The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


I am in great pain for the Marquis de La Fayette. His principles, you know, are clearly with the people; but having been elected for the Noblesse of Auvergne, they have laid him under express instructions, to vote for the decision by orders and not persons. This would ruin him with the Tiers Etat, and it is not possible he could continue long to give satisfaction to the Noblesse. I have not hesitated to press on him to burn his instructions, and follow his conscience as the only sure clue, which will eternally guide a man clear of all doubts and inconsistencies. If he cannot effect a conciliatory plan, he will surely take his stand manfully at once, with the Tiers Etat. He will in that case be who he pleases with them, and I am in hopes that base is now too solid to render it dangerous to be mounted on it.

to George Washington, 10 May 1789