Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TO ROBERT J. GARNETT.

MONTICELLO, February 14, 1824. DEAR SIR, I have to thank you for the copy of Colonel Taylor's New Views of the Constitution, and shall read them with the satisfaction and edification which I have ever derived from whatever he has written. But I fear it is the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Those who formerly usurped the name of federalists, which, in fact, they never were, have now openly abandoned it, and are as openly marching by the road of construction, in a direct line to that consolidation which was always their real object. They, almost to a man, are in possession of one branch of the government, and appear to be very strong in yours. The three great questions of amendment now before you, will give the measure of their strength. I mean, 1st, the limitation of the term of the presidential service ; 2d, the placing the choice of president effectually in the hands of the people; 3d, the giving to Congress the power of internal improvement, on condition that each State's federal proportion of the monies so expended, shall be employed within the State. The friends of consolidation would rather take these powers by construction than accept them by direct investiture from the States. Yet, as to internal improvement particularly, there is probably not a State in the Union which would not grant the power on the condition proposed, or which would grant it without that.

The best general key for the solution of questions of power between our governments, is the fact that “every foreign and federal power is given to the federal government, and to the States every power purely domestic.” I recollect but one instance of control vested in the federal, over the State authorities, in a matter purely domestic, which is that of metallic tenders. The federal is, in truth, our foreign government, which department alone is taken from the sovereignty of the separate States.

The real friends of the constitution in its federal form, if they wish it to be immortal, should be attentive, by amendments, to make it keep pace with the advance of the age in science and

[ocr errors]

experience. Instead of this, the European governments have resisted reformation, until the people, seeing no other resource, undertake it themselves by force, their only weapon, and work it out through blood, desolation and long-continued anarchy. Here it will be by large fragments breaking off, and refusing re-union but on condition of amendment; or perhaps permanently. If I can see these three great amendments prevail, I shall consider it as a renewed extension of the term of our lease, shall live in more confidence, and die in more hope. And I do trust that the republican mass, which Colonel Taylor justly says is the real federal one, is still strong enough to carry these truly federo-republican amendments. With my prayers for the issue, accept my friendly and respectful salutations.

TO MR. ISAAC ENGELBRECHT.

MONTICELLO, February 25, 1824. SIR,—The kindness of the motive which led to the request of your letter of the 14th instant, and which would give some value to an article from me, renders compliance a duty of gratitude ; knowing nothing more moral, more sublime, more worthy of your preservation than David's description of the good man, in his 15th Psalm, I will here transcribe it from Brady & Tate's version :

Lord, who's the happy man that may to thy blest courts repair,
Not stranger-like, to visit them, but to inhabit there?
'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves,
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves.
Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound,
Nor hearken to a false report by malice whispered round.
Who, vice, in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect;
And piety, though clothed in rags, religiously respect.
Who, to his plighted vows and trust, has ever firmly stood,
And though he promise to his loss he makes his promise good.
Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ,
Whom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy.
The man who by this steady course has happiness ensured,

When earth’s foundation shakes, shall stand by providence secured.
VOL. VII.

22

Accept this as a testimony of my respect for your request, an acknowledgment of a due sense of the favor of your opinion, and an assurance of my good will and best wishes.

TO MR. WOODWARD.

