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[Col 1] on the judges to decide on the validity of the Sedition law. But nothing in the Constitution has given them a right to decide for the Executive, more than the Executive to decide for them. Both magistrates are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them. The judges, believing the law constitutional, had a right to pass a sentence of fine and imprisonment; because the power was placed in their hands by the Constitution. But the Executive, believing the law to be unconstitutional, were bound to remit the execution of it; because that power has been confided to them by the Constitution. That instrument meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch. Nor does the opinion of the unconstitutionality, and consequent nullity of that law, remove all restraint from the overwhelming torrent of slander, which is confounding all vice and virtue, all truth and falsehood, in the United States. The power to do that is fully possessed by the several State Legislatures. It was reserved to them, and was denied to the General Government, by the Constitution, according to our construction of it. While we deny that Congress have a right to control the freedom of the press, we have ever asserted the right of the States, and their exclusive right, to do so. --
TITLE: To Mrs. John Adams.
EDITION: Washington ed. iv, 561.
EDITION: Ford ed., viii, 311.
PLACE: Monticello
DATE: Sep. 1804


7762. SEDITION LAW, Unconstitutional. --

I found a prosecution going on against Duane for an offence against the Senate, founded on the Sedition act. I affirm that act to be no law, because in opposition to the Constitution; and I shall treat it as a nullity, wherever it comes in the way of my functions. --

TITLE: To Edward Livingston.
EDITION: Ford ed., viii, 58.
PLACE: Washington
DATE: Nov. 1801


7763. SEDITION LAW, Unconstitutional. -- [continued] .

The ground on which I acted in the cases of Duane, Callender, and others [was] that the Sedition law was unconstitutional and null, and that my obligation to execute what was law, involved that of not suffering rights secured by valid laws to be prostrated by what was no law. --

TITLE: To Wilson C. Nicholas.
EDITION: Washington ed. v, 453.
EDITION: Ford ed., ix, 254.
PLACE: Monticello
DATE: 1809
See Alien and Sedition Laws.


7764. SELF-GOVERNMENT, America and. --

Before the establishment of the American States, nothing was known to history but the man of the old world, crowded within limits either small or overcharged, and steeped in the vices which that situation generates. A government adapted to such men would be one thing; but a very different one, that for the man of these States. Here every man may have land to labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age. Every one, by his property, or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the support of law and order. And such men may safely and advantageously reserve to themselves a wholesome control over their public affairs, and a degree of freedom, which, in the hands of the canaille of the cities of Europe, would be instantly per [Col 2] verted to the demolition and destruction of everything public and private. The history of the last twenty-five years of France, and of the last forty years in America, nay of its last two hundred years, proves the truth of both parts of this observation. --

TITLE: To John Adams.
EDITION: Washington ed. vi, 226.
EDITION: Ford ed., ix, 428.
PLACE: Monticello
DATE: 1813


7765. SELF-GOVERNMENT, British parliament and. --

The British Parliament has no right to intermeddle with our provisions for the support of civil government, or administration of justice. [* * *] While Parliament pursue their plan of civil government, within their own jurisdiction, we, also, hope to pursue ours without molestation. --

TITLE: Reply to Lord North's Proposition.
EDITION: Ford ed., i, 479.

DATE: July. 1775


7766. SELF-GOVERNMENT, British parliament and. -- [continued] .

While Parliament pursue their plan of civil government within their own jurisdiction we hope also to pursue ours without molestation. --

TITLE: Reply to Lord North's Proposition.
EDITION: Ford ed., i, 480.

DATE: July. 1775


7767. SELF-GOVERNMENT, British parliament and. -- [Further continued] .

The proposition [of Lord North] is altogether unsatisfactory [* * *] because they [Parliament] do not renounce the power of [* * *] legislating for us themselves in all cases whatsoever. --

TITLE: Reply to Lord North's Proposition.
EDITION: Ford ed., i, 480.

DATE: July. 1775


7768. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Classes vs. Masses. --

The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. --

TITLE: To Roger C. Weightman.
EDITION: Washington ed. vii, 450.
EDITION: Ford ed., x, 391.
PLACE: Monticello
DATE: June. 1826


7769. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Connecticut and. --

It would seem impossible that an intelligent people [of Connecticut] with the faculty of reading and right of thinking, should continue much longer to slumber under the pupilage of an interested aristocracy of priests and lawyers, persuading them to distrust themselves, and to let them think for them. I sincerely wish that your efforts may awaken them from this voluntary degradation of mind, restore them to a due estimate of themselves and their fellow citizens, and a just abhorrence of the falsehoods and artifices which have seduced them. --

TITLE: To Thomas Seymour.
EDITION: Washington ed. v, 44.
EDITION: Ford ed., ix, 31.
PLACE: Washington
DATE: 1807
See Connecticut.


7770. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Education and. --

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government. --

TITLE: To Dr. Price.
EDITION: Washington ed. ii, 533.
PLACE: Paris
DATE: 1789


7771. SELF-GOVERNMENT, Europe and. --

A first attempt to recover the right of self-government may fail, so may a second, a third, etc. But as a younger and more instructed race comes on, the sentiment becomes more and more intuitive, and a fourth,