to society
and recreation with my neighbors and
friends; and from candle light to early bedtime,
I read. My health is perfect; and my
strength considerably reinforced by the activity
of the course I pursue; perhaps it is as great as
usually falls to the lot of near sixty-seven years
of age. I talk of ploughs and harrows, of
seeding and harvesting, with my neighbors, and
of politics, too, if they choose, with as little reserve
as the rest of my fellow citizens, and
feel, at length, the blessing of being free to
say and do what I please, without being responsible
for it to any mortal. A part of my
occupation, and by no means the least pleasing,
is the direction of the studies of such young
men as ask it. They place themselves in the
neighboring village, and have the use of my
library and counsel, and make a part of my society.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. v, 508.
(M. 1810)

4747. LIFE, Jefferson's habits of.—[continued].

My present course of life admits less reading than I wish. From breakfast,
or noon at latest, to dinner, I am mostly
on horseback, attending to my farm or other
concerns, which I find healthful to my body,
mind and affairs; and the few hours I can pass
in my cabinet, are devoured by correspondences;
not those with my intimate friends,
with whom I delight to interchange sentiments,
but with others, who, writing to me on concerns
of their own in which I have had an agency,
or from motives of mere respect and approbation,
are entitled to be answered with respect
and a return of good will. My hope is that
this obstacle to the delights of retirement, will
wear away with the oblivion which follows
that, and that I may at length be indulged in
those studious pursuits, from which nothing
but revolutionary duties would ever have called
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. v, 558. Ford ed., ix, 294.
(M. 1811)

4748. LIFE, Jefferson's habits of.—[further continued].

I am on horseback three
or four hours of every day; visit three or four
times a year a possession I have ninety miles
distant, performing the winter journey on
horseback. I walk little, however, a single mile
being too much for me, and I live in the midst
of my grandchildren, one of whom has lately
promoted me to be a great grandfather.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 37. Ford ed., ix, 334.
(M. 1812)

4749. LIFE, Jefferson's habits of.—[further continued] .

I have for fifty years
bathed my feet in cold water every morning,
and having been remarkably exempted from
colds (not having had one in every seven years
of my life on an average), I have supposed it
might be ascribed to that practice.—
To Mr. Maury. Washington ed. vi, 472.
(M. 1815)

4750. LIFE, Jefferson's habits of.—[further continued].

The request of the history
of my physical habits would have puzzled
me not a little, had it not been for the model
with which you accompanied it, of Doctor
Rush's answer to a similar inquiry. I live so
much like other people, that I might refer to
ordinary life as the history of my own. * * * I have lived temperately, eating little animal
food, and that not as an aliment, so much as a
condiment for the vegetables which constitute
my principal diet. I double, however, the Doctor's
glass and a half of wine, and even treble
it with a friend; but halve its effects by drinking
the weak wines only. The ardent wines I
cannot drink, nor do I use ardent spirits in
any form. Malt liquors and cider are my table
drinks, and my breakfast is of tea and coffee.
I have been blest with organs of digestion
which accept and concoct, without ever murmuring,
whatever the palate chooses to consign
to them, and I have not yet lost a tooth by
age. I was a hard student until I entered on
the business of life, the duties of which leave
no idle time to those disposed to fulfil them;
and now, retired, and at the age of seventy-six,
I am again a hard student. Indeed, my
fondness for reading and study revolts me from
the drudgery of letter writing. And a stiff
wrist, the consequence of an early dislocation,
makes writing both slow and painful. I am
not so regular in my sleep as the Doctor says
he was, devoting to it from five to eight hours,
according as my company or the book I am
reading interests me; and I never go to bed
without an hour, or half hour's previous reading
of something moral, whereon to ruminate
in the intervals of sleep. But whether I retire
to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.
I use spectacles at night, but not necessarily in
the day, unless in reading small print. My
hearing is distinct in particular conversation,
but confused when several voices cross each
other, which unfits me for the society of the
table. I have been more fortunate than my
friend in the article of health. So free from
catarrhs that I have not had one (in the breast,
I mean) on an average of eight or ten years
through life. I ascribe this exemption partly
to the habit of bathing my feet in cold water
every morning, for sixty years past. A fever
of more than twenty-four hours I have not had
above two or three times in my life. A periodical
headache has afflicted me occasionally, once,
perhaps, in six or eight years, for two or three
weeks at a time, which now seems to have left
me; and except on a late occasion of indisposition,
I enjoy good health; too feeble, indeed,
to walk much, but riding without fatigue
six or eight miles a day, and sometimes thirty or
forty. I may end these egotisms, therefore, as
I began, by saying that my life has been so
much like that of other people, that I might say
with Horace, to every one “nomine mutato,
de te fabula narratur”.

To Doctor Vine Utley. Washington ed. vii, 116. Ford ed., x, 125.
(M. 1819)

4751. LIFE, Liberty and.—

The God who
gave us life gave us liberty at the same time;
the hand of force may destroy, but cannot
disjoin them. [306]
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 142. Ford ed., i, 447.


Page 505

Ab eo libertas, a quo spiritus,” was the motto on
one of Jefferson's seals.—Editor.

4752. LIFE, Order and.—

The life of a
citizen is never to be endangered, but as the
last melancholy effort for the maintenance of
order and obedience to the laws. [307]
Circular Letter to State Governors. Washington ed. v, 414. Ford ed., ix, 238.
(W. 1809)


The letter was in reference to the employment of
the militia to enforce the Embargo law.—Editor.

4753. LIFE, Outdoor.—

During the pleasant
season, I am always out of doors, employed,
not passing more time at my writing
table than will dispatch my current business.
But when the weather becomes cold, I shall
go out but little.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 476. Ford ed., ix, 263.
(M. 1809)

4754. LIFE, Pledge of.—

And for the support
of this Declaration, [308] we mutually pledge
to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our
sacred honor.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress inserted after “Declaration” the words,
“with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine

4755. LIFE, Pledge of.—[continued].

It is from the supporters
of regular government only that the pledge of life, fortune and honor is worthy of confidence.—
R. to A. Philadelphia Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 145.

— LIFE, Private.—

See Private Life.

4756. LIFE, Prolonged.—

My health has
been always so uniformly firm, that I have for
some years dreaded nothing so much as the
living too long. I think, however, that a flaw
has appeared which ensures me against that,
without cutting short any of the period during
which I could expect to remain capable of
being useful. It will probably give me as many
years as I wish, and without pain or debility.
Should this be the case, my most anxious
prayers will have been fulfilled by Heaven.
* * * My florid health is calculated to keep
my friends as well as foes quiet, as they should
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 426. Ford ed., viii, 128.
(W. 1801)

4757. LIFE, Prolonged.—[continued].

The most undesirable of
all things is long life; and there is nothing I
have ever so much dreaded.—
To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse. Ford ed., x, 336.
(M. 1825)

4758. LIFE, Reliving.—

You ask, if I
would agree to live my seventy or rather seventy-three
years over again? To which I say,
yea. I think with you, that it is a good world
on the whole; that it has been framed on a
principle of benevolence, and more pleasure
than pain dealt out to us. There are, indeed,
(who might say nay) gloomy and hypochondriac
minds, inhabitants of diseased bodies, disgusted
with the present, and despairing of the future;
always counting that the worst will happen,
because it may happen. To these I say, how
much pain have cost us the evils which have
never happened! My temperament is sanguine.
I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving
Fear in the stern. My hopes, indeed, sometimes
fail; but not oftener than the forebodings of
the gloomy. There are, I acknowledge, even in
the happiest life, some terrible convulsions,
heavy set-offs against the opposite page of the
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 575.
(M. April. 1816)

4759. LIFE, Reliving.—[continued].

Putting to myself your
question, would I agree to live my seventy-
three years over again forever? I hesitate to
say. With Chew's limitations from twenty-five
to sixty, I would say yes; and I might go
further back, but not come lower down. For,
at the latter period, with most of us, the powers
of life are sensibly on the wane; sight becomes
dim, hearing dull, memory constantly enlarging
its frightful blank and parting with all we have
ever seen or known, spirits evaporate, bodily
debility creeps on palsying every limb, and so
faculty after faculty quits us, and where, then, is
life? If, in its full vigor, of good as well as
evil, your friend Vassall could doubt its value,
it must be purely a negative quantity when its
evils alone remain. Yet I do not go into his
opinion entirely. I do not agree that an age
of pleasure is no compensation for a moment
of pain. I think, with you, that life is a fair
matter of account, and the balance often, nay
generally, in its favor. It is not indeed easy,
by calculation of intensity and time, to apply a
common measure, or to fix the par between
pleasure and pain; yet it exists, and is measurable.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 26.
(M. Aug. 1816)

4760. LIFE, Reliving.—[further continued].

You tell me my granddaughter
repeated to you an expression of mine,
that I should be willing to go again over the
scenes of past life. I should not be unwilling,
without, however wishing it; and why not? I
have enjoyed a greater share of health than
falls to the lot of most men; my spirits have
never failed me except under those paroxysms
of grief which you, as well as myself, have experienced
in every form, and with good health
and good spirits, the pleasures surely outweigh
the pains of life. Why not, then, taste them
again, fat and lean together? Were I indeed
permitted to cut off from the train the last
seven years, the balance would be much in
favor of treading the ground over again. Being
at that period in the neighborhood of our warm
springs and well in health, I wished to be
better, and tried them. They destroyed, in a
great measure, my internal organism, and I
have never since had a moment of perfect
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 421. Ford ed., x, 347.
(M. 1825)

4761. LIFE, Right to.—

We hold these
truths to be self-evident: that all men are
created equal; that they are endowed by their
Creator with inherent [309] and inalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck out “inherent and” and inserted

4762. LIFE, Security of.—

In no portion of the earth were life, liberty and property
ever so securely held; and it is with infinite
satisfaction that withdrawing from the active
scenes of life, I see the sacred design of these
blessings committed to those who are sensible
of their value and determined to defend
R. to A. Virginia Assembly. Washington ed. viii, 148.

4763. LIFE, Social.—

Life is of no value
but as it brings us gratifications. Among
the most valuable of these is rational society.
It informs the mind, sweetens the temper,
cheers our spirits, and promotes health.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 406.
(A. 1784)

4764. LIFE, Sunshine in.—

Thanks to a
benevolent arrangement of things, the greater


Page 506
part of life is sunshine.—
To Mrs. Cosway. Washington ed. ii, 39. Ford ed., iv, 319.
(P. 1786)

4765. LIFE, Worthy.—

I cannot be insensible
to the partiality which has induced
several persons to think my life worthy of remembrance.
And towards none more than
yourself, who give me so much credit, more
than I am entitled to, as to what has been effected
for the safeguard of our republican Constitution.
Numerous and able coadjutors have
participated in these efforts, and merit equal
notice. My life, in fact, has been so much
like that of others, that their history is my
history with a mere difference of feature.—
To Mr. Spafford. Washington ed. vii, 118.
(M. 1819)


I often wish
myself among my lazy and hospitable countrymen,
as I am here [Paris] burning the candle
of life without present pleasure, or future object.
A dozen or twenty years ago, this scene
would have amused me, but I am past the age
for changing habits.—
To Mrs. Trist. Ford ed., iv, 330.
(P. 1786)

4767. LINCOLN (Levi), Bar.—

The pure
integrity, unimpeachable conduct, talents and
republican firmness of Lincoln [310] leave him now
entirely without a rival. He is not thought an
able common lawyer. But there is not and
never was an abler one in the New England
States. Their system is sui generis in which
the Common law is little attended to. Lincoln
is one of the ablest in their system, and it is
among them he is to exercise the great portion
of his duties. Nothing is more material than
to complete the reformation of the government
by this appointment which may truly be said
to be putting the keystone into the arch.—
To Attorney General Rodney. Washington ed. v, 547.


