Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joel Barlow, 17 January 1806

17 Jany. 1806

Dear Sir

Can you find a half an hour in the course of the day to read over the enclosed Prospectus & permit me to call on you in the evening to recieve your ideas. I am told that the Memorial now before Congress has excited a disposition to do something, perhaps to grant a charter. if so, why not set the thing on its broad basis at first, & let it grow up with the means that may afterwards be applied?

I believe my ideas do not differ much from yours except as to the time. and it appears to me that in this object, delays are dangerous. generation after generation are growing up. the one that succeeds us, & even its successor, is getting on to the stage. we see in many instances they are going wrong, & in all there is danger of it. would it not be risking too much to trust their guidance to those we cannot know, when it is in our own power to give them that direction from which they would be less likely to deviate than they would to find it of themselves?

Excuse my urging this subject, & believe it arises from the purest zeal to contribute to the best good of my country.

your obt

Joel Barlow

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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