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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 435

Thomas Jefferson. (1743–1826) (continued)
    Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations,—entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the general government in its whole constitutional vigour, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad;…freedom of religion; freedom of the press; freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected,—these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.
          First Inaugural Address. March 4, 1801.
    In the full tide of successful experiment.
          First Inaugural Address. March 4, 1801.
    Of the various executive abilities, no one excited more anxious concern than that of placing the interests of our fellow-citizens in the hands of honest men, with understanding sufficient for their stations. 1 No duty is at the same time more difficult to fulfil. The knowledge of character possessed by a single individual is of necessity limited. To seek out the best through the whole Union, we must resort to the information which from the best of men, acting disinterestedly and with the purest motives, is sometimes incorrect.
          Letter to Elias Shipman and others of New Haven, July 12, 1801.
    If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none. 2
          Letter to Elias Shipman and others of New Haven, July 12, 1801.
Note 1.
This passage is thus paraphrased by John B. McMaster in his “History of the People of the United States” (ii. 586): “One sentence will undoubtedly be remembered till our republic ceases to exist. ‘No duty the Executive had to perform was so trying,’ he observed, ‘as to put the right man in the right place.’” [back]
Note 2.
Usually quoted, “Few die and none resign.” [back]