Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 8 March 1819

Monticello Mar. 8. 19.

I have been at length, my dear friend, able to get the claim of M. Poirey passed by congress, & I inclose him a copy of the act in a letter put under your cover, & left open for your perusal. I recieved the act the last night only. You will see by my letter to him why I cannot undertake the further transaction of business. I am all but unable to write at all, which is the cause of my writing rarely to you, and not from any diminution of affection to you. I shall ever love you, and I take great interest in the welfare of your country. write to me therefore sometimes, and let me know what concerns yourself & your country. how does the new constitution work? is your government and people getting into the habit of viewing it as sacred, and as real fatter on their actions which they cannot break, & that it is sacrilege to attempt it? for until they acquire this veneration for it, it will be treated but as an ordinary law, & broken whenever convenient. present me with friendship and respect to M. Tracy. tell him his Political economy has got into rapid and general circulation here. that it is already quoted in Congress & out of Congress as our standard code; and that the naming him in that as the author of the Commentary on Montesquieu has excited a new demand for that work, & will call for a new edition, the former being exhausted. these two works will render more service to our country than all the writings of all the saints & holy fathers of the church have rendered. I salute you with unchangeable affection and respect.

Th: Jefferson


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