the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, that we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. it takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
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we are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather-bed.
a good citizen should take his stand where the public authority marshals him.
the happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have past at home in the bosom of my family.
my method is to make two observations a day, the one as early as possible in the morning, the other from 3. to 4. aclock, because I have found 4. aclock the hottest & day light the coldest point of the 24. hours. I state them in an ivory pocket book in the following form, & copy them out...
the study of the law is useful in a variety of points of view. it qualifies a man to be useful to himself, to his neighbors, & to the public.
in political œconomy I think Smith’s wealth of nations the best book extant.
in the science of government Montesquieu’s spirit of laws is generally recommended. it contains indeed a great number of political truths; but also an equal number of heresies: so that the reader must be constantly on his guard.
Locke’s little book on government is perfect as far as it goes.
I have always believed it better to be settled on a small farm, just sufficient to furnish the table, and to leave one’s principal plantations free to pursue the single object of cropping without interruption.
I receive with pleasure this recognition & renewal of our former acquaintance, and shall be happy to continue it by an exchange of epistolary communications. your’s to me will be always welcome; your first gives me information in the line of Natural history, & the second (not yet recieved...
whenever it is proposed to prepare plans for the Capitol, I should prefer the adoption of some one of the models of antiquity which have had the approbation of thousands of years
Mr. Madison & myself are so far on the tour we had projected ... we were more pleased however with the botanical objects which continually presented themselves. those either unknown or rare in Virginia were the Sugar maple in vast abundance, the Thuya, silver fir, White pine, Pitch pine,...
I am sorry we did not bring with us some leaves of the different plants which struck our attention, as it is the leaf which principally decides specific differences.
no body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colours of men, & that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa & America.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
I inclose you some seeds of the Acacia Farnesiana, the most delicious flowering shrub in the world.
I can scarcely contemplate a more incalculable evil than the breaking of the union into two or more parts.
I am not afraid to warrant to you any degree of success and consideration you may desire, if you qualify yourself by perseverance in study, and by an invariable determination to do, under all circumstances what reason & rigorous right shall dictate, keeping under absolute subjection all the...
The interests of a nation, when well understood, will be found to coincide with their moral duties. among these it is an important one to cultivate habits of peace & friendship with our neighbors. to do this we should make provision for rendering the justice we must sometimes require from...
the liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest, and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood?
you were never more mistaken than in supposing you were too long on the prattle &c. of little Anne. I read it with quite as much pleasure as you write it.
all the tranquillity, the happiness & security of mankind rest on justice, on the obligation to respect the rights of others.
good husbandry with us consists in abandoning Indian corn, & tobacco, tending small grain, some red clover, fallowing, & endeavoring to have, while the lands are at rest, a spontaneous cover of white clover. I do not present this as a culture judicious in itself, but as good in comparison...
I never before knew the full value of trees. my house is entirely embosomed in high plane trees, with good grass below, & under them I breakfast, dine, write, read & receive my company. what would I not give that the trees planted nearest round the house at Monticello were full grown.