Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Count de Volney
|Washington Feb. 8. 1805.|
in no case perhaps does habit attach our choice or judgment more than in climate. the Canadian glows with delight in his sleigh & snow, the very idea of which gives me the shivers. the comparison of climate between Europe & N. America, taking together it’s corresponding parts, hangs chiefly on three great points. 1. the changes between heat and cold in America are greater & more frequent, & the extremes comprehend a greater scale on the thermometer in America than in Europe. habit however prevents these from affecting us more than the smaller changes of Europe affect the European. but he is greatly affected by ours. 2. our sky is always clear; that of Europe always cloudy. hence a greater accumulation of heat here than there, in the same parallel. 3. the changes between wet and dry are much more frequent and sudden in Europe than in America. though we have double the rain, it falls in half the time. taking all these together I prefer much the climate of the United states to that of Europe. I think it a more chearful one. it is our cloudless sky which has eradicated from our constitutions all disposition to hang ourselves, which we might otherwise have inherited from our English ancestors.