Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO CHARLES PINCKNEY - The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826)
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TO CHARLES PINCKNEY - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 12.
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TO CHARLES PINCKNEY
Monticello, September 30, 1820
—An absence of some time from home has occasioned me to be thus late in acknowledging the receipt of your favor of the 6th, and I see in it with pleasure evidences of your continued health and application to business. It is now, I believe, about twenty years since I had the pleasure of seeing you, and we are apt, in such cases, to lose sight of time, and to conceive that our friends remain stationary at the same point of health and vigor as when we last saw them. So I perceive by your letter you think with respect to myself, but twenty years added to fifty-seven make quite a different man. To threescore and seventeen add two years of prostrate health, and you have the old, infirm, and nerveless body I now am, unable to write but with pain, and unwilling to think without necessity. In this state I leave the world and its affairs to the young and energetic, and resign myself to their care, of whom I have endeavored to take care when young. I read but one newspaper and that of my own State, and more for its advertisements than its news. I have not read a speech in Congress for some years. I have heard, indeed, of the questions of the tariff and Missouri, and formed primâ facie opinions on them, but without investigation. As to the tariff, I should say put down all banks, admit none but a metallic circulation, that will take its proper level with the like circulation in other countries, and then our manufacturers may work in fair competition with those of other countries, and the import duties which the government may lay for the purposes of revenue will so far place them above equal competition. The Missouri question is a mere party trick. The leaders of federalism, defeated in their schemes of obtaining power by rallying partisans to the principle of monarchism, a principle of personal not of local division, have changed their tack, and thrown out another barrel to the whale. They are taking advantage of the virtuous feelings of the people to effect a division of parties by a geographical line; they expect that this will ensure them, on local principles, the majority they could never obtain on principles of federalism; but they are still putting their shoulder to the wrong wheel; they are wasting Jeremiads on the miseries of slavery, as if we were advocates for it. Sincerity in their declamations should direct their efforts to the true point of difficulty, and unite their counsels with ours in devising some reasonable and practicable plan of getting rid of it. Some of these leaders, if they could attain the power, their ambition would rather use it to keep the Union together, but others have ever had in view its separation. If they push it to that, they will find the line of separation very different from their 36° of latitude, and as manufacturing and navigating States they will have quarrelled with their bread and butter, and I fear not that after a little trial they will think better of it, and return to the embraces of their natural and best friends. But this scheme of party I leave to those who are to live under its consequences. We who have gone before have performed an honest duty, by putting in the power of our successors a state of happiness which no nation ever before had within their choice. If that choice is to throw it away, the dead will have neither the power nor the right to control them. I must hope, nevertheless, that the mass of our honest and well-meaning brethren of the other States, will discover the use which designing leaders are making of their best feelings, and will see the precipice to which they are led, before they take the fatal leap. God grant it, and to you health and happiness.