Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GEORGE WASHINGTON - The Works, vol. 5 (Correspondence 1786-1789)
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TO GEORGE WASHINGTON - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 5 (Correspondence 1786-1789) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 5.
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TO GEORGE WASHINGTON
Paris May 2, 1788.
—I am honoured with your Excellency’s letter by the last packet & thank you for the information it contains on the communication between the Cayahoga & Big beaver. I have ever considered the opening a canal between those two water courses as the most important work in that line which the state of Virginia could undertake. It will infallibly turn thro’ the Patowmack all the commerce of Lake Erie & the country West of that, except what may pass down the Mississippi, and it is important that it be soon done, lest that commerce should in the mean time get established in another channel. Having in the spring of last year taken a journey through the Southern parts of France, & particularly examined the canal of Languedoc through its whole course, I take the liberty of sending you the notes I made on the spot, as you may find in them something perhaps which may be turned to account some time or other in the prosecution of the Patowmack canal. Being merely a copy from my travelling notes they are undigested & imperfect, but may still perhaps give hints capable of improvement in your mind. * * *
I had intended to have written a word to your Excellency on the subject of the new constitution, but I have already spun out my letter to an immoderate length. I will just observe therefore that according to my ideas there is a great deal of good in it. There are two things however which I dislike strongly. 1. The want of a declaration of rights. I am in hopes the opposition of Virginia will remedy this, & produce such a declaration. 2. The perpetual re-eligibility of the President. This I fear will make an office for life first, & then hereditary. I was much an enemy to monarchy before I came to Europe. I am ten thousand times more so since I have seen what they are. There is scarcely an evil known in these countries which may not be traced to their king as it’s source, nor a good which is not derived from the small fibres of republicanism existing among them. I can further say with safety there is not a crowned head in Europe whose talents or merits would entitle him to be elected a vestryman by the people of any parish in America. However I shall hope that before there is danger of this change taking place in the office of President, the good sense & free spirit of our countrymen will make the changes necessary to prevent it. Under this hope I look forward to the general adoption of the new constitution with anxiety, as necessary for us under our present circumstances.