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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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7686. SACRIFICES, Necessary.—

Temporary sacrifices are necessary to save permanent rights.—
To Dr. William Eustis. Washington ed. v, 411. Ford ed., ix, 236.
(W. 1809)

7687. SACRIFICES, Rewarding.—

It is
for the public interest to encourage sacrifices
and services, by rewarding them, and they
should weigh to a certain point, in the decision
between candidates.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 503.
(P. 1785)

7688. SAFETY, Rights and.—

It would
be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in
the men of our choice to silence our fears
for the safety of our rights.—
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 470. Ford ed., vii, 303.

7689. SAFETY, Union and.—

Our safety
rests on the preservation of our Union.—
To the Rhode Island Assembly. Washington ed. iv, 397.
(W. May. 1801)

7690. SALARIES, Adequate.—

were pleased to order me an advance of two
quarters' salary. At that time, I supposed
that I might refund it, or spare so much from
my expenses, by the time the third quarter
became due. Probably they might expect the
same. But it has been impossible. The expense
of my outfit, though I have taken it up,
on a scale as small as could be admitted, has
been very far beyond what I had conceived.
I have, therefore, not only been unable to refund
the advance ordered, but been obliged
to go beyond it. I wished to have avoided
so much as was occasioned by the purchase
of furniture. But those who hire furniture
asked me forty per cent. a year for the use
of it. It was better to buy, therefore; and
this article, clothes, carriage, &c., have
amounted to considerably more than the advance
ordered. Perhaps, it may be thought
reasonable to allow me an outfit. The usage
of every other nation has established this,
and reason really pleads for it. I do not wish
to make a shilling: but only my expenses to
be defrayed, and in a moderate style. On
the most moderate, which the reputation or
interest of those I serve would admit, it will
take me several years to liquidate the advances
for my outfit. I mention this to enable
you to understand the necessities which
have obliged me to call for more money than
was probably expected, and, understanding
them, to explain them to others. [440]
To Samuel Osgood. Washington ed. i, 452.
(P. 1785)


During his public life Jefferson sometimes lived
on his salary, sometimes exceeded it, and only while
he was Vice-President saved anything from it.—
Morse's Life of Jefferson, 335.

7691. SALARIES, Competent.—

the [State] judiciary respectable by every
means possible, to wit firm tenure in office,
[and] competent salaries.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. iii, 315. Ford ed., v, 410.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

7692. SALARIES, Foreign Ministers.—

The bill on the intercourse with foreign nations
restrains the President from allowing
to Ministers Plenipotentiaries, or to Congress,
more than $9,000, and $4,500 for their
“personal services, and other expenses”.
This definition of the object for which the
allowance is provided appearing vague, the
Secretary of State thought it his duty to confer
with the gentlemen heretofore employed
as ministers in Europe, to obtain from them,
in aid of his own information, an enumeration
of the expenses incident to these offices,
and their opinion which of them would be
included within the fixed salary, and which
would be entitled to be charged separately.
He, therefore, asked a conference with the


Page 788
Vice-President, who was acquainted with the
residences of London and the Hague, and the
Chief Justice, who was acquainted with that
of Madrid. The Vice-President, Chief Justice,
and Secretary of State concurred in the
opinion that the salaries named by the act
are much below those of the same grade at
the courts of Europe, and less than the public
good requires they should be. Consequently,
that the expenses not included within the
definition of the law, should be allowed as an
additional charge. [441]
Opinion on Salaries. Washington ed. vii, 501.


There is an impression that we owe to Jefferson
the system of paying extravagantly low salaries to
high men. Not so. He was far too good a republican
to favor an idea so aristocratic. Make offices desirable,
he says, if you wish to get superior men to fill
them. * * * There is nothing in the writings of
Jefferson which gives any show of support to temptation
salaries or to ignorant suffrage.—James Parton's
Life of Jefferson, 378.

7693. SALARIES, Increasing.—

It * * * [is] inconsistent with the principles of civil
liberty, and contrary to the natural rights
of the other members of the society, that
any body of men therein should have authority
to enlarge their own powers, prerogatives,
or emoluments without restraint, the
General Assembly cannot at their own will
increase the allowance which their members
are to draw from the public treasury for
their expenses while in assembly: but to enable
them to do so on application to the body
of the people * * * is necessary.—
Adequate Allowance Bill. Ford ed., ii, 165.

7694. SALARIES, Legislators'.—

It is
just that members of General Assembly,
delegated by the people to transact for them
the legislative business, should, while attending
that business, have their reasonable
sustenance defrayed, dedicating to the public
service their time and labors freely and without
account: and it is also expedient that the
public councils should not be deprived of the
aid of good and able men, who might be
deterred from entering into them by the insufficiency
of their private fortunes to [meet] the extraordinary expenses they must necessarily
Adequate Allowance Bill. Ford ed., ii, 165.

7695. SALARIES, Multiplication of.—

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

7696. SALARIES, Official.—

No salaries,
or perquisites, shall be given to any
officer but by some future act of the Legislature.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 28.
(June. 1776)

7697. SALARIES, Official.—[continued].

No salaries shall be given
to the Administrator, members of the legislative
houses, judges of the Court of Appeals,
judges of the County Courts, or other inferior
jurisdictions, privy counsellors, or delegates
to the American Congress; but the
reasonable expenses of the Administrator,
members of the House of Representatives,
judges of the Court of Appeals, privy counsellors,
and delegates for subsistence, while
acting in the duties of their office, may be
borne by the public, if the Legislature shall
so direct.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 28.
(June. 1776)

7698. SALARIES, Reduction of.—

I remark
[in your address to the Legislature] the phenomenon of a chief magistrate recommending
the reduction of his own compensation.
This is a solecism of which the
wisdom of our late Congress cannot be accused.—
To Governor Plumer. Washington ed. vii, 19.
(M. 1816)

7699. SALT WATER, Distillation.—

The obtaining fresh from salt water was for
ages considered as an important desideratum
for the use of navigators. The process for doing
this by simple distillation is so efficacious,
the erecting an extempore still with such utensils
as are found on board of every ship, is so
practicable, as to authorize the assertion that
this desideratum is satisfied to a very useful
degree. [442] But though this has been done for
upwards of thirty years, though its reality has
been established by the actual experience of
several vessels which have had recourse to it,
yet neither the fact nor the process is known
to the mass of seamen, to whom it would be the
most useful, and for whom it was principally
wanted. The Secretary of State is, therefore,
of opinion that since the subject has now
been brought under observation, it should be
made the occasion of disseminating its knowledge
generally and effectually among the seafaring
citizens of the United States.—
Report to Congress. Washington ed. vii, 459.


The House of Representatives had referred to Jefferson
the petition of Jacob Isaacs of Rhode Island,
who claimed to have discovered a method of converting
salt water into fresh. Isaacs desired the government
to buy his secret.—Editor.

— SANCHO (Ignatius).—

See Negroes,

7700. SAN DOMINGO, Commerce with.—

A clause in a bill now under debate for
opening commerce with Toussaint and his black
subjects, now in open rebellion against France,
will be a circumstance of high aggravation to
that country, and in addition to our cruising
around their islands will put their patience to
a great proof.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 265. Ford ed., vii, 321.
(Pa., Jan. 1799)

7701. SAN DOMINGO, Commerce with.—[continued].

As it is acknowledged
* * * that it is impossible the French should invade
us since the annihilation of their power
on the sea, our constituents will see in the
[army and navy] preparations the utmost
anxiety to guard them against even impossibilities.
The Southern States do not discover the
same care, however, in the bill authorizing
Toussaint's subjects to a free commerce with
them, and free ingress and intercourse with
their black brethren in these States. However,
if they are guarded against the cannibals of the
terrible republic, they ought not to object to being
eaten by a more civilized enemy.—
To Aaron Burr. Ford ed., vii, 348.
(Pa., Feb. 1799)

7702. SAN DOMINGO, Commerce with.—[further continued].

Toussaint's clause was
retained. [443] Even South Carolinians in the House
of Representatives voted for it. We may expect,
therefore, black crews, and supercargoes,


Page 789
and missionaries thence into the Southern
States; and when that leaven begins to work,
I would gladly compound with a great part of
our northern country, if they would honestly
stand neuter. If this combustion can be introduced
among us under any veil whatever,
we have to fear it.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 349.
(Pa., Feb. 1799)


Jefferson referred to the exemption of San Domingo
in the French non-intercourse bill.—Editor.

7703. SAN DOMINGO, England and.—

Rigaud, at the head of the people of color,
maintains his allegiance [to France]. But they
are only twenty-five thousand souls, against five
hundred thousand, the number of the blacks.
The [British] treaty made with them by Maitland
is (if they are to be separated from
France) the best thing for us. They must get
their provisions from us. It will, indeed, be
in English bottoms, so that we shall lose the
carriage. But the English will probably forbid
them the ocean, confine them to their island,
and thus prevent their becoming an American
Algiers. It must be admitted, too, that they
may play them off on us when they please.
Against this there is no remedy but timely
measures on our part, to clear ourselves, by degrees,
of the matter on which that lever can
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 281. Ford ed., vii, 343.
(Pa., Feb. 1799)

7704. SAN DOMINGO, Exile of aristocrats.—

Genet tells me that the Patriotic
party in St. Domingo had taken possession of
six hundred aristocrats and monocrats, had sent
two hundred of them to France, and were sending
four hundred here. * * * I wish we could
distribute our four hundred among the Indians,
who would teach them lessons of liberty and
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. Ford ed., vi, 268.
(Pa., 1793)

7705. SAN DOMINGO, Fugitives from.—

The situation of the St. Domingo fugitives
(aristocrats as they are) calls aloud for pity
and charity. Never was so deep a tragedy presented
to the feelings of man. I deny the
power of the General Government to apply
money to such a purpose, but I deny it with
a bleeding heart. It belongs to the State governments.
Pray urge ours to be liberal. The
Executive should hazard themselves here on
such an occasion, and the Legislature when it
meets ought to approve and extend it. It will
have a great effect in doing away the impression
of other disobligations towards France.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 20. Ford ed., vi, 349.
(Pa., July. 1793)

7706. SAN DOMINGO, Military expeditions to.—

It is not permitted by the law
to prohibit the departure of the emigrants to
St. Domingo, according to the wish you express,
any more than it is to force them away,
according to that expressed by you in a former
letter. Our country is open to all men, to come
and go peaceably, when they choose; and your
letter does not mention that these emigrants
meant to depart armed, and equipped for war.
Lest, however, this should be attempted, the
Governors of * * * Pennsylvania and Maryland
are requested * * * to see that no military
expedition be covered or permitted under
color of the right which the passengers have to
depart from these States.—
To E. C. Genet. Washington ed. iv, 87. Ford ed., vi, 459.
(Pa., Nov. 1793)

7707. SAN DOMINGO, Supplies to.—

When the distresses in St. Domingo first broke
forth, we thought we could not better evidence
our friendship to that, and to the Mother
country also, than to step into its relief, on
your application, without waiting a formal au
thorization from the National Assembly. As
the case was unforeseen, so it was unprovided
for on their part, and we did what we doubted
not they would have desired us to do, had there
been time to make the application, and what
we presumed they would sanction as soon as
known to them. We have now been going on
more than a twelve-month, in making advances
for the relief of the Colony, without having, as
yet, received any such sanction; for the decree
of four millions of livres in aid of the Colony,
besides the circuitous and informal manner by
which we became acquainted with it, describes
and applies to operations very different from
those which have actually taken place. The
wants of the Colony appear likely to continue,
and their reliance on our supplies to become
habitual. We feel every disposition to continue
our efforts for administering to those wants;
but that cautious attention to forms which
would have been unfriendly in the first moment,
becomes a duty to ourselves; when the
business assumes the appearance of long continuance,
and respectful also to the National
Assembly itself, who have a right to prescribe
the line of an interference so materially interesting
to the Mother country and the Colony.
By the estimate you were pleased to deliver
me, we perceive that there will be wanting, to
carry the Colony through the month of December,
between thirty and forty thousand dollars,
in addition to the sums before engaged
to you. I am authorized to inform you, that
the sum of forty thousand dollars shall be paid
to your orders at the Treasury of the United
States, and to assure you, that we feel no abatement
in our dispositions to contribute these aids
from time to time, as they shall be wanting,
for the necessary subsistence of the Colony;
but the want of express approbation from the
National Legislature, must ere long produce a
presumption that they contemplate perhaps
other modes of relieving the Colony and dictate
to us the propriety of doing only what they
shall have regularly and previously sanctioned.—
To Jean Baptiste Ternant. Washington ed. iii, 491. Ford ed., vi, 136.
(Pa., Nov. 1792)

7708. SAN DOMINGO, Supplies to.—[continued].

We are continuing our
supplies to the island of St. Domingo, at the
request of the minister of France here. We
would wish, however, to receive a more formal
sanction from the government of France than
has yet been given. Indeed, we know of none
but a vote of the late National Assembly for
four millions of livres of our debt, sent to the
government of St. Domingo, communicated by
them to the minister here, and by him to us.
And this was in terms not properly applicable
to the form of our advances. We wish, therefore,
for a full sanction of the past, and a complete
expression of the desires of their government
as to future supplies to their colonies.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Ford ed., vi, 151.
(Pa., 1792)

— SAN JUAN (Porto Rico).—

See Free

— SARATOGA, Proposed State of.—

See Western Territory.

7709. SARDINIA, Commerce with.—

desire of seeing a commerce commenced between
the dominions of his Majesty, the King
of Sardinia, and the United States of America,
and a direct exchange of their respective productions,
without passing through a third nation,
led me into the conversation which I had
the honor of having with you on that subject,
and afterwards with Monsieur Tallon at Turin.
* * * The articles of your produce wanted


Page 790
with us are brandies, wines, oils, fruits, and
manufactured silks. Those which we can furnish
you are indigo, potash, tobacco, flour, salt
fish, furs and peltries, ships and materials for
building them.—
To M. Guide. Washington ed. ii, 146.
1787 )

7710. SAUSSURE (Horace B.), Philosopher.—

M. Saussure is one of the best philosophers
of the present age. Cautious in not
letting his assent run before his evidence, he
possesses the wisdom which so few possess, of
preferring ignorance to error. The contrary
disposition in those who call themselves philosophers
in this country classes them, in fact,
with the writers of romance.—
To William Rutledge. Washington ed. ii, 475.
(P. 1788)

— SAY (Jean Baptiste).—

See Government,
Works on.

7711. SCENERY, American.—

The Falling
Spring, the Cascade of Niagara, the passage
of the Potomac through the Blue Mountains,
the Natural Bridge,—it is worth a voyage
across the Atlantic to see those objects,
much more to paint and make them, and
thereby ourselves, known to all ages.—
To Mrs. Cosway. Washington ed. ii, 35. Ford ed., iv, 315.
(P. 1786)

7712. SCHISM, Dangers of.—

Strong in
our numbers, our position and resources, we
can never be endangered but by schisms at
R. to A. Wilmington Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 149.

7713. SCHISM, Governmental.—

as well as religion, has furnished its
schisms, its persecutions, and its devices for
fattening idleness on the earnings of the people.
It has its hierarchy of emperors, kings,
princes, and nobles, as that has of popes, cardinals
archbishops, bishops and priests.—
To Charles Clas. Washington ed. vi, 413.
(M. 1815)

7714. SCHISM, Self-government and.—

All these schisms, small or great, only accumulate
truths of the solid qualifications of our
citizens for self-government.—
To Thomas Leiper. Ford ed., viii, 503.
(W. 1806)

7715. SCHISM, Silence.—

Frown into silence
all disorganizing movements.—
R. to A. Wilmington Citizens. Washington ed. viii, 149.

7716. SCHOOLS, Abortive.—

The annual
reports show that our plan of primary schools
[in Virginia] is becoming completely abortive,
and must be abandoned very shortly, after costing
us to this day one hundred and eighty thousand
dollars, and yet to cost us forty-five thousand
dollars a year more until it shall be discontinued;
and if a single boy has received the
elements of common education, it must be in
some part of the country not known to me. Experience
has but too fully confirmed the early
predictions of its fate.—
To William T. Barry. Washington ed. vii, 256.
(M. 1822)

7717. SCHOOLS, European.—

Why send
an American youth to Europe for education?
What are the objects of an useful American education?
Classical knowledge, modern languages,
chiefly French, Spanish and Italian; mathematics,
natural philosophy, natural history, civil
history and ethics. In natural philosophy, I mean
to include chemistry and agriculture; and in
natural history to include botany, as well as the
other branches of those departments. It is true
that the habit of speaking the modern languages
cannot be so well acquired in America; but
every other article can be as well acquired at
William and Mary College, as at any place in
Europe. When college education is done with,
and a young man is to prepare himself for public
life, he must cast his eyes (for America)
either on law or physics. For the former,
where can he apply so advantageously as to
Mr. Wythe? For the latter, he must come to
Europe; the medical class of students, therefore,
is the only one which need come to
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 467.
(P. 1785)

7718. SCHOOLS, European.—[continued].

Let us view the disadvantages
of sending a youth to Europe. To enumerate them all would require a volume. I
will select a few. If he goes to England, he
learns drinking, horse racing and boxing.
These are the peculiarities of English education.
The following circumstances are common
to education in that and the other countries
of Europe. He acquires a fondness for
European luxury and dissipation, and a contempt
for the simplicity of his own country;
he is fascinated with the privileges of the European
aristocrats, and sees, with abhorrence,
the lovely equality which the poor enjoy with
the rich in his own country; he contracts a
partiality for aristocracy or monarchy; he
forms foreign friendships which will never be
useful to him, and loses the seasons of life
for forming, in his own country, those friendships
which, of all others, are the most faithful
and permanent; * * * and * * * he
returns to his own country unacquainted with
the practices of domestic economy, necessary
to preserve him from ruin, speaking and writing
his native tongue as a foreigner, and, therefore,
unqualified to obtain those distinctions,
which eloquence of the pen and tongue ensures
in a free country; for I would observe to you,
that what is called style in writing or speaking,
is formed very early in life, while the imagination
is warm, and impressions are permanent.—
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 467.
(P. 1785)

7719. SCHOOLS, European.—[further continued].

An American, coming to Europe for education, loses in his knowledge,
in his morals, in his health, in his habits, and
in his happiness. I had entertained only doubts
on this head before I came to Europe; what I
see and hear, since I came here, proves more
than I had even suspected.—
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 468.
(P. 1785)

7720. SCHOOLS, European.—[further continued] .

Cast your eye over America:
who are the men of most learning, of most
eloquence, most beloved by their countrymen
and most trusted and promoted by them?
They are those who have been educated among
them, and whose manners, morals, and habits,
are perfectly homogeneous with those of the
country. * * * The consequences of foreign
education are alarming to me as an American.—
To J. Bannister. Washington ed. i, 468.
(P. 1785)

7721. SCHOOLS, European.—[further continued].

With respect to the schools of Europe, my mind is perfectly made
up, and on full enquiry. The best in the world
is Edinburgh. Latterly, too, the spirit of republicanism
has become that of the students
in general, and of the younger professors; so
on that account it is eligible for an American.
On the continent of Europe, no place is comparable
to Geneva. The sciences are there
more modernized than anywhere else. There,
too, the spirit of republicanism is strong with
the body of the inhabitants; but that of the
aristocracy is strong also with a particular
class; so that it is of some consequence to attend
to the class of society in which a youth is
made to move.—
To Mr. M'Alister. Washington ed. iii, 313.
(Pa., 1791)

7722. SCHOOLS, Fostering genius in.—

By that part of our plan [of education in Virginia]


Page 791
which prescribes the selection of the youths of genius from among the classes of
the poor, we hope to avail the State of those
talents which nature has sown as liberally
among the poor as the rich, but which perish
without use, if not sought for and cultivated.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 390. Ford ed., iii, 254.

See Genius.

7723. SCHOOLS, Government of.—

If it
is believed that the elementary schools will be
better managed by the Governor and Council,
the Commissioners of the Literary Fund, or
any other general authority of the government,
than by the parents within each ward, it is a
belief against all experience.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 543.

7724. SCHOOLS, History in.—

At these
[Virginia public] schools shall be taught reading,
writing, and common arithmetic, and the
books which shall be used therein for instructing
the children to read shall be such as will,
at the same time, make them acquainted with
Græcian, Roman, English, and American history.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 223.

7725. SCHOOLS, Trustees.—

I have received
your favor, informing me that the Board
of Trustees for the public school in Washington
had unanimously reappointed me their President.
I pray you to present to them my thanks
for the mark of their confidence, with assurances
that I shall at all times be ready to render
to the institution any services which shall
be in my power.—
To Robert Brent. Washington ed. v, 196.
(M. Sep. 1807)

7726. SCHOOLS, Visitors.—

I had formerly
thought that visitors of the school might
be chosen by the county, and charged to provide
teachers for every ward, and to superintend
them. I now think it would be better for
every ward to choose its own resident visitor,
whose business it would be to keep a teacher
in the ward, to superinted the school, and to
call meetings of the ward for all purposes relating
to it; their accounts to be settled, and
wards laid off by the courts. I think ward elections
better for many reasons, one of which is
sufficient, that it will keep elementary education
out of the hands of fanaticising preachers,
who, in county elections, would be universally
chosen, and the predominant sect of the county
would possess itself of all its schools.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vii, 189. Ford ed., x, 167.

7727. SCHOOLS, Wealth and.—

In the
elementary bill they [the Legislature] inserted
a provision which completely defeated it; for
they left it to the court of each county to determine
for itself when this act should be carried
into execution within their county. One
provision of the bill was that the expenses of
these schools should be borne by the inhabitants
of the county, every one in proportion to his
general tax rate. This would throw on wealth
the education of the poor; and the justices, being
generally of the more wealthy class, were
unwilling to incur that burden, and I believe
it was not suffered to commence in a single
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 48. Ford ed., i, 67.

See Academy, Education, Languages, and University.

7728. SCIENCE, Acquirement of.—

possession of science is, what (next to an honest
heart) will above all things render you dear
to your friends, and give you fame and promotion
in your own country.—
To Peter Carr. Washington ed. i, 395.
(P. 1785)

7729. SCIENCE, American field of.—

What a field have we at our doors to signalize
ourselves in. The Botany of America is far
from being exhausted, its Mineralogy is untouched,
and its Natural History or Zoology,
totally mistaken and misrepresented. As far as
I have seen, there is not one single species of
terrestrial birds common to Europe and America,
and I question if there be a single species
of quadrupeds. (Domestic animals are to be
excepted.) It is for such institutions as that
[Harvard] over which you preside so worthily
to do justice to our country, its productions
and its genius. It is the work to which the
young men whom you are forming should lay
their hands. We have spent the prime of our
lives in procuring them the precious blessing
of liberty. Let them spend theirs in showing
that it is the great parent of science and of
virtue; and that a nation will be great in both,
always in proportion as it is free.—
To Dr. Willard. Washington ed. iii, 16.
(P. 1789)

7730. SCIENCE, Common property.—

The field of knowledge is the common property
of mankind, and any discoveries we can make
in it will be for the benefit of yours and of
every other nation, as well as our own.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 111. Ford ed., ix, 86.
(W. 1807)

7731. SCIENCE, Delight in.—

Nature intended
me for the tranquil pursuits of science,
by rendering them my supreme delight.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 432.
(W. March 2, 1809)

7732. SCIENCE, Elementary works.—

have received a copy of your mathematical
principles of natural philosophy, which I have
looked into with all the attention which the rust
of age and long continued avocations of a very
different character permit me to exercise. I
think them entirely worthy of approbation, both
as to matter and method, and for their brevity
as a text book; and I remark particularly the
clearness and precision with which the propositions
are enounced and, in the demonstrations,
the easy form in which ideas are presented
to the mind, so as to be almost intuitive
and self-evident. Of Cavallo's book, which
you say you are enjoined to teach [in William
and Mary College], I have no knowledge, having
never seen it; but its character is, I think,
that of mere mediocrity; and, from my personal
acquaintance with the man, I should expect no
more. He was heavy, capable enough of understanding
what he had read, and with memory
to retain it, but without the talent of digestion
or improvement. But, indeed, the English
generally have been very stationary in
latter times, and the French on the contrary,
so active and successful, particularly in preparing
elementary books, in the mathematical
and natural sciences, that those who wish for
instruction, without caring from what nation
they get it, resort universally to the latter language.
Besides the earlier and invaluable
works of Euler and Bezont, we have latterly
that of Lacroix in mathematics, of Legendre
in geometry, Lavoisier in chemistry, the elementary
works of Haüy in physics, Biot in
experimental physics and physical astronomy,
Dumeril in natural history, to say nothing of
many detached essays of Monge and others,
and the transcendent labors of Laplace. I am
informed by a highly instructed person recently
from Cambridge. that the mathematicians of
that institution, sensible of being in the rear of
those of the continent, and ascribing the cause
much to their too long-continued preference of
the geometrical over the analytical methods,


Page 792
which the French have so much cultivated and
improved, have now adopted the latter; and
that they have also given up the fluxionary, for
the differential calculus. To confine a school,
therefore, to the obsolete work of Cavallo, is
to shut out all advances in the physical sciences
which have been so great in latter times.—
To Patrick K. Rodgers. Washington ed. vii, 327.
(M. 1824)

7733. SCIENCE, Encouragement of.—

am for the encouraging the progress of science
in all its branches; and not for raising a hue
and cry against the sacred name of philosophy;
for awing the human mind by stories of raw-head
and bloody bones to a distrust of its own
vision, and to repose implicitly on that of
others; to go backward instead of forward to
look for improvement; to believe that government,
religion, morality, and every other science
were in the highest perfection in the ages
of the darkest ignorance, and that nothing can
ever be devised more perfect than what was established
by our forefathers.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 269. Ford ed., vii, 328.
(Pa., 17991799)gt;

7734. SCIENCE, Mother of freedom.—

Freedom, the first-born daughter of science.—
To M. D'Ivernois. Washington ed. iv, 113. Ford ed., vii, 3.
(M. Feb. 1795)

7735. SCIENCE, Pursuit of.—

The main
objects of all science are the freedom and happiness
of man.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. v, 509.
(M. 1810)

7736. SCIENCE, Pursuit of.—

On the revival
of letters, learning became the universal
favorite [pursuit]. And with reason, because
there was not enough of it existing to manage
the affairs of a nation to the best advantage,
nor to advance its individuals to the happiness
of which they were susceptible, by improvements
in their minds, their morals, their health,
and in those conveniences which contribute to
the comfort and embellishment of life. All the
efforts of the society, therefore, were directed
to the increase of learning, and the inducements
of respect, ease, and profit were held up
for its encouragement. Even the charities of
the nation forgot that misery was their object,
and spent themselves in founding schools to
transfer to science the hardy sons of the plow.
To these incitements were added the powerful
fascinations of great cities. These circumstances
have long since produced an overcharge
in the class of competitors for learned occupation,
and great distress among the supernumerary
candidates; and the more, as their habits
of life have disqualified them for reentering
into the laborious class. The evil cannot be
suddenly, nor perhaps ever entirely cured: nor
should I presume to say by what means it May
be cured. Doubtless there are many engines
which the nation might bring to bear on this
object. Public opinion, and public encouragement
are among these.—
To David Williams. Washington ed. iv, 513.
(W. 1803)

7737. SCIENCE, Republican government and.—

Science is more important in a
republican than in any other government.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 221.
(M. 1821)

7738. SCIENCE, Republican government and.—[continued].

Science is important to
the preservation of our republican government
and it is also essential to its protection against
foreign power.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 222.
(M. 1821)

7739. SCIENCES, Distribution of the.—

I have received the copy of your System of
Universal Science. * * * It will be a monument
of the learning of the author and of the
analyzing powers of his mind. * * * These
analytical views indeed must always be ramified
according to their object. Yours is on the
great scale of a methodical encyclopedia of all
human sciences, taking for the basis of their
distribution, matter, mind, and the union of
both. Lord Bacon founded his first great division
on the faculties of the mind which have
cognizance of these sciences. It does not seem
to have been observed by any one that the
origination of this division was not with him.
It had been proposed by Charron, more than
twenty years before, in his book de la Sagesse.
B. 1, c. 14, and an imperfect ascription of the
sciences to these respective faculties was there
attempted. This excellent moral work was
published in 1600. Lord Bacon is said not to
have entered on his great work until his retirement
from public office in 1621. Where sciences
are to be arranged in accommodation to
the schools of an university, they will be
grouped to coincide with the kindred qualifications
of professors in ordinary. For a library,
which was my object, their divisions and subdivisions
will be made such as to throw convenient
masses of books under each separate
head. Thus, in the library of a physician, the
books of that science, of which he has many,
will be subdivided under many heads; and
those of law, of which he has few, will be
placed under a single one. The lawyer, again,
will distribute his law books under many subdivisions,
his medical under a single one. Your
idea of making the subject matter of the sciences
the basis of their distribution, is certainly
more reasonable than that of the faculties
to which they are addressed. * * * Were I to re-compose my tabular view of the
sciences, I should certainly transpose a certain
branch. The naturalists, you know, distribute
the history of nature into three kingdoms or departments:
zoology, botany, mineralogy. Ideology,
or mind, however, occupies so much
space in the field of science, that we might perhaps
erect it into a fourth kingdom or department.
But, inasmuch as it makes a part of the
animal construction only, it would be more
proper to subdivide zoology into physical and
moral. The latter including ideology, ethics,
and mental science generally, in my catalogue,
considering ethics, as well as religion, as supplements
to law in the government of man, I
had them in that sequence. But certainly the
faculty of thought belongs to animal history, is
an important portion of it, and should there
find its place.—
To Mr. Woodward. Washington ed. vii, 338.
(M. 1824)


See Societies,


See Oratory.


See Inventions.

7740. SCULPTURE, Style.—

As to the
style or costume [for a statue of General Washington],
I am sure the artist, and every person
of taste in Europe, would be for the Roman.
* * * Our boots and regimentals have a
very puny effect.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. vi, 535.
(M. 1816)

7741. SEAMEN, American.—

The seamen
which our navigation raises had better be
of our own. It is neither our wish nor our interest
ever to employ [those of England].—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 128.
(M. June. 1813)

7742. SEAMEN, Distressed.—

circumstance which claims attention, as directly
affecting the very source of our navigation, is


Page 793
the defect or the evasion of the law providing
for the return of seamen, and particularly of
those belonging to vessels sold abroad. Numbers
of them, discharged in foreign ports, have
been thrown on the hands of our consuls, who,
to rescue them from the dangers into which
their distresses might plunge them, and save
them to their country, have found it necessary
in some cases to return them at the public
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 16. Ford ed., viii, 182.
(Dec. 1802)

7743. SEAMEN, Foreign.—

Your estimate
of the number of foreign seamen in our
employ, renders it prudent, in my opinion, to
drop the idea of any proposition not to employ
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 71.
(M. April. 1807)

— SEARCH, Right of.—

See Impressment.

7744. SECESSION, Baleful.—

Mr. New
showed me your letter * * * which gave
me an opportunity of observing what you said
as to the effect, with you, of public proceedings,
and that it was not unwise [444] now to estimate
the separate mass of Virginia and
North Carolina, with a view to their separate
existence. It is true that we are completely
under the saddle of Massachusetts and Connecticut,
and that they ride us very hard,
cruelly insulting our feelings, as well as exhausting
our strength and subsistence. Their
natural friends, the three other Eastern
States, join them from a sort of family pride,
and they have the art to divide certain other
parts of the Union, so as to make use of them
to govern the whole. This is not new, it is
the old practice of despots; to use a part of
the people to keep the rest in order. And
those who have once got an ascendency, and
possessed themselves of all the resources of
the nation, their revenues and offices, have
immense means of retaining their advantage.
But our present situation is not a natural one.
The republicans, through every part of the
Union, say that it was the irresistible influence
and popularity of General Washington
played off by the cunning of Hamilton,
which turned the government over to anti-republican
hands, or turned the republicans
chosen by the people into anti-republicans.
He delivered it over to his successor in this
state, and very untoward events since, improved
with great artifice, have produced on
the public mind the impressions we see.
But, still, I repeat it, this is not the natural
state. Time alone would bring round an
order of things more correspondent to the
sentiments of our constituents. But, are
there no events impending, which will do it
within a few months? The crisis with England,
the public and authentic avowal of sentiments
hostile to the leading principles of our
Constitution, the prospect of a war, in which
we shall stand alone, land tax, stamp tax, increase
of public debt, &c. Be this as it may,
in every free and deliberating society, there
must, from the nature of man, be opposite
parties, and violent dissensions and discords;
and one of these, for the most part, must prevail
over the other for a longer or shorter
time. Perhaps this party division is necessary
to induce each to watch and debate to
the people the proceedings of the other. But
if on a temporary superiority of the one
party, the other is to resort to a scission of
the Union, no federal government can ever
exist. If to rid ourselves of the present rule
of Massachusetts and Connecticut, we break
the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose
the New England States alone cut off, will
our nature be changed? Are we not men still
to the south of that, and with all the passions
of men? Immediately, we shall see a Pennsylvania
and a Virginia party arise in the
residuary confederacy, and the public mind
will be distracted with the same party spirit.
What a game, too, will the one party have in
their hands, by eternally threatening the other
that unless they do so and so, they will join
their northern neighbors. If we reduce our
Union to Virginia and North Carolina, immediately
the conflict will be established between
the representatives of these two States,
and they will end by breaking into their
simple units. Seeing, therefore, that an association
of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never existed,
from the greatest confederacy of nations
down to a town meeting or a vestry; seeing
that we must have somebody to quarrel with,
I had rather keep our New England associates
for that purpose, than to see our bickerings
transferred to others. They are circumscribed
within such narrow limits, and their
population so full, that their numbers will
ever be the minority, and they are marked,
like the Jews, with such a perversity of
character, as to constitute, from that circumstance,
the natural division of our parties. A
little patience, and we shall see the reign of
witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and
the people recovering their true sight, restoring
their government to its true principles.
It is true that, in the meantime, we are suffering
deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors
of a war, and long oppressions of enormous
public debt. But who can say what would
be the evils of a scission, and when and where
they would end? Better keep together as we
are, haul off from Europe as soon as we can,
and from all attachments to any portions of
it; and if they show their power just sufficiently
to hoop us together, it will be the happiest
situation in which we can exist. If
the game runs sometimes against us at home,
we must have patience till luck turns, and
then we shall have an opportunity of winning
back the principles we have lost. For this is
a game where principles are the stake.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. iv, 245. Ford ed., vii, 263.
(Pa., June. 1798)


A descendant of Mr. Taylor claimed that he
wrote “it is not usual now”, &c. See Ford edition.—Editor.

— SECESSION, Kentucky and.—

See Kentucky.

7745. SECESSION, Local discontentedness and.—

Dangers of another kind [than
usurpation] might more reasonably be apprehended
from this perfect and distinct or


Page 794
ganization, civil and military, of the States;
to wit, that certain States from local and
occasional discontents, might attempt to
secede from the Union. This is certainly
possible and would be befriended by this
regular [civil and military] organization.
But it is not probable that local discontents
can spread to such an extent as to be able to
faze the sound parts of so extensive a Union;
and if ever they should reach the majority,
they would then become the regular government,
acquire the ascendency in Congress, and
be able to redress their own grievances by
laws peaceably and constitutionally passed.
And even the States in which local discontents
might engender a commencement of
fermentation, would be paralyzed and selfchecked
by that very division into parties into
which we have fallen, into which all States
must fall wherein men are at liberty to think,
speak, and act freely, according to the
diversities of their individual conformations,
and which are, perhaps, essential to preserve
the purity of the government, by the censorship
which these parties habitually exercise over
each other.—
To Destutt Tracy. Washington ed. v, 571. Ford ed., ix, 309.
(M. 1811)

7746. SECESSION, Louisiana purchase and.—

Whether we remain in one confederacy,
or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies,
I believe not very important to
the happiness of either part. [445] Those of the
Western confederacy will be as much our
children and descendants as those of the
Eastern, and I feel myself as much identified
what that country, in future time, as with this:
and did I now foresee a separation at some
future day, yet I should feel the duty and the
desire to promote the Western interests as
zealously as the Eastern, doing all the good
for both portions of our future family which
should fall within my power.—
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 525. Ford ed., viii, 295.
(W. Jan. 1804)


The opponents of the Louisiana purchase were,
at this period predicting dire disaster to the Union
because of its acquisition.—Editor.

7747. SECESSION, Missouri question and.—

Should time not be given, and the
schism [Missouri] be pushed to separation,
it will be for a short term only; two or three
years' trial will bring them back, like quarrelling
lovers to renewed embraces, and increased
affections. The experiment of separation
would soon prove to both that they
had mutually miscalculated their best interests.
And even were the parties in Congress
to secede in a passion, the soberer people
would call a convention and cement again the
severance attempted by the insanity of their
To Richard Rush. Washington ed. vii, 182.
(M. 1820)

7748. SECESSION, New England and.—

I am glad of an occasion of congratulating
you [William Eustis] as well as my country,
on your accession to a share in the direction
of our Executive councils. [Secretaryship
of War.] Besides the general advantages we
may promise ourselves from the employment
of your talents and integrity in so important
a station, we may hope peculiar effect from it
towards restoring deeply wounded amity between
your native State [Massachusetts] and
her sisters. The design of the leading federalists
then having direction of the State, to
take advantage of the first war with England
to separate the New England States from the
Union, has distressingly impaired our future
confidence in them. In this, as in all other
cases, we must do them full justice, and make
the fault all their own, should the last hope of
human liberty be destined to receive its final
stab from them.—
To William Eustis. Ford ed., ix, 236.
(M. Oct. 1809)

See Eustis.

7749. SECESSION, New England and.—[continued].

Should the determination
of England, now formally expressed, to
take possession of the ocean, and to suffer no
commerce on it but through her ports, force
a war upon us, I foresee a possibility of a separate
treaty between her and your Essex men,
on the principles of neutrality and commerce.
Pickering here, and his nephew Williams
there, can easily negotiate this. Such a lure
to the quietists in our ranks with you, might
recruit theirs to a majority. Yet, excluded
as they would be from intercourse with the
rest of the Union and of Europe, I scarcely
see the gain they would propose to themselves,
even for the moment. The defection
would certainly disconcert the other States, but
it could not ultimately endanger their safety.
They are adequate, in all points, to a defensive
war. However, I hope your majority, with the
aid it is entitled to, will save us from this
trial, to which I think it possible we are advancing.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 607.
Aug. 1811)

See Embargo, Federalists, Hartford Convention and Monarchy.

