"I view great cities as pestilential to the morals,
the health and the liberties of man.
True, they nourish some of the elegant arts;
but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere;
and less perfection in the others, with more health,
virtue and freedom, would be my choice."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800. ME 10:173
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Reader comments about this quote:
More specific than the last quote but, the subject is too broad to be carried by the stand alone quote.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I agree in part with Mr. Jefferson.I believe I can see where he's coming from and why he might have said this but I also disagree in part because everything is a matter of perception.When you change the way you look at things,the things you look at change.
     -- Guess Who?     
    I have been to Jefferson's Monticello, Charlottesville, Va. home. He was in my book a real individual in that he did not need others that much. Some say "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world". Moi, I am happiest, I think like Jefferson, when I am backpacking in the wilderness alone.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Living in south Florida gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of people from New York and New Jersey. I believe that living with others, packed in like sardines, has had a very negative affect on them. I'm with Waffler on this one, but make mine a 20' sloop and a little breeze.
     -- Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL     
     -- warren, olathe      
    NYC is a good example. The "elegant arts" definitely flourish here, and opportunties abound for business. But it is a dirty place in general and there is nothing that is not man-made for as far as the eye can see. It is a contrived and controlled place -- and these days becoming more and more militarized. You can't sit down without paying someone. Nobody 'owns' anything -- it's too expensive -- we rent everything -- and we develop an attitude about 'them' -- "why don't 'they' do something about this?" Corrupt officials, clogged injustice system, this tax, that tax, permits for everything -- we all are violating some rule somewhere. Everything is broken down into one common denominator -- money. And as our fundamentalist friends will remind us, the lust for money is the root of all evil -- and the money is good in NYC! (That's where 'they' make it.) ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    And here I am, listening to bird's chirping overlooking distant clouds rolling in amidst the deep blue northern sky. I wonder, how can this be a substitute to the fume of NYC subway!
     -- RKA, Wasilla, AK     
    I've ridden horses to the tops of a few mountains...never felt freer, or more out of reach of the "***king Politicians"
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    The key for great Cities is to live in them as a villiage - London is my home town and its full of fabulous villages
     -- RobertSRQ     
     -- Anonymous, Seattle      
    E Archer, it sounds to me like you understand NYC pretty well. Add to this how New Yorkers elect liberals to run the place.
     -- jim k, Austin     
    A very broad subject as Mike states. The first mention, Gen 4:17, a city built by a murderer of innocent blood. Cain. " By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted; but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked." ( Proverbs 11:11 ). And I said Oh that I had wings like a dove ! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. ( Psalm 55:6,7,8,9,10,11. ) Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth ! ( Isaiah 4:8 ). We have come a long way down the line, The mother city shows her face, as Revelation 17:5. as the source from which has proceeded the religious harlotry of mingling pagan rites and doctrines with the Christian faith. Guess who, must love chaos and corruption. People are likened also to cities without wall, easily overthrown when they put their trust in man.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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