Levi Lincoln, of Massachusetts, who was Attorney
General in Jefferson's first Cabinet. The extract
is from a letter urging his appointment to the Supreme
Court Bench to succeed Judge Cushing. Lincoln
was nominated and confirmed, but declined.
John Quincy Adams was then nominated, but he declined.
The vacancy was then filled by the appointment
of Judge Story.—Editor.

4768. LINCOLN (Levi), Bench.—

I was
overjoyed when I heard you were appointed to
the Supreme Bench of national justice, and as
much mortified when I heard you had declined
it. You are too young to be entitled to withdraw
your services from your country. You
cannot yet number the quadraginta stipendia of the veteran.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. vi, 8.
(M. Aug. 1811)

4769. LINCOLN (Levi), Congress.—

There is good reason to believe that Levi Lincoln
will be elected to Congress in Massachusetts.
He will be a host in himself; being undoubtedly
the ablest and most respectable man
of the Eastern States.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 457.
(M. Sep. 1800)

4770. LITERARY MEN, Relief of.—

The efforts for the relief of literary men, made
by a society of private citizens, are truly laudable;
but they are * * * but a palliation
of an evil, the cure of which calls for all the
wisdom and the means of the nation.—
To David Williams. Washington ed. v, 512.
(W. 1803)

4771. LITERATURE, Growth of.—

is not yet a distinct profession with us.
Now and then a strong mind arises, and at its
intervals of leisure from business, emits a flash
of light. But the first object of young societies
is bread and covering; science is but secondary
and subsequent.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 418.
(M. 1825)

4772. LITTLEPAGE (Lewis), Polish Office-holder.—

Littlepage has succeeded well
in Poland. He has some office, it is said, worth
five hundred guineas a year.
To Dr. Currie. Washington ed. ii, 219.
(P. 1787)

4773. LITTLEPAGE (Lewis), Russian army officer.—

Littlepage, who was in Paris
as a secret agent for the King of Poland, rather
overreached himself. He wanted more money.
The King furnished it more than once. Still
he wanted more, and thought to obtain a high
bid by saying he was called for in America,
and asking leave to go there. Contrary to his
expectation, he received leave; but he went to
Warsaw instead of America, and thence to join
the Russian army.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 444. Ford ed., v, 44.
(P. 1788)

4774. LIVINGSTON (Edward), Friendship for.—

I receive Mr. Livingston's question
through you with kindness, and answer it without
hesitation. He may be assured I have not
a spark of unfriendly feeling towards him. In
all the earlier scenes of life, we thought and
acted together. We differed in opinion afterwards
on a single point. Each maintained his
opinion, as he had a right, and acted on it as
he ought. But why brood over a single difference,
and forget all our previous harmonies?—
To President Monroe. Ford ed., x, 298.
(M. 1824)

4775. LIVINGSTON (Edward), Louisiana Code.—

Your work [Louisiana Code] will
certainly arrange your name with the sages of
To Edward Livingston. Washington ed. vii, 403.
(M. 1825)

4776. LIVINGSTON (Edward), Restoration.—

It was with great pleasure I
learned that the good people of New Orleans
had restored you again to the councils of our
country. I did not doubt the aid it would
bring to the remains of our old school in
Congress, in which your early labors had been
so useful.—
To Edward Livingston. Washington ed. vii, 342. Ford ed., x, 299.
(M. 1824)

4777. LIVINGSTON (Robert R.), Chancellor.—

A part of your [letter] gave me that
kind of concern which I fear I am destined
often to meet. Men possessing minds of the
first order, and who have had opportunities of
being known, and of acquiring the general confidence,
do not abound in any country beyond
the wants of the country. In your case, however,
it is a subject of regret rather than of
complaint, as you are in fact serving the public
in a very important station. [311]
To Robert R. Livingston. Ford ed., vii, 492.
(W. Feb. 1801)


Chancellor of New York.

4778. LIVINGSTON (Robert R.), French Mission.—

It has occurred to me that possibly
you might be willing to undertake the mission
as Minister Plenipotentiary to France. If so,
I shall most gladly avail the public of your
services in that office. Though I am sensible
of the advantages derived from your talent to
your particular State, yet I cannot suppress the
desire of adding them to the mass to be employed
on the broader scale of the nation at
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 360. Ford ed., vii, 499.
(W. 1801)

4779. LIVINGSTON (Robert R.), French Mission.—[continued].

You will find Chancellor
Livingston, named to the Senate the day after
I came into office as our Minister Plenipotentiary
to France, * * * an able and honorable


Page 507
man. He is, unfortunately, so deaf that he will have to transact all his business by
To William Short. Washington ed. iv, 415. Ford ed., viii, 99.
(W. 1801)

4780. LOANS, Corruption and.—

[Among] the reasons against [a new loan] is
the apprehension that the [Hamilton] head
of the [Treasury] department means to provide
idle money to be lodged in the banks,
ready for the corruption of the next legislature,
as it is believed the late ones were corrupted,
by gratifying particular members with
vast discounts for objects of speculation.—
Loan Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 636. Ford ed., vi, 306.

4781. LOANS, Economy vs.—

I 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)

4782. LOANS, Instructions respecting.—

I would take the liberty of suggesting the
insertion of some such clause as the following
into the instructions: “The agents to be employed
shall never open a loan for more than
one million of dollars at a time, nor open a
new loan till the preceding one has been filled,
and expressly approved by the President of
the United States.” A new man, alighting
on the exchange of Amsterdam, with powers
to borrow twelve millions of dollars, will be
immediately beset with bankers and brokers,
who will pour into his ear, from the most
unsuspected quarters, such informations and
suspicions as may lead him exactly into their
snares. So wonderfully dexterous are they
in wrapping up and complicating their propositions,
that they will make it evident, even to
a clear-headed man (not in the habit of this
business), that two and two make five. The
agent, therefore, should be guarded, even
against himself, by putting it out of his power
to extend the effect of any erroneous calculation
beyond one million of dollars. Were he
able, under a delusive calculation, to commit
such a sum as twelve millions of dollars, what
would be said of the government? Our
bankers told me themselves that they would
not choose, in the conduct of this great loan,
to open for more than two or three millions
of florins at a time, and certainly never for
more than five. By contracting for only one
million of dollars at a time, the agent will
have frequent occasions of trying to better
the terms. I dare say that this caution,
though not expressed in the instructions, is
intended by the Secretary of the Treasury to
be carried into their execution. But, perhaps,
it will be desirable for the President, that his
sense of it also should be expressed in writing.—
Opinion on Foreign Debt. Washington ed. vii, 507. Ford ed., v, 233.

4783. LOANS, Limited.—

Of the modes
which are within the limits of right, that of
raising within the year its whole expenses by
taxation, might be beyond the abilities of our
citizens to bear. It is, moreover, generally
desirable that the public contribution should
be as uniform as practicable from year to year,
that our habits of industry and expense May
become adapted to them; and that they May
be duly digested and incorporated with our
annual economy. There remains, then, for us
but the method of limited anticipation, the
laying taxes for a term of years within that
of our right, which may be sold for a present
sum equal to the expenses of the year; in
other words, to obtain a loan equal to the
expenses of the year, laying a tax adequate
to its interest, and to such a surplus as
will reimburse, by growing instalments, the
whole principle within the term. This is, in
fact, what has been called raising money on
the sale of annuities for years. In this way
a new loan, and of course a new tax, is requisite
every year during the continuance of
the war; and should that be so long as to
produce an accumulation of tax beyond our
ability, in time of war the resource would
be an enactment of the taxes requisite to ensure
good terms, by securing the lender, with
a suspension of the payment of instalments
of principal and perhaps of interest also, until
the restoration of peace. This method of anticipating
our taxes, or of borrowing on annuities
for years, insures repayment to the
lender, guards the rights of posterity, prevents
a perpetual alienation of the public contributions,
and consequent destitution of every
resource even for the ordinary support of government.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 198. Ford ed., ix, 398.
Sep. 1813)

4784. LOANS, Negotiation of.—

has been in the habit of sending his letters
open to me, to be forwarded to Mr. Jay.
During my absence they passed through Mr.
Short's hands, who made extracts from them,
by which I see he has been recommending
himself and me for the money negotiations
in Holland. It might be thought, perhaps,
that I have encouraged him in this. Be assured
that no such idea ever entered my
head. On the contrary, it is a business which
would be the most disagreeable to me of all
others, and for which I am the most unfit person
living. I do not understand bargaining,
nor possess the dexterity requisite for the
purpose. On the other hand, Mr. Adams,
whom I expressly and sincerely recommend,
stands already on ground for that business
which I could not gain in years. Pray set me
to rights in the minds of those who may have
supposed me privy to this proposition.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 154. Ford ed., iv, 393.
(P. 1787)

4785. LOANS, Power to negotiate.—

Though much an enemy to the system of borrowing,
yet I feel strongly the necessity of
preserving the power to borrow. Without
this we might be overwhelmed by another nation,
merely by the force of its credit.—
To the Treasury Commissioners. Washington ed. ii, 353.
(P. 1788)

4786. LOANS, Power to negotiate.—[continued].

I wish it were possible
to obtain a single amendment to our Constitu


Page 508
tion. I would be willing to depend on that
alone for the reduction of the administration
of our government to the genuine principles
of its Constitution; I mean an additional
article, taking from the Federal Government
the power of borrowing. I now deny their
power of making paper money, or anything
else, a legal tender. I know that to pay all
proper expenses within the year, would, in
case of war, be hard on us. But not so hard
as ten wars instead of one. For wars could
be reduced in that proportion; besides that the
State governments would be free to lend
their credit in borrowing quotas.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. iv, 260. Ford ed., vii, 310.
(M. Nov. 1798)

4787. LOANS, Redeeming taxes for.—

Our government has not, as yet, begun to act
on the rule of loans and taxation going hand
in hand. Had any loan taken place in my
time, I should have strongly urged a redeeming
tax. For the loan which has been made
since the last session of Congress, we should
now set the example of appropriating some
particular tax, sufficient to pay the interest
annually, and the principal within a fixed
term, less than nineteen years. I hope yourself
and your committee will render the immortal
service of introducing this practice.—
To John W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 138. Ford ed., ix, 391.
(M. June. 1813)

See Generations.

4788. LOANS, Treasury Notes vs.—

question will be asked and ought to be looked
at, what is to be the resource if loans cannot
be obtained? There is but one, “Carthago
delenda est”.
Bank paper must be suppressed,
and the circulating medium must be
restored to the nation to whom it belongs.
It is the only fund on which they can rely
for loans; it is the only resource which can
never fail them, and it is an abundant one
for every necessary purpose. Treasury bills,
bottomed on taxes, bearing or not bearing interest,
as may be found necessary, thrown
into circulation will take the place of so much
gold and silver, which last, when crowded,
will find an efflux into other countries, and
thus keep the quantum of medium at its salutary
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 199. Ford ed., ix, 399.
(Sep. 1813)

4789. LOANS, Unauthorized.—

The man
œuvre of opening a loan of three millions
of florins, has, on the whole, been useful to
the United States, and though unauthorized,
I think should be confirmed.—
Opinion on Foreign Debt. Washington ed. vii, 507. Ford ed., v, 232.

