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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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6014. OATH, Against tyranny.—

I have
sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility
against every form of tyranny over the mind
of man.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 336. Ford ed., vii, 460.
(M. 1800)

6015. OATH OF OFFICE, Presidential.—

I propose to take the oath or oaths of office
as President of the United States, on Wednesday
the 4th inst., at 12 o'clock, in the Senate
chamber. May I hope the favor of your attendance
to administer the oath? As the two
Houses have notice of the hour, I presume a
precise punctuality to it will be expected from
me. I would pray you, in the meantime, to
consider whether the oath prescribed in the
Constitution be not the only one necessary to
take? It seems to comprehend the substance
of that prescribed by the act of Congress to
all officers, and it may be questionable whether
the Legislature can require any new oath from
the President. I do not know what has been
done in this heretofore; but I presume the oaths
administered to my predecessors are recorded
in the Secretary of State's office.—
To John Marshall. Washington ed. iv, 364.
(W. March 2, 1801)

6016. OBSCURITY, Happiness in.—

is happiest of whom the world says least, good
or bad.—
To John Adams. Ford ed., iv, 297.
(P. 1786)

6017. OCCUPATIONS, Agricultural.—

The class principally defective is that of Agriculture.
It is the first in utility, and ought to
be the first in respect. The same artificial
means which have been used to produce a
competition in learning, may be equally successful
in restoring agriculture to its primary
dignity in the eyes of men. It is a science of
the very first order. It counts among its handmaids
the most respectable sciences, such as
Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Mechanics,


Page 643
Mathematics, generally, Natural History, Botany.
In every college and university, a professorship
of agriculture, and the class of its
students, might be honored as the first. Young
men closing their academical education with
this, as the crown of all other sciences, fascinated
with its solid charms, and at a time when
they are to choose an occupation, instead of
crowding the other classes, would return to
the farms of their fathers, their own, or those
of others, and replenish and invigorate a calling
now languishing under contempt and oppression.
The charitable schools, instead of
storing their pupils with a love which the present
state of society does not call for, converted
into schools of agriculture, might restore them
to that branch qualified to enrich and honor
themselves, and to increase the productions of
the nation instead of consuming them. An
abolition of the useless offices, so much accumulated
in all governments, might close this
drain also from the labors of the field, and
lessen the burthens imposed on them. By
these, and the better means which will occur to
others, the surcharge of the learned, might in
time be drawn off to recruit the laboring class
of citizens, the sum of industry be increased,
and that of misery diminished.—
To David Williams. Washington ed. iv, 513.
(W. 1803)

6018. OCCUPATIONS, Choice of.—

Every one has a natural right to choose that
vocation in life which he thinks most likely to
give him comfortable subsistence.—
Thoughts on Lotteries. Washington ed. ix, 505. Ford ed., x, 366.
(M. Feb. 1826)

6019. OCCUPATIONS, Governmental regulation.—

The greatest evils of populous
society have ever appeared to me to spring
from the vicious distribution of its members
among the occupations called for. I have no
doubt that those nations are essentially right,
which leave this to individual choice, as a better
guide to an advantageous distribution than
any other which could be devised. But when,
by a blind concourse, particular occupations
are ruinously overcharged, and others left in
want of hands, the national authorities can do
much towards restoring the equilibrium.—
To David Williams. Washington ed. iv, 512.
(W. 1803)


Among the ancients, the redundance
of population was sometimes checked by
exposing infants. To the moderns, America
has offered a more humane resource. Many,
who cannot find employment in Europe, accordingly
come here. Those who can labor, do well
for the most part. Of the learned class of
emigrants, a small proportion find employments
analogous to their talents. But many fail, and
return to complete their course of misery in
the scenes where it began.—
To David Williams. Washington ed. iv, 514.
(W. 1803)

6021. OCEAN, American supremacy.—

The day is within my time as well as yours, when we may say by what laws other nations
shall treat us on the sea. And we will say it.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iv, 415. Ford ed., viii, 98.
(W. 1801)

See Navy.

6022. OCEAN, American supremacy.—[continued].

The possession of Louisiana
will cost France * * * a war which
will annihilate her on the ocean, and place
that element under the despotism of two
nations, which I am not reconciled to the
more because my own would be one of them.—
To M. Dupont de Nemours, Washington ed. iv, 435.
(W. April. 1802)

6023. OCEAN, Barrier of liberty.—

am happy in contemplating the peace, prosperity,
liberty and safety of my country, and
especially the wide ocean, the barrier of all
To Marquis Lafayette. Ford ed., ix, 302.
(M. 1811)

6024. OCEAN, Claimed by England.—

despair of accommodation with [the British
government], because I believe they are weak
enough to intend seriously to claim the ocean
as their conquest, and think to amuse us with
embassies and negotiations, until the claim
shall have been strengthened by time and exercise,
and the moment arrive when they May
boldly avow what hitherto they have only
squinted at.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 468.
(M. Sep. 1809)

6025. OCEAN, Claimed by England.—[continued].

It has now been some
years that I am perfectly satisfied that Great
Britain's intentions have been to claim the
ocean as her conquest, and prohibit any vessel
from navigating it but on such a tribute
as may enable her to keep up such a standing
navy as will maintain her dominion over
it. She has hauled in, or let herself out, been
bold or hesitating, according to occurrences,
but has in no situation done anything which
might amount to a relinquishment of her
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 529. Ford ed., ix, 278.
(M. 1810)

6026. OCEAN, Claimed by England.—[further continued].

It can no longer be
doubted that Great Britain means to claim
the ocean as her conquest, and to suffer not
even a cock-boat, as they express it, to
traverse it but on paying them a transit duty
to support the very fleet which is to keep
the nations under tribute, and to rivet the
yoke around their necks. Although their
government has never openly avowed this,
yet their orders of council, in their original
form, were founded on this principle, and I
have observed for years past, that however
ill success may at times have induced them
to amuse by negotiation, they have never on
any occasion dropped a word disclaiming
this pretension, nor one which they would
have to retract when they shall judge the
times ripe for openly asserting it. * * * They do not wish war with us, but will meet
it rather than relinquish their purpose.—
To John Hollins. Washington ed. v, 597.
(M. May. 1811)

6027. OCEAN, Claimed by England.—[further continued] .

The intention which the
British now formally avow of taking possession
of the ocean as their exclusive domain,
and of suffering no commerce on it but
through their ports, makes it the interest of
all mankind to contribute their efforts to
bring such usurpations to an end.—
To Clement Caine. Washington ed. vi, 14. Ford ed., ix, 330.
(M. Sep. 1811)

6028. OCEAN, Claimed by England.—[further continued].

Ever since the rupture
of the treaty of Amiens, the object of Great
Britain has visibly been the permanent conquest
of the ocean, and levying a tribute on
every vessel she permits to sail on it, as the
Barbary powers do on the Mediterranean,
which they call their sea.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 128.
(M. June. 1813)
See Embargo and Impressment.


Page 644

6029. OCEAN, Common birthright.—

The ocean, like the air, is the common birthright
of mankind.—
R. to A. N. Y. Tammany Society. Washington ed. viii, 127.

6030. OCEAN, Common property.—

The ocean is the common property of all.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 647. Ford ed., vi, 481.

6031. OCEAN, Common property.—[continued].

Nature has not subjected
the ocean to the jurisdiction of any
particular nation, but has made it common to
all for the purposes to which it is fitted.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 409. Ford ed., viii, 89.
(M. Sep. 1801)

6032. OCEAN, Dominion of.—

I fear the
dominion of the sea is the insanity of the
nation itself.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 608.
Aug. 1811)

6033. OCEAN, England's policy.—

If the
British ministry are changing their policy
towards us, it is because their nation, or
rather the city of London, which is the nation
to them, is shaking as usual, by the late
reverses in Spain. I have for some time
been persuaded that the government of England
was systematically decided to claim a
dominion of the sea, and to levy contributions
on all nations, by their licenses to navigate,
in order to maintain that dominion to
which their own resources are inadequate.
The mobs of their cities are unprincipled
enough to support this policy in prosperous
times, but change with the tide of fortune,
and the ministers to keep their places, change
with them.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 442. Ford ed., ix, 251.
(M. April. 1809)
See England.

6034. OCEAN, English ascendency.—

An English ascendency on the ocean is safer
for us than that of France.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. v, 12. Ford ed., viii, 450.
(W. 1806)

6035. OCEAN, Freedom of.—

I join you
* * * in a sense of the necessity of restoring
freedom to the ocean. But I doubt,
with you, whether the United States ought
to join in an armed confederacy for that
purpose; or rather I am satisfied they ought
not. It ought to be the very first object of
our pursuits to have nothing to do with the
European interests and politics. Let them
be free or slaves at will, navigators or agriculturists,
swallowed into one government or
divided into a thousand, we have nothing to
fear from them in any form. * * * To
take part in their conflicts would be to divert
our energies from creation to destruction.
Our commerce is so valuable to them that
they will be glad to purchase it when the
only price we ask is to do us justice. I believe
we have in our own hands the means
of peaceable coercion; and that the moment
they see our government so united as that
they can make use of it, they will for their
own interest be disposed to do us justice. In
this way you shall not be obliged by any
treaty of confederation to go to war for injuries
done to others.—
To Dr. George Logan. Ford ed., viii, 23.
(W. March. 1801)
See Navigation and Ships.

6036. OCEAN, Lawlessness on.—

sea has become a field of lawless and indiscriminate
rapine and violence.—
To—. Washington ed. iv, 223.
(Pa., 1798)

6037. OCEAN, Piracy.—

I sincerely wish
the British orders may be repealed. If they
are it will be because the nation will not
otherwise let the ministers keep their places.
Their object has unquestionably been fixed
to establish the Algerine system, and to maintain
their possession of the ocean by a system
of piracy against all nations.—
To Colonel Larkin Smith. Washington ed. v, 441.
(M. April. 1809)
See Barbary States, Morocco and Piracy.

6038. OCEAN, Usurpation of.—

usurpation of the sea has become a national
To W. A. Burwell. Washington ed. v, 5.
Aug. 1811)

6039. OFFICE, Appointment to.—

I like
as little as you do to have the gift of appointments.
I hope Congress will not transfer
the appointment of their consuls to their
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 502.
(P. 1785)

6040. OFFICE, Appointment to.—[continued].

Every office becoming
vacant, every appointment made, me donne
un ingrat, et cent ennemis.

To John Dickinson. Washington ed. v, 31. Ford ed., ix, 10.
(W. 1807)

6041. OFFICE, Appointment to.—[further continued].

I know none but public motives in making appointments.—
To Joseph B. Varnum. Washington ed. v, 223.
(W. 1807)

6042. OFFICE, Appointment to.—[further continued] .

I am thankful at all
times for information on the subject of appointments,
even when it comes too late to be
used. It is more difficult and more painful
than all the other duties of my office, and one
in which I am sufficiently conscious that involuntary
error must often be committed.—
To Joseph B. Varnum. Washington ed. v, 223.
(W. 1807)

6043. OFFICE, Appointment to.—[further continued].

My usage is to make
the best appointment my information and
judgment enable me to do, and then fold myself
up in the mantle of conscience, and abide
unmoved the peltings of the storm. And oh!
for the day when I shall be withdrawn from
it; when I shall have leisure to enjoy my
family, my friends, my farm and books.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. v, 225.
(W. 1808)

6044. OFFICE, Appointment to.—[further continued] .

I shall make no new
appointments which can be deferred until
the 4th of March, thinking it fair to leave to
my successor to select the agents for his
own administration.—
To Dr. Logan. Washington ed. v, 404.
(W. Dec. 1808)

See Office-holders.

6045. OFFICE, Choice of.—

It is not for
an individual to choose his post. You are to
marshal us as may be best for the public
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 125. Ford ed., v, 141.
(Dec. 1789)


Page 645

6046. OFFICE, Choice of.—[continued].

A good citizen should
take his stand where the public authority
marshals him.—
To La Duchesse D'Auville. Washington ed. iii, 135. Ford ed., v, 153.
(N.Y., 1790)

6047. OFFICE, Choice of.—[further continued].

I never thought of questioning
the free exercise of the right of my
fellow citizens, to marshal those whom they
call into their service according to their fitness,
nor ever presumed that they were not
the best judges of that.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. iv, 168. Ford ed., vii, 116.
(M. 1797)

6048. OFFICE, Choice of.—[further continued] .

I profess so much of the
Roman principle, as to deem it honorable for
the general of yesterday to act as a corporal
to-day, if his services can be useful to his
country; holding that to be false pride, which
postpones the public good to any private
or personal considerations.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 80. Ford ed., ix, 367.
(M. Oct. 1812)

6049. OFFICE, Claims to.—

In appointments
to public offices of mere profit, I have
ever considered faithful service in either our
first or second [366] revolution as giving preference
of claim, and that appointments on that
principle would gratify the public, and
strengthen confidence so necessary to enable
the Executive to direct the whole public
force to the best advantage of the nation.—
To John Page. Washington ed. v, 135. Ford ed., ix, 117.
(W. July. 1807)


The political revolution of 1800.—Editor.