7750. SECESSION, Suppression of.—

What does this English faction with you [in
New England] mean? Their newspapers say
rebellion, and that they will not remain united
with us unless we will permit them to govern
the majority. If this be their purpose, their
anti-republican spirit, it ought to be met at
once. But a government like ours should be
slow in believing this, should put forth its
whole might, when necessary, to suppress it,
and promptly return to the paths of reconciliation.
The extent of our country secures it,
I hope, from the vindictive passions of the
petty incorporations of Greece. I rather suspect
that the principal office of the other
seventeen States will be to moderate and restrain
the excitement of our friends with you,
when they (with the aid of their brothers of
the other States, if they need it), shall have
brought the rebellious to their feet. They
count on British aid. But what can that avail
them by land? They would separate from
their friends, who alone furnish employment
for their navigation, to unite with their only
rival for that employment. When interdicted
the harbors of their quondam brethren, they
will go, I suppose, to ask and share in the
carrying trade of their rivals, and a dispensation
with their navigation act. They think
they will be happier in an association under


Page 795
the rulers of Ireland, the East and West Indies,
than in an independent government,
where they are obliged to put up with their
proportional share only in the direction of
affairs. But, I trust, that such perverseness
will not be that of the honest and well-meaning
mass of the federalists of Massachusetts;
and that when the questions of separation and
rebellion shall be nakedly proposed to them,
the Gores and the Pickerings will find their
levees crowded with silk stocking gentry, but
no yeomanry; an army of officers without
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. vi, 63. Ford ed., ix, 359.
(M. 1812)

7751. SECESSION, War with France and.—

It is quite impossible when we consider
all the existing circumstances, to find any reason
in its favor [war against France] resulting
from views either of interest or honor, and
plausible enough to impose even on the weakest
mind; and especially, when it would be undertaken
by a majority of one or two only. Whatever,
then, be our stock of charity or liberality,
we must resort to other views. And those so
well known to have been entertained at Annapolis,
and afterwards at the grand [Philadelphia] convention, by a particular set of men,
present themselves as those alone which can
account for so extraordinary a degree of impetuosity.
Perhaps, instead of what was then
in contemplation, a separation of the Union,
which has been so much the topic to the eastward
of late, may be the thing aimed at.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 222. Ford ed., vii, 220.
(Pa., March. 1798)

7752. SECRECY, Government and.—

All nations have found it necessary, that for
the advantageous conduct of their affairs, some
of their proceedings, at least, should remain
known to their executive functionary only.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 97. Ford ed., ix, 57.
(W. 1807)

7753. SECRET SERVICE MONEY, Necessary.—

That in cases of military operations
some occasions for secret service money
must arise, is certain. But I think that they
should be more fully explained to the government
than General Wilkinson has done, seems
also proper.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 322.
(W. July. 1808)


See Societies


I explained to you in my former
letter the principles on which [the appointment
of Mr. Sumter to be Secretary of Legation] was made, to wit, * * * to teach for public
service in future such subjects as from their
standing in society, talents, principles and fortune,
may probably come into the public councils.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Ford ed., viii, 30.

7755. SECTIONALISM, Dangers of.—

The idea of a geographical line, once suggested,
will brood in the minds of all those
who prefer the gratification of their ungovernable
passions to the peace and union of
their country.—
To M. L. Hill. Washington ed. vii, 155.
(M. 1820)

7756. SECTIONALISM, Dangers of.—[continued].

All, I fear, do not see
the speck in our horizon which is to burst on
us as a tornado, sooner or later. The line
of division lately marked out between different
portions of our confederacy, is such as
will never, I fear, be obliterated, and we are
now trusting to those who are against us in
position and principle, to fashion to their own
form the minds and affections of our youth.—
To General Breckenridge. Washington ed. vii, 204.
(M. 1821)

7757. SECTIONALISM, Moral and political.—

A geographical line, coinciding with
a marked principle, moral and political, once
conceived and held up to the angry passions
of men, will never be obliterated; and every
new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper.—
To John Holmes. Washington ed. vii, 159. Ford ed., x, 157.
(M. 1820)

7758. SECTIONALISM, Peace and.—

am so completely withdrawn from all attention
to public matters, that nothing less could
arouse me than the definition of a geographical
line which, as an abstract principle, is to
become the line of separation of these States,
and to render desperate the hope that man
can ever enjoy the two blessings of peace and
To H. Nelson. Washington ed. vii, 151. Ford ed., x, 156.
(M. 1820)

See Apportionment and Secession.

7759. SEDITION LAW, Connecticut cases.—

With respect to the dismission of the
prosecutions for sedition in Connecticut, it is
well known to have been a tenet of the republican
portion of our fellow citizens, that the Sedition
law was contrary to the Constitution and
therefore void. On this ground I considered
it as a nullity wherever I met it in the course
of my duties; and on this ground I directed
nolle prosequis in all the prosecutions which
had been instituted under it, and as far as the
public sentiment can be inferred from the occurrences
of the day, we may say that this
opinion had the sanction of the nation. The
prosecutions, therefore, which were afterwards
instituted in Connecticut, of which two were
against printers, two against preachers, and one
against a judge, were too inconsistent with this
principle to be permitted to go on. We were
bound to administer to others the same measure
of law, not which they had meted out to us,
but we to ourselves, and to extend to all equally
the protection of the same constitutional principles.
Those prosecutions too were chiefly for
charges against myself, and I had from the beginning
laid it down as a rule to notice nothing
of the kind. I believed that the long course of
services in which I had acted on the public
stage, and under the eye of my fellow citizens,
furnished better evidence to them of my character
and principles, than the angry invectives
of adverse partisans in whose eyes the very acts
most approved by the majority were subjects
of the greatest demerit and censure. These
prosecutions against them, therefore, were to
be dismissed as a matter of duty.—
To Gideon Granger. Washington ed. vi, 332. Ford ed., ix, 456.
(M. 1814)

See Libels.

7760. SEDITION LAW, England and.—

I enclose you a column, cut out of a London
paper, to show you that the English, though
charmed with our making their enemies our
enemies, yet blush and weep over our Sedition
To John Taylor. Washington ed. iv, 260. Ford ed., vii, 311.
(M. 1798)

7761. SEDITION LAW, Executive vs. Judiciary.—

You seem to think it devolved


Page 796
on the judges to decide on the validity of the
Sedition law. But nothing in the Constitution
has given them a right to decide for the Executive,
more than the Executive to decide for
them. Both magistrates are equally independent
in the sphere of action assigned to them.
The judges, believing the law constitutional,
had a right to pass a sentence of fine and imprisonment;
because the power was placed in
their hands by the Constitution. But the Executive,
believing the law to be unconstitutional,
were bound to remit the execution of it;
because that power has been confided to them
by the Constitution. That instrument meant
that its coordinate branches should be checks
on each other. But the opinion which gives
to the judges the right to decide what laws are
constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves
in their own sphere of action, but for the
Legislature and Executive also, in their
spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic
branch. Nor does the opinion of the unconstitutionality,
and consequent nullity of that
law, remove all restraint from the overwhelming
torrent of slander, which is confounding all
vice and virtue, all truth and falsehood, in the
United States. The power to do that is fully
possessed by the several State Legislatures. It
was reserved to them, and was denied to the
General Government, by the Constitution, according
to our construction of it. While we
deny that Congress have a right to control the
freedom of the press, we have ever asserted
the right of the States, and their exclusive
right, to do so.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 561. Ford ed., viii, 311.
(M. Sep. 1804)

7762. SEDITION LAW, Unconstitutional.—

I found a prosecution going on
against Duane for an offence against the Senate,
founded on the Sedition act. I affirm that
act to be no law, because in opposition to the
Constitution; and I shall treat it as a nullity, wherever it comes in the way of my functions.—
To Edward Livingston. Ford ed., viii, 58.
(W. Nov. 1801)

7763. SEDITION LAW, Unconstitutional.—[continued].

The ground on which I
acted in the cases of Duane, Callender, and
others [was] that the Sedition law was unconstitutional
and null, and that my obligation
to execute what was law, involved that of not
suffering rights secured by valid laws to be
prostrated by what was no law.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. v, 453. Ford ed., ix, 254.
(M. 1809)

See Alien and Sedition Laws.

7764. SELF-GOVERNMENT, America and.—

Before the establishment of the American
States, nothing was known to history
but the man of the old world, crowded within
limits either small or overcharged, and
steeped in the vices which that situation generates.
A government adapted to such men
would be one thing; but a very different one,
that for the man of these States. Here every
man may have land to labor for himself, if
he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any
other industry, may exact for it such compensation
as not only to afford a comfortable
subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a
cessation from labor in old age. Every one, by
his property, or by his satisfactory situation,
is interested in the support of law and order.
And such men may safely and advantageously
reserve to themselves a wholesome control
over their public affairs, and a degree of freedom,
which, in the hands of the canaille of
the cities of Europe, would be instantly per
verted to the demolition and destruction of
everything public and private. The history of
the last twenty-five years of France, and of
the last forty years in America, nay of its
last two hundred years, proves the truth of
both parts of this observation.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 226. Ford ed., ix, 428.
(M. 1813)

7765. SELF-GOVERNMENT, British parliament and.—

The British Parliament
has no right to intermeddle with our provisions
for the support of civil government, or
administration of justice. * * * While
Parliament pursue their plan of civil government,
within their own jurisdiction, we, also,
hope to pursue ours without molestation.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 479.
(July. 1775)

7766. SELF-GOVERNMENT, British parliament and.—[continued].

While Parliament pursue
their plan of civil government within
their own jurisdiction we hope also to pursue
ours without molestation.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 480.
(July. 1775)

7767. SELF-GOVERNMENT, British parliament and.—[further continued].

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

7768. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Classes vs. Masses.—

The general spread of the light
of science has already laid open to every view
the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind
has not been born with saddles on their backs,
nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready
to ride them legitimately, by the grace of
To Roger C. Weightman. Washington ed. vii, 450. Ford ed., x, 391.
(M. June. 1826)

7769. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Connecticut and.—

It would seem impossible that an
intelligent people [of Connecticut] with the
faculty of reading and right of thinking,
should continue much longer to slumber
under the pupilage of an interested aristocracy
of priests and lawyers, persuading them
to distrust themselves, and to let them think
for them. I sincerely wish that your efforts
may awaken them from this voluntary degradation
of mind, restore them to a due estimate
of themselves and their fellow citizens,
and a just abhorrence of the falsehoods and
artifices which have seduced them.—
To Thomas Seymour. Washington ed. v, 44. Ford ed., ix, 31.
(W. 1807)

See Connecticut.

7770. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Education and.—

Whenever the people are well informed,
they can be trusted with their own
To Dr. Price. Washington ed. ii, 533.
(P. 1789)

7771. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Europe and.—

A first attempt to recover the right of
self-government may fail, so may a second,
a third, etc. But as a younger and more instructed
race comes on, the sentiment becomes
more and more intuitive, and a fourth,


Page 797
a fifth, or some subsequent one of the ever
renewed attempts will ultimately succeed. In
France, the first effort was defeated by Robespierre,
the second by Bonaparte, the third
by Louis XVIII. and his holy allies; another
is yet to come, and all Europe, Russia excepted,
has caught the spirit; and all will
attain representative government, more or
less perfect. * * * To attain all this, however,
rivers of blood must yet flow, and years
of desolation pass over; yet the object is
worth rivers of blood, and years of desolation.
For what inheritance so valuable, can man
leave to his posterity? You and I shall look
down from another world on these glorious
achievements to man, which will add to the
joys even of heaven.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 307. Ford ed., x, 270.
(M. 1823)

7772. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Experiments in.—

We have no interests nor passions
different from those of our fellow citizens.
We have the same object, the success
of representative government. Nor are we
acting for ourselves alone, but for the whole
human race. The event of our experiment
is to show whether man can be trusted with
self-government. The eyes of suffering humanity
are fixed on us with anxiety as their
only hope, and on such a theatre, for such a
cause, we must suppress all smaller passions
and local considerations.—
To Governor Hall. Ford ed., viii, 156.
(W. July. 1802)

7773. SELF-GOVERNMENT, French people and.—

The people of France have
never been in the habit of self-government,
are not yet in the habit of acknowledging
that fundamental law of nature, by which
alone self-government can be exercised by a
society, I mean the lex majoris partis. Of
the sacredness of this law, our countrymen
are impressed from their cradle, so that with
them it is almost innate.—
To John Breckenridge. Ford ed., vii, 417.
(Pa., 1800)

7774. SELF-GOVERNMENT, French people and.—[continued].

Who could have thought the French nation incapable of self-government?—
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Ford ed., viii, 179.
(W. 1802)

7775. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Generations and.—

The present generation has the
same right of self-government which the past
one has exercised for itself.—
To John H. Pleasants. Washington ed. vii, 346. Ford ed., x, 303.
(M. 1824)

7776. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Growth of.—

When forced to assume self-government,
we were novices in its science. Its principles
and forms had entered little into our former
education. We established however some, although
not all its important principles.—
To John Cartwright. Washington ed. vii, 356.
(M. 1824)

7777. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Interference with.—

We [the Virginia House of
Burgesses] cannot, my Lord, close with the
terms of that resolution [Lord North's Conciliatory
Propositions] * * * because the
British Parliament has no right to intermeddle
with the support of civil government in
the Colonies. For us, not for them, has govern
ment been instituted here. Agreeable to our
ideas, provision has been made for such officers
as we think necessary for the administration
of public affairs; and we cannot conceive
that any other legislature has a right to
prescribe either the number or pecuniary appointments
of our offices. As a proof that the
claim of Parliament to interfere in the necessary
provisions for the support of civil government
is novel, and of a late date, we take
leave to refer to an Act of our Assembly,
passed so long since as the thirty-second year
of the reign of King Charles the Second, intituled,
“An Act for Raising a Publick Revenue,
and for the Better Support of the Government
of His Majesty's Colony of Virginia ”. This act was brought over by Lord
Culpepper, then Governor, under the great
seal of England, and was enacted in the name
of the “King's most Excellent Majesty, by
and with the consent of the General Assembly ”.—
Address to Governor Dunmore. Ford ed., i, 456.

7778. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Irresistible.—

Alliances, holy or hellish, may be
formed, and retard the epoch of deliverance,
may swell the rivers of blood which are yet
to flow, but their own will close the scene,
and leave to mankind the right of self-government.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 324. Ford ed., x, 280.
(M. 1823)

7779. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Limitations of.—

The right of self-government does
not comprehend the government of others.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 499. Ford ed., v, 208.

7780. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Local.—

My bill for the more general diffusion of
learning had for a further object to impart to
these wards those portions of self-government
for which they are best qualified, by
confiding to them the care of their poor, their
roads, police, elections, the nomination of jurors,
administration of justice in small cases,
elementary exercises of militia; in short, to
have made them little republics, with a warden
at the head of each, for all those concerns
which, being under their eye, they would
better manage than the larger republics of
the county or State. A general call of ward
meetings by their wardens on the same day
through the State, would at any time produce
the genuine sense of the people on any required
point, and would enable the State to
act in mass, as [the New England] people
have so often done, and with so much effect
by their town meetings.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 225. Ford ed., ix, 427.
(M. 1813)
See Wards.

7781. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Louisiana and.—

Although it is acknowledged that our
new fellow citizens [in Louisiana] are as yet
as incapable of self-government as children,
yet some [in Congress] cannot bring themselves
to suspend its principles for a single
moment. The temporary or territorial government
of that country, therefore, will encounter
great difficulty.—
To De Witt Clinton. Ford ed., viii, 283.
(W. Dec. 1803)


Page 798

7782. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Maximum.—

My most earnest wish is to see the republican element of popular control pushed
to the maximum of its practicable exercise.
I shall then believe that our government May
be pure and perpetual.—
To Isaac H. Tiffany. Washington ed. vii, 32.
(M. 1816)

7783. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Men capable of.—

I have no fear but that the result of our experiment will be, that men may be
trusted to govern themselves without a master.
Could the contrary of this be proved, I
should conclude, either that there is no God,
or that he is a malevolent being.—
To David Hartley. Washington ed. ii, 165.
(P. 1787)

7784. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Men capable of.—[continued].

I have not any doubt
that the result of our experiment will be that
men are capable of governing themselves
without a master.—
To T. B. Hollis, Washington ed. ii, 168.
(P. 1787)

7785. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Men capable of.—[further continued].

Sometimes it is said that
man cannot be trusted with the government
of himself. Can he then be trusted with the
government of others? Or have we found
angels, in the form of kings, to govern him?
Let history answer this question.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 3. Ford ed., viii, 3.

7786. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Men capable of.—[further continued] .

It is a happy truth that
man is capable of self-government, and only
rendered otherwise by the moral degradation
designedly superinduced on him by the
wicked acts of his tyrant.—
To M. de Marbois. Washington ed. vii, 77.
(M. 1817)

7787. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Natural.—

From the nature of things, every society must at all times possess within itself the
sovereign powers of legislation.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 138. Ford ed., i, 443.

7788. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Preservation of.—

It behooves our citizens to be on
their guard, to be firm in their principles, and
full of confidence in themselves. We are
able to preserve our self-government if we
will but think so.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 320. Ford ed., vii, 423.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

7789. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Purposes of.—

The provisions we have made [for our
government] are such as please ourselves;
they answer the substantial purposes of government
and of justice, and other purposes
than these should not be answered.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 479.
(July. 1775)

7790. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Qualifications for.—

Some preparation seems necessary
to qualify the body of a nation for self-government.—
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Ford ed., viii, 179.
(W. 1802)

7791. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Reason and.—

It is honorable for us to have produced
the first legislature who had the courage to
declare that the reason of man may be trusted
with the formation of his own action.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 67. Ford ed., iv, 334.
(P. 1786)

7792. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Right to.—

The inhabitants of the several States of
British America are subject to the laws which
they adopted at their first settlement, and to
such others as have since been made by their
respective Legislatures, duly constituted and
appointed with their own consent. No other
Legislature whatever can rightly exercise authority
over them; and these privileges they
hold as the common rights of mankind, confirmed
by the political constitutions they have
respectively assumed, and also by several
charters of compact from the Crown.—
Resolution of Albemarle [446] County. Ford ed., i, 418.
(July 26, 1774)


Jefferson's own county.—Editor.

7793. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Right to.—[continued].

Every man, and every
body of men on earth, possesses the right of
self-government. They receive it with their
being from the hand of nature. Individuals
exercise it by their single will, collections of
men by that of their majority; for the law
of the majority is the natural law of every
society of men.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 496. Ford ed., v, 205.

7794. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Rightful limits.—

We owe every other sacrifice [447] to
ourselves, to our federal brethren, and to the
world at large, to pursue with temper and
perseverance the great experiment which
shall prove that man is capable of living in
society, governing itself by laws self-imposed,
and securing to its members the enjoyment
of life, liberty, property and peace; and
further to show, that even when the government
of its choice shall manifest a tendency
to degeneracy, we are not at once to despair
but that the will and the watchfulness of its
sounder parts will reform its aberrations, recall
it to original and legitimate principles
and restrain it within the rightful limits of
Virginia Protest. Washington ed. ix, 498. Ford ed., x, 351.
(M. 1825)


“Except that of living under a government of
unlimited powers.”—Editor.

7795. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Spaniards and.—

I fear the Spaniards are too heavily
oppressed by ignorance and superstition for
self-government, and whether a change from
foreign to domestic despotism will be to their
advantage remains to be seen.—
To Dr. Samuel Brown. Washington ed. vi, 165.
(M. 1813)

7796. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Study of.—

I sincerely think that the prominent characters
of the country where you are could not
better prepare their sons for the duties they
will have to perform in their new government
than by sending them here [the University
of Virginia] where they might become
familiarized with the habits and practice of
self-government. This lesson is scarcely to be
acquired but in this country, and yet without
it, the political vessel is all sail and no
ballast. [448]
To Henry Dearborn. Ford ed., x, 237.
(M. 1822)


General Dearborn was then Minister to Portugal.—Editor.

7797. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Training for.—

The qualifications for self-government


Page 799
in society are not innate. They are the result
of habit and long training. [449]
To Edward Everett. Washington ed. vii, 341.
(M. 1824)


Jefferson was considering the condition of affairs
in South America, and he added, “for these (habit
and training), they will require time and probably
much suffering”.—Editor.

7798. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Universal.—

I wish to see all mankind exercising
self-government, and capable of exercising it.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 67. Ford ed., x, 85.
(M. 1817)

7799. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Usurpation and.—

[The] exercises of usurped power
[by Parliament] 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
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 130. Ford ed., i, 434.

7800. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Voluntary associations and.—

If [the society] is
merely a voluntary association, the submission
of its members will be merely voluntary
also, as no act of coercion would be permitted
by the general law.—
To William Lee. Washington ed. vii, 57.
(M. 1817)


The law of self-preservation overrules the
laws of obligation to others.—
Opinion on French Treaties. Washington ed. vii, 613. Ford ed., vi, 221.

7802. SENATE (French), Plan of.—

They [the French] propose a Senate, chosen
on the plan of our Federal Senate by the
Provincial Assemblies, but to be for life, of
a certain age (they talk of forty years), and
certain wealth (four or five hundred guineas
a year), but to have no other power as to
laws but to remonstrate against them to the
representatives, who will then determine
their fate by a simple majority. This * * * is a mere council of revision like that of New
York, which, in order to be something, must
form an alliance with the King, to avail
themselves of his veto. The alliance will be
useful to both, and to the nation.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 97. Ford ed., v, 108.
(P. Aug. 1789)

7803. SENATE (United States), Advice and consent.—

When the British treaty of—arrived, without any provision against
the impressment of our seamen, I determined
not to ratify it. The Senate thought
I should ask their advice. I thought that
would be a mockery of them, when I was
predetermined against following it, should
they advise ratification.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 135. Ford ed., x, 142.
Sep. 1819)

7804. SENATE (United States), Advice and consent.—[continued].

The Constitution has
made the advice of the Senate necessary to
confirm a treaty, but not to reject it. This
has been blamed by some; but I have never
doubted its soundness.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 135. Ford ed., x, 142.

7805. SENATE (United States), Cabal in.—

Mischief may be done negatively as well
as positively. Of this a cabal in the Senate
of the United States has furnished many
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 224. Ford ed., ix, 426.
(M. 1813)

7806. SENATE (United States), Check on House of Representatives.—

The Senate
was intended as a check on the will of the
Representatives when too hasty. They are
not only that; but completely so on the will
of the people also; and in my opinion are
heaping coals of fire, not only on their persons,
but on their body, as a branch of the
Legislature. * * * It seems that the opinion
is fairly launched into public that they
should be placed under the control of a more
frequent recurrence to the will of their constituents.
[450] This seems requisite to complete
the experiment, whether they do more harm
or good.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 107. Ford ed., vi, 511.
(M. May. 1794)


Jefferson was condemning the failure to pass
the Non-Importation bill.—Editor.

7807. SENATE (United States), Executive and.—

The President desired my opinion
whether the Senate has a right to negative
the grade he may think it expedient to use
in a foreign mission as well as the person to be appointed. I think the Senate has no
right to negative the grade.
Opinion on the Powers of the Senate. Washington ed. vii, 465. Ford ed., v, 161.

7808. SENATE (United States), Executive and.—[continued].

The Senate is not supposed
by the Constitution to be acquainted
with the concerns of the Executive Department.
It was not [451] intended that these should
be communicated to them.—
Opinion on Powers of Senate. Washington ed. vii, 466. Ford ed., v, 162.


“Not” is omitted in the Ford edition. “It
was not intended” is the reading in the original MS.—Editor.

7809. SENATE (United States), Executive and.—[further continued].

It may be objected that
the Senate may by continual negatives on the
person, do what amounts to a negative on the
grade, and so, indirectly, defeat this right of
the President. But this would be a breach
of trust; an abuse of the power confided to
the Senate, of which that body cannot be supposed
Opinion on the Powers of the Senate. Washington ed. vii, 466. Ford ed., v, 162.

See Appointment.

7810. SENATE (United States), Executive information and.—

The Secretary of
State, having received a note from Mr.
Strong, as chairman of a Committee of the
Senate, asking a conference with him on the
subject of the late diplomatic nominations to
Paris, London and the Hague, he met them
in the Senate chamber in the evening of the
same day, and stated to them in substance
* * * that he should on all occasions be
ready to give to the Senate, or to any other
branch of the government, whatever information
might properly be communicated, and
might be necessary to enable them to proceed
in the line of their respective offices: that on
the present occasion particularly, as the Senate
had to decide on the fitness of certain
persons to act for the United States at certain


Page 800
courts, they would be the better enabled to
decide, if they were informed of the state of
our affairs at those courts, and what we had
to do there.
[Jefferson then explained the
situation of affairs.]—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 420. Ford ed., i, 170.
(W. Jan. 1792)

7811. SENATE (United States), Firmness.—

The senate alone remained undismayed
to the last. Firm to their purposes,
regardless of public opinion, and more disposed
to coerce than to court it, not a man
of their majority gave way in the least.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 330. Ford ed., vii, 447.
(Pa., May. 1800)

7812. SENATE (United States), Honorable.—

The Senate is the most honorable
and independent station in our government,
one where you can peculiarly raise yourself
in the public estimation.—
To William Short. Ford ed., v, 244.
(M. 1790)

7813. SENATE (United States), Jefferson's address to.—

To give the usual opportunity
of appointing a President pro tempore,
I now propose to retire from the chair
of the Senate; and, as the time is near at
hand when the relations will cease which
have for some time subsisted between this
honorable house and myself, I beg leave, before
I withdraw, to return them my grateful
thanks for all the instances of attention and
respect with which they have been pleased to
honor me. In the discharge of my functions
here, it has been my conscientious endeavor
to observe impartial justice, without regard
to persons or subjects; and if I have failed
in impressing this on the mind of the Senate,
it will be to me a circumstance of the deepest
regret. I may have erred at times. No doubt
I have erred. This is the law of human
nature. For honest errors, however, indulgence
may be hoped. I owe to truth and justice
at the same time to declare that the habits
of order and decorum, which so strongly
characterize the proceedings of the Senate,
have rendered the umpirage of their president
an office of little difficulty; that in times
and on questions which have severely tried
the sensibilities of the house, calm and temperate
discussion has rarely been disturbed by
departures from order. Should the support
which I received from the Senate, in the performance
of my duties here, attend me into
the new station to which the public will has
transferred me, I shall consider it as commencing
under the happiest auspices. With
these expressions of my dutiful regard to the
Senate, as a body, I ask leave to mingle my
particular wishes for the health and happiness
of the individuals who compose it, and to
tender them my cordial and respectful adieu.—
Speech to the U. S. Senate. Washington ed. iv, 362. Ford ed., vii, 501.
(Feb. 28, 1801)

7814. SENATE (United States), John Adams's opinions.—

The system of the Senate
may be inferred from their transactions
heretofore, and from the following declaration
made to me personally by their oracle
[President Adams]: “No republic can ever
be of any duration without a Senate, and a
Senate deeply and strongly rooted; strong
enough to bear up against all popular storms
and passions. The only fault in the constitution
of our Senate is, that their term of
office is not durable enough. Hitherto they
have done well, but probably they will be
forced to give way in time.” I suppose
“their having done well hitherto”, alluded to
the stand they made on the British treaty.
This declaration may be considered as their
text; that they consider themselves as the
bulwarks of the government, and will be
rendering that the more secure, in proportion
as they can assume greater powers.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 215. Ford ed., vii, 207.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

7815. SENATE (United States), John Adams's opinions.—[continued].

President Adams and I
got on the Constitution; and in the course of
our conversation he said, that no republic
could ever last which had not a Senate, and a
Senate deeply and strongly rooted, strong
enough to bear up against all popular storms
and passions; that he thought our Senate as
well constituted as it could have been, being
chosen by the Legislatures; for if these could
not support them, he did not know what
could do it; that perhaps it might have been
as well for them to be chosen by the State
at large, as that would insure a choice of distinguished
men, since none but such could be
known to a whole people; that the only fault
in our Senate was that it was not durable
enough, that, hitherto, it had behaved very
well; however, he was afraid they would give
way in the end. That as to trusting to a
popular assembly for the preservation of our
liberties, it was the merest chimera imaginable;
they never had any rule of decision
but their own will, that he would as lieve be
again in the hands of our old committees of
safety, who made the law and executed it at
the same time; that it had been observed by
some writer * * * that anarchy did more
mischief in one night than tyranny in an age;
and that in modern times we might say with
truth, that in France, anarchy had done more
harm in one night, than all the despotism of
their kings had ever done in twenty or thirty
years. The point in which he views our
Senate, as the Colossus of the Constitution,
serves as a key to the politics of the Senate,
who are two-thirds of them in his sentiments,
and accounts for the bold line of conduct they
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 189. Ford ed., i, 277.
(Nov. 1798)

7816. SENATE (United States), Nominations.—

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)

7817. SENATE (United States), People and.—

In the General Government, the
Senate is scarcely republican at all, as not

No Page Number

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Thomas Jefferson
Age unknown

Marble statue by Hiram Powers.

Bought by the United States Government in 1835 for the sum of $10,000. It stands in a
niche at the foot of the marble staircase leading to the gallery of the House of Representatives,
United States Capitol.

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Page 801
elected by the people directly, and so long
secured even against those who do elect them.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vi, 607. Ford ed., x, 30.
(M. 1816)

7818. SENATE (United States), Rules of.—

The rules of the [British] Parliament are
probably as wisely constructed for governing
the debates of a considerative body, and obtaining
its true sense, as any which can become
known to us; and the acquiescence of
the Senate hitherto under the references to
them, has given them the sanction of their
Parliamentary Manual. Washington ed. ix, 3.

7819. SENATE (United States), Rules of.—[continued].

I have begun a sketch
which those who come after me will successively
correct and fill up, till a code of rules
shall be formed for the use of the Senate, the
effects of which may be accuracy in business,
economy of time, order, uniformity, and impartiality.—
Parliamentary Manual. Washington ed. ix, 4.

7820. SENATE (United States), Rules of.—[further continued].

In the old Congress [of
the confederation] the mode of managing the
business of the House was not only unparliamentary,
but the forms were so awkward
and inconvenient that it was impossible sometimes
to get at the true sense of the majority.
The House of Representatives of the United
States are now pretty much in the same situation.
In the Senate it is in our power to
get into a better way. Our ground is this:
The Senate have established a few rules for
their government, and have subjected the decisions
on these and on all other points of
without debate, and without appeal, to
the judgment of their President. He, for his
own sake, as well as theirs, must prefer recurring
to some system of rules ready
formed; and there can be no question that the
parliamentary rules are the best known to
us for managing the debates, and obtaining
the sense of a deliberative body. I have,
therefore, made them my rule of decision,
rejecting those of the old Congress altogether,
and it gives entire satisfaction to the Senate;
insomuch that we shall not only have a good
system there, but probably, by the example
of its effects, produce a conformity in the
other branch. But in the course of this business
I find perplexities, * * * and so little
has the parliamentary branch of the law been
attended to, that I not only find no person
here [Philadelphia], but not even a book to
aid me. * * * You will see by the enclosed
paper what they are. I know with
what pain you write; therefore, I have left
a margin in which you can write a simple
negative or affirmative opposite every position.
This is what I earnestly solicit from
you, and I would not give you the trouble if
I had any other resource. But you are, in
fact, the only spark of parliamentary science
now remaining to us. I am the more anxious,
because I have been forming a Manual of
Parliamentary Law, which I mean to deposit
with the Senate as the standard by which I
judge, and am willing to be judged.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ix, 5. Ford ed., vii, 426.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

See Parliamentary Law.

7821. SENATE (United States), Wisdom.—

The Senate * * * must from its
constitution be a wise and steady body.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. ii, 367.
(A. 1788)
See Congress and Judiciary.

7822. SENATE (Virginia), Defects in.—

The Senate [of Virginia] is, by its constitution,
too homogeneous with the House of
Delegates. Being chosen by the same electors,
at the same time, and out of the same
subjects, the choice falls of course on men
of the same description. The purpose of
establishing different houses of legislation is
to introduce the influence of different interests
or different principles. Thus in Great
Britain it is said their constitution relies on
the House of Commons for honesty, and the
Lords for wisdom; which would be a rational
reliance, if honesty were to be bought with
money, and if wisdom were hereditary. In
some of the American States, the delegates
and Senators are so chosen, as that the first
represent the persons, and the second the
property of the State. But with us, wealth
and wisdom have equal chance for admission
into both houses. We do not, therefore, derive
from the separation of our Legislature
into two houses, those benefits which a proper
complication of principles is capable of producing,
and those which alone can compensate
the evils which may be produced by their
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 361. Ford ed., iii, 223.

7823. SENATE (Virginia), Election of members.—

For the election of Senators, let
the several counties be allotted by the Senate,
from time to time, into such and so many
districts as they shall find best; and let each
county at the time of electing its delegates,
choose senatorial electors, qualified as themselves
are, and four in number for each delegate
their county is entitled to send, who shall
convene, and conduct themselves in such
manner as the legislature shall direct, with the
senatorial electors from the other counties of
their district, and then choose, by ballot, one
senator for every six delegates which their
district is entitled to choose.—
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 443. Ford ed., iii, 323.

— SENATORS (United States), Election of.—

See Constitution (Federal).

7824. SENATORS (United States), Term of office.—

The term of office to our
Senate, like that of the judges, is too long for
my approbation.—
To James Martin. Washington ed. vi, 213. Ford ed., ix, 420.
(M. Sep. 1813)

7825. SENECA, Moral system of.—

is a fine moralist, disfiguring his work at
times with some Stoicisms and affecting too
much antithesis and point, yet giving us on the
whole a great deal of sound and practical morality.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 139. Ford ed., x, 144.
(M. 1819)

7826. SENILITY, Abhorrent.—

decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human
contemplations the most abhorrent is body
without mind.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 27.
(M. 1816)


Page 802

7827. SENILITY, Unconscious.—

misfortune of a weakened mind is an insensibility
of its weakness.—
To Edward Livingston. Washington ed. vii, 405.
(M. 1825)

7828. SENSE, Directed by.—

The good
sense of our people will direct the boat ultimately
to its proper point.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Ford ed., x, 234.
(M. 1822)

7829. SENSE, National.—

My chief object
is to let the good sense of the nation have fair play, believing it will best take care of
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Ford ed., viii, 181.
(W. 1802)

7830. SENSE, People and.—

I am persuaded
myself that the good sense of the people
will always be found to be the best army.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 99. Ford ed., iv, 359.
(P. 1787)

7831. SENSE, People and.—[continued].

I have such reliance on
the good sense of the body of the people, and
the honesty of their leaders, that I am not
afraid of their letting things go wrong to any
length in any cause.—
To M. Dumas. Washington ed. ii, 358.
(P. 1788)

7832. SENSE, People and.—[further continued].

The operations which
have lately taken place in America [adoption of
Constitution] fill me with pleasure. They realize
the confidence I had, that whenever our
affairs go obviously wrong, the good sense of
the people will interpose, and set them to rights.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 12. Ford ed., v, 89.
(P. 1789)

7833. SENSE, Republicanism and.—

was by the sober sense of our citizens that we
were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy
to republicanism, and it is by the same
agency alone we can be kept from falling back.—
To Arthur Campbell. Washington ed. iv, 198. Ford ed., vii, 170.
(M. 1797)

See Common Sense.

7834. SERVICE, Civic.—

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

7835. SERVICE, Credit for.—

The inquiries
in your printed letter * * * would lead
to the writing the history of my whole life, than
which nothing could be more repugnant to my
feelings. I have been connected, as many fellow
laborers were, with the great events which
happened to mark the epoch of our lives. But
these belong to no one in particular, all of
us did our parts, and no one can claim the
transactions to himself.—
To Skelton Jones, Washington ed. v, 462.
(M. 1809)

7836. SERVICE, Credit for.—[continued].

I was only of a band devoted
to the cause of Independence, all of
whom exerted equally their best endeavors for
its success, and have a common right to the
merits of its acquisition. So also is the civil
revolution of 1801. Very many and very meritorious
were the worthy patriots who assisted
in bringing back our government to its republican
To William T. Barry. Washington ed. vii, 255.
(M. 1822)

7837. SERVICE, Old age and.—

Had it
been my good fortune to preserve at the age
of seventy, all the activity of body and mind
which I enjoyed in earlier life, I should have
employed it now, as then, in incessant labors
to serve those to whom I could be useful.—
To M. de Lomerie. Washington ed. vi, 107.
(M. 1813)

7838. SERVICE, Rendering.—

Nothing makes me more happy than to render any service
in my power, of whatever description.—
To Samuel Osgood. Washington ed. i, 451.
(P. 1785)

7839. SERVICE, Reward of.—

If, in the
course of my life, it has been in any degree
useful to the cause of humanity, the fact itself
bears its full reward.—
To David Barrow. Washington ed. vi, 456. Ford ed., ix, 515.
(M. 1815)

7840. SERVICE, Tours of.—

You say I
“must not make my final exit from public life
till it will be marked with justifying circumstances
which all good citizens will respect,
and to which my friends can appeal”. 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.
No positive engagement, by word or deed, binds
me to their further service. No commitment
of their interests in any enterprise by me requires
that I should see them through it. I
am pledged by no act which gives any tribunal
a call upon me before I withdraw. Even my
enemies do not pretend this. I stand clear,
then, of public right on all points. My friends
I have not committed. No circumstances have
attended my passage from office to office, which
could lead them, and others through them, into deception as to the time I might remain, and
particularly they and all have known with what
reluctance I engaged and have continued in the
present one [Secretary of State], and of my
uniform determination to retire from it at an
early day. If the public, then, has no claim on
me, and my friends nothing to justify, the decision
will rest on my own feelings alone.
There has been a time when these were very
different from what they are now; when perhaps
the esteem of the world was of higher
value in my eye than everything in it. But
age, experience and reflection preserving to
that only its due value, have set a higher on
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 577. Ford ed., vi, 290.
(June. 1793)

See Jefferson.

7841. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Conduct and motives of.—

Can history produce an
instance of rebellion so honorably conducted?
I say nothing of its motives. They were founded
in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid
we should ever be twenty years without such
a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always,
well informed. The part which is wrong
will be discontented in proportion to the importance
of the facts they misconceive. If they
remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a
lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public
To W. S. Smith. Washington ed. ii, 318. Ford ed., iv, 467.
(P. 1787)

7842. SHAYS'S REBELLION, European opinion of.—

The tumults in America, I expected,
would have produced in Europe an unfavorable
opinion of our political state. But it
has not. On the contrary, the small effect of
these tumults seems to have given more confidence
in the firmness of our governments. The
interposition of the people themselves on the


Page 803
side of government has had a great effect on
the opinion here.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 99. Ford ed., iv, 359.

7843. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Excuse for.—

Those people are not entirely without
excuse. Before the war, those States depended
on their whale oil and fish. The former was
consumed in England, and much of the latter
in the Mediterranean. The heavy duties on
American whale oil, now required in England,
exclude it from that market; and the Algerines
exclude them from bringing their fish into the
Mediterranean. France is opening her ports
for their oil, but in the meanwhile, their ancient
debts are pressing them, and they have nothing
to pay with. The Massachusetts Assembly, too,
in their zeal for paying their public debt had
laid a tax too heavy to be paid in the circumstances
of their State. The Indians seem disposed,
too, to make war on us. These complicated
causes determined Congress to increase
their forces to 2000 men. The latter was the
sole object avowed, yet the former entered for
something into the measure.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 81. Ford ed., iv, 345.
(P. 1786)

7844. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Government and.—

I am not discouraged by this;
for thus I calculate: An insurrection in one
of thirteen States in the course of eleven years
that they have subsisted, amounts to one in any
particular State, in one hundred and forty-three
years, say a century and a half. This would
not be near as many as have happened in every
other government that has ever existed. So
that we shall have the difference between a
light and a heavy government as clear gain.—
To David Hartley. Washington ed. ii, 165.
(P. 1787)

7845. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Government and.—[continued].

This insurrection will not weigh against the inconveniences of a government
of force, such as are monarchies and
To T. B. Hollis. Washington ed. ii, 168.
(P. 1787)

7846. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Lessons of.—

The commotions that have taken place
in America, as far as they are yet known to me,
offer nothing threatening. They are a proof
that the people have liberty enough, and I
could not wish them less than they have. If
the happiness of the mass of the people can be
secured at the expense of a little tempest now
and then, or even of a little blood, it will be a
precious purchase. Malo libertatem periculosam
quam quietem servitutem.
Let common
sense and honesty have fair play, and they
will soon set things to rights.—
To Ezra Stiles. Washington ed. ii, 77.
(P. 1786)

7847. SHAYS'S REBELLION, The people and.—

The interposition of the people
themselves on the side of the government has
had a great effect on the opinion here
[Europe]. I am persuaded myself that the
good sense of the people will always be found
to be the best army. They may be led astray
for a moment, but will soon correct themselves.
The people are the only censors of their governors;
and even their errors will tend to keep
these to the true principles of their institution.
To punish these errors too severely would be
to suppress the only safeguard of the public
liberty. The way to prevent these irregular
interpositions of the people is to give them full
information of their affairs through the channels
of the public papers, and to contrive that
those papers should penetrate the whole mass
of the people. The basis of our government being
the opinion of the people, the very first ob
ject should be to keep that right; and were it
left to me to decide whether we should have a
government without newspapers, or newspapers
without a government, I should not hesitate a
moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean
that every man should receive those papers,
and be capable of reading them.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 99. Ford ed., iv, 359.
(P. 1787)

7848. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Unalarmed by.—

I had seen without alarm accounts
of the disturbances in the East. * * * I can never fear that things will go far wrong
where common sense has fair play.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. ii, 73.
(P. 1786)

7849. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Unalarmed by.—[continued].

