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TO NATHANIEL MACON - 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 NATHANIEL MACON
Monticello, Aug. 19. 21
—You have probably seen in the newspapers a letter of mine recommending Colo. Taylor’s book to the notice of our fellow-citizens. I am pelted for it in print, and in letters, also complaining of the unfair use made of it by certain commentators. For this misuse I cannot be responsible. But I inclose to you my answer to one of these letters and place it in your hands as the Depository of old & sound principles and as a record of my protest against this parricide tribunal. There are two measures which if not taken, we are undone. 1st. to check these unconstitutional invasions of state rights by the federal judiciary. How? not by impeachment in the first instance, but by a strong protestation of both houses of Congress that such and such doctrines, advanced by the supreme court, are contrary to the constitution: and if afterwards they relapse into the same heresies, impeach and set the whole adrift. For what was the government divided into three branches, but that each should watch over the others, and oppose their usurpations? 2. To cease borrowing money & to pay off the national debt. If this cannot be done without dismissing the army & putting the ships out of commission, haul them up high and dry, and reduce the army to the lowest point at which it was ever established. There does not exist an engine so corruptive of the government and so demoralizing of the nation as a public debt. It will bring on us more ruin at home than all the enemies from abroad against whom this army and navy are to protect us. What interest have we in keeping ships in service in the Pacific Ocean? To protect a few speculative adventurers in a commerce dealing in nothing in which we have an interest. As if the Atlantic & Mediterranean were not large enough for American capital! As if commerce and not agriculture was the principle of our association! God bless you & long continue your wholesome influence in the public councils.1
[1 ]In reply to a question from Macon concerning this letter, Jefferson wrote to him:
Buckspring, Oct. 20, ’21
Absence at an occasional but distant residence prevented my receiving your friendly letter of Oct. 20. [sic] till 3. d. ago. A line from good old friends is like balm to my soul. You ask me what you are to do with my letter of Sep. [sic] 19. I wrote it, my dear Sir, with no other view than to pour my thoughts into your bosom. I knew they would be safe there, and I believed they would be welcome, but if you think, as you say, that ‘good would be done by shewing it to a few well tried friends’ I have no objectn to that. But ultimately you cannot do better than to throw it into the fire. My confidence, as you kindly observed, has been often abused by the publication of my ltres for the purposes of interest or vanity; and it has been to me the source of much pain to be exhibited before the public in forms not meant for them. I receive lres expressed in the most frdly & even affectionate terms, sometimes perhaps asking my opn on some subject. I cannot refuse to answer such letters, nor can I do it dryly & suspiciously. Among a score or two of such correspdts, one perhaps betrays me. I feel it mortifyingly, but conclude I had better incur one treachery than offend a score or two of good people. I sometimes expressly desire that my letters may not be publd, but this is so like requesting a man not to steal or cheat that I am ashamed of it after I have done it.
Our govmt is now taking so steady a course as to shew by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit, by consolidn first, & then corruption, it’s necessary consequence. The engine of consolidn will be the Fedl judiciary, the two other branches the corrupted & corrupting instruments. I fear an explosion in our state legislature, I wish they may confine themselves to a strong but pacific temper. Protestn Virge is not at present in favr with her co-states. An opposn headed by her would determine all the anti-Missouri states to take the contrary side. She had better lie by therefore until the shoe shall pinch an Eastern state. Let the cry be first raised from that quarter & we may fall into it with effect. But I fear our Eastern associates wish for consolidn, in which they would be joined by the smaller states generally, but with a foot in the grave I have no right to meddle with these things. Ever & affectly.