6050. OFFICE, Declination of.—

the State may command the political services
of all its members to an indefinite
extent, or, if these be among the rights
never wholly ceded to the public power,
is a question which I do not find expressly
decided in England. Obiter dictums
on the subject I have indeed met with, but
the complexion of the times in which these
have dropped would generally answer them;
besides that, this species of authority is not
acknowledged in our profession. In this
country, however, since the present government
has been established, the point has been
settled by uniform, pointed and multiplied
precedents. Offices of every kind, and given
by every power, have been daily and hourly
declined and resigned from the Declaration
of Independence to this moment. The General
Assembly has accepted these without
discrimination of office, and without ever
questioning them in point of right. If the
difference between the office of a delegate and
any other could ever have been supposed,
yet in the case of Mr. Thompson Mason, who
declined the office of delegate, and was permitted
so to do by the House, that supposition
has been proved to be groundless. But,
indeed, no such distinction of offices can be
admitted. Reason, and the opinions of the
lawyers, putting all on a footing as to this
question, and so giving to the delegate the
aid of all the precedents of the refusal of
other offices. The law then does not warrant
the assumption of such a power by the State
over its members. For if it does, where is
that law? nor yet does reason. For though I
will admit that this does subject every individual,
if called on, to an equal tour of
political duty, yet it never can go so far as
to submit to it his whole existence. If we
are made in some degree for others, yet in a
greater, are we made for ourselves. It were
contrary to feeling and, indeed, ridiculous to
suppose that a man had less right in himself
than one of his neighbors, or indeed, all of
them put together. This would be slavery,
and not that liberty which the bill of rights
[of Virginia] has made inviolable, and for
the preservation of which our government
has been charged. Nothing could so completely
divest us of that liberty as the establishment
of the opinion, that the State has
a perpetual right to the services of all its
members. This, to men of certain ways of
thinking, would be to annihilate the blessing
of existence, and to contradict the Giver of
life, who gave it for happiness and not for
wretchedness. And certainly, to such it were
better that they had never been born.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 318. Ford ed., iii, 57.
(M. 1782)

6051. OFFICE, Declination of.—[continued].

Though I will admit
that * * * reason does subject every individual,
if called on, to an equal tour of
political duty, yet it never can go so far as
to submit to it his whole existence.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 319. Ford ed., iii, 58.
(M. 1782)

6052. OFFICE, Desire for.—

No man
ever had less desire of entering into public
offices than myself.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 102. Ford ed., i, 175.

6053. OFFICE, Distribution.—

distributive justice give preference to a successor
of the same State with the deceased,
I take the liberty of suggesting to you Mr.
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 249. Ford ed., v, 322.
(Pa., 1791)

6054. OFFICE, A duty.—

To my fellow-citizens
the debt of service has been fully and
faithfully paid. I acknowledge that such a
debt exists, that a tour of duty, in whatever
line he can be most useful to his country,
is due from every individual. It is not easy
perhaps to say of what length exactly this
tour should be, but we may safely say of what
length it should not be. Not of our whole life,
for instance, for that would be to be born a
slave,—not even of a very large portion of it.
I have now been in the public service four
and twenty years; one half of which has
been spent in total occupation with their affairs,
and absence from my own. I have
served my tour then.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 577. Ford ed., vi, 290.
(June. 1793)

6055. OFFICE, A duty.—[continued].

The duties of office are
a corvée which must be undertaken on far
other considerations than those of personal
To General Armstrong. Washington ed. vi, 103.
(M. 1813)

6056. OFFICE, Exclusion from.—

republicans have been excluded from all of


Page 646
fices from the first origin of the division into
republican and federalist. They have a
reasonable claim to vacancies till they occupy
their due share.—
To Dr. B. S. Barton. Washington ed. iv, 353. Ford ed., vii, 489.
(W. Feb. 1801)

6057. OFFICE, Exclusion from.—[continued].

Exercising that discretion
which the Constitution has confided to
me in the choice of public agents, I have been
sensible, on the one hand, of the justice due
to those who have been systematically excluded
from the service of their country, and
attentive, on the other, to restore justice in
such a way as might least affect the sympathies
and the tranquillity of the public mind.—
To William Judd. Washington ed. viii, 114.
(Nov. 1802)

6058. OFFICE, Good behavior.—

In the
office to which I have been called [Secretaryship
of State] all was full, and I could
not in any case think it just to turn out those
in possession who have behaved well, merely
to put others in.—
To Francis Willis. Ford ed., v, 157.
(N.Y., 1790)

6059. OFFICE, Good behavior.—[continued].

There are no offices in
my gift [as Secretary of State] but of mere
scribes in the office room at $800 and $500
a year. These I found all filled, and of long
possession in the hands of those who held
them, and I thought it would not be just to
remove persons in possession, who had behaved
well, to make places for others.—
To Colonel Henry Lee. Ford ed., v, 163.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

6060. OFFICE, Happiness and.—

happiness the only legitimate object, the public
councils would be deserted. That corvée
once performed, however, the independent
happiness of domestic life may rightfully be
sought and enjoyed.—
To John T. Mason. Ford ed., ix, 476.
(M. 1814)

6061. OFFICE, Life appointments to.—

Appointments in the nature of freehold
render it difficult to undo what is done.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 344. Ford ed., vii, 474.
(W. Dec. 1800)

6062. OFFICE, Motives for holding.—

have no motive to public service but the public
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 124. Ford ed., v, 140.
(Dec. 1789)

6063. OFFICE, Poisonous.—

We have put
down the great mass of offices which gave
such patronage to the President. These had
been so numerous, that presenting themselves
to the public eye at all times and places, office
began to be looked to as a resource for
every man whose affairs were getting into
derangement, or who was too indolent to pursue
his profession, and for young men just
entering into life. In short, it was poisoning
the very source of industry, by presenting
an easier resource for a livelihood, and was
corrupting the principles of the great mass
of those who passed a wishful eye on office.—
To Thomas McKean. Ford ed., viii, 217.
(W. Feb. 1803)

6064. OFFICE, Poverty and.—

There is
not, and has not been, a single vacant office
at my disposal. Nor would I, as your friend,
ever think of putting you into the petty
clerkships in the several offices, where you
would have to drudge through life for a
miserable pittance, without a hope of bettering
your situation.—
To John Garland Jefferson. Ford ed., v, 180.
(N.Y., 1790)

6065. OFFICE, Private advantage.—

Public employment contributes neither to advantage
nor happiness. It is but honorable exile from one's family and affairs.—
To Francis Willis. Ford ed., v, 157.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

6066. OFFICE, Profits in.—

I love to see
honest and honorable men at the helm, men
who will not bend their politics to their
purses, nor pursue measures by which they
may profit, and then profit by their measures.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 153. Ford ed., vii, 95.
(M. 1796)

6067. OFFICE, Refusing.—

We find it of
advantage to the public to ask of those to
whom appointments are proposed, if they are
not accepted, to say nothing of the offer, at
least for a convenient time. The refusal
cheapens the estimation of the public appointments,
and renders them less acceptable to
those to whom they are secondarily proposed.—
To General John Armstrong. Ford ed., viii, 302.
(W. 1804)

6068. OFFICE, Sale of.—

These exercises
[by Parliament] of usurped power [367] have not
been confined to instances alone in which
themselves were interested, but they have
also intermeddled with the regulation of the
internal affairs of the Colonies. The act of
the 9th of June for establishing a Post Office
in America seems to have had little connection
with British convenience, except that
of accommodating his Majesty's ministers and
favorites with the sale of an easy and lucrative
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 130. Ford ed., i, 434.


Over manufactures, exports and imports, &c.——Editor.

6069. OFFICE, Seekers of.—

Whenever a
man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness
begins in his conduct.—
To Tench Coxe. Ford ed., vii, 381.
(M. 1799)

6070. OFFICE, Solicitation.—

With respect
to the young gentlemen in the office of
foreign affairs, their possession and your
recommendation are the strongest titles. But
I suppose the ordinance establishing my office
allows but one assistant; and I should
be wanting in candor to you and them, were
I not to tell you that another candidate has
been proposed to me, on ground that cannot
but command respect.—
To Chief Justice Jay. Washington ed. iii, 127. Ford ed., v, 144.
(M. 1790)

6071. OFFICE, Talents and.—

and science are sufficient motives with me
in appointments to which they are fitted.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 466. Ford ed., vi, 107.
(M. 1792)

6072. OFFICE, Training for.—

For promoting
the public happiness, those persons,


Page 647
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 circumstance.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

6073. OFFICE, Unprincipled men and.—

An unprincipled man, let his other fitnesses
be what they will, ought never to be employed.—
To Dr. Gilmer. Washington ed. iv, 5. Ford ed., vi, 325.
(Pa., 1793)

6074. OFFICE, Weariness of.—

I must
yet a little while bear up against my weariness
of public office.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 417.
(Pa., Jan. 1792)

6075. OFFICES, Administration of.—

Nothing presents such difficulties of administration
as offices.—
To Gideon Granger. Ford ed., viii, 44.
(W. March. 1801)

6076. OFFICES, Administration of.—[continued].

To you I need not make
the observation that of all the duties imposed
on the executive head of a government, appointment
to office is the most difficult and
To George Clinton. Ford ed., viii, 52.
(W. May. 1801)

6077. OFFICES, Administration of.—[further continued].

The transaction of the
great interests of our country costs us little
trouble or difficulty. There the line is plain
to men of some experience. But the task of
appointment is a heavy one indeed. He on
whom it falls may envy the lot of a Sisyphus
or Ixion. Their agonies were of the body:
this of the mind. Yet, like the office of hangman,
it must be executed by some one. It
has been assigned to me and made my duty.
I make up my mind to it, therefore, and abandon
all regard to consequences.—
To Larkin Smith. Ford ed., viii, 336.
(W. Nov. 1804)

6078. OFFICES, Bestowal.—

I have firmly
refused to follow the counsels of those
who have desired the giving offices to some
of the [federal] leaders, in order to reconcile.
I have given, and will give only to republicans,
under existing circumstances.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 368. Ford ed., viii, 10.
(W. March. 1801)

6079. OFFICES, Bestowal.—[continued].

The consolidation of our
fellow citizens in general is the great object
we ought to keep in view, and that being
once obtained, while we associate with us
in affairs, to a certain degree, the federal sect
of republicans, we must strip of all the means
of influence the Essex Junto, and their associate
monocrats in every part of the Union.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 398. Ford ed., viii, 66.
(W. July. 1801)

6080. OFFICES, Burthens.—

In a virtuous
government, and more especially in times
like these, public offices are, what they should
be, burthens to those appointed to them,
which it would be wrong to decline, though
foreseen to bring with them intense labor,
and great private loss.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Ford ed., ii, 192.
(Wg. 1779)

6081. OFFICES, Charity and.—

I did not
think the public offices confided to me to
give away as charities.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 446. Ford ed., viii, 166.
(W. 1802)

6082. OFFICES, Confirming power.—

have always considered the control of the
Senate as meant to prevent any bias or
favoritism in the President towards his own
relations, his own religion, towards particular
States, &c., and perhaps to keep very
obnoxious persons out of offices of the first
grade. But in all subordinate cases, I have
ever thought that the selection made by the
President ought to inspire a general confidence
that it has been made on due enquiry
and investigation of character, and that the
Senate should interpose their negative only
in those particular cases where something
happens to be within their knowledge, against
the character of the person, and unfitting him
for the appointment.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 211.

6083. OFFICES, Creation of.—

The Administrator
[of Virginia] shall not possess the
prerogative * * * of erecting offices.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)

6084. OFFICES, Creation of.—[continued].

He has erected a multitude
of new offices by a self-assumed power. [368]
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Congress struck out “by a self-assumed power”.—Editor.

6085. OFFICES, Creation of.—[further continued].

He has sent hither
swarms of new officers to harass our people,
and eat out their substance.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

6086. OFFICES, Difficult to fill.—

present situation of the President, unable to
get the offices filled, really calls with uncommon
obligation on those whom nature has
fitted for them.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iv, 124. Ford ed., vii, 40.
(M. Nov. 1795)

6087. OFFICES, Difficult to fill.—[continued].

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

6088. OFFICES, Factions and.—

In appointments
to office, the government refuses
to know any difference between descriptions
of republicans, all of whom are in principle,
and cooperate with the government.—
To William Short. Washington ed. v, 362.
(M. Sep. 1808)

6089. OFFICES, Favoritism.—

Mr. Nicholas's
being a Virginian is a bar. It is essential
that I be on my guard in appointing
persons from that State.—
To Samuel Smith. Ford ed., viii, 29.
(W. March. 1801)


Page 648

6090. OFFICES, Federal monarchists and.—

Amiable monarchists are not safe subjects
of republican confidence.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 399. Ford ed., viii, 67.
(W. 1801)

6091. OFFICES, Federal monarchists and.—[continued].

I do not know that [the introducing republicans to some share in the
offices] will be pushed further * * * except
as to Essex [Junto] men. I must ask
you to make out a list of those in office in
your own State and the neighboring ones,
and to furnish me with it. There is little of
this spirit south of the Hudson. I understood
that Jackson is a very determined one,
though in private life amiable and honorable.
* * * What will be the effect of his removal?
How should it be timed? Who his
successor? What place can General Lyman
properly occupy?—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 399. Ford ed., viii, 67.
(W. July. 1801)

6092. OFFICES, Federal monarchists and.—[further continued].

I have spoken of the federalists
as if they were a homogeneous body,
but this is not the truth. Under that name
lurks the heretical sect of monarchists.
Afraid to wear their own name, they creep
under the mantle of federalism, and the federalists,
like sheep, permit the fox to take
shelter among them, when pursued by the
dogs. These men have no right to office.
If a monarchist be in office anywhere, and it
be known to the President, the oath he has
taken to support the Constitution imperiously
requires the instantaneous dismission of such
officer; and I should hold the President criminal
if he permitted such to remain. To appoint
a monarchist to conduct the affairs of
a republic, is like appointing an atheist to the
priesthood. As to the real federalists, I take
them to my bosom as brothers. I view them
as honest men, friends to the present Constitution.
From a Newspaper Letter. Ford ed., viii, 237.
(June. 1803)


An article in the New York Evening Post led
Jefferson to write a letter, signed “Fair Play”, with
a view to publication in New England. It was the
second instance of Jefferson's departure from his
rule of not writing for newpapers. The object was
to provoke discussion.—Editor.

