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lessons from my predecessors, had I needed them, marking what was to be imitated and what avoided."
He must have frequently heard General Washington highly eulogized for having never bestowed a public appointment on a relation, and Mr. Adams as much censured for two or three cases in which he had given offices to members of his family. This, it may be remarked, forms one of the grounds of Timothy Pickering's censures of Mr. Adams. Mr. Jefferson never failed through life to act on this principle, and, when rector of the university of Virginia, opposed the appointment of a nephew to a professorship who was every way qualified for the place, lest it should open a door to that nepotism which has so often been injurious to literary institutions.
A young man in Philadelphia having asked Mr. Jefferson's advice on a course of political reading, and as to the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, he good-naturedly sat down to give a full answer to the other's inquiries. He thinks that there is no good elementary work on the organi. zation of society into civil government, founded on the rights of nature. He recommends Locke, Sidney, Priestley, Chipman and the Federalist ; together with Beccaria on Crimes, Smith's Wealth of Nations, and Say's Political Economy. In history he expresses his usual dread of Hure, as he thought his work intended to disguise and discredit the good principles of government, and that it is so plausible and pleasing in its style and manner, as to instil its errors and heresies insensibly into the minds of unwary readers. He fears that a newspaper which should be restrained to true facts and sound principles would find few subscribers; and he dilates on the prostitution of the press, and the utter disregard to truth commonly manifested by the newspapers. He even goes so far as to say that “a suppression of the press would not more completely deprive the nation of its
benefits than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood;" and he suggests as a reformation that an editor might divide his paper into four chapters. The 1st. Truth. 2nd. Probabilities. 3rd. Possibilities. 4th. Lies ;-the 3rd and 4th division professedly for those readers who would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they
. But his complaints seem extravagant, even as to the periodical press, and to proceed as much from the sensibility of the patient, as the aggravation of the disease. The most unprincipled paper extant communicates fifty times as much truth as falsehood, and often it is not difficult to decipher the real state of facts from the false or coloured representations which envelope it. Nor are the exaggerations, or perversions, or direct untruths contained in the newspapers a whit greater than those which partisans recklessly circulate every day, under the influence of prejudice and credulity, rather than from wilful falsehood. They indeed, as to facts, are but the echoes of what had been spoken by others, who have ordinary claims to credit, and merely give a greater diffusion to the local rumours and opinions that have already prevailed. Their hints of meditated mischief, their suspicions of dishonesty, their criminations of motive or of conduct, and their general vituperations of character, are the reverberations of what has been already whispered in secret, and, nine times in ten, is set down to the party malicc which suggested it. Now and then it happens that a plausible or well devised falsehood obtains temporary credence, and sometimes also, a just accusation is not credited, but in general, amidst all these false lights cast on objects, through all their clouds of laudatory incense, or calumnious smoke, the public are able to descry most objects in their real forms and dimensions. In spite of the conflicting testimony of witnesses, and the yet more conflicting arguments of advo
cates, the great tribunal of public opinion can generally discover truth, and administer justice.
It was soon ascertained that there was a want of cordiality between the two American ministers at Paris, Mr. Bowdoin and General Armstrong, which gradually ripened into an open collision ; and on the suggestion of Mr. Short, still at Paris, the president thought of appointing a third minister by way of umpire; but on consulting the members of the cabinet, they did not think it advisable. It seems that on all matters of importance or difficulty, the president consulted all the heads of departments, either together or separately, and in the former case, the votes were taken, and the president counted himself as one. He states to Mr. Short that, on these occasions, neither he nor General Washington had ever exercised their controlling power as president. One of the modes by which some party writers attempted to excite jealousy between Mr. Jefferson and Gallatin was, that the former never consulted his cabinet, and especially declined consulting Mr. Gallatin, which charge is utterly inconsistent with this statement to Mr. Short.
On the 19th of June, the president congratulated Governor Sullivan, of Massachusetts, on the election of a republican executive in that state, and reciprocated the governor's wish for a free communication between the executives of the general government and the states. He considers the federal party as “completely vanquished, and never more to take the field under their own banners.” They will now," he says, "reserve themselves to profit by the schisms among republicans, and to earn favours from minorities, whom they will enable to triumph over their more numerous antagonists.” His prediction has so far received the confirmation of nearly thirty years. He excuses himself from making a tour to the north, as he had been invited to do, and modestly discriminating between General Washington and himself, adds, “ I confess that I am not reconciled to the idea of a chief magistrate parading himself through the several states, as an object of public gaze, and in quest of an applause, which, to be valuable, should be purely voluntary.” He intimates, however, that he might make a visit to Boston or Portsmouth after his term of office had expired, but he had made up no opinion on it.
In June he sent his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, to Philadelphia to study some branches of science not advantageously taught in any other part of the United States. Botany, natural history, and anatomy, and perhaps surgery, but not medicine, and recommended him to the attention of Dr. Wistar. He then gives his reasons for excluding medicine, and presents general views on the subject at great length, but indicating a very limited confidence in the precepts of the science. He admits that the character of some diseases and their remedies are well understood ; but urges that the forms of disease and the symptoms indicating them are as various as the elements of the human body; that combinations of these symptoms, too, are so diversified, that some of them are of too rare occurrence to establish a definite discase, and to an unknown disease there cannot be a known remedy. In these cases, he says, it would be wise to trust to nature, or do nothing more than would be necessary to keep alive hope in the patient, but that the presumptuous tyro proceeds, and substitutes presumption for knowledge. He thus sketches the course of such an adventurer :-“ From the scanty field of what is known, he launches into the boundless region of what is unknown. He establishes for his guide some fanciful theory of corpuscular attraction, of chemical agency, of mechanical powers, of stimuli, of irritability accumulated or exhausted, of depletion by the lancet, or repletion by mercury, or some other ingenious dream, which lets him into all nature's secrets at short hand. On the principle which he thus assumes, he forms his table of nosology, arrays his diseases into families, and extends his curative treatment, by analogy, to all the cases he has thus arbitrarily marshalled together.” He says that he has “ lived to see the disciples of Hoffman, Boerhave, Stahl, Cullen, and Brown, succeed one another like the shifting figures of a magic lanthorn, and their fancies like the dresses of the annual doll-babies from Paris, becoming from their novelty the vogue of the day, and yielding to the next novelty of their ephemeral favour. The patient, treated on the fashionable theory, sometimes gets well in spite of the medicine. The medicine therefore restored him, and the young doctor receives new courage to proceed in his bold experiments on the lives of his fellow-creatures.” He justly remarks that the only sure foundations of medicine are an intimate knowledge of the human body, and observation on the effect of medicinal substances, and therefore “ the anatomical and clinical schools are those in which the young physician should be formed. If he enters with innocence that of the theory of medicine, it is scarcely possible he should come out untainted with error.
His mind must be strong indeed, if, rising above juvenile credulity, it can maintain a wise infidelity against the authority of his instructors, and the bewitching delusions of their theories.” The whole letter is very well written, is a fine specimen of popular reasoning on a scientific subject, and it is believed that there are few of its particular propositions to which the liberal-minded and truly scientific physician would not readily assent, though he may not coneur in its conclusions.
He had a very decided, perhaps extravagant opinion, of the mischiefs done by the rash and inexperienced votaries of medicine in the United States, and he often spoke of it, sometimes in the same strong terms of denunciation used in this letter, and sometimes in a tone of playful raillery. Of this