Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Thomas W. Maury, 27 January 1816

To Thomas W. Maury

Monticello Jan. 27. 16.

Dear Sir

I am favored with yours of the 17th. mr Cabell had apprised me of the objections to the power of imprisonment given to a functionary of our College; and having explained to him the reason of it I must refer you to him for a sight of my letter. the object seems to have been totally mistaken, and what was intended in tenderness to the pupil has been misconstrued into an act of severity, for every one knows they may now be sent by a common magistrate to the common prison for a breach of the peace. With respect to the bank-mania, I foresaw it in 1791. and then opposed the establishment of the Bank of the US. which I knew was only an inoculation. I have marked the progress of the disease and seen that it was incurable, and to end in death. there will be a vast crush of private fortunes as on the death of the old Continental paper, as of the Assignats of France, the Misipi paper of Law, the South-sea paper of England Etc the most pitiable of it’s victims now as before1 will be the helpless widow & orphan. prudent men will mitigate it’s effects by caution. they will protect themselves as they do their fences when the woods are afire, by firing against it. what is most blameable is the cruelty of your process, roasting us before a slow fire like the martyrs in the days of persecution. instead of your 15. banks, be merciful, and give us the coup de grace, make it a thousand. however I am perfectly content with the 15. and to meet all hazards and trials with my fellow citizens. if we keep together we shall be safe, and when error is so apparent as to become visible to the majority, they will correct it, and what we suffer during the error must be carried to account with the losses by tempests, earthquakes Etc Your’s with great friendship

Th: Jefferson

RC (ICN: Thomas Jefferson Letters); addressed: “Thomas Walker Maury esq. of the legislature in Richmond”; postmarked Milton, 4 Feb. PoC (MHi); on verso of portion of a reused address cover from Robert Patterson to TJ; endorsed by TJ.

my letter: TJ to Joseph C. Cabell, 24 Jan. 1816. For TJ’s 1791 opinion on the establishment of the bank of the us., see PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 38 vols. description ends , 19:275–82.

1Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Bank of the United States; opposition to search
  • banks; TJ on search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and Central College establishment search
  • Central College; proctor of search
  • currency; paper search
  • France; economy of search
  • Great Britain; financial situation of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; banks search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; paper money search
  • Law, John; Mississippi scheme of search
  • Maury, Thomas Walker; and Central College search
  • Maury, Thomas Walker; as Va. legislator search
  • Maury, Thomas Walker; letters to search
  • Mississippi scheme search
  • South Sea bubble search