6093. OFFICES, Geographical equilibrium.—

In our country, you know, talents
alone are not to be the determining circumstance,
but a geographical equilibrium is to
a certain degree expected. The different
parts in the Union expect to share the public
To Horatio Gates. Ford ed., viii, 11.
(W. March. 1801)

6094. OFFICES, Geographical equilibrium.—[continued].

Virginia is greatly over
her due proportion of appointments in the
General Government; and though this has
not been done by me, it would be imputed as
blamed to me to add to her proportion. So
that for all general offices persons to fill
them must, for some time, be sought from
other States, and only offices which are to be
exercised within the State can be given to its
own citizens.—
To John Page. Ford ed., viii, 133.
(W. Feb. 1802)

6095. OFFICES, Geographical equilibrium.—[further continued].

Mr. R[obert] S. S[mith,
Attorney-General], has had a commission
given to Eli Williams as commissioner of the
Western road. I am sorry he has gone out
of Baltimore for the appointment, and also
out of the ranks of Republicanism. It will
furnish new matter for clamor.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 464.
(M. Aug. 1806)

6096. OFFICES, Gift of.—

I dare say you
have found that the solicitations for office are
the most painful incidents to which an executive
magistrate is exposed. The ordinary
affairs of a nation offer little difficulty to a
person of any experience; but the gift of
office is the dreadful burthen which oppresses
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 252.
(W. 1808)

6097. OFFICES, Gift of.—[continued].

A person who wishes to
make [the gift of office] an engine of self-elevation,
may do wonders with it; but to
one who wishes to use it conscientiously for
the public good, without regard to the ties
of blood or friendship, it creates enmities
without number, many open, but more secret,
and saps the happiness and peace of his life.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 252.
(W. 1808)

6098. OFFICES, Importunity for.—

When I retired from the government four years ago; it was extremely my wish to
withdraw myself from all concern with public
affairs, and to enjoy with my fellow citizens
the protection of government, under the
auspices and direction of those to whom it
was so worthily committed. Solicitations
from my friends, however, to aid them in
their applications for office, drew from me
an unwary compliance, till at length these
became so numerous as to occupy a great
portion of my time in writing letters to the
President and heads of departments, and although
these were attended to by them with
great indulgence, yet I was sensible they
could not fail of being very embarrassing.
They kept me, at the same time, standing
forever in the attitude of a suppliant before
them, daily asking favors as humiliating and
afflicting to my own mind, as they were unreasonable
from their multitude. I was long
sensible of putting an end to these unceasing
importunities, when a change in the heads of
the two departments to which they were
chiefly addressed, presented me an opportunity.
I come to a resolution, therefore, on
that change, never to make another application.
I have adhered to it strictly, and find
that on its rigid observance, my own happiness
and the friendship of the government
too much depend, for me to swerve from it
in future.—
To Thomas Paine M'Matron. Washington ed. vi, 108.
(M. 1813)

6099. OFFICES, Intolerance and.—

gradual reformations seem to produce good
effects everywhere except in Connecticut.
Their late session of Legislature has been
more intolerant than all others. We must
meet them with equal intolerance. When they
will give a share in the State offices, they
shall be replaced in a share of the general
offices. Till then, we must follow their
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 399. Ford ed., viii, 67.
(W. July. 1801)


Page 649

6100. OFFICES, Intolerance and.—[continued].

When I entered on office,
after giving a very small participation in office
to republicans by removal of a very few
federalists, selected on the principle of their
own intolerance while in office, I never meant
to have touched another, but to leave to the
ordinary accidents to make openings for republicans,
but the vindictive, indecent and
active opposition of some individuals has
obliged me from time to time to disarm them
of the influence of office.—
To Andrew Ellicott. Ford ed., viii, 479.
(W. Nov. 1806)

6101. OFFICES, Jefferson and.—

I have solicited none, intrigued for none. Those
which my country has thought proper to confide
to me have been of their own mere motion,
unasked by me.—
To James Lyon. Washington ed. vi, 10.
(M. 1811)

6102. OFFICES, Labor and.—

the general tendency to multiply offices
and dependencies, and to increase expense
to the ultimate term of burden which the
citizen can bear, it behooves us to avail ourselves
of every occasion which presents itself
for taking off the surcharge; 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)

6103. OFFICES, Local.—

Where an office
is local we never go out of the limits for the
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Ford ed., viii, 498.
(W. 1806)

6104. OFFICES, Lopping off.—

I had
foreseen, years ago, that the first republican
President who should come into office after
all the places in the government had become
exclusively occupied by federalists, would
have a dreadful operation to perform. That
the republicans would consent to a continuation
of everything in federal hands, was not
to be expected, because neither just nor politic.
On him, then, was to devolve the office
of an executioner, that of lopping off. I cannot
say that it has worked harder than I expected.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 406. Ford ed., viii, 83.
(M. Aug. 1801)

6105. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—

The nominations crowded in by Mr.
Adams, after he knew he was not appointing
for himself, I treat as mere nullities. His
best friends do not disapprove of this.—
To William Findley. Ford ed., viii, 28.
(W. March. 1801)

6106. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—[continued].

In the class of removals,
I do not rank the new appointments which
Mr. Adams crowded in with whip and spur
from the 12th of December, when the event
of the election was known (and, consequently,
that he was making appointments,
not for himself, but his successor), until 9
o'clock of the night, at 12 o'clock of which
he was to go out of office. This outrage on
decency should not have its effect, except in
the life appointments which are irremovable;
but as to the others, I consider the nomina
tions as nullities, and will not view the persons
as even candidates for, their office, much
less as possessing it by any title meriting respect.—
To General Henry Knox. Washington ed. iv, 386. Ford ed., vi 36.
(W. March. 1801)

6107. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—[further continued].

Mr. Adams's last appointments,
when he knew he was naming
counsellors and aids for me and not for himself,
I set aside as far as depends on me.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 391. Ford ed., viii, 42.
(W. March. 1801)

6108. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—[further continued] .

I consider as nullities all
the appointments (of a removable character)
crowded in by Mr. Adams, when he knew
he was appointing counsellors and agents for
his successor and not for himself.—
To Gideon Granger. Ford ed., viii, 44.
(W. March. 1801)

6109. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—[further continued].

I have not considered
as candid, or even decorous, the crowding of
appointments by Mr. Adams after he knew
he was making them for his successor and
not himself even to nine o'clock of the night
at twelve of which he was to go out of office.
I do not think I ought to permit that
conduct to have any effect as to the offices
removable in their nature.—
To Pierrepont Edwards. Ford ed., viii, 44.
(W. March. 1801)

6110. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—[further continued] .

The last Congress established
a Western Judiciary district in Virginia,
comprehending chiefly the Western
countries. Mr. Adams, who continued filling
all the offices till nine o'clock of the
night, at twelve of which he was to go out
of office himself, took care to appoint for this
district also. The judge, of course, stands
till the laws shall be repealed, which we
trust will be at the next Congress. But as
to all others I made it immediately known
that I should consider them as nullities, and
appoint others.—
To A. Stuart. Washington ed. iv, 393. Ford ed., viii, 46.
(M. April. 1801)

6111. OFFICES, Midnight appointments.—[further continued].

If the will of the nation,
manifested by their various elections, calls
for an administration of government according
with the opinions of those elected; if,
for the fulfillment of that will, displacements
are necessary, with whom can they so justly
begin as with persons appointed in the last
moments of an administration, not for its
own aid, but to begin a career at the same
time with their successors, by whom they
had never been approved, and who could
scarcely expect from them a cordial cooperation?—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 404. Ford ed., viii, 69.
(W. July. 1801)

6112. OFFICES, Multiplication of.—

The multiplication of public offices, increase
of expense beyond income, growth and entailment
of a public debt, are indications soliciting
the employment of the pruning knife.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 212. Ford ed., x, 188.
(M. 1821)

6113. OFFICES, Newspaper cajolery and.—

I was not deluded by the eulogiums of
the public papers in the first moments of


Page 650
change. If they could have continued to get
all the loaves and fishes, that is, if I would
have gone over to them, they would continue
to eulogize. But I well knew that the moment
that such removals should take place, as the
justice of the preceding administration ought
to have executed, their hue and cry would be
set up, and they would take their old stand.
I shall disregard that also.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 391. Ford ed., viii, 41.
(W. March. 1801)

6114. OFFICES, Nominations.—

is nothing I am so anxious about as good
nominations, conscious that the merit as well
as reputation of an administration depends
as much on that as on its measures.—
To A. Stuart. Washington ed. iv, 394. Ford ed., viii, 47.
(M. April. 1801)

6115. OFFICES, Nominations.—[continued].

My nominations are
sometimes made on my own knowledge of
the persons; sometimes on the information
of others given either voluntarily, or at my
request and in personal confidence. This I
could not communicate without a breach of
confidence, not I am sure, under the contemplation
of the committee. [370] They are sensible
the Constitution has made it my duty to
nominate; and has not made it my duty to
lay before them the evidences or reasons
whereon my nominations are founded; and
of the correctness of this opinion the established
usage in the intercourse between the
Senate and President is a proof. During
nearly the whole of the time this Constitution
has been in operation, I have been in
situations of intimacy with this part of it,
and may observe, from my knowledge, that
it has not been the usage of the President to
lay before the Senate, or a committee, the
information on which he makes his nominations.
In a single instance lately, I did
make a communication of papers, but there
were circumstances so peculiar in that case
as to distinguish it from all others.—
To Uriah Tracy. Ford ed., viii, 412.


A committee of the Senate which had asked Jefferson
concerning the characters and qualifications
of certain persons nominated by him. This paper
was not sent.—Editor.

6116. OFFICES, Nominations.—[further continued].

Nomination to office is
an executive function. To give it to the Legislature,
as we [in Virginia] do, is a violation
of the principle of the separation of powers.
It swerves the members from correctness, by
temptations to intrigue for office themselves,
and to a corrupt barter of votes; and destroys
responsibility by dividing it among a multitude.
By leaving nomination in its proper
place, among executive functions, the principle
of the distribution of power is preserved,
and responsibility weighs with its
force on a single head.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 12. Ford ed., x, 40.
(M. 1816)

6117. OFFICES, Participation in.—

It would have been to me a circumstance of
great relief, had I found a moderate participation
of office in the hands of the majority.
I would gladly have left to time and accident
to raise them to their just share. But their
total exclusion calls for prompter correctives.—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 405. Ford ed., viii, 70.
(W. July. 1801)

6118. OFFICES, Participation in.—[continued].

After so long and complete
an exclusion from office as republicans
have suffered, insomuch that every place is
filled with their opponents, justice as well as
principle requires that they should have some
participation. I believe they will be contented
with less than their just share for the
sake of peace and conciliation.—
To Pierce Butler. Ford ed., viii, 82.
(M. Aug. 1801)

6119. OFFICES, Participation in.—[further continued].

If a due participation of
office is a matter of right, how are vacancies
to be obtained? Those by death are few;
by resignation, none. Can any other mode
than that of removal be proposed?—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 404. Ford ed., viii, 70.
(W. July. 1801)

6120. OFFICES, Participation in.—[further continued] .

I still think our original
idea as to office is best; that is, to depend,
for the obtaining a just participation, on
deaths, resignations, and delinquencies. This
will least affect the tranquillity of the people.
and prevent their giving in to the suggestion
of our enemies, that ours has been a contest
for office, not for principle. This is rather
a slow operation, but it is sure if we pursue
it steadily, which, however, has not been done
with the undeviating resolution I could have
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 451. Ford ed., viii, 176.
(W. Oct. 1802)

6121. OFFICES, Participation in.—[further continued].

The present administration
had a task imposed on it which was unavoidable,
and could not fail to exert the
bitterest hostility in those who opposed it.
The preceding administration left ninety-nine
out of every hundred in public office of the
federal sect. Republicanism had been the
mark on Cain which had rendered those who
bore it exiles from all portion in the trusts
and authorities of their country. This description
of citizens called imperiously and
justly for a restoration of right. It was intended,
however, to have yielded to this in
so moderate a degree as might conciliate
those who had obtained exclusive possession;
but as soon as they were touched, they endeavored
to set fire to the four corners of the
public fabric, and obliged us to deprive of the
influence of office several who were using it
with activity and vigilance to destroy the
confidence of the people in their government,
and thus to proceed in the drudgery of removal
farther than would have been, had not
their own hostile enterprises rendered it necessary
in self-defence.—
To Benjamin Hawkins. Washington ed. iv, 466. Ford ed., viii, 212.
(W. 1803)

6122. OFFICES, Participation in.—[further continued] .

Whether a participation
of office in proportion to numbers should be
effected in each State separately, or in the
whole States taken together, is difficult to
decide, and has not yet been settled in my
own mind. It is a question of vast complications.—
To William Duane. Ford ed., viii, 258.
(W. July. 1803)


Page 651

6123. OFFICES, Perplexity over.—

position is painful enough between federalists
who cry out on the first touch of their monopoly,
and republicans who clamor for universal
removal. A subdivision of the latter
will increase the perplexity. I am proceeding
with deliberation and enquiry to do what
I think just to both descriptions and conciliatory
to both.—
To John Dickinson. Ford ed., viii, 76.
(W. July. 1801)

6124. OFFICES, Policy respecting.—

You know the moderation of our views in
this business, and that we all concurred in
them. We determined to proceed with deliberation.
This produced impatience in the
republicans, and a belief we meant to do
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 406. Ford ed., viii, 83.
(M. Aug. 1801)

6125. OFFICES, Policy respecting.—[continued].

All offices were in the
hands of the federalists. The injustice of
having totally excluded republicans was acknowledged
by every man. To have removed
one half, and to have placed good republicans
in their stead, would have been rigorously
just, when it was known that these composed
a very great majority of the nation. Yet
such was their moderation in most of the
States, that they did not desire it. In these,
therefore, no removals took place but for
malversation. In the middle States, the contention
had been higher, spirits were more
sharpened and less accommodating. It was
necessary in these to practice a different
treatment, and to make a few changes to
tranquilize the injured party.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iv, 414. Ford ed., viii, 97.
(W. 1801)

6126. OFFICES, Public opinion and.—

Some States require a different regimen from
others. What is done in one State very often
shocks another, though where it is done it is
wholesome. South of the Potomac, not a
single removal has been asked. On the contrary,
they are urgent that none shall be
made. Accordingly, only one has been made,
which was for malversation. They censure
much the removals north of this. You see,
therefore, what various tempers we have to
To Thomas McKean. Ford ed., viii, 78.
(W. July. 1801)

6127. OFFICES, Qualifications.—

I shall
* * * return with joy to that state of things
when the only questions concerning a candidate
shall be: Is he honest? Is he capable?
Is he faithful to the Constitution?—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 405. Ford ed., viii, 70.
(W. 1801)

6128. OFFICES, Refusal.—

For God's
sake get us relieved from this dreadful
drudgery of refusal.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 398.
(Dec. 1808)

6129. OFFICES, Regeneration of.—

are proceeding gradually in the regeneration
of offices, and introducing republicans to
some share in them.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 399. Ford ed., viii, 67.
(W. July. 1801)

6130. OFFICES, Unconstitutional nominations.—

The President cannot, before
the 4th of March, make nominations [of
Vermont officers] which will be good in law;
because till that day, Vermont will not be a
separate and integral member of the U. S.,
and it is only to integral members of the
Union that his right of nomination is given
by the Constitution.—
Report on Admission of Vermont. Ford ed., v. 290.