The late rebellion in
Massachusetts has given more alarm than I
think it should have done. Calculate that one
rebellion in thirteen States in the course of
eleven years, is but one for each State in a
century and a half. No country should be so
long without one. Nor will any degree of
power in the hands of government prevent insurrections.
France, with all its despotism,
and two or three hundred thousand men always
in arms, has had three insurrections in
the three years I have been here, in every one
of which greater numbers were engaged than in
Massachusetts, and a great deal more blood was
spilt. In Turkey, which Montesquieu supposes
more despotic, insurrections are the events of
every day. In England, where the hand of
power is lighter than here, but heavier than
with us, they happen every half dozen years.
Compare again the ferocious depredations of
their insurgents with the order, the moderation,
and the almost self-extinguishment of ours.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 331. Ford ed., iv, 479.
(P. 1787)

7850. SHAYS'S REBELLION, Unjustifiable.—

I am impatient to learn your sentiments
on the late troubles in the Eastern
States. So far as I have yet seen, they do not
appear to threaten serious consequences. Those
States have suffered by the stoppage of the
channels of their commerce, which have not yet
found other issues. This must render money
scarce, and make the people uneasy. This uneasiness
has produced acts absolutely unjustifiable;
but I hope they will provoke no severities
from their governments. A consciousness of
those in power that their administration of the
public affairs has been honest may, perhaps,
produce too great a degree of indignation; and
those characters, wherein fear predominates
over hope, may apprehend too much from these
instances of irregularity. They may conclude
too hastily that nature has formed man insusceptible
of any other government than that
of force, a conclusion not founded in truth
nor experience.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 104. Ford ed., iv, 361.
(P. 1787)

7851. SHEEP, Profits from.—

I had
never before considered, with due attention,
the profit from sheep. I shall not be able to
put the farm into that form exactly the ensuing
autumn, but against another I hope I shall.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iv, 5. Ford ed., vi, 83.
(Pa., 1793)

7852. SHEEP, Protection of.—

If you return
to us, bring a couple of pair of true-bred
shepherd's dogs. You will add a valuable possession
to a country now beginning to pay
great attention to the raising of sheep.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 433.
(W. 1809)

7853. SHEEP, Wolves and.—

Sheep are
subject to many diseases which carry them


Page 804
off in great numbers. In the middle and upper
parts of Virginia they are subject to the wolf,
and in all parts of it to dogs. These are great
obstacles to their multiplication.—
Notes on Arthur Young's Letter. Ford ed., vi, 85.

7854. SHEEP (Merinos), Importing.—

The necessity we are under, and the determination
we have formed of emancipating ourselves
from a dependence on foreign countries for manufactures which may be advantageously
established among ourselves, has produced a
very general desire to improve the quality of
our wool by the introduction of the Merino
race of sheep. Your sense of the duties you
owe to your station will not permit me to ask,
nor yourself to do any act which might compromit
you with the government [Spain] with
which you reside, or forfeit that confidence on
their part which can alone enable you to be
useful to your country. But, as far as that will
permit you to give aid to the procuring and
bringing away some of the valuable race, I take
the liberty of soliciting you to do so. It will
be an important service rendered to your country;
to which you will be further encouraged
by the assurance that the enterprise is solely on
the behalf of agricultural gentlemen of distinguished
character in Washington and its
neighborhood, with a view of disseminating the
benefits of their success as widely as they can.
Without any interest in it myself, other than
the general one, I cannot help wishing a favorable
result * * *.—
To George W. Irving. Washington ed. v, 479.
(M. Nov. 1809)

7855. SHEEP (Merinos), Present of.—

send you a Merino ram of full blood, born of
my imported ewe of the race called Agueirres,
by the imported ram of the Paular race which
belonged to the Prince of Peace, was sold
by order of the Junto of Estremadura, was
purchased and sent to me, 1810, by Mr. Jarvis,
our consul at Lisbon. The Paulars are deemed
the finest race in Spain for size and wool taken
together, the Agueirres superior to all in wool,
but small.—
To Archibald Stuart. Ford ed., x, 109.
(M. 1818)

7856. SHEEP (Merinos), Raising.—

thank you [President Madison] for your promised
attention to my portion of the Merinos.
* * * What shall we do with them? I have
been so disgusted with the scandalous extortions
lately practiced in the sale of these animals,
and with the ascription of patriotism and
praise to the sellers, as if the thousands of dollars
apiece they have not been ashamed to
receive were not rewards enough, that I am
disposed to consider as right, whatever is the
reverse of what they have done. Since fortune
has put the occasion upon us, is it not incumbent
upon us so to dispose this benefit to the
farmers of our country, as to put to shame
those who, forgetting their own wealth, and
the honest simplicity of the farmers, have
thought them fit objects of the shaving art,
and to excite, by a better example, the condemnation
due to theirs? No sentiment is
more acknowledged in the family of agriculturists
than that the few who can afford it should
incur the risk and expense of all new improvements,
and give the benefit freely to the many
of more restricted circumstances. The question
then recurs, what are we to do with them?
I shall be willing to concur with you in any
plan you shall approve, and in order that we
may have some proposition to begin upon, I
will throw out a first idea, to be modified or
postponed to whatever you shall think better.
Give all the full-blooded males we can raise to
the different counties of our State, one to each,
as fast as we can furnish them. And as there
must be some rule of priority for the distribution,
let us begin with our own counties, which
are contiguous and nearly central to the State,
and proceed, circle after circle, till we have
given a ram to every county. This will take
about seven years, if we add to the full descendants
those which will have passed to the
fourth generation from common ewes. To
make the benefit of a single male as general
as practicable to the county, we may ask some
known character in each county to have a
small society formed which shall receive the
animal and prescribe rules for his care and
government. We should retain ourselves all
the full-blooded ewes, that they may enable us
the sooner to furnish a male to every county.
When all shall have been provided with rams,
we may in a year or two more, be in a condition
to give a ewe also to every county, if it
be thought necessary. * * * In the meantime,
we shall not be without a profit indemnifying
our trouble and expense. For if of our present
stock of common ewes, we place with the ram as
many as he may be competent to, suppose fifty,
we may sell the male lambs of every year for
such reasonable price as, in addition to the wool,
will pay for the maintenance of the flock. The
first year they will be half-bloods, the second
three-quarters, the third seven-eighths, and the
fourth full-blooded. If we take care in selling
annually half the ewes also, to keep those of
the highest blood, this will be a fund for kindnesses
to our friends, as well as for indemnification
to ourselves; and our whole State May
thus, from this small stock, so dispersed, be
filled in a very few years with this valuable
race, and more satisfaction result to ourselves
than money ever administered to the bosom
of a shaver. There will be danger that what
is here proposed, though but an act of ordinary
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, 522.
(M. 1810)

7857. SHELLS, Growth of.—

It will not
be difficult to induce me to give up the theory
of the growth of shells, without their being
the nidus of animals. It is only an idea, and
not an opinion, with me. In the Notes [on
Virginia] * * * I had observed that there were
three opinions as to the origin of these shells.
1. That they have been deposited, even in the
highest mountains, by an universal deluge.
2. That they, with the calcareous stones and
earths, are animal remains. 3. That they
grow or shoot as crystals do. I find that I could
swallow the last opinion, sooner than either
of the others; but I have not yet swallowed it.
Another opinion might have been added, that
some throe of nature has forced up parts which
had been the bed of the ocean. But have we
any better proof of such an effort of nature,
than of her shooting a lapidific juice into the
form of a shell? No such convulsion has taken
place in our time, nor within the annals of history;
nor is the distance greater between the
shooting of the lapidific juice into the form of
a crystal or a diamond, which we see, and into
the form of a shell, which we do not see, than
between the forcing volcanic matter a little
above the surface, where it is in fusion, which
we see, and the forcing the bed of the sea
fifteen thousand feet above the ordinary surface
of the earth, which we do not see. It is
not possible to believe any of these hypotheses;
and, if we lean towards any of them, it should


Page 805
be only till some other is produced, more analagous
to the known operations of nature.—
To Mr. Rittenhouse. Washington ed. i, 515.
(P. 1786)

7858. SHELLS, Voltaire's errors.—

have lately become acquainted with a memoir
on a petrifaction mixed with shells by a Monsieur
de La Sauvagere, giving an exact account
of what Voltaire had erroneously stated in his
questions Encyclopediques, article coquilles,
from whence I had transferred it into my
Notes. Having been lately at Tours, I had an
opportunity of enquiring into de La Sauvagere's
character and the facts he states. The result
was entirely in his and their favor. This fact
is so curious, so circumstantially detailed, and
yet so little like any known operation of nature,
that it throws the mind under absolute suspense.—
To Rev. James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 247.
(P. 1787)

See Deluge.

7859. SHERIFF, Election in Virginia.—

High sheriffs * * * of Counties shall
be annually elected by those qualified to vote
for Representatives; and no person who shall
have served as high sheriff one year shall be
capable of being reelected to the said office, in
the same county, till he shall have been out of
office five years.—
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Ford ed., ii, 20.
(June. 1776)

7860. SHERIFF, Important office.—

The office of sheriff is the most important of
all the executive offices of the county.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 38.
(M. 1816)

7861. SHIPPING (American), British hostility.—

The British Parliament have a
bill before them for allowing wheat, imported
in British bottoms, to be warehoused free. In
order further to circumscribe the carrying business
of the United States, they now refuse to
consider as an American bottom any vessel not
built here. By this construction, they take
from us the right of defining, by our own laws,
what vessels shall be deemed ours, and naturalized
here; and in the event of a war, in which
we should be neutral, they put it out of our
power to benefit ourselves of our neutrality, by
increasing suddenly, by purchase and naturalization,
our means of carriage. If we are permitted
to do this by building only, the war will
be over before we can be prepared to take advantage
of it.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 249. Ford ed., v, 322.
(Pa., 1791)

7862. SHIPPING (American), British hostility.—[continued].

Great Britain is still endeavoring
to plunder us of our carrying business.
The Parliament have a bill before them
to admit wheat brought in British bottoms to be
warehoused rent free, so that the merchants
are already giving a preference to British bottoms
for that commodity. Should we lose the
transportation of our own wheat, it will put
down a great proportion of our shipping, already
pushed by British vessels out of some of
the best branches of business. In order further
to circumscribe our carrying, the Commissioners
of the Treasury have lately determined to
admit no vessel as American, unless built here.
This takes from us the right of prescribing by
our own laws the conditions of naturalizing
vessels in our own country, and in the event of
a war in which we should be neutral, prevents
our increasing, by purchase, the quantity of our
shipping, so as to avail ourselves of the full
benefit of the neutrality of our flag. If we are
to add to our own stock of shipping only as
much as we can build, a war will be over before
we shall be the better of it.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., v, 318.
(Pa., 1791)


——. Our ships, though purchased
and navigatated by their own [British] subjects, are not permitted to be used even in
their trade with us. While the vessels of other
nations are secured by standing laws, which
cannot be altered but by the concurrent will of
the three branches of the British legislature,
in carrying thither any produce or manufacture
of the country to which they belong, which May
be lawfully carried in any vessels, ours, with
the same prohibition of what is foreign, are
further prohibited by a standing law (12 Car.
2, 18, sect. 3,) [the Navigation Act] from carrying
thither all and any of our own domestic productions
and manufactures. A subsequent act,
indeed, has authorized their executive to permit
the carriage of our own productions in our own
bottoms, at its sole discretion; and the permission
has been given from year to year by
proclamation, but subject every moment to be
withdrawn on that single will; in which event,
our vessels having anything on board, stand
interdicted from the entry of all British ports.
The disadvantage of a tenure which may be
so suddenly discontinued, was experienced by
our merchants on a late occasion (April 12,
1792), when an official notification that this law
would be strictly enforced, gave them just apprehensions
for the fate of their vessels and
cargoes despatched or destined for the ports of
Great Britain. The minister of that court, indeed,
frankly expressed his personal conviction
that the words of the order went farther
than was intended, and so he afterwards officially
informed us; but the embarrassments of
the moment were real and great, and the possibility
of their renewal lays our commerce to
that country under the same species of discouragement
as to other countries, where it is
regulated by a single legislator; and the distinction
is too remarkable not to be noticed,
that our navigation is excluded from the security
of fixed laws, while that security is given
to the navigation of others.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 641. Ford ed., vi, 474.
(Dec. 1793)

7864. SHIPPING (American), French decree against.—

The French decree making
the vessel, friendly or enemy, according to the
hands by which the cargo was manufactured,
has produced a great sensation among the merchants
of Philadelphia. Its operation is not
yet perhaps well understood; but it probably
will put our shipping out of competition, because
British bottoms, which can come under
convoy, will alone be trusted with return cargoes.
Ours, losing this benefit, would need a
higher freight out, in which, therefore, they
will be underbid by the British. They must
then retire from the competition.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 220. Ford ed., vii, 216.
(Pa., March. 1798)

7865. SHIPPING (American), Navigation act.—

Our navigation law (if it be wise
to have any) should be the reverse of that of
England. Instead of confining importations to
home-bottoms, or those of the producing nation,
I think we should confine exportations to home-bottoms, or to those of nations having
with us. Our exportations are heavy,
and would nourish a great force of our own,
or be a tempting price to the nation to whom
we should offer a participation of it, in exchange
for free access to all their possessions.
This is an object to which our government
alone is adequate, in the gross; but I have ventured
to pursue it here [France], so far as the
consumption of our productions by this country
extends. Thus, in our arrangements relative


Page 806
to tobacco, none can be received here, but in
French or American bottoms. This is employment
for near two thousand seamen, and puts
nearly that number of British out of employ.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 536. Ford ed., v, 58.
(P. 1788)

7866. SHIPPING (American), Peculiarities of.—

It is doubted whether it will be
expedient to regulate the duty, payable by
an American vessel entering a French port,
either by her draught or the number of her
masts. If by the draught of water, it will fall
unequally on us as a nation; because we build
our vessels sharp-bottomed, for swift sailing,
so that they draw more water than those of
other nations, of the same burthen. If by the
number of masts, it will fall unequally on individuals;
because we often see ships of one
hundred and eighty tons, and brigs of three
hundred and sixty. This, then, would produce
an inequality among individuals of six to one.
The present principle is the most just, to regulate
by the burthen.—
To Count de Montmorin. Washington ed. ii, 172. Ford ed., iv, 399.
(P. 1787)

7867. SHIPPING (American), Protection of.—

When a nation refuses to consider any vessel as ours which has not been built
within our territories, we should refuse to consider
as theirs, any vessel not built within their
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vi, 649. Ford ed., vi, 482.
(Dec. 1793)

7868. SHIPPING (American), Simplification of duties.—

It is certainly desirable
that these duties should be reduced to a single
one. Their names and numbers perplex and
harass the merchant more than their amount;
subject him to imposition, and to the suspicion
of it when there is none.—
To Count de Montmorin. Washington ed. ii, 173. Ford ed., iv, 400.
(P. 1787)

7869. SHIPPING (American), West Indian trade.—

The British allow our commodities
to be taken from our own ports to the West Indies in their vessels only. Let us allow
their vessels to take them to no port. The
transportation of our own produce is worth
seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling
annually, will employ 200,000 tonnage of
ships, and 12,000 seamen constantly. It will
be no misfortune that Great Britain obliges us
to exclude her from a participation in this
business. Our own shipping will grow fast
under the exclusion, and till it is equal to the
object the Dutch will supply us.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 37.
(P. 1785)
See Commerce, Duties, Discriminating, Flag Protection and Navigation.

7870. SHIPS, Passports.—

It has been
stated in our treaties with the French, Dutch
and Prussians, that when it happens that either
party is at war, and the other neutral, the
neutral shall give passports of a certain tenor
to the vessels belonging to their subjects, in
order to avoid dissension; and it has been
thought that passports of such high import to
the persons and property of our citizens should
have the highest sanction; that of the signature
of the President, and seal of the United States.
The authority of Congress also, in the case
of sea letters to East India vessels, was in favor
of this sanction. It is now become a question
whether these passports shall be given only to
ships owned and built in the United States, or
may be given also to those owned in the United
States, though built in foreign countries. The
persons and property of our citizens are entitled
to the protection of our government in
all places where they may lawfully go. No
laws forbid a merchant to buy, own, and use
a foreign-built vessel. She is, then, his lawful
property, and entitled to the protection of his
nation wherever he is lawfully using her. The
laws, indeed, for the encouragement of ship-building,
have given to home-built vessels the
exclusive privilege of being registered and paying
lighter duties. To this privilege, therefore,
the foreign-built vessel, though owned at
home, does not pretend. But the laws have not
said that they withdraw their protection from
the foreign-built vessel. To this protection,
then, she retains her title, notwithstanding the
preference given to the home-built vessel as to
duties. It would be hard, indeed, because the
law has given one valuable right to home-built
vessels, to infer that it had taken away all
rights from those foreign-built. In conformity
with the idea that all the vessels of a State are
entitled to its protection, the treaties before
menioned have settled that passports shall be
given, not merely to vessels built in the United
States, but to the vessels belonging to them;
and when one of these nations shall take a
vessel, if she has not such a passport, they
are to conclude she does not belong to the
United States, and is, therefore, lawful prize;
so that to refuse these passports to foreign-built
vessels belonging to our merchants, is to
give them up to capture with their cargoes.
* * * France and Holland permit our vessels
to be neutralized with them; not even to
suffer theirs to be purchased here might give
them just cause to revoke the privilege of
naturalization given to ours, and would inflict
on the ship-building States and artizans a severe
injury. Objection. To protect foreign-built
vessels will lessen the demand for ship-building
here. Answer. Not all; because as
long as we can build cheaper than other nations,
we shall be employed in preference to
others; besides, shall we permit the greatest
part of the produce of our fields to rot on our
hands, or lose half its value by subjecting it to
high insurance, merely that our ship-builders
may have brisker employ? Shall the whole
mass of our farmers be sacrificed to the class
of ship wrights? Objection. There will be collusive
transfers of foreign ships to our merchants,
merely to obtain for them the cover of
our passports. Answer. The same objection
lies to giving passports to home-built vessels.
They may be owned, and are owned by foreigners,
and may be collusively re-transferred
to our merchants to obtain our passports. To
lessen the danger of collusion, however, I
should be for delivering passports in our own
ports only. If they were to be sent blank to
foreign ports, to be delivered there the power
of checking collusion would be small, and they
might be employed to cover purposes of no
benefit to us (which we ought not to countenance ),
and to throw our vessels out of business;
but if issued only to vessels in our own
ports, we can generally be certain that the
vessel is our property; and always that the
cargo is of our produce. State the case that
it shall be found that all our shipping, home-built
and foreign-built, is inadequate to the
transportation of our produce to market; so
that after all these are loaded, there shall yet
remain produce on hand. This must be put
into vessels owned by foreigners. Should these
obtain collusively the protection of our passport,
it will cover their vessel, indeed, but it
will cover also our cargo. I repeat it, then, that
if the issuing passports be continued to our ports,
it will be our own vessels for the most part,
and always our cargoes which will be covered
by them. I am, therefore, of opinion, that passports
ought to be issued to all vessels belonging


Page 807
to citizens of the United States, but only on
their clearing out from our own ports, and for
that voyage only.—
Opinion on Ship Passports. Washington ed. vii, 624.
(May. 1793)

7871. SHIPS, Passports.—[continued].

The most important interests
of the United States hang upon this question. [Giving passports to foreign-built
ships.] The produce of the earth is their principal
source of wealth. Our home-built vessels
would suffice for the transportation of a very
small part of this produce to market, and even
a part of these vessels will be withdrawn by
high premiums to other lines of business. All
the rest of our produce, then, must remain on
our hands, or have its price reduced by a war
insurance. Many descriptions of our produce
will not bear this reduction and would, therefore,
remain on hand. We shall lose, also, a
great proportion of the profits of navigation.
The great harvest for these is when other nations
are at war, and our flag neutral. But if
we can augment our stock of shipping only by
the slow process of building, the harvest will
be over while we are only preparing instruments
to reap it. The moment of breeding seamen
will be lost for want of bottoms to embark
them in.—
Opinion on Ship Passports. Washington ed. vii, 625.
(May. 1793)

7872. SHIPS, Passports.—[further continued].

It has been stated in our
treaties with the French, Dutch, and Prussians,
that when it happens that either party is at war,
and the other neutral, the neutral shall give
passports of a certain tenor to the vessels belonging
to their subjects,
in order to avoid dissension;
and it has been thought that passports
of such high import to the persons and property
of our citizens should have the highest sanction;
that of the signature of the President, and
seal of the United States. The authority of
Congress also, in the case of sea letters to East
India vessels, was in favor of this sanction.
It is now become a question whether these passports
shall be given only to ships owned and
in the United States, or may be given also
to those owned in the United States, though
built in foreign countries. * * * I am of
opinion that passports ought to be issued to all
vessels belonging to citizens of the United
States, but only on their clearing out from our
own ports, and for that voyage only.—
Opinion on Ship Passports. Washington ed. vii, 624. 6.

(Dec. 1793)

7873. SHIPS, Passports.—[further continued] .

As our citizens are free
to purchase and use foreign-built vessels, and
these, like all their other lawful property, are
entitled to the protection of their government,
passports will be issued to them as freely as
to home-built vessels. This is strictly within
our treaties, the letter of which, as well as
their spirit, authorizes passports to all vessels
belonging to citizens of the United States.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 550. Ford ed., vi, 242.
(Pa., 1793)

7874. SHIPS, Passports.—[further continued].

Before the receipt of
* * * the form of your passports, it had
been determined here, that passports should be
issued in our own ports only, as well to secure
us against those collusions which would be
fraudulent towards our friends, and would introduce
a competition injurious to our own vessels,
as to induce these to remain in our own
service, and thereby give to the productions of
our own soil the protection of its own flag in its
passage to foreign markets.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 550. Ford ed., vi, 242.
(Pa., May. 1793)

7875. SHIPS, Passports.—[further continued] .

It is determined that
passports shall be given in our own ports only,
and to serve but for one voyage. It has also
been determined that they shall be given to all
vessels bonâ fide owned by American citizens
wholly, whether built here or not. Our property,
whether in the form of vessels, cargoes,
or anything else, has a right to pass the seas
untouched by any nation, by the law of nations;
and no one has a right to ask where a vessel
was built, but where she is owned.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 581. Ford ed., vi, 301.
(Pa., June. 1793)

7876. SHIPS, Passports.—[further continued].

The most rigorous measures
will be taken to prevent any vessel, not
wholly and bonâ fide owned by American citizens,
from obtaining our passports. It is much
our interest to prevent the competition of other
nations from taking from us the benefits we
have a right to expect from the neutrality of
our flag.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 582. Ford ed., vi, 301.
(Pa., June. 1793)

7877. SHIPS, Purchase of foreign.—

our home-built vessels are adequate to but a
small proportion of our transportation, if we
could not suddenly augment the stock of our
shipping, our produce would be subject to war
insurance in the vessels of the belligerent powers,
though we remain at peace ourselves.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 550. Ford ed., vi, 242.
(Pa., May. 1793)

7878. SHIPS, Purchase of foreign.—[continued].

Had it not been in our
power to enlarge our national stock of shipping
suddenly in the present exigency, a great proportion
of our produce must have remained on
our hands for want of the means of transportation
to market.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 581. Ford ed., vi, 301.
(Pa., June. 1793)

7879. SHIPS, Purchase of foreign.—[further continued].

With respect to the increase
of our shipping, our merchants have no
need * * * of a permission to buy up foreign
bottoms. There is no law prohibiting it,
and when bought they are American property,
and as such entitled to pass freely by our treaties
with some nations, and by the law of nations,
with all. Such accordingly, by a determination
of the Executive, will receive American
passports. They will not be entitled, indeed,
to import goods on the low duties of
home-built vessels, the laws having confined
that privilege to these only.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 7. Ford ed., vi, 323.
(Pa., 1793)

7880. SHIPS, Registers.—

Our laws, indeed,
indulge home-built vessels with the payment
of a lower tonnage, and to evidence their right to this, permit them alone to take out
registers from our own offices; but they do not
exclude foreign-built vessels owned by our citizens
from any other right.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 550. Ford ed., vi, 242.
(Pa., 1793)

7881. SHIPS, Registers.—[continued].

The laws of the United States confine registers to home-built vessels
belonging to citizens: but they do not make it
unlawful for citizens to own foreign-built vessels;
and the treaties give the right of sea-letters
to all vessels belonging to citizens. But
who are citizens? The laws of registry consider
a citizenship obtained by a foreigner who
comes merely for that purpose, and returns to
reside in his own country, as fraudulent, and
deny a register to such an one, even owning
home-built vessels. I consider the distinction
as sound and safe, and that we ought not to
give sea-letters to a vessel belonging to such a
pseudo-citizen. It compromises our peace, by
lending our flag to cover the goods of one of
the belligerents to the injury of the other. It
produces vexatious searches on the vessels of
our real citizens, and gives to others the participation


Page 808
of our neutral advantages, which belong
to the real citizen only.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 566.

— SHIPS, Screw-propeller.—

See Inventions.

7882. SHIPS, Sea-letters.—

Sea-letters are the creatures of treaties. No act of the
ordinary Legislature requires them. The only
treaties now existing with us, and calling for
them, are those with Holland, Spain, Prussia,
and France. In the two former, we have stipulated
that when the other party shall be at war,
the vessels belonging to our people shall be
furnished with sea-letters; in the two latter,
that the vessels of the neutral party shall be so
furnished. France being now at war, the sea-letter
is made necessary for our vessels; and
consequently it is our duty to furnish them.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 566.

7883. SHIPS, Sea-letters.—[continued].

I would propose as a rule that sea-letters be given to all vessels belonging
to citizens under whose ownership of a
registered vessel such vessel would be entitled
to the benefits of her register.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 567.

7884. SHIPS, Subsidies for.—

I should be
happy to hear that Congress thought of establishing
packets of their own between New York
and Havre. * * * Could not the surplus of
the Post Office revenue be applied to this?
This establishment would look like the commencement
of a little Navy, the only kind of
force we ought to possess.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Ford ed., iv, 69.
(P. 1785)

7885. SHIPS, Tonnage duties.—

French complain of our tonnage duty; but it is
because it is not understood. In the ports of
France, we pay fees for anchorage, buoys and
beacons, fees to measurers, weighers and
gaugers, and in some countries for light-houses.
We have thought it better that the public here
should pay all these, and reimburse itself by a
consolidation of them into one fee, proportioned
to the tonnage of the vessel, and therefore
called by that name. They complain that
the foreign tonnage is higher than the domestic.
If this complaint had come from the
English, it would not have been wonderful,
because the foreign tonnage operates really as
a tax on their commerce, which, under this
name, is found to pay 16½ dollars for every
dollar paid by France.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 275. Ford ed., v, 363.
(Pa., 1791)

7886. SHIPS, Tonnage duties.—[continued].

I like your idea of proportioning
the tonnage of the vessel to the
value (in some degree) of the property, but its
bulk must also be taken into consideration.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 260.
(W. 1808)

7887. SHIPS, Voyage to China.—

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency
[Count de Vergennes] a report of the voyage
of an American ship, the first which has gone
to China. The circumstances which induce
Congress to direct this communication is the
very friendly conduct of the consul of his
Majesty at Macao, and of the commanders and
other officers of the French vessels in those seas.
It has been with singular satisfaction that Congress
have seen these added to the many other
proofs of the cordiality of this nation towards
our citizens. It is the more pleasing, when it
appears in the officers of government, because
it is then viewed as an emanation of the spirit
of the government. It would be an additional
gratification to Congress, in this particular instance,
should any occasion arise of notifying
those officers, that their conduct has been justly
represented to your Excellency on the part of
the United States, and has met your approbation.—
To Count de Vergennes. Washington ed. i, 456.
(P. 1785)

— SHIPS, Water for.—

See Salt-Water.

7888. SHORT (William), Attachment to.—

I see with extreme concern that you
have received an impression that my attachment
to you has become lessened, and that you
have drawn this inference from circumstances
taking place while you were in Washington.
What these circumstances could be is to me
incomprehensible, but one thing I certainly
know, that they have been misconstrued. That
this change could not be previous to my retirement
from the government in 1794, your appointments
to France, to Holland, to Spain are
proofs. And if, during my present place in
the government, I have not met your desires,
the public motives which have been frankly
declared have given the real grounds. You
think them not founded in fact; but if the testimony
we receive is of different complexions,
neither should wonder at the difference of conclusion
drawn by the other, and I do trust that
you will become sensible that there is no necessity,
at least, for supposing a change in
affections, which are the same now as they
have ever been. Certainly I shall not, on my
part, permit a difference of view on a single
subject to efface the recollections and attachments
of a whole life.—
To William Short. Ford ed., ix, 70.
(W. 1807)

7889. SHORT (William), Diplomatic services.—

Mr. Short has desired me to suggest
his name as that of a person willing to
become a legatine secretary, should these offices
be continued. I have apprised him of the possibility
that they may not. You know my high
opinion of his abilities and merits; I will,
therefore, only add that a peculiar talent for
prying into facts seems to mark his character
as proper for such a business. He is young,
and little experienced in business, though well
prepared for it. These defects will lessen
daily. Should persons be proposed less proper
on the whole, you would on motives of public
good, knowing his willingness to serve, give
him a nomination and do justice to his character.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 318.
(T. May. 1783)

7890. SHORT (William), Diplomatic services.—[continued].

A treaty of commerce
between the United States of America and his
Majesty the King of Prussia having been arranged
with the Baron de Thulemeyer, his
Majesty's envoy extraordinary at the Hague,
specially empowered for this purpose, and it
being inconsistent with our other duties to repair
to that place ourselves for the purpose of
executing and exchanging the instruments of
treaty, we hereby appoint you special secretary
for that purpose.—
To William Short. Washington ed. i, 372.
(P. 1785)

7891. SHORT (William), Diplomatic services.—[further continued].

The President has appointed
you Minister Resident * * * at
the Hague which was approved by the Senate
on January 16.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 322. Ford ed., v, 425.
(Pa., Jan. 1792)

7892. SHORT (William), Diplomatic services.—[further continued] .

The President has joined
you in a special and temporary commission with
Mr. Carmichael to repair to Madrid, and there
negotiate certain matters respecting the navigation
of the Mississippi, and other points of
common interest between Spain and us.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 324. Ford ed., v, 427.
(Pa., Jan. 1792)


Page 809

7893. SHORT (William), Private secretary.—

I shall, on Mr. Short's return from
the Hague, appoint him my private secretary,
till Congress shall think proper to signify their
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 407. Ford ed., iv, 86.
(P. 1785)

7894. SHORT (William), Private secretary.—[continued].

His talents and character
allow me to say, with confidence, [are such] that nothing will suffer in his hands [during my
absence from Paris at home]. The friendly dispositions
of Monsieur de Montmorin would induce
him readily to communicate with Mr. Short
in his present character [private secretary to Jefferson];
but should any of his applications be
necessary to be laid before the Council, they
might suffer difficulty; nor could he attend the
diplomatic societies, which are the most certain
sources of good intelligence. Would Congress
think it expedient to remove the difficulties by
naming him Secretary of Legation, so that he
would act, of course, as Chargé des Affaires
during my absence?—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 514.
(P. 1788)

7895. SHORT (William), Rejected by Senate.—

It is with much concern I inform
you that the Senate has negatived your appointment.
We thought it best to keep back
the nomination to the close of the session, that
the mission might remain secret as long as
possible, which you know was our purpose from
the beginning. It was then sent in with an
explanation of its object and motives. We
took for granted, if any hesitation should arise,
that the Senate would take time, and that our
friends in that body would make inquiries of
us, and give us the opportunity of explaining
and removing objections. But to our great
surprise, and with an unexampled precipitancy,
they rejected it at once. This reception of the
last of my official communications to them
could not be unfelt, nor were the causes of it
spoken out by them. Under this uncertainty,
Mr. Madison, on his entering into office, proposed
another person (John Quincy Adams).
He also was negatived, and they adjourned sine
Our subsequent information was that, on
your nomination, your long absence from this
country, and their idea that you do not intend
to return to it, had very sensible weight; but
that all other motives were superseded by an
unwillingness to extend our diplomatic connections,
and a desire even to recall the foreign
ministers we already have. All were sensible
of the great virtues, the high character.
the powerful influence, and valuable friendship
of the Emperor. But riveted to the system of
unentaglement with Europe, they declined the
proposition. * * * I pray you to place me
rectus in curiâ in this business with the Emperor,
and to assure him that I carry into my
retirement the highest veneration for his virtues,
and fondly cherish the belief that his dispositions
and power are destined by heaven to
better, in some degree at least, the condition of
oppressed man.—
To William Short Washington ed. v, 435. Ford ed., ix, 249.
(W. March. 1809)

See 261.

7896. SHORT (William), Republicanism.—

I know your republicanism to be pure,
and that it is no decay of that which has embittered
you against its votaries in France, but
too great a sensibility at the partial evil [with] which its object has been accomplished there—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 503. Ford ed., vi, 155.
(Pa., 1793)

7897. SHORT (William), Talents.—

wish in the next election of delegates for Congress,
Short could be sent. His talents are
great, and his weight in our State must ere
long become principal.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 403.
(A. Feb. 1784)

7898. SHORT (William), Talents.—[continued].

His talents and merits
are such as to have placed him, young as he is,
in the Supreme Executive Council of Virginia,
an office which he relinquished to visit Europe.—
To Baron Thulemeyer. Washington ed. i, 369.
(P. 1785)

7899. SIEYES (Abbe), Logical.—

The Abbé Sieyés was the most logical head of the
[French] nation. His pamphlet “Qu'est ce
que le Tiers Etat”?
electrified that country, as
Paine's Common Sense did us.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 91. Ford ed., i, 127.

7900. SILENCE, Golden.—

We often repent
of what we have said, but never of that which we have not.—
To Gideon Granger. Washington ed. vi, 333. Ford ed., ix, 458.
(M. 1814)

— SILVER, Intrinsic value of.—

See Dollar and Money.

7901. SIMPLICITY, Government and.—

I am for a government rigorously frugal and
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 327.

7902. SIMPLICITY, Government and.—[continued].

We have suppressed all
those public forms and ceremonies which
tended to familiarize the public eye to the
harbingers of another form of government.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 430.
(W. April. 1802)

7903. SIMPLICITY, Government and.—[further continued].

Levees are done away.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. iv, 396. Ford ed., viii, 52.
(W. May. 1801)

7904. SIMPLICITY, Individual.—

Let us
deserve well of our country by making her
interests the end of all our plans, and not
our own pomp, patronage and irresponsibility.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 429. Ford ed., viii, 141.
(W. 1802)

See Ceremony.

7905. SINCERITY, Language and.—

Such is become the prostitution of language
that sincerity has no longer distinct terms in
which to express her own truths.—
To George Washington. Washington ed. i, 325. Ford ed., iii, 298.
(Pa., 1783)

7906. SINCERITY, Valued.—

Sincerity I
value above all things; as between those who
practice it, falsehood and malice work their
efforts in vain.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. iv, 590. Ford ed., viii, 431.
(W. 1806)

7907. SINCLAIR (Sir John), Benefactor.—

Like our good old Franklin, your labors
and science go all to the utilities of human life.—
To Sir John Sinclair. Washington ed. vii, 22.
(M. 1816)

7908. SINECURES, Taxation and.—

We do not mean that our people shall be burdened
with oppressive taxes to provide sinecures for
the idle or the wicked, under color of providing
for a civil list.—
Reply to Lord North's Proposition. Ford ed., i, 480.
(July. 1775)

7909. SLANDER, Anonymous.—

Your favor has been received * * * with the
tribute of respect due to a person, who, unurged
by motives of personal friendship or acquaintance,
and unaided by particular information,
will so far exercise his justice as to advert
to the proofs of approbation given to a
public character by his own State and the
United States, and weigh them in the scale
against the fatherless calumnies he hears uttered


Page 810
against him. These public acts are known even to those who know nothing of my
private life, and surely are better evidence to a
mind disposed to truth, than slanders which
no man will affirm on his own knowledge, or
ever saw one who would.—
To Uriah M'Gregory. Washington ed. iv, 333.
(M. 1800)

7910. SLANDER, Answer to.—

As to federal
slanders, I never wished them to be answered
but by the tenor of my life, half a century
of which has been on a theatre at which the public have been spectators, and competent
judges of its merit. Their approbation has
taught a lesson, useful to the world, that the
man who fears no truths has nothing to fear
from lies. I should have fancied myself half
guilty had I condescended to put pen to paper
in refutation of their falsehoods, or drawn to
them respect by any notice from myself.—
To Dr. George Logan. Ford ed., x, 27.
(M. 1816)

7911. SLANDER, Answer to.—[continued].

I ascribe these hard expressions
to the ardor of his zeal for the public
good, and as they contain neither argument nor
proof, I pass them over without observation.
Indeed, I have not been in the habit of noticing
these morbid ejections of spleen either with or
without the names of those venting them. But
I have thought it a duty on the present occasion
to relieve my fellow citizens and my country
from the degradation in the eyes of the world
to which this informer is endeavoring to reduce
it by representing it as governed hitherto by a
succession of swindlers and speculators. Nor
shall I notice any further endeavors to prove
or to palliate this palpable misinformation. I
am too old and inert to undertake minute investigations
of intricate transactions of the
last century; and I am not afraid to trust to the
justice and good sense of my fellow-citizens
on future as on former attempts to lessen me
in their esteem.—
To Ritchie and Gooch. Washington ed. vii, 242. Ford ed., x, 211.
(M. 1822)

7912. SLANDER, Brutal.—

I certainly
have known, and still know, characters eminently
qualified for the most exalted trusts,
who could not bear up against the brutal hackings
and hewings of these heroes of Billingsgate.
I may say, from intimate knowledge,
that we should have lost the services of the
greatest character of our country, had he been
assailed with the degree of abandoned licentiousness
now practiced. The torture he felt
under rare and slight attacks, proves that under
those of which the federal bands have shown
themselves capable, he would have thrown up
the helm in a burst of indignation.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. iv, 576. Ford ed., viii, 355.
(W. 1805)

7913. SLANDER, Character vs.—

myself, when placed under the necessity of deciding
in a case where on the one hand is
a young and worthy person, all the circumstances
of whose education and position in life
pronounce her virtuous and innocent, and on
the other the proneness of the world to sow and
spread slander, there is no hesitation in my
To St. George Tucker. Ford ed., vi, 425.
(Pa., 1793)

7914. SLANDER, Chrism of.—

You have
indeed received the federal unction of lying and
slandering. But who has not? Who will ever
again come into eminent office, unanointed with
this chrism? It seems to be fixed that falsehood
and calumny are to be their ordinary engines
of opposition; engines which will not be
entirely without effect. The circle of characters
equal to the first stations is not too large, and
will be lessened by the voluntary retreat of
those whose sensibilities are stronger than their
confidence in the justice of public opinion.
* * * Yet this effect of sensibility must not
be yielded to. If we suffer ourselves to be
frightened from our post by mere lying, surely
the enemy will use that weapon; for what one
so cheap to those of whose system of politics
morality makes no part?—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. iv, 576. Ford ed., viii, 355.
(W. 1805)

7915. SLANDER, Disregard of.—

rule of life has been never to harass the public
with fendings and provings of personal slanders.—
To Martin Van Buren. Washington ed. vii, 372. Ford ed., x, 315.
(M. 1824)

7916. SLANDER, Hamilton and.—

To a
thorough disregard of the honors and emoluments
of office, I join as great a value for the
esteem of my countrymen, and conscious of
having merited it by an integrity which cannot
be reproached, and by an enthusiastic devotion
to their rights and liberty, I will not suffer my
retirement to be clouded by the slanders of a
man [Alexander Hamilton] whose history,
from the moment at which history can stoop
to notice him, is a tissue of machinations
against the liberty of the country which has not
only received and given him bread, but heaped
its honors on his head.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 468. Ford ed., vi, 109.
(M. 1792)

7917. SLANDER, Irritating.—

I am fond of quiet, willing to do my duty, but irritable by
slander, and apt to be forced by it to abandon
my post.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Ford ed., iv, 100.
(P. 1785)

7918. SLANDER, Newspapers and.—

editor * * * [should] set his face against the
demoralizing practice of feeding the public
mind habitually on slander, and the depravity
of taste which this nauseous aliment induces.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 93. Ford ed., ix, 74.
(W. 1807)

7919. SLANDER, Of patriots.—

patriot, like the Christian, must learn that to
bear revilings and persecutions is a part of
his duty; and in proportion as the trial is severe,
firmness under it becomes more requisite
and praiseworthy. It requires, indeed, self-command.
But that will be fortified in proportion
as the calls for its exercise are repeated.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. iv, 576. Ford ed., viii, 355.
(W. 1805)

7920. SLANDER, Political.—

The federal
leaders have gone too far ever to change.
Their bitterness increases with their desperation.
They are trying slanders now which
nothing could prompt but a gall which blinds
their judgments as well as their consciences.
I shall take no other revenge, than, by a steady
pursuit of economy and peace, and by the establishment
of republican principles in substance
and in form, to sink federalism into an abyss
from which there shall be no resurrection for
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 451. Ford ed., viii, 175.
(W. Oct. 1802)

7921. SLANDER, Prevalent.—

is becoming a necessary of life; insomuch,
that a dish of tea in the morning or evening
cannot be digested without this stimulant.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 93. Ford ed., ix, 74.
(W. 1807)

7922. SLANDER, Public office and.—

is really a most afflicting consideration, that
it is impossible for a man to act in any office
for the public without encountering a persecu


Page 811
tion which even his retirement will not withdraw
him from.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 233.
(Pa., 1798)

7923. SLANDER, Punishment for.—

Slanderers I have thought it best to leave to the
scourge of public opinion.—
To De Witt Clinton. Washington ed. v, 80. Ford ed., ix, 63.
(W. 1807)

7924. SLANDER, Secret.—

Secret slanders
cannot be disarmed because they are secret.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. iv, 591. Ford ed., viii, 431.
(W. 1806)

7925. SLANDER, Voluminous.—

As to
the volume of slanders supposed to have been
cut out of newspapers and preserved [by me] it would not, indeed, have been a single volume,
but an encyclopedia in bulk. But I never
had such a volume; indeed, I rarely thought
those libels worth reading, much less preserving
and remembering.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 274.
(M. 1823)

See Abuse, Calumny, Libels and Newspapers.

