"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Friday, July 04, 2008

These are grounds of hope for others.


To Roger C. Weightman, Monticello, June 24, 1826
The kind invitation I receive from you, on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration on the fiftieth anniversary of American Independence, as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.
I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the city of Washington and its vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be forgotten. With my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself, and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.

Also something good to look at to think about where we are at right now. Not a spiritual work but pretty good. None the less also spending some time in prayer for the hearts of our land would seem more than appropriate today.

Reflection Day VDH


Jared Nelson said...

I'm still a little suspicious of the "rights of men" phrasiology. I suppose I can individually interpret the text in my own way, how I feel it should apply to me though. I like Burke's description of his definition of the rights of man: his liberties as well as his duties should be reckoned among the rights of man. If that's what Jefferson meant there then here! here! to justice!

Aaron said...

Of course Jefferson would have meant that. Rule of law was what was meant to stop Mob rule and promote justice. Also the whole concept of Rights given from God bow to that. Not rights before God but given by a just God.

Speaking of this in application,

Saw Fred Thompson on C-Span Thursday night speaking to National RIGHT to life. :-0 He opened with a Burke qoute aimed at Obama and closed with a endorsment of John McCain. He also had some praise for the founders in there. So for me it was all good!

Anyway was just a 4th post. Jefferson ofcourse died shortly after the letter, on the 4th of July. I like it.

Aaron said...

When I was watching the Fred Thompson speech he basically praised the founders for making us a nation of laws and then ripped the Supreme Court for being lawless and ruling at a whim. His example was the recent decision that hurts children victims of violent acts (rape). Supreme Court lawless = unjust Supreme Court. We are a nation of laws by design so we can be a just nation that protects minorities’ rights, not to make every man a king but to be just. With the rise of a court that rules like a king we now see the decline of justice. Hmmm…. Thank you our majesty “Justice” Kennedy.

Aaron said...

Jefferson on Justice and duty:

"The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy, "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:465

"Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political, I deem [one of] the essential principles of our Government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural Address, 1801. ME 3:321

"Justice is the fundamental law of society." --Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816. ME 14:490

"An equal application of law to every condition of man is fundamental." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 1807. ME 11:341

"It is certainly for the good of the whole nation to assimilate as much as possible all its parts, to strengthen their analogies, obliterate the traits of difference, and to deal law and justice to all by the same rule and the same measure." --Thomas Jefferson: Batture at New Orleans, 1812. ME 18:80

"As [Emerich de] Vattel says himself... 'All the tranquility, the happiness and security of mankind rest on justice, on the obligation to respect the rights of others.'" --Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on French Treaties, 1793. ME 3:239

"No man having a natural right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to the umpirage of an impartial third." --Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816. ME 15:24