Monday, August 23, 2010

Jefferson's quotes I like.

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

For the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, & our sacred honour.
There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
Every constitution..., and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years [a generation]. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right.
If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.
What more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more … a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from labor the bread it has earned.

You have never by a word or a deed given me one moment's uneasiness; on the contrary I have felt perpetual gratitude to heaven for having given me, in you, a source of so much pure and unmixed happiness.
Let those flatter, who fear: it is not an American art. To give praise where it is not due, might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the rights of human nature.
When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.

Walking is the very best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.

[A trip to France] will make you adore your own country, it's soil, it's climate, it's equality, liberty, laws, people and manners. My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.
I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments of both body and mind.
Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.
I write to you out of turn, and believe I must adopt the rule of only writing when I am written to, in hopes that may provoke more frequent letters.
When a uniform exercise of kindness to prisoners on our part has been returned by as uniform severity on the part of our enemies, you must excuse me for saying it is high time, by other lessons, to teach respect to the dictates of humanity; in such a case, retaliation becomes an act of benevolence.


<< Page: 1 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 30 33 >>

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 14, p. 148, ed. William Peden (1954).)
Read more quotations about / on: alone, people

I know nothing more important to inculcate into the minds of young people than the wisdom, the honor, and the blessed comfort of living within their income.

(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, January 5, 1808, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 317, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).)
Read more quotations about / on: people

Chide me then no more; be to me what you have been; and give me without measure the comfort of your friendship.

(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 30, 1788, to Maria Cosway. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 13, p. 435, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).)

I write to you out of turn, and believe I must adopt the rule of only writing when I am written to, in hopes that may provoke more frequent letters.

(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, February 2, 1791, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 71, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).)
Read more quotations about / on: believe

When a uniform exercise of kindness to prisoners on our part has been returned by as uniform severity on the part of our enemies, you must excuse me for saying it is high time, by other lessons, to teach respect to the dictates of humanity; in such a case, retaliation becomes an act of benevolence.

(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, July 22, 1779, to William Phillips. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 3, pp. 45-46, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).)
Read more quotations about / on: respect, time

The almighty has never made known to any body at what time he created [the world], nor will he tell any body when he means to put an end to it, if ever he means to do it.

I throw myself on your discretion and shew my confidence in it when I thus venture to write in a private character what seems to contradict my public duty.

The fantastical idea of virtue and the public good being a sufficient security to the state against the commission of crimes, which you say you have heard insisted on by some, I assure you was never mine.

I think with the Romans, that the general of today should be a soldier tomorrow if necessary.

[F]rom Saratoga [N.Y.] till we got back to Northampton [Mass.], was then mostly desert. Now it is what 34. years of free and good government have made it. It shews how soon the labor of man would make a paradise of the whole earth, were it not for misgovernment, and a diversion of all his energies from their proper object, the happiness of man, to the selfish interests of kings, nobles and priests.
Every human being, my dear, must thus be viewed according to what it is good for, for none of us, no not one, is perfect; and were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love.
I have been thinking this half hour how to begin my letter and cannot for my soul make it out. I wish to the Lord one could write a letter without any beginning for I am sure it allways puzzles me more than all the rest of it.
Take pains ... to write a neat round, plain hand, and you will find it a great convenience through life to write a small and compact hand as well as a fair and legible one.
Our ancestors ... possessed a right, which nature has given to all men, of departing from the country in which chance, not choice has placed them.
It is while we are young that the habit of industry is formed. If not then, it never is afterwards. The fortune of our lives therefore depends on employing well the short period of our youth.
Nothing gives one person so great advantage over another, as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
It is a part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate; to surmount every difficulty by resolution and contrivance.
[T]he dignity of parliament it seems can brook no opposition to it's power. Strange that a set of men who have made sale of their virtue to the minister should yet talk of retaining dignity!
As you are entered with the class of Nat. philosophy, give to it the hours of lecture, but devote all your other time to Mathematics, avoiding company as the bane of all progress.
Our ancestors ... were laborers, not lawyers.
I long to be in the midst of the children, and have more pleasure in their little follies than in the wisdom of the wise.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it.
I was duped ... by the Secretary of the treasury [Alexander Hamilton], and made a fool for forwarding his schemes, not then sufficiently understood by me; and of all the errors of my political life, this has occasioned the deepest regret.
[Tobacco] is a culture productive of infinite wretchedness.... The cultivation of wheat is the reverse in every circumstance.
The bloom of Monticello is chilled by my solitude.
I candidly confess that I have ever looked on Cuba as the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States. The control which, with Florida, this island would give us over the Gulf of Mexico, and the countries and isthmus bordering on it, as well as all those whose waters flow into it, would fill up the measure of our political well-being.
Do not write me studied letters but ramble as you please.
Amplification is the vice of modern oratory. It is an insult to an assembly of reasonable men, disgusting and revolting instead of persuading. Speeches measured by the hour, die by the hour.
The art of life is the art of avoiding pain; and he is the best pilot, who steers clearest of the rocks and shoals with which it is beset.

His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion.

[I]n Great-Britain it is said that their constitution relies on the house of commons for honesty, and the lords for wisdom; which would be a rational reliance if honesty were to be bought with money, and if wisdom were hereditary.

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
No stile of writing is so delightful as that which is all pith, which never omits a necessary word, nor uses an unnecessary one.
I note what you say of the late disturbances in your College. These dissensions are a great affliction on the American schools, and a principal impediment to education in this country.
If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong.
The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.
I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war.
Would not that apply to middle east.

The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.
The truth is that a Pigmy and a Patagonian, a Mouse and a Mammoth, derive their dimensions from the same nutritive juices.... [A]ll the manna of heaven would never raise the Mouse to the bulk of the Mammoth.
I am savage enough to prefer the woods, the wilds, and the independence of Monticello, to all the brilliant pleasures of this gay capital [Paris].
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
The sun of her [Great Britain] glory is fast descending to the horizon. Her philosophy has crossed the Channel, her freedom the Atlantic, and herself seems passing to that awful dissolution, whose issue is not given human foresight to scan.
A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on.... The small landowners are the most precious part of a state.
Relying ... on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power to make.
I am never tempted to pray but when a warm feeling for my friends comes athwart my heart.
[Your letters] serve like gleams of light, to cheer a dreary scene where envy, hatred, malice, revenge, and all the worse passions of men are marshalled to make one another as miserable as possible.

(Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, February 8, 1798, to his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

No comments:

Post a Comment