7926. SLAVE TRADE, Abolition of.—

congratulate you [Congress] on the approach
of the period at which you may interpose your
authority constitutionally, to withdraw the citizens
of the United States from all further
participation in those violations of human
rights which have been so long continued on
the unoffending inhabitants of Africa, and
which the morality, the reputation, and the best
interests of our country, have long been eager
to proscribe. Although no law you may pass
can take prohibitory effect till the first day of
the year one thousand eight hundred and eight,
yet the intervening period is not too long to
prevent, by timely notice, expeditions which
cannot be completed before that day.—
Sixth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 67. Ford ed., viii, 492.
(Dec. 1806)

7927. SLAVE TRADE, Abolition of.—[continued].

I am very sensible of the
honor you propose to me of becoming a member
of the society for the abolition of the slave
trade. You know that nobody wishes more ardently
to see an abolition, not only of the trade,
but of the condition of slavery; and certainly
nobody will be more willing to encounter every
sacrifice for that object. But the influence
and information of the friends to this proposition
in France will be far above the need of
my association. I am here as a public servant,
and those whom I serve, having never yet been
able to give their voice against this practice,
it is decent for me to avoid too public a demonstration
of my wishes to see it abolished.
Without serving the cause here, it might render
me less able to serve it beyond the water.
I trust you will be sensible of the prudence
of those motives, therefore, which govern my
conduct on this occasion.—
To J. P. Brissot de Warville. Washington ed. ii, 357. Ford ed., v, 6.
(P. Feb. 1788)

7928. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—

the year 1800 of the Christian era, there shall
be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude
in any of the said States, [452] otherwise than in
punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall
have been duly convicted to have been personally
Western Territory Report. Ford ed., iii, 409.
(March 1, 1784)


In 1784, Jefferson was chairman of a committee
of Congress, appointed to devise a plan of government
for the western country above the parallel of
31°. north latitude. The measure was defeated by
one vote. In addition to the Northwestern Territory,
the region embraced what afterwards became
the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and

7929. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—[continued]

——. The clause respecting
slavery was lost by an individual vote only.
Ten States were present. The four Eastern
States, New York and Pennsylvania, were for
the clause. Jersey would have been for it, but
there were but two members, one of whom was
sick in his chambers. South Carolina, Maryland,
and! Virginia! voted against it. North
Carolina was divided, as would have been Virginia,
had not one of its delegates been sick
in bed.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 471.
(A. April 25, 1784)

7930. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—[further continued].

There were ten States
present; six voted unanimously for it, three
against it, and one was divided; and seven
votes being requisite to decide the proposition
affirmatively, it was lost. The voice of a single
individual of the State which was divided,
or of one of those which were of the negative,
would have prevented this abominable crime
from spreading itself over the new country.
Thus we see the fate of millions unborn hanging
on the tongue of one man, and heaven was
silent in that awful moment! But it is to be
hoped it will not always be silent, and that the
friends to the rights of human nature will in
the end prevail.—
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 276. Ford ed., iv, 181.
(P. 1786)

7931. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—[further continued] .

What a stupendous, what
an incomprehensible machine is man! who can
endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, and
death itself, in vindication of his own liberty,
and, the next moment, be deaf to all those
motives whose power supported him through
his trial, and inflict on his fellow men a bondage,
one hour of which is fraught with more
misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion
to oppose. [453]
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 279. Ford ed., iv, 185.
(P. 1786)


The reference is to the passage of the slave bill
by the Virginia Legislature without the emancipation

7932. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—[further continued].

I have long since given
up the expectation of any early provision for
the extinguishment of slavery among us.
There are many virtuous men who would make
any sacrifices to effect it, many equally virtuous
who persuade themselves either that the thing
is not wrong, or that it cannot be remedied,
and very many with whom interest is morality.
The older we grow, the larger we are disposed
to believe the last party to be. But interest
is really going over to the side of morality.
The value of the slave is every day lessening;
his burden on his master daily increasing.
Interest is, therefore, preparing the
disposition to be just; and this will be goaded from time to time by the insurrectionary spirit
of the slaves. This is easily quelled in its first
efforts; but from being local it willi become general,
and whenever it does, it will rise more formidable
after every defeat, until we shall be
forced, after dreadful scenes and sufferings, to
release them in their own way, which, without
such sufferings we might now model after our
own convenience.—
To William A. Burwell. Ford ed., viii, 340.
(W. Jan. 1805)

7933. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—[further continued] .

I can say with conscious
truth that there is not a man on earth who
would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us
from this heavy reproach in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property,
for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which
would not cost me a second thought, if, in that
way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with
due sacrifices, I think it might be. But, as it is,
we have the wolf by the ears, and we can


Page 812
neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice
is in one scale and self-preservation in the
To John Holmes. Washington ed. vii, 159. Ford ed., x, 157.
(M. 1820)

7934. SLAVERY, Abolition of.—[further continued].

The abolition of the evil is
not impossible; it ought never, therefore, to be
despaired of. Every plan should be adopted,
every experiment tried, which may do something
towards the ultimate object. That which
you propose is well worthy of trial. It has
succeeded with certain portions of our white
brethren, under the care of a Rapp and an
Owen; and why may it not succeed with the
man of color?—
To Miss Fanny Wright. Washington ed. vii, 408. Ford ed., x, 344.
(M. 1825)

7935. SLAVERY, Abomination.—

abomination must have an end. And there is a
superior bench reserved in heaven for those
who hasten it.—
To E. Rutledge. Washington ed. ii, 180. Ford ed., iv, 410.
(P. 1787)

7936. SLAVERY, Colonial condemnation.—

The abolition of domestic slavery is
the great object of desire in those Colonies,
where it was, unhappily, introduced in their
infant state. But previous to the enfranchisement
of the slaves we have, it is necessary to
exclude all further importations from Africa.
Yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibitions,
and by imposing duties which might
amount to a prohibition, have been hitherto
defeated by his Majesty's negative: Thus preferring
the immediate advantages of a few British
corsairs to the lasting interests of the
American States, and to the rights of human
nature, deeply wounded by this infamous practice.
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 135. Ford ed., i, 440.


See note under Veto.—Editor.

7937. SLAVERY, Constitutional inhibition.—

No person hereafter coming into this
country shall be held within the same in slavery
under any pretext whatever.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 26.
(June. 1776)

7938. SLAVERY, Constitutional inhibition.—[continued].

The General Assembly
[of Virginia] shall not have power to * * * permit the introduction of any more slaves to
reside in this State, or the continuance of
slavery beyond the generation which shall be
living on the 31st day of December, 1800; all
persons born after that day being hereby declared
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 446. Ford ed., iii, 325.

7939. SLAVERY, Deplorable results of.—

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous
passions, the most unremitting despotism
on the one part, and degrading submissions on
the other. Our children see this, and learn to
imitate it; for man is an imitative animal.
This quality is the germ of all education in him.
From his cradle to his grave he is learning
to do what he sees others do. If a parent could
find no motive either in his philanthropy or his
self-love, for restraining the intemperance of
passion towards his slave, it should always be
a sufficient one that his child is present. But,
generally, it is not sufficient. The parent
storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments
of wrath, puts on the same airs in the
circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to the
worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated,
and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be
stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The
man must be a prodigy who can retain his
manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.
And with what execrations should
the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one-
half the citizens thus to trample on the rights
of the other, transforms those into despots, and
these into enemies, destroys the morals of the
one part, and the amor patriæ of the other. For
if a slave can have a country in this world, it
must be any other in preference to that in
which he is born to live and labor for another;
in which he must lock up the faculties of his
nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual
endeavors to the evanishment of the
human race, or entail his own miserable condition
on the endless generations proceeding
from him.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 403. Ford ed., iii, 266.

7940. SLAVERY, Destructive of industry.—

With the morals of the people, their industry
also is destroyed. For in a warm climate,
no man will labor for himself who can
make another labor for him. This is so true,
that of the proprietors of slaves a very small
proportion indeed are ever seen to labor.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 403. Ford ed., iii, 267.

7941. SLAVERY, Divine justice and.—

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure
when we have removed their only firm
basis, a conviction in the minds of the people
that these liberties are of the gift of God?
That they are not to be violated but with his
wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when
I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot
sleep forever; that considering numbers,
nature and natural means only, a revolution of
the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation
is among possible events; that it may become
probable by supernatural interference! The
Almighty has no attribute which can take side
with us in such a contest.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 404. Ford ed., iii, 267.

7942. SLAVERY, Establishment in Virginia.—

The first establishment [of slavery] in Virginia which became permanent, was made
in 1607. I have found no mention of negroes
in the Colony until about 1650. The first
brought here as slaves were by a Dutch ship;
after which the English commenced the trade,
and continued it until the Revolutionary war.
That suspended, ipso facto, their further importation
for the present, and the business of
the war pressing constantly on the legislature,
this subject was not acted on finally until the
year '78, when I brought in a bill to prevent
their further importation. This passed without
opposition, and stopped the increase of the evil
by importation, leaving to future efforts its
final eradication.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 38. Ford ed., i, 51.

7943. SLAVERY, Extension of.—

Of one
thing I am certain, that as the passage of
slaves from one State to another, would not
make a slave of a single human being who
would not be so without it, so their diffusion
over a greater surface would make them individually
happier, and proportionally facilitate
the accomplishment of their emancipation,
by dividing the burden on a greater number
of coadjutors. An abstinence, too, from this
act of power would remove the jealousy excited
by the undertaking of Congress to regulate
the condition of the different descriptions
of men composing a State. This certainly is the
exclusive right of every State, which nothing
in the Constitution has taken from them and
given to the General Government. Could Congress,
for example, say that the non-freemen of
Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they shall
not emigrate into any other State?—
To John Holmes. Washington ed. vii, 159. Ford ed., x, 158.
(M. 1820)


Page 813

7944. SLAVERY, George III. and.—

[George III.] has waged cruel war against human
nature itself, violating its most sacred
rights of life and liberty in the persons of a
distant people who never offended him, captivating
and carrying them into slavery in another
hemisphere, or to incur miserable death
in their transportation thither. This piratical
warfare, the opprobrium of Infidel powers, is
the warfare of the Christian King of Great
Britain. Determined to keep open a market
where Men should be bought and sold, he has
prostituted his negative for suppressing every
legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain
this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage
of horrors might want no fact of distinguished
dye, he is now exciting those very
people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase
that liberty of which he has deprived
them, by murdering the people upon whom he
has obtruded them: thus paying off former
crimes committed against the
Liberties of one
people, with crimes which he urges them to
commit against the LIVES of another. [455]
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


“This clause,” says Jefferson, in his Autobiography
(i, 19), “was struck out in complaisance to South
Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to
restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the
contrary, still wished to continue it. Our northern
brethren, also, I believe, felt a little tender under
those censures; for though their people had very
few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty
considerable carriers of them to others.”—Editor.

7945. SLAVERY, Indians and.—

An inhuman
practice once prevailed in this country, of making slaves of the Indians. This practice
commenced with the Spaniards with the first
discovery of America.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 306. Ford ed., iii, 154.

7946. SLAVERY, Lawfulness.—

On the
question of the lawfulness of slavery, that is
of the right of one man to appropriate to himself
the faculties of another without his consent,
I certainly retain my early opinions. On
that, however, of third persons to interfere between
the parties, and the effect of conventional
modifications of that pretension, we are probably
nearer together.—
To Edward Everett. Washington ed. vii, 437. Ford ed., x, 385.
(M. 1826)

7947. SLAVERY, Moral reproach of.—

My sentiments on the subject of slavery of negroes
have long since been in possession of the
public, and time has only served to give them
stronger root. The love of justice and the love
of country plead equally the cause of these
people, and it is a moral reproach to us that
they should have pleaded it so long in vain,
and should have produced not a single effort,
nay I fear not much serious willingness to
relieve them and ourselves from our present
condition of moral and political reprobation.
* * * I had always hoped that the younger
generation receiving their early impressions
after the flame of liberty had been kindled in
every breast, and had become, as it were, the
vital spirit of every American, that the generous
temperament of youth, analogous to the
motion of the blood, and above the suggestions
of avarice, would have sympathized with oppression
wherever found, and proved their love
of liberty beyond their own share of it. But
my intercourse with them since my return
[from Europe] has not been sufficient to ascertain
that they had made towards this point the
progress I had hoped.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 477.
(M. 1814)

7948. SLAVERY, Poem against.—

I have
received a letter from Mr. Thomas Brannagan,
* * * Philadelphia, asking my subscription
to the work announced in the enclosed paper. [456] The cause in which he embarks is so holy, the
sentiments he expresses in his letter so friendly,
that it is highly painful to me to hesitate on a
compliance which appears so small. But that
is not its true character, and it would be injurious
even to his views, for me to commit myself
on paper by answering his letter. I have
most carefully avoided every public act or
manifestation on that subject. Should an occasion
ever occur in which I can interpose with
decisive effect, I shall certainly know and do
my duty with promptitude and zeal. But, in
the meantime, it would only be disarming myself
of influence to be taking small means.
The subscription to a book on this subject is
one of those little irritating measures, which,
without advancing its end at all, would, by
lessening the confidence and good will of a
description of friends composing a large body,
only lessen my powers of doing them good in
the other great relations in which I stand to
the public. Yet, I cannot be easy in not answering
Mr. Brannagan's letter, unless he can
be made sensible that it is better I should not
answer it; and I do not know how to effect
this, unless you would have the goodness
* * * to enter into an explanation with him.—
To Dr. George Logan. Ford ed., viii, 351.
(W. May. 1805)


This refers to “Avenia; or, A Tragical Poem on
the Oppression of the Human Species”, an anti-slavery
work printed in Philadelphia in 1805.—Note
in the Ford edition.

7949. SLAVERY, Political error of.—

Whatever may have been the circumstances
which influenced our forefathers to permit the
introduction of personal bondage into any part
of these States, and to participate in the wrongs
committed on an unoffending quarter of the
globe, we may rejoice that such circumstances,
and such a sense of them, exist no longer. It
is honorable to the nation at large that their
Legislature availed themselves of the first practicable
moment for arresting the progress of
this great moral and political error.—
R. to A. of Quakers. Washington ed. viii, 119.
(Nov. 1807)

7950. SLAVERY, Roman.—

We know
that among the Romans, about the Augustan
age especially, the condition of their slaves was
much more deplorable than that of the blacks
on the continent of America. The two sexes
were confined in separate apartments, because
to raise a child cost the master more than to
buy one. Cato, for a very restricted indulgence
to his slaves in this particular, took from them
a certain price. But in this country the slaves
multiply as fast as the free inhabitants. * * * The same Cato, on a principle of economy, always
sold his sick and superannuated slaves.
He gives it as a standing precept to a master
visiting his farm, to sell his old oxen, old
wagons, old tools, old and diseased servants,
and everything else become useless. * * * The American slaves cannot enumerate this
among the injuries and insults they receive.
It was the common practice to expose in the
island Æsculapius, in the Tiber, diseased slaves
whose cure was likely to become tedious. The
Emperor Claudius, by an edict, gave freedom to
such of them as should recover, and first declared
that if any person chose to kill rather
than to expose them, it should be deemed homicide.
The exposing them is a crime of which
no instance has existed with us; and were it to
be followed by death, it would be punished cap


Page 814
itally. We are told of a certain Vedius Pollio,
who, in the presence of Augustus, would have
given a slave as food to his fish for having
broken a glass. With the Romans, the regular
method of taking the evidence of their slaves
was under torture. Here it has been thought
better never to resort to their evidence. When
a master was murdered, all his slaves, in the
same house, or within hearing, were condemned
to death. Here punishment falls on the guilty
only, and as precise proof is required against
him as against a freeman. Yet notwithstanding
these and other discouraging circumstances
among the Romans, their slaves were often
their rarest artists. They excelled, too, in science,
insomuch as to be usually employed as
tutors to their master's children. Epictetus,
Terence, and Phœdrus, were slaves. But they
were of the race of whites. It is not their
condition then, but nature which has produced
the distinction. Whether further observation
will or will not verify the conjecture, that nature
has been less bountiful to them in the endowments
of the head, I believe that in those
of the heart she will be found to have done
them justice.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 384. Ford ed., iii, 247.

See Negroes.

7951. SLAVERY, Sectional views in 1785.—

Southward of the Chesapeake, your
pamphlet [against slavery] will find but few
readers concurring with it in sentiment on the
subject of slavery. From the mouth to the
head of the Chesapeake, the bulk of the people
will approve it in theory, and it will find a respectable
minority ready to adopt it in practice;
a minority which for weight and worth of
character preponderates against the greater
number, who have not the courage to divest
their families of a property which, however,
keeps their conscience unquiet. Northward of
the Chesapeake, you may find here and there
an opponent to your doctrine, as you may find
here and there a robber and murderer; but in
no greater number. In that part of America,
there being but few slaves, they can easily disencumber
themselves of them; and emancipation
is put into such a train that in a few years
there will be no slaves northward of Maryland.
In Maryland, I do not find such a disposition
to begin the redress of this enormity as in Virginia.
This is the next State to which we May
turn our eyes for the interesting spectacle of
justice in conflict with avarice and oppression;
a conflict wherein the sacred side is gaining
daily recruits from the influx into office of
young men grown, and growing up. These
have sucked in the principles of liberty, as it
were, with their mother's milk; and it is to
them I look with anxiety to turn the fate of
this question. Be not therefore discouraged.
What you have written will do a great deal of
To Dr. Price. Washington ed. i, 377. Ford ed., iv, 82.
(P. 1785)

7952. SLAVERY, Strictures on.—

strictures on slavery [in the Notes on Virginia] * * * I do not wish to have made public,
at least till I know whether their publication
would do most harm or good. It is possible,
that in my own country, these strictures might
produce an irritation, which would indispose
the people towards [one of] the two great objects
I have in view; that is, the emancipation
of their slaves. [457]
To General Chastellux. Washington ed. i, 339. Ford ed., iii, 71.
(P. 1785)
See Colonization, Colony and Missouri Question.


General Chastellux had proposed to print extracts
from a private copy in a French scientific paper.—Editor.

7953. SLAVES, Abuse of.—

The check on
the tenants against abusing my slaves was, by
the former lease, that I might discontinue it
on a reference to arbitrators. Would it not
be well to retain an optional right to sue them
for ill-usage of the slaves or to discontinue it
by arbitration, whichever you should choose at
the time?—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., v, 31.
(P. 1788)

7954. SLAVES, British seizure of.—

British army, after ravaging the State of Virginia,
had sent off a very great number of
slaves to New York. By the seventh article
of the treaty of peace, they stipulated not to
carry away any of these. Notwithstanding
this, it was known, when they were evacuating
New York, that they were carrying away the
slaves, General Washington made an official
demand of Sir Guy Carleton, that he should
cease to send them away. He answered, that
these people had come to them under promise
of the King's protection, and that that promise
should be fulfilled in preference to the stipulation
in the treaty. The State of Virginia, to
which nearly the whole of these slaves belonged,
passed a law to forbid the recovery of
debts due to British subjects. They declared,
at the same time, they would repeal the law,
if Congress were of opinion they ought to do it.
But, desirous that their citizens should be discharging
their debts, they afterwards permitted
British creditors to prosecute their suits, and
to receive their debts in seven equal and annual
payments; relying that the demand for
the slaves would be either admitted or denied
in time to lay their hands on some of the latter
payments for reimbursement. [458]
Report to Congress. Washington ed. ix, 240. Ford ed., iv, 127.
(P. 1785)


The extract is from a report to Congress of a
conference with Count de Vergennes, Foreign Minister
of France, on the subject of commerce.—Editor.

7955. SLAVES, Comfort of.—

I am miserable
till I shall owe not a shilling. The moment
that shall be the case, I shall feel myself
at liberty to do something for the comfort of
my slaves.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., iv, 343.
(P. 1786)

7956. SLAVES, Duty to.—

My opinion
has ever been that, until more can be done for
them, we should endeavor, with those whom
fortune has thrown on our hands, to feed and
clothe them well, protect them from ill usage,
require such reasonable labor only as is performed
voluntarily by freemen, and be led by
no repugnances to abdicate them, and our duties
to them. The laws do not permit us to
turn them loose, if that were for their good;
and to commute them for other property is to
commit them to those whose usage of them we
cannot control.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 479.
(M. 1814)

7957. SLAVES, European laborers and.—

Our only blot is becoming less offensive by
the great improvement in the condition and
civilization of that race, who can now more
advantageously compare their situation with
that of the laborers of Europe. Still it is a
hideous blot, as well from the heteromorph
peculiarities of the race, as that, with them,
physical compulsion to action must be substituted
for the moral necessity which constrains
the free laborers to work equally hard. We
feel and deplore it morally and politically, and
we look without entire despair to some redeeming
means not yet specifically foreseen.
I am happy in believing that the conviction of


Page 815
the necessity of removing this evil gains ground
with time. Their emigration to the westward
lightens the difficulty by dividing it, and renders
it more practicable on the whole. And
the neighborhood of a government of their
color promises a more accessible asylum than
that from whence they came.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 310.
(M. 1823)

7958. SLAVES, Hiring out.—

I observe
in your letter * * * that the profits of the
whole estate [of Monticello] would be no more
than the hire of the few negroes hired out
would amount to. Would it be better to hire
more where good masters could be got?
Would it be better to hire plantations and all,
if proper assurance can be provided for the
good usage of everything?—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., iv, 342.
(P. 1786)

7959. SLAVES, Importation of.—

the regal government we had, at one time,
obtained a law which imposed such a duty on
the importation of slaves as amounted nearly
to a prohibition, when one inconsiderate assembly,
placed under a peculiarity of circumstance,
repealed the law. This repeal met a
joyful sanction from the then reigning sovereign,
and no devices, no expedients which
could ever be attempted by subsequent assemblies
(and they seldom met without attempting
them) could succeed in getting the royal assent
to a renewal of the duty. In the very first session
held under the republican government,
the assembly passed a law for the perpetual
prohibition of the importation of slaves. This
will, in some measure, stop the increase of this
great political and moral evil, while the minds
of our citizens may be ripening for a complete
emancipation of human nature.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 334. Ford ed., iii, 192.

7960. SLAVES, Importation of.—[continued].

I congratulate you on
the law of your State [South Carolina] for suspending
the importation of slaves, and for the
glory you have justly acquired by endeavoring
to prevent it forever.—
To E. Rutledge. Washington ed. ii, 180. Ford ed., iv, 410.
(P. 1787)

7961. SLAVES, Increase of.—

Under the
mild treatment our slaves experience, and their
wholesome, though coarse food, this blot in
our country increases as fast, or faster than the
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 334. Ford ed., iii, 192.

7962. SLAVES, Labor and.—

An opinion
is hazarded by some, but proved by none, that
moral urgencies are not sufficient to induce
[the negro] to labor; that nothing can do this
but physical coercion. But this is a problem
which the present age alone is prepared to
solve by experiment. It would be a solecism
to suppose a race of animals created without
sufficient foresight and energy to preserve their
own existence. It is disproved, too, by the fact
that they exist and have existed through all the
ages of history. We are not sufficiently acquainted
with all the nations of Africa to say
that there may not be some in which habits of
industry are established, and the arts practiced
which are necessary to render life comfortable.
The experiment now in progress in Santo Domingo,
those of Sierra Leone and Cape Mesurado,
are but beginning. Your proposition has
its aspects of promise also; and should it not
answer fully to calculations in figures, it May
yet, in its developments, lead to happy results.—
To Miss Fanny Wright. Washington ed. vii, 408. Ford ed., x, 344.
(M. 1825)

7963. SLAVES, Manumission of.—

far as I can judge from the experiments which
have been made to give liberty to, or rather, to
abandon persons whose habits have been
formed in slavery is like abandoning children.—
To Dr. Edward Bancroft. Ford ed., v, 66.
(P. 1789)

7964. SLAVES, Masters and.—

The inculcation
[in your book] on the master of the
moral duties which he owes to the slave, in
return for the benefits of his service, that is to
say, of food, clothing, care in sickness, and
maintenance under age and disability, so as to
make him in fact as comfortable and more secure
than the laboring man in most parts of the
world, * * * gives great merit to the
work, and will, I have no doubt, produce wholesome
To Clement Caine. Washington ed. vi, 13. Ford ed., ix, 329.
(M. 1811)

7965. SLAVES, Metayers and.—

I am
decided on my final return to America to try
this experiment. I shall endeavor to import
as many Germans as I have grown slaves. I
will settle them and my slaves, on farms of fifty
acres each, intermingled, and place all on the
footing of the Metayers (Medietani) of Europe.
Their children shall be brought up, as
others are, in habits of property and foresight,
and I have no doubt but that they will be good
citizens. Some of their fathers will be so;
others I suppose will need government. With
these all that can be done is to oblige them
to labor as the laboring poor of Europe do,
and to apply to their comfortable subsistence
the produce of their labor, retaining such a
moderate portion of it as may be a just equivalent
for the use of the lands they labor, and
the stocks and other necessary advances.—
To Dr. Edward Bancroft. Ford ed., v, 67.
(P. 1789)

7966. SLAVES, Property in.—

property has been lawfully vested in that form
[negroes] and who can lawfully take it from
the possessors?—
To Jared Sparks. Washington ed. vii, 333. Ford ed., x, 290.
(M. 1824)

7967. SLAVES, Protection of.—

In the
first or second session of the Legislature after
I became a member, I drew to this subject the
attention of Colonel Bland, one of the oldest,
ablest, and most respected members, and he
undertook to move for certain moderate extensions
of the protection of the laws to these
people. I seconded his motion and, as a
younger member, was more spared in the debate;
but he was denounced as an enemy of
his country, and was treated with the grossest
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 477.
(M. 1814)

7968. SLAVES, Recovery of fugitive.—

We have received with great satisfaction notification
of the orders of his Catholic Majesty,
not to permit that persons, held in slavery
within the United States, introduce themselves
as free persons into the Province of Florida.
* * * As a consequence of the same principles
of justice and friendship, we trust that
your Excellency will permit, and aid the recovery
of persons of the same description, who
have heretofore taken refuge within your government.—
To Governor Quesada. Washington ed. iii, 219. Ford ed., v, 296.
(Pa., 1791)

7969. SLAVES, Recovery of fugitive.—[continued].

The governor of East
Florida informs me that he has received the
King's orders, not to permit, under any pretext,
that persons held in slavery in the United
States introduce themselves as free, into the


Page 816
province of East Florida. I am happy that
this grievance, which had been a subject of
great complaint from the citizens of Georgia,
is to be removed.—
To Mr. Viar. Washington ed. iii, 195.
(M. 1790)

7970. SLAVES, San Domingo insurrection.—

If something is not done, and soon
done, we shall be the murderers of our own
children. The murmura venturos nautis
prudentia ventos”
has already reached us
[from San Domingo]; the revolutionary storm,
now sweeping the globe, will be upon us, and
happy if we make timely provision to give it
an easy passage over our land. From the present
state of things in Europe and America, the
day which begins our combustion must be near
at hand; and only a single spark is wanting to
make that day to-morrow. If we had begun
sooner, we might probably have been allowed
a lengthier operation to clear ourselves, but
every day's delay lessens the time we may take
for emancipation. Some people derive hope
from the aid of the confederated States. But
this is a delusion. There is but one State in
the Union which will aid us sincerely, if an
insurrection begins, and that one may, perhaps,
have its own fire to quench at the same time.—
To St. George Tucker. Washington ed. iv, 196. Ford ed., vii, 168.
(M. 1797)

7971. SLAVES, San Domingo insurrection.—[continued].

As to the mode of
emancipation, I am satisfied that that must be
a matter of compromise between the passions,
the prejudices, and the real difficulties which
will each have its weight in that operation.
Perhaps the first chapter of this history, which
has begun in St. Domingo, and the next succeeding
ones, will recount how all the whites
were driven from all the other islands, may prepare
our minds for a peaceable accommodation
between justice, policy and necessity; and furnish
an answer to the difficult question, whither
shall the colored emigrants go? and the sooner
we put some plan under way, the greater hope
there is that it may be permitted to proceed
peaceably to its ultimate effect.—
To St. George Tucker. Washington ed. iv, 196. Ford ed., vii, 167.
(M. 1797)

7972. SLAVES, Thievery and.—

disposition to theft with which they have been
branded, must be ascribed to their situation,
and not to any depravity of the moral sense.
The man in whose favor no laws of property
exist, probably feels himself less bound to respect
those made in favor of others. When
arguing for ourselves, we lay it down as a
fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a
reciprocation of right; that, without this, they
are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded
in force, and not in conscience; and it is a
problem which I give to the master to solve,
whether the religious precepts against the violation
of property were not framed for him as
well as his slave? And whether the slave May
not as justifiably take a little from one who has
taken all from him, as he may slay one who
would slay him? That a change in the relations
in which a man is placed should change
his ideas of moral right or wrong, is neither
new, nor peculiar to the color of the blacks.
Homer tells us it was so two thousand six
hundred years ago.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 385. Ford ed., iii, 249.

7973. SLAVES (Emancipation), Bill for.—

The bill to emancipate all slaves born
after the passing of the act, reported by the
revisers [of the Virginia Code] did not contain
this proposition; but an amendment containing
it was prepared, to be offered to the Legislature
whenever the bill should be taken up, and further
directing that they should continue with
their parents to a certain age, then to be brought
up, at the public expense, to tillage, arts, or sciences,
according to their geniuses, till the females
should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one
years of age, when they should be colonized
to such place as the circumstances of
the time should render most proper, sending
them out with arms, implements of household
and of the handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the
useful domestic animals, &c., to declare them a
free and independent people, and extend to
them our alliance and protection, till they have
acquired strength; and to send vessels, at the
same time, to other parts of the world for an
equal number of white inhabitants; to induce
them to migrate higher, proper encouragements
were to be proposed.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 380. Ford ed., iii, 243.

7974. SLAVES (Emancipation), Bill for.—[continued].

The separation of infants
from their mothers would produce some
scruples of humanity. But this would be
straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.—
To Jared Sparks. Washington ed. vii, 335. Ford ed., x, 293.
(M. 1824)

7975. SLAVES (Emancipation), Blessings of.—

Who could estimate its blessed
effects? I leave this to those who will live to
see their accomplishment, and to enjoy a beatitude
forbidden to my age. But I leave it
with this admonition,—to rise and be doing.
A million and a half are within our control;
but six millions (which a majority of those
now living will see them attain), and one million
of these fighting men, will say, “we will
not go”.—
To Jared Sparks. Washington ed. vi, 335. Ford ed., x, 292.
(M. 1824)

7976. SLAVES (Emancipation), Certain.—

The hour of emancipation is advancing,
in the march of time. It will come; and
whether brought on by the generous energy of
our own minds; or by the bloody process of
St. Domingo, excited and conducted by the
power of our present enemy [England], if once
stationed permanently within our country, and
offering asylum and arms to the oppressed, is a
leaf of our history not yet turned over.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 478.
(M. 1814)

7977. SLAVES (Emancipation), Certain.—[continued].

It was found that the
public mind would not bear the proposition
[gradual emancipation], nor will it bear it even
at this day (1821). Yet the day is not distant,
when it must bear and adopt it, or worse will
follow. Nothing is more certainly written in
the book of fate, than that these people are to
be free; nor is it less certain, that the two
races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.
Nature, habit, opinion have drawn
indelible lines of distinction between them. It
is still in our power to direct the process of
emancipation and deportation, peaceably, and
in such slow degree, as that the evil will wear
off insensibly, and their place be, pari passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the
contrary, it is left to force itself on, human
nature must shudder at the prospect held up.
We should in vain look for an example in the
Spanish deportation, or deletion of the Moors.
This precedent would fall far short of our case.—
Jefferson MSS. Rayner,164.

7978. SLAVES (Emancipation), Defeated.—

In 1769, I became a member of the legislature by the choice of the county in which
I live [Albemarle], and so continued until it
was closed by the Revolution. I made one ef


Page 817
fort in that body for the permission of the
emancipation of slaves, which was rejected:
and indeed, during the regal government, nothing
liberal could expect success. Our minds
were circumscribed within narrow limits, by an
habitual belief that it was our duty to be subordinate
to the mother country in all matters
of government, to direct all our labors in subservience
to her interests, and even to observe
a bigoted intolerance for all religions but hers.
The difficulties with our representatives were
of habit and despair, not of reflection and conviction.
Experience soon proved that they
could bring their minds to rights on the first
summons of their attention. But the King's
Council, which acted as another house of legislature,
held their places at will, and were in
most humble obedience to that will; the Governor,
too, who had a negative on our laws, held
by the same tenure, and with still greater devotedness
to it; and, last of all, the royal negative
closed the last door to every hope of
amelioration. [459]
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 3. Ford ed., i, 5.


This was Jefferson's first public measure.—Editor.

7979. SLAVES (Emancipation), Gradual.—

I concur entirely in your leading principles
of gradual emancipation, of establishment
on the coast of Africa, and the patronage of our
nation until the emigrants shall be able to protect
To Dr. Thomas Humphreys. Washington ed. vii, 57. Ford ed., x, 76.
(M. 1817)

7980. SLAVES (Emancipation), Methods of.—

As to the method by which this
difficult work is to be effected, if permitted to
be done by ourselves, I have seen no proposition
so expedient on the whole, as that of emancipation
of those born after a given day, and of
their education and expatriation after a given
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 478.
(M. 1814)

7981. SLAVES (Emancipation), Prayers for.—

It shall have all my prayers,
and these are the only weapons of an old man.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 479.
(M. 1814)

7982. SLAVES (Emancipation), Preparations for.—

Unhappily it is a case for which both parties require long and difficult
preparation. The mind of the master is to be
apprized by reflection, and strengthened by the
energies of conscience, against the obstacles of
self interest to an acquiescence in the rights of
others; that of the slave is to be prepared by
instruction and habit for self-government, and
for the honest pursuits of industry and social
duty. Both of these courses of preparation require
time, and the former must precede the
latter. Some progress is sensibly made in it;
yet not so much as I had hoped and expected.
But it will yield in time to temperate and steady
pursuit, to the enlargement of the human mind,
and its advancement in science. We are not
in a world ungoverned by the laws and the
power of a Superior Agent. Our efforts are
in His hand, and directed by it; and He will
give them their effect in his own time. Where
the disease is most deeply seated, there it will
be slowest in eradication. In the Northern
States it was merely superficial, and easily corrected.
In the Southern it is incorporated with
the whole system, and requires time, patience
and perseverance in the curative process. That
it may finally be effected, and its process hastened,
will be my last and fondest prayer.—
To David Barrow. Washington ed. vi, 456. Ford ed., ix, 515.
(M. May. 1815)

7983. SLAVES (Emancipation), Principle and.—

From those of the former generation
who were in the fulness of age when I
came into public life, which was while our controversy
with England was on paper only, I
soon saw that nothing was to be hoped.
Nursed and educated in the daily habit of seeing
the degraded condition, both bodily and
mental, of those unfortunate beings, not reflecting
that that degradation was very much
the work of themselves and their fathers, few
minds have yet doubted but that they were as
legitimate subjects of property as their horses
and cattle. The quiet and monotonous course
of colonial life had been disturbed by no alarm,
and little reflection on the value of liberty.
And when alarm was taken at an enterprise on
their own, it was not easy to carry them to the
whole length of the principles which they invoked
for themselves.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 477.
(M. 1814)

7984. SLAVES (Emancipation), Propaganda for.—

I hope you will reconcile yourself
to your country and its unfortunate condition;
that you will not lessen its stock of sound
disposition by withdrawing your portion from
the mass; that, on the contrary, you will come
forward in the public councils, become the missionary
of this doctrine truly Christian, insinuate
and inculcate it softly but steadily, through
the medium of writing and conversation; associate
others in your labors, and when the phalanx
is formed, bring on and press the proposition
perseveringly until its accomplishment.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 479.
(M. 1814)

7985. SLAVES (Emancipation), Providence and.—

We must await with patience
the workings of an overruling Providence, and
hope that that is preparing the deliverance of
these, our suffering brethren. When the measure
of their tears shall be full, when their
groans shall have involved heaven itself in
darkness, doubtless a God of justice will
awaken to their distress, and by diffusing light
and liberality among their oppressors, or, at
length, by His exterminating thunder, manifest
His attention to the things of this world, and
that they are not left to the guidance of a blind
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 279. Ford ed., iv, 185.
(P. 1786)

7986. SLAVES (Emancipation), Time and.—

I have not perceived the growth of
this disposition [to emancipate the slaves and
settle them elsewhere] in the rising generation,
of which I once had sanguine hopes. No symptoms
inform me that it will take place in my
day. I leave it, therefore, to time, and not at
all without hope that the day will come, equally
desirable and welcome to us as to them. Perhaps
the proposition now on the carpet at
Washington to provide an establishment on the
coast of Africa for voluntary emigrations of
people of color may be the corner stone of
this future edifice.—
To Thomas Humphreys. Washington ed. vii, 58. Ford ed., x, 77.
(M. 1817)

7987. SLAVES (Emancipation), Time and.—[continued].

At the age of eighty-two,
with one foot in the grave and the other
uplifted to follow it, I do not permit myself
to take part in any new enterprises, even for
bettering the condition of man, not even in
the great one which is the subject of your letter,
and which has been through life that of
my greatest anxieties. The march of events
has not been such as to render its completion
practicable within the limits of time allotted to
me; and I leave its accomplishment as the work


Page 818
of another generation.—
To Miss Fanny Wright. Washington ed. vii, 408. Ford ed., x, 344.
(M. 1825)

7988. SLAVES (Emancipation), Total.—

It is impossible to be temperate and to
pursue this subject through the various considerations
of policy, of morals, of history, natural
and civil. We must be contented to hope they
will force their way into every one's mind.
* * * The way, I hope, is preparing, under
the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation,
and that this is disposed, in the order of
events, to be with the consent of the masters,
rather than by their extirpation.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 404. Ford ed., iii, 267.