6131. OFFICES, Vacancies.—

I think I
have a preferable right to name agents for
my own administration, at least to the
vacancies falling after it was known that Mr.
Adams was not naming for himself.—
To A. Stuart. Washington ed. iv, 393. Ford ed., viii, 46.
(M. April. 1801)

6132. OFFICES, Vacancies.—[continued].

The phrase in the Constitution
is, “to fill up all vacancies that May
happen during the recess of the Senate”.
This may mean “vacancies that may happen
to be”, or “may happen to fall”; it is, certainly,
susceptible of both constructions, and
we took the practice of our predecessors as
the commentary established. This was done
without deliberation; and we have not before
taken an exact view of the precedents. They
more than cover our cases, but I think some
of them are not justifiable. We propose to
take the subject into consideration, and to fix
on such a rule of conduct, within the words
of the Constitution, as may save the government
from serious injury, and yet restrain
the Executive within limits which might admit
mischief. You will observe the cases of
Reade and Putnam, where the persons nominated
declining to accept, the vacancy remained
unfilled, and had happened before
the recess. It will be said these vacancies
did not remain unfilled by the intention of
the Executive, who had, by nomination, endeavored
to fill them. So in our cases,
they were not unfilled by the intention of
the successor, but by the omission of the
predecessor. Charles Lee informed me that
wherever an office became vacant so short
a time before Congress rose, as not to
give an opportunity of enquiring for a proper
character, they let it lie always till recess.
* * * We must establish a correct and well
digested rule of practice, to bind up our successors
as well as ourselves. If we find that
any of our cases go beyond the limits of such
a rule, we must consider what will be the
best way of preventing their being considered
authoritative examples.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Ford ed., viii, 131.
(W. Jan. 1802)

6133. OFFICES, Vacancies.—[further continued].

The mischievous law
vacating, every four years, nearly all the
executive offices of the government, saps the
constitutional and salutary functions of the
President, and introduces a principle of intrigue
and corruption, which will soon
leaven the mass, not only of senators, but of
citizens. It is more baneful than the attempt
which failed in the beginning of the government,
to make all officers irremovable but
with the consent of the Senate. This places,


Page 652
every four years, all appointments under their
power, and even obliges them to act on every
one nomination. It will keep in constant excitement
all the hungry cormorants for office,
render them, as well as those in place,
sycophants to their Senators, engage these
in eternal intrigue to turn out one and put in
another, in cabals to swap work; and make
of them what all executive directories become,
mere sinks of corruption and faction.
This must have been one of the midnight
signatures of the President when he had not
time to consider, or even to read the law; and
the more fatal as being irrepealable but with
the consent of the Senate, which will never be
To James Madison. Washington ed. vii, 190. Ford ed., x, 168.

6134. OFFICES, Women and.—

The appointment
of a woman to office is an innovation
for which the public is not prepared,
nor am I.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., ix, 7.
(W. Jan. 1807)

6135. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Appointments.—

With regard to appointments, I have
so much confidence in the justice and good
sense of the federalists, that I have no doubt
they will concur in the fairness of the position,
that after they have been in the exclusive
possession of all offices from the very first
origin of party among us, to the 3d of
March, at 9 o'clock in the night, no republican
ever admitted, and this doctrine newly
avowed, it is now perfectly just that the republicans
should come in for the vacancies
which may fall in, until something like an
equilibrium in office be restored; after which
Tros Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur.
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 382. Ford ed., viii, 31.
(W. March. 1801)


The Congress edition omits the Latin quotation.
In the Ford edition, “habetur”, not “agetur”.——Editor.

6136. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Appointments.—[continued].

About appointments to
offices the rule is simple enough. The federalists
having been in exclusive possession of
them from the first origin of the party among
us, to the 3d of March, nine o'clock p. m. of
the evening, at twelve of which Mr. Adams
was to go out of office, their reason will acknowledge
the justice of giving vacancies, as
they happen, to those who have been so long
excluded, till the same general proportion
prevails in office which exists out of it.—
To Gideon Granger. Ford ed., viii, 44.
(W. March. 1801)

6137. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Appointments.—[further continued].

Which appointment would
be most respected by the public, for that circumstance
is not only generally the best
criterion of what is best, but the public
respect can alone give strength to the government.—
To Archibald Stuart. Ford ed., viii, 47.
(M. April. 1801)

6138. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Appointments.—[further continued] .

There is nothing I am
so anxious about as making the best possible
appointments, and no case in which the best
men are more liable to mislead us, by yielding
to the solicitations of applicants.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. iv, 396. Ford ed., viii, 52.
(W. May. 1801)

6139. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Appointments.—[further continued].

The grounds on which
one of the competitors stood, set aside of
necessity all hesitation. Mr. Hall's having
been a member of the Legislature, a Speaker
of the Representatives, and a member of the
Executive Council, were evidences of the respect
of the State towards him, which our
respect for the State could not neglect.—
To J. F. Mercer. Washington ed. iv, 562.
(W. 1804)

6140. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Caucuses and.—

The allegations against Pope, of New
Bedford, are insufficient. Although meddling
in political caucuses is no part of that freedom
of personal suffrage which ought to be
allowed him, yet his mere presence at a caucus
does not necessarily involve an active and
official influence in opposition to the government
which employs him.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 499.
(W. 1806)

6141. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Charges against.—

I have made it a rule not to give up letters of accusation, or copies of them,
in any case.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 500.
(W. 1806)

6142. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Elections and.—

Interferences with elections, whether
of the State or General Government, by officers
of the latter, should be deemed cause of removal;
because the constitutional remedy by
the elective principle becomes nothing, if it
may be smothered by the enormous patronage
of the General Government.—
To Thomas McKean. Washington ed. iv, 350. Ford ed., vii, 487.
(W. 1801)

6143. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Elections and.—[continued].

To these means [deaths,
resignations, and delinquencies] of obtaining
a just share in the transaction of the public
business, shall be added one other, to wit,
removal for electioneering activity, or open
and industrious opposition to the principles
of the present government, Legislative and
Executive. Every officer of the government
may vote at elections according to his conscience;
but we should betray the cause committed
to our care, were we to permit the influence
of official patronage to be used to
overthrow that cause.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 451. Ford ed., viii, 176.
(W. Oct. 1802)

6144. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Elections and.—[further continued].

I think it not amiss that
it should be known that we are determined to
remove officers who are active or open
mouthed against the government, by which I
mean the Legislature as well as the Executive.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 452. Ford ed., viii, 176.
(W. Oct. 1802)

6145. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Elections and.—[further continued] .

I have received two addresses
from meetings of democratic republicans
at Dover, praying the removal of Allen
McLane. * * * If he has been active in electioneering
in favor of those who wish to subvert
the present order of things, it would be
a serious circumstance. I do not mean as
to giving his personal vote, in which he ought
not to be controlled; but as to using his influence
(which necessarily includes his official
influence) to sway the votes of others.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Ford ed., viii, 154.
(W. 1802)


Page 653

6146. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Elections and.—[further continued].

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

6147. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—

It has not been the custom,
nor would it be expedient, for the Executive
to enter into details for the rejection of
candidates for offices or removal of those who
possess them.—
To Mrs. Sarah Mease. Ford ed., viii, 35.
(W. March. 1801)

6148. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—[continued].

These letters [from you] all relating to office, fall within the general
rule which even the very first week of my
being engaged in the administration obliged
me to establish, to wit, that of not answering
letters on office specifically, but leaving the
answer to be found in what is done or not
done on them. You will readily conceive into
what scrapes one would get by saying no, either with or without reason, by using a softer
language which might excite false hope, or
by saying yes prematurely. And to take away
all offence from this silent answer, it is
necessary to adhere to it in every case rigidly,
as well with bosom friends as strangers.—
To Aaron Burr. Ford ed., viii, 102.
(W. Nov. 1801)

6149. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—[further continued].

The circumstance of exhibiting
our recommendations even to our
friends, requires great consideration. Recommendations,
when honestly written, should
detail the bad as well as the good qualities
of the person recommended. That gentlemen
may do freely, if they know their letter is
to be confined to the President or the head of
a department; but if communicated further, it
may bring on them troublesome quarrels. In
General Washington's time, he resisted every
effort to bring forth his recommendations. In
Mr. Adams's time, I only know that the republicans
knew nothing of them. * * * To Mr. Tracy, at any rate, no exhibition or
information of recommendations ought to be
communicated. He may be told that the
President does not think it regular to communicate
the grounds or reasons of his decision.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 210.
(Feb. 1803)

6150. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—[further continued] .

The address of the Ward
Committee of Philadelphia on the subject of
removals from office was received. I cannot
answer it, because I have given no answers
to the many others I have received from
other quarters. * * * Although no person
wishes more than I do to learn the opinions
of respected individuals, because they enable
me to examine, and often to correct my own,
yet I am not satisfied that I ought to admit
the addresses even of those bodies of men
which are organized by the Constitution (the
Houses of Legislature for instance) to influence
the appointment to office for which the
Constitution has chosen to rely on the independence
and integrity of the Executive, controlled
by the Senate, chosen both of them
by the whole Union. Still less of those bodies
whose organization is unknown to the Constitution.
As revolutionary instruments
(when nothing but revolution will cure the
evils of the State) they are necessary and
indispensable, and the right to use them is
inalienable by the people; but to admit them
as ordinary and habitual instruments as a
part of the machinery of the Constitution,
would be to change that machinery by introducing
moving powers foreign to it, and to
an extent depending solely on local views,
and therefore incalculable. The opinions offered
by individuals, and of right, are on a
different ground; they are sanctioned by the
Constitution; which has also prescribed, when
they choose to act in bodies, the organization,
objects and rights of those bodies. * * * This view of the subject forbids me, in my
judgment, to give answers to addresses of
this kind. [372]
To William Duane. Ford ed., viii, 255.
(M. 1803)


The letter containing this extract was not sent to
Mr. Duane.—Editor.

6151. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Executive explanations and.—[further continued].

You complain that I did
not answer your letters applying for office.
But if you will reflect a moment you May
judge whether this ought to be expected. To
the successful applicant for an office the
commission is the answer. To the unsuccessful
multitude am I to go with every one into
the reasons for not appointing him? Besides
that this correspondence would literally engross
my whole time, into what controversies
would it lead me? Sensible of this dilemma,
from the moment of coming into office I laid
it down as a rule to leave the applicants to
collect their answer from the facts. To entitle
myself to the benefit of the rule in any
case it must be observed in every one; and
I never have departed from it in a single case,
not even for my bosom friends. You observe
that you are, or probably will be appointed
an elector. I have no doubt you will do your
duty with a conscientious regard to the public
good, and to that only. Your decision in
favor of another would not excite in my
mind the slightest dissatisfaction towards you.
On the contrary, I should honor the integrity
of your choice. In the nominations I
have to make, do the same justice to my
motives. Had you hundreds to nominate, instead
of one, be assured they would not compose
for you a bed of roses. You would
find yourself in most cases with one loaf and
ten wanting bread. Nine must be disappointed,
perhaps become secret, if not open
To Larkin Smith. Ford ed., viii, 336.
(W. Nov. 1804)

6152. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Freedom of opinion and.—

Opinion, and the just maintenance
of it, shall never be a crime in my
view; nor bring injury on the individual.—
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 389. Ford ed., viii, 39.
(W. March. 1801)

6153. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Freedom of opinion and.—[continued].

