Thomas Jefferson Papers

IX. Lincoln’s Remarks on the Draft, 25 November 1802

IX. Lincoln’s Remarks on the Draft

Novr 25—1802


+  considering the great captiousness of the opposition, I respectfully, suggest for consideration whether the following alteration, would be of any advantage viz—after the word, Yet, in the ninth line of the first paragraph, to insert, our revenues are.
 Instead of the word fiscal, in the last line of the same paragraph, to use the word, needless, or unnecessary, to guard against a construction, that may infer the idea of oppression merely from the term fiscal
 In the close of the 2d. Paragraph, Instead of saying it rests with the legislature to meet &c. pointing out one particular measure to be pursued; would it not put it more out of the power, of party captiousness which might consider it as incroaching, to say it rests with the legislature to decide whether they will meet inequalities abroad by countervailing inequalities at home, or adopt any other measures to remove the evil
+  I likewise have my doubts on the last paragraph. On the 2d page which has been already marked with a quere—
In the close of the 2d Paragraph of the last page of the first sheet. would it be as well to bring the object wished for into the view of the legislature in a manner less pointing to a particular measure to be adopted—and instead of saying in this case &c—to say, in such a case, a monopoly which prevents population, would be injurious, and actual habitation being made a condition of acquiring1 a complete title, very beneficial
 My doubts are, as it now stands, 1st. whether the opposition would not say it looked like directing the legislature. 2dly. If the condition of settling ought to refer to any titles already existing, if any there are now without it.
+  This difficulty particularly applies also to the last line in the same paragraph—If there is any weight in it, would it not be best, to say, instead of, “becomes a measure of urgency as well as justice”—becomes a desirable measure

 I have Sir perused the message with great attention & equal pleasure, it is a most valuable collection of facts & sentiments, & must make a very useful impression. In obedience, to directions I have stated without reserve the doubts which occurred to me—am sensible of the impropriety of expressing positively ideas, as substitutes for the ones objected to—the design was only the more fully to explain my difficulties—I can see no fair objections that the opposition can make to any part of the message, and no possible ones but those which I have mentioned—perhaps the word false in the first Paragraph of the last page but two, may be exchanged for one more palatable to the minority.
 I am Sir with the highest esteem most respectfully yours

Levi Lincoln

RC (DLC); addressed: “The President of the United States”; “+” and “–” notations by TJ in margin; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Nov. and “Message” and so recorded in SJL.

Lincoln’s remarks on the first paragraph relate to the phrases that read, in the finished message at 15 Dec., “yet our income sufficient for the public wants” and “unoppressed by fiscal exactions.”

rests with the legislature: see the section on discriminating duties in the annual message.

monopoly which prevents population: for TJ’s apparent incorporation, with alterations, of this suggestion from Lincoln, see the section of the message relating to Mississippi Territory. In that section also, TJ removed the reference to a measure of urgency, but did not substitute the term “desirable measure.”

The word “false” appears in the section of the annual message on internal taxes, in the phrase “false objects of expence.”

1Lincoln underlined this word with two strokes.

Index Entries