Thomas Jefferson Papers

Paragraph for George Washington to Gouverneur Morris, 4 October 1792

Paragraph for George Washington to Gouverneur Morris

Foreigners would suppose from some of our newspapers that there were inveterate political dissensions among us, and even that we were on the eve of dissolving the Union. Nothing is farther from the truth. The people are sensible of the blessings of the general government, and of the prosperous state of our affairs, nor could they be induced to any change. Under a government like ours,1 personal dislikes often assume the garb of public dissension. It is one of the evils to be set off against the innumerable blessings of a free press.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 77: 13402); entirely in TJ’s hand. Recorded in SJPL: “extract from a Ire of G.W. to Gouv. Morris.”

TJ drafted this paragraph for the President, who incorporated a reworked version of it into a private letter he wrote on 20 Oct. 1792 to Gouverneur Morris dealing with the French Revolution, Spanish intrigue among the Southern Indians, and political conflict in the United States (Fitzpatrick, Writings, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends xxxii, 189–90). The paragraph was evidently designed to allay any possible French concerns about party strife in the United States.

1Here TJ first wrote and then canceled “private.”

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