Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO EDWARD RUTLEDGE - The Works, vol. 5 (Correspondence 1786-1789)
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TO EDWARD RUTLEDGE - 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 EDWARD RUTLEDGE
Paris July 18, 1788.
My Dear Sir,
—* * * You promise, in your letter of Octob 23. 1787. to give me in your next, at large, the conjectures of your Philosopher on the descent of the Creek Indians from the Carthaginians, supposed to have been separated from Hanno’s fleet during his periplus. I shall be very glad to receive them, & see nothing impossible in his conjecture. I am glad he means to appeal to the similarity of language, which I consider as the strongest kind of proof it is possible to adduce. I have somewhere read that the language of the ancient Carthaginians is still spoken by their descendants inhabiting the mountainous interior parts of Barbary to which they were obliged to retire by the conquering Arabs. If so, a vocabulary of their tongue can still be got, and if your friend will get one of the Creek languages, the comparison will decide. He probably may have made progress in this business: but if he wishes any enquiries to be made on this side the Atlantic, I offer him my services cheerfully, my wish being, like his, to ascertain the history of the American aborigines.
I congratulate you on the accession of your state to the new federal constitution. This is the last I have yet heard of, but I expect daily that my own has followed the good example, & suppose it to be already established. Our government wanted bracing. Still we must take care not to run from one extreme to another; not to brace too high. I own I join those in opinion who think a bill of rights necessary. I apprehend too that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of President & Senator will end in abuse. But my confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue & good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses. We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone without bloodshed. But the world is too far oppressed to profit of the example. On this side of the Atlantic the blood of the people is become an inheritance, and those who fatten on it, will not relinquish it easily. The struggle in this country is as yet of doubtful issue. It is in fact between the monarchy and the parliaments. The nation is no otherwise concerned but as both parties may be induced to let go some of it’s abuses to court the public favor. The danger is that the people, deceived by a false cry of liberty may be led to take side with one party, & thus give the other a pretext for crushing them still more. If they can avoid the appeal to arms, the nation will be sure to gain much by this controversy. But if that appeal is made it will depend entirely on the dispositions of the army whether it issue in liberty or despotism. Those dispositions are not as yet known. In the mean time there is great probability that the war kindled in the east will spread from nation to nation & in the long run become general. * * *