The right of opinion
shall suffer no invasion from me. Those who
have acted well have nothing to fear, however
they may have differed from me in opinion;


Page 654
those who have done ill, however, have nothing
to hope; nor shall I fail to do justice
lest it should be ascribed to that difference of
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 391. Ford ed., viii, 42.
(W. March. 1801)

6154. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Half-breeds.—

I never did the federalists an act of injustice,
nor failed in any duty to them imposed
by my office. Out of about six hundred officers,
named by the President, there were
six republicans only when I came into office,
and these were chiefly half-breeds. Out of
upwards of three hundred holding during
pleasure, I removed about fifteen, or those
who had signalized themselves by their own
intolerance in office, because the public voice
called for it imperiously, and it was just that
the republicans should at length have some
participation in the government. There never
was another removal but for such delinquencies
as removed the republicans equally. In
this horrid drudgery I always felt myself as
a public executioner, an office which no one
who knows me, I hope, supposes very grateful
to my feelings. It was considerably alleviated,
however, by the industry of their
newspapers in endeavoring to excite resentment
enough to enable me to meet the operation.
However, I hail the day which is to relieve
me from being viewed as an official
enemy. In private life, I never had above
one or two; to the friendship of that situation
I look with delight.—
To William Short. Ford ed., ix, 51.
(W. May. 1807)

6155. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Malignant opposition.—

Deaths, resignations, delinquencies,
malignant and active opposition to the
order of things established by the will of the
nation, will, it is believed, within a moderate
space of time, make room for a just participation
in the management of the public affairs;
and that being once effected, future
changes at the helm will be viewed with
tranquillity by those in subordinate station.—
To William Judd. Washington ed. viii, 114.

6156. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Matrimony and.—

Mr. Remsen having decided definitely
to resign his office of Chief clerk, I have considered
with all the impartiality in my power
the different grounds on which yourself and
Mr. Taylor stand in competition for the
succession. I understand that he was appointed
a month before you, and that you
came into actual service about a month before
he did. These circumstances place you so
equally, that I cannot derive from them any
ground of preference. Yet obliged to decide
one way or the other, I find in a comparison
of your conditions a circumstance of considerable
equity in his favor. He is a married
man, with a family; yourself single. There
can be no doubt but that $500 place a single
man as much at his ease as $800 do a married
one. On this single circumstance, then, I
have thought myself bound to appoint Mr.
Taylor chief clerk.—
To Jacob Blackwell. Ford ed., v, 490.
(Pa., 1792)

6157. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Multiplication of.—

I am not for a multiplication of
officers * * * merely to make partizans.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 327.
(Pa., 1799)

6158. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Partizan.—

A few examples of justice on officers who
have perverted their functions to the oppression
of their fellow citizens, must, in justice
to those citizens, be made.—
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 389. Ford ed., viii, 39.
(W. March. 1801)

6159. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Partizan.—[continued].

Those whose misconduct
in office ought to have produced their
removal even by my predecessor, must not be
protected by the delicacy due only to honest
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 389. Ford ed., viii, 39.
(W. March. 1801)

6160. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Partizan.—[further continued].

Officers who have been
guilty of gross abuses of office, such as marshals
packing juries, &c., I shall now remove,
as my predecessor ought in justice to have
done. The instances will be few, and governed
by strict rule, and not party passion.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 391. Ford ed., viii, 42.
(W. March. 1801)

6161. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Partizan.—[further continued] .

I have never removed a
man merely because he was a federalist. I
have never wished them to give a vote at an
election, but according to their own wishes.
But as no government could discharge its
duties to the best advantage of its citizens, if its
agents were in a regular course of thwarting
instead of executing all its measures, and were
employing the patronage and influence of
their offices against the government and its
measures, I have only requested they would
be quiet, and they should be safe; that if their
conscience urges them to take an active and
zealous part in opposition, it ought also to
urge them to retire from a post which they
could not conscientiously conduct with fidelity
to the trust reposed in them; and on
failure to retire, I have removed them; that
is to say, those who maintained an active and
zealous opposition to the government.—
To John Page. Washington ed. v, 136. Ford ed., ix, 118.
(W. July. 1807)

6162. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Partizan.—[further continued].

Our principles render
federalists in office safe, if they do not employ
their influence in opposing the government,
and only give their own vote according
to their conscience. And this principle we
act on as well with those put in office by
others, as by ourselves.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 264.
(W. March. 1808)

6163. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—

Should I be placed in office, nothing
would be more desirable to me than the recommendations of those in whom I have
confidence, of persons fit for office; for if the
good withhold their testimony, we shall be at
the mercy of the bad.—
To Dr. B. S. Barton. Washington ed. iv, 353. Ford ed., vii, 489.
(W. Feb. 1801)

6164. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—[continued].

It is so far from being
improper to receive the communications you
had in contemplation as to arrangements [respecting
the offices] in your State, that I
have been in the constant expectation you


Page 655
would find time to do me the favor of calling
and making them, when we could in
conversation explain them better than by
writing, and I should with frankness and
thankfulness enter into the explanations.
The most valuable source of information we
have is that of the members of the Legislature,
and it is one to which I have resorted
and shall resort with great freedom.—
To Charles Pinckney. Ford ed., viii, 6.
(W. March. 1801)

6165. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—[further continued].

We want an attorney
and marshal for the Western [Virginia] district.
* * * Pray recommend [persons] to me; and let them be the most respectable
and unexceptionable possible, and especially
let them be republicans.—
To A. Stuart. Washington ed. iv, 393. Ford ed., viii, 46.
(M. April. 1801)

6166. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—[further continued] .

In all cases, when an
office becomes vacant in your State [North
Carolina], as the distance would occasion a
great delay were you to wait to be regularly
consulted, I shall be much obliged to you to
recommend the best characters.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. iv, 396. Ford ed., viii, 52.
(W. May. 1801)

6167. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—[further continued].

Disposed myself to make
as few changes in office as possible, to endeavor
to restore harmony by avoiding everything
harsh, and to remove only for malconduct,
I have, nevertheless, been persuaded
that circumstances in New York, and still
more in the neighboring States on both
sides, require something more. It is represented
that the Collector, Naval Officer, and
Supervisor ought all to be removed for the
violence of their characters and conduct. The
following arrangement was agreed on by
Colonel Burr and some of your Senators and
Representatives: David Gelston, Collector,
Theodorus Bailey, Naval Officer, and M. L.
Davis, Supervisor. Yet all did not agree in
all the particulars, and I have since received
letters expressly stating that Mr. Bailey has
not readiness and habit enough of business
for the office of Naval Officer, and some suggestions
that Mr. Davis's standing in society,
and other circumstances will render his not
a respectable appointment to the important
office of Supervisor. Unacquainted myself
with these and the other characters in the
State which might be proper for these offices,
and forced to decide on the opinions of others,
there is no one whose opinion would command
with me greater respect than yours,
if you would be so good as to advise me,
which of these characters and what others
would be fittest for these offices. Not only
competent talents, but respectability in the
public estimation are to be considered.—
To George Clinton. Ford ed., viii, 53.
(W. May. 1801)

6168. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—[further continued] .

To exhibit recommendations
would be to turn the Senate into a
court of honor, or a court of slander, and to
expose the character of every man nominated
to an ordeal, without his own consent, subject
ing the Senate to heats and waste of time.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 211.

6169. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Recommendations.—[further continued].

The friendship which
has long subsisted between the President of
the United States and myself gave me reason
to expect, on my retirement from office, that
I might often receive applications to interpose
with him on behalf of persons desiring appointments.
Such an abuse of his dispositions
towards me would necessarily lead to the
loss of them, and to the transforming me
from the character of a friend to that of an
unreasonable and troublesome solicitor. It,
therefore, became necessary for me to lay
down as a law for my future conduct never
to interpose in any case, either with him or
the heads of departments, in any application
whatever for office.—
Circular Letter. Ford ed., ix, 248.
(March. 1809)

6170. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Reduction.—

Among those [officers] who are dependent
on Executive discretion, I have begun the
reduction of what was deemed necessary.
The expense of diplomatic agency have been
considerably diminished. The inspectors of
internal revenue, who were found to obstruct
the accountability of the institution, have
been discontinued. Several agencies created
by Executive authority, on salaries fixed by
that also, have been suppressed, and should
suggest the expediency of regulating that
power by law, so as to subject its exercises
to legislative inspection and sanction. Other
reformations of the same kind will be pursued
with that caution which is requisite in
removing useless things, not to injure what
is retained. But the great mass of public
offices is established by law, and, therefore,
by law alone can be abolished.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 10. Ford ed., viii, 120.
(Dec. 1801)

6171. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Reduction.—[continued].

When we consider that
this government is charged with the eternal
and mutual relations only of these States;
that the States themselves have principal care
of our persons, our property, and our reputation,
constituting the great field of human
concerns, we may well doubt whether our
organization is not too complicated, too expensive;
whether offices and officers have not
been multiplied unnecessarily, and sometimes
injuriously to the service they were meant
to promote. I will cause to be laid before
you an essay towards a statement of those
who, under public employment of various
kinds, draw money from the treasury or from
our citizens.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 9. Ford ed., viii, 120.
(Dec. 1801)

6172. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Reduction.—[further continued].

The session of the first
Congress, convened since republicanism has
recovered its ascendancy, * * * will
pretty completely fulfil all the desires of the
people. * * * They are disarming executive
patronage and preponderance, by putting
down one half the offices of the United
States, which are no longer necessary.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 430.
(W. April. 1802)


Page 656

6173. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—

Some [removals] I know must be made.
They must be as few as possible, done gradually,
and bottomed on some malversation or
inherent disqualification.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 368.
(W. March. 1801)

6174. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[continued].

I believe with others,
that deprivations of office, if made on the
ground of political principles alone, would revolt
our new converts, and give a body to
leaders who now stand alone. Some, I
know, must be made. They must be as few
as possible, done gradually, and bottomed on
some malversation or inherent disqualification.
Where we shall draw the line between
retaining all and none, is not yet settled, and
it will not be till we get our administration
together; and perhaps even then, we shall
proceed à tâtons, balancing our measures according
to the impression we perceive them
to make.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 368. Ford ed., viii, 10.
(W. March. 1801)

6175. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued].

That some ought to be
removed from office, and that all ought not,
all mankind will agree. But where to draw
the line, perhaps no two will agree. Consequently,
nothing like a general approbation on
this subject can be looked for. Some principles
have been the subject of conversation
[in cabinet] but not of determination, e. g., 1. All appointments to civil offices during
made after the event of the election
was certainly known to Mr. Adams, are considered
as nullities. I do not view the persons
appointed as even candidates for the
office, but make others without noticing or
notifying them. Mr. Adams's best friends
have agreed this is right. 2. Officers who
have been guilty of official malconduct are
proper subjects of removal. 3. Good men,
to whom there is no objection but a difference
of political principle, practiced on only as
far as the right of a private citizen will justify,
are not proper subjects of removal except
in the case of attorneys and marshals.
The courts being so decidedly federal and irremovable,
it is believed that republican attorneys
and marshals, being the doors of entrance
into the courts, are indispensably
necessary as a shield to the republican part
of our fellow citizens, which, I believe, is
the main body of the people.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. iv, 380. Ford ed., viii, 25.
(W. March. 1801)

6176. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued] .

As to removals from
office, great differences of opinion exist.
That some ought to be removed, all will
agree. That all should, nobody will say.
And no two will probably draw the same
line between these two extremes; consequently
nothing like general approbation can
be expected. Malconduct is a just ground of
removal: mere difference of political opinion
is not. The temper of some States requires
a stronger procedure; that of others would
be more alienated even by a milder course.
Taking into consideration all circumstances,
we can only do in every case what to us seems
best, and trust to the indulgence of our fellow
citizens who may see the same matter in a
different point of view. * * * Time, prudence,
and patience will, perhaps, get us over
this whole difficulty.—
To William Findley. Ford ed., viii, 27.
(W. March. 1801)

6177. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued].

The great stumbling
block will be removals, which, though made
on those just principles only on which my
predecessor ought to have removed the same
persons, will nevertheless be ascribed to removal
on party principles. 1st. I will expunge
the effects of Mr. Adams's indecent
conduct, in crowding nominations after he
knew they were not for himself, till 9 o'clock
of the night, at 12 o'clock of which he was
to go out of office. So far as they are during
pleasure, I shall not consider the persons
named, as even candidates for the office, nor
pay the respect of notifying them that I consider
what was done as a nullity. 2d. Some
removals must be made for misconduct. One
of these is of the marshal in your city, who
being an officer of justice, intrusted with the
function of choosing impartial judges for the
trial of his fellow citizens, placed at the awful
tribunal of God and their country, selected
judges who either avowed, or were known
to him to be predetermined to condemn;
and if the lives of the unfortunate persons
were not cut short by the sword of
the law, it was not for want of his good
will. In another State, I have to perform
the same act of justice on the dearest
connection of my dearest friend, for
similar conduct, in a case not capital. The
same practice of packing juries, and prosecuting
their fellow citizens with the bitterness
of party hatred, will probably involve several
other marshals and attorneys. Out of this
line, I see but very few instances where past
misconduct has been in a degree to call for
notice. Of the thousands of officers, therefore,
in the United States, a very few individuals
only, probably not twenty, will be removed;
and these only for doing what they ought not
to have done. Two or three instances, indeed,
where Mr. Adams removed men because
they would not sign addresses, &c., to him,
will be rectified—the persons restored. The
whole world will say this is just. I know that
in stopping thus short in the career of removal,
I shall give great offence to many of
my friends. That torrent has been pressing
me heavily, and will require all my force to
bear up against; but my maxim is, “fiat
justitia, ruat cœlum.”

To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 383. Ford ed., viii, 31.
(W. March. 1801)

6178. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued] .

