Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM SHORT 1 - The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)
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TO WILLIAM SHORT 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 10.
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TO WILLIAM SHORT1
June 12, 1807.
The proposition in your letter of May 16th, as adding an umpire to our discordant negotiators at Paris, struck me favorably on reading it, and reflection afterward strengthened my first impressions. I made it, therefore, a subject of consultation with my coadjutors, as is our usage. For our government although in theory subject to be directed by the unadvised will of the President, is, and from its origin has been, a very different thing in practice. The minor business in each department is done by the head of the department on consultation with the President alone; but all matters of importance or difficulty are submitted to all the heads of departments composing the cabinet. Sometimes, by the President’s consulting them separately and successively, as they happen to call on him, but in the gravest cases calling them together, discussing the subject maturely, and finally taking the vote, on which the President counts himself but as one. So that in all important cases the Executive is in fact a directory, which certainly the President might control; but of this there was never an example either in the first or the present administration. I have heard, indeed, that my predecessor sometimes decided things against his counsel by dashing and trampling his wig on the floor. This only proves what you and I know, that he had a better heart than head.
I see with extreme concern that you have received an impression that my attachment to you has become lessened and that you have drawn this inference from circumstances taking place while you were in Washington. What these circumstances could be is to me incomprehensible, but one thing I certainly know, that they have been misconstrued. That this change could not be previous to my retirement from the government in 1794, your appointments to France, to Holland, to Spain are proofs. And if, during my present place in the government, I have not met your desires, the public motives which have been frankly declared have given the real grounds. You think them not founded in fact; but if the testimony we receive is of different complexions, neither should wonder at the difference of conclusion drawn by the other, and I do trust that you will become sensible that there is no necessity, at least, for supposing a change in affections, which are the same now as they have ever been. Certainly I shall not, on my part, permit a difference of view on a single subject to efface the recollections and attachments of a whole life.
[1 ]From the Southern Bivouac, II., 635.