The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


A wonderful and rapid change is taking place in Pennsylvania, Jersey; and New York. Congress is daily piled with petitions against the alien and sedition laws and standing armies. Several parts of this State are so violent that we fear an insurrection. This will be brought about by some if they can. It is the only thing we have to fear. The appearance of an attack of force against the government would check the present current of the middle States, and rally them around the government; whereas, if suffered to go on, it will pass on to a reformation of abuses. The materials now bearing on the public mind will infallibly restore it to its republican soundness in the course of the present summer, if the knowledge of facts can only be disseminated among the people. Under separate cover you will receive some pamphlets written by George Nichols on the acts of the last session. These I would wish you to distribute, not to sound men who have no occasion for them, but to such as have been misled, are candid and will be open to the conviction of truth, and are of influence among their neighbors. It is the sick who need medicine, and not the well. Do not let my name appear in the matter. Perhaps I shall forward you some other things to be distributed in the same way.

to Archibald Stuart, 13 February 1799