Thomas Jefferson.

The Jeffersonian cyclopedia: a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finan online

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the agents who shall transact it: and that in
this way a republican, or popular government,
of the second grade of purity, may be exer

cised over any extent of country. The full
experiment of a government, democratical,
but representative, was and is still reserved
for us. * * * The introduction of this new
principle of representative democracy has ren
dered useless almost everything written before
on the structure of government; and, in a
great measure, relieves our regret, if the po
litical writings of Aristotle, or of any other
ancient, have been lost, or are unfaithfully
rendered or explained to us. To ISAAC H.
TIFFANY, vii, 32. (M., 1816.)


487. ARMS, Loan of .I am in hopes that
your State [New York] will provide by the
loan of arms for your immediate safety. To
JACOB J. BROWN, v, 240. (W. 1808.)

488. . I enclose you * * * an

application from * * * citizens of New York,
residing on the St. Lawrence and Lake On
tario, setting forth their defenceless situation
for the want of arms, and praying to be
furnished from the magazines of the United
States. Similar applications from other parts
of our frontier in every direction have suffi
ciently shown that did the laws permit such a
disposition of the arms of the United States,
their magazines would be completely exhausted,
and nothing would remain for actual war. But
it is only when troops take the field, that the
arms of the United States can be delivered to
them. For the ordinary safety of the citizens
of the several States, whether against dangers
within or without, their reliance must be on
the means to be provided by their respective
States. Under the circumstances I have
thought it my duty to transmit to you the rep
resentation received, not doubting that you will
have done for the safety of our fellow citizens,
on a part of our frontier so interesting and
so much exposed, what their situation requires,
and the means under your control may permit.

489. ARMS, Right to bear. No freeman
shall be debarred the use of arms [within his
FORD ED., ii, 27. (June, 1776.)



490. ARMS, Device for the American

States. A proper device (instead of arms)
for the American states united would be the
Father presenting the bundle of rods to his
sons. The motto " Insuperabiles si Insepara
bles ", an answer given in part to the H. of
Lds & Comm. 4. Inst. 35. He cites 4. H. 6.
ru. 12. parl. rolls, which I suppose was the time
it happd. f FORD ED., i, 420.

* Brackets by Jefferson. EDITOR.

t This is a note written in Jefferson s copy of the
Virginia Almanack for 1774. All his other entries in
this volume are contemporary with the date of the al
manac, and if, as all the internal evidence indicates,
this was also written at that time, it is not merely in
teresting as a proposed emblem, but even more so as
the earliest reference to the " American States." In a
letter of John Adams (Familiar Letters, 211), Aug. 4,
1776 on the subject of the national arms, is the follow
ing : u Mr. Jefferson proposed the children of Israel
in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar
of fire by night; and on the other side, Hengist and
Horsa, the Saxon chiefs from whom we claim the
honor of being descended, and whose political prin
ciples and forms of government we have assumed."




491. ARMS, Device for Virginia State.
I like the device of the first side of the seal
[for Virginia] much. The second I think, is
too much crowded, nor is the design so strik
ing. But for God s sake what is the " Dens
nobis h&c otia facit " ! It puzzles everybody
here. If my country really enjoys that otium
it is singular, as every other Colony seems
to be hard struggling. I think it was agreed
on before Dunmore s flight from Gwyn s
Island, so that it can hardly be referred to the
temporary holiday that was given you. This
device is too enigmatical. Since it puzzles
now, it will be absolutely insoluble fifty years
hence. To JOHN PAGE. FORD ED., ii, 70. (Pa.,

Search the Herald s office for the arms of
my family. I have what I have been told were
the family arms, but on what authority I know
not. It is possible there may be none. If so,
I would with your assistance become a pur
chaser, having Sterne s word for it that a coat
of arms may be purchased as cheap as any other
coat. To THOMAS ADAMS. FORD ED., i, 388.
(M., 1771.)

493. ARMSTRONG (John), Hostility
against. An unjust hostility against Gen
eral Armstrong will, I am afraid, show itself
whenever any treaty [with Spain] made by
him shall be offered for ratification. To
435- (W., April 1806.)

