Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Destutt de Tracy

I am not conscious that my participations in Executive authority have produced any bias in favor of the single executive; because the parts I have acted have been in the subordinate, as well as superior stations, and because, if I know myself, what I have felt, and what I have wished, I know that I have never been so well pleased as when I could shift power off from my own, on[to] the shoulders of others; nor have I ever been able to concieve how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.

PoC (DLC). Tr (ViU: TJP); posthumous fragment of extract with commentary. Published in PTJRS, 3:334–9.
Date Range
January 26, 1811