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The Quotable Jefferson
Collected & Edited by John P. Kaminski

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Quotes about Thomas Jefferson:

"Mr. Jefferson . . . is one of the choice ones of the Earth."--Abigail Adams

"Words cannot sufficiently express to you how much I am pleased with Mr. Jefferson's public conduct--He unites every ability that can recommend him with the ministers, and at the [same] time possesses accomplishments of the mind and the heart which cannot but give him many friends."--Marquis de Lafayette

"Mr. Jefferson lives well keeps a good Table and excellent Wines which he distributes freely and by his Hospitality to his Countrymen here possesses very much their good Will."--Gouverneur Morris

"He possessed a genius of the first order. It was universal in its objects."--Benjamin Rush

"The President is a little awkward in his first address, but you are immediately at ease in his presence. His manners are inviting and not uncourtly; and his voice flexible and distinct. He bears the marks of intense thought and perseverance in his countenance."--Joseph Story

"Mr. Jefferson has hitherto been distinguished as the quiet modest, retiring philosopher--as the plain simple unambitious republican. He shall now for the first time be regarded as the intriguing incendiary--the aspiring turbulent competitor."--Alexander Hamilton

Quotes by Thomas Jefferson:

"[Frenchmen] have as much happiness in one year as an Englishman in ten."

Writing from Paris during the French Revolution: "The cutting off of heads is become so much la mode, that one is apt to feel of a morning whether their own is on their shoulders."

"I may think public service & private misery inseparably linked together."

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure."

On legislative delay: "How can expedition be expected from a body which we have saddled with an hundred lawyers, whose trade is talking?"

On the presidency: "The second office of this government is honorable & easy, the first is but a splendid misery."

On the U.S.: "Not in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake a rod over the heads of all, which may make the stoutest of them tremble. But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be."

"As to myself, I love peace, and I am anxious that we should give the world still another useful lesson, by showing to them other modes of punishing injuries than by war, which is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer."

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File created: 6/25/2007

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