494. ARMSTRONG (John), Secretary
of War. I have long ago in my heart con
gratulated my country on your call to the
place you now occupy. * Whatever you
do in office, I know will be honestly and ably
done, and although we who do not see the
whole ground may sometimes impute error,
it will be because we, not you, are in the
wrong ; or because your views are defeated by
the wickedness or incompetence of those you
are obliged to trust with their execution. To

495. - . Armstrong is presumptu
ous, obstinate and injudicious. To J. W.
EPPES. FORD ED., ix, 484. (M., 1814.)

496. ARMY, Adverse to large. The
spirit of this country is totally adverse to a
large military force. To CHANDLER PRICE.
v, 47- (W., 1807.)

497. ARMY, Control over. I like the
declaration of rights as far as it goes, but I
should have been for going further. For in
stance, the following alterations and additions
would have pleased me: * * * Article 10.
All troops of the United States shall stand
ipso facto disbanded, at the expiration of the
term for which their pay and subsistence shall
have been last voted by Congress, and all of
ficers and soldiers, not natives of the United
States, shall be incapable of serving in their
armies by land except during a foreign war.
To JAMES MADISON, iii, 101. FORD ED., v,
113. (P., Aug. 1789.)

498. ARMY, Deserters. Deserters [Brit
ish] ought never to be enlisted [by us]. To
JAMES MADISON. FORDED., ix, 128. (M., 1807.)

499. ARMY, Deserters from Enemy s.
American citizens, * * * whether im

pressed or enlisted into the British service,
* * * [are] equally right in returning to
the duties they owe their own country. To
JAMES MADISON, v, 173. FORD ED., ix, 128.
(M., Aug. 1807.)

500. - _. Resolved, that [Con
gress] will give all such of the * * * foreign
[Hessian] officers as shall leave the armies of
his Britannic Majesty in America, and choose
to become citizens of these States, unappro
priated lands in the following quantities and
proportions to them and their heirs in abso
ED., ii, 89. (August 1776.)

501. ARMY, Discipline of. The British
consider our army * * * a rude, undisci
plined rabble. I hope they will find it a
Bunker s Hill rabble. To FRANCIS EPPES.
FORD ED., ii, 77. (Pa., Aug. 1776.)

502. ARMY, Enlistments in. Tardy
enlistments proceed from the happiress of our
people at home. To JAMES MONROE, vi, 130
(M., June 1813.)

503. - . Our men are so happy at
home that they will not hire themselves to
be shot at for a shilling a day. Hence we can
have no standing armies for defence, because
we have no paupers to furnish the materials.
To THOMAS COOPER, vi, 379. (M., 1814.)

504. ARMY, Fear of. How happy that
our army had been disbanded [before the
Presidential crisis of 1801] ! What might
have happened otherwise seems rather a sub
ject of reflection than explanation. To
NATHANIEL NILES. iv, 377. FORD ED., viii,
24. (W., March 1801.)

505. ARMY, Increase of. An act has

passed for raising upon the regular establish
ment for the war 3000 additional troops and a
corps of 300 more, making in the whole about
5000 men. To this I was opposed from a con
viction they were useless and that 1200 or
1500 woodsmen would soon end the [Indian]
war, and at a trifling expense. To ARCHI
BALD STUART. FORD ED., v, 454. (P a ., March

. It is agreed [in cabinet]
that about 15000 regular troops will be req
uisite for garrisons, and about as many more
as a disposable force, making in the whole
30,000 regulars. ANAS. FORD ED., i 320
(July 1807.)

. We are raising some
regulars in addition to our present force for
garrisoning our seaports, and forming a nu
cleus for the militia to gather to. To GEN
ERAL KOSCIUSKO. v, 282. (W., May 1808.)
508. ARMY, Inefficiency in.-I thank
you for the military manuals. * * * This is
the sort of book most needed in our country
where even the elements of tactics are un-
1 he young have never seen service,
the old are past it, and of those among them
who are not superannuated themselves, their

this res-




science is become so. To WILLIAM DUANE.
vi, 75. FORD ED., ix, 365. (M., 1812.)

509. ARMY, A mercenary. He [George
III.] has endeavored to pervert the exercise
of the kingly office in Virginia into a detest
able and insupportable tyranny * * * by
transporting at this time a large army of for
eign mercenaries [to complete] the works of
death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun
with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy so
unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
ii. (June 1776.)

