"I am not among those who fear the people.
They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom.
And to preserve their independence,
We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
We must make our election between economy and liberty
or profusion and servitude.
If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and
in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and
our amusements, for our calling 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 government 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 our miss-managers to account
but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves
to rivet their 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, like theirs, 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 extravagances.
And this is the tendency of all human governments.
A departure from principle in one instance
becomes a precedent for the second;
that second for a third; and so on,
till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery,
to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.
Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia,
which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world,
have mistaken 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."
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816
- More Thomas Jefferson Quotes
- Books by or about Thomas Jefferson
- This Thomas Jefferson quote is found in these quote Categories:
Election quotes, Freedom quotes, Land quotes, Liberty quotes, Oppression quotes, President quotes, Tax quotes, Taxation quotes, Tyranny quotes, Usurpation quotes, Vote quotes
| || |