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himself from a candid acknowledgment, that in making up his case, he supplied by gratuitous conjectures, the facts which were not within his knowledge, and that thus he has sinned against truth in his declarations before the public? Be this as it may, I have so much confidence in the discernment and candor of my fellow-citizens, as to leave to their judgment, and dismiss from my own notice any future torture of words or circumstances which this writer may devise for their deception. Indeed, could such a denunciation, and on such proof, bereave me of that confidence and consolation, I should, through the remainder of life, brood over the afflicting belief that I had lived and labored in vain.
TO MR. GOODENOW.
MONTICELLO, June 13, 18:22. Sir, I thank you for the volume of American Jurisprudenoe, which you have been so kind as to send me. I am now too old to read books solidly, unless they promise present amusement or future benefit. To me books of law offer neither. But I read your 6th chapter with interest and satisfaction, on the question whether the common law (of England) makes a part of the laws of our general government? That it makes more or less a part of the laws of the States is, I suppose, an unquestionable fact. Not by birthright, a conceit as inexplicable as the trinity, but by adoption. But, as to the general government, the Virginia Report on the alien and sedition laws, has so completely pulverized this pretension that nothing new can be said on it. Still, seeing that judges of the Supreme Court, (I recollect, for example, Elsworth and Story) had been found capable of such paralogism, I was glad to see that the Supreme Court had given it up. In the case of Libel in the United States district Court of Connecticut, the rejection of it was certainly sound; because no law of the general government had made it an offence. But such a case might, I suppose, be sustained in the State Courts which have state laws against libels. Because as to the portions of power within each State assigned to the general government, the President is as much the Executive of the State, as their particular governor is in relation to State powers. These, however, are speculations with which I no longer trouble myself; and therefore, to my thanks, I will only add assurances of my great respect
TO DOCTOR BENJAMIN WATERHOUSE.
MONTICELLO, June 26, 1822 DEAR SIR, I have received and read with thankfulness and pleasure your denunciation of the abuses of tobacco and wine. Yet, however sound in its principles, I expect it will be but a sermon to the wind. You will find it is as difficult to inculcate these sanative precepts on the sensualities of the present day, as to convince an Athanasian that there is but one God. I wish success to both attempts, and am happy to learn from you that the latter, at least, is making progress, and the more rapidly in proportion as our Platonizing Christians make more stir and noise about it. The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.
1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect. 2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion. These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.
1. That there are three Gods. 2. That good works, or the love of our neighbour, are nothing.
3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.
4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned ; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.
Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian ? He
who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin ? Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither Kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian.
But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-established, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating formulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a mere Aceldama ; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agreeing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about no mysteries, and, skeeping within the pale of common sense, suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their neighbor! I conclude my sermon with sincere assurances of my friendly esteem and respect.
TO JOHN ADAMS.
MONTICELLO, June 27, 1829. DEAR SIR, Your kind letter of the 11th has given me great satisfaction. For although I could not doubt but that the hand of age was pressing heavily on you, as on myself, yet we like to know the particulars and the degree of that pressure. Much reflection too, has been produced by your suggestion of lending my letter of the 1st, to a printer. I have generally great aversion to the insertion of my letters in the public papers; because of my passion for quiet retirement, and never to be exhibited in scenes on the public stage. Nor am I unmindful of the precept of Horace, “solvere senescentem, mature sanus equum, ne peccet ad extremum ridendus.” In the present case, however, I see a possibility that this might aid in producing the very quiet after which I pant. I do not know how far you may suffer, as I do, under the persecution of letters, of which every mail brings a fresh load. They are letters of inquiry, for the most part, always of good will, sometimes from friends whom I esteem, but much oftener from persons whose names are unknown to me, but written kindly and civilly, and to which, therefore, civility requires answers. Perhaps, the better known failure of your hand in its function of writing, may shield you in greater degree from this distress, and so far qualify the misfortune of its disability. I happened to turn to my letter-list some time ago, and a curiosity was excited to count those received in a single year. It was the year before the last. I found the number to be one thousand two hundred and sixty-seven, many of them requiring answers of elaborate research, and all to be answered with due attention and consideration. Take an average of this number for a week or a day, and I will repeat the question suggested by other considerations in mine of the 1st. Is this life? At best it is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle but in death. To such a life, that of a cabbage is paradise. It occurs then, that my condition of existence, truly stated in that letter, if better known, might check the kind indiscretions which
are so heavily oppressing the departing hours of life. Such a relief would, to me, be an ineffable blessing. But yours of the 11th, equally interesting and affecting, should accompany that to which it is an answer. The two, taken together, would excite a joint interest, and place before our fellow-citizens the present condition of two ancient servants, who having faithfully performed their forty or fifty campaigns, stipendiis omnibus expletis, have a reasonable claim to repose from all disturbance in the sanctuary of invalids and superannuates. But some device should be thought of for their getting before the public otherwise than by our own publication. Your printer, perhaps, could frame something. plausible. ********'s name should be left blank, as his picture, should it meet his eye, might give him pain. I consign, however, the whole subject to your consideration, to do in it whatever your own judgment shall approve, and repeat always, with truth, the assurance of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect.
TO WILLIAM T. BARRY.
MONTICELLO, July 2, 1822. SIR,—Your favor of the 15th of June is received, and I am very thankful for the kindness of its expressions respecting myself. But it ascribes to me merits which I do not claim. I was only of a band devoted to the cause of independence, all of whom exerted equally their best endeavors for its success, and have a common right to the merits of its acquisition. So also is the civil revolution of 1801. Very many and very meritorious were the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its republican tack. To preserve it in that, will require unremitting vigilance. Whether the surrender of our opponents, their reception into our camp, their assumption of our name, and apparent accession to our objects, may strengthen or weaken the genuine principles of republicanism, may be a good or an evil, is yet to be seen. I consider the party division of whig and tory