510. . He is at this time, trans
porting large armies of foreign mercenaries
to complete the works of death, desolation,
and tyranny, already begun, with circum
stances of cruelty and perfidy* unworthy the
head of a civilized nation. DECLARATION OF


At this very time, too.

they [British pe ople] are permitting their
chief magistrate to send over not only sol
diers of our common blood, but Scotch and
foreign mercenaries to invade and destroy us.

512. ARMY, Morality in. It is more a
subject of joy [than of regret] that we have so
few of the desperate characters which com
pose modern regular armies. But it proves
more forcibly the necessity of obliging every
citizen to be a soldier ; this was the case with
the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of
every free State. Where there is no oppres
sion there can be no pauper hirelings. To
JAMES MONROE, vi, 130. (M., June 1813.)

513. ARMY, An obedient. Some think
the [French] army could not be depended on
by the government ; but the breaking men to
military discipline, is breaking their spirits to
principles of passive obedience. To JOHN
JAY. ii, 392. (P., 1788.)

514. ARMY, Obligations to the. We
feel with you our obligations to the army
in general, and will particularly charge our
selves with the interests of those confidential
officers, who have attended your person to
this affecting moment. CONGRESS TO WASH
(Dec. 1783.)

515. ARMY, Overpowering. There is
neither head nor body in the [French] nation
to promise a successful opposition to two
hundred thousand regular troops. To JOHN
JAY. ii, 392. (P., 1788.)

516. ARMY, The People as an. I am
satisfied the good sense of the people is the
strongest army our government can ever
have, and that it will not fail them. To
346. (P., 1786.)

* Congress inserted after " perfidy " the words
" scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages and
totally." EDITOR.

t Congress struck out this passage. EDITOR.

517. . I am persuaded myself

that the good sense of the people will al
ways be found to be the best Army. To
359- (P., 1787-)

518. ARMY, Reduction of. A statement
has been formed by the Secretary of War

* of all the posts and stations where gar
risons will be expedient, and of the number
of men requisite for each garrison. The
whole amount is considerably short of the
present military establishment. For the surplus
no particular use can be pointed out. For de
fence against invasion, their number is as
nothing; nor is it conceived needful or safe
that a standing army should be kept up in
time of peace for that purpose. FIRST AN
NUAL MESSAGE, viii, n. FORD ED., viii 121
(Dec. 1801.)

519. - . The army is undergoing a
chaste reformation. To NATHANIEL MACON.
iv, 397- (W., May 1801.)

520. . The session of the first

Congress convened since republicanism has
recovered its ascendency * * * will pretty
completely fulfil all the desires of the people.
They have reduced the army * * * to what
is barely necessary. To GENERAL KOSCIUSKO.
iv, 430. (W., April 1802.)

521. . We are now actually en
gaged in reducing our military establishment
one-third, and discharging one-third of our
officers. We keep in service no more than
men enough to garrison the small posts dis
persed at great distances on our frontiers,
which garrisons will generally consist of a
captain s company only, and in no cases of
more than two or three, in not one, of a suf
ficient number to require a field officer. * To
GENERAL KOSCIUSKO. iv, 430. (W., April

522. ARMY, Regulation or. The wise
proposition of the Secretary of War for fill
ing our ranks with regulars, and putting our
militia into an effective form, seems to be
laid aside. To M. CORREA. vi, 406. (M.,
Dec. 1814.)

523. - . To supply the want of
men, nothing more wise or efficient could
have been imagined than what you proposed.
It would have filled our ranks with regulars,
and that, too, by throwing a just share of the
burthen on the purses of those whose per
sons are exempt either by age or office ; and
it would have rendered our militia, like those
of the Greeks and Romans, a nation of war
riors. To JAMES MONROE, vi, 408. FORD
ED., ix, 497. (M., Jan. 1815.)

524. - . Nothing wiser can be de
vised than what the Secretary of War (Mon
roe) proposed in his report at the commence
ment of Congress. It would have kept our
regular army always of necessity full, and
by classing our militia according to ages,
would have put them into a form ready for

* Kosciusko had written to Jefferson, recommend
ing Polish officers for employment. EDITOR.




whatever service, distant or at home, should
require them. To W. H. CRAWFORD, vi, 418.
FORD ED., ix, 502. (M., Feb. 1815.)