— LOCKE (John).—

See Government,
Works on.

4790. LOGAN (George), France and.—

That your efforts did much towards preventing
declared war with France, I am satisfied. Of
those with England, I am not equally informed.—
To Dr. George Logan. Washington ed. vi, 215. Ford ed., ix, 421.
(M. Oct. 1813)

4791. LOGAN (George), France and.—[continued].

Dr. Logan, about a
fortnight ago, sailed for Hamburg. Though
for a twelvemonth past he had been intending
to go to Europe as soon as he could get money
enough to carry him there, yet when he had
accomplished this, and fixed a time for going,
he very unwisely made a mystery of it; so that
his disappearance without notice excited conversation.
This was seized by the war hawks,
and given out as a secret mission from the Jacobins
here to solicit an army from France,
instruct them as to their landing, &c. This
extravagance produced a real panic among the
citizens; and happening just when Bache published
Talleyrand's letter, Harper * * * gravely announced to the House of Representatives,
that there existed a traitorous correspondence
between the Jacobins here and the
French Directory; that he had got hold of some
threads and clews of it, and would soon be able
to develop the whole. This increased the
alarm; their libellists immediately set to work,
directly and indirectly to implicate whom they
pleased. “Porcupine” gave me a principal share
in it, as I am told, for I never read his papers.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 250. Ford ed., vii, 273.
(Pa., June. 1798)

4792. LOGAN (Mingo Chief), Murder of.—

In the spring of the year 1774, a robbery
and murder were committed on an inhabitant
of the frontier of Virginia, by two Indians of
the Shawnee tribe. The neighboring whites,
according to their custom, undertook to punish
this outrage in a summary way. Col. [Michael] Cresap, a man infamous for the many murders
he had committed on those much injured people,
collected a party and proceeded down the Kanawha
in quest of vengeance. Unfortunately a
canoe of women and children, with one man
only, was seen coming from the opposite shore,
unarmed, and unsuspecting a hostile attack from
the whites. Cresap and his party concealed
themselves on the bank of the river, and the
moment the canoe reached the shore, singled out
their objects, and at one fire, killed every person
in it. This happened to be the family of Logan,
who had long been distinguished as a friend
of the whites. This unworthy return provoked
his vengeance. He accordingly signalized himself
in the war which ensued. In the autumn
of the same year a decisive battle was fought
at the mouth of the Great Kanawha between
the collected forces of the Shawnees, Mingoes
and Delawares, and a detachment of the Virginia
militia. The Indians were defeated and
sued for peace. Logan, however, disdained to
be seen among the suppliants. But lest the
sincerity of a treaty should be distrusted, from
which so distinguished a chief absented himself,
he sent, by a messenger, the following
speech [312] to be delivered to Lord Dunmore
* * *.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 308. Ford ed., iii, 156.


The speech referred to is the celebrated one beginning,
“I appeal to any white man to say, if he
ever entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him
not to eat”, &c. Jefferson cited it among other
proofs in refutation of the theories of Count de Buffon,
Raynal and others, respecting the degeneracy
of animals in America, not even excepting man.
Luther Martin, of Maryland, a son-in-law of Cresap,
severely attacked Jefferson in defence of the memory
of his relative, and questioned the authenticity of
Logan's speech. Jefferson made a careful investigation
of the whole case, and proved the speech to be

4793. LOGAN (Mingo Chief), Speech of.—

I may challenge the whole orations of
Demosthenes and Cicero, and of any other eminent
orator, if Europe has furnished more
eminent, to produce a single passage, superior
to the speech of Logan.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 308. Ford ed., iii, 155.


See Mountains.


Page 509

4794. LONDON, Beauty.—

The city of
London, though handsomer than Paris, is not
so handsome as Philadelphia.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 549. Ford ed., iv, 214.
(P. 1786)

4795. LONDON, Burning of.—

She [England] may burn New York * * * by her
ships and congreve rockets, in which case we
must burn the city of London by hired incendiaries,
of which her starving manufacturers
will furnish abundance. A people in such desperation
as to demand of their government
aut panem, aut furcam, either bread or the gallows,
will not reject the same alternative when
offered by a foreign hand. Hunger will make
them brave every risk for bread.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. vi, 68. Ford ed., ix, 362.
(June. 1812)

4796. LONDON, Splendor of shops.—

splendor of the shops is all that is worth looking
at in London.—
To Madame de Corny. Washington ed. ii, 161.
(P. 1787)


See Latitude and Longitude.


See Mirage.

4797. LOTTERY, Unadvisable.—

myself made it a rule never to engage in a lottery
or any other adventure of mere chance, I
can, with the less candor or effect, urge it on
others, however laudable or desirable its object
may be.—
To Hugh L. White. Washington ed. v, 521.
(M. 1810)

See 2005.

4798. LOUISIANA, Acquisition of.—

Congress witnessed, at their last session, the
extraordinary agitation produced in the public
mind by the suspension of our right of
deposit at the port of New Orleans, no assignment
of another place having been made
according to treaty. [313] They were sensible
that the continuance of that privation would
be more injurious to our nation than any consequences
which could flow from any mode
of redress, but reposing just confidence in the
good faith of the government whose officer
had committed the wrong, friendly and reasonable
representations were resorted to, and
the right of deposit was restored. Previous,
however, to this period, we had not been unaware
of the danger to which our peace would
be perpetually exposed while so important a
key to the commerce of the western country
remained under foreign power. Difficulties,
too, were presenting themselves as to the navigation
of other streams, which, arising within
territories, pass through those adjacent.
Propositions had, therefore, been authorized
for obtaining, on fair conditions, the sovereignty
of New Orleans, and of other possessions
in that quarter interesting to our quiet,
to such extent as was deemed practicable;
and the provisional appropriation of two millions
of dollars, to be applied and accounted
for by the President of the United States,
intended as part of the price, was considered
as conveying the sanction of Congress to the
acquisition proposed. The enlightened Government
of France saw, with just discernment,
the importance to both nations of such
liberal arrangements as might best and permanently
promote the peace, friendship, and interests
of both; and the property and sovereignty
of all Louisiana, which had been restored
to them, have on certain conditions
been transferred to the United States by instruments
bearing date the 30th of April last.
When these shall have received the constitutional
sanction of the Senate, they will without
delay be communicated to the Representatives
also, for the exercise of their functions,
as to those conditions which are within
the powers vested by the Constitution in
Congress. While the property and sovereignty
of the Mississippi and its waters secure
an independent outlet for the produce
of the Western States, and an uncontrolled
navigation through their whole course, free
from collision with other powers and the
dangers to our peace from that source, the
fertility of the country, its climate and extent,
promise in due season important aids
to our treasury, an ample provision for our
posterity, and a wide-spread field for the
blessings of freedom and equal laws. With
the wisdom of Congress it will rest to take
those ulterior measures which may be necessary
for the immediate occupation and temporary
government of the country; for its incorporation
into our Union; for rendering the
change of government a blessing to our newlyadopted
brethren; for securing to them the
rights of conscience and of property; for confirming
to the Indian inhabitants their occupancy
and self-government, establishing
friendly and commercial relations with them,
and for ascertaining the geography of the
country acquired.—
Third Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 23. Ford ed., viii. 267.
(Oct. 17, 1803)


Spain, on October 1, 1800, ceded all Louisiana to
France, but the transaction was kept so secret that it
did not become known in the United States until the
spring of 1802. In October of that year, the Spanish
Intendant at New Orleans issued an order, in violation
of treaty stipulations, depriving the United
States of the right of deposit at that port. This act
so inflamed the Western people that they threatened
to march on New Orleans and settle the question by
force of arms. The federalists clamored for war. In
this perilous condition of affairs, Congress, in secret
session, placed two million dollars at the disposal of
the President, to be used as he saw fit, and left him
free to deal with the situation. He immediately sent
James Monroe as Minister Plenipotentiary to Paris,
joining with him in a high Commission Robert R.
Livingston, Minister to France. The purchase of
Louisiana was negotiated by them.—Editor.

4799. LOUISIANA, Acquisition of.—[continued].

The acquisition of Louisiana
is a subject of mutual congratulation, as it interests every man of the nation.—
To General Horatio Gates. Washington ed. iv, 494. Ford ed., viii, 249.
(W. 1803)

4800. LOUISIANA, Acquisition of.—[further continued].

This acquisition is seen
by our constituents in all its importance, and
they do justice to all those who have been instrumental
towards it.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., viii, 287.
(W. Jan. 1804)

4801. LOUISIANA, Acquisition of.—[further continued] .

On this important acquisition,
so favorable to the immediate interests
of our western citizens, so auspicious
to the peace and security of the nation in general,
which adds to our country territories so
extensive and fertile, and to our citizens
new brethren to partake of the blessings of
freedom and self government, I offer to
Congress and the country, my sincere congratulations.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 33.
(Jan. 1804)


Page 510

4802. LOUISIANA, Acquisition of.—[further continued].

Whatever may be the
merit or demerit of that acquisition, I divide
it with my colleagues, to whose councils I
was indebted for a course of administration
which, notwithstanding this late coalition of
clay and brass, will, I hope, continue to receive
the approbation of our country.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. vii, 215. Ford ed., x, 192.
(M. 1821)

4803. LOUISIANA, Area of United States doubled.—

The territory acquired, as
it includes all the waters of the Missouri and
Mississippi, has more than doubled the area
of the United States, and the new part is
not inferior to the old in soil, climate, productions
and important communications.—
To General Horatio Gates. Washington ed. iv, 494. Ford ed., viii, 249.
(W. 1803)

4804. LOUISIANA, Bonaparte and.—

very early saw that Louisiana was indeed a
speck in our horizon which was to burst in
a tornado; and the public are unapprized how
near this catastrophe was. Nothing but a
frank and friendly development of causes and
effects on our part, and good sense enough in
Bonaparte to see that the train was unavoidable,
and would change the face of the
world, saved us from that storm. I did not
expect he would yield till a war took place
between France and England, and my hope
was to palliate and endure, if Messrs. Ross,
Morris, &c. did not force a premature rupture,
until that event. I believed the event not very
distant, but acknowledge it came on sooner
than I had expected. Whether, however, the
good sense of Bonaparte might not see the
course predicted to be necessary and unavoidable,
even before a war should be imminent,
was a chance which we thought it our duty
to try; but the immediate prospect of rupture
brought the case to immediate decision. The
dénouement has been happy; and I confess I
look to this duplication of area for the extending
a government so free and economical
as ours, as a great achievement to the mass
of happiness which is to ensue.—
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 525. Ford ed., viii, 294.
(W. Jan. 1804)

4805. LOUISIANA, The Constitution and.—

There is no constitutional difficulty as
to the acquisition of territory, and whether,
when acquired, it may be taken into the
Union by the Constitution as it now stands,
will become a question of expediency. I think
it will be safer not to permit the enlargement
of the Union but by amendment of the Constitution.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 241.
(Jan. 1803)

4806. LOUISIANA, The Constitution and.—[continued].

There is a difficulty in
this acquisition which presents a handle to
the malcontents among us, though they have
not yet discovered it. Our confederation is
certainly confined to the limits established by
the Revolution. The General Government
has no powers but such as the Constitution
has given it; and it has not given it a power
of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating
it into the Union. An amendment
of the Constitution seems necessary for
this. In the meantime, we must ratify and
pay our money, as we have treated, for a
thing beyond the Constitution, and rely on
the nation to sanction an act done for its
great good, without its previous authority.—
To John Dickinson. Ford ed., viii, 262.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4807. LOUISIANA, The Constitution and.—[further continued].

