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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
QUOTATION: If, in my retirement to the humble station of a private citizen, I am accompanied with the esteem and approbation of my fellow citizens, trophies obtained by the bloodstained steel, or the tattered flags of the tented field, will never be envied. The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.
ATTRIBUTION: THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to the Republican Citizens of Washington County, Maryland, March 31, 1809.—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H. A. Washington, vol. 8, p. 165 (1871).
SUBJECTS: Government—purpose of