Relative versus absolute dating
Letter to his nephew Peter Carr from Paris, France (10 August 1787). Without this mutual disposition we are disjointed individuals, but not a society.Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. The greatest good we can do our country is to heal it’s party divisions & make them one people.Yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibitions, and by imposing duties which might amount to a prohibition, have been hitherto defeated by his majesty's negative: thus preferring the immediate advantages of a few British corsairs.We shall form to the American union a barrier against the dangerous extension of the British Province of Canada and add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile Country thereby converting dangerous Enemies into valuable friends.I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. To preserve the freedom of the human mind then and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement.Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision. If we do not learn to sacrifice small differences of opinion, we can never act together. If his own opinion prevails at some times, he should acquiesce on seeing that of others preponderate at others.
The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm.What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretentions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation ...Whether after the arrival of the proclamation, of the orders, or of our agent, any exertion which could be made by that State, or the orders of the governor of Kentucky for calling out the militia at the mouth of Cumberland, would be in time to arrest these boats, and those from the falls of the Ohio, is still doubtful.Not in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake a rod over the heads of all, which may make the stoutest of them tremble.