Dec 13

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Eli Whitney Regarding the Cotton Gin

Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 16. 1793
Eli Whitney
Whitney, Eli

Nov. 16. 1793.

Sir, —
Your favor of Oct. 15. inclosing a drawing of your cotton gin, was received on the 6th inst. The only requisite of the law now uncomplied with is the forwarding a model, which being received your patent may be made out delivered to your order immediately.

As the state of Virginia, of which I am, carries on household manufactures of cotton to a great extent, as I also do myself, and one of our great embarrassments is the clearing the cotton of the seed, I feel a considerable interest in the success of your invention, for family use. Permit me therefore to ask information from you on these points. Has the machine been thoroughly tried in the ginning of cotton, or is it as yet but a machine of theory? What quantity of cotton has it cleaned on an average of several days, worked by hand, by how many hands? What will be the cost of one of them made to be worked by hand? Favorable answers to these questions would induce me to engage one of them to be forwarded to Richmond for me. Wishing to hear from you on the subject I am c.

P.S. Is this the machine advertised the last year by Pearce at the Patterson manufactory?

Thomas Jefferson

Excerpt From The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 8.

Dec 13

Thomas Jefferson on congressional conflict of interest

“I said that the two great complaints were that the national debt was unnecessarily increased, that it had furnished the means of corrupting both branches of the legislature. That he must know everybody knew there was a considerable squadron in both whose votes were devoted to the paper stock-jobbing interest, that the names of a weighty number were known several others suspected on good grounds. That on examining the votes of these men they would be found uniformly for every treasury measure, that as most of these measures had been carried by small majorities they were carried by these very votes. That therefore it was a cause of just uneasiness when we saw a legislature legislating for their own interests in opposition to those of the people”

Excerpt From The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Aug 13

Thomas Jefferson on judicial power and ego

“It is not enough that honest men are appointed judges. All know the influence of interest on the mind of man, and how unconsciously his judgment is warped by that influence. To this bias add that of the esprit de corps, of their peculiar maxim and creed that “it is the office of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction,” and the absence of responsibility, and how can we expect impartial decision between the General government, of which they are themselves so eminent a part, and an individual state from which they have nothing to hope or fear. We have seen too that, contrary to all correct example, they are in the habit of going out of the question before them, to throw an anchor ahead and grapple further hold for future advances of power. They are then in fact the corps of sappers miners, steadily working to undermine the independant rights of the States, to consolidate all power in the hands of that government in which they have so important a freehold estate. But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected.”

Excerpt From The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1.

Aug 13

Thomas Jefferson on congressional corruption and bloat

“That a system had there been contrived for deluging the states with paper money instead of gold silver, for withdrawing our citizens from the pursuits of commerce, manufactures, buildings, other branches of useful industry, to occupy themselves their capitals in a species of gambling, destructive of morality, which had introduced it’s poison into the government itself. That it was a fact, as certainly known as that he I were then conversing, that particular members of the legislature, while those laws were on the carpet, had feathered their nests with paper, had then voted for the laws, and constantly since lent all the energy of their talents, instrumentality of their offices to the establishment and enlargement of this system: that they had chained it about our necks for a great length of time, in order to keep the game in their hands had from time to time aided in making such legislative constructions of the constitution as made it a very different thing from what the people thought they had submitted to; that they had now brought forward a proposition, far beyond every one ever yet advanced, to which the eyes of many were turned as the decision which was to let us know whether we live under a limited or an unlimited government.”

Excerpt From The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1.

Jun 13

Thomas Jefferson on lawyers in Congress

“I served with General Washington in the legislature of Virginia before the revolution, and, during it, with Dr. Franklin in Congress. I never heard either of them speak ten minutes at a time, nor to any but the main point which was to decide the question. They laid their shoulders to the great points, knowing that the little ones would follow of themselves. If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150. lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, talk by the hour?”

Excerpt From The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1.