Thomas Jefferson Papers

Isaac H. Tiffany to Thomas Jefferson, [received 12 January 1817]

From Isaac H. Tiffany

[received 12 Jan. 1817]

Most respectable Sir—

If a sense of error can attone for the length of my last, it is fully acknowledged. With intent to do some good in the little circle of my exertions, the enclosed scheme to awaken a spirit of enquiry & action, by enabling every man to become known & useful, is drawn up. And I have ventured to invite your perusal & correction of it, if you may think it worthy of a moment’s leisure. The society for the promotion of the useful arts, in this state, cannot produce much practical good under its present regulations. It is merely theoretical. The Berkshire society affects much more than the State Society of Massachts

State societies imply besides1 a good police, national funds & patronage; this humble contrivance requires neither & it only demands faculties to understand & to communicate facts, truly. From the Several counties a State Institute may arise. The Shift for the removement of incompetent officers seems required from the nature of the constitution of N. York which directs the Governor & 4 Senators, in council, to appoint militia officers, during pleasure. Inferiors dare not, others will not, attempt to remove Superiors. Hence the general bad State of militia discipline. Were the constitution amended agreeably to your wishes for popular election & control, it would Supercede this device & put us in a much more respectable posture.—This points, Sir, to one of the errors of my last letter, which Spoke too much of the judiciary—nothing of the military. I have referred the militia discipline to the rural committee, because, out of Cities, that duty is performed mostly by the agricultural class. The whole arrangements Are arbitrary & susceptible of accommodation to any numbers, condition or extent. This county contains 20.000 inhabs agricultural, with due proportion of mechanics & professional gentlemen—

Sir—Yours with very great esteem.

I. H. Tiffany

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 209:37213); undated; endorsed by TJ: “Tiffany I. H. (supposed) Schoharie.” Recorded in SJL as received 12 Jan. 1817.

state society of massachts: the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. Under the constitution of n. york of 1777, articles 23–4, a council composed of the governor and four state senators appointed militia officers, who served during pleasure (The Constitution of the State of New-York [Fishkill, N.Y., 1777], 24–5).

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • agriculture; Berkshire Agricultural Society search
  • agriculture; Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture search
  • Berkshire Agricultural Society; I. H. Tiffany on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; popular sovereignty search
  • Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture; I. H. Tiffany on search
  • militia; of N.Y. search
  • New York (state); constitution of search
  • New York (state); militia of search
  • Schoharie County, N.Y.; population of search
  • Schoharie County, N.Y.; proposed institute for search
  • Society for the Promotion of Useful Arts in the State of New-York; I. H. Tiffany on search
  • Tiffany, Isaac Hall; and institute for Schoharie Co., N.Y. search
  • Tiffany, Isaac Hall; and learned societies search
  • Tiffany, Isaac Hall; and N.Y. militia search
  • Tiffany, Isaac Hall; letters from search