The Constitution has
made no provision for our holding foreign
territory, still less for incorporating foreign
nations into our Union. The Executive in
seizing the fugitive occurrence [Louisiana
purchase] which so much advances the good
of their country, have done an act beyond the
Constitution. The Legislature in casting behind
them metaphysical subtleties, and risking
themselves like faithful servants, must
ratify and pay for it, and throw themselves on
their country for doing for them unauthorized,
what we know they would have done for
themselves had they been in a situation to do
it. It is the case of a guardian, investing the
money of his ward in purchasing an important
adjacent territory; and saying to him when
of age, I did this for your good; I pretend
to no right to bind you: you may disavow
me, and I must get out of the scrape as I
can: I thought it my duty to risk myself for
you. But we shall not be disavowed by the
nation, and their act of indemnity will confirm
and not weaken the Constitution, by more
strongly marking out its lines.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 500. Ford ed., viii, 244.
(M. Aug. 12, 1803)

4808. LOUISIANA, Constitutional amendments.—

The province of Louisiana
is incorporated
with the United States,
and made part thereof.
The rights of occupancy
in the soil,
and of self-government
are confirmed to
the Indian inhabitants,
as they now exist.
Preemption only of
the portions rightfully
occupied by them, and
a succession to the occupancy
of such as
they may abandon,
with the full rights of
possession as well as
of property and sovereignty
in whatever is
not or shall cease to be
so rightfully occupied
by them shall belong
to the United States.
The Legislature of the
Union shall have authority
to exchange
the right of occupancy
in portions where the
United States have
full right for lands
possessed by Indians
within the United
States on the east side
of the Mississippi: to
exchange lands on the
east side of the river
for those of the white
inhabitants on the west
side thereof and above
the latitude of 31 degrees:
to maintain in
any part of the province
such military
posts as may be requisite
for peace or
safety: to exercise police
over all persons
therein, not being Indian
inhabitants: to
work salt springs, or
mines of coal, metals
and other minerals
within the possession
of the United States
or in any others with
the consent of the possessors;
to regulate
trade and intercourse
between the Indian
inhabitants and all
other persons; to explore
and ascertain the
geography of the province,
its productions
and other interesting
circumstances; to open
roads and navigation
therein where necessary
for beneficial communication;
and to
establish agencies and
factories therein for
the cultivation of commerce,
peace and good
understanding with
the Indians residing
there. The Legislature
shall have no authority
to dispose of the
lands of the province
otherwise than as hereinbefore
permitted, until
a new amendment
of the Constitution
shall give that authority.
Except as to that
portion thereof which
lies south of the latitude
of 31 degrees;
which whenever they
deem expedient, they
may erect into a territorial
either separate or as
making part with one
on the eastern side of
the river, vesting the
inhabitants thereof
with all the rights
possessed by other territorial
citizens of the
United States. 
Louisiana, as ceded
by France to the United
States is made a
part of the United
States. Its white inhabitants
shall be citizens,
and stand, as
to their rights and
obligations on the
same footing with
other citizens of the
United States in analogous
situations. Save
only that as to the portion
thereof lying
north of an east and
west line drawn
through the mouth of
the Arkansas river, no
new State shall be
established, nor any
grants of land made,
other than to Indians
in exchange for equivalent
portions of land
occupied by them, until
authorized by further
amendment to the
Constitution shall be
made for these purposes.

Florida, also, whenever
it may be rightfully
obtained, shall
become a part of the
United States. Its
white inhabitants shall
thereupon be citizens,
and shall stand, as to
their rights and obligations,
on the same
footing with other
citizens of the United
States, in analogous


Page 511

Drafts of an Amendment to the Constitution. Washington ed. iv, 503. Ford ed., viii, 241.
(July. 1803)

4809. LOUISIANA, Constitutional amendments.—[further continued].

I wrote you on the 12th instant, on the subject of Louisiana, and the
constitutional provision which might be necessary
for it. A letter received yesterday
shows that nothing must be said on that subject,
which may give a pretext for retracting;
but that we should do, sub silentio, what shall
be found necessary. Be so good as to consider
that part of my letter as confidential.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Ford ed., viii, 244.
(Aug. 18 1803)

4810. LOUISIANA, Constitutional amendments.—[further continued].

Further reflection on the
amendment to the Constitution necessary in
the case of Louisiana, satisfies me it will be
better to give general powers, with specified
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 503. Ford ed., viii, 246.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4811. LOUISIANA, Constitutional amendments.—[further continued] .

On further consideration
as to the amendment to our Constitution respecting
Louisiana, I have thought it better,
instead of enumerating the powers which
Congress may exercise, to give them the
same powers they have as to other portions of
the Union generally, and to enumerate the
special exceptions. * * * The less that is
said about any constitutional difficulty, the
better; and * * * it will be desirable for
Congress to do what is necessary, in silence.
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 504. Ford ed., viii, 246.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4812. LOUISIANA, Constitutional amendments.—[further continued].

Whatever Congress shall
think it necessary to do, should be done with
as little debate as possible, and particularly
so far as respects the constitutional difficulty.
I am aware of the force of the observations
you make on the power given by the Constitution
to Congress, to admit new States into
the Union, without restraining the subject to
the territory then constituting the United
States. But when I consider that the limits
of the United States are precisely fixed by
the treaty of 1783, that the Constitution expressly
declares itself to be made for the
United States, I cannot help believing that
the intention was to permit Congress to admit
into the Union new States, which should be
formed out of the territory for which, and
under whose authority alone, they were then
acting. I do not believe it was meant that they
might receive England, Ireland, Holland, &c.,
into it, which would be the case on your construction.
When an instrument admits two
constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous;
the one precise, the other indefinite, I
prefer that which is safe and precise. I had
rather ask an enlargement of power from
the nation, where it is found necessary, than
to assume it by a construction which would
make our powers boundless. Our peculiar
security is in the possession of a written
Constitution. Let us not make it a blank
paper by construction. I say the same as to
the opinion of those who consider the grant
of the treaty making power as boundless. If
it is, then we have no Constitution. If it
has bounds, they can be no others than the
definitions of the powers which that instrument
gives. It specifies and delineates the
operations permitted to the Federal Govern


Page 512
ment, and gives all the powers necessary to
carry these into execution. Whatever of
these enumerated objects is proper for a law,
Congress may make the law; whatever is
proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the
President and Senate may enter into the
treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial
sentence, the judges may pass the sentence.
Nothing is more likely than that their enumeration
of powers is defective. This is the
ordinary case of all human works. Let us go
on, then, perfecting it, by adding, by way of
amendment to the Constitution, those powers
which time and trial show are still wanting.
But it has been taken too much for granted, that
by this rigorous construction the treaty power
would be reduced to nothing. I had occasion
once to examine its effect on the French
treaty, made by the old Congress, and found
that out of thirty odd articles which that contained,
there were one, two or three only
which could not now be stipulated under our
present Constitution. I confess, then, I
thought it important, in the present case, to
set an example against broad construction,
by appealing for new power to the people.
If, however, our friends shall think differently,
certainly I shall acquiesce with satisfaction;
confiding, that the good sense of our
country will correct the evil of construction
whenever it shall produce ill effects.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. iv, 505. Ford ed., viii, 247.
(M. Sep. 1803)

4813. LOUISIANA, Defence of.—

would you think of raising a force for the
defence of New Orleans in this manner?
Give a bounty of 50 acres of land, to be
delivered immediately, to every able-bodied
man who will immediately settle on it, and
hold himself in readiness to perform two
years' military service (on the usual pay) if
called on within the first seven years of his
residence? The lands to be chosen by himself
of any of those in the Orleans Territory,
* * * each to have his choice in the order
of his arrival on the spot, a proclamation to
be issued to this effect to engage as many as
will go on, and present themselves to the
officer there; and, moreover, recruiting officers
to be sent into different parts of the
Union to raise and conduct settlers at the
public expense? When settled there, to be
well trained as militia by officers living among
them? [314]
Circular Letter to Cabinet Officers. Ford ed., viii, 425.
(Feb. 1806)


Jefferson framed a bill on this subject. See Ford
ed., viii, 425.—Editor.

4814. LOUISIANA, Defence of.—[continued].

Satisfied that New Orleans
must fall a prey to any power which shall attack it, in spite of any means we now
possess, I see no security for it but in planting
on the spot the force which is to defend
it. I therefore suggest to some members of
the Senate to add to the volunteer bill now
before them, as an amendment, some such
section as that enclosed, which is on the
principles of what we agreed on last year,
except the omission of the two years' service.
If, by giving one hundred miles square of
that country, we can secure the rest, and at
the same time create an American majority
before Orleans becomes a State, it will be the
best bargain ever made.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 36.
(W. Jan. 1807)

4815. LOUISIANA, Defence of.—[further continued].

I propose to the members of Congress in conversation, the enlisting
thirty thousand volunteers, Americans by
birth, to be carried at the public expense, and
settled immediately on a bounty of one hundred
and sixty acres of land each, on the
west side of the Mississippi, on the condition
of giving two years of military service, if
that country should be attacked within seven
years. The defence of the country would
thus be placed on the spot, and the additional
number would entitle the Territory to become
a State, would make the majority
American, and make it an American instead
of a French State. This would not sweeten the
pill to the French; but in making the acquisition
we had some view to our own good
as well as theirs, and I believe the greatest
good of both will be promoted by whatever
will amalgamate us together.—
To John Dickinson. Washington ed. v, 30. Ford ed., ix, 9.
(W. 1807)

4816. LOUISIANA, Expansion and.—

know that the acquisition of Louisiana has
been disapproved by some, from a candid apprehension
that the enlargement of our 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; and, in any view, is it not better that
the opposite bank of the Mississippi should
be settled by our own brethren and children,
than by strangers of another family? With
which shall we be most likely to live in harmony
and friendly intercourse?—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 41. Ford ed., viii, 344.

See Territory.

4817. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—

The opposition caught it as a plank in
a shipwreck, hoping it would tack the western
people to them. They raised the cry of war,
were intriguing in all quarters to exasperate
the western inhabitants to arm and go down
on their own authority and possess themselves
of New Orleans, and in the meantime
were daily reiterating, in new shapes, inflammatory
resolutions for the adoption of the
House [of Representatives].—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 460. Ford ed., viii, 209.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4818. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—[continued].

These grumblers [the
opposition], too, are very uneasy lest the administration
should share some little credit
for the acquisition, the whole of which they
ascribe to the accident of war. They would
be cruelly mortified could they see our files
from May, 1801 [April 1801 in Ford edition],
the first organization of the administration,
but more especially from April, 1802. They
would see, that though we could not say
when war would arise, yet we said with
energy what would take place when it should
arise. We did not, by our intrigues, produce


Page 513
the war; but we availed ourselves of it when
it happened. The other party saw the case
now existing, on which our representations
were predicted, and the wisdom of timely sacrifice.
But when these people make the war
give us everything, they authorize us to ask
what the war gave us in their day? They had
a war. What did they make it bring us?
Instead of making our neutrality the ground
of gain to their country, they were for plunging
into the war. And if they were now in
place, they would now be at war against the
atheists and disorganizers of France. They
were for making their country an appendage
to England. We are friendly, cordially and
conscientiously friendly to England. We are
not hostile to France. We will be rigorously
just and sincerely friendly to both. I do not
believe we shall have as much to swallow
from them as our predecessors had.—
To General Horatio Gates. Washington ed. iv, 495. Ford ed., viii, 250.
(W. July. 1803)

4819. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—[further continued].