MONTICELLO, March 24, 1824. I have to thank you, dear Sir, for the copy I have received of your System of Universal Science, for which, I presume, I am indebted to yourself. It will be a monument of the learning of the author and of the analyzing powers of his mind. Whether. it may be adopted in general use is yet to be seen. These analytical views indeed must always be ramified according to their object. Yours is on the great scale of a methodical encyclopedia of all human sciences, taking for the basis of their distribution, matter, mind, and the union of both. Lord Bacon founded his first great division on the faculties of the mind which have cognizance of these sciences. It does not seem to have been ob- . served by any one that the origination of this division was not with him. It had been proposed by Charron more than twenty years before, in his book de la Sagesse, B. 1, c. 14, and an imperfect ascription of the sciences to these respective faculties was there attempted. This excellent moral work was published in 1600. Lord Bacon is said not to have entered on his great work until his retirement from public office in 1621. Where sciences are to be arranged in accommodation to the schools of an university, they will be grouped to coincide with the kindred qualifications of Professors in ordinary. For a library, which was my object, their divisions and subdivisions will be made such as to throw convenient masses of books under each separate head. Thus, in the library of a physician, the books of that science, of which he has many, will be subdivivided under many heads 3 and those of law, of which he has few, will be placed under a single one. The lawyer, again, will distribute his law books under many subdivisions, his medical under a single one. Your idea of making the subject matter of the sciences the basis of their distribution, is certainly more reasonable than that of the faculties to which they are addressed. The materialists will perhaps criticize a basis, one-half of which they will say is a nonexistence ; adhering to the axiom of Aristotle, nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu,” and affirming that we can have no evidence of any existence which impresses no sense. Qf this opinion were most of the ancient philosophers, and several of the early and orthodox fathers of the christian church. Indeed, Jesus himself, the founder of our religion, was unquestionably a materialist as to man.

In all his doctrines of the resurrection, he teaches expressiy that the body is to rise in substance. In the Apostles' Creed, we all declare that we believe in the “resurrection of the body.” Jesus said that God is spirit (avevưa] without defining it. Tertullian supplies the definition, quis nogabit Deum esse corpus, etsi Deus Spiritus ? spiritus etiam corporis sui generis in suî effigie.And Origen,“uowarov accipi, doret, pro eo quod non est simile huic nostro crassiori et visibli corpori, sed quod est naturaliter subtile et velut aura tenue.The modern philosophers mostly consider thought as a function of our material organization; and Locke particularly among them, charges with blasphemy those who deny that Omnipotence could give the faculty of thinking to certain combinations of matter.

Were I to re-compose my tabular view of the sciences, I should certainly transpose a particular branch. The naturalists, you know, distribute the history of nature into three kingdoms or departments : zoology, botany, mineralogy. Ideology or mind, however, occupies so much space in the field of science, that we might perhaps erect it into a fourth kingdom or department. But, inasmuch as it makes a part of the animal construction only, it would be more proper to subdivide zoology into physical and moral. The latter including ideology, ethics, and mental science generally, in my catalogue, considering ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man, I had placed them in that sequence. But certainly the faculty of thought belongs to animal history, is an important portion of it, and should there find its place. But these are speculations in which I do not now permit myself to labor. My mind unwillingly engages in severe investigations. Its energies, indeed, are no longer equal to them. Being to thank you for your book, its subject has run away with me into a labyrinth of ideas no longer familiar, and writing also has become a slow and irksome operation with me. I have been obliged to avail myself of the pen of a granddaughter for this communication. I will here, therefore, close my task of thinking, hers of writing, and yours of reading, with assurances of my constant and high respect and esteem.

TO MR. EDWARD EVERETT.

MONTICELLO, March 27, 1824. DEAR SIR,—I have to thank you for your Greek reader, which, for the use of schools, is evidently preferable to the Collectanea Græca. These have not arranged their selections so well in gradation from the easier to the more difficult styles.

On the subject of the Greek ablative, I dare say that your historical explanation is the true one. In the early stages of languages, the distinctions of cases may well be supposed so few as to be readily effected by changes of termination. The Greeks, in this way, seem to have formed five, the Latins six, and to have supplied their deficiences as they occurred in the progress of development, by prepositive words. In later times, the Italians, Spaniards, and French, have depended on prepositions altogether, without any inflection of the primitive word to denote the change of case. What is singular as to the English is, that in its early form of Anglo-Saxon, having distinguished several cases by changes of termination, at later periods it has dropped these, retains but that of the genitive, and supplies all the others by prepositions. These subjects, with me, are neither favorites nor familiar; and your letter has occasioned me to look more into the particular one in question than I had ever done before. Turning, for satisfaction, to the work of Tracy, the most pro

« AnteriorContinuar »