I am aware that the
necessity of a few removals for legal oppressions,
delinquencies, and other official
malversations, may be misconstrued as done
for political opinions, and produce hesitation
in the coalition so much to be desired; but
the extent of these will be too limited to
make permanent impressions.—
To General Henry Knox. Washington ed. iv, 386. Ford ed., viii, 36.
(W. March. 1801)


Page 657

6179. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued].

No one will say that all
should be removed, or that none should. Yet
no two scarcely draw the same lines. * * * Persons who have perverted their offices to
the oppression of their fellow citizens, as
marshals packing juries, attorneys grinding
their legal victims, intolerants removing
those under them for opinion's sake, substitutes
for honest men removed for their republican
principles, will probably find few
advocates even among their quondam party.
But the freedom of opinion, and the reasonable
maintenance of it, is not a crime, and
ought not to occasion injury.—
To Gideon Granger. Ford ed., viii, 44.
(W. March. 1801)

6180. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued] .

In Connecticut alone, a
general sweep seems to be called for on principles
of justice and policy. Their Legislature
are removing every republican even
from the commissions of the peace and
the lowest offices. There, then, we will retaliate.
Whilst the federalists are taking
possession of all the State offices, exclusively,
they ought not to expect we will leave them
the exclusive possession of those at our
disposal. The republicans have some rights
and must be protected.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Ford ed., viii, 64.
(W. June. 1801)

6181. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]..

I am satisfied that the
heaping of abuse on me, personally, has been
with the design and hope of provoking me to
make a general sweep of all federalists out of
office. But as I have carried no passion into
the execution of this disagreeable duty, I shall
suffer none to be excited. The clamor which
has been raised will not provoke me to remove
one more, nor deter me from removing
one less, than if not a word had been
said on the subject.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 407. Ford ed., viii, 84.
(M. Aug. 1801)

6182. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued] .

The removal of excrescences
from the judiciary is the universal
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 407. Ford ed., viii, 85.
(M. Aug. 1801)

6183. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]..

Rigorous justice required
that as the federalists had filled every
office with their friends to the avowed exclusion
of republicans, that the latter should
be admitted to a participation of office, by
the removal of some of the former. This was
done to the extent of about twenty only out
of some thousands, and no more was intended.
But instead of their acknowledging
its moderation, it has been a ground for their
more active enmity. After a twelve months'
trial I have at length been induced to remove
three or four more of those most marked
for their bitterness, and active zeal in slandering,
and in electioneering. Whether we shall
proceed any further, will depend on themselves.
Those who are quiet, and take no part against
that order of things which the public will has
established, will be safe. Those who continue
to clamor against it, to slander and oppose
it, shall not be armed with its wealth and
power for its own destruction. The late re
movals have been intended merely as monitory,
but such officers, as shall afterwards
continue to bid us defiance, shall as certainly
be removed, if the case shall become known.
A neutral conduct is all I ever desired, and
this the public have a right to expect.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Ford ed., viii, 169.
(W. Aug. 1802)

6184. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]

We laid down our line of
proceedings on mature inquiry and consideration
in 1801, and have not departed from it.
Some removals, to wit, sixteen to the end of
our first session of Congress were made on
political principles alone, in very urgent cases;
and we determined to make no more but for
delinquency, or active and bitter opposition
to the order of things which the public will
had established. On this last ground nine
were removed from the end of the first to
the end of the second session of Congress;
and one since that. So that sixteen only
have been removed on the whole for political
principles, that is to say, to make room for
some participation for the republicans. * * * Pursuing our object of harmonizing all good
people of every description, we shall steadily
adhere to our rule, and it is with sincere
pleasure I learn that it is approved by the
more moderate part of our friends.—
To Mr. Nicholson. Washington ed. iv, 485.
(W. May. 1803)

6185. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]

Many vacancies have
been made by death and resignation, many
by removal for malversation in office, and for
open, active, and virulent abuse of official
influence in opposition to the order of things
established by the will of the nation. Such
removals continue to be made on sufficient
proof. The places have been steadily filled
with republican characters until out of 316
officers in all the United States, subject to
appointment and removal by me, 130 only are
held by federalists. I do not include in this
estimate the judiciary and military, because
not removable but by established process, nor
the officers of the internal revenue, because
discontinued by law, nor postmasters, or any
others not named by me. And this has been
effected in little more than two years by means
so moderate and just as cannot fail to be approved
in future. [373]
To William Duane. Ford ed., viii, 258.
(W. July. 1803)


The letter containing this extract was not sent to
Mr. Duane.—Editor.

6186. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]

I give full credit to the
wisdom of the measures pursued by the Governor
of Pennsylvania in removals from office.
I have no doubt he followed the wish of
the State; and he had no other to consult.
But in the General Government each State is
to be administered, not on its local principles,
but on the principles of all the States formed
into a general result. That I should administer
the affairs of Massachusetts and Connecticut,
for example, on federal principles, could
not be approved. I dare say, too, that the
extensive removals from office in Pennsylvania
may have contributed to the great conversion
which has been manifested among


Page 658
its citizens. But I respect them too much to
believe it has been the exclusive or even the
principal motive. I presume the sound measures
of their government, and of the General
one, have weighed more in their estimation
and conversation, than the consideration of
the particular agents employed.—
To William Dunae. Ford ed., viii, 259.
(M. July. 1803)

6187. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]

Although I know that
it is best generally to assign no reason for a
removal from office, yet there are also times
when the declaration of a principle is advantageous.
Such was the moment at which
the New Haven letter appeared. It explained
our principles to our friends, and they
rallied to them. The public sentiment has
taken a considerable stride since that, and
seems to require that they should know again
where we stand. I suggest, therefore, for
your consideration, instead of the following
passage in your letter to Bowen, “I think
it due to candor at the same time to inform
you, that I had for some time been determined
to remove you from office, although a
successor has not yet been appointed by the
President, nor the precise time fixed for that
purpose communicated to him”, to substitute
this, “I think it due to candor at the same
time to inform you, that the President, considering
that the patronage of public office
should no longer be confided to one who uses
it for active opposition to the national will,
had, some time since, determined to place
your office in other hands. But a successor
not being yet fixed on, I am not able to name
the precise time when it will take place”.
My own opinion is, that the declaration of
this principle will meet the entire approbation
of all moderate republicans, and will extort
indulgence from the warmer ones. Seeing
that we do not mean to leave arms in the
hands of active enemies, they will care the
less at our tolerance of the inactive.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 543. Ford ed., viii, 303.
(May. 1804)

6188. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Removals.—[further continued]

In the case of the removal
proposed by the collector of Baltimore,
I consider it as entirely out of my sphere, and
resting solely with yourself. Were I to give
an opinion on the subject, it would only be
by observing that in the cases under my immediate
care, I have never considered the
length of time a person has continued in office,
nor the money he has made in it, as entering
at all into the reasons for a removal.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 499.
(W. 1806)

6189. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Tenure of.—

Should I be placed in office * * * no man
who has conducted himself according to his
duties would have anything to fear from me,
as those who have done ill,
would have nothing
to hope, be their political principles what
they might.—
To Dr. B. S. Barton. Washington ed. iv, 353. Ford ed., vii, 489.
(W. Feb. 1801)

6190. OFFICE-HOLDERS, Useless.—

The suppression of useless offices * * * will probably produce some disagreeable al
tercations [in Congress].—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 426. Ford ed., viii, 128.
(W. 1801)


See Olive, Substitute


See Age.

6191. OLIVE, Adapted to America.—

The olive tree * * * would surely succeed
in your country, and would be an infinite blessing
after some fifteen or twenty years. The
caper would also probably succeed, and would
offer a very great and immediate profit.—
To E. Rutledge. Washington ed. ii, 180. Ford ed., iv, 410.
(P. 1787)

6192. OLIVE, Blessing to the poor.—

After bread, I know no blessing to the poor, in
this world, equal to that of oil.—
To Ralph Izard. Ford ed., v, 128.
(P. 1789)

6193. OLIVE, Cultivation of.—

The olive
is a tree the least known in America, and yet
the most worthy of being known. Of all the
gifts of heaven to man, it is next to the most
precious, if it be not the most precious. Perhaps
it may claim a preference even to bread,
because there is such an infinitude of vegetables,
which it renders a proper and comfortable
nourishment. In passing the Alps at the
Col de Tende, where they are mere masses of
rock, wherever there happens to be a little soil,
there are a number of olive trees, and a village
supported by them. Take away these trees,
and the same ground in corn would not support
a single family. A pound of oil which can
be bought for three or four pence sterling, is
equivalent to many pounds of flesh, by the
quantity of vegetables it will prepare, and render
fit and comfortable food. Without this
tree, the country of Provence and territory of
Genoa would not support one-half, perhaps not
one-third, their present inhabitants. The nature
of the soil is of little consequence if it be
dry. The trees are planted from fifteen to
twenty feet apart, and when tolerably good,
will yield fifteen or twenty pounds of oil yearly,
one with another. There are trees which yield
much more. They begin to render good crops
at twenty years old, and last till killed by cold,
which happens at some time or other, even in
their best positions in France. But they put
out again from their roots. In Italy, I am told
they have trees two hundred years old.—
To William Drayton. Washington ed. ii, 199.
(P. 1787)

6194. OLIVE, Heaven's gift.—

The olive
tree is assuredly the richest gift of heaven. I
can scarcely except bread.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ii, 266. Ford ed., iv, 443.
(P. 1787)

6195. OLIVE, Importing trees.—

I wish
the cargo of olive plants * * * may arrive
to you in good order. This is the object
for the patriots of your country [South Carolina];
for that tree once established there will
be the source of the greatest wealth and happiness.
But to insure success, perseverance May
be necessary. An essay or two may fail. I
think, therefore, that an annual sum should be
subscribed, and it need not be a great one.—
To E. Rutledge. Washington ed. iii, 110.
(P. 1789)

6196. OLIVE, Importing trees.—[continued].

I have arrived at Baltimore
from Marseilles forty olive trees of the
best kind, and a box of seed, the latter to raise
stocks, and the former, cuttings to enfraft on
the stocks. I am ordering them on instantly
to Charleston. * * * Another cargo is on
its way from Bordeaux, so that I hope to secure
the commencement of this culture, and


Page 659
from the best species. Sugar and oil will be no
mean addition to the articles of our culture.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 255. Ford ed., v, 327.
(Pa., 1791)

6197. OLIVE, Importing trees.—[further continued].

I have one hundred olive
trees, and some caper plants from Marseilles,
which I am sending on to Charleston where
* * * they have already that number living
of those I had before sent them.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 357. Ford ed., v, 514.
(Pa., 1792)

6198. OLIVE, Importing trees.—[further continued] .

It is now twenty-five
years since I sent my southern fellow citizens
two shipments (about 500 plants) of the olive
tree of Aix, the finest olives in the world. If
any of them still exist, it is merely as a curiosity
in their gardens; not a single orchard of
them has been planted.—
To James Ronaldson. Washington ed. vi, 92. Ford ed., ix, 371.
(M. Jan. 1813)

6199. OLIVE, Oil.—

The oil of the olive
is an article the consumption of which will always
keep pace with its production. Raise it,
and it begets its own demand. Little is carried
to America because Europe has it not to
spare. We, therefore, have not learned the
use of it. But cover the Southern States with
it, and every man will become a consumer of
oil, within whose reach it can be brought in
point of price.—
To William Drayton. Washington ed. ii, 200.
(P. 1787)

6200. OLIVE, Planting trees.—

the owner of slaves to view it only as the
means of bettering their condition, how much
would he better that by planting one of those
trees for every slave he possessed! Having
been myself an eye-witness to the blessings
which this tree sheds on the poor, I never had
my wishes so kindled for the introduction of
any article of new culture into our own country.—
To William Drayton. Washington ed. ii, 201.
(P. 1787)

6201. OLIVE, South Carolina and.—

If the memory of those persons is held in great
respect in South Carolina who introduced there
the culture of rice, a plant which sows life
and death with almost equal hand, what obligations
would be due to him who should introduce
the olive tree, and set the example of its
To William Drayton. Washington ed. ii, 200.
(P. 1787)

6202. OLIVE, South Carolina and.—[continued].

I am gratified by letters
from South Carolina, which inform me that in
consequence of the information I had given
them on the subject of the olive tree, and the
probability of its succeeding with them, several
rich individuals propose to begin its culture
To M. de Bertrous. Washington ed. ii, 359.
(P. 1788)

6203. OLIVE, South Carolina and.—[further continued].

This is the most interesting
plant in the world for South Carolina
and Georgia. You will see in various places
[on your tour] that it gives being to whole villages
in places where there is not soil enough
to subsist a family by the means of any other
culture. But consider it as the means of bettering
the condition of your slaves in South
Carolina. See in the poorer parts of France
and Italy what a number of vegetables are rendered
eatable by the aid of a little oil, which
would otherwise be useless.—
To William Rutledge. Washington ed. ii, 414.
(P. 1788)

6204. OLIVE, Substitute for.—

I lately
received from Colonel Few in New York, a
bottle of the oil of Beni, believed to be a
sesamum. I did not believe there existed so
perfect a substitute for olive oil. Like that of
Florence, it has no taste, and is perhaps rather
more limpid. A bushel of seed yields three
gallons of oil; and Governor Milledge, of
Georgia, says the plant will grow wherever the
Palmi Christi will.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. v, 225.
(W. 1808)

6205. OPINION, Avowal of.—

I never
had an opinion in politics or religion which
I was afraid to own.—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 587. Ford ed., v, 78.
(P. 1789)

6206. OPINION, Avowal of.—[continued].

There is, perhaps, a degree
of duty to avow a change of opinion
called for by a change of circumstances.—
To Benjamin Austin. Washington ed. vi, 553. Ford ed., x, 11.
(M. 1816)

6207. OPINION, Coercion.—

opinion to coercion: whom will you make
your inquisitors? Fallible men; governed by
bad passions, by private as well as public
reasons. And why subject it to coercion?
To produce uniformity? But is uniformity of
opinion desirable? No more than of face
and stature.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 401. Ford ed., iii, 264.