These federalists [who
are raising objections against the vast extent
of our boundaries] see in this acquisition
[Louisiana] the formation of a new confederacy,
embracing all the waters of the Mississippi,
on both sides of it, and a separation
of its eastern waters from us. These combinations
depend on so many circumstances
which we cannot foresee, that I place little
reliance on them. We have seldom seen
neighborhood produce affection among nations.
The reverse is almost the universal
truth. Besides, if it should become the great
interest of those nations to separate from
this, if their happiness should depend on it
so strongly as to induce them to go through
that convulsion, why should the Atlantic
States dread it? But especially why should
we, their present inhabitants, take side in
such a question? When I view the Atlantic
States, procuring for those on the Eastern
waters of the Mississippi friendly instead of
hostile neighbors on its western waters, I do
not view it as an Englishman would the procuring
future blessings for the French nation,
with whom he has no relations of blood or
affection. The future inhabitants of the Atlantic
and Mississippi States will be our sons.
We leave them in distinct but bordering establishments.
We think we see their happiness
in their union, and we wish it. Events
may prove it otherwise; and if they see their
interest in separation, why should we take
side with our Atlantic rather than our Mississippi
descendants. It is the elder and the
younger son differing. God bless them both,
and keep them in union, if it be for their good,
but separate them, if it be better.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 499. Ford ed., viii, 243.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4820. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—[further continued] .

Objections are raising to
the eastward against the vast extent of our
boundaries, and propositions are made to exchange
Louisiana, or a part of it, for the
Floridas. But * * * we shall get the
Floridas without, and I would not give one
inch of the waters of the Mississippi to any
nation, because I see in a light very impor
tant to our peace the exclusive right to its
navigation, and the admission of no nation
into it, but as into the Potomac or Delaware,
with our consent and under our police.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 499. Ford ed., viii, 243.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4821. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—[further continued].

Some inflexible federalists
have still ventured to brave the public
opinion. It will fix their character with the
world and with posterity, who, not descending
to the other points of difference between
us, will judge them by this fact, so palpable
as to speak for itself in all times and places.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 508.
(W. 1803)

4822. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—[further continued] .

The federalists spoke
and voted against it, but they are now so reduced
in their numbers as to be nothing.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 510. Ford ed., viii, 278.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4823. LOUISIANA, Federalist opposition.—[further continued].

The federal leaders have
had the imprudence to oppose it pertinaciously,
which has given an occasion to a great proportion
of their quondam honest adherents
to abandon them, and join the republican
standard. They feel themselves now irretrievably
To James Monroe. Ford ed., viii, 287.
(W. Jan. 1804)

4824. LOUISIANA, French possession of.—

The exchange, which is to give us new
neighbors in Louisiana (probably the present
French armies when disbanded), has opened
us to a combination of enemies on that
side where we are most vulnerable.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 177. Ford ed., vii, 129.
(Pa., May. 1797)

4825. LOUISIANA, French possession of.—[continued].

There is considerable reason
to apprehend that Spain cedes Louisiana
and the Floridas to France. It is a policy
very unwise in both, and very ominous to us.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., viii, 58.
(W. May. 1801)

4826. LOUISIANA, French possession of.—[further continued].

The cession of Louisiana
and the Floridas by Spain to France, works
most sorely on the United States. On this
subject the Secretary of State has written to
you fully, yet I cannot forbear recurring to it
personally, so deep is the impression it makes
on my mind. It completely reverses all the
political relations of the United States, and
will form a new epoch in our political course.
Of all nations of any consideration, France
is the one, which hitherto, has offered the
fewest points on which we could have any
conflict of right, and the most points of a
communion of interests. From these causes,
we have ever looked to her as our natural friend, as one with which we never could
have an occasion of difference. Her growth,
therefore, we viewed as our own, her misfortunes
ours. There is on the globe one
single spot, the possessor of which is our
natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans,
through which the produce of three-eights
of our territory must pass to market,
and from its fertility it will ere long yield
more than half of our whole produce, and
contain more than half of our inhabitants.


Page 514
France, placing herself in that door, assumes
to us the attitude of defiance. Spain might
have retained it quietly for years. Her pacific
dispositions, her feeble state, would induce
her to increase our facilities there, so that her
possession of the place would be hardly felt
by us, and it would not, perhaps, be very long
before some circumstance might arise, which
might make the cession of it to us the price
of something of more worth to her. Not so
can it ever be in the hands of France. The
impetuosity of her temper, the energy and
restlessness of her character, placed in a point
of eternal friction with us, and our character,
which, though quiet and loving peace and the
pursuit of wealth, is high-minded, despising
wealth in competition with insult or injury,
enterprising and energetic as any nation on
earth; these circumstances render it impossible
that France and the United States can continue
long friends, when they meet in so irritable
a position. They, as well as we, must be
blind if they do not see this; and we must
be very improvident if we do not begin to
make arrangements on that hypothesis. The
day that France takes possession of New Orleans,
fixes the sentence which is to restrain
her forever within her low-water mark. It
seals the union of two nations, who, in conjunction,
can maintain exclusive possession of
the ocean. From that moment, we must
marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation.
We must turn all our attention to a
maritime force, for which our resources place
us on very high ground; and having formed
and cemented together a power which May
render reinforcement of her settlements here
impossible to France, make the first cannon,
which shall be fired in Europe, the signal for
tearing up any settlement she may have made,
and for holding the two continents of America
in sequestration for the common purposes
of the united British and American nations.
This is not a state of things we seek or desire.
It is one which this measure, if adopted
by France, forces on us, as necessarily as any
other cause, by the laws of nature, brings on
its necessary effect. It is not from a fear of
France that we deprecate this measure proposed
by her. For, however greater her force
is than ours, compared in the abstract, it is
nothing in comparison of ours, when to be
exerted on our soil. But it is from a sincere
love of peace, and a firm persuasion that
bound to France by the interests and the
strong sympathies still existing in the minds
of our citizens, and holding relative positions
which ensure their continuance, we are secure
of a long course of peace. Whereas,
the change of friends, which will be rendered
necessary if France changes that position, embarks
us necessarily as a belligerent power in
the first war of Europe. In that case, France
will have held possession of New Orleans
during the interval of a peace, long or short,
at the end of which it will be wrested from
her. Will this short-lived possession have
been an equivalent to her for the transfer
of such a weight into the scale of her enemy?
Will not the amalgamation of a young, thri
ving, nation continue to that enemy the health
and force which are at present so evidently
on the decline? And will a few years' possession
of New Orleans add equally to the
strength of France? She may say she needs
Louisiana for the supply of her West Indies.
She does not need it in time of peace, and in
war she could not depend on them, because
they would be so easily intercepted. I should
suppose that all these considerations might,
in some proper form, be brought into view
of the government of France. Though stated
by us, it ought not to give offence; because
we do not bring them forward as a menace,
but as consequences not controllable by us,
but inevitable from the course of things. We
mention them, not as things which we desire
by any means, but as things we deprecate;
and we beseech a friend to look forward and
to prevent them for our common interests.
If France considers Louisiana, however, as
indispensable for her views, she might perhaps
be willing to look about for arrangements
which might reconcile it to our interests. If
anything could do this, it would be the ceding
to us the island of New Orleans and the Floridas.
This would certainly, in a great degree,
remove the causes of jarring and irritation
between us, and perhaps for such a length of
time, as might produce other means of making
the measure permanently conciliatory to
our interests and friendships. It would, at
any rate, relieve us from the necessity of taking
immediate measures for countervailing
such an operation by arrangements in another
quarter. But still we should consider New
Orleans and the Floridas as no equivalent for
the risk of a quarrel with France, produced
by her vicinage.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 431. Ford ed., viii, 144.
(April. 1802)

4827. LOUISIANA, French possession of.—[further continued] .

I believe * * * that
this measure will cost France, and perhaps
not very long hence, a war which will annihilate
her on the ocean, and place that element
under the despotism of two nations, which I
am not reconciled to the more because my
own would be one of them. Add to this the
exclusive appropriation of both continents of
America as a consequence. I wish the present
order of things to continue, and with a view
to this I value highly a state of friendship
between France and us. You know, too well
how sincere I have ever been in these dispositions
to doubt them. You know, too,
how much I value peace, and how unwillingly
I should see any event take place
which would render war a necessary resource;
and that all our movements should
change their character and object. I am thus
open with you, because I trust that you will
have it in your power to impress on that
government considerations, in the scale
against which the possession of Louisiana is
nothing. In Europe, nothing but Europe is
seen, or supposed to have any right in the
affairs of nations; but this little event, of
France's possessing herself of Louisiana,
which is thrown in as nothing, as a mere
make-weight in the general settlement of accounts,—this speck which now appears as an


Page 515
almost invisible point in the horizon, is the
embryo of a tornado which will burst on the
countries on both sides of the Atlantic, and
involve in its effects their highest destinies.
That it may yet be avoided is my sincere
prayer; and if you can be the means of informing
the wisdom of Bonaparte of all its
consequences, you will have deserved well of
both countries. Peace and abstinence from
European interferences are our objects, and
so will continue while the present order of
things in America remains uninterrupted.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 435.
(W. April. 1802)

4828. LOUISIANA, French possession of.—[further continued].

Whatever power, other
than ourselves, holds the country east of the
Mississippi becomes our natural enemy. Will
such a possession do France as much good,
as such an enemy may do her harm? And
how long would it be hers, were such an
enemy, situated at its door, added to Great
Britain? I confess, it appears to me as essential
to France to keep at peace with us,
as it is to us to keep at peace with her; and
that, if this cannot be secured without some
compromise as to the territory in question, it
will be useful for both to make some sacrifices
to effect the compromise.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 458. Ford ed., viii, 207.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4829. LOUISIANA, Government for.—

With respect to the territory acquired, I do
not think it will be a separate government,
as you imagine. I presume the island of New
Orleans, and the settled country on the opposite
bank, will be annexed to the Mississippi
territory. We shall certainly endeavor
to introduce the American laws there, and
that cannot be done but by amalgamating the
people with such a body of Americans as May
take the lead in legislation and government.
Of course, they will be under the Governor of
Mississippi. The rest of the territory will
probably be locked up from American settlement,
and under the self-government of
the native occupants.—
To General Horatio Gates. Ford ed., viii, 250.
(W. July. 1803)

4830. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[continued].

