Extract from Thomas Babington Macaulay to Henry S. Randall

You are surprised to learn that I have not a high opinion of Mr. Jefferson and I am a little surprised at your surprise ... I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty, or civilisation, or both ... Thinking thus, of course, I cannot reckon Jefferson among the benefactors of mankind. I readily admit that his intentions were good and his abilities considerable. Odious stories have been circulated about his private life; but I do not know on what evidence those stories rest; and I think it probable that they are false, or monstrously exaggerated.

Published in Francis Coleman Rosenberger, ed., Jefferson Reader: A Treasury of Writings About Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1953), 262–3.
Calzado Nike
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Henry S. Randall
Date Range
May 23, 1857
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson