A Patriot’s Warning: The Words of Thomas Jefferson

A PATRIOT’S WARNING.

If ever the tones of warning of the immortal Jefferson should be heard and heeded, now is the time. If there ever was a period when they were more directily applicable than any other, it is the present. Read and remember.

A Warning Voice. — “To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.

If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the governmemt for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagement to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet the chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.

Our land-holders too, like theirs, retaining, indeed, the title and stewardship of estates, called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us the salutary lesson that private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance, becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but sinning and suffering.

Then begins, indeed, the bellum omimium in omnia*, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural instead of the abusive state of man.

And the fore-horse of this frightful team is, PUBLIC DEBT.

Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”

Thomas Jefferson

The Experiment (Norwalk, Ohio) Sep 8, 1841

*war of all against all (Definition from the Atlantic Sentinel, which published these same words from Jefferson in a recent article.)

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