6208. OPINION, Collisions of.—

I wish
to avoid all collisions of opinion with all mankind.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 517. Ford ed., x, 4.
(M. 1816)

6209. OPINION, Compromise of.—

[members of Congress] think that independence
requires them to follow always their own
opinion, without respect for that of others.
This has never been my opinion, nor my
practice, when I have been of that or any
other body. Differing, on a particular question,
from those whom I knew to be of the
same political principles with myself, and
with whom I generally thought and acted,
a consciousness of the fallibility of the human
mind, and of my own in particular, with a respect
for the accumulated judgment of my
friends, has induced me to suspect erroneous
impressions in myself, to suppose my own
opinion wrong, and to act with them on
theirs. The want of this spirit of compromise,
or of self-distrust, proudly, but falsely called
independence, is what gives the federalists
victories which they could never obtain, if
these brethren could learn to respect the opinions
of their friends more than of their
enemies, and prevents many able and honest
men from doing all the good they otherwise
might do. These considerations * * * have often quieted my own conscience in
voting and acting on the judgment of others
against my own.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 591. Ford ed., ix, 315.
(M. 1811)

6210. OPINION, Differences of.—

if we differ in principle more than I believe
we do, you and I know too well the texture
of the human mind, and the slipperiness of
human reason, to consider differences of opinion
otherwise than differences of form or
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 273. Ford ed., vii, 335.
(Pa., 1799)

6211. OPINION, Differences of.—[continued].

In every country where
man is free to think and to speak, differences


Page 660
of opinion will arise from difference of perception,
and the imperfection of reason; but
these differences when permitted, as in this
happy country, to purify themselves by free
discussion, are but as passing clouds overspreading
our land transiently, and leaving
our horizon more bright and serene.—
To Benjamin Waring. Washington ed. iv, 378.
(W. March. 1801)

6212. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued].

Every difference of opinion
is not a difference of principle. We have
called by different names brethren of the
same principle. We are all republicans: we
are all federalists.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 2. Ford ed., viii, 3.

6213. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued] .

I lament sincerely that unessential differences of opinion should ever
have been deemed sufficient to interdict half
the society from the rights and the blessings
of self-government, to proscribe them as
characters unworthy of every trust.—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 405. Ford ed., viii, 70.
(W. July. 1801)

6214. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued].

I tolerate with the utmost
latitude the right of others to differ
from me in opinion without imputing to them
criminality. I know too well the weakness
and uncertainty of human reason to wonder
at its different results.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 562. Ford ed., viii, 312.
(M. 1804)

6215. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued] .

That in a free government
there should be differences of opinion
as to public measures and the conduct of
those who direct them, is to be expected.
It is much, however, to be lamented, that
these differences should be indulged at a
crisis which calls for the undivided counsels
and energies of our country, and in a form
calculated to encourage our enemies in the
refusal of justice, and to force their country
into war as the only resource for obtaining
R. to A. New London Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 151.

6216. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued].

That differences of opinion
should arise among men, on politics, on
religion, and on every other topic of human
inquiry, and that these should be freely expressed
in a country where all our faculties
are free, is to be expected. But these valuable
privileges are much perverted when permitted
to disturb the harmony of social intercourse,
and to lessen the tolerance of opinion.—
R. to A. Citizens of Washington. Washington ed. viii, 158.

6217. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued] .

Some friends have left
me by the way, seeking by a different political
path, the same object, their country's good,
which I pursued with the crowd along the
common highway. It is a satisfaction to me
that I was not the first to leave them.—
To David Campbell. Washington ed. v, 499.
(M. 1810)

6218. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued].

I have never thought
that a difference in political, any more than
in religious opinions, should disturb the
friendly intercourse of society.—
To David Campbell. Washington ed. v, 499.
(M. 1810)

6219. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued].

With respect to impressions
from any differences of political opinion,
whether major or minor, * * * I have
none. I left them all behind me on quitting
Washington, where alone the state of things
had, till then, required some attention to
them. Nor was that the lightest part of the
load I was there disburthened of; and could
I permit myself to believe that with the
change of circumstances a corresponding
change had taken place in the minds of those
who differed from me, and that I now stand
in the peace and good will of my fellow-citizens
generally, it would, indeed, be a
sweetening ingredient in the last dregs of my
To John Nicholas. Washington ed. vii, 143. Ford ed., x, 148.
(M. 1819)

6220. OPINION, Differences of.—[further continued].

Difference of opinion
was never, with me, a motive of separation
from a friend.—
To President Monroe. Ford ed., x, 298.
(M. 1824)

6221. [further continued] .

Men, according to their
constitutions and the circumstances in which
they are placed, differ honestly in opinion.
Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them
what you please. Others are tories, serviles,
aristocrats, &c.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 391. Ford ed., x, 334.
(M. 1825)

6222. OPINION, Freedom of.—

The will
of the people is the only legitimate foundation
of any government, and to protect its
free expression should be our first object.—
To Benjamin Waring. Washington ed. iv, 379.
(W. March. 1801)

6223. OPINION, Freedom of.—[continued].

Opinion, and the just
maintenance of it, shall never be a crime in
my view; nor bring injury on the individual.—
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 389. Ford ed., viii, 39.
(W. March. 1801)

6224. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued].

The freedom of opinion,
and the reasonable maintenance of it, is not
a crime, and ought not to occasion injury.—
To Gideon Granger. Ford ed., viii, 44.
(W. March. 1801)

6225. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued] .

The right of opinion shall
suffer no invasion from me. Those [officeholders] who have acted well have nothing
to fear, however they may have differed
from me in opinion: those who have done ill,
however, have nothing to hope; nor shall I
fail to do justice lest it should be ascribed
to that difference of opinion.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 391. Ford ed., viii, 42.
(W. March. 1801)

6226. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued].

The legislative powers
of government reach actions only and not
Reply to Baptist Address. Washington ed. viii, 113.

6227. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued] .

Where thought is free in
its range, we need never fear to hazard what
is good in itself.—
To Mr. Ogilvie. Washington ed. v, 604.
(M. 1811)

6228. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued].

Difference of opinion
leads to enquiry, and enquiry to truth; and
I am sure * * * we both value too
much the freedom of opinion sanctioned by


Page 661
our Constitution, not to cherish its exercise
even where in opposition to ourselves.—
To Mr. Wendover. Washington ed. vi, 447.
(M. 1815)

6229. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued] .

The amendments [to the
constitution of Massachusetts] of which we
have as yet heard, prove the advance of liberalism
* * * and encourage the hope that
the human mind will some day get back to
the freedom it enjoyed two thousand years
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 199. Ford ed., x, 185.
(M. 1821)

6230. OPINION, Freedom of.—[further continued]..

I respect the right of free
opinion too much to urge an uneasy pressure
of [my own] opinion on [others]. Time and
advancing science will ripen us all in its
course, and reconcile all to wholesome and
necessary changes.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Ford ed., x, 320.
(M. 1824)

6231. OPINION, Government and.—

Government is founded in opinion and confidence.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 121. Ford ed., i, 204.

6232. OPINION, Individual.—

I never
submitted the whole system of my opinions
to the creed of any party of men whatever,
in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in
anything else, where I was capable of thinking
for myself. Such an addiction is the
last degradation of a free and moral agent.
If I could not go to heaven but with a party,
I would not go there at all.—
To Francis Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 585. Ford ed., v, 76.
(P. 1789)

6233. OPINION, Legal.—

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)

6234. OPINION, Majority and.—

I readily
suppose my opinion wrong, when opposed
by the majority.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 447. Ford ed., v, 48.
(P. 1788)

6235. OPINION, Power of.—

Opinion is
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 525.
(M. 1816)

6236. OPINION, Right of.—

I may sometimes
differ in opinion from some of my
friends, from those whose views are as pure
and sound as my own. I censure none, but
do homage to every one's right of opinion.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 577. Ford ed., ix, 314.
(M. 1811)

6237. OPINION, Sacrifices of.—

If we do
not learn to sacrifice small differences of opinion,
we can never act together. Every man
cannot have his way in all things. If his
own opinion prevails at some times, he should
acquiesce on seeing that of others preponderate
at other times. Without this mutual disposition
we are disjointed individuals, but
not a society.—
To John Dickinson. Ford ed., viii, 76.
(W. July. 1801)

6238. OPINION, Sacrifices of.—[continued].

I see too many proofs of
the imperfection of human reason, to entertain
wonder or intolerance at any difference
of opinion on any subject; and acquiesce in
that difference as easily as on a difference of
feature or form; experience having long
taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices
of opinion among those who are to
act together for any common object, and the
expediency of doing what good we can, when
we cannot do all we would wish.—
To John Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 518. Ford ed., viii, 282.
(W. Dec. 1803)

6239. OPINION, Sacrifices of.—[further continued].

To the principles of union
I sacrifice all minor differences of opinion.
These, like differences of face, are a law of
our nature, and should be viewed with the
same tolerance.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 603.
(M. 1811)

6240. OPINION, Uniformity.—

the State should take into head that there
should be an uniformity of countenance.
Men would be obliged to put an artificial
bump or swelling here, a patch there, &c., but
this would be merely hypocritical, or if the
alternative was given of wearing a mask,
ninety-nine one-hundredths must immediately
mask. Would this add to the beauty of nature?
Why otherwise in opinions?—
Notes on Religion. Ford ed., ii, 95.

6241. OPINION, Uniformity.—[continued].

Is uniformity of opinion
desirable? No more than that of face and
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 401. Ford ed., iii, 264.

6242. OPINION, War an—

If we are
forced into war [with France] we must give
up differences of opinion, and unite as one
man to defend our country.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 295.
(Pa., 1799)

6243. OPINION (Public), Administration and.—

Ministers * * * cannot in
any country be uninfluenced by the voice of
the people.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 46.
(P. 1786)

6244. OPINION (Public), Advantageous.—

The advantage of public opinion is
like that of the weather-gauge in a naval
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 408. Ford ed., ix, 496.
(M. 1815)

6245. OPINION (Public), Attention to.—

More attention should be paid to the
general opinion.—
To George Mason. Washington ed. iii, 209. Ford ed., v, 275.
(Pa., 1791)

6246. OPINION (Public), Censorship by.—

Public opinion is a censor before which
the most exalted tremble for their future as
well as present fame.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 524.
(M. 1816)

6247. OPINION (Public), Censorship by.—[continued].

The public judgment will
correct false reasonings and opinions, on a
full hearing of all parties; and no other
definite line can be drawn between the inestimable
liberty of the press and its demoralizing
licentiousness. If there be still
improprieties which this rule would not restrain,
its supplement must be sought in the
censorship of public opinion.—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 44. Ford ed., viii, 346.


Page 662

6248. OPINION (Public), Changes in.—

When public opinion changes, it is with the
rapidity of thought.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 516. Ford ed., x, 3.
(M. 1816)

6249. OPINION (Public), Conforming to.—

I think it a duty in those intrusted with
the administration of their affairs to conform
themselves to the decided choice of their constituents.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 404. Ford ed., iv, 89.
(P. 1785)

6250. OPINION (Public), Degeneracy.—

It is the manners and spirit of a people
which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy
in these is a canker which soon eats
to the heart of its laws and constitution.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 406. Ford ed., iii, 269.

6251. OPINION (Public), Force of.—

The public mind [in France] is manifestly
advancing on the abusive prerogatives of
their governors, and bearing them down. No
force in the government can withstand this
in the long run.—
To Comte de Moustier. Washington ed. ii, 389. Ford ed., v, 12.
(P. 1788)

6252. OPINION (Public), Force of.—[continued].

A King [Louis XVI.] with two hundred thousand men at his orders,
is disarmed by force of public opinion
and want of money.—
To Madame de Brehan. Washington ed. ii, 591. Ford ed., v, 79.
(P. 1789)

6253. OPINION (Public), Force of.—[further continued].

The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with
the given fulcrum, moves the world.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vi, 405.
(M. 1814)

6254. OPINION (Public), Force of.—[further continued] .

The spirit of our people
would oblige even a despot to govern us republicanly.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

6255. OPINION (Public), Force of.—[further continued].

The force of public opinion
cannot be resisted, when permitted freely
to be expressed. The agitation it produces
must be submitted to. It is necessary, to
keep the waters pure.—
To the Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 325. Ford ed., x, 280.
(M. 1823)

6256. OPINION (Public), Indian.—

I am
convinced that those societies (as the Indians )
which live without government, enjoy
in their general mass an infinitely greater
degree of happiness, than those who live under
the European governments. Among the
former, public opinion is in the place of law,
and restrains morals as powerfully as laws
ever did anywhere.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 100. Ford ed., iv, 360.
(P. 1787)

6257. OPINION (Public), Inquisition of.—

This country, which has given to the world the example of physical liberty, owes
to it that of moral emancipation also, for as
yet it is but nominal with us. The inquisition
of public opinion overwhelms in practice
the freedom asserted by the laws in theory.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 200. Ford ed., x, 185.
(M. 1821)

6258. OPINION (Public), Nourish.—

Secure self-government by the republicanism
of our constitution, as well as by the spirit of
the people; and nourish and perpetuate that
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 13. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)

6259. OPINION (Public), Preserving.—

The basis of our governments being the opinion
of the people, the very first object should
be to keep that right.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 100. Ford ed., iv, 359.
(P. 1787)

6260. OPINION (Public), Respect for.—

When, in the course of human events, it becomes
necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected
them with another, and to assume among the
powers of the earth the separate and equal
station to which the laws of nature and of
nature's God entitle them, a decent respect
to the opinions of mankind requires that
they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.—
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.

