Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM SHORT 1 - The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826)
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TO WILLIAM SHORT 1 - 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 WILLIAM SHORT1
Monticello, March 28. 23
—From your letter of prophecies I too have caught the spirit of prophecy: for who can withhold looking into futurity, on events which are to change the face of the world, and the condition of man throughout it, without indulging himself in the effusions of the holy spirit of Delphos? I may do it the more safely, as to my vaticinations I always subjoin the Proviso “that nothing unexpected happen to change the predicted course of events.” If, then, France has invaded Spain, an insurrection immediately takes place in Paris, the Royal family is sent to the Temple, thence perhaps to the Guillotine; to the 2. or 300,000 men able to bear arms in Paris will flock all the young men of the nation, born and bred in principles of freedom, and furnish a corps d’armee with Orleans, Beauharnais, or Fayette at their head; the army of the Pyrenees catch the same flame and return to Paris with their arms in their hands. The Austrian and Prussian armies march to the relief of Louis XVIII, a descendant as well as Ferdinand of Henry IV. As soon as their backs are turned, an universal insurrection takes place in Germany, Prussia, perhaps the Netherlands, thro’ all Italy certainly, who besides a force sufficient to settle their own governments, can send aids to France. Alexander, in the meantime, having dexterously set all the South of Europe together by the ears, leaves them the bag to hold, and turns his whole force on Turkey, profiting of the opportunity at length obtained, which never occurred before, and never would again.
In the mean time Great Britain and the U S. prepare for milking the cow; and, as friends to all parties, furnish all with cabotage, commerce, manufactures and food. Great Britain particularly gets full employment for all her hands, machines and capital; she recovers from her distresses & rises again into prosperity and splendour. She goes hand in hand with us in reaping this harvest and on fair principles of Neutrality, which it will now be her interest to settle and observe: She joins us too in a guarantee of the independence of Cuba, with the consent of Spain, and removes thus this bone of contention from between us. We avail ourselves of this occasion of a cordial conciliation and friendship with Spain, by assuring her of every friendly office which even a partial neutrality will permit, and particularly that, during their struggle they need fear nothing hostile from us in their colonies, and Spain and Portugal wisely relinquish the dependance of all their American colonies, on condition they make common cause with them in the present conflict. Is not this a handsome string of events, which are to give Representative Governments to all Europe, and all of which are surely to take place “if nothing unexpected happens to change their course”? It might be amusing half a dozen years hence, to review these predictions and see how they tally with history.
I shall receive, with high pleasure, your visit in the Autumn. When the time approaches, we must secure a concert between that and mine to Bedford to which all times are indifferent. Our University is now compleat to a single building, which, having seen the Pantheon, your imagination will readily supply, so as to form a good idea of its ultimate appearance. You must bequeath it your library, as many others of us propose to do.
The bone of my arm is well knitted and strong, but the carpal bones, having been disturbed, maintain an œdematous swelling of the hand and fingers, keeping them entirely helpless and holding up no definite term for the recovery of their usefulness. I am now in the 5th months of this disability.
Nothing could have carried me through the labor of this long letter but the glow of the Pythian inspiration, and I must rest, after exhaustion, as that goddess usually did, adding only assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect.
[1 ]Jefferson also sent a copy of this letter to Monroe, with the following explanation:
Monto. Mar. 29. 23
—In answering a letter from Mr. Short I indulged myself in some off hand speculns on the present lowering state of Europe, random enough to be sure, yet on revising them I thot I would hazard a copy to you on the bare possibility that out of them, as we sometimes do from dreams, you might pick up some hint worth improving by your own reflection. At any rate the whole reverie will lose to you only the few minutes required for it’s perusal, and therefore I hazard it with the assurance of my constant affectn & respect.