7989. SLAVES (Emancipation), United States purchase of.—

The bare proposition
of purchase [of the slaves] by the United
States generally would excite infinite indignation
in all the States north of Maryland. The
sacrifice must fall on the States alone which
hold them; and the difficult question will be
how to lessen this so as to reconcile our fellow
citizens to it. Personally, I am ready and desirous
to make any sacrifice which shall ensure
their gradual but complete retirement from the
State, and effectually, at the same time, establish
them elsewhere in freedom and safety.—
To Dr. Thomas Humphreys. Washington ed. vii, 58. Ford ed., x, 76.
(M. 1817)

7990. SLAVES (Emancipation), West Indies and.—

I become daily more convinced
that all the West India Islands will remain in
the hands of the people of color, and a total
expulsion of the whites sooner or later take
place. It is high time we should foresee the
bloody scenes which our children certainly, and
possibly ourselves (south of the Potomac), have
to wade through and try to avert them.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 20. Ford ed., vi, 349.
(Pa., July. 1793)

7991. SLAVES (Emancipation), West Indies and.—[continued].

On the subject of emancipation
I have ceased to think because not to
be a work of my day. The plan of converting
the blacks into serfs would certainlv be better
than keeping them in their present position, but
I consider that of expatriation to the governments
of the West Indies of their own color as
entirely practicable, and greatly preferable to
the mixture of color here. To this I have great
To William Short. Ford ed., x, 362.
(M. 1826)

See Colonization.

7992. SLEEP, Habits of.—

I am not so
regular in my sleep as the doctor [Dr. Rush] says he was, devoting to it from five to eight
hours, according as my company or the book I
am reading interests me; and I never go to bed
without an hour, or half hour's, previous reading
of something moral whereon to ruminate in
the intervals of sleep. But whether I retire to
bed early or late I am up with the sun.—
To Doctor Vine Utley. Washington ed. vii, 117. Ford ed., x, 126.
(M. 1819)

7993. SMALL (William), Guide and friend.—

Dr. Small was * * * to me as a
father. To his enlightened and affectionate
guidance of my studies while at college, I am
indebted for everything. He was Professor of
Mathematics at William and Mary, and, for
some time, was in the philosophical chair. He
first introduced into both schools rational and
elevated courses of study, and, from an extraordinary
conjunction of eloquence and logic,
was enabled to communicate them to the students
with great effect. He procured for me
the patronage of Mr. Wythe, and both of them,
the attentions of Governor Fauquier, the ablest
man who ever filled the chair of government
here. They were inseparable friends, and at
their frequent dinners with the Governor
(after his family had returned to England), he
admitted me always, to make it a partie
At these dinners I have heard more
good sense, more rational and philosophical
conversation, than in all my life besides. They
were truly Attic societies. The Governor was
musical, also, and a good performer, and associated
me with two or three other amateurs in
his weekly concerts. He merits honorable
mention in your history if any proper occasion
To Mr. Girardin. Washington ed. vi, 411.
(M. 1815)

7994. SMALL (William), Jefferson's early companion.—

It was my great good
fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies
of my life, that Dr. William Small of Scotland,
was then (1760) professor of mathematics [in
William and Mary College], a man profound in
most of the useful branches of science, with a
happy talent of communication, correct and
gentlemanly manners, and an enlarged and liberal
mind. He, most happily for me, became
soon attached to me, and made me his daily companion
when not engaged in the school; and
from his conversation, I got my first views of
the expansion of science, and of the system of
things in which we are placed.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 2. Ford ed., i, 4.

— SMITH (Adam).—

See Government, Works on.

7995. SMITH (John), Services to Virginia.—

Captain Smith, who next to Sir Walter
Raleigh may be considered as the founder of
our Colony, has written its history. He was
a member of the council, and afterwards president
of the Colony; and to his efforts principally
may be ascribed its support against the
opposition of the natives. He was honest, sensible,
and well informed; but his style is barbarous
and uncouth. His history, however, is
almost the only source from which we derive
any knowledge of the infancy of our State.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 415. Ford ed., iii, 281.

7996. SMITH (Robert), Estimate of.—

have seen with very great concern the late address
of Mr. [Robert] Smith to the public.
He has been very ill-advised, both personally
and publicly. As far as I can judge from what
I hear, the impression made is entirely unfavorable
to him.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 600. Ford ed., ix, 325.
(M. 1811)

7997. SMITH (Samuel), Tender of office.—

If you can be added to the Administration
I am forming it will constitute a magistracy
entirely possessed of the public confidence.
* * * You will bring us the benefit of adding
in a considerable degree the acquiescence,
at least, of the leaders who have hitherto opposed.
Your geographical situation [Maryland],
too, is peculiarly advantageous, and will
favor the policy of drawing our naval resources
towards the States from which their benefits
and production may be extended equally to all
parts. * * * If you refuse, I must abandon
from necessity, what I have been so falsely
charged with doing from choice, the expectation
of procuring to our country such benefits as
may compensate the expenses of their navy.—
To General Samuel Smith. Ford ed., viii, 13.
(W. March. 1801)


Page 819

7998. SMITH (William S.), Character of.—

I learn that Mr. Adams desires to be recalled,
and that Smith should be appointed
Chargé des Affaires there. * * * You can
judge of Smith's abilities by his letters. They
are not of the first order, but they are good.
For his honesty, he is like our friend Monroe;
turn his soul wrong side outwards, and there is
not a speck on it. He has one foible, an excessive
inflammability of temper, but he feels
it when it comes on, and has resolution enough
to suppress it, and to remain silent till it passes
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 110. Ford ed., iv, 368.
(P. 1787)

7999. SMUGGLING, Temptations to.—

Contraband does not increase on lessening the
temptations to it.—
To Count de Vergennes. Washington ed. i, 389.
(P. 1785)

8000. SNAKES, Antipathy to.—

is in man as well as in brutes an antipathy to
the snake, which makes it a disgusting object
wherever it is presented.—
To Governor Henry Lee. Ford ed., vi, 320.
(Pa., 1793)

8001. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, Contentment and.—

Without society, and a society
to our taste, men are never contented.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. ii, 71.
(P. 1786)
See Society.

8002. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, Harmony and.—

If we can once more get social
intercourse restored to its pristine harmony,
I shall believe we have not lived in vain.—
To Thomas Lomax. Washington ed. iv, 361. Ford ed., vii, 500,
(W. Feb. 1801)

8003. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, Opinions 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)

8004. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, Politics and.—

A difference in politics should
never be permitted to enter into social intercourse,
or to disturb its friendships, its charities
or justice.—
To H. Lee. Washington ed. vii, 376. Ford ed., x, 317.
(M. 1824)

8005. SOCIETIES (Communal), Experiments.—

A society of seventy families,
the number you name, may very possibly be
governed as a single family, subsisting on their
common industry, and holding all things in
common. Some regulators of the family you
still must have, and it remains to be seen at
what period of your increasing population your
simple regulations will cease to be sufficient to
preserve order, peace, and justice. The experiment
is interesting; I shall not live to see
its issue, but I wish it success equal to your
To William Ludlow. Washington ed. vii, 378.
(M. 1824)

8006. SOCIETIES (Communal), Practicability.—

That, on the principle of a communion
of property, small societies may exist
in habits of virtue, order, industry, and peace,
and consequently in a state of as much happiness
as heaven has been pleased to deal out
to imperfect humanity, I can readily conceive,
and, indeed, have seen its proofs in various
small societies which have been constituted on
that principle. But I do not feel authorized
to conclude from these that an extended society,
like that of the United States, or of an
individual State, could be governed happily on
the same principle. I look to the diffusion of
light and education as the resource most to be
relied on for ameliorating the condition, promoting
the virtue, and advancing the happiness
of man.—
To C. C. Blatchly. Washington ed. vii, 263.
(M. 1822)

— SOCIETIES (Democratic).—

See Democratic Societies.

8007. SOCIETIES (Scientific), Peaceful.—

These [scientific] societies are always
in peace, however their nations may be at war.
Like the republic of letters, they form a great
fraternity spreading over the whole earth, and
their correspondence is never interrupted by
any civilized nation.—
To John Hollins. Washington ed. v, 428.
(W. 1809)

8008. SOCIETIES (Secret), Dangerous.—

I acknowledge the right of voluntary associations
for laudable purposes and in moderate
numbers. I acknowledge, too, the expediency,
for revolutionary purposes, of general associations,
coextensive with the nation. But where,
as in our case, no abuses call for revolution,
voluntary associations so extensive as to grapple
with and control the government, should
such be or become their purpose, are dangerous
machines, and should be frowned down in
every well regulated government.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., x, 207.
(M. 1822)

8009. SOCIETIES (Secret), Government and.—

As revolutionary instruments
(when nothing but revolution will cure the evils
of the State) they [secret societies] 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. [460]
To William Duane. Ford ed., viii, 256.
(M. 1803)

See Democratic Societies.


A political committee of Philadelphia had sent
a communication to Jefferson on the subject of removals
from office.—Editor.

8010. SOCIETY, American.—

In America,
* * * the society of your husband,
the fond cares of the children, the arrangements
of the house, the improvements of the
grounds, fill every moment with a healthy and
an useful activity. Every exertion is encouraging,
because, to present amusement, it joins
the promise of some future good. The intervals
of leisure are filled by the society of real
friends, whose affections are not thinned to
cob-web by being spread over a thousand objects.
This is the picture, in the light it is
presented to my mind.—
To Mrs. Bingham. Washington ed. ii, 117.
(P. 1787)

8011. SOCIETY, Jefferson's choice.—

have changed my circle here [Philadelphia] according
to my wish, abandoning the rich and
declining their dinners and parties, and associating
entirely with the class of science, of
whom there is a valuable society here.—
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. D. L. J.262.
(Pa., 1800)

8012. SOCIETY, Majority rule.—

fundamental law of every society [is] the lex
majoris partis,
to which we are bound to submit.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 13. Ford ed., v, 90.
(P. 1789)

8013. SOCIETY, Necessity for.—

I am
convinced our own happiness requires that we
should continue to mix with the world, and to
keep pace with it as it goes; and that every


Page 820
person who retires from free communication
with it is severely punished afterwards
by the state of mind into which he gets, and
which can only be prevented by feeding our
sociable principles. I can speak from experience
on this subject. From 1793 to 1797,
I remained closely at home, saw none but those
who came there, and at length became very
sensible of the ill effect it had on my own
mind, and of its direct and irresistible tendency
to render me unfit for society and uneasy when
necessarily engaged in it. I felt enough of
the effect of withdrawing from the world then
to see that it led to an anti-social and misanthropic
state of mind, which severely punishes
him who gives in to it; and it will be a lesson
I never shall forget as to myself.—
To Mary Jefferson Eppes. D. L. J.284.
(W. March. 1802)

See Social Intercourse.

8014. SOCIETY, Parisian.—

To what
does the bustle of Paris tend? At eleven
o'clock, it is day, chez madame. The curtains
are drawn. Propped on bolsters and pillows,
and her head scratched into a little order, the
bulletins of the sick are read, and the billets of
the well. She writes to some of her acquaintance,
and receives the visits of others. If the
morning is not very thronged, she is able to
get out and hobble round the cage of the
Palais Royal; but she must hobble quickly, for
the coiffeur's turn is come; and a tremendous
turn it is! Happy, if he does not make her
arrive when dinner is half over! The torpitude
of digestion a little passed, she flutters half an
hour through the streets, by way of paying
visits, and then to the spectacles. These finished,
another half hour is devoted to dodging
in and out of the doors of her very sincere
friends, and away to supper. After supper,
cards; and after cards, bed; to rise at noon the
next day, and to tread, like a mill horse, the
same trodden circle over again. Thus the days
of life are consumed, one by one, without an
object beyond the present moment; ever flying
from the ennui of that, yet carrying it
with us; eternally in pursuit of happiness,
which keeps eternally before us. If death or
bankruptcy happen to trip us out of the circle,
it is matter for the buzz of the evening, and
is completely forgotten by the next morning.—
To Mrs. Bingham. Washington ed. ii, 116.
(P. 1787)


See Cincinnati Society.

8015. SOCRATES, Dæmon of.—

An expression
in your letter * * * that “the human understanding is a revelation from its Maker”,
gives the best solution that I believe can be
given of the question, “what did Socrates
mean by his Dæmon”? He was too wise to believe,
and too honest to pretend that he had
real and familiar converse with a superior and
invisible being. He probably considered the
suggestions of his conscience, or reason, as
revelations, or inspirations from the Supreme
Mind, bestowed, on important occasions, by a
special superintending Providence.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 220.
(M. 1813)

8016. SOCRATES, Plato and.—

The superlative
wisdom of Socrates is testified by all
antiquity, and placed on ground not to be
questioned. When, therefore, Plato puts into his
mouth such paralogisms, such quibbles on
words, and sophisms as a schoolboy would be
ashamed of, we conclude they were the whimsies
of Plato's own foggy brain, and acquit Socrates
of puerilities so unlike his character.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 165.
(M. 1820)
See Philosophy.

8017. SOLITUDE, Philosophy and.—

Let the gloomy monk, sequestered from the
world, seek unsocial pleasures in the bottom
of his cell! Let the sublimated philosopher
grasp visionary happiness, while pursuing
phantoms dressed in the garb of truth! Their
supreme wisdom is supreme folly; and they
mistake for happiness the mere absence of pain.
Had they ever felt the solid pleasure of one
generous spasm of the heart, they would exchange
for it all the frigid speculations of their
To Mrs. Cosway. Washington ed. ii, 39. Ford ed., iv, 319.
(P. 1786)

8018. SOULS, Transmigration of.—

It is
not for me to pronounce on the hypothesis
you present of a transmigration of souls from
one body to another in certain cases. The laws
of nature have withheld from us the means
of physical knowledge of the country of spirits,
and revelation has, for reasons unknown to us,
chosen to leave us in the dark as we were.
When I was young I was fond of the speculations
which seemed to promise some insight
into that hidden country, but observing at
length that they left me in the same ignorance
in which they had found me, I have for very
many years ceased to read or to think concerning
them, and have reposed my head on that
pillow of ignorance which a benevolent Creator
has made so soft for us, knowing how much
we should be forced to use it. I have thought
it better, by nourishing the good passions and
controlling the bad, to merit an inheritance in
a state of being of which I can know so little,
and to trust for the future to Him who has
been so good for the past.—
To Rev. Isaac Story. Washington ed. iv, 422. Ford ed., viii, 107.
(W. 1801)

See Immortality.

8019. SOUTH AMERICA, Revolt in.—

I enter into all your doubts as to the event
of the revolution of South America. They
will succeed against Spain. But the dangerous
enemy is within their own breasts. Ignorance
and superstition will chain their minds and
bodies under religious and military despotism.
I do believe it would be better for them to obtain
freedom by degrees only; because that
would by degrees bring on light and information,
and qualify them to take charge of themselves
understandingly; with more certainty, if
in the meantime, under so much control as May
keep them at peace with one another. Surely,
it is our duty to wish them independence and
self-government, because they wish it themselves,
and they have the right, and we none,
to choose for themselves; and I wish, moreover,
that our ideas may be erroneous and
theirs prove well-founded. But these are
speculations which we may as well deliver over
to those who are to see their development.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 104. Ford ed., x, 108.
(M. 1818)

See Spanish America.

8020. SOUTH CAROLINA, Fidelity.—

The steady union of our fellow citizens of
South Carolina is entirely in their character.
They have never failed in fidelity to their country
and the republican spirit of its Constitution.—
To Mr. Letue. Washington ed. v, 384.
(W. 1808)

8021. SOUTH CAROLINA, Free government and.—

I see with pleasure another proof that South Carolina is ever true to the
principles of free government.—
To Henry Middleton. Washington ed. vi, 91.
(M. Jan. 1813)

8022. SOVEREIGNTY, Infringement.—

The granting military commissions within
the United States by any other authority than
their own, is an infringement on their sovereignty,


Page 821
and particularly so when granted to their own citizens to lead them to acts contrary
to the duties they owe their own country.—
To Edmond Charles Genet. Washington ed. iii, 572. Ford ed., vi, 283.
(Pa., June. 1793)

8023. SOVEREIGNTY, Infringement.—[continued].

Mr. Hammond says the
issuing the commission [to the Citoyen
Genet] by M. Genet, within our territory,
was an infringement of our sovereignty;
therefore, the proceeds of it should be given
up to Great Britain. The infringement was
a matter between France and us. Had we
insisted on any penalty or forfeiture by way
of satisfaction to our insulted rights, it would
have belonged to us, not to a third party.
As between Great Britain and us, * * * we deemed we did enough to satisfy her.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 583. Ford ed., vi, 302.
(Pa., June. 1793)

8024. SOVEREIGNTY, Justice and.—

The administration of justice is a branch of
the sovereignty over a country, and belongs
exclusively to the nation inhabiting it. No
foreign power can pretend to participate in
their jurisdiction, or that their citizens received
there are not subject to it.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 415. Ford ed., vi, 56.
(Pa., 17921792)gt;

8025. SOVEREIGNTY, Partition of.—

see with great pleasure every testimony to the
principles of pure republicanism; and every
effort to preserve untouched that partition of
the sovereignty which our excellent Constitution
has made between the general and particular
To James Sullivan. Ford ed., v, 369.
(Pa., 1791)

8026. SPAIN, Bonaparte and.—

I suppose
Napoleon will get possession of Spain;
but her colonies will deliver themselves to any
member of the Bourbon family. Perhaps Mexico
will choose its sovereign within itself. He
will find them much more difficult to subdue
than Austria or Prussia; because an enemy
(even in peace an enemy) possesses the element
over which he is to pass to get at them; and
a more powerful enemy (climate) will soon
mow down his armies after arrival. This will
be, without any doubt, the most difficult enterprise
the Emperor has ever undertaken. He
may subdue the small colonies; he never can
the old and strong; and the former will break
off from him the first war he has again with
a naval power.—
To General Armstrong. Washington ed. v, 434.
(W. March. 1809)

8027. SPAIN, Common interests.—

may happen * * * that the interests of Spain
and America may call for a concert of proceedings
against that State (Algiers). * * * May
not the affairs of the Mosquito coast, and our
western posts, produce another instance of a
common interest? Indeed, I meet this correspondence
of interest in so many quarters,
that I look with anxiety to the issue of Mr.
Gardoqui's mission, hoping it will be a removal
of the only difficulty at present subsisting between
the two nations, or which is likely to
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 393.
(P. 1785)

8028. SPAIN, Conciliation of.—

We consider
Spain's possession of the adjacent country
as most favorable to our interests, and
should see with extreme pain any other nation
substituted for them. In all communications,
therefore, with their officers, conciliation and
mutual accommodation are to be mainly attended
to. Everything irritating to be avoided,
everything friendly to be done for them.—
To William C. Claiborne. Ford ed., viii, 71.
(W. July. 1801)

8029. SPAIN, English alliance against.—

I think you have misconceived the nature
of the treaty I thought we should propose to
England. I have no idea of committing ourselves
immediately or independently of our
further will to the war. The treaty should be
provisional only, to come into force on the
event of our being engaged in war with either
France or Spain during the present war in
Europe. In that event we should make common
cause, and England should stipulate not
to make peace without our obtaining the objects
for which we go to war, to wit, the acknowledgment
by Spain of the rightful boundaries
of Louisiana (which we should reduce to our
minimum by a second article) and 2, indemnification
for spoliations, for which purpose we
should be allowed to make reprisal on the
Floridas and retain them as an indemnification.
Our cooperation in the war (if we should really
enter into it) would be sufficient consideration
for Great Britain to engage for its object; and
it being generally known to France and Spain
that we had entered into treaty with England,
would probably ensure us a peaceable and immediate
settlement of both points. But another
motive much more powerful would indubitably
induce England to go much further. Whatever
ill-humor may at times have been expressed
against us by individuals of that country, the
first wish of every Englishman's heart is to see
us once more fighting by their sides against
France; nor could the King or his ministers
do an act so popular as to enter into an alliance
with us. The nation would not weigh the consideration
by grains and scruples. They would
consider it as the price and pledge of an indissoluble
friendship. I think it possible that
for such a provisional treaty they would give us
their general guarantee of Louisiana and the
Floridas. At any rate we might try them. A
failure would not make our situation worse. If
such a one could be obtained, we might await
our convenience for calling up the casus
I think it important that England
should receive an overture as early as possible,
as it might prevent her listening to terms of
peace. If I recollect rightly, we had instructed
Monroe, when he went to Paris, to settle the
deposit; if he failed in that object to propose
a treaty to England immediately. We could
not be more engaged to secure the deposit than
we are the country now, after paying fifteen
millions for it. I do expect, therefore, that,
considering the present state of things as analagous
to that and virtually within his instructions,
he will very likely make the proposition
to England.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 585. Ford ed., viii, 377.
(M. Aug. 1805)

8030. SPAIN, English alliance against.—[continued].

A letter from Charles
Pinckney of May 22 [1805], informs me that
Spain refuses to settle a limit, and perseveres
in withholding the ratification of the convention.
He says not a word of the status quo, from which I conclude it has not been proposed.
* * * I think the status quo, if not already proposed,
should be immediately offered through
Bowdoin. Should it even be refused, the refusal
to settle a limit is not of itself a sufficient
cause of war, nor is the withholding a ratification
worthy of such a redress. Yet these acts
show a purpose both in Spain and France which


Page 822
we ought to provide before the conclusion of
a peace. I think, therefore, we should take into
consideration whether we ought not immediately
to propose to England an eventual treaty
of alliance, to come into force whenever
(within—years) a war shall take place with
Spain or France. It may be proper for the
ensuing Congress to make some preparations
for such an event, and it should be in our
power to show we have done the same.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 374.
(M. Aug. 1805)

8031. SPAIN, English alliance against.—[further continued].

On a view of our affairs
with Spain, * * * I wrote you * * * that I
thought we should offer them the status quo, but immediately propose provisional alliance
with England. I have not yet received the
whole correspondence. But the portion of the
papers now enclosed to you, confirm me in
the expediency of a treaty with England, but
make the offer of the status quo more doubtful.
* * * From the papers already received I infer
a confident reliance on the part of Spain on the
omnipotence of Bonaparte, but a desire of procrastination
till peace in Europe shall leave
us without an ally.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 583. Ford ed., viii, 375.
(M. Aug. 1805)

8032. SPAIN, Friendship with.—

an intimate conviction of long standing in my
mind, of the importance of an honest friendship
with Spain, and one which shall identify her
American interests with our own, I see in a
strong point of view the necessity that the
organ of communication which we establish
near the King should possess the favor and confidence
of that government. I have, therefore,
destined for that mission a person whose accommodating
and reasonable conduct, which
will be still more fortified by instructions, will
render him agreeable there, and an useful channel
of communication between us. I have no
doubt the new appointment by that government
to this, in the room of the Chevalier d'Yrujo,
has been made under the influence of the same
To Don Joseph Yznardi. Washington ed. iv, 385. Ford ed., viii, 33.
(W. March. 1801)

8033. SPAIN, Friendship with.—[continued].

The Chevalier d'Yrujo
being intimately known to us, the integrity,
sincerity, and reasonableness of his conduct
having established in us a perfect confidence, in
nowise diminished by the bickerings which took
place between him and a former Secretary of
State [Pickering], whose irritable temper drew
on more than one affair of the same kind, it
will be a subject of great regret if we lose him.
However, if the interests of Spain require that
his services should be employed elsewhere, it is
the duty of a friend to acquiesce; and we shall
certainly receive any successor the King May
choose to send, with every possible degree of
favor and friendship.—
To Don Joseph Yznardi. Washington ed. iv, 385. Ford ed., viii, 33.
(W. March. 1801)

8034. SPAIN, Good faith towards.—

better proof of the good faith of the United
States could have been given, than the vigor
with which we have acted, and the expense incurred,
in suppressing the enterprise meditated
lately by Burr against Mexico. Although at
first he proposed a separation of the Western
country, and on that ground received encouragement
and aid from Yrujo, according to the
usual spirit of his government towards us, yet
he very early saw that the fidelity of the Western
country was not to be shaken, and turned
himself wholly towards Mexico. And so popular
is an enterprise on that country in this,
that we had only to be still, and he would
have had followers enough to have been in the
city of Mexico in six weeks.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 64. Ford ed., ix, 41.
(W. April 1807.

8035. SPAIN, Good offices of.—

I see
with extreme satisfaction and gratitude the
friendly interposition of the court of Spain
with the Emperor of Morocco on the subject of
the brig Betsey, and I am persuaded it will
produce the happiest effects in America. Those,
who are intrusted with the public affairs there,
are sufficiently sensible how essential it is for
our interest to cultivate peace with Spain, and
they will be pleased to see a corresponding disposition
in that court. The late good office
of emancipating a number of our countrymen
from slavery is peculiarly calculated to produce
a sensation among our people, and to dispose
them to relish and adopt the pacific and friendly
views of their leaders towards Spain.—
To W. Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 392.
(P. 1785)

8036. SPAIN, Government of.—

If anything
thrasonic and foolish from Spain could
add to my contempt of that government, it
would be the demand of satisfaction now made
by Foronda. However, respect to ourselves
requires that the answer should be decent, and I
think it fortunate that this opportunity is given
to make a strong declaration of facts, to wit,
how far our knowledge of Miranda's objects
went, what measures we took to prevent anything
further, the negligence of the Spanish
agents to give us earlier notice, the measures
we took for punishing those guilty, and our
quiet abandonment of those taken by the Spaniards.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 164. Ford ed., ix, 124.
(M. Aug. 1807)

See Miranda Expedition.

8037. SPAIN, Honest, but unwise.—

Spain is honest if it is not wise.—
To John Adams. Ford ed., iv, 295.
(P. 1786)

8038. SPAIN, Hostility of.—

Our relations
with Spain are vitally interesting. That
they should be of a peaceable and friendly character
has been our most earnest desire. Had
Spain met us with the same dispositions, our
idea was that her existence in this hemisphere
and ours should have rested on the same bottom;
should have swam or sunk together. We
want nothing of hers, and we want no other
nation to possess what is hers. But she has
met our advances with jealousy, secret malice
and ill-faith. Our patience under this unworthy
return of disposition is now on its last
trial. And the issue of what is now depending
between us will decide whether our relations
with her are to be sincerely friendly, or permanently
hostile. I still wish and would cherish
the former, but have ceased to expect it.—
To James Bowdoin. Ford ed., viii, 351.
(W. April. 1805)

8039. SPAIN, Incitement of Indians.—

With respect to the treaties, the speech and
the letter, you will see that they undertake to
espouse the concerns of Indians within our
limits; to be mediators of boundary between
them and us; to guarantee that boundary to
them; to support them with their whole power;
and hazard to us intimations of acquiescence to
avoid disagreeable results. They even propose
to extend their intermeddlings to the northern
Indians. These are pretensions so totally inconsistent
with the usages established among
the white nations, with respect to Indians living
within their several limits, that it is believed
no example of them can be produced, in
times of peace; and they are presented to us in


Page 823
a manner which we cannot deem friendly.—
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iii, 366. Ford ed., vi, 272.
(Pa., May. 1793)

8040. SPAIN, Incitement of Indians.—[continued].

The papers communicated
you [in October and November, 1792] made it evident that the Baron de Carondelet,
the Governor of New Orleans, had industriously
excited the southern Indians to war
against us, and furnished them with arms and
ammunition in abundance, for that express purpose.
We placed this under the view of the
commissioners of Spain here, who undertook to
communicate it to their court, and also to write
on the subject to the Baron de Carondelet.
They have lately made us communications from
both these quarters; the aspect of which, however,
is by no means such as to remove the
causes of our dissatisfaction. I send you these
communications, consisting of treaties between
Spain, the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and
Cherokees, handed us by express order from
their court, a speech of Baron de Carondelet
to the Cherokees, and a letter from Messrs. de
Viar and Jaudenes, covering that speech, and
containing in itself very serious matter. I will
first observe to you, that the question stated
in that letter, to have been proposed to the
Cherokees, what part they would take, in the
event of a war between the United States and
Spain? was never proposed by authority from
this government. Its instructions to its agents
have, on the contrary, been explicitly to cultivate,
with good faith, the peace between Spain
and the Indians; and from the known prudence
and good conduct of Governor Blount, to whom
it is imputed, it is not believed to have been
proposed by him. This proposition, then, you
are authorized to disavow to the court of
Madrid, in the most unequivocal terms.—
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iii, 566. Ford ed., vi, 271.
(Pa., May. 1793)

8041. SPAIN, Incitement of Indians.—[further continued].

The consequence is that
the Indians, and particularly the Creeks, finding
themselves so encouraged, have passed,
without the least provocation on our part, from
a state of peace, which appeared to be well settled,
to that of serious hostility. Their murders
and depredations, which, for some months
we were willing to hope were only individual
aggressions, now assume the appearance of unequivocal
war. Yet, such is our desire of
courting and cultivating the peace of all our
Indian neighbors, that instead of marching at
once into their country, and taking satisfaction
ourselves, we are peaceably requiring punishment
of the individual aggressors; and, in the
meantime, are holding ourselves entirely on
the defensive. But this state of things cannot
continue. Our citizens are entitled to effectual
protection, and defensive measures are, at the
same time, the most expensive and least effectual.
If we find, then, that peace cannot be obtained
by the temperate means we are still pursuing,
we must proceed to those which are extreme,
and meet all the consequences, of whatever
nature, or from whatever quarter they May
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iii, 567. Ford ed., vi, 272.
(Pa., May. 1793)

8042. SPAIN, Incitement of Indians.—[further continued] .

We have certainly been
always desirous to avoid whatever might disturb
our harmony with Spain. We should be
still more so, at a moment when we see that
nation making part of so powerful a confederacy
as is formed in Europe, and under particular
good understanding with England, our other
neighbor. In so delicate a position, therefore,
instead of expressing our sense of these things,
by way of answer to Messrs. Viar and Jaudenes,
the President has thought it better that
it should be done to you, and to trust to your
discretion the moment, the measure, and the
form of communicating it to the Court of Madrid.
The actual state of Europe at the time
you will receive this, the solidity of the confederacy,
and especially, as between Spain and
England, the temper and views of the former,
or of both, towards us, the state of your negotiation,
are circumstances which will enable you
better to decide how far it may be necessary to
soften, or even, perhaps, to suppress, the expressions
of our sentiments on this subject.
To your discretion, therefore, it is committed
by the President, to let the Court of Spain see
how impossible it is for us to submit with folded
arms, to be butchered by these savages, and to
prepare them to view, with a just eye, the more
vigorous measures we must pursue to put an
end to their atrocities, if the moderate ones we
are now taking, should fail of that effect.—
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iii, 567. Ford ed., vi, 272.
(Pa., May. 1793)

8043. SPAIN, Invasion of.—

The invasion
of Spain has been the most unprecedented
and unprincipled of the transactions of modern
times. The crimes of its enemies, the licentiousness
of its associates in defence, the exertions
and sufferings of its inhabitants under
slaughter and famine, and its consequent depopulation,
will mark indelibly the baneful ascendency
of the tyrants of the sea and continent,
and characterize with blood and wretchedness
the age in which they have lived.—
To Le Chevalier de Onis. Washington ed. vi, 341.
(M. 1814)

8044. SPAIN, Loss of colonies.—

I hail
your country as now likely to resume and surpass
its ancient splendor among nations. This
might perhaps have been better secured by a
just confidence in the self-sufficient strength
of the peninsula itself; everything without its
limits being its weakness, not its force.—
To Chevalier de Onis. Washington ed. vi, 342.
(M. April. 1814)

8045. SPAIN, Peace with.—

Spain is so
evidently picking a quarrel with us, that we
see a war absolutely inevitable with her. We
are making a last effort to avoid it.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 6. Ford ed., vi, 322.
(June. 1793)

8046. SPAIN, Peace with.—[continued].

We are sending a courier
to Madrid to make a last effort for the preservation
of honorable peace.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 8. Ford ed., vi, 325.
(June. 1793)

8047. SPAIN, Perfidy of.—

Never did a nation act towards another with more perfidy
and injustice than Spain has constantly practiced
against us; and if we have kept
our hands off her till now, it has been purely
out of respect to France, and from the value
we set on the friendship of France. We expect,
therefore, from the friendship of the Emperor,
that he will either compel Spain to do
us justice, or abandon her to us. We ask but
one month to be in possession of the city of
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 64. Ford ed., ix, 40.
(W. April. 1807)

8048. SPAIN, Reprisal on.—

While war
with England is probable, everything leading to
it with every other nation should be avoided,
except Spain. As to her, I think it the precise
moment when we should declare to the French
government that we will instantly seize on the
Floridas as reprisal for the spoliations denied
us, and, that if by a given day they are paid to
us, we will restore all east of the Perdido, and
hold the rest subject to amicable decision.


Page 824
Otherwise, we will hold them forever as a compensation
for the spoliations.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 181. Ford ed., ix, 134.
(M. Sep. 1807)

8049. SPAIN, Republicanism in.—

The spirit of the Spaniard, and his deadly
and eternal hatred to a Frenchman, give me
much confidence that he will never submit, but
finally defeat this atrocious violation of the
laws of God and man, under which he is suffering;
and the wisdom and firmness of the Cortes
afford reasonable hope that that nation will settle
down in a temperate representative government,
with an executive properly subordinated
to that.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 308. Ford ed., x, 270.
(M. 1823)

8050. SPAIN, Spanish America and.—

The most advantageous relation in which Spain
can stand with her American colonies is that of
independent friendship, secured by the ties of
consanguinity, sameness of language, religion,
manners, and habits, and certain from the influence
of these, of a preference in her commerce,
if, instead of the eternal irritations, thwartings,
machinations against their new governments,
the insults and aggressions which Great
Britain has so unwisely practiced towards us,
to force us to hate her against our natural
inclinations, Spain yields, like a genuine parent,
to the forisfamiliation of her colonies, now at
maturity, if she extends to them her affections,
her aid, her patronage in every court and
country, it will weave a bond of union indissoluble
by time.—
To Don V. de Toronda Coruna. Washington ed. vi, 274.
(M. Dec. 1813)

8051. SPAIN, Spanish America and.—[continued].

That Spain's divorce from its American colonies, which is now unavoidable,
will be a great blessing, it is impossible
not to pronounce on a review of what she
was when she acquired them, and of her gradual
descent from that proud eminence to the
condition in which her present war found her.
Nature has formed that peninsula to be the second,
and why not the first nation in Europe?
Give equal habits of energy to the bodies, and
of science to the minds of her citizens, and
where could her superior be found?—
To Don V. de Toronda Coruna. Washington ed. vi, 274.
(M. Dec. 1813)

8052. SPAIN, Spoliations and boundaries.—

With Spain our negotiations for a
settlement of differences have not had a satisfactory
issue. Spoliations during the former
war, for which she had formally acknowledged
herself responsible, have been refused to be
compensated, but on conditions affecting other
claims in nowise connected with them. Yet the
same practices are renewed in the present war,
and are already of great amount. On the Mobile,
our commerce passing through that river
continues to be obstructed by arbitrary duties
and vexatious searches. Propositions for adjusting
amicably the boundaries of Louisiana
have not been acceded to. While, however,
the right is unsettled, we have avoided changing
the state of things, by taking new posts, or
strengthening ourselves in the disputed territories,
in the hope that the other power would
not, by a contrary conduct, oblige us to meet
their example, and endanger conflicts of authority,
the issue of which may not be entirely controlled.
But in this hope we have now reason
to lessen our confidence. Inroads have been
recently made into the territories of Orleans
and the Mississippi, our citizens have been
seized and their property plundered in the very
parts of the former which had been actually
delivered up by Spain, and this by the regular
officers and soldiers of that government. I
have, therefore, found it necessary at length
to give orders to our troops on that frontier
to be in readiness to protect our citizens, and
to repel by arms any similar aggressions in
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 48. Ford ed., viii, 390.
(Dec. 3, 1805)

8053. SPAIN, Spoliations and boundaries.—[continued].

The depredations which
had been committed on the commerce of the
United States during a preceding war, by persons
under the authority of Spain * * * made it a duty to require from that government
indemnifications for our injured citizens. A
convention was accordingly entered into * * * by which it was agreed that spoliations committed
by Spanish subjects and carried into
ports of Spain should be paid for by that nation;
and that those committed by French subjects,
and carried into Spanish ports should remain
for further discussion. Before this convention
was returned to Spain with our ratification,
the transfer of Louisiana by France to
the United States took place, an event as unexpected
as disagreeable to Spain. From that
moment she seemed to change her conduct and
dispositions towards us. It was first manifested
by her protest against the right of France
to alienate Louisiana to us, which however
was soon retracted, and the right confirmed.
Then, high offence was manifested at the act of
Congress establishing a collection district on
the Mobile, although by an authentic declaration
immediately made, it was expressly confined
to our acknowledged limits. And she
now refused to ratify the convention signed by
her own minister under the eye of his sovereign,
unless we would relinquish all consent
to alterations of its terms which would have
affected our claims against her for the spoliations
by French subjects carried into Spanish
ports. To obtain justice, as well as to restore
friendship, I thought a special mission advisable,
and accordingly appointed James Monroe,
Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,
to repair to Madrid, and in conjunction with
our Minister Resident there, to endeavor to
procure a ratification of the former convention,
and to come to an understanding with Spain
as to the boundaries of Louisiana. It appeared
at once that her policy was to reserve herself
for events, and in the meantime to keep our
differences in an undetermined state. This
will be evident from the papers now communicated
to you. After nearly five months of fruitless
endeavor to bring them to some definite
and satisfactory result our ministers ended the
conferences without having been able to obtain
indemnity for spoliations of any description,
or any satisfaction as to the boundaries of
Louisiana, other than a declaration that we
had no rights eastward of the Iberville, and
that our line to the west was one which would
have left us but a string of land on that bank
of the river Mississippi. Our injured citizens
were thus left without any prospect of retribution
from the wrongdoer; and as to the boundary
each party was to take its own course.
That which they have chosen to pursue will
appear from the documents now communicated.
They authorize the inference that it is their
intention to advance on our possessions until
they shall be repressed by an opposing force.
Considering that Congress alone is constitutionally
invested with the power of changing
our condition from peace to war, I have thought
it my duty to await their authority for using
force in any degree which could be avoided.
I have barely instructed the officers stationed
in the neighborhood of the aggressions to protect
our citizens from violence, to patrol within


Page 825
the borders actually delivered to us, and not
to go out of them but when necessary to repel
an inroad, or to rescue a citizen or his property.—
Confidential Message. Ford ed., viii, 397.
(Dec. 6, 1805)

8054. SPAIN, Spoliations and boundaries.—[further continued].

With Spain we are making
a last effort at peaceable accommodation.
The subject is merely a settlement of the limits
of Louisiana, and our right of passing down the
rivers of Florida. This negotiation is to be held
at Paris, where we may have the benefit of the
good offices of France, but she will be no
party to the contract.—
To Thomas Paine. Ford ed., viii, 436.
(W. March. 1806)

8055. SPAIN, Spoliations and boundaries.—[further continued] .

Notwithstanding the
efforts made here, and made professedly to
assassinate the negotiation in embryo, if the
good sense of Bonaparte should prevail over
his temper, the present state of things in Europe
may induce him to require of Spain that
she should do us justice at least. That he
should require her to sell us East Florida, we
have no right to insist; yet there are not wanting
considerations which may induce him to
wish a permanent foundation for peace laid
between us.—
To Mr. Bidwell. Washington ed. v, 15.
(W. July. 1806)

8056. SPAIN, Spoliations and boundaries.—[further continued].

It is grossly false that
our ministers * * * had proposed to surrender
our claims to compensation for Spanish
spoliations, or even for French. Their instructions
were to make no treaty in which Spanish
spoliations were not provided for; and although
they were permitted to be silent as to French
spoliations carried into Spanish ports, they
were not expressly to abandon even them.—
To W. A. Burwell. Washington ed. v, 20. Ford ed., viii, 469.
(M. Sep. 1806)

8057. SPAIN, Spoliations and boundaries.—[further continued] .

Our affairs with Spain
laid dormant during the absence of Bonaparte
from Paris, because we know Spain would do
nothing towards settling them, but by compulsion.
Immediately on his return, our terms
were stated to him, and his interposition obtained.
If it was with good faith, its effect will
be instantaneous; if not with good faith, we
shall discover it by affected delays, and must
decide accordingly.—
To William Short. Washington ed. v, 211.
(W. Nov. 1807)

8058. SPAIN, Treaty with.—

Some fear
our envelopment in the wars engendering from
the unsettled state of our affairs with Spain,
and therefore are anxious for a ratification of
our treaty with her. I fear no such thing, and
hope that if ratified by Spain, it will be rejected
here. We may justly say to Spain, “When this
negotiation commenced, twenty years ago, your
authority was acknowledged by those you are
selling to us. That authority is now renounced,
and their right of self-disposal asserted. In
buying them from you, then, we buy but a wartitle,
a right to subdue them, which you can
neither convey nor we acquire. This is a family
quarrel, in which we have no right to meddle.
Settle it between yourselves, and we will
then treat with the party whose right is acknowledged ”. With whom that will be, no doubt
can be entertained. And why should we revolt
them by purchasing them as cattle, rather
than receiving them as fellow-men? Spain has
held off until she sees they are lost to her, and
now thinks it better to get something than nothing
for them. When she shall see South America
equally desperate, she will be wise to sell
that also.—
To M. de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 194. Ford ed., x, 179.
(M. Dec. 1820)

8059. SPAIN, War against.—

I had
rather have war against Spain than not, if we
go to war against England. Our southern defensive
force can take the Floridas, volunteers
for a Mexican army will flock to our standard,
and rich pabulum will be offered to our privateers
in the plunder of their commerce and
coasts. Probably Cuba would add itself to our
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 164. Ford ed., ix, 124.
(M. Aug. 1807)

See Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi River Navigation, New Orleans and Spanish America.