525. ARMY, Seniority in. We received
from Colonel R. H. Lee a resolution of Con
vention, recommending us to endeavor that
the promotions of the officers be according to
seniority without regard to regiments or com
panies. In one instance, indeed, the Congress
reserved to themselves a right of departing
from seniority ; that is where a person either
out of the line of command, or in an inferior
part of it, has displayed eminent talents. Most
of the general officers have been promoted in
this way. Without this reservation, the whole
continent must have been supplied with gen
eral officers from the Eastern Colonies, where
a large army was formed and officered before
any other colony had occasion to raise troops
at all, and a number of experienced, able and
valuable officers must have been lost to the
public merely from the locality of their situa
ED., ii, 67. (Pa., 1776.)

526. . We [Congress] wait your

recommendation for the two vacant majori
ties. Pray regard militaryment alone. To
JOHN PAGE. FORD ED., ii, 88. (Pa., 1776.)


Several vacancies having

happened in our battalions, we [Congress]
are unable to have them filled for want of a
list of the officers, stating their seniority. We
must beg the favor of you to furnish us
ii, 67. (Pa., 1776.)

528. . The unfortunate obstinacy

of the Senate in preferring the greatest block
head to the greatest military genius, if one
day longer in commission, renders it doubly
important to sift well the candidates for com
mand in new corps, and to marshal them at
first, towards the head, in proportion to their
qualifications. To GENERAL ARMSTRONG.
FORD ED., ix, 380. (M., Feb. 1813.)


-. There is not, I believe,

a service on earth where seniority is per
mitted to give a right to advance beyond the
grade of captain. To GENERAL ARMSTRONG.
FORD ED., ix, 380. (M., Feb. 1813.)

530. . We are doomed. * * * to

sacrifice the lives of our citizens by thousands
to this blind principle, for fear the peculiar in
terest and responsibility of our Executive
should not be sufficient to guard his selection
of officers against favoritism. To GENERAL
ARMSTRONG. FORD ED., ix, 380. (M., 1813.)

531. . When you have new corps
to raise you are free to prefer merit : and our
mechanical law of promotion, when once
men have been set in their places, makes it
most interesting indeed to place them origi
nally according to their capacities. It is not
for me even to ask whether in the raw regi
ments now to be raised, it would not be ad
visable to draw from the former the few
officers who may already have discovered
military talent, and to bring them forward

in the new corps to those higher grades, to
which, in the old. the blocks in their way do
not permit you to advance them? To GEN
Feb. 1813.) See GENERALS.

532. ARMY, A standing. Standing ar
mies [are] inconsistent with the freedom [of
the Colonies], and subversive of their quiet.
ED., i, 477. (July 1775.)

533. - . There shall be no stand
ing army but in time of actual war. PRO
(June 1776.)

534 . He [George III.] has en
deavored to pervert the exercise of the kingly
office in Virginia into a detestable and in
supportable tyranny * * * by [keeping
among us], in time of peace, standing armies
and ships of war. PROPOSED VA. CONSTITU
TION. FORD ED., ii, 10. (June 1776.)

535. - . He has kept among us, in.
times of peace, standing armies and ships of
war * without the consent of our legislatures.

536. - . I do not like [in the new
Federal Constitution] the omission of a bill of
rights, providing clearly and without the aid
of sophisms for * * protection
against standing armies. To JAMES MADI
SON, ii, 329. FORD ED., iv, 476. (P., Dec

537. - I sincerely rejoice at the
acceptance of our new Constitution by nine
States. It is a good canvas, on which some
strokes only want retouching. What these
are, I think are sufficiently manifested by the
general voice from north to south, which
calls for a bill of rights. It seems pretty
generally understood that this should go to

standing armies. * * * If no
check can be found to keep the number of
standing troops within safe bounds, while
they are tolerated as far as necessary, aban
don them altogether, discipline well the mi
litia, and guard the magazines with them.
More than magazine guards will be useless if
few, and dangerous if many. No European
nation can ever send against us such a regu
lar army as we need fear, and it is hard if
our militia are not equal to those of Canada,
or Florida. To JAMES MADISON ii 445
FORD ED., v, 45. (P., July 1788.)

