Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert S. Garnett, 26 February 1821

To Robert S. Garnett

Monticello. Feb. 26. 21.

I thank you, dear Sir, for the Report of the Agricultural Committee on the subject of the Tariff, inclosed in your favor of the 14th. I have read it with pleasure. between that and the Report of the committee of Manufactures, the justice and the expediency of the system of protecting duties, is ably discussed. of all the questions which fall within the scope of the human mind, none are more perplexing than those which arise in the branch of Political economy. the facts are so numerous, so various, so entangled & difficult of access, and the combinations of these facts so complicated, that differences of opinion are to be expected. if there be heads in this world capable of seeing all these facts, all their bearings on one another, of making all the combinations into which they enter, and drawing sound conclusions from the whole, no doubt that a wisdom of that grade may form a system of regulations for directing to the greatest advantage the public industry and interest. the difficulty of doing this however has produced the modern & general conviction that it is safest ‘to let things alone.’ and the nation which has pursued the regulating system with the most apparent success is now proposing it’s gradual abandonment. but I leave these puzzling decisions to those who are to live under them, confident that they will do what is best for themselves, & tender you with great sincerity the assurance of my esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Forbes Magazine Collection, New York City, 2003); at foot of text: “Robert S. Garnett esq.”; endorsed by Garnett. PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ.

Garnett’s favor of 14 Feb. 1821, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 19 Feb. 1821 from Washington. It enclosed the Report Of the Committee on Agriculture, on the memorial of the Delegates of the United Agricultural Societies of sundry counties in the state of Virginia ([Washington, 1821]), which was presented to the United States House of Representatives on 2 Feb. 1821 (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 14:191). Garnett sent the same publication to James Madison with a brief covering letter dated 14 Feb. 1821 (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:252).

Great Britain was the nation beginning to deregulate as it moved toward economic liberalism.

Index Entries

  • Congress, U.S.; and tariffs search
  • Garnett, Robert Selden; and tariffs search
  • Garnett, Robert Selden; letter from accounted for search
  • Garnett, Robert Selden; letters to search
  • Great Britain; financial system of search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; reports to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives works search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; political economy search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); works sent to search
  • political economy; TJ on search
  • Report Of the Committee on Agriculture, on the memorial of the Delegates of the United Agricultural Societies of sundry counties in the state of Virginia search
  • Report Of the Committee on Manufactures, on the various Memorials praying for, and remonstrating against, an increase of the duties on imports search