8060. SPANISH AMERICA, Aid to.—

Every kindness which can be shown the South
Americans, every friendly office and aid within
the limits of the law of nations, I would extend
to them, without fearing Spain or her Swiss
auxiliaries. For this is but an asserton of our
own independence. But to join in their war,
as General Scott proposes, and to which even
some members of Congress seem to squint, is
what we ought not to do as yet.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 550. Ford ed., x, 19.
(M. Feb. 1816)

8061. SPANISH AMERICA, Aid to.—[continued].

That a war is brewing
between us and Spain cannot be doubted.
When that disposition is matured on both sides,
and open rupture can no longer be deferred,
then will be the time for our joining the South
Americans, and entering into treaties of alliance
with them. There will then be but one opinion,
at home or abroad, that we shall be justifiable
in choosing to have them with us, rather than
against us. In the meantime, they will have
organized regular governments, and perhaps
have formed themselves into one or more confederacies;
more than one, I hope, as in single
mass they would be a very formidable neighbor.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 551. Ford ed., x, 19.
(M. Feb. 1816)

8062. SPANISH AMERICA, Aid to.—[further continued].

The Spanish Colonies
cannot reasonably expect us to sink ourselves
uselessly and even injuriously for them by a
quixotic encounter of the whole world in arms.
Were it Spain alone I should have no fear.
But Russia is said to have seventy ships of the
line; France approaching that number, and
what should we be in fronting such a force?
It is not for the interest of Spanish America
that our Republic should be blotted out of the
map, and to the rest of the world it would be
an act of treason.—
To President Monroe. Ford ed., x, 316.
(M. July. 1824)

8063. SPANISH AMERICA, Constitution for.—

For such a condition of society,
the constitution you [Dupont de Nemours] have devised is probably the best imaginable.
It is certainly calculated to elicit the best
talents; although perhaps not well guarded
against the egoism of its functionaries. But
that egoism will be light in comparison with the
pressure of a military despot and his army of
Janizaries. Like Solon to the Athenians, you
have given to your Columbians, not the best
possible government, but the best they can bear.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 592. Ford ed., x, 25.

8064. SPANISH AMERICA, Ignorance in.—

Another great field of political experiment
is opening in our neighborhood, in Spanish
America. I fear the degrading ignorance
into which their priests and kings have sunk
them, has disqualified them from the maintenance
or even knowledge of their rights, and
that much blood may be shed for little improvement
in their condition. Should their new
rulers honestly lay their shoulders to remove


Page 826
the great obstacles of ignorance, and press the
remedies of education and information, they
will still be in jeopardy until another generation
comes into place, and what may happen in
the interval cannot be predicted.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 584. Ford ed., ix, 322.
(M. 1811)

8065. SPANISH AMERICA, Ignorance in.—[continued].

No mortal wishes them
more success than I do. But if what I have
heard of the ignorance and bigotry of the mass
be true, I doubt their capacity to understand
and to support a free government; and fear that
their emancipation from the foreign tyranny of
Spain, will result in a military despotism at
home. Palacios may be great; others may be
great; but it is the multitude which possess
force; and wisdom must yield to that.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 592. Ford ed., x, 25.

8066. SPANISH AMERICA, Independence of.—

It is intimated to us, in such a way
as to attract our attention, that France means
to send a strong force early this spring to offer
independence to the Spanish American colonies,
beginning with those on the Mississippi and
that she will not object to the receiving those
on the East side into our confederation. Interesting
considerations require that we should
keep ourselves free to act in this case according
to circumstances, and consequently that you
should not, by any clause of treaty, bind us to
guarantee any of the Spanish colonies against
their own independence; nor indeed against
any other nation. For, when we thought we
might guarantee Louisiana on their ceding the
Floridas to us, we apprehended it would be
seized by Great Britain, who would thus completely
encircle us with her colonies and fleets.
This danger is now removed by the concert between
Great Britain and Spain. And the times
will soon enough give independence, and consequently
free commerce to our neighbors, without
our risking the involving ourselves in a
war for them. [461]
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iii, 534. Ford ed., vi, 206.
(Pa., March. 1793)


Short and Carmichael were commissioners to
negotiate a treaty with Spain. Appended to the
extract are the words in President Washington's
handwriting: “The above meets the approval of
George Washington.”—Editor.

8067. SPANISH AMERICA, Independence of.—[continued].

On the question of our
interest in their independence, were that alone
a sufficient motive of action, much may be said
on both sides. When they are free, they will
drive every article of our produce from every
market, by underselling it, and change the condition
of our existence, forcing us into other
habits and pursuits. We shall indeed, have
in exchange some commerce with them, but in
what I know not, for we shall have nothing
to offer which they cannot raise cheaper; and
their separation from Spain seals our everlasting
peace with her. On the other hand, so
long as they are dependent, Spain, from her
jealousy, is our natural enemy, and always in
either open or secret hostility with us. These
countries, too, in war will be a powerful weight
in her scale, and, in peace, totally shut to us.
Interest, then, on the whole, would wish their
independence, and justice makes the wish a
duty. They have a right to be free, and we a
right to aid them, as a strong man has a right
to assist a weak one assailed by a robber or
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 550. Ford ed., x, 19.
(M. Feb. 1816)

8068. SPANISH AMERICA, Independence of.—[further continued].

We go with you all
lengths in friendly affections to the independ
ence of South America. But an immediate
acknowledgment of it calls up other considerations.
We view Europe as covering at present
a smothered fire, which may shortly burst forth
and produce general conflagration. From this
it is our duty to keep aloof. A formal acknowledgment
of the independence of her Colonies
would involve us with Spain certainly, and perhaps,
too, with England, if she thinks that a
war would divert her internal troubles. Such
a war would hurt us more than it would help
our brethren of the South; and our right May
be doubted of mortgaging posterity for the expenses
of a war in which they will have a
right to say their interests were not concerned.—
To Destutt Tracy. Ford ed., x, 174.
(M. 1820)

8069. SPANISH AMERICA, Interest in.—

However distant we may be, both in
condition and dispositions, from taking an active
part in any commotions in that country
[South America], nature has placed it too near
us, to make its movements altogether indifferent
to our interests, or to our curiosity.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 145. Ford ed., iv, 385.
(March. 1787)

8070. SPANISH AMERICA, Name for.—

I wish you had called them the Columbian
republics, to distinguish them from our American
republics. Theirs would be the more honorable
name, and they best entitled to it; for
Columbus discovered their continent, but never
saw ours.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 593. Ford ed., x, 25.

8071. SPANISH AMERICA, Natural divisions of.—

The geography of the [Spanish-American] country seems to indicate three
confederacies. 1. What is north of the Isthmus.
2. What is south of it on the Atlantic;
and 3, the southern part on the Pacific. In
this form, we might be the balancing power.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 551. Ford ed., x, 20.
(M. Feb. 1816)

8072. SPANISH AMERICA, Relations with Spain.—

If the mother country [Spain] has not the magnanimity to part with the colonies
in friendship, thereby making them what
they would certainly be, her natural and firmest
allies, these will emancipate themselves, after
exhausting her strength and resources in ineffectual
efforts to hold them in subjection.
They will be rendered enemies of the mother
country, as England has rendered us by an
unremitting course of insulting injuries and
silly provocations. I do not say this from the
impulse of national interest, for I do not know
that the United States would find an interest
in the independence of neighbor nations, whose
produce and commerce would rivalize ours. It
could only be that kind of interest which every
human being has in the happiness and prosperity
of every other. But putting right and reason
out of the question, I have no doubt that
on calculations of interest alone, it is that of
Spain to anticipate voluntarily, and as a matter
of grace, the independence of her colonies,
which otherwise necessity will force.—
To Chevalier de Onis. Washington ed. vi, 342.
(M. April. 1814)

8073. SPANISH AMERICA, Revolt of.—

Behold another example of man rising in his might and bursting the chains of his oppressor,
and in the same hemisphere. Spanish
America is all in revolt. The insurgents are
triumphant in many of the States, and will be
so in all. But there the danger is that the
cruel arts of their oppressors have enchained
their minds, have kept them in the ignorance


Page 827
of children, and as incapable of self-government
as children. If the obstacles of bigotry
and priestcraft can be surmounted, we May
hope that common sense will suffice to do everything
else. God send them a safe deliverance.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. v, 586.
(M. 1811)

8074. SPANISH AMERICA, Revolt of.—[continued].

That they will throw off
their European dependence I have no doubt;
but in what kind of government their revolution
will end I am not so certain. History, I believe,
furnishes no example of a priest-ridden
people maintaining a free civil government.
This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of
which their civil as well as religious leaders will
always avail themselves for their own purposes.
The vicinity of New Spain to the United States,
and their consequent intercourse, may furnish
schools for the higher, and example for the
lower classes of their citizens. And Mexico,
where we learn from you that men of science
are not wanting, may revolutionize itself under
better auspices than the Southern provinces.
These last, I fear, must end in military despotisms.
The different castes of their inhabitants,
their mutual hatreds and jealousies, their
profound ignorance and bigotry, will be played
off by cunning leaders, and each be made the
instrument of enslaving others. * * * But
in whatever governments they end they will be
American governments, no longer to be involved
in the never-ceasing broils of Europe.—
To Baron von Humboldt. Washington ed. vi, 267. Ford ed., ix, 430.
(Dec. 1813)

8075. SPANISH AMERICA, Self-government and.—

The Spanish-American countries
are beginning to be interesting to the
whole world. They are now becoming the
scenes of political revolution, to take their stations
as integral members of the great family
of nations. All are now in insurrection. In
several, the Independents are already triumphant,
and they will undoubtedly be so in all.
What kind of government will they establish?
How much liberty can they bear without intoxication?
Are their chiefs sufficiently enlightened
to form a well-guarded government,
and their people to watch their chiefs? Have
they mind enough to place their domesticated
Indians on a footing with the whites? All
these questions you [Baron Humboldt] can
answer better than any other. I imagine they
will copy our outlines of confederation and elective
government, abolish distinction of ranks,
bow the neck to their priests, and persevere in
intolerantism. Their greatest difficulty will be
in the construction of their executive. I suspect
that, regardless of the experiment of
France, and of that of the United States in
1784, they will begin with a directory, and when
the unavoidable schisms in that kind of executive
shall drive them to something else, their
great question will come on whether to substitute
an executive elective for years, for life,
or an hereditary one. But unless instruction
can be spread among them more rapidly than
experience promises, despotism may come upon
them before they are qualified to save the
ground they will have gained.—
To Baron von Humboldt. Washington ed. v, 580.
(M. April. 1811)

8076. SPANISH AMERICA, Self-government and.—[continued].

The achievement [by
the Spanish Colonies] of their independence of
Spain is no longer a question. But it is a very
serious one, what will then become of them?
Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities, are
incapable of self-government. They will fall
under military despotism, and become the murderous
tools of the ambition of their respective
Bonapartes; and whether this will be for their
greater happiness, the rule of one only has
taught you to judge. No one, I hope, can doubt
my wish to see them and all mankind exercising
self-government, and capable of exercising
it. But the question is not what we
wish, but what is practicable? As their sincere
friend and brother, then, I do believe the
best thing for them, would be for themselves
to come to an accord with Spain, under the
guarantee of France, Russia, Holland, and the
United States, allowing, to Spain a nominal
supremacy, with authority only to keep the
peace among them, leaving them otherwise all
the powers of self-government, until their experience
in them, their emancipation from their
priests, and advancement in information, shall
prepare them for complete independence. I
exclude England from this confederacy, because
her selfish principles render her incapable
of honorable patronage or disinterested cooperation.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 67. Ford ed., x, 84.
(M. 1817)

8077. SPANISH AMERICA, Self-government and.—[further continued].

The issue of [Spanish
America's] struggles, as they respect Spain, is
no longer matter of doubt. As it respects their
own liberty, peace and happiness, we cannot be
quite so certain. Whether the blinds of bigotry,
the shackles of the priesthood, and the
fascinating glare of rank and wealth, give fair
play to the common sense of the mass of their
people, so far as to qualify them for self-government,
is what we do not know. Perhaps our
wishes may be stronger than our hopes.—
To F. H. Alexander von Humboldt. Washington ed. vii, 74. Ford ed., x, 88.
(M. 1817)

8078. SPANISH AMERICA, Self-government and.—[further continued] .

I feared from the beginning
that these people were not yet sufficiently
enlightened for self-government; and that after
wading through blood and slaughter, they would
end in military tyrannies, more or less numerous.
Yet, as they wished to try the experiment, I
wished them success in it; they have now tried
it, and will possibly find that their safest road
will be an accommodation with the mother
country, which shall hold them together by
the single link of the same chief magistrate,
leaving to him power enough to keep them in
peace with one another, and to themselves the
essential power of self-government and self-improvement,
until they shall be sufficiently
trained by education and habits of freedom, to
walk safely by themselves. Representative
government, native functionaries, a qualified
negative on their laws, with a previous security
by compact for freedom of commerce, freedom
of the press, habeas corpus and trial by jury,
would make a good beginning. This last would
be the school in which their people might begin
to learn the exercise of civic duties as well as
rights. For freedom of religion they are not
yet prepared. The scales of bigotry have not
sufficiently fallen from their eyes, to accept it
for themselves individually, much less to trust
others with it. But that will come in time, as
well as a general ripeness to break entirely from
the parent stem.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 200. Ford ed., x, 186.
(M. Jan. 1821)

8079. SPANISH AMERICA, United States and.—

I cannot help suspecting the
Spanish squadron to be gone to South America,
and that some disturbances have been excited
there by the British. The Court of Madrid
may suppose we would not see this with an
unwilling eye. This may be true as to the
uninformed part of our people; but those who
look into futurity farther than the present moment
or age, and who combine well what is,


Page 828
with what is to be, must see that our interests,
well understood, and our wishes are, that Spain
shall (not forever, but) very long retain her
possessions in that quarter; and that her views
and ours must, in a good degree, and for a long
time, concur.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 398. Ford ed., v, 23.
(P. 1788)

8080. SPECIAL LEGISLATION, Favoritism and.—

To special legislation we are
generally averse, lest a principle of favoritism
should creep in and pervert that of equal
rights. It has, however, been done on some
occasions where a special national advantage
has been expected to overweigh that of adherence
to the general rule.—
To George Flower. Washington ed. vii, 83.


See Money, Metallic.

8081. SPECULATION, Agriculture vs.—

A war wherein France, Holland, and England
should be parties, seems, primâ facie, to
promise much advantage to us. But, in the
first place, no war can be safe for us which
threatens France with an unfavorable issue;
and in the next, it will probably embark us
again into the ocean of speculation, engage us
to overtrade ourselves, convert us into sea-rovers,
under French and Dutch colors,
divert us from agriculture, which is our
wisest pursuit, because it will in the end
contribute most to real wealth, good morals
and happiness.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 251.
(P. Aug. 1787)

8082. SPECULATION, A crime.—

Nicholas is attacked in his election. The
ground on which the attack is made is that
he is a speculator. The explanations which
this has produced prove it a serious crime
in the eyes of the people.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 1.
(M. Feb. 1795)

8083. SPECULATION, Excessive.—

It is impossible to say where the appetite for gambling
will stop. The land office, the Federal
town, certain schemes of manufacture, are all
likely to be converted into aliment for that
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iii, 268. Ford ed., v, 353.
(Pa., 1791)

8084. SPECULATION, Excessive.—[continued].

The unmoneyed farmer,
as he is termed, his cattle and crops are no
more thought of here [Philadelphia [462] ] than if
they did not feed us. Scrip and stock are
food and raiment here.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 455.
(Pa., 1792)


Philadelphia was then the capital.—Editor.

8085. SPECULATION, In France.—

the money men [in France] are playing
deeply in the stocks of the country. The
spirit of “agiotage” (as they call it) was
never so high in any country before. It will
probably produce as total deprivation of morals
as the system of [John] Law did. All the
money of France is now employed in this,
none being free even for the purposes of commerce,
which suffers immensely from this
To R. Izard. Washington ed. ii, 206.
(P. 1787)

8086. SPECULATION, Gambling and.—

The wealth acquired by speculation and
plunder, is fugacious in its nature, and fills
society with the spirit of gambling.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 252.
(P. 1787)

8087. SPECULATION, Gambling and.—[continued].

A spirit of gambling in the public paper has lately seized too many
of our citizens. Commerce, manufactures,
the arts and agriculture will suffer from it,
if not checked. Many are ruined by it; but
I fear that ruin will be no more a correction
in this case than in common gaming.—
To David Humphreys. Ford ed., v, 372.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

8088. SPECULATION, Gambling and.—[further continued].

The credit and fate of
the nation seem to hang on the desperate
throws and plunges of gambling scoundrels.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 455.
(Pa., 1792)

8089. SPECULATION, Land.—

mention that my name is used by some speculators
in Western land jobbing, as if they
were acting for me as well as for themselves.
About the years 1776 or 1777, I consented to
join Mr. Harvey and some others in an application
for lands there; which scheme, however,
I believe he dropped on the threshold,
for I never after heard one syllable on the
subject. In 1782, I joined some gentlemen
in a project to obtain some lands in the
western part of North Carolina. But in the
winter of 1782 and 1783, while I was in expectation
of going to Europe, and that the
title to western lands might possibly come
under the discussion of the ministers, I
withdrew myself from this company. I am
further assured that the members never prosecuted
their views. These were the only
occasions in which I ever took a single step
for the acquisition of western lands, and in
these I retracted at the threshold. I can
with truth, therefore, declare to you, and
wish you to repeat it on every proper occasion,
that no person on earth is authorized to
place my name in any adventure for lands
on the western waters, that I am not engaged
in any but the two before mentioned. I am
one of eight children to whom my father
left his share in the loyal company, whose interests,
however, I never espoused, and they
have long since received their quietus. Excepting
these, I never was, nor am I now,
interested in one foot of land on earth off the
waters of James River.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 2.
(P. 1784)

8090. SPECULATION, Morality and.—

Though we shall be neutrals, and as such
shall derive considerable pecuniary advantages,
yet I think we shall lose in happiness
and morals by being launched again into the
ocean of speculation, led to overtrade ourselves,
tempted to become sea-robbers, under
French colors, and to quit the pursuits of
agriculture, the surest road to affluence, and
best preservative of morals.—
To J. Blair. Washington ed. ii, 248.
(P. 1787)

8091. SPECULATION, Stocks.—

I wish
to God you had some person who could dispose
of your paper at a judicious moment
for you, and invest it in good lands. I


Page 829
would do anything my duty [as Secretary of
State] would permit, but were I to advise
your agent (who is himself a stock dealer)
to sell out yours at this or that moment, it
would be used as a signal to guide speculations.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 343. Ford ed., v, 459.
(Pa., March. 1792)

See Capital.

8092. SPELLING, Correct.—

Take care
that you never spell a word wrong. Always
before you write a word, consider how it is
spelled, and, if you do not remember it, turn to
a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady
to spell well.—
To Martha Jefferson. Ford ed., iii, 346.
(A. 1783)

8093. SPELLING, Reform of English.—

A change has been long desired in English
orthography, such as might render it an easy
and true index of the pronunciation of words.
The want of conformity between the combinations
of letters, and the sounds they should represent,
increases to foreigners the difficulty of
acquiring the language, occasions great loss of
time to children in learning to read, and renders
correct spelling rare but in those who read
much. In England a variety of plans and propositions
has been made for the reformation of
their orthography. Passing over these, two of
our countrymen, Dr. Franklin and Dr. Thornton,
have also engaged in the enterprise; the former
proposing an addition of two or three new
characters only, the latter a reformation of
the whole alphabet nearly. But these attempts
in England, as well as here, have been without
effect. About the middle of the last century
an attempt was made to banish the letter
d from the words bridge, judge, hedge, knowledge,
&c., others of that termination, and to
write them as we write age, cage, sacrilege,
privilege; but with little success. The attempt
was also made, which you mention, * * * to drop the letter u in words of Latin derivation
ending in our, and to write honor, candor, rigor,
&c., instead of honour, candour, rigour. But
the u having been picked up in the passage of
these words from the Latin, through the
French, to us, is still preserved by those who
consider it as a memorial of our title to the
words. Other partial attempts have been made
by individual writers, but with as little success.
Pluralizing nouns in y and ey, by adding
s only, as you propose, would certainly simplify
the spelling, and be analogous to the general
idiom of the language. It would be a step
gained in the progress of general reformation,
if it could prevail. But my opinion being requested
I must give it candidly, that judging of the future by the past, I expect no better fortune
to this than similar preceding propositions
have experienced. It is very difficult to persuade
the great body of mankind to give up
what they have once learned, and are now masters
of, for something to be learned anew.
Time alone insensibly wears down old habits,
and produces small changes at long intervals,
and to this process we must all accommodate
ourselves, and be content to follow those who
will not follow us. Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors
had twenty ways of spelling the word “many”.
Ten centuries have dropped all of them and
substituted that which we now use. I now return
your MS. [463] without being able, with the
gentlemen whose letters are cited, to encourage
hope as to its effect. I am bound, however, to
acknowledge that this is a subject to which I
have not paid much attention; and that my
doubts, therefore, should weigh nothing against
their more favorable expectations. That these
may be fulfilled, and mine prove unfounded, I
sincerely wish, because I am a friend to the
reformation generally of whatever can be made
To John Wilson. Washington ed. vi, 190. Ford ed., ix, 396.
(M. 1813)


It is proposed that the plurals of words ending in
y and ey be formed by adding s only.—Editor.

8094. SPIES, Congress and.—

As in time
of war the enemies of these States might employ
emissaries and spies to discover the views
and proceedings of Congress, that body should
have authority, within a certain distance of
the place of their session, to arrest and deal
with as they shall think proper, all persons, not
being citizens of any of these States nor entitled
to their protection, whom they shall have
cause to suspect to be spies.—
Resolve on Continental Congress. Ford ed., iii, 464.

8095. SPIES, Employment of.—

Will it
not be proper to rebut Foronda's charge [with
respect to Lieutenant Pike's expedition] of this
government sending a spy to Santa Fé, by saying
that this government has never employed
a spy in any case?—
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 178.
(Aug. 1807)

8096. SPIES, Jefferson and.—

All my
motions at Philadelphia, here [Monticello], and
everywhere, are watched and recorded.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. iv, 253. Ford ed., vii, 276.
(M. 1798)

— SPIES, Treasury.—

See Neutrality.

8097. SPIRIT, Party.—

The happiness of
society depends so much on preventing party
spirit from infecting the common intercourse
of life, that nothing should be spared to harmonize
and amalgamate the two parties in social
To William C. Clairorne. Ford ed., viii, 70.
(W. 1801)

8098. SPIRIT, Of the people.—

It is the
manners and spirit of the people which preserve
a republic in vigor.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 406. Ford ed., iii, 269.

8099. SPRINGS, Medicinal.—

There are
several medicinal springs [in Virginia], some
of which are indubitably efficacious, while others
seem to owe their reputation as much to
fancy and change of air and regimen, as to
their real virtues.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 279. Ford ed., iii, 121.

See Medicinal Springs.

8100. SQUATTERS, Prohibition of.—

do not recollect the instructions to Governor
[Meriwether] Lewis respecting squatters.
But if he had any they were unquestionably
to prohibit them rigorously. I have no doubt,
if he had not written instructions, that he
was verbally so instructed.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 408.
(W. Jan. 1809)

8101. SQUATTERS, Removal.—

General Government have never hesitated to
remove by force the squatters and intruders
on the public lands. Indeed, if the nation
were put to action against every squatter,
for the recovery of their lands, we should
have only lawsuits, not lands for sale.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 588.

8102. STABILITY, Laudable.—

in object, though not by the most direct way, is often more laudable than perpetual


Page 830
changes, as often as the object shifts light.—
To Governor Henry. Washington ed. i, 220. Ford ed., ii, 178.
(Alb. 1779)

8103. STABILITY, Of the Republic.—

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

8104. STAEL (Madame de), Sympathy.—

[I assure you] of my sincere sympathies for
the share which you bear in the afflictions of
your country, and the deprivation to which a
lawless will has subjected you. In return, you
enjoy the dignified satisfaction of having met
them, rather than be yoked with the abject, to
his car; and that, in withdrawing from oppression,
you have followed the virtuous example
of a father whose name will ever be
dear to your country and to mankind.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 119.
(May. 1813)

8105. STANDARD, Arbitrary.—

first question to be decided is between those
who are for units of measures, weights, and
coins, having a known relation to something in
nature of fixed dimension, and those who are
for an arbitrary standard. On this “dice vexata
it is useless to say a word, every
one having made up his mind on a view of all
that can be said. Mr. Dorsey was so kind as
to send me his pamphlet, by which I found
he was for the arbitrary standard of one-third
of the standard yard of H. G. of England, supposed
to be in the Exchequer of that nation, a
fac simile of which was to be procured and
lodged in Philadelphia. I confess myself to be
of the other sect, and to prefer an unit bearing
a given relation to some fixed subject of
nature, and of preference to the pendulum, because
it may be in the possession of every man,
so that he may verify his measures for himself.
I proposed alternative plans to Congress, that
they might take the one or the other, according
to the degree of courage they felt. Were I
now to decide, it would be in favor of the first,
with this single addition, that each of the denominations
there adopted, should be divisible
decimally at the will of every individual. The
iron-founder deals in tons; let him take the
ton for his unit, and divide it into 10ths, 100ths,
and 1000ths. The dry-goods merchant deals in
pounds and yards; let him divide them decimally.
The land-measurer deals in miles and
poles; divide them decimally, only noting over
his figures what the unit is, thus:

Tons.  Lbs.  Yds.  Miles. 
18.943,  18.943,  18.943,  18.943, etc. 

To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. v, 377.
(W. 1808)

8106. STANDARD, Decimal system.—

Is it in contemplation with the House of Representatives
to * * * arrange * * * our measures
and weights [the same as the coinage] in a decimal ratio? The facility which this would
introduce into the vulgar arithmetic would, unquestionably,
be soon and sensibly felt by the
whole mass of the people, who would thereby
be enabled to compute for themselves whatever
they should have occasion to buy, to sell, or to
measure, which the present complicated and dif
ficult ratios place beyond their computation
for the most part.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 477.
(July. 1790)

8107. STANDARD, Decimal system.—[continued].

It will give me real
pleasure to see some good system of measures
and weights introduced and combined with the
decimal arithmetic. It is a great and difficult
question whether to venture only on a half
reformation, * * * or, as the French have tried
with success, make a radical reform.—
To J. Dorsey. Washington ed. v, 236.
(W. 1808)

— STANDARD, Money.—

See Dollar

8108. STANDARD, Regulating.—

Administrator shall not possess the prerogative
* * * of regulating weights and measures.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)

8109. STANDARD (Measures), English.—

The cogent reason which will decide
the fate of whatever you report is, that England
has lately adopted the reference of its measures
to the pendulum. It is the mercantile part of
our community which will have most to do in
this innovation; it is that which having command
of all the presses can make the loudest
outcry, and you know their identification with
English regulations, practices, and prejudices.
It is from this identification alone you can hope
to be permitted to adopt even the English reference
to a pendulum. But the English proposition
goes only to say what proportion their
measures bear to the second pendulum of their
own latitude, and not at all to change their
unit, or to reduce into any simple order the
chaos of their weights and measures. That
would be innovation, and innovation there is
heresy and treason.—
To John Quincy Adams. Washington ed. vii, 89.
(M. 1817)

8110. STANDARD (Measures), French.—

Candor obliges me to confess that the element
of measure, adopted by France, is not
what I would have approved. It is liable to the
inexactitude of mensuration as to that part of
the quadrant of the earth which is to be measured,
that is to say as to one-tenth of the quadrant,
and as to the remaining nine-tenths they
are to be calculated on conjectural data, presuming
the figure of the earth which has not yet
been proved. It is liable, too, to the objection
that no nation but your own can come at it;
because yours is the only nation within which
a meridian can be found of such extent crossing
the 45th degree, and terminating at both
ends in a level. We may certainly say, then,
that this measure is uncatholic, and I would
rather have seen you depart from catholicism in
your religion than in your philosophy.—
To the Marquis de Condorcet. Ford ed., v, 378.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

8111. STANDARD (Measures), Invariable.—

On the subject of weights and
measures, you will have, at its threshold, to encounter
the question on which Solon and
Lycurgus acted differently. Shall we mould our
citizens to the law, or the law to our citizens?
And in solving this question their peculiar character
is an element not to be neglected. Of the
two only things in nature which can furnish an
invariable standard, to wit, the dimensions of
the globe itself, and the time of its diurnal
revolution on its axis, it is not perhaps of much
importance which we adopt. * * * I sincerely
wish you may be able to rally us to either standard,
and to give us an unit, the aliquot part of
something invariable which may be applied simply
and conveniently to our measures, weights


Page 831
and coins, and most especially that the decimal
divisions may pervade the whole. The convenience
of this in our moneyed system has been
approved by all, and France has followed the
To John Quincy Adams. Washington ed. vii, 87.
(M. 1817)

8112. STANDARD (Measures), Method of obtaining.—

To obtain uniformity in
measures, weights and coins, it is necessary to
find some measure of invariable length, with
which, as a standard, they may be compared.
There exists not in nature, as far as has been
hitherto observed, a single subject or species
of subject, accessible to man, which presents
one constant and uniform dimension. The
globe of the earth itself, indeed, might be considered
as invariable in all its dimensions, and
that its circumference would furnish an invariable
measure; but no one of its circles,
great or small, is accessible to admeasurement
through all its parts, and the various trials to
measure definite portions of them, have been of
such various result as to show there is no dependence
on that operation for certainty. Matter,
then, by its mere extension, furnishing
nothing invariable, its motion is the only remaining
resource. The motion of the earth
round its axis, though not absolutely uniform
and invariable, may be considered as such for
every human purpose. It is measured obviously,
but unequally, by the departure of a
given meridian from the sun, and its returning
to it, constituting a solar day. Throwing together
the inequalities of solar days, a mean
interval, or day, has been found, and divided,
by very general consent, into 86,400 equal parts.
A pendulum, vibrating freely, in small and equal
arcs, may be so adjusted in its length, as, by
its vibrations, to make this division of the
earth's motion into 86,400 equal parts, called
seconds of mean time. Such a pendulum, then,
becomes itself a measure of determinate length,
to which all others may be referred to as to a
standard. But even a pendulum is not without
its uncertainties.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 473.
(July. 1790)

8113. STANDARD (Measures), Odometer.—

I have lately had a proof how familiar
this division into dimes, cents, and mills, is to
the people when transferred from their money
to anything else. I have an odometer fixed to
my carriage, which gives the distances in miles,
dimes, and cents. The people on the road inquire
with curiosity what exact distance I have
found from such a place to such a place. I
answer so many miles, so many cents. I find
they universally and at once form a perfect
idea of the relation of the cent to the mile as
an unit. They would do the same as to yards
of cloth, pounds of shot, ounces of silver, or
of medicine. I believe, therefore, they are
susceptible of this degree of approximation to
a standard rigorously philosophical; beyond this
I might doubt.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. v, 378.
(W. 1808)

8114. STANDARD (Measures), Pendulum.—

But why leave this adoption to the
tardy will of governments who are always, in
their stock of information, a century or two behind
the intelligent part of mankind, and who
have interests against touching ancient institutions?
Why should not the college of the
literary societies of the world adopt the second
pendulum as the unit of measure on the authorities
of reason, convenience and common
consent? And why should not our Society
[American Philosophical] open the proposition
by a circular letter to the other learned institu
tions of the earth? If men of science, in their
publications, would express measures always in
multiples and decimals of the pendulum, annexing
their value in municipal measures as
botanists add the popular to the botanical names
of plants, they would soon become familiar to
all men of instruction, and prepare the way
for legal adoptions. At any rate, it would render
the writers of every nation intelligible to
the readers of every other, when expressing the
measures of things.—
To Dr. Patterson. Washington ed. vi, 12.
(M. 1811)

8115. STANDARD (Measures), Pendulum.—[continued].

In favor of the standard
to be taken from the time employed in a revolution
of the earth on its axis, it may be urged
that this revolution is a matter of fact present
to all the world, that its division into seconds
of time is known and received by all the world,
that the length of a pendulum vibrating seconds
in the different circles of latitude is already
known to all, and can at any time and in any
place be ascertained by any nation or individual,
and inferred by known laws from their own to
the medium latitude of 45°, whenever any doubt
may make this desirable; and that this is the
particular standard which has at different times
been contemplated and desired [464] by the philosophers
of every nation, and even by those of
France, except at the particular moment when
this change was suddenly proposed and adopted,
and under circumstances peculiar to the history
of the moment.—
To John Quincy Adams. Washington ed. vii, 88.
(M. 1817)


If, conforming to this desire of other nations, we
adopt the second pendulum, 3-10 of that for our foot
will be the same as 1-5 or 2-10 of the second rod,
because that rod is to the pendulum as 3 to 2. This
would make our foot 1-4 inch less than the present
one.—Note by Jefferson.

8116. STANDARD (Measures), Pendulum.—[further continued].

[The standard based on] the dimensions of the globe, preferred ultimately
by the French, after first adopting the
other [that founded on the time of the diurnal
revolution of the earth on its axis], has been
objected to from the difficulty, not to say impracticability,
of the verification of their admeasurement
by other nations. Except the
portion of a meridian which they adopted for
their operation, there is not another on the
globe which fulfills the requisite condition, to
wit, of so considerable length, that length too
divided, not very unequally, by the 45th degree
of latitude, and terminating at each end in the
ocean. Now, this singular line lies wholly in
France and Spain. Besides the immensity of
expense and time which a verification would
always require, it cannot be undertaken by any
nation without the joint consent of these two
powers. France having once performed the
work, and refusing, as she may, to let any
other nation reexamine it, she makes herself
the sole depositary of the original standard for
all nations; and all must send to her to obtain,
and from time to time to prove their standards.
To this, indeed, it may be answered, that
there can be no reason to doubt that the mensuration
has been as accurately performed as
the intervention of numerous waters and of
high ridges of craggy mountains would admit;
that all the calculations have been free of error,
their coincidences faithfully reported, and that,
whether in peace or war, to foes as well as
friends, free access to the original will at all
times be admitted.—
To John Quincy Adams. Washington ed. vii, 88.
(M. 1817)

See Pendulum.

8117. STANDARD (Measures), Rod.—

Congress having referred to me to propose a
plan of invariable measures, I have considered
maturely your proposition, and am abundantly


Page 832
satisfied of its utility; so that if I can have
your leave, I mean to propose in my report to
adopt the rod in preference to the pendulum,
mentioning expressly that we are indebted to
you for the idea.—
To Mr. Leslie. Washington ed. iii, 156.
(N.Y., 1790)

8118. STANDARD (Measures), Universal.—

The pendulum is equally [with the
meridian] fixed by the laws of nature, is in
the possession of every nation, may be verified
everywhere and by every person, and at an expense
within every one's means. I am not,
therefore, without a hope that the other nations
of the world will still concur, some day, in making
the pendulum the basis of a common system
of measures, weights and coins, which
applied to the present metrical systems of
France and of other countries, will render them
all intelligible to one another. England and
this country may give it a beginning, notwithstanding
the war they are entering into. The
republic of letters is unaffected by the wars
of geographical divisions of the earth.—
To Dr. Patterson. Washington ed. vi, 11.
(M. 1811)

8119. STANDARD (Measures), Universal.—[continued].

I do not like the new
system of French measures, because not the
best, and adapted to a standard accessible to
themselves exclusively, and to be obtained by
other nations only from them. For, on examining
the map of the earth, you will find no
meridian on it but the one passing through their
country, offering the extent of land on both
sides of the 45th degree, and terminating at
both ends in a portion of the ocean which the
conditions of the problem for an universal
standard of measures require. Were all nations
to agree, therefore, to adopt this standard, they
must go to Paris to ask it; and they might
as well long ago have all agreed to adopt the
French foot, the standard of which they could
equally have obtained from Paris.—
To Dr. Patterson. Washington ed. vi, 11.
(M. 1811)

8120. STANDARD (Weights), Avoirdupois and Troy.—

It would be for their [the people's] convenience to suppress the
pound and ounce troy, and the drachm and
quarter avoirdupois; and to form into one
series the avoirdupois pound and ounce, and the
troy pennyweight and grain.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 486.

8121. STANDARD (Weights), Basis.—

Let it be established that an ounce is of the
weight of a cube of rain water of one-tenth
of a foot; or, rather, that it is the thousandth
part of the weight of a cubic foot of rain
water, weighed in the standard temperature;
that the series of weights of the United States
shall consist of pounds, ounces, pennyweights
and grains; whereof 24 grains shall be one
pennyweight; 18 pennyweights one ounce; 16
ounces one pound.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 487.

8122. STANDARD (Weights), Ratios.—

The weight of the pound troy is to that of the
pound avoirdupois as 144 to 175. It is remarkable
that this is exactly the proportion of the
ancient liquid gallon of Guildhall of 224 cubic
inches to the corn gallon of 272. It is further
remarkable still that this is also the exact proportion
between the specific weight of any measure
of wheat and of the same measure of water.
* * * This seems to have been so combined as
to render it indifferent whether a thing were
dealt out by weight or measure.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 484.