538. - . By declaration of rights, I
mean one which shall stipulate * * * no
standing armies. To A. DONALD, ii, 355. (P.,

. There are instruments so
dangerous to the rights of the nation, and
which place them so totally at the mercy of
their governors, that those governors,
whether legislative or executive, should be
restrained from keeping such instruments on
foot, but in well-defined cases. Such an in-
* Congress struck out "and ships of war. "-EDITOR.




a standing army. To DAVID
iii, 13. FORD ED., v, 90. (P.,

strument is

540. . I hope a militia bill will

be passed. Anything is preferable to nothing,
as it takes away one of the arguments for a
standing army. To ARCHIBALD STUART. FORD
ED., v, 454- (Pa., 1792.)

541. . I am not for a standing

army in time of peace, which may overawe
the public sentiment. To ELBRIDGE GERRY.
iv, 268. FORD ED., vii, 328. (Pa., I799-)

542. . Bonaparte has transferred

the destinies of the republic from the civil
to the military arm. Some will use this as a
lesson against the practicability of republican
government. I read it as a lesson against the
danger of standing armies. To SAMUEL
ADAMS, iv, 322. FORD ED., vii, 425. (Pa., Feb.

543. . It is not conceived need
ful or safe that a standing army should be
kept up in time of peace for defence against
invasion. FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE, viii, n.
FORD ED., 121. (1801.)

544. . I hope Kentucky will

* * * finish the matter [Burr s enterprise]
for the honor of popular government, and the
discouragement of all arguments for standing
armies. To REV. CHARLES CLAY, v, 28.
FORD ED., ix, 7. (W., 1807.)

545. . We propose to raise

seven regiments only for the present year, de
pending always on our militia for the opera
tions of the first year of war. On any other
plan, we should be obliged always to keep a
large standing army. To CHARLES PINCK-
NEY. v, 266. (W., March 1808.)

546. . The Greeks and Romans

had no standing armies, yet they defended
themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and
the Romans by the spirit of their people, took
care to put into the hands of their rulers no
such engine of oppression as a standing army.
Their system was to make every man a sol
dier, and oblige him to repair to the standard
of his country whenever that was reared.
This made them invincible; and the same
remedy will make us so. To THOMAS
COOPER, vi, 379. (M., 1814.)

547. ARMY, Threatened by an. We
cannot, my lord, close with the terms of that
Resolution, [Lord North s conciliatory propo
sitions] * * * because at the very time
of requiring from us grants, they are making
disposition to invade us with large armaments
by sea and land, which is a style of asking
gifts not reconcilable to our freedom. AD

548. ARMY, An unnecessary. One of
my favorite ideas is, never to keep an un
necessary soldier. THE ANAS, ix, 431. FORD
ED., i, 198. (1792.)

549. . Were armies to be raised

whenever a speck of war is visible in our

horizon, we never should have been without
them. Our resources would have been ex
hausted on dangers which have never hap
pened, instead of being reserved for what is
really to take place. SIXTH ANNUAL MES
SAGE, viii, 69. FORD ED., viii, 495. (Dec.

550. ARMY, An unauthorized. When,
in the course of the late war, it became ex
pedient that a body of Hanoverian troops
should be brought over for the defence of
Great Britain, his Majesty s grandfather, our
late sovereign, did not pretend to introduce
them under any authority he possessed. Such
a. measure would have given just alarm to
his subjects in Great Britain, whose liberties
would not be safe if armed men of another
country, and of another spirit, might be
brought into the realm at any time without
the consent of their legislature. He, there
fore, applied to Parliament, who passed an
act for that purpose, limiting the number to
be brought in, and the time they were to con
tinue. In like manner is his Majesty re
strained in every part of the empire. RIGHTS
445. (I774-)

551. . He has combined with

others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign
to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by
our laws; giving his assent to their acts of
pretended legislation for quartering large
bodies of armed troops among us; for pro
tecting them by a mock trial from punish
ment for any murders which they should
commit on the inhabitants of these States.

552. . He [George III.] has

endeavored to pervert the exercise of the
kingly office in Virginia into a detestable and
insupportable tyranny * * * by com
bining with others to subject us to a foreign
jurisdiction, giving his assent to their pre
tended acts of legislation for quartering large
bodies of armed troops among us. PROPOSED
i77 6.)

553. . In order to enforce [his]

arbitrary measures * * * his Majesty
has, from time to time, sent among us large
bodies of armed forces, not made up of the
people here, nor raised by authority of our
laws. Did his Majesty possess such a right

Online LibraryThomas JeffersonThe Jeffersonian cyclopedia: a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finan → online text (page 16 of 253)