I thought I perceived in
you the other day a dread of the job of preparing
a constitution for the new acquisition.
With more boldness than wisdom I, therefore,
determined to prepare a canvas, give it a few
daubs of outline, and send it to you to fill
up. * * * In communicating it to you I
must do it in confidence that you will never
let any person know that I have put pen to
paper on the subject. * * * My time does
not permit me to go into explanation of the
enclosed by letter. I will only observe as to a
single feature of the Legislature, that the idea
of an Assembly of Notables came into my
head while writing, as a thing more familiar
and pleasing to the French, than a legislation
of judges. True it removes their dependence
from the judges to the Executive; but this
is what they are used to and would prefer.
Should Congress reject the nomination of
judges for four years, and make them during
good behavior, as is probable, then, should
the judges take a kink in their heads in favor
of leaving the present laws of Louisiana unaltered,
that evil will continue for their lives,
unamended by us, and become so inveterate
that we may never be able to introduce the
uniformity of law so desirable. The making
the same persons so directly judges and legislators
is more against principle, than to
make the same persons executive, and the
elector of the legislative members. The
former, too, are placed above all responsibility;
the latter is under a perpetual control
if he goes wrong. The judges have to act on
nine out of ten of the laws which are made;
the governor not on one in ten. But strike
it out, and insert the judges if you think it
better, as it was a sudden conceit to which I
am not attached.—
To John Breckenridge. Ford ed., viii, 279.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4831. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued].

Without looking at the
old Territorial Ordinance, I had imagined it
best to found a government for the territory
or territories of lower Louisiana on that
basis. But on examining it, I find it will not
do at all; that it would turn all their laws
topsy-turvy. Still, I believe it best to appoint
a governor and three judges, with legislative
powers; only providing that the judges shall
form the laws, and the governor have a negative
only, subject further to the negative of
a national legislature. The existing laws of
the country being now in force, the new legislature
will, of course, introduce the trial
by jury in criminal cases, first; the habeas
the freedom of the press, freedom of
religion, &c., as soon as can be, and in general
draw their laws, and organizations to the
mould of ours by degrees, as they find practicable,
without exciting too much discontent.
In proportion as we find the people
there riper for receiving these first principles
of freedom, Congress may from session to
session, confirm their enjoyment of them.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 275.
(Nov. 1803)

4832. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued] .

Although it is acknowledged
that our new fellow citizens are as yet
as incapable of self-government as children,
yet some [in Congress] cannot bring themselves
to suspend its principles for a single
moment. The temporary or territorial government
of that country, therefore, will encounter
great difficulty [in Congress].—
To De Witt Clinton. Ford ed., viii, 283.
(W. Dec. 1803)

4833. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued].

Our policy will be to
form New Orleans, and the country on both
sides of it on the Gulf of Mexico, into a
State; and, as to all above that, to transplant
our Indians into it, constituting them a
Marechausée to prevent emigrants crossing
the river, until we shall have filled up all the
vacant country on this side. This will secure
both Spain and us as to the mines of
Mexico, for half a century, and we may safely
trust the provisions for that time to the
men who shall live in it.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 509.
(W. 1803)


Page 516

4834. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued] .

The inhabited part of
Louisiana, from Point Coupée to the sea,
will of course be immediately a territorial
government, and soon a State. But above
that, the best use we can make of the country
for some time, will be to give establishments
in it to the Indians on the East side of the
Mississippi, in exchange for their present
country, and open land offices in the last, and
thus make this acquisition the means of filling
up the eastern side, instead of drawing
off its population. When we shall be full
on this side, we may lay off a range of
States on the western bank from the head to
the mouth, and so, range after range, advancing
compactly as we multiply.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 500. Ford ed., viii, 244.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4835. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued].

In order to lessen the
causes of appeal to the Convention, I sincerely
wish that Congress at the next session
may give to the Orleans Territory a legislature
to be chosen by the people, as this will
be advancing them quite as fast as the rules
of our government will admit; and the evils
which may arise from the irregularities which
such a legislature may run into, will not be
so serious as leaving them the pretext of
calling in a foreign umpire between them
and us.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 314.
(M. Aug. 1804)

4836. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued] .

We are now at work on
a * * * government for Louisiana. It will
probably be a small improvement of our
former territorial governments, or first grade
of government. The act proposes to give
them an assembly of Notables, selected by
the Governor from the principal characters of
the territory. This will, I think, be a better
legislature than the former territorial one,
and will not be a greater departure from
sound principle.—
To Thomas McKean. Ford ed., viii, 293.
(Jan. 1804)

4837. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued]..

The Legislative Council
for the Territory of New Orleans, * * * to be appointed by me, * * * ought to be
composed of men of integrity, of understanding,
of clear property and influence among
the people, well acquainted with the laws, customs,
and habits of the country, and drawn
from the different parts of the Territory,
whose population is considerable. [315]
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. iv, 551.
(W. July. 1804)
See Claiborne.


Jefferson requested Governor Claiborne to send
him the names of proper persons for the council.——Editor.

4838. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued] .

I am so much impressed
with the expediency of putting a termination
to the right of France to patronize the rights
of Louisiana, which will cease with their
complete adoption as citizens of the United
States, that I hope to see that take place on
the meeting of Congress.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 557. Ford ed., viii, 315.
(M. Aug. 1804)

4839. LOUISIANA, Government for.—[further continued]..

It is but too true that
great discontents exist in the Territory of
Orleans. Those of the French inhabitants
have for their sources, 1, the prohibition of
importing slaves. This may be partly removed
by Congress permitting them to receive
slaves from the other States, which, by dividing
that evil, would lessen its danger; 2, the
administration of justice in our forms, principles,
and language, with all of which they
are unacquainted, and are the more abhorrent,
because of the enormous expense,
greatly exaggerated by the corruption of
bankrupt and greedy lawyers, who have gone
there from the United States and engrossed
the practice; 3, the call on them by the land
commissioners to produce the titles of their
lands. The object of this is really to record
and secure their rights. But as many of them
hold on rights so ancient that the title papers
are lost, they expect the land is to be taken
from them whenever they cannot produce a
regular deduction of title in writing. In this
they will be undeceived by the final result,
which will evince to them a liberal disposition
of the government towards them.—
To John Dickinson. Washington ed. v, 29. Ford ed., ix, 8.
(W. 1807)

4840. LOUISIANA, Mission to France respecting.—

The urgency of the case, as well
as the public spirit, induced us to make a
more solemn appeal to the justice and judgment
of our neighbors, by sending a Minister
Extraordinary to impress them with the
necessity of some arrangement. Mr. Monroe
has been selected. His good dispositions
cannot be doubted. Multiplied conversations
with him, and views of the subject taken in
all the shapes in which it can present itself,
have possessed him with our estimates of
everything relating to it, with a minuteness
which no written communication to Mr.
Livingston could ever have attained. These
will prepare them to meet and decide on every
form of proposition which can occur, without
awaiting new instructions from hence, which
might draw to an indefinite length a discussion
where circumstances imperiously
oblige us to a prompt decision. For the occlusion
of the Mississippi is a state of things
in which we cannot exist. He goes, therefore,
joined with Chancellor Livingston, to aid in
the issue of a crisis the most important the
United States have ever met since their Independence,
and which is to decide their future
character and career.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 456. Ford ed., viii, 204.
(W. Feb. 1803)

See Monroe.

4841. LOUISIANA, Mission to France respecting.—[continued].

The future destinies of
our country hang on the event of this negotiation,
and I am sure they could not be
placed in more able or more zealous hands.
On our parts we shall be satisfied that what
you do not effect, cannot be effected.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 461. Ford ed., viii, 210.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4842. LOUISIANA, Mission to France respecting.—[further continued].

It may be said, if this
object be so all-important to us, why do we
not offer such a sum as to ensure its purchase?
The answer is simple. We are an
agricultural people, poor in money, and owing


Page 517
great debts. These will be falling due by
instalments for fifteen years to come, and require
from us the practice of a rigorous economy
to accomplish their payment; and it is
our principle to pay to a moment whatever
we have engaged, and never to engage what
we cannot, and mean not faithfully to pay.
We have calculated our resources, and find
the sum to be moderate which they would
enable us to pay, and we know from late
trials that little can be added to it by borrowing.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 458. Ford ed., viii, 206.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4843. LOUISIANA, Mission to France respecting.—[further continued] .

The country, too, which
we wish to purchase, except the portion already
granted, and which must be confirmed
to the private holders, is a barren sand, six
hundred miles from east to west, and from
thirty to forty and fifty miles from north
to south, formed by deposition of the sands
by the Gulf Stream in its circular course
round the Mexican Gulf, and which being
spent after performing a semicircle, has made
from its last depositions the sand bank of
East Florida. In West Florida, indeed, there
are on the borders of the rivers some rich
bottoms, formed by the mud brought from the
upper country. These bottoms are all possessed
by individuals. But the spaces between river
and river are mere banks of sand; and in
East Florida there are neither rivers, nor
consequently any bottoms. We cannot, then,
make anything by a sale of the lands to individuals.
So that it is peace alone which
makes it an object with us, and which ought
to make the cession of it desirable to France.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 458. Ford ed., viii, 206.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4844. LOUISIANA, Mission to France respecting.—[further continued].

You see with what frankness
I communicate with you on this subject;
that I hide nothing from you, and that
I am endeavoring to turn our private friendship
to the good of our respective countries.
And can private friendship ever answer a
nobler end than by keeping two nations at
peace, who, if this new position which one of
them is taking were rendered innocent, have
more points of common interest, and fewer
of collision, than any two on earth; who become
natural friends, instead of natural
enemies, which this change of position would
make them.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 459. Ford ed., viii, 207.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4845. LOUISIANA, Mission to France respecting.—[further continued] .

The measure was moreover
proposed from another cause. We must
know at once whether we can acquire New
Orleans or not. We are satisfied nothing
else will secure us against a war at no distant
period; and we cannot press this reason
without beginning those arrangements which
will be necessary if war is hereafter to result.
For this purpose it was necessary that
the negotiators should be fully possessed of
every idea we have on the subject, so as to
meet the propositions of the opposite party,
in whatever form they may be offered; and
give them a shape admissible by us without
being obliged to wait new instructions hence.
With this view, we have joined Mr. Monroe
with yourself at Paris, and to Mr. Pinckney
at Madrid, although we believe it will be
hardly necessary for him to go to this last
place. Should we fail in this object of the
mission, a further one will be superadded for
the other side of the channel.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 461. Ford ed., viii, 209.
(W. Feb. 1803)

4846. LOUISIANA, Mississippi navigation secured.—

The acquisition of New Orleans
would of itself have been a great thing,
as it would have ensured to our western
brethren the means of exporting their produce;
but that of Louisiana is inappreciable,
because, giving us the sole dominion of the
Mississippi, it excludes those bickerings with
foreign powers, which we know of a certainty
would have put us at war with France immediately;
and it secures to us the course
of a peaceful nation.—
To John Dickinson. Ford ed., viii, 261.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4847. LOUISIANA, Mississippi navigation secured.—[continued].

The acquisition of Louisiana,
although more immediately beneficial
to the western States, by securing for their
produce a certain market, not subject to interruptions
by officers over whom we have
no control, yet is also deeply interesting to
the maritime portion of our country, inasmuch
as by giving the exclusive navigation
of the Mississippi, it avoids the burthens and
sufferings of a war, which conflicting interests
on that river would inevitably have produced
at no distant period. It opens, too, a
fertile region for the future establishments in
the progress of that multiplication so rapidly
taking place in all parts.—
R. to A. Tennessee Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 115.

— LOUISIANA, Monroe and.—

See Monroe.

— LOUISIANA, New Orleans entrepot.—

See New Orleans.