8123. STANDARD (Weights), Ratios.—[continued]

Another remarkable correspondence
is that between weights and measures.
For 1,000 ounces avoirdupois of pure
water fills a cubic foot, with mathematical
exactness. What circumstances of the times,
or purpose of barter or commerce, called for
this combination of weights and measures,
with the subjects to be exchanged or purchased,
are not now to be ascertained. But
a triple set of exact proportionals representing
weights, measures and the things to be weighed
or measured, and a relation so integral between
weights and solid measures, must have been
the result of design and scientific calculation
and not a mere coincidence of hazard.—
Coinage, Weights and Measures Report. Washington ed. vii, 485.

8124. STATE RIGHTS, Coercion.—

and friendship should, I think, mark the
conduct of the General towards the particular
government, and explanations should be
asked and time and color given them to tread
back their steps before coercion is held up
to their view.—
Opinion on Georgian Land Grants. Washington ed. vii, 468. Ford ed., v, 167.
See Coercion of a State.

8125. STATE RIGHTS, Congress and.—

Can it be thought that the Constitution intended
that for a shade or two of convenience,
more or less, Congress should be authorized
to break down the most ancient and
fundmental laws of the several States;
such as those against Mortmain, the laws of
Alienage, the rules of Descent, the acts of
Distribution, the laws of Escheat and Forfeiture,
the laws of Monopoly? Nothing but
a necessity invincible by any other means, can
justify such a prostitution of laws, which
constitute the pillars of our whole system of
jurisprudence. Will Congress be too straightlaced
to carry the Constitution into honest
effect, unless they may pass over the foundation-laws
of the State government for the
slightest convenience of theirs?—
National Bank Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 560. Ford ed., v, 289.

See Bank (U. S.),
Constitutionality of.

8126. STATE RIGHTS, Congress and.—[continued].

[The States] alone being
parties to the [Federal] compact, * * * [are] solely authorized to judge in the last
resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress
being not a party, but merely the creature
of the compact, and subject as to its assumptions
of power to the final judgment of
those by whom, and for whose use itself and
its powers were all created and modified.—
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 469. Ford ed., vii, 301.

See Kentucky Resolutions.

8127. STATE RIGHTS, Constitution and.—

I am firmly persuaded that it is by
giving due tone to the particular governments
that the general one will be preserved
in vigor also, the Constitution having foreseen
its incompetency to all the objects of
government, and, therefore, confined it to
those specially described.—
To James Sullivan. Ford ed., v, 369.
(Pa., 1791)

8128. STATE RIGHTS, Encroachments on.—

Whilst the General Assembly [of Virginia]


Page 833
thus declares the rights retained by the States, rights which they have never yielded, and which this State will never voluntarily
yield, they do not mean to raise the banner
of disaffection, or of separation from their
sister States, coparties with themselves to
this compact. They know and value too
highly the blessings of their Union as to foreign
nations and questions arising among
themselves, to consider every infraction of it
as to be met by actual resistance. They respect
too affectionately the opinions of those
possessing the same rights under the same
instrument, to make that difference of construction
a ground of immediate rupture. They
would, indeed, consider such a rupture as
among the greatest calamities which could
befall them; but not the greatest. There is
yet one greater, submission to a government
of unlimited powers. It is only when the
hope of avoiding this shall have become absolutely
desperate, that further forbearance
could not be indulged. Should a majority
of the coparties, therefore, contrary to the
expectation and hope of this Assembly, prefer,
at this time acquiescence in these assumptions
of power by the Federal member of the government,
we will be patient and suffer much
under the confidence that time, ere it be too
late, will prove to them also the bitter consequences
in which that usurpation will involve
us all. In the meantime we will breast
with them, rather than separate from them,
every misfortune, save that only of living
under a government of unlimited powers.
We owe every other sacrifice to ourselves, to
our Federal brethren, and to the world at
large, to pursue with temper and with perseverance
the great experiment which shall
prove that man is capable of living in society,
governing itself by laws self-imposed,
and securing to its members the enjoyment
of life, liberty, property, and peace; and further
to show, that even when the government
of its choice shall manifest a tendency to
degeneracy we are not at once to despair,
but that the will and the watchfulness of its
sounder parts will reform its aberrations, recall
it to original and legitimate principles,
and restrain it within the rightful limits of
Virginia Protest. Washington ed. ix, 498. Ford ed., x, 351.

8129. STATE RIGHTS, Freedom and.—

The States should be left to do whatever
acts they can do as well as the General Government.—
To John Harvie. Ford ed., v, 214.
(N.Y., 1790)

8130. STATE RIGHTS, General welfare.—

This Assembly [of Virginia] does disavow
and declare to be most false and unfounded,
the doctrine that the compact, in authorizing
its Federal branch to lay and collect
taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the
debts and provide for the common defence
and general welfare of the United States, has
given them thereby a power to do whatever
they may think, or pretend, would promote
the general welfare, which construction would
make that, of itself, a complete government,
without limitation of powers; but that the
plain sense and obvious meaning were, that
they might levy the taxes necessary to provide
for the general welfare, by the various acts of
power therein specified and delegated to them,
and by no others.—
Virginia Protest. Washington ed. ix, 497. Ford ed., x, 350.

See General Welfare Clause.

8131. STATE RIGHTS, Home rule.—

believe the States can best govern our home
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 297. Ford ed., x, 232.
(M. 1823)

8132. STATE RIGHTS, Home rule.—[continued].

To the State governments
are reserved all legislation and administration,
in affairs which concern their own
citizens only.—
To John Cartwright. Washington ed. vii, 358.
(M. 1824)

8133. STATE RIGHTS, Interior Government.—

Interior government is what each
State should keep to itself.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 531. Ford ed., iv, 192.
(P. 1786)

8134. STATE RIGHTS, Lines of demarcation.—

I have always thought that where the line of demarcation between the
powers of the General and the State governments
was doubtfully or indistinctly drawn,
it would be prudent and praiseworthy in both
parties never to approach it but under the most
urgent necessity.—
To J. C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 310. Ford ed., ix, 452.
(M. 1814)

8135. STATE RIGHTS, Metallic money and.—

I recollect but one instance of control
vested in the Federal over the State authorities,
in a matter purely domestic, which is
that of metallic tenders.—
To Robert J. Garnett. Washington ed. vii, 336. Ford ed., x, 295.
(M. 1824)

8136. STATE RIGHTS, National bank and.—

The bill for establishing a National Bank undertakes * * * to form the subscribers
into a corporation [and] * * * communicates to them, in their corporate
capacities, a power to make laws paramount
to the laws of the States; for so they must
be construed, to protect the institution from
the control of the State legislatures; and so,
probably, they will be construed.—
National Bank Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 555. 6.
Ford ed., v, 285.

See Bank (U. S.),
Constitutionality of.

8137. STATE RIGHTS, Nullification.—

Every State has a natural right in cases not
within the compact (casus non fæderis) to
nullify of their own authority all assumptions
of power by others within their limits;
without this right, they would be under the
dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever
might exercise this right of judgment for
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 469. Ford ed., vii, 301.

8138. STATE RIGHTS, Preservation of.—

I am for preserving to the States the
powers not yielded by them to the Union and
to the Legislature of the Union its constitutional
share in the division of powers; and
I am not for transferring all the powers of
the States to the General Government, and all


Page 834
those of that government to the Executive
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 327.

See Centralization.

8139. STATE RIGHTS, Preservation of.—[continued].

I wish to preserve [in
a new constitution for Virginia] the line
drawn by the Federal Constitution between
the General and particular governments as
it stands at present, and to take every prudent
means of preventing either from stepping
over it.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. iii, 314. Ford ed., v, 409.
(Pa., 1791)
See Constitution (Federal).

8140. STATE RIGHTS, Judiciary and.—

It is of immense consequence that the
States retain as complete authority as possible
over their own citizens. The withdrawing
themselves under the shelter of a foreign
jurisdiction, is so subversive of order and so
pregnant of abuse, that it may not be amiss to
consider how far a law of præmunire should
be revised and modified, against all citizens
who attempt to carry their causes before any
other than the State courts, in cases where
those other courts have no right to their cognizance.
A plea to the jurisdiction of the
courts of their State, or a reclamation of a
foreign jurisdiction, if adjudged valid, would
be safe; but if adjudged invalid, would be
followed by the punishment of præmunire for the attempt.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 200. Ford ed., vii, 173.
(M. 1797)
See Judiciary and Supreme Court.

8141. STATE RIGHTS, Reserved.—

is it admitted * * * that the people of these
States, by not investing their Federal branch
with all the means of bettering their condition,
have denied to themselves any which
may effect that purpose; since in the distribution
of those means they have given to
that branch those which belong to its department,
and to the States have reserved
separately the residue which belong to them
separately. And thus by the organization of
the two branches taken together, they have
completely secured the first object of human
association, the full improvement of their condition,
and reserved to themselves all the
faculties of multiplying their own blessings.—
Virginia Protest. Washington ed. ix, 497. Ford ed., x, 351.

8142. STATE RIGHTS, Slavery and.—

An abstinence from this act of power [prohibition
of slavery in Missouri], would remove
the jealousy excited by the undertaking
of Congress to regulate the condition of the
different descriptions of men composing a
State. This certainly is the exclusive right
of every State, which nothing in the Constitution
has taken from them and given to the
General Government. Could Congress, for
example, say, that the non-freemen of Connecticut
shall be freemen, or that they shall
not emigrate into any other State?—
To John Holmes. Washington ed. vii, 159. Ford ed., x, 158.
(M. 1820)

8143. STATE RIGHTS, Sovereignty.—

The States should severally preserve their
sovereignty in whatever concerns themselves
alone, and whatever may concern another
State, or any foreign nation, should be made
a part of the Federal sovereignty.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ii, 267. Ford ed., iv, 445.
(P. Sep. 1787)

8144. STATE RIGHTS, Support of.—

The support of the State governments in all
their rights, as the most competent administrations
for our domestic concerns and the
surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies,
I deem [one of the] essential principles
of our government and, consequently
[one] which ought to shape its administration.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 4. Ford ed., viii, 4.

8145. STATE RIGHTS, Surrender of.—

Can it be believed, that under the jealousies
prevailing against the General Government,
at the adoption of the Constitution, the
States meant to surrender the authority of
preserving order, of enforcing moral duties
and restraining vice within their own territory?—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 297. Ford ed., x, 231.
(M. 1823)

See Federal Government and Union (Federal).

8146. STATES, Admission of new.—

The 11th Article of Confederation admits
Canada to accede to the Confederation at
its own will, but adds that, “no other Colony
shall be admitted to the same, unless such
admission be agreed to by nine States”.
When the plan of April, 1784, for establishing
new States was on the carpet, the committee
who framed the report of that plan, had inserted
this clause, “provided nine States
agree to such admission, according to the
reservation of the 11th of the Articles of
Confederation”. It was objected, 1. That
the words of the Confederation, “no other
Colony”, could only refer to the residuary
possessions of Great Britain, as the two Floridas,
Nova Scotia, &c., not being already
parts of the Union; that the law for “ admitting ” a new member into the Union, could
not be applied to a territory which was already
in the Union, as making part of a
State which was a member of it. 2. That it
would be improper to allow “nine” States
to receive a new member, because the same
reasons which rendered that number proper
now, would render a greater one proper when
the number composing the Union should be
increased. They, therefore, struck out this
paragraph, and inserted a proviso, that “the
consent of so many States, in Congress, shall
be first obtained, as may, at the time be competent ”; thus leaving the question, whether
the 11th Article applies to the admission of
new States? to be decided when that admission
shall be asked. (See the Journal
of Congress of April 20, 1784.) Another
doubt was started in this debate, viz.:
whether the agreement of the nine States,
required by the Confederation, was to be
made by their legislatures, or by their delegates
in Congress? The expression adopted,
viz.: “so many States in Congress is first
obtained”, shows what was their sense in
this matter. If it be agreed that the 11th


Page 835
Article of the Confederation is not to be applied
to the admission of these new States,
then it is contended that their admission
comes within the 13th Article, which forbids
“any alteration, unless agreed to in a Congress
of the United States, and afterwards
confirmed by the legislatures of every State”.—
Answers to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 251. Ford ed., iv, 156.
(P. 1786)

See Confederation, Defects.

8147. STATES, Barriers of liberty.—

The true barriers of our liberty are our
State governments; and the wisest conservative
power ever contrived by man, is that
of which our Revolution and present government
found us possessed. Seventeen distinct
States, amalgamated into one as to their
foreign concerns, but single and independent
as to their internal administration, regularly
organized with legislature and governor resting
on the choice of the people, and enlightened
by a free press, can never be so fascinated
by the arts of one man, as to submit
voluntarily to his usurpation. Nor can they
be constrained to it by any force he can possess.
While that may paralyze the single
State in which it happens to be encamped,
sixteen others, spread over a country of two
thousand miles diameter, rise up on every
side, ready organized for deliberation by a
constitutional legislature, and for action by
their governor, constitutionally the commander
of the militia of the State, that is
to say, of every man in it able to bear arms;
and that militia, too, regularly formed into
regiments and battalions, into infantry, cavalry
and artillery, trained under officers general
and subordinate, legally appointed, always
in readiness, and to whom they are already
in habits of obedience. The republican
government of France was lost without a
struggle, because the party of “un et indivisible
” had prevailed; no provisional organizations
existed to which the people might
rally under authority of the laws, the seats
of the directory were virtually vacant, and a
small force sufficed to turn the legislature
out of their chamber, and to salute its leader
chief of the nation. But with us, sixteen out
of seventeen States rising in mass, under
regular organization, and legal commanders,
united in object and action by their Congress,
or, if that be in duresse, by a special convention,
present such obstacles to an usurper as
forever to stifle ambition in the first conception
of that object.—
To M. Destutt Tracy. Washington ed. v, 570. Ford ed., ix, 308.
(M. 1811)

8148. STATES, Confederation of.—

alliance between the States under the old Articles
of Confederation, for the purpose of
joint defence against the aggression of Great
Britain, was found insufficient, as treaties of
alliance generally are, to enforce compliance
with their mutual stipulations; and these,
once fulfilled, that bond was to expire of itself,
and each State to become sovereign and
independent in all things.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 88. Ford ed., i, 157.

See Confederation, Defects.

8149. STATES, Cooperation of.—

opinion of the propriety and advantage of a
more intimate correspondence between the
Executives of the several States, and that of
the Union, as a central point, is precisely that
which I have ever entertained; and on coming
into office I felt the advantages which
would result from that harmony. I had it
even in contemplation, after the annual recommendation
to Congress of those measures
called for by the times, which the Constitution
had placed within their power, to make
communications in like manner to the Executives
of the several States, as to any parts of
them to which the legislatures might be alone
competent. For many are the exercises of power
reserved to the States, wherein an uniformity
of proceeding would be advantageous to all.
Such are quarantines, health laws, regulations
of the press, banking institutions, training
militia, &c., &c. But you know what was
the state of the several governments when I
came into office. That a great proportion of
them were federal, and would have been delighted
with such opportunities of proclaiming
their contempt, and of opposing republican
men and measures. Opportunities so
furnished and used by some of the State governments,
would have produced an ill effect,
and would have insured the failure of the
object of uniform proceeding. If it could
be ventured even now (Connecticut and Delaware
being still hostile) it must be on some
greater occasion than is likely to arise within
my time. I look to it, therefore, as a course
which will probably be left to the consideration
of my successor.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 100. Ford ed., ix, 76.
(W. 1807)

8150. STATES, Commerce between.—

Experience shows that the States never
bought foreign goods of one another. The
reasons are, that they would, in so doing, pay
double freight and charges; and again, that they
would have to pay mostly in cash, what they
could obtain for commodities in Europe.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 493.
(P. 1785)

8151. STATES, Commerce between.—[continued].

What a glorious exchange
would it be could we persuade our
navigating fellow citizens to embark their
capital in the internal commerce of our country,
exclude foreigners from that, and let
them take the carrying trade in exchange;
abolish the diplomatic establishments, and
never suffer any armed vessel of any nation
to enter our ports. [Faded] things can be
thought of only in times of wisdom, not of
party and folly.—
To Edmund Pendleton. Ford ed., vii, 376.
(M. April. 1799)

8152. STATES, Common interests.—

The interests of the States ought to be made
joint in every possible instance, in order to
cultivate the idea of our being one nation,
and to multiply the instances in which the
people shall look up to Congress as their
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 347. Ford ed., iv, 52.
(P. 1785)

8153. STATES, Correspondence between Executives.—

As to the mode of correspondence


Page 836
between the general and particular executives,
I do not think myself a good judge.
Not because my position gives me any prejudice
on the occasion; for if it be possible to
be certainly conscious of anything, I am
conscious of feeling no difference between
writing to the highest or lowest being on
earth; but because I have ever thought that
forms should yield to whatever should facilitate
business. Comparing the two governments
together, it is observable that in all
those cases where the independent or reserved
rights of the States are in question,
the two Executives, if they are to act together,
must be exactly coordinate; they are,
in those cases, each the supreme head of an
independent government. Such is the case
in the beginning of this letter where the two
Executives were to treat de pair en pair. In
other cases, to wit, those transferred by the
Constitution to the General Government, the
general Executive is certainly preordinate:
e. g., in a question respecting the militia, and
others easily to be recollected. Were these,
therefore, to be a stiff adherence to etiquette,
I should say that in the former cases the
correspondence should be between the two
heads, and that in the latter, the Governor
must be subject to receive orders from the
War Department as any other subordinate
officer would. And were it observed that
either party set up unjustifiable pretensions,
perhaps the other might be right in opposing
them by a tenaciousness of his own rigorous
right. But I think the practice in General
Washington's administration was most
friendly to business, and was absolutely
equal. Sometimes he wrote to the Governors,
and sometimes the heads of departments
wrote. If a letter is to be on a general subject,
I see no reason why the President
should not write; but if it is to go into details,
these being known only to the head of
the department, it is better he should write
directly. Otherwise, the correspondence
must involve circuities. If this be practiced
promiscuously in both classes of cases, each
party setting examples of neglecting etiquette,
both will stand on equal ground, and convenience
alone will dictate through whom
any particular communication is to be made.
All the governors have freely corresponded
with the heads of departments, except Hancock,
who refused it. But his Legislature
took advantage of a particular case which
justified them in interfering, and they obliged
him to correspond with the head of a department.
General Washington sometimes wrote
to them. I presume Mr. Adams did, as you
mention his having written to you. On the
whole, I think a free correspondence best,
and shall never hesitate to write myself to
the Governors even in a federal case, where
the occasion presents itself to me particularly.—
To Governor Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 401. Ford ed., viii, 59.
(W. May. 1801)

8154. STATES, Counties and.—

A county
of a State cannot be governed by its own laws,
but must be subject to those of the State of
which it is a part.—
To William Lee. Washington ed. vii, 57.
(M. 1817)

See Counties.

8155. STATES, Division of authority.—

The way to have good and safe government,
is not to trust it all to one, but to
divide it among the many, distributing to
every one exactly the functions he is competent
to. Let the National Government be
entrusted with the defence of the nation, and
its foreign and federal relations; the State
governments with the civil rights, laws,
police, and administration of what concerns
the State generally; the counties with the
local concerns of the counties, and each ward
direct the interests within itself. It is by
dividing and subdividing these republics from
the great national one down through all its
subordinations, until it ends in the administration
of every man's farm by himself; by
placing under every one what his own eye
may superintend, that all will be done for the
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 543.
(M. 1816)

See Centralization.

8156. STATES, Equality in size.—

establishing new States regard is had to a
certain degree of equality in size.—
To William Lee. Washington ed. vii, 57.
(M. 1817)

8157. STATES, Federal government and.—

I [shall] consider the most perfect harmony and interchange of accommodations
and good offices with the State governments,
as among the first objects [of my administration].—
To Governor Thomas M'Kean. Washington ed. iv, 350. Ford ed., vii, 487.
(W. 1801)

8158. STATES, Federal government and.—[continued].

Considering the General
and State governments as cooperators in the
same holy concerns, the interest and happiness
of our country, the interchange of
mutual aid is among the most pleasing of
the exercises of our duty.—
To W. H. Cabell. Washington ed. v, 114. Ford ed., ix, 87.
(W. 1807)

8159. STATES, Federal government and.—[further continued].

The States can best govern
our home concerns, and the General Government
our foreign ones.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 297. Ford ed., x, 232.
(M. 1823)

8160. STATES, Federal government and.—[further continued] .

The extent of our country
was so great, and its former division
into distinct States so established, that we
thought it better to confederate as to foreign
affairs only. Every State retained its self-government
in domestic matters, as better
qualified to direct them to the good and satisfaction
of their citizens, than a general government
so distant from its remoter citizens,
and so little familiar with the local peculiarities
of the different parts.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 320.
(M. 1823)

8161. STATES, Federal government and.—[further continued].

If the Federal and State
governments should claim each the same subject
of power, where is the common umpire
to decide ultimately between them? In cases
of little importance or urgency, the prudence
of both parties will keep them aloof from the
questionable ground; but if it can neither
be avoided nor compromised, a convention of
the States must be called, to ascribe the


Page 837
doubtful power to that department which they
may think best.—
To John Cartwright. Washington ed. vii, 358.
(M. 1824)

See Federal Government.

8162. STATES, Fundamental principles of new.—

The temporary and permanent
governments [465] [shall] be established on these
principles as their basis. 1. They shall forever
remain a part of the United States of
America. 2. In their persons, property and
territory, they shall be subject to the Government
of the United States in Congress assembled,
and to the Articles of Confederation
in all those cases in which the original States
shall be so subject. 3. They shall be subject
to pay a part of the Federal debts, contracted
or to be contracted, to be apportioned on them
by Congress, according to the same common
rule and measure by which apportionments
thereof shall be made on the other States.
4. Their respective governments shall be in
republican forms, and shall admit no person
to be a citizen, who holds any hereditary
title. 5. After the year 1800 of the Christian
era, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude in any of the said States,
otherwise than in punishment of crimes,
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted
to have been personally guilty. [466]
Western Territory Report. Ford ed., iii, 409.
(March. 1784)

See Slavery, Abolition.


Of the States to be formed out of the Western


Next to the Declaration of Independence (if indeed
standing second to that), this document ranks in historical
importance of all those drawn by Jefferson;
and, but for its being superseded by the “Ordinance
of 1787”, would rank among all American State papers
immediately after the National Constitution. * * * That it contains practically every provision which
has made the latter ordinance famous, has been carefully
overlooked by those who have desired to give
the credit of them to Northerners. Still more have
these special pleaders suppressed the fact that Jefferson
proposed to interdict slavery in all the Western
Territory and not merely in the Northwest Territory,
as the ordinance of 1787 did. Had it been adopted as
Jefferson reported it, slavery would have died a
natural death, and secession would have been impossible.
There is another reason, however, for the little
reputation this paper has brought to Jefferson,
aside from the studious suppression of its importance
by the special pleaders of New England. This plan,
with its limitations of slavery, though failing by only
one vote of adoption in 1784, was unpopular at the
South and increasingly so as slavery became more
and more profitable and more and more a southern
institution. As early as 1790, Jefferson's partisans
were already his apologists for this document, and
from that time Jefferson carefully avoided any public
utterance on slavery. This change of attitude is
alone sufficient explanation why Southerners acquiesced
with the Northerners in the suppression of this
paper, and of Jefferson's drafting of it. In Jefferson's
memoranda of the services which he took pride in
having rendered his country, written in 1800, he carefully
omitted all mention, as also in his autobiography
written in 1821. And thus it has been left to
the Massachusetts orators to glorify King, Dane, and
Cutler for clauses in the Ordinance of 1787, which the
latter had in truth taken from the Ordinance of 1784,
and which they made sectional, where Jefferson had
made them national.—Note in Ford edition, iii,

8163. STATES, Fundamental principles of new.—[continued].

Whenever any of the
said States shall have, of free inhabitants as
many as shall then be in any one of the
least numerous of the thirteen original States,
such State shall be admitted by its delegates
into the Congress of the United States, on an
equal footing with the said original States.—
Western Territory Report. Ford ed., iii, 409.

8164. STATES, Government of.—

the experiment has not yet had a long enough
course to show us from which quarter encroachments
are most to be feared, yet it is easy
to foresee, from the nature of things, that the
encroachments of the State governments will
tend to an excess of liberty which will correct
itself (as in the late instance), while
those of the General Government will tend
to monarchy, which will fortify itself from
day to day, instead of working its own cure,
as all experience shows. I would rather be
exposed to the inconveniences attending too
much liberty, than those attending too small
a degree of it. Then it is important to
strengthen the State governments; and as
this cannot be done by any change in the Federal
Constitution (for the preservation of that
is all we need contend for), it must be done
by the States themselves, erecting such barriers
at the constitutional line as cannot be
surmounted either by themselves or by the
General Government. The only barrier in
their power is a wise government. A weak
one will lose ground in every contest. To
obtain a wise and a safe government, I consider
the following changes as important:
Render the legislature a desirable station by
lessening the number of representatives (say
to 100) and lengthening somewhat their term,
and proportion them equally among the electors.
Adopt also a better mode of appointing
senators. Render the Executive a more desirable
post to men of abilities by making it
more independent of the legislature. To wit,
let him be chosen by other electors, for a
longer time, and ineligible forever after. Responsibility
is a tremendous engine in a free
government. Let him feel the whole weight
of it then, by taking away the shelter of his
Executive Council. Experience both ways
has already established the superiority of this
measure. Render the judiciary respectable
by every means possible, to wit, firm tenure
in office, competent salaries, and reduction of
their numbers. Men of high learning and
abilities are few in every country; and by
taking in those who are not so, the able part
of the body have their hands tied by the unable.
This branch of the government will
have the weight of the conflict on their hands
because they will be the last appeal of reason.
These are my general ideas of amendments;
but, preserving the ends, I should be flexible
and conciliatory as to the means.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. iii, 314. Ford ed., v, 409.
(Pa., 1791)

8165. STATES, Kentucky's appeal to.—

* * * This Commonwealth * * * calls on
its co-States for an expression of their sentiments
on the acts concerning aliens, and for
the punishment of certain crimes hereinbefore
specified, plainly declaring whether these acts
are or are not authorized by the Federal compact.
And it doubts not that their sense will
be so announced as to prove their attachment


Page 838
unaltered to limited government, whether
general or particular. And that the rights
and liberties of their co-States will be exposed
to no dangers by remaining embarked
in a common bottom with their own. That
they will concur with this Commonwealth in
considering the said acts as so palpably
against the Constitution as to amount to an
undisguised declaration that that compact is
not meant to be the measure of the powers of
the General Government, but that it will proceed
in the exercise over these States, of all
powers whatsoever: that they will view this
as seizing the rights of the States, and consolidating
them in the hands of the General Government,
with a power assumed to bind the
States (not merely in the cases made Federal
(casus fæderis), but, in all cases whatsoever,
by laws made, not with their consent,
but by others against their consent: that this
would be to surrender the form of government
we have chosen, and live under one deriving
its powers from its own will, and not
from our authority; and that the co-States
recurring to their natural right in cases not
made federal, will concur in declaring these
acts void, and of no force, and will each
take measures of its own for providing that
neither these acts, nor any others of the General
Government, not plainly and intentionally
authorized by the Constitution, shall be
exercised within their respective territories.—
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 471. Ford ed., vii, 305.

See Kentucky Resolutions.

8166. STATES, Power of.—

As long as
the States exercise, separately, those acts of
power which respect foreign nations, so long
will there continue to be irregularities committed
by some one or other of them, which
will constantly keep us on an ill-footing with
foreign nations.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 531. Ford ed., iv, 192.
(P. Feb. 1786)

8167. STATES, Respect for.—

I do not
think it for the interest of the General Government
itself, and still less of the Union at
large, that the State governments should be
so little respected as they have been. However,
I dare say that in time all these as well
as their central government, like the planets
revolving round their common sun, acting
and acted upon according to their respective
weights and distances, will produce that
beautiful equilibrium on which our Constitution
is founded, and which, I believe, it will
exhibit to the world in a degree of perfection,
unexampled but in the planetary system itself.
The enlightened statesman, therefore,
will endeavor to preserve the weight and influence
of every part, as too much given to
any member of it would destroy the general
To Peregrine Fitzhugh. Washington ed. iv, 217. Ford ed., vii, 210.
(Pa., 1798)

8168. STATES, Safety of citizens.—

the ordinary safety of the citizens of the several
States, whether against dangers within
or without, their reliance must be on the
means to be provided by their respective
To Governor Tompkins. Washington ed. v, 239.
(W. 1808)

8169. STATES, Sovereignty of.—

several States, now comprising the United
States of America, were, from their first establishment,
separate and distinct societies,
dependent on no other society of men whatever.
They continued at the head of their respective
governments the executive Magistrate
who presided over the one they had left.
* * * The part which our chief magistrate
took in a war waged against us by the nation
among whom he resided, obliged us to discontinue
him, and to name one within every
Mississippi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 570. Ford ed., v, 461.

8170. STATES, Union of.—

We are so
* * * sincerely disposed to render the union
of the States more perfect that we shall, on
all occasions, endeavor to render to our
neighbors every friendly office which circumstances
shall bring within the compass of
our powers.—
To the President of Pennsylvania. Washington ed. iii, 17.
(R. 1781)

8171. STATES, Union of.—[continued].

Our citizens have wisely formed themselves into one nation as to
others, and several States as among themselves.
To the united nation belong our external
and mutual relations; to each State,
severally, the care of our persons, our property,
our reputation, and religious freedom.
This wise distribution, if carefully preserved,
will prove, I trust from example, that while
smaller governments are better adapted to
the ordinary objects of society, larger confederations
more effectually secure independence,
and the preservation of republican government.—
To the Rhode Island Assembly. Washington ed. iv, 397.
(W. May. 1801)

See State Rights and Union (Federal).

8172. STATES, Vermont and Franklin.—

I am anxious to hear what is done with the
States of Vermont and Franklin. I think
that the former is the only innovation on the
system of April 23, 1784, which ought ever
possibly be admitted. If Congress are not
firm on that head, our several States will
crumble to atoms by the spirit of establishing
every little canton into a separate State. I
hope Virginia will concur in that plan as to
her territory South of the Ohio, and not leave
to the Western country to withdraw themselves
by force, and become our worst
enemies instead of our best friends.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Ford ed., iv, 71.
(P. 1785)

8173. STATESMEN, Honesty and.—

The man who is dishonest as a statesman,
would be a dishonest man in any station.—
To George Logan. Ford ed., x, 68.

8174. STEAM, Application of.—

asked me * * * whether the steam mill in London
was turned by the steam immediately, or by
the intermediate agency of water raised by the
steam. When I was in London, Boulton made a
secret of his mill. Therefore I was permitted
to see it only superficially. I saw no water
wheels, and therefore supposed none. I answered
you accordingly that there were none.
But when I was at Nismes, I went to see the


Page 839
steam mill there, and they showed it to me in
all its parts. I saw that their steam raised
water, and that this water turned a wheel. I
expressed my doubts of the necessity of the
inter-agency of water, and that the London mill
was without it. But they supposed me mistaken.
Perhaps I was so. I have had no opportunity
since of clearing up the doubt.—
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. ii, 277. Ford ed., iv, 449.
(P. 1787)

8175. STEAM, Domestic use.—

A smaller
agent, applicable to our daily concerns, is
infinitely more valuable than the greatest which
can be used only for great objects. For these
interest the few alone, the former the many.
I once had an idea that it might perhaps be
possible to economize the steam of a common
pot, kept boiling on the kitchen fire until its
accumulation should be sufficient to give a
stroke, and although the strokes might not be
rapid, there would be enough of them in the day
to raise from an adjacent well the water necessary
for daily use; to wash the linen, knead the
bread, beat the hominy, churn the butter, turn
the spit, and do all other household offices
which require only a regular mechanical motion.
The unproductive hands now necessarily
employed in these, might then increase the
produce of our fields. I proposed it to Mr.
Rumsey, one of our greatest mechanics, who
believed in its possibility, * * * but his
death disappointed this hope.—
To George Fleming. Washington ed. vi, 505.
(M. 1815)

8176. STEAM, Engines.—

It happens that
of all the machines which have been employed
to aid human labor, I have made myself the
least acquainted with (that which is certainly
the most powerful of all) the steam engine.
In its original and simple form indeed, as
first constructed by Newcommen and Savary,
it had been a subject of my early studies; but
once possessed of the principle, I ceased to follow
up the numerous modifications of the machinery
for employing it, of which I do not
know whether England or our own country has
produced the greater number.—
To George Fleming. Washington ed. vi, 504.
(M. 1815)

8177. STEAM, Fire engine.—

You speak
of a new method of raising water by steam,
which, you suppose, will come into general use.
I know of no new method of that kind, and
suppose (as you say the account you have
received of it is very imperfect) that some person
has represented to you, as new, a fire engine
erected at Paris, and which supplies the
greater part of the town with water. But this
is nothing more than the fire engine you have
seen described in the books of hydraulics, and
particularly in the Dictionary of Arts and
Sciences, published by Owen, the idea of which
was first taken from Papin's Digester. It
would have been better called the steam engine.
The force of the steam of water, you
know, is immense. In this engine, it is made
to exert itself towards the working of pumps.
That of Paris is, I believe, the largest known,
raising four hundred thousand cubic feet
(French) of water in twenty-four hours; or,
rather, I should have said, those of Paris, for
there are two under one roof, each raising that
To Professor James Madison. Washington ed. i, 446. [467]
(P. 1785)


Professor in William and Mary College; a cousin
of the President.—Editor.

8178. STEAM, Grist mills.—

I could
write you volumes on the improvements which
I find made, and making here [England], in
the arts. One deserves particular notice, be
cause it is simple, great, and likely to have extensive
consequences. It is the application of
steam, as an agent for working grist mills. I
have visited the one lately made here. It was,
at that time, turning eight pair of stones. It
consumes one hundred bushels of coal a day.
It is proposed to put up thirty pair of stones. I
do not know whether the quantity of fuel is to
be increased.—
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. i, 542.
(L. 1786)

8179. STEAM, Grist mills.—[continued].

In the arts, the most
striking thing I saw in England, new, was the
application of the principle of the steam-engine
to grist mills. I saw eight pairs of stones
which are worked by steam, and there are to be
set up thirty pair in the same house. A hundred
bushels of coal a day, are consumed at
present. I do not know in what proportion
the consumption will be increased by the additional
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 550. Ford ed., iv, 215.
(P. 1786)

8180. STEAM, Horse power vs.—

say you have not been able to learn whether,
in the new mills in London, steam is the immediate
mover of the machinery, or raises
water to move it. It is the immediate mover.
The power of this agent, though long known, is
but now beginning to be applied to the various
purposes of which it is susceptible. * * * I have had a conversation on the subject * * * with the famous Boulton to whom those mills
belong. * * * He compares the effect of
steam with that of horses in the following
manner: Six horses, aided with the most advantageous
combination of the mechanical powers
hitherto tried, will grind six bushels of flour
in an hour; at the end of which time they are
all in a foam, and must rest. They can work
thus six hours in the twenty-four, grinding thirty-six
bushels of flour, which is six to each
horse, for the twenty-four hours. His steam
mill in London consumes one hundred and
twenty bushels of coal in twenty-four hours,
turns ten pair of stones, which grind eight
bushels of flour an hour each, which is nineteen
hundred and twenty bushels in the twenty-four
hours. This makes a peck and a half of
coal perform exactly as much as a horse in one
day can perform. [468]
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. ii, 67. Ford ed., iv, 337.
(P. 1786)


Parton, in his Life of Jefferson, p. 303, says: “It
was Jefferson who first sent to America the most
important piece of mechanical intelligence that pen
ever recorded,—the success of the Watt steam engine,
by means of which `a peck and a half of coal
performs as much work as a horse in a day'. He
conversed at Paris with Boulton, who was Watts's
partner in the manufacture of the engines, and
learned from his lips this astounding fact. But it
did not astound him in the least. He mentions it
quietly in the postcript of a long letter; for no man
yet foresaw the revolution in all human affairs
which that invention was to effect.”—Editor.

8181. STEAM, Livingston's experiments.—

I have received with great pleasure
your favor on the subject of the steam engine.
Though deterred by the complexity of that hitherto
known, from making myself minutely acquainted
with it, yet I am sufficiently acquainted
with it to be sensible of the superior simplicity
of yours, and its superior economy. I particularly
thank you for the permission to communicate
it to the Philosophical Society.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 295. Ford ed., vii, 367.
(Pa., 1799)

8182. STEAM, Navigation.—

I hear you
are applying steam in America to navigate
boats, and I have little doubt, but that it will be
applied generally to machines, so as to supersede


Page 840
the use of water ponds, and, of course, to lay open all the streams for navigation. We
know that steam is one of the most powerful
engines we can employ; and in America, fuel
is abundant.—
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. i, 543.
(L. 1786)

8183. STEAM, Navigation.—[continued].

Internal navigation by
steamboats is rapidly spreading through all our
States, and that by sails and oars will ere long
be looked back to as among the curiosities of
antiquity. We count much, too, on its efficacy
for harbor defence; and it will soon be tried
for navigation by sea.—
To Baron Humboldt. Washington ed. vii, 75. Ford ed., x, 89.
(M. 1817)

8184. STEAM, Rumsey's ship.—

Rumsey has obtained a patent in England for
his navigation by the force of steam, and is
soliciting a similar one here [France]. His
principal merit is in the improvement of the
boiler, and instead of the complicated machinery
of oars and paddles, proposed by others,
the substitution of so simple a thing as the
reaction of a stream of water on his vessel.
He is building a sea vessel at this time in
England. He has suggested a great number
of mechanical improvements in a variety of
branches; and, upon the whole, is the most
original and the greatest mechanical genius I
have ever seen.—
To Doctor Willard. Washington ed. iii, 16.
(P. 1789)

8185. STEAM, Water supply.—

There is
one object to which I have often wished a
steam engine could be adapted. You know how
desirable it is both in town and country to be
able to have large reservoirs of water on the
top of our houses, not only for use (by pipes)
in the apartments, but as a resource against
fire. * * * Could any agent be employed
which would be little or no additional expense
or trouble except the first purchase, it would
be done. Every family has such an agent, its
kitchen fire. It is small, indeed, but if its small
but constant action could be accumulated so as
to give a stroke from time to time which might
throw ever so small a quantity of water from
the bottom of a well to the top of the house
(say one hundred feet), it would furnish more
than would waste by evaporation, or be used
by the family. I know nobody who must better
know the value of such a machine than yourself,
nor more equal to the invention of it.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 296. Ford ed., vii, 367.
(Pa., 1709)

— STERNE (Laurence), Writings of.—

See Moral Sense.

8186. STEUBEN (Baron), Services of.—

Baron Steuben, a zealous friend, has descended
from the dignity of his proper command
to direct our [Virginia] smallest movements.
His vigilance has, in a great measure, supplied
the want of force in preventing the enemy
from crossing the [James] river, which might
have been * * * fatal. He has been assiduously
employed in preparing equipments for
the militia as they should assemble, pointing
them to a proper object, and other offices of a
good commander.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 284. Ford ed., ii, 408.
(R. 1781)

8187. STEWART (Dugald), Metaphysician.—

Stewart is a great man, and among
the most honest living. After you left Europe
he * * * came to Paris. He brought me
a letter from Lord Wycombe, whom you knew.
I became immediately intimate with him, calling
mutually on each other and almost daily during
his stay at Paris, which was of some months.
I consider him and Tracy as the ablest metaphysicians
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 152.
(M. 1820)


See Agriculture.

8188. STRENGTH, National.—

provokes insult and injury while a condition
to punish often prevents them.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 404. Ford ed., iv, 89.
(P. 1785)

8189. STRENGTH, National.—[continued].

We confide in our
strength, without boasting of it; we respect
that of others, without fearing it.—
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iv, 17. Ford ed., vi, 338.
(Pa., 1793)

8190. STUART (Archibald), Talented.—

A young man of good talents from the
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 318.
(T. May. 1783)

8191. STUART (House of), America and.—

This country [American Colonies] which had been acquired by the lives, the labors,
and fortunes of individual adventurers,
was, by these Princes [the Stuarts], several
times, parted out and distributed among the
favorites and followers of their fortunes; and,
by an assumed right of the Crown alone, were
erected into distinct and independent governments;
a measure, which, it is believed, his
Majesty's prudence and understanding would
prevent him from imitating at this day; as no
exercise of such power, of dividing and dismembering
a country, has ever occurred in his
Majesty's realm of England, though now of
very ancient standing; nor could it be justified
or acquiesced under there, or in any part
of his Majesty's empire.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 127. Ford ed., i, 431.