6261. OPINION (Public), Respect for.—[continued].

There are certainly persons
in all the departments who are driving too fast. Government being founded on opinion,
the opinion of the public, even when it is
wrong, ought to be respected to a certain degree.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., v, 282.
(Pa., 1791)

6262. OPINION (Public), Respect for.—[further continued].

We have believed we
should afford England an opportunity of
making reparation, as well from justice and
the usage of nations, as a respect to the opinion
of an impartial world, whose approbation
and esteem are always of value.—
To W. H. Cabell, Washington ed. v, 142. Ford ed., ix, 90.
(W. July. 1807)

6263. OPINION (Public), Respect for.—[further continued] .

A regard for reputation,
and the judgment of the world, may sometimes
be felt where conscience is dormant.—
To Edward Livingston. Washington ed. vii, 404.
(M. 1825)

6264. OPINION (Public), Revolution by.—

A complete revolution in the French
government has, within the space of two
years, been effected by the mere force of
public opinion, aided, indeed, by the want of
money which the dissipations of the Court
had brought on.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 10. Ford ed., v, 86.
(P. 1789)

6265. OPINION (Public), Supremacy.—

Public opinion, that lord of the universe.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 157.
(M. 1820)

6266. OPINION (Public), Wisdom of.—

It is rare that the public sentiment decides
immorally or unwisely, and the individual
who differs from it ought to distrust and examine
well his own opinion.—
To William Findley. Ford ed., viii, 27.
(W. March. 1801)

6267. OPINIONS, Canvassing.—

In canvassing
my opinions you have done what every
man has a right to do, and it is for the good
of society that that right should be freely
To Noah Webster. Washington ed. iii, 201. Ford ed., v, 254.
(Pa., 1790)


Page 663

6268. OPINIONS, Exchange of.—

I shall
be happy, at all times, in an intercommunication
of sentiments with you, believing that
the dispositions of the different parts of our
country have been considerably misrepresented
and misunderstood in each part, as to
the other, and that nothing but good can result
from an exchange of information and
opinions between those whose circumstances
and morals admit no doubt of the integrity
of their views.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 174. Ford ed., vii, 123.
(Pa., 1797)

6269. OPINIONS, Formation.—

opinions and belief of men depend not on
their own will, but follow involuntarily the
evidence proposed to their minds.—
Statute of Religious Freedom. Ford ed., ii, 237.

6270. OPINIONS, Government and.—

The opinions of men are not the object of
civil government, nor under its jurisdiction.—
Statute of Religious Freedom. Ford ed., ii, 238.

6271. OPINIONS, Moral facts.—

constitute moral facts, as important as
physical ones to the attention of the public
To Richard Rush. Washington ed. vii, 183.
(M. 1820)

6272. OPINIONS, Propagation of.—

compel a man to furnish contributions of
money for the propagation of opinions which
he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.—
Statute of Religious Freedom. Ford ed., ii, 238.

6273. OPINIONS, Revealing.—

The sentiments
of men are known not only by what
they receive, but what they reject.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 19. Ford ed., i, 28.

6274. OPINIONS, Social intercourse and.—

Opinions, which are equally honest on both sides, should not affect personal esteem
or social intercourse.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 146.
(M. 1813)

6275. OPINIONS, Strength of sound.—

If * * * opinions are sound * * * they will prevail by their own weight, without
the aid of names.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 35. Ford ed., x, 45.
(M. 1816)

6276. OPINIONS, Vindication of.—

My occupations do not permit me to undertake
to vindicate all my opinions, nor have they
importance enough to merit it.—
To Noah Webster. Washington ed. iii, 203. Ford ed., v, 257.
(Pa., 17901790)gt;

6277. OPPOSITION, To Administrations.—

A quondam colleague of yours, who
had acquired some distinction and favor in
the public eye, is throwing it away by endeavoring
to obtain his end by rallying an
opposition to the administration. This error
has already ruined some among us, and will
ruin others who do not perceive that it is
the steady abuse of power in other governments
which renders that of opposition always
the popular party.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., x, 106.
(M. 1818)

6278. OPPOSITION, Continual.—

In the Middle and Southern States, as great an
union of sentiment has now taken place as is
perhaps desirable. For as there will always
be an opposition, I believe it had better be
from avowed monarchists than republicans.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 536. Ford ed., viii, 297.
(W. March. 1804)

6279. OPPOSITION, Crushing.—

I have
removed those [officeholders] who maintained
an active and zealous opposition to
the government.—
To John Page. Washington ed. v, 136. Ford ed., ix, 119.
(W. 1807)

6280. OPPOSITION, Of enemies.—

The clouds which have appeared for some
time to be gathering around us, have given
me anxiety lest an enemy, always on the
watch, always prompt and firm, and acting
in well-disciplined phalanx, should find an
opening to dissipate hopes, with the loss of
which I would wish that of life itself.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 603.
(M. 1811)

6281. OPPOSITION, Federal elements.—

I have never dreamed that all opposition
was to cease. The clergy who have missed
their union with the State, the Anglomen,
who have missed their union with England,
and the political adventurers, who have lost
the chance of swindling and plunder in the
waste of public money, will never cease to
bawl, on the breaking up of their sanctuary.
But among the people, the schism is healed,
and with tender treatment the wound will
not reopen. Their quondam leaders have
been astounded with the suddenness of the
desertion; and their silence and appearance
of acquiescence have proceeded not from a
thought of joining us, but the uncertainty
what ground to take.—
To Gideon Granger. Washington ed. iv, 395. Ford ed., viii, 48.
(W. May. 1801)

6282. OPPOSITION, Federalist.—

federalists meant by crippling my rigging to
leave me an unwieldy hulk at the mercy of
the elements.—
To Theodore Foster. Ford ed., viii, 51.
(W. May. 1801)

6283. OPPOSITION, Federalist.—[continued].

Their rallying point is
“war with France and Spain, and alliance
with Great Britain”; and everything is
wrong with them which checks their new
ardor to be fighting for the liberties of mankind;
on the sea always excepted. There,
one nation is to monopolize all the liberties of
the others.—
To Mr. Bidwell. Washington ed. v, 15.
(W. 1806)

6284. OPPOSITION, Federalist.—[further continued].

I should suspect error
where the federalists found no fault.—
To Mr. Bidwell. Washington ed. v, 15.
(W. 1806)

6285. OPPOSITION, Fighting.—

duty required it, I met opposition with a
firm and fearless step.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 136. Ford ed., x, 142.

6286. OPPOSITION, Malicious.—

is nothing against which human ingenuity
will not be able to find something to say.—
To Gideon Granger. Washington ed. iv, 396. Ford ed., viii 48.
(W. 1801)


Page 664

6287. OPPRESSION, Colonies and.—

series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished
period, and pursued unalterably through
every change of ministers, too plainly prove
a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing
us to slavery.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 130. Ford ed., i, 435.

6288. OPPRESSION, Nations and.—

is, indeed, an animating thought that, while
we are securing the rights of ourselves and
our posterity, we are pointing out the way
to struggling nations who wish, like us, to
emerge from their tyrannies also. Heaven
help their struggles, and lead them, as it has
done us, triumphantly through them.—
Reply to Address. Washington ed. iii, 128. Ford ed., v, 147.

6289. OPTICS, Laws of.—

To distinct vision
it is necessary not only that the visual
angle should be sufficient for the powers of the
human eye, but that there should be sufficient
light also on the object of observation. In
microscopic observations, the enlargement of
the angle of vision may be more indulged,
because auxiliary light may be concentrated
on the object by concave mirrors. But in the
case of the heavenly bodies we can have no
such aid. The moon, for example, receives
from the sun but a fixed quality of light. In
proportion as you magnify her surface, you
spread that fixed quantity over a greater space,
dilute it more, and render the object more dim.
If you increase her magnitude infinitely, you
dim her face infinitely also, and she becomes
invisible. When under total eclipse, all the
direct rays of the sun being intercepted, she
is seen but faintly, and would not be seen at
all but for the refraction of the solar rays in
their passage through our atmosphere. In a
night of extreme darkness, a house or a mountain
is not seen, as not having light enough to
impress the limited sensibility of our eye. I do
suppose in fact that Herschel has availed himself
of the properties of the parabolic mirror to
the point beyond which its effect would be
countervailed by the diminution of light on the
object. I barely suggest this element, not presented
to view in your letter, as one which must
enter into the estimate of the improved telescope
you propose.—
To Thomas Skidman. Washington ed. vii, 259.
(M. 1822)

6290. ORATORY, Art in.—

In a republican
nation, whose citizens are to be led by
reason and persuasion, and not by force, the
art of reasoning becomes of first importance.
In this line antiquity has left us the finest
models for imitation; and he who studies and
imitates them most nearly, will nearest approach
the perfection of the art. Among these
I should consider the speeches of Livy, Sallust
and Tacitus as preeminent specimens of logic,
taste, and that sententious brevity which, using
not a word to spare, leave not a moment for
inattention to the hearer. Amplification is the
vice of modern oratory. It is an insult to an
assembly of reasonable men, disgusting and revolting
instead of persuading. Speeches measured
by the hour die with the hour.—
To David Harding. Washington ed. vii, 347.
(M. 1824)

6291. ORATORY, Models for.—

models for that oratory which is to produce
the greatest effect by securing the attention
of hearers and readers, are to be found in Livy,
Tacitus, Sallust, and most assuredly not in
Cicero. I doubt if there is a man in the world
who can now read one of his orations through
but as a piece of task work.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. v, 490. Ford ed., ix, 267.
(M. 1810)

6292. ORATORY, Modern and Ancient.—

The short, the nervous, the unanswerable
speech of Carnot, in 1803, on the proposition
to declare Bonapatte consul for life,—this creed
of republicanism should be well translated, and
placed in the hands and heart of every friend
to the rights of self-government.—
To Abraham Small. Washington ed. vi, 347.
(M. 1814)

6293. ORATORY, Modern and Ancient.—[continued].

The finest thing, in my
opinion, which the English language has produced,
is the defence of Eugene Aram, spoken
by himself at the bar of the York assizes, in
To Abraham Small. Washington ed. vi, 347.
(M. 1814)

6294. ORATORY, Modern and Ancient.—[further continued].

I consider the speeches
of Aram and Carnot, and that of Logan, as
worthily standing in a line with those of Scipio
and Hannibal in Livy, and of Cato and Cæsar
in Sallust.—
To Abraham Small. Washington ed. vi, 347.
(M. 1814)

6295. ORATORY, Scathing.—

Lord Chatham's
reply to Horace Walpole, on the Seamen's
bill, in the House of Commons, in 1740,
is one of the severest which history has recorded.—
To Abraham Small. Washington ed. vi, 346.
(M. 1814)

6296. ORDER, Liberty 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)

6297. ORDER, Maintenance of.—

The life of the citizen is never to be endangered,
but as the last melancholy effort for the
maintenance of order and obedience to the
laws. [374]
To the Governors of the States. Washington ed. v, 414. Ford ed., ix, 238.
(W. 1809)


From a letter in regard to the employment of the

6298. ORDER, Preservation of.—

man being at his ease, feels an interest in
the preservation of order, and comes forth to
preserve it at the first call of the magistrate.—
To M. Pictet. Washington ed. iv, 463.
(W. 1803)

6299. ORDERS IN COUNCIL, Repeal of.—

The British ministry has been driven from its Algerine system, not by any remaining
morality in the people, but by their unsteadiness
under severe trial. But whencesoever
it comes, I rejoice in it as the triumph
of our forbearing and yet persevering system.
It will lighten your anxieties, take from cabal
its most fertile ground of war, will give us
peace during your time, and by the complete
extinguishment of our public debt, open upon
us the noblest application of revenue that has
ever been exhibited by any nation.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 443.
(M. April. 1809)
See Berlin Decrees and Embargo.


See Lewis and Clark Expedition.

6300. ORLEANS (Duke of), Unprincipled.—

The Duke d'Orleans is as unprincipled
as his followers; sunk in debaucheries
of the lowest kind, and incapable of quitting
them for business; not a fool, yet not head
enough to conduct anything.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 95.
(P. 1789)


Page 665

6301. ORLEANS (Duke of), Vicious.—

He is a man of moderate understanding, of no
principle, absorbed in low vice, and incapable
of extracting himself from the filth of that,
to direct anything else. His name and his
money, therefore, are mere tools in the hands
of those who are duping him. Mirabeau is their
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 98. Ford ed., v, 109.
(P. 1789)

6302. OSSIAN, Poems of.—

These pieces
have been and will, I think, during my life,
continue to be to me the sources of daily and
exalted pleasures. The tender and the sublime
emotions of the mind were never before so
wrought up by the human hand. I am not
ashamed to own that I think this rude bard of
the North the greatest poet that has ever existed.
Merely for the pleasure of reading his
works, I am become desirous of learning the
language in which he sung, and of possessing
his songs in their original form.—
To Charles McPherson. Washington ed. i, 195. Ford ed., i, 413.
(A. 1773)

6303. OSSIAN, Poems of.—[continued].

If not ancient, it is equal
to the best morsels of antiquity.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 326. Ford ed., x, 282.
(M. 1823)

6304. OSTENTATION, Good deeds and.—

What is proposed, though but an act of
duty, may be perverted into one of ostentation,
but malice will always find bad motives for
good actions. Shall we therefore never do
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 524.
(M. 1810)

— OUTACITE, Indian Chief.—

See Indians.