4848. LOUISIANA, Payment for.—

We shall not avail ourselves of the three months'
delay after possession of the province, allowed
by the treaty for the delivery of the
stock, but shall deliver it the moment that
possession is known here, which will be on
the eighteenth day after it has taken place.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 512. Ford ed., viii, 279.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4849. LOUISIANA, Payment for.—[continued].

When we contemplate the
ordinary annual augmentation of imposts
from increasing population and wealth, the
augmentation of the same revenue by its extension
to the new acquisition, and the economies
which may still be introduced into our
public expenditures, I cannot but hope that
Congress in reviewing their resources will
find means to meet the intermediate interests
of this additional debt without recurring to
new taxes, and applying to this object only
the ordinary progression of our revenue.—
Third Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 27. Ford ed., viii, 271.
(Oct. 1803)

4850. LOUISIANA, Payment for.—[further continued].

[The acquisition] was so
far from being thought, by any party, a
breach of neutrality, that the British minister


Page 518
congratulated Mr. King on the acquisition,
and declared that the King had learned it
with great pleasure; and when Baring, the
British banker, asked leave of the minister to
purchase the debt and furnish the money to
France, the minister declared to him, that
so far from throwing obstacles in the way,
if there were any difficulty in the payment of
the money, it was the interest of Great Britain
to aid it.—
To W. A. Burwell. Washington ed. v, 20. Ford ed., viii, 469.
(M. Sep. 1806)

4851. LOUISIANA, Possession by Great Britain.—

I am so deeply impressed with the
magnitude of the dangers which will attend
our government, if Louisiana and the Floridas
be added to the British empire, that, in
my opinion, we ought to make ourselves
parties in the general war expected to take
place, should this be the only means of preventing
the calamity. But I think we should
defer this step as long as possible; because
war is so full of chances, which may relieve
us from the necessity of interfering; and if
necessary, still the later we interfere, the
better we shall be prepared. It is often indeed
more easy to prevent the capture of a
place than to retake it. Should it be so in the
case in question, the difference between the
two operations of preventing and retaking,
will not be so costly as two, three, or four
years more of war. So that I am for preserving
neutrality as long, and entering into
the war as late, as possible.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 509. Ford ed., v, 238.
(Aug. 1790)

4852. LOUISIANA, Possession by Great Britain.—[continued].

It is said that Arnold is
at Detroit reviewing the militia there. Other
symptoms indicate a general design on all
Louisiana and the two Floridas. What a
tremendous position would success in these
two objects place us in! Embraced from the
St. Croix to the St. Mary's on one side by
their possessions, on the other by their fleet
we need not hesitate to say that they would
soon find means to unite to them all the territory
covered by the ramifications of the
To James Monroe. Ford ed., v, 199.
(N.Y., July. 1790)

4853. LOUISIANA, Questions of boundary.—

I suppose Monroe will touch on the
limits of Louisiana only incidentally, inasmuch
as its extension to Perdido curtails Florida, and
renders it of less worth. * * * I am satisfied
our right to the Perdido is substantial, and
can be opposed by a quibble on form only, and
our right westwardly to the bay of St. Bernard,
may be strongly maintained.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 502. Ford ed., viii, 245.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4854. LOUISIANA, Questions of boundary.—[continued].

We did not collect the
sense of our brethren the other day by regular
questions, but as far as I could understand
from what was said, it appeared to be,—1. That
an acknowledgment of our right to the Perdido,
is a sine qua non, and no price to be given for
it. 2. No absolute and perpetual relinquishment
of right is to be made of the country east of the
Rio Bravo del Norte, even in exchange for
Florida. (I am not quite sure that this was the
opinion of all.) It would be better to lengthen
the term of years to any definite degree than to
cede in perpetuity. 3. That a country may be
laid off within which no further settlement shall
be made by either party for a given time, say
thirty years. This country to be from the North
river eastwardly towards the Rio Colorado, or
even to, but not beyond the Mexican or Sabine
river. To whatever river it be extended, it
might from its source run northwest, as the
most eligible direction; but a due north line
would produce no restraint that we should feel
in twenty years. This relinquishment, and two
millions of dollars, to be the price of all the
Floridas east of the Perdido, or to be apportioned
to whatever part they will cede. But on
entering into conferences, both parties should
agree that, during their continuance, neither
should strengthen their situation between the
Iberville, Mississippi, and Perdido, nor interrupt
the navigation of the rivers therein. If they
will not give such an order instantly, they
should be told that we have for peace's sake
only, forborne till they could have time to
give such an order, but that as soon as we receive
notice of their refusal to give the order,
we shall enter into the exercise of our right of
navigating the Mobile, and protect it, and increase
our force there pari passu with them.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 550. Ford ed., viii, 309.
(July. 1804)

4855. LOUISIANA, Questions of boundary.—[further continued].

In conversation with Mr.
Gallatin as to what might be deemed the result
of our conference, he seemed to have understood
the former opinion as not changed, to
wit, that for the Floridas east of the Perdido
might be given not only the two millions of
dollars and a margin to remain unsettled, but
an absolute relinquishment from the North
river to the Bay of St. Bernard and Colorado
river. This, however, I think should be the
last part of the price yielded, and only for an
entire cession of the Floridas, not for a part
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 313.

4856. LOUISIANA, Spain and acquisition.—

At this moment a little cloud hovers
in the horizon. The government of Spain
has protested against the right of France to
transfer; and it is possible she may refuse
possession, and that this may bring on acts
of force. But against such neighbors as
France there, and the United States here,
what she can expect from so gross a compound
of folly and false faith, is not to be
sought in the book of wisdom. She is afraid
of her enemies in Mexico; but not more than
we are.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 509.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4857. LOUISIANA, Spain and acquisition.—[continued].

Spain entered with us a
protestation against our ratification of the
treaty, grounded, first, on the assertion that
the First Consul had not executed the conditions
of the treaties of cession; and, secondly,
that he had broken a solemn promise
not to alienate the country to any nation.
We answered, that these were private questions
between France and Spain, which they
must settle together; that we derived our title
from the First Consul, and did not doubt his
guarantee of it.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 511. Ford ed., viii, 278.
(W. Nov. 1803)

See Spain.

4858. LOUISIANA, Taking possession of.—

We * * * [have] sent off orders to
the Governor of the Mississippi Territory and


Page 519
General Wilkinson to move down with the
troops at hand to New Orleans, to receive
the possession from M. Laussat. If he is
heartily disposed to carry the order of the
[First] Consul into execution, he can probably
command a volunteer force at New Orleans,
and will have the aid of ours also, if
he desires it, to take the possession, and deliver
it to us. If he is not so disposed, we shall take the possession, and it will rest with
the government of France, by adopting the
act as their own, and obtaining the confirmation
of Spain, to supply the non-execution of
their stipulation to deliver, and to entitle
themselves to the complete execution of our
part of the agreements.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 511. Ford ed., viii, 279.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4859. LOUISIANA, Taking possession of.—[continued].

I think it possible that
Spain, recollecting our former eagerness for
the island of New Orleans, may imagine she
can, by a free delivery of that, redeem the
residue of Louisiana; and that she may withhold
the peaceable cession of it. In that case
no doubt force must be used.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 263.
(M. Sep. 1803)

4860. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—

This treaty [Louisiana] must, of course, be
laid before both Houses [of Congress], because
both have important functions to exercise
respecting it. They, I presume, will see
their duty to their country in ratifying and
paying for it, so as to secure a good which
would otherwise probably be never again in
their power. But, I suppose, they must then
appeal to the nation for an additional article
to the Constitution, approving and confirming
an act which the nation had not previously
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 500. Ford ed., viii, 244.
(M. Aug. 1803)

4861. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—[continued].

Your treaty has obtained
nearly a general approbation. * * * The
question on its ratification in the Senate was
decided by twenty-four against seven, which
was ten more than enough. The vote in the
House of Representatives for making provision
for its execution was carried by eighty-nine
against twenty-three, which was a majority
of sixty-six, and the necessary bills are
going through the Houses by greater majorities.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 510. Ford ed., viii, 278.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4862. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—[further continued].

You will observe in the
enclosed letter from Monroe a hint to do
without delay what we are bound to do [regarding
the treaty]. There is reason, in the
opinion of our ministers, to believe, that if
the thing were to do over again, it could not
be obtained, and that if we give the least
opening, they will declare the treaty void. A
warning amounting to that has been given
them, and an unusual kind of letter written
by their minister to our Secretary of State,
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. iv, 505. Ford ed., viii, 247.
(M. Sep. 1803)

4863. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—[further continued] .

M. Pichon, according to
instructions from his government, proposed
to have added to the ratification a protestation
against any failure in time or other circumstances
of execution, on our part. He
was told, that in that case we should annex a
counter protestation, which would leave the
thing exactly where it was; that this transaction
had been conducted, from the commencement
of the negotiation to this stage of
it, with a frankness and sincerity honorable to
both nations, and comfortable to the heart of
an honest man to review; that to annex to
this last chapter of the transaction such an
evidence of mutual distrust, was to change its
aspect dishonorably for us both, and, contrary
to truth, as to us; for that we had not the
smallest doubt that France would punctually
execute its part; and I assured M. Pichon that
I had more confidence in the word of the First
Consul than in all the parchment we could
sign. He saw that we had ratified the treaty;
that both branches had passed, by great majorities,
one of the bills for execution, and
would soon pass the other two; that no circumstances
remained that could leave a doubt
of our punctual performance; and like an
able and honest minister (which he is in the
highest degree), he undertook to do what he
knew his employers would do themselves,
were they here spectators of all the existing
circumstances, and exchanged the ratifications
purely and simply; so that this instrument
goes to the world as an evidence of the
candor and confidence of the nations in each
other, which will have the best effects.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 510. Ford ed., viii, 278.
(W. Nov. 1803)

4864. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—[further continued].

The treaty which has so
happily sealed the friendship of our two
countries has been received here with general
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 508.
(W. 1803)

4865. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—[further continued] .

For myself and my country,
I thank you for the aids you have given
in it; and I congratulate you on having lived
to give those aids in a transaction replete with blessings to unborn millions of men, and
which will mark the face of a portion on the
globe so extensive as that which now composes
the United States of America.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 509.
(W. 1803)

4866. LOUISIANA, Treaty ratified.—[further continued].

It is not true that the Louisiana treaty was antedated, lest Great
Britain should consider our supplying her
enemies with money as a breach of neutrality.
After the very words of the treaty were finally
agreed to, it took some time, perhaps
some days, to make out all the copies in the
very splendid manner of Bonaparte's treaties.
Whether the 30th of April, 1803, the date expressed,
was the day of the actual compact,
or that on which it was signed, our memories
do not enable us to say. If the former, then
it is strictly conformable to the day of the
compact; if the latter, then it was postdated,
instead of being antedated. [316]
To W. A. Burwell. Washington ed. v, 20. Ford ed., viii, 469.
(M. Sep. 1806)


Page 520

This antedating of the treaty was one of the
charges made by John Randolph against the administration
of Jefferson.—Editor.

4867. LOUIS XVI., Character of.—

had not a wish but for the good of the nation;
and for that object, no personal sacrifice would
ever have cost him a moment's regret; but
his mind was weakness itself, his constitution
timid, his judgment null, and without sufficient
firmness even to stand by the faith of his word.
His Queen, too, haughty, and bearing no contradiction,
had an absolute ascendency over him;
and around her were rallied the King's brother,
D'Artois, the court generally, and the aristocratic
part of his ministers, particularly Breteuil,
Broglio, Vauguyon, Foulon, Luzerne, men whose
principles of government were those of the age
of Louis XIV. Against this host, the good
counsels of Necker, Montmorin, St. Priest, although
in unison with the wishes of the King
himself, were of little avail. The resolutions
of the morning, formed under their advice,
would be reversed in the evening, by the influence
of the Queen and Court.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 88. Ford ed., i, 121.