8192. STUART (House of), Crimes.—

The treasonable crimes [of the Stuarts] against
their people brought on them the exertion of
those sacred and sovereign rights of punishment,
reserved in the hands of the people for
cases of extreme necessity, and judged by the
constitution unsafe to be delegated to any other
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 127. Ford ed., i, 431.

8193. STUART (House of), Evil influence.—

It is not in the history of modern
England or among the advocates of the principles
or practices of her government, that the
friend of freedom, or of political morality, is to
seek instruction. There has, indeed, been a
period, during which both were to be found,
not in her government, but in the band of
worthies who so boldly and ably reclaimed the rights of the people, and wrested from their
government theoretic acknowledgments of
them. This period began with the Stuarts,
and continued but one reign after them. Since
that, the vital principle of the English constitution
is corruption, its practices the natural
results of that principle, and their consequences
a pampered aristocracy, annihilation of the
substantial middle class, a degraded populace,
oppressive taxes, general pauperism, and national
To John F. Watson. Washington ed. vi, 346.
(M. 1814)

8194. STUART (House of), Hume and.—

Hume spared nothing to wash the Stuarts
white, and to palliate their misgovernment.
For this purpose he suppressed truths, advanced
falsehoods, forged authorities, and falsified
To——. Washington ed. vii, 412.
(M. 1825)


Page 841

8195. STUDY, In old age.—

I was a hard student until I entered on the business of life,
the duties of which leave no idle time to those
disposed to fulfil them; and now, retired, and at
the age of seventy-six, I am again a hard student.—
To Dr. Vine Utley. Washington ed. vii, 116. Ford ed., x, 126.
(M. 1819)

8196. STUDY, Young men and.—

A part
of my occupation, and by no means the least
pleasing, is the direction of the studies of such
young men as ask it. They place themselves in
the neighboring village and have the use of
my library and counsel, and make a part of
my society. In advising the course of their
reading, I endeavor to keep their attention fixed
on the main objects of all science, the freedom
and happiness of man. So that coming to
bear a share in the councils and government
of their country, they will keep ever in view the
sole objects of all legitimate government.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. v, 509.
(M. 1810)


See Inventions.

8197. SUBMISSION, To parliament.—

Submission to their parliament was no part
of our Constitution, nor ever in idea, if history
may be credited. [469]
Declaration of Independence as Drawn by Jefferson.


Struck out by Congress.—Editor.

8198. SUBSERVIENCE, Americans and.—

We owe gratitude to France, justice to England, good-will to all, and subservience to
To Arthur Campbell. Washington ed. iv, 198. Ford ed., vii, 170.
(M. 1797)


See Bounties.

8199. SUBSISTENCE, Discoveries and.—

Every discovery which multiplies the subsistence
of man must be a matter of joy to
every friend of humanity.—
To Monsieur L'Hommande. Washington ed. ii, 236.
(P. 1787)

8200. SUFFRAGE, Ark of safety.—

The elective franchise, if guarded as the ark
of our safety, will peaceably dissipate all
combinations to subvert a Constitution, dictated
by the wisdom, and resting on the will
of the people.—
To Benjamin Waring. Washington ed. iv, 378.
(W. March. 1801)

8201. SUFFRAGE, Bribery and.—

I believe
we may lessen the danger of buying and
selling votes, by making the number of
voters too great for any means of purchase;
I may further say that I have not observed
men's honesty to increase with their riches.—
To Jeremiah Moor. Ford ed., vii, 454.
(M. Aug. 1800)

8202. SUFFRAGE, Education and.—

There is one provision [in the new constitution
of Spain] which will immortalize its
inventors. It is that which, after a certain
epoch, disfranchises every citizen who cannot
read and write. This is new, and is the fruitful
germ of the improvement of everything
good, and the correction of everything imperfect
in the present constitution.—
To Chevalier de Onis. Washington ed. vi, 342.
(M. 1814)

8203. SUFFRAGE, Education and.—[continued].

In the constitution of
Spain, as proposed by the late Cortes, there
was a principle entirely new to me, * * * that no person, born after that day, should
ever acquire the rights of citizenship until he
could read and write. It is impossible sufficiently
to estimate the wisdom of this provision.
Of all those which have been thought
of for securing fidelity in the administration
of the government, constant ralliance to the
principles of the Constitution, and progressive
amendments with the progressive advances
of the human mind, or changes in human
affairs, it is the most effectual. Enlighten the
people generally, and tyranny and oppressions
of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits
at the dawn of day. * * * The constitution
of the Cortes had defects enough; but
when I saw in it this amendatory provision,
I was satisfied all would come right in time,
under its salutary operation.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 592. Ford ed., x, 24.

See Constitution, Spanish.

8204. SUFFRAGE, Education and.—[further continued].

By the bill [in the revision
of the Virginia Code] for a general
education, the people would be qualified to
understand their rights, to maintain them,
and to exercise with intelligence their parts
in self-government.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 49. Ford ed., i, 69.

8205. SUFFRAGE, Exercise of.—

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

8206. SUFFRAGE, General.—

When the
Constitution of Virginia was formed I was in
attendance at Congress. Had I been here,
I should probably have proposed a general
suffrage; because my opinion has always been
in favor of it. Still, I find some very honest
men who, thinking the possession of some
property necessary to give due independence
of mind, are for restraining the elective franchise
to property.—
To Jeremiah Moor. Ford ed., vii, 454.
(M. Aug. 1800)

8207. SUFFRAGE, Instrument of reform.—

The rational and peaceable instrument
of reform, the suffrage of the people.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 133. Ford ed., x, 140.

8208. SUFFRAGE, Property qualification.—

All male persons of full age and sane
mind, having a freehold estate in one-fourth
of an acre of land in any town, or in twenty-five
acres of land in the country, and all persons
resident in the colony, who shall have
paid, scot and lot, to government the last
two years, shall have right to give their vote
in the election of their respective representatives.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 14.
(June. 1776)

8209. SUFFRAGE, Property qualification.—[continued].

All free male citizens, of
full age and sane mind, who for one year
before shall have been resident in the county,
or shall through the whole of that time have
possessed therein real property to the value
of—, or shall for the same time have been
enrolled in the militia, and no others, shall
have a right to vote for delegates for the
* * * county, and for senatorial electors
for the district. They shall give their votes


Page 842
personally, and vivâ voce.
Proposed Va. Constitution. Washington ed. viii, 444. Ford ed., iii, 323.

8210. SUFFRAGE, Property qualification.—[further continued].

In the scheme of constitution
for Virginia which I prepared in 1783,
* * * I found [the suffrage] on a year's
residence in the country, or the possession of
property in it, or a year's enrollment in its
To Jeremiah Moor. Ford ed., vii, 454.
(M. Aug. 1800)

8211. SUFFRAGE, Restricted.—

It has
been thought that corruption is restrained by
confining the right of suffrage to a few of
the wealthier of the people; but it would be
more effectually restrained by an extension
of that right to such numbers as would bid
defiance to the means of corruption.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 391. Ford ed., iii, 255.

8212. SUFFRAGE, Taxes and militia duty.—

Every male citizen of the commonwealth,
liable to taxes or to militia duty in
any county, shall have a right to vote for representatives
for that county to the legislature.—
Notes for a Constitution. Ford ed., vi, 520.

See Voting.

8213. SUGAR, Maple.—

What a blessing
to substitute a sugar [maple] which requires
only the labor of children for that which is
said to render the slavery of the blacks necessary.—
To Benjamin Vaughan. Washington ed. iii, 158.
(N.Y., 1790)

8214. SUGAR, Maple.—[continued].

I am sorry to hear my
sugar maples have failed. I shall be able, however,
to get here [Philadelphia] any number I
may desire. * * * It is too hopeful an
object to be abandoned.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 508.
(Pa., 1792)

8215. SUGAR, Maple.—[further continued].

I should think the sugarmaple
more worthy of experiment [in France
than the sugar cane]. There is no part of
France of which the climate would not admit
this tree. I have never seen a reason why every
farmer should not have a sugar orchard, as
well as an apple orchard. The supply of sugar
for his family would require as little ground,
and the process of making it is as easy as that
of cider. Mr. Micheaux, your botanist here,
could send you plants as well as seeds, in any
quantity from the United States.—
To M. Lasteyrie. Washington ed. v, 314.
(W. July. 1808)

8216. SUGAR, The poor and.—

Sugar and coffee being articles of food for the poorer
class, a small increase of price places them
above the reach of this class.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. i, 597. Ford ed., iv, 257.
(P. 1786)


See Murder, Self.

8217. SUMTER (Thomas), Description of.—

I think I have selected a governor for
Louisiana, as perfect in all points as we can
expect. Sound judgment, standing in society,
knowledge of the world, wealth, liberality, familiarity
with the French language, and having
a French wife. You will perceive I am describing
Sumter. I do not know a more proper
character for the place.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 260.
(M. July. 1803)

8218. SUN, Almighty physician.—

sun,—my almighty physician.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 41.
(P. 1785)

8219. SUN-DIAL, Calculations for a.—

While much confined to the house by my rheumatism,
I have amused myself with calculating the hour lines of an horizontal dial for the
latitude of this place [Poplar Forest]. * * * As I do not know that anybody here has taken
this trouble before, I have supposed a copy
would be acceptable to you.—
To Mr. Clay. Washington ed. vi, 7.

8220. SUPREME COURT, Appointments to.—

The appointment of a successor
to Judge Patterson was bound up by rule.
The last judiciary system requiring a judge
for each district, rendered it proper that he
should be of the district. This has been observed
in both the appointments to the
Supreme Bench made by me. Where an office
is local we never go out of the limits for
the officer.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Ford ed., viii, 497.
(W. Dec. 1806)

8221. SUPREME COURT, Centralization and.—

The great object of my fear is the
Federal Judiciary. That body, like gravity,
ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming
advance, gaining ground step by
step, and holding what it gains, is engulfing
insidiously the special governments into the
jaws of that which feeds them.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 212. Ford ed., x, 189.
(M. 1821)

8222. SUPREME COURT, Centralization and.—[continued].

There is no danger I
apprehend so much as the consolidation of
our Government by the noiseless, and therefore
unalarming, instrumentality of the Supreme
Court. This is the form in which
federalism now arrays itself, and consolidation
is the present principle of distinction between
republicans and the pseudo-republicans
but real federalists.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 278. Ford ed., x, 248.
(M. 1823)

8223. SUPREME COURT, Individual opinions.—

A most condemnable practice of
the Supreme Court to be corrected is that of
cooking up a decision in caucus and delivering
it by one of their members as the opinion
of the Court, without the possibility of our
knowing how many, who, and for what reasons
each member concurred. This completely
defeats the possibility of impeachment
by smothering evidence. A regard for character
in each being now the only hold we can
have of them, we should hold fast to it.
They would, were they to give their opinions
seriatim and publicly, endeavor to justify
themselves to the world by explaining the
reasons which led to their opinion.—
To James Pleasants. Ford ed., x, 199.
(M. Dec. 1821)

8224. SUPREME COURT, Individual opinions.—[continued].

There is a subject respecting
the practice of the Court of which
you are a member which has long weighed
on my mind. * * * It is the habitual mode
of making up and delivering the opinions. You
know that from the earliest ages of the English
law, from the date of the Year-Books,
at least, to the end of the Second George,
the judges of England, in all but self-evident
cases, delivered their opinions seriatim, with
the reasons and authorities which governed


Page 843
their decisions. If they sometimes consulted
together, and gave a general opinion, it was so
rarely as not to excite either alarm or notice.
Besides the light which their separate arguments
threw on the subject, and the instruction
communicated by their several modes of
reasoning, it showed whether the judges were
unanimous or divided, and gave accordingly
more or less weight to the judgment as a
precedent. It sometimes happened, too, that
when there were three opinions against one,
the reasoning of the one was so much the
most cogent as to become afterwards the law
of the land. When Lord Mansfield came to
the bench he introduced the habit of caucusing
opinions. The judges met at their chambers,
or elsewhere, secluded from the presence
of the public, and made up what was to be
delivered as the opinion of the court. On
the retirement of Mansfield, Lord Kenyon
put an end to the practice, and the judges
returned to that of seriatim opinions, and
practice it habitually to this day I believe.
I am not acquainted with the late Reporters,
do not possess them, and state the fact from
the information of others. To come now to
ourselves, I know nothing of what is done in
other States, but in this [Virginia] our great
and good Mr. Pendleton was, after the Revolution,
placed at the head of the Court of
Appeals. He adored Lord Mansfield, and
considered him as the greatest luminary of
law that any age had ever produced, and he
introduced into the court over which he presided,
Mansfield's practice of making up opinions
in secret, and delivering them as the
oracle of the court, in mass. Judge Roane,
when he came to that bench, broke up the
practice, refused to hatch judgments, in conclave,
or to let others deliver opinions for
him. At what time the seriatim opinions
ceased in the Supreme Court of the United
States, I am not informed. They continued
I know to the end of the 3d Dallas in 1800,
later than which I have no Reporter of that
court. About that time the present Chief-Justice
[Marshall] came to the bench.
Whether he carried the practice of Mr. Pendleton
to it, or who, or when I do not know;
but I understand from others it is now the
habit of the Court, and I suppose it is true
from the cases sometimes reported in the
newspapers, and others which I casually see,
wherein I observed that the opinions were
uniformly prepared in private. Some of
these cases, too, have been of such importance,
of such difficulty, and the decisions
so grating to a portion of the public as to
have merited the fullest explanation from
every judge, seriatim, of the reasons which
had produced such convictions on his mind.
It was interesting to the public to know
whether these decisions were really unanimous,
or might not perhaps be of four against
three, and, consequently, prevailing by the preponderance
of one voice only. The Judges,
holding their offices for life, are under two
responsibilities only. 1. Impeachment. 2. Individual
reputation. But this practice completely
withdraws them from both. For no
body knows what opinion any individual
member gave in any case, nor even that he
who delivers the opinion, concurred in it himself.
Be the opinion, therefore, ever so impeachable,
having been done in the dark, it
can be proved on no one. As to the second
guarantee, personal reputation, it is shielded
completely. The practice is certainly convenient
for the lazy, the modest and the incompetent.
It saves them the trouble of developing
their opinion methodically and even
of making up an opinion at all. That of
seriatim argument shows whether every judge
has taken the trouble of understanding the
case, of investigating it minutely, and of
forming an opinion for himself, instead of
pinning it on another's sleeve. It would
certainly be right to abandon this practice
in order to give to our citizens one
and all, that confidence in their judges which
must be so desirable to the judges themselves,
and so important to the cement of the Union.
During the administration of General Washington,
and while E. Randolph was Attorney
General, he was required by Congress to
digest the judiciary laws into a single one,
with such amendments as might be thought
proper. He prepared a section requiring the
judges to give their opinions seriatim, in
writing to be recorded in a distinct volume.
Other business prevented this bill from being
taken up, and it passed off; but such a
volume would have been the best possible
book of reports, and the better as unincumbered
with the hired sophisms and perversions
of counsel.—
To William Johnson. Ford ed., x, 223.
(M. Oct. 1822)

8225. SUPREME COURT, Individual opinions.—[further continued].

I rejoice in the example
you set of seriatim opinions. Some of your
brethren will be encouraged to follow it occasionally,
and in time, it may be felt by all
as a duty, and the sound practice of the
primitive court be again restored. Why
should not every judge be asked his opinion,
and give it from the bench, if only by yea or
nay? Besides ascertaining the fact of his
opinion, which the public have a right to
know, in order to judge whether it is impeachable
or not, it would show whether the
opinions were unanimous or not, and thus
settle more exactly the weight of their authority.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 298. Ford ed., x, 232.
(M. 1823)

8226. SUPREME COURT, Individual opinions.—[further continued] .

I must comfort myself
with the hope that the judges will see the
importance and the duty of giving their country
the only evidence they can give of fidelity
to its Constitution and integrity in the administration
of its laws; that is to say, by
every one's giving his opinion seriatim and
publicly on the cases he decides. Let him
prove by his reasoning that he has read the
papers, that he has considered the case, that
in the application of the law to it, he uses his
own judgment independently and unbiased
by party views and personal favor or disfavor.
Throw himself in every case on God
and his country; both will excuse him for
error and value him for his honesty. The


Page 844
very idea of cooking up opinions in conclave,
begets suspicions that something passes
which fears the public ear, and this, spreading
by degrees, must produce at some time
abridgment of tenure, facility of removal, or
some other modification which may promise
a remedy. For, in truth, there is at this
time more hostility to the Federal Judiciary
than to any other organ of the government.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 278. Ford ed., x, 248.
(M. 1823)

8227. SUPREME COURT, Marshall's opinions.—

This practice of Judge Marshall,
of travelling out of his case to prescribe what
the law would be in a moot case not before
the court, is very irregular and very censurable.
I recollect another instance, and the
more particularly, perhaps, because it in some
measure bore on myself. Among the midnight
appointments of Mr. Adams, were commissions
to some Federal justices of the
peace for Alexandria. These were signed
and sealed by him, but not delivered. I found
them on the table of the Department of State,
on my entrance into office, and I forbade
their delivery. Marbury, named in one of
them, applied to the Supreme Court for a
mandamus to the Secretary of State (Mr.
Madison) to deliver the commission intended
for him. The Court determined at once, that
being an original process, they had no cognizance
of it; and, therefore, the question before
them was ended. But the Chief Justice
went on to lay down what the law would
be, had they jurisdiction of the case, to wit:
that they should command the delivery. The
object was clearly to instruct any other court
having the jurisdiction, what they should
do if Marbury should apply to them. Besides
the impropriety of this gratuitous interference,
could anything exceed the perversion
of law? For, if there is any principle
of law never yet contradicted, it is that delivery
is one of the essentials to the validity
of a deed. Although signed and sealed, yet
as long as it remains in the hands of the
party himself, it is in fieri only, it is not a
deed, and can be made so only by its delivery.
In the hands of a third person it may be made
an escrow. But whatever is in the Executive
officers is certainly deemed to be in the
hands of the President; and in this case, was
actually in my hands, because, when I countermanded
them, there was as yet no Secretary
of State. Yet this case of “Marbury
vs. Madison” is continually cited by bench
and bar, as if it were settled law, without
any animadversion on its being an obiter dissertation
of the Chief Justice. It may be impracticable
to lay down any general formula
of words which shall decide at once, and
with precision, in every case, this limit of
jurisdiction. But there are two canons which
will guide us safely in most of the cases.
First. The capital and leading object of the
Constitution was to leave with the States all
authorities which respected their own citizens
only, and to transfer to the United States
those which respected citizens of foreign or
other States; to make us several as to our
selves, but one as to all others. In the latter
case, then, constructions should lean to the
general jurisdiction, if the words will bear it;
and in favor of the States in the former, if
possible to be so construed. And indeed, between
citizens and citizens of the same State,
and under their own laws, I know but a
single case in which a jurisdiction is given
to the General Government. That is, where
anything but gold or silver is made a lawful
tender, or the obligation of contracts is any
otherwise impaired. The separate legislatures
had so often abused that power, that the
citizens themselves chose to trust it to the
General, rather than to their own special authorities.
Secondly. On every question of
construction, carry ourselves back to the time
when the Constitution was adopted, recollect
the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead
of trying what meaning may be
squeezed out of the text, or invented against
it, conform to the probable one in which it
was passed. Let us try Cohen's case by these
canons only, referring always, however, for
full argument, to the essays before cited. 1.
It was between a citizen and his own State,
and under a law of his State. It was a domestic
case, therefore, and not a foreign one.
2. Can it be believed, that under the jealousies
prevailing against the General Government,
at the adoption of the Constitution, the
States meant to surrender the authority of
preserving order, of enforcing moral duties
and restraining vice, within their own territory?
And this is the present case, that of
Cohen being under the ancient and general
law of gaming. Can any good be effected
by taking from the States the moral rule of
their citizens, and subordinating it to the
General authority, or to one of their corporations,
which may justify forcing the meaning
of words, hunting after possible constructions,
and hanging inference on inference, from
heaven to earth, like Jacob's ladder? Such
an intention was impossible, and such a
licentiousness of construction and inference,
if exercised by both governments, as may be
done with equal right, would equally authorize
both to claim all power, general and
particular, and break up the foundations of
the Union. Laws are made for men of ordinary
understanding, and should, therefore,
be construed by the ordinary rules of common
sense. Their meaning is not to be
sought for in metaphysical subtleties, which
may make anything mean anything or nothing,
at pleasure. It should be left to the
sophisms of advocates, whose trade it is, to
prove that a defendant is a plaintiff, though
dragged into court, torto collo, like Bonaparte's
volunteers, into the field in chains,
or that a power has been given, because it
ought to have been given, et alia talia. The
States supposed that by their Tenth Amendment,
they had secured themselves against constructive
powers. They were not lessened yet
by Cohen's case, nor aware of the slipperiness
of the eels of the law. I ask for no straining
of words against the General Government
nor yet against the States. I believe the


Page 845
States can best govern our home concerns,
and the General Government our foreign
ones. I wish, therefore, to see maintained
that wholesome distribution of powers established
by the Constitution for the limitation
of both; and never to see all offices
transferred to Washington, where, further
withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they
may more secretly be bought and sold as at
market. But the Chief Justice says, “there
must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere”.
True, there must; but does that prove it
is either party? The ultimate arbiter is
the people of the Union, assembled by
their deputies in convention, at the call
of Congress, or of two-thirds of the States.
Let them decide to which they mean to
give an authority claimed by two of their
organs. And it has been the peculiar wisdom
and felicity of our Constitution, to have provided
this peaceable appeal, where that of
other nations is at once to force.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 293. [470] Ford ed., x, 230.
(M. 1823)

See Marshall.


Associate Justice William Johnson, of South
Carolina, appointed by Jefferson to the Supreme
Court bench, March, 1804.—Editor.

8228. SUPREME COURT, Questions of constitutionality.—

It is a very dangerous
doctrine to consider the judges as the ultimate
arbiters of all constitutional questions.
It is one which would place us under the
despotism of an oligarchy. * * * The
Constitution has erected no such single tribunal,
knowing that to whatever hands confided,
with the corruptions of time and party, its
members would become despots. It has more
wisely made all the departments coequal and
cosovereign within themselves.—
To William C. Jarvis. Washington ed. vii, 178. Ford ed., x, 160.
(M. 1820)

8229. SUPREME COURT, Questions of constitutionality.—[continued].

If the Legislature fails
to pass laws for a census, for paying the
Judges and other officers of government, for
establishing a militia, for naturalization as
prescribed by the Constitution, or if they fail
to meet in Congress, the Judges cannot issue
their mandamus to them; if the President
fails to supply the place of a judge, to appoint
other civil or military officers, to issue
requisite commissions, the Judges cannot force
him. They can issue their mandamus or distringas
to no executive or legislative officer
to enforce the fulfilment of their official
duties any more than the President or Legislature
may issue orders to the Judges or
their officers. Betrayed by English example,
and unaware, as it should seem, of the control
of our Constitution in this particular, they
have at times overstepped their limit by undertaking
to command executive officers in
the discharge of their executive duties; but
the Constitution, in keeping the three departments
distinct and independent, restrains the
authority of the Judges to judiciary organs,
as it does the Executive and Legislative to
executive and legislative organs. The Judges
certainly have more frequent occasion to act
on constitutional questions, because the laws
of meum and tuum and of criminal action,
forming the great mass of the system of law,
constitute their particular department. When
the legislative or executive functionaries act
unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the
people in their elective capacity. The exemption
of the Judges from that is quite
dangerous enough.—
To William C. Jarvis. Washington ed. vii, 178. Ford ed., x, 160.
(M. 1820)

8230. SUPREME COURT, Republicanism and.—

At length, we have a chance of
getting a republican majority in the Supreme
Judiciary. For ten years has that branch
braved the spirit and will of the nation, after
the nation had manifested its will by a complete
reform in every branch depending on
them. The event is a fortunate one, and so
timed as to be a God-send to me. I am sure
its importance to the nation will be felt, and
the occasion employed to complete the great
operation they have so long been executing,
by the appointment of a decided republican,
with nothing equivalent about him.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 549. Ford ed., ix, 284.
(M. 1810)

8231. SUPREME COURT, Republicanism and.—[continued].

The misfortune of Bidwell
removes an able man from the competition.
Can any other bring equal qualifications
to those of [Levi] Lincoln? I know
he was not deemed a profound common
lawyer; but was there ever a profound common
lawyer known in one of the Eastern
States? There never was, nor never can be,
one from those States. The basis of their
law is neither common nor civil; it is an
original, if any compound can be so called.
Its foundation seems to have been laid in the
spirit and principles of Jewish law, incorporated
with some words and phrases of
common law, and an abundance of notions of
their own. This makes an amalgam sui
and it is well known that a man, first
and thoroughly initiated into the principles of
one system of law, can never become pure
and sound in any other. Lord Mansfield was
a splendid proof of this. Therefore, I say,
there never was, nor can be a profound common
lawyer from those States. Sullivan had
the reputation of preeminence there as a
common lawyer, but we have his History of
Land Titles, which gives us his measure.
Mr. Lincoln is, I believe, considered as
learned in their laws as any one they have.
Federalists say that Parsons is better. But
the criticalness of the present nomination puts
him out of the question. As the great mass
of the functions of the new judge are to be
performed in his own district, Lincoln will be
most unexceptionable and acceptable there;
and on the Supreme bench equal to any who
can be brought thence. Add to this his integrity,
political firmness, and unimpeachable
character, and I believe no one can be
found to whom there will not be more serious
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 550. Ford ed., ix, 285.
(M. Sep. 1810)

8232. SUPREME COURT, Republicanism and.—[further continued].

Bidwell's disgrace withdraws
the ablest man of the section in which
Cushing's successor must be named. The
pure integrity, unimpeachable conduct, talents


Page 846
and republican firmness of [Levi] Lincoln,
leave him now, I think, without a rival. He
is thought not an able common lawyer. But
there is not and never was an able one in the
New England States. Their system is sui
in which the common law is little
attended to. Lincoln is one of the ablest in
their system, and it is among them he is to
execute the great portion of his duties.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. v, 547.
(M. Sep. 1810)

8233. SUPREME COURT, Republicanism and.—[further continued] .

The death of [Associate
Justice] Cushing is opportune, as it gives an
opening for at length getting a republican
majority on the Supreme Bench. Ten years
has the anti-civism of that body been bidding
defiance to the spirit of the whole nation,
after they had manifested their will by reforming
every other branch of government.
I trust the occasion will not be lost. * * * Nothing is more material than to complete
the reformation of the government by this
appointment, which may truly be said to be
putting the keystone into the arch.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. v, 547.
(M. Sep. 1810)

8234. SUPREME COURT, Republicanism and.—[further continued].

A circumstance of congratulation
is the death of Cushing. The
nation ten years ago declared its will for a
change in the principles of the administration
of their affairs. They have changed the two
branches depending on their will, and have
steadily maintained the reformation in those
branches. The third, not dependent on them,
has so long bid defiance to their will, erecting
themselves into a political body, to correct
what they deem the errors of the nation.
The death of Cushing gives an opportunity
of closing the reformation by a successor of
unquestionable republican principles. Our
friend, Lincoln, has, of course, presented himself
to your recollection. I know you think
lightly of him as a lawyer; and I do not consider
him as a correct common lawyer, yet
as much so as any one which ever came, or
ever can come from one of the Eastern
States. Their system of jurisprudence made
up from the Jewish law, a little dash of
common law, and a great mass of original
notions of their own, is a thing sui generis, and one educated in that system can never so
far eradicate early impressions as to imbibe
thoroughly the principles of another system.
It is so in the case of other systems of which
Lord Mansfield is a splendid example. Lincoln's
firm republicanism, and known integrity,
will give complete confidence to the
public in the long desired reformation of their
judiciary. Were he out of the way, I should
think Granger prominent for the place. His
abilities are great; I have entire confidence in
his integrity, though I am sensible that
J.[ohn] R.[andolph] has been able to lessen
the confidence of many in him. But that
I believe he would soon reconcile to him, if
placed in a situation to show himself to the
public, as he is, and not as an enemy has
represented him. As the choice must be of a
New Englander, to exercise his functions for
New England men, I confess I know of none
but these two characters. Morton is really
a republican, but inferior to both the others
in every point of view. Blake calls himself
republican, but never was one at heart. His
treachery to us under the Embargo should
put him by forever. Story and Bacon are
exactly the men who deserted us on that
measure, and carried off the majority. The
former, unquestionably a tory, and both are
too young. I say nothing of professing federalists.
Granger and Morton have both been
interested in Yazooism. The former, however,
has long been clear of it. I have said
thus much because I know you must wish
to learn the sentiments of others, to hear all,
and then do what on the whole you perceive
to be best.—
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 282.
(M. Oct. 1810)

8235. SUPREME COURT, Republicanism and.—[further continued] .

I consider the substituting,
in the place of Cushing, a firm, unequivocating
republican, whose principles are born
with him, and not an occasional ingraftment,
as necessary to complete that great reformation
in our government to which the nation
gave its fiat ten years ago. They have completed
and maintained it steadily in the two
branches dependent on them, but the third,
unfortunately and unwisely, made independent
not only of the nation, but even of their
own conduct, have hitherto bid defiance to
the public will, and erected themselves into
a political body with the assumed functions
of correcting what they deem the errors of
the nation.—
To Gideon Granger. Ford ed., ix, 286.
(M. Oct. 1810)

8236. SUPREME COURT, State rights and.—

There are two measures which if not
taken, we are undone. First, [471] to check these
unconstitutional invasions of State rights by
the Federal judiciary. How? Not by impeachment,
in the first instance, but by a
strong protestation of both houses of Congress
that such and such doctrines, advanced
by the Supreme Court, are contrary to the
Constitution; and if afterwards they relapse
into the same heresies, impeach and set the
whole adrift. For what was the government
divided into three branches, but that each
should watch over the others and oppose their
To Nathaniel Macon. Ford ed., x, 192.
(M. Aug. 1821)


For the “second” one, see No. 2066.—Editor.

8237. SUPREME COURT, State rights and.—[continued].

The Legislative and Executive
branches may sometimes err, but
elections and dependence will bring them to
rights. The Judiciary branch is the instrument
which, working like gravity, without
intermission, is to press us at last into one
consolidated mass. * * * If Congress
fails to shield the States from dangers so
palpable and so imminent, the States must
shield themselves, and meet the invader foot
to foot.—
To Archibald Thweat. Washington ed. vii, 199. Ford ed., x, 184.
(M. 1821)

8238. SUPREME COURT, State rights and.—[further continued].

You request me confidentially,
to examine the question, whether
the Supreme Court has advanced beyond its
constitutional limits, and trespassed on those
of the State authorities? I do not undertake
it, because I am unable. Age and the


Page 847
wane of mind consequent on it, have disqualified
me from investigations so severe,
and researches so laborious. And it is the
less necessary in this case, as having been
already done by others with a logic and learning
to which I could add nothing. On the
decision of the case of Cohen vs. The State
of Virginia,
in the Supreme Court of the
United States, in March, 1821, Judge Roane,
under the signature of “Algernon Sidney”,
wrote for the [Richmond] Enquirer a series
of papers on the law of that case. I considered
these papers maturely as they came
out, and confess that they appeared to me to
pulverize every word which had been delivered
by Judge Marshall, of the extrajudicial
part of his opinion; and all was extra-judicial,
except the decision that the act
of Congress had not purported to give to
the Corporation of Washington the authority
claimed by their lottery law, of controlling
the laws of the States within the States
themselves. But, unable to claim that case,
he could not let it go entirely, but went on
gratuitously to prove, that notwithstanding
the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution,
a State could be brought as a defendant, to
the bar of his court; and again, that Congress
might authorize a corporation of its
territory to exercise legislation within a State,
and paramount to the laws of that State. I
cite the sum and result only of his doctrines,
according to the impression made on my
mind at the time, and still remaining. If not
strictly accurate in circumstance, it is so in
substance. This doctrine was so completely refuted
by Roane, that if he can be answered,
I surrender human reason as a vain and useless
faculty, given to bewilder, and not to
guide us. And I mention this particular case
as one only of several, because it gave occasion
to that thorough examination of the
constitutional limits between the General and
State jurisdictions, which you have asked
for. There were two other writers in the
same paper, under the signatures of “ Fletcher
of Saltoun”, and “Somers”, who, in a
few essays, presented some very luminous
and striking views of the question. And
there was a particular paper which recapitulated
all the cases in which it was thought
the Federal Court had usurped on the State
jurisdictions. * * * The subject was taken
up by our [Virginia] Legislature of 1821-'22,
and two drafts of remonstrances were prepared
and discussed. As well as I remember,
there was no difference of opinion as to the
matter of right; but there was as to the expediency
of a remonstrance at that time, the
general mind of the States being then under
extraordinary excitement by the Missouri
question; and it was dropped on that consideration.
But this case is not dead, it only
sleepeth. The Indian chief said he did not
go to war, for every petty injury by itself,
but put it into his pouch, and when that was
full, he then made war. Thank heaven, we
have provided a more peaceable and rational
mode of redress.—
To Judge William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 293. Ford ed., x, 229.
(M. June. 1823)

SURGERY.—See Medicine.

8239. SURPLUS, Accumulation of.—

[We] have left us in the treasury eight
millions and a half of dollars. A portion of
this sum may be considered as a commencement
of accumulation of the surpluses of revenue,
which, after paying the instalments of
debts as they shall become payable, will remain
without any specific object. It May
partly, indeed, be applied toward completing
the defence of the exposed points of our
country, on such a scale as shall be adapted
to our principles and circumstances. This
object is doubtless among the first entitled
to attention, in such a state of our finances,
and it is one which, whether we have peace
or war, will provide security where it is due.
Whether what shall remain of this, with the
future surpluses, may be usefully applied to
purposes already authorized, or more usefully
to others requiring new authorities, or how
otherwise they shall be disposed of, are questions
calling for the notice of Congress, unless
indeed they shall be superseded by a change
in our public relations now awaiting the determinations
of others.—
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 88. Ford ed., ix, 165.
(Oct. 1807)

8240. SURPLUS, Congress and.—

probable accumulation of the surpluses of
revenue * * * merits the consideration of
Congress. Shall it lie unproductive in the
public vaults? Shall the revenue be reduced?
Or shall it rather be appropriated to the improvements
of roads, canals, rivers, education,
and other great foundations of prosperity
and union, under the powers which
Congress may already possess, or such
amendments of the Constitution as may be
approved by the States?—
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 110. Ford ed., ix, 224.
(Nov. 1808)

8241. SURPLUS, Disposition of.—

both of these branches of revenue [Mediterranean
fund and Salt tax] shall * * * be
relinquished, there will still ere long be an
accumulation of moneys in the treasury beyond
the instalments of public debt which
we are permitted by contract to pay. They
cannot, then, without a modification assented
to by the public creditors, be applied to the
extinguishment of this debt, and the complete
liberation of our revenues—the most desirable
of all objects; nor, if our peace continues,
will they be wanting for any other
existing purpose. The question, therefore,
now comes forward,—to what other objects
shall these surpluses be appropriated, and the
whole surplus of impost, after the entire discharge
of the public debt, and during those
intervals when the purposes of war shall not
call for them? Shall we suppress the impost
and give that advantage to foreign over domestic
manufactures? On a few articles of
more general and necessary use, the suppression
in due season will doubtless be right, but
the great mass of the articles on which impost
is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by
those only who are rich enough to afford


Page 848
themselves the use of them. Their patriotism
would certainly prefer its continuance and application
to the great purposes of the public
education, roads, rivers, canals, and such
other objects of public improvement as it May
be thought proper to add to the constitutional
enumeration of federal powers. By these
operations new channels of communication
will be opened between the States; the lines
of separation will disappear, their interests
will be identified, and their Union cemented
by new and indissoluble ties.—
Sixth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 68. Ford ed., viii, 493.
(Dec. 1806)

8242. SURPLUS, Taxation and.—

principles will not justify our taxing the industry
of our fellow citizens to accumulate
treasure for wars to happen we know not
when, and which might not perhaps happen
but from the temptations offered by that
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 9. Ford ed., viii, 119.

8243. SURVEYING, Method of platting.—

You requested for the use of your
school, an explanation of a method of platting
the courses of a survey, which I mentioned to
you as of my own practice. This is so obvious
and simple, that as it occurred to myself,
so I presume it has to others, although I have
not seen it stated in any of the books. For
drawing parallel lines, I use the triangular
rule, the hypothenusal side of which being applied
to the side of a common straight rule, the
triangle slides on that, as
thus, always parallel to itself.
Instead of drawing meridians
on his paper, let the pupil
draw a parallel of latitude, or
east and west line, and note
in that a point for his first
station, then applying to it his
protractor, lay off the first
course, and distance in the
usual way to ascertain his second station. For
the second course, lay the triangular rule to the
east and west line, or first parallel, holding the
straight or guide rule firmly against its hypothenusal
side. Then slide up the triangle (for
a northerly course) to the point of his second
station, and pressing it firmly there, lay the
protractor to that, and mark off the second
course, and distance as before, for the third
station. Then lay the triangle to the first
parallel again, and sliding it as before to the
point of the third station, then apply to it the
protractor for the third course and distance,
which gives the fourth station; and so on.
When a course is southwardly, lay the protractor,
as before, to the northern edge of the
triangle, but prick its reversed course, which
reversed again in drawing, gives the true
course. When the station has got so far from
the first parallel, as to be out of the reach of
the parallel rule sliding on its hypothenuse,
another parallel must be drawn by laying the
edge, or longer leg of the triangle to the first
parallel as before, applying
the guide-rule to the end, or
short leg (instead of the hypothenuse ),
as in the margin,
and sliding the triangle up to
the point for the new parallel.
I have found this, in practice, the quickest
and most correct method of platting which I
have ever tried, and the neatest also, because it
disfigures the paper with the fewest unnecessary
To Mr. Girardin. Washington ed. vi, 338.
(M. 1814)

8244. SWARTWOUT (Samuel), Character of.—

The distribution of so atrocious a libel as the pamphlet “Aristides”, and still
more the affirming its contents to be true as
Holy Writ, presents a shade in the morality of
Mr. Swartwout, of which his character had not
before been understood to be susceptible. Such
a rejection of all regard to truth, would have
been sufficient cause against receiving him into
the corps of executive officers at first; but
whether it is expedient after a person is appointed,
to be as nice on a question of removal
requires great consideration.—
To De Witt Clinton. Ford ed., viii, 322.
(W. Oct. 1804)

— SYLVANIA, Proposed state of.—

See Western Territory.

8245. SYMPATHY, For the afflicted.—

What more sublime delight than to mingle tears
with one whom the hand of heaven hath smitten!
To watch over the bed of sickness, and
to beguile its tedious and its painful moments!
To share our bread with one whom misfortune
has left none! This world abounds indeed
with misery; to lighten its burthen, we must
divide it with one another.—
To Mrs. Cosway. Washington ed. ii, 38. Ford ed., iv, 318.
(P. 1786)

8246. SYMPATHY, Of friends.—

languishing under disease, how grateful is the
solace of our friends! How are we penetrated
with their assiduities and attentions! How
much are we supported by their encouragement
and kind offices! When heaven has taken from
us some object of our love, how sweet is it to
have a bosom whereon to recline our heads,
and into which we may pour the torrent of
our tears! Grief, with such a comfort, is almost
a luxury!—
To Mrs. Cosway. Washington ed. ii, 38. Ford ed., iv, 318.
(P. 1786)