Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Ritchie

if there be anything amiss therefore in the present state of our affairs, as the formidable deficit lately unfolded to us indicates, I ascribe it to the inattention of Congress to it’s duties, to their unwise dissipation & waste of the public contributions. they seemed, some little while ago to be at a loss for objects whereon to throw away the supposed fathomless funds of the treasury ... but it is not from this branch of government we have most to fear. taxes & short elections will keep them right. the Judiciary of the US. is the subtle corps of sappers & miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. they are construing our constitution from a coordination of a general and special governments to a general & supreme one alone.

RC (MHi: Washburn Autograph Collection). PoC (DLC).
Date Range
December 25, 1820