Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies: From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 4 (Google eBook)

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F. Carr, and Company, 1829 - United States
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Page 381 - The question presented by the letters you have sent me, is the most momentous which has ever been offered to my contemplation since that of Independence. That made us a nation, this sets our compass and points the course which we are to steer through the ocean of time opening on us.
Page 324 - But this momentous question, like a fire-bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence.
Page 382 - Our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe, our second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe and peculiarly her own. She should therefore have a system of her own separate and apart from that of Europe. While the last is laboring to become the domicile of despotism, our endeavor should surely be to make our hemisphere that of freedom.
Page 236 - For his was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence ; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly train ; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example.
Page 291 - We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Page 236 - Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration was maturely weighed ; refraining if he saw a doubt, but when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known ; no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense of the word, a wise, a good, and a...
Page 324 - 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 neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.
Page 290 - Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them, like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.
Page 413 - Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap ; it will be dear to you.
Page 3 - When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.

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