Our good ladies, I trust, have been too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics. They are contented to soothe & calm the minds of their husbands returning ruffled from political debate. They have the good sense to value domestic happiness above all other, and the art to cultivate it beyond all others. There is no part of the earth where so much of this is enjoyed as in America. You agree with me in this; but you think that the pleasures of Paris more than supply its wants; in other words that a Parisian is happier than an American. You will change your opinion, my dear Madam, and come over to mine in the end. Recollect the women of this capital, some on foot, some on horses, & some in carriages hunting pleasure in the streets, in routs & assemblies, and forgetting that they have left it behind them in their nurseries; compare them with our own countrywomen occupied in the tender and tranquil amusements of domestic life, and confess that it is a comparison of Amazons and Angels.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Anne Willing Bingham, May 11, 1788
Sure, Mr. Jefferson. Just come back and try to say that now.
Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787
I like that he added that last part.
The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823
No invasions of the Constitution are fundamentally so dangerous as the tricks played on their own numbers, apportionment, and other circumstances respecting themselves, and affecting their legal qualifications to legislate for the Union.
Thomas Jefferson, opinion on apportionment bill, 1792
I do believe that General Washington had not a firm confidence in the durability of our government. He was naturally distrustful of men, and inclined to gloomy apprehensions; and I was ever persuaded that a belief that we must at length end in something like a British constitution, had some weight in his adoption of the ceremonies of levees, birth-days, pompous meetings with Congress, and other forms of the same character, calculated to prepare us gradually for a change which he believed possible, and to let it come on with as little shock as might be to the public mind.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814
It’s nice to have a computer again after my old one burned up, literally. The ones at the library were okay for some things, but they were so outdated they didn’t work with tumblr.
Uncorrected still of the rage of drawing general conclusions from partial and equivocal observations, he hazards the opinion that light promotes vegetation. I have heretofore supposed from observation, that light affects the color of living bodies, whether vegetable or animal; but that either the one or the other receives nutriment from that fluid, must be permitted to be doubted of, till better confirmed by observation. It is always better to have no ideas, than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Rev. James Madison, July 19, 1788
I can’t fault Jefferson for wanting to wait for confirmation.
I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.
On the contrary we are bound you, I, and every one, to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience. We ought with one heart and hand to hew down the daring and dangerous efforts of those who would seduce the public opinion to substitute itself into that tyranny over religious faith which the laws have so justly abdicated.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Dowse, April 19, 1803
I find they have subscribed a very large sum of money in England for exploring the country from the Missisipi to California. They pretend it is only to promote knolege. I am afraid they have thoughts of colonising into that quarter.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Rogers Clark, December 4, 1783
I believe our own government used a similar excuse when it sent Custer into the Black Hills in 1874.
The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.
Thomas Jefferson, The Autobiography, 1821
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans value themselves on having subdued the horse to the uses of man; but I doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained, by the use of this animal. No one has occasioned so much, the degeneracy of the human body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey, as an enfeebled white does on his horse; and he will tire the best horses. There is no habit you will value so much as that of walking far without fatigue.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785