4868. LOUIS XVI., Character of.—[continued].

The King is a good man.
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 99. Ford ed., iv, 359.
(P. 1787)

4869. LOUIS XVI., Character of.—[further continued].

Under a good and a
young King, as the present, I think good May
be made of the Assemblée des Notables.—
To La Comtesse de Tesse. Washington ed. ii, 133.
(N., March. 1787)

4870. LOUIS XVI., Character of.—[further continued] .

The model of royal excellence.—
To Count de Montmorin. Washington ed. iii, 137.
(N.Y., 1790)

4871. LOUIS XVI., Character of.—[further continued].

The King loves business,
economy, order, and justice, and wishes sincerely
the good of his people; but he is irascible,
rude, very limited in his understanding, and religious,
bordering on bigotry. He * * * loves his Queen, and is too much governed by
her. * * * Unhappily the King shows a
propensity for the pleasures of the table. That
for drink has increased lately, or, at least, it
has become more known.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 153. Ford ed., iv, 393.
(P. 1787)

4872. LOUIS XVI., Execution.—

have just received the news of the decapitation
of the King of France. Should the present foment
in Europe not produce republics everywhere,
it will at least soften the monarchical
governments by rendering monarchs amenable to
punishment like other criminals, and doing away
that rage of insolence and oppression, the inviolability
of the King's person.—
To——. Washington ed. iii, 527.
(Pa., March. 1793)

4873. LOUIS XVI., Execution.—[continued].

It is certain that the ladies
of this city [Philadelphia], of the first
circle, are open-mouthed against the murderers
of a sovereign, and they generally speak those
sentiments which the more cautious husband
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 520. Ford ed., vi, 193.

4874. LOUIS XVI., Execution.—[further continued].

The death of the King
of France has not produced as open condemnations
from the monocrats as I expected.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 519. Ford ed., vi, 192.
(March. 1793)

4875. LOUIS XVI., Execution.—[further continued] .

The deed which closed
the mortal course of these sovereigns [Louis
XVI. and Marie Antoinette], I shall neither
approve nor condemn. I am not prepared to
say that the first magistrate of a nation cannot
commit treason against his country, or is unamenable
to its punishment; nor yet, that where
there is no written law, no regulated tribunal,
there is not a law in our hearts, and a power
in our hands, given for righteous employment
in maintaining right and redressing wrong. Of
those who judged the King, many thought him
wilfully criminal; many that his existence would
keep the nation in perpetual conflict with the
horde of kings who would war against a regeneration
which might come home to themselves,
and that it were better that one should
die than all. I should not have voted with this
portion of the legislature. I should have shut
up the Queen in a convent, putting harm out
of her power, and placed the King in his station,
investing him with limited powers, which,
I verily believe, he would have honestly exercised
according to the measure of his understanding.
In this way no void would have been
created, courting the usurpation of a military
adventurer, nor occasion given for those
enormities which demoralized the nations of
the world, and destroyed and are yet to destroy
millions and millions of its inhabitants.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 101. Ford ed., i, 141.

4876. LOUIS XVI., Friend to America.—

Our best and greatest friend.—
To Marquis de la Luzerne. Washington ed. iii, 141.
(N.Y., 1790)

4877. LOUIS XVI., Good qualities.—

The King's dispositions are solidly good. He
is capable of great sacrifices. All he wants to
induce him to do a thing, is to be assured it
will be for the good of the nation.—
To Mr. Cutting. Washington ed. ii, 439.
(P. 1788)

4878. LOUIS XVI., Habits.—

The King,
long in the habit of drowning his cares in
wine, plunges deeper and deeper. The Queen
cries, but sins on.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 258.
(P. 1787)

4879. LOUIS XVI., Habits.—[continued].

The King goes for nothing.
He hunts one half the day, is drunk the
other, and signs whatever he is bid [by the
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 294.
(P. 1787)

4880. LOUIS XVI., Honesty.—

The King is the honestest man in his kingdom, and the
most regular and economical. He has no foible
which will enlist him against the good of his
people; and whatever constitution will promote
this, he will befriend. But he will not
befriend it obstinately: he has given repeated
proofs of a readiness to sacrifice his opinion to
the wish of the nation. I believe he will consider
the opinion of the States General, as the
best evidence of what will please and profit the
nation, and will conform to it.—
To Mr. Cutting. Washington ed. ii, 470.
(P. Aug. 1788)

4881. LOUIS XVI., Honesty.—[continued].

He is an honest, unambitious
man, who desires neither money nor power for himself.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 28.
(P. 1789)

4882. LOUIS XVI., Honesty.—[further continued].

The King is honest, and
wishes the good of his people; but the expediency
of an hereditary aristocracy is too difficult
a question for him. On the contrary, his prejudices,
his habits and his connections, decide
him in his heart to support it.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 51.
(P. 1789)

4883. LOUIS XVI., Honesty.—[further continued] .

The King has an honest
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 39.
(P. 1785)

4884. LOUIS XVI., Revenues.—

It is
urged principally against the King that his
revenue is one hundred and thirty millions
more than that of his predecessor was, and yet
he demands one hundred and twenty millions
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 258.
(P. 1787)


Page 521

4885. LOUIS XVI., Sincerity.—

I have not a single doubt of the sincerity of the King.—
To Mr. Mason. Washington ed. iii, 72.
(P. July. 1789)
See Marie Antoinette and Revolution (French)

4886. LOUIS XVIII., Restoration of.—

I have received some information from an eyewitness
of what passed on the occasion of the
second return of Louis XVIII. The Emperor
Alexander, it seems, was solidly opposed to
this. In the consultation of the allied sovereigns
and their representatives with the executive
council at Paris, he insisted that the
Bourbons were too incapable and unworthy of
being placed at the head of the nation; declared
he would support any other choice they
should freely make, and continued to urge
most strenuously that some other choice should
be made. The debates ran high and warm,
and broke off after midnight, every one retaining
his own opinion. He lodged * * * at Talleyrand's. When they returned into
council the next day, his host had overcome his
firmness. Louis XVIII. was accepted, and
through the management of Talleyrand, accepted
without any capitulation, although the
sovereigns would have consented that he should
be first required to subscribe and swear to the
constitution prepared, before permission to enter
the kingdom. It would seem as if Talleyrand
had been afraid to admit the smallest interval
of time, lest a change of mind would
bring back Bonaparte on them. But I observe
that the friends of a limited monarchy there
consider the popular representation as much
improved by the late alteration, and confident it
will in the end produce a fixed government in
which an elective body, fairly representative
of the people, will be an efficient element.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 82.

4887. LUXURIES, The Republic and.—

I own it to be my opinion, that good will arise
from the destruction of our credit [in Europe].
I see nothing else which can restrain
our disposition to luxury, and to the change
of those manners which alone can preserve
republican government.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. i, 518. Ford ed., iv, 188.

4888. LUXURIES, Taxation of.—

The * * * revenue, on the consumption of foreign
articles, is paid cheerfully by those who
can afford to add foreign luxuries to domestic
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 41. Ford ed., viii, 343.

4889. LUXURIES, Taxation of.—[continued].

The great mass of the
articles on which impost is paid is foreign
luxuries, purchased by those only who are
rich enough to afford themselves the use of
Sixth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 68. Ford ed., viii, 494.
(Dec. 1806)

4890. LUXURIES, Taxation of.—[further continued].

The government which
steps out of the ranks of the ordinary articles
of consumption to select and lay under disproportionate
burthens a particular one, because
it is a comfort, pleasing to the taste, or
necessary to health, and will therefore be
bought, is, in that particular, a tyranny.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. vii, 285. Ford ed., x, 252.
(M. 1819)

See Taxation.


See Law.

4891. LUZERNE (Marquis de la), Disappointments.—

We have, for some time, ex
pected that the Chevalier de la Luzerne would
obtain a promotion in the diplomatic line by
being appointed to some of the courts where this
country keeps an ambassador. But none of the
vacancies taking place, I think the present disposition
is to require his return to his station
in America. He told me himself lately that he
should return in the Spring. I have never
pressed this matter on the court, though I knew
it to be desirable and desired on our part; because,
if the compulsion on him to return had
been the work of Congress, he would have returned
in such ill temper with them, as to
disappoint them in the good they expected from
it. He would forever have laid at their door
his failure of promotion. I did not press it for
another reason, which is, that I have great reason
to believe that the character of the Count de
Moustier, who would go, were the Chevalier
to be otherwise provided for, would give the
most perfect satisfaction in America.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 106. Ford ed., iv, 364.
(P. 1787)

4892. LUZERNE (Marquis de la), Secret marriage.—

The Marquis de la Luzerne
had been for many years married to his brother's
wife's sister, secretly. She was ugly and
deformed, but sensible, amiable, and rather rich.
When he was named ambassador to London,
with ten thousand guineas a year, the marriage
was avowed, and he relinquished his cross of
Malta, from which he derived a handsome
revenue for life, and which was very open to
advancement. She stayed here [Paris] and
not long after died. His real affection for her,
which was great and unfeigned, and perhaps
the loss of his order for so short-lived a satisfaction,
has thrown him almost into a state
of despondency.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 445. Ford ed., v, 44.
(P. 1788)

4893. LUZERNE (Marquis de la), Tribute to.—

This government is now formed,
organized, and in action; and it considers
among its earliest duties, and assuredly among
its most cordial, to testify to you the regret
which the people and government of the United
States felt at your removal from among them;
a very general and sincere regret, and tempered
only by the consolation of your personal advancement,
which accompanied it. You will receive,
Sir, by order of the President of the
United States, as soon as they can be prepared,
a medal and chain of gold, of which he desires
your acceptance in token of their esteem, and
of the sensibility with which they will ever
recall your recollection of their memory. But
as this compliment may, hereafter, be rendered
to other missions, from which yours was distinguished
by eminent circumstances, the President
of the United States wishes to pay you the
distinct tribute of an express acknowledgment
of your services, and our sense of them. You
came to us, Sir, through all the perils which
encompassed us on all sides. You found us
struggling and suffering under difficulties, as
singular and trying as our situation was new
and unprecedented. Your magnanimous nation
had taken side with us in the conflict, and
yourself became the centre of our common
councils, the link which connected our common
operations. In that position you labored
without ceasing, until all our labors were
crowned with glory to your nation, freedom to
ours, and benefit to both. During the whole,
we are constant evidence of your zeal, your
abilities and your good faith. We desire to
convey this testimony of it home to your breast,
and to that of your sovereign, our best and
greatest friend, and this I do, Sir, in the name,


Page 522
and by the express instruction of the President
of the United States.—
To Marquis de la Luzerne. Washington ed. iii, 141.
(N.Y., April 30, 1790)

4894. LYON (Matthew), Prosecution of.—

You will have seen the disgusting proceedings
in the case of Lyon. If they would
have accepted even of a commitment to the
serjeant, it might have been had. But to get
rid of his vote was the most material object.
These proceedings must degrade the General
Government, and lead the people to lean more
on their State governments, which have been
sunk under the early popularity of the former.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 211. Ford ed., vii, 202.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)