# Thomas Jefferson on expatriation, 1776 (The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1892)

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• 7/28/2019 Thomas Jefferson on expatriation, 1776 (The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1892)

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• 7/28/2019 Thomas Jefferson on expatriation, 1776 (The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1892)

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l .:f.54 . . . . :i:.{fE WR{fN_G_s OF

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. .THOMAS JEFFERSON. 55

altho', from their natural temperaments, they weremore- disposed\. generally to acquiesce ir:t 'things as

t ~ e y ~ r e , than to ris.k innovations, ye t w h e n ~ v e : th ep ~ b l i c will had once decided, n o n ~ were more fatthful or exact in their obedience to it.The seat of our government had been originallyfixed in the p ~ n i n s u l a of J mestown, th e first settlement of the colonists; and ha d been afterwax:ds re:moved Lew miles inland to .\Villiamsburg. But this

was at a-time when o u r - s ~ t t l e m e n t s had not extended'.beyond ti4e water. Now they crossed theAlleghany; and the center. of populatiOn ' ~ ~ ~ _ v e r yfar removed from wha-r it ha d been. Yet \V tlhams-. burg was still th e depository of our archives, th ehab"itual residence- of the G o v e : ~ o r & many other ofthe public ~ u n c t i o n a r i e the ~ s t a l _ : > l i s h e d R l ~ c ~sessions of the legislature, and tlu!. m a g a z m ~ our

m i l i ~ a r y 'stores: an d it 's situation .was so e x p o s e ~ t h ~ tit micrht be taken at t i m ~ in ,war, and, at .thtstime a r ~ i c u l a r l y . an enemY, night run t!Peither of the rivers between whtch 1tt ltes, l.and a forceabove .and take possession of the . l a c ~ . witho';lt the' . . . h' (y I hadpossibility of savmg etther persons or t tnl:>s. . .propqsed it's removal so ~ a r l y as Octo,b. 76.' bu t Itno t prevail untirthe seSsiOn of May. 79. 'Early in the)session of May 79 I prepared,obtained leave to bring i:n a bill d e ~ l a r i n g ~ v h o . s l } o u l ~be d e ~ m e d citizens, asse-rting the natural ng.ht o

\. I T h i s ~ l l . S moved a.s early I76I, ami only ailed by a vote of ~ J B t o , j 6 . Ao: r 10 r 1111 HoUJc o.1 urgusu. second attempt was made Feb. 10 , 1772. - ; ~ " " na '.1 Cf. Jllsi, Oct. q , I n6

• 7/28/2019 Thomas Jefferson on expatriation, 1776 (The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1892)

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: : : ,. . :.\ .THE W R I T I ~ C ! S QF : [q76 ., : : : . . j ~ p ~ ; r i ~ t . i o ~ \ ~ P ~ ' 7 c ~ i b ; n g the inode of eXercising

.. . . . l . 1t. Thts, w h e n ~ - w t t h d r from th e house on the:; : 1stof June foll0wing, I left in. th e hands of George : ' ! v f a s ~ n . a : ~ d it ~ s s e d on th e 26th of tna_t month.'.. In gtvmg thts ace unt of the laws of _whtch I wasr :._, myseif . he mover .'&draughtsman, I by no means

.' .. :.. ~ e a n claim to myself\ the merit of obtain.n.g their.. . passage. I had ~ m a n y occasional and strenuous

... c o ~ d j t r t o r s in d e o ~ ~ e ; and \ one most steadfast, able,. and zeal:us; who w ~ elf a h6st. This was

. ... . . George Mai;on, a man of .th e first order of wisdomamong h o ~ e who .acte_d on .the t h e ~ ~ r e of th e re.volut i o n ~ expartsive mind, profound\uagrrient, cogent inargl!ment, learned in th eI9re of former constitutiQQ,- a r l } ~ s t for the republican c ~ a n g e on democrati_ principles: His elocution was neither ,flowing

. nor . ~ o o t h , his language was strong, his manner. most i ~ p r e s s i v e , an d strengthened by a dash of biting_ cynicism when; provocation m a d e ~ it s e a i o a b l e . .Mr. W y ~ h e , w_hlle sp_eaker in the two s e s s i ~ n s ofI 777 between hts return f_rGm C o n g r e s ~ ahd his ap- p o i n t ~ e n t to the Chancery, an able and constantassociate in :whatever was before' a committee of the (

w h o l e . pure integrity: judgment and re-asoning-:- p o ~ ~ ~ s .gave him great'weight. Of him see m0re in

~ " " : - : - ~ - s o n i e ~ o t e . s i n c l o s e d in my letter of August 31. 1821 , ,: ... . M J h S ., - . - . . . to .. _. n aunderson. ~ : .. : . : ~ r : ~ a d i ~ ~ n c a m ~ i ' n ~ o th.e .House in I 776: a new :f*L :j_. . .- ~ e ~ b e r and_ oUJlg ; whtch ctrcumstances concurring

{ ' - ' .-:_. w i t h extreme ' m o d ~ s t y , prevented his venturing, . - s ~ ~ : .. .. .. ... .. . . .( ~ ~ ~ ~ : 7 . I ' P r i n t ~ in R ~ p f - 1 D/IAI C4mmiltu o f r o i J t ~ r r , P41.-"'-- ,; . . . . . . .

. . , ........ ...J..,, .... . . ~ .- _ -- .--- -- , --------1 7 7 ~ ) THOJJf1S JE(FERS01 '. 5771 ...himself in deba,te b e f o r ~ his removal t6 the Councilof State in ~ o v ~ 77 From thence he went to Con-

. gress, then consisting of few m e m ~ Train'ed ir.: . these successive schools, he acquired a habit. of selfp o s s e s which placed _at ready command .the richresources of his luminous and discriminat ing mind, &of hi s extensive jnformation, and d e r e nim the

. first of every assembly r w a r d ~ of h ~ h he became.a member. N ever wandering from his subject intovajn declamation, bu t pursuing it closely in language

: pure: classical, and copious,\oothin g always th e feelina-s of .his adversaries by civilities and s0ftness .o(e x ~ r e s s i o n , he rose . to the eminent station which _heheld in the g rea t National convention of i 87.it1 th at of .Virginia which followed, he sustained thenew constitution in all its parts, bea rin-g off the palmaga,inst logic of George Mason, _nd ferviddeclamation of l\-Ir. H enry. \Vith these o n ~ u m m a _ t epowers were united a pure and' spotless virtu_e whichno calumny ha s ever ~ t t e m p t e d to su l_ly. . thepowers and polish of his pen, and of th e wtsdo":' Qfhis administration in the highest office of th e n a t t o ~ ,I .need ' say nothing. They have spoken, and w1llfoiever s p e ~ k fo r th ems elves. . .. . . So 'car w ~ - w e r e proceeding in the detatls of refor-

"mation only ; s'clecting points of e g i s ~ a t i ? n ~ r o m i n e n tin character & px:ipciple, urgent, and m d t ~ ~ t t v e ofstrength of th e general pulse of reformauon:_ v V h e ~

_I left Congress, in 76. it was the p e r s u a s t ~ n thati : "ou r whole code must be reviewed, a d a p ~ e d to ourr e p u b l i ~ a n ( r o r m 0 ~ government, and, now that W7 had