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Thomas Jefferson to [William Cabell] Rives, 28 November 1[819]

Dear Sir,

The distresses of our country, produc[ed first] by the flood, then by the ebb of bank paper are such [as cannot] fail to engage the interposition of the Legislature. [Many] propositions will of course be offered, from all of which [some]thing may probably be culled to make a good whole. I exp[lained] to you my project, when I had the pleasure of possessing yo[u] here; and I now send its outline in writing, as I believe I promised you. Altho' preferable things will I hope be offered, yet some twig of this may perhaps be thought worthy of being engrafted on a better stock. But I send it with no particular object or request, but to use it as you please. Suppress it, suggest it, soun[d] opinions, or any thing else at will, only keeping my name unmentioned, for which purpose it is copied in another hand, bein[g] ever solicitous to avoid all offence which is heavily felt when retired from the bustle and contention of the world. If we suffer the m[oral] of the present lesson to pass away without improvement, by the e[ternal] suppression of bank paper, then indeed is the condition of our coun[try] desperate, until the slow advance of public instruction shall give to [our] functionaries the wisdom of their station. Vale, et tibi pers[uade] carissimum te mihi esse.

Th: Jefferson

Mr Jeffersons

Bank notions

The original in the MVB Papers (DLC), seen in the first two images below, was damaged. A copy located in the Jefferson Papers (DLC), seen in the third image below, was used to complete the above transcription, as noted by the brackets. A printed copy of the letter also appears in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, vol. 15 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018), 249.

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)