POST ROADS AS A SOURCE OF PATRONAGE
>I found this on Jefferson. Do you know where it comes from? I would like to >read more of it in context from that which it was taken. Here goes. > >" I view ( the Post Office) as a source of boundless patronage to the >executive, jobbing to members of Congress and their friends and a >bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the >surplus of the post-office revenues; but other revenues will soon be called >in to their aid and it will be a source of eternal scramble among the >members, who can get the most money wasted in their states; and they will >always get most who are meanest." ( Jefferson 1892-99 IX, 324-25). > >I found this is a Cato report but I can't find the whole of this writing. >Have you ever read this? Do you know where I can find the rest of this >work? The passage was a post script to a letter which Jefferson wrote to James Madison, March 6, 1796. It begins like this: "P.S. Have you considered all the consequences of your proposition respecting post roads? I view it as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress and their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post office revenues; but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a source of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest. We have thought, hitherto, that the roads of a State could not be so well administered even by the State legislature as by the magistracy of the county, on the spot. How will they be when a member of New Hampshire is to mark out a road for Georgia? Does the power to establish post roads given you by the Constitution mean that you shall make the roads, or only select from those already made, those on which there shall be a post? If the term be equivocal (and I really do not think it so), which is the safest construction? That which permits a majority of Congress to go to cutting down mountains and bridging of rivers, or the other, which if too restricted may be referred to the States for amendment, securing still due measures and proportion among us, and providing some means of information to the members of Congress tantamount to that ocular inspection, which, even in our county determinations, the magistrate finds cannot be supplied by any other evidence?" --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1796. ME 9:324 It is in vol. 9, page 324, of the Memorial Edition of the Writings of TJ, Lipscomb and Bergh, eds. That should be available in most large public and university libraries. >I am always impressed by Jeffersons insight and wit what I find difficult >is that he died almost broke. I think the problem arose when his wife's father died, leaving them with enormous debts that he was never able to pay off. >Anyway I thought you would like this if you >had never read it. It looks like an example of libertarian distortion in order to make Jefferson out to be against government being involved in services to the people. He was not. His idea of LIMITED government was GOVERNMENT LIMITED BY THE CONSTITUTION!! He was against government assuming powers on its own without constitutional authority. Best wishes, Eyler Coates I should have sent that quote on the post roads differently. It was a post script to a letter which Jefferson wrote to James Madison, March 6, 1796. It begins like this: "P.S. Have you considered all the consequences of your proposition respecting post roads? I view it as a source of boundless patronage.... [etc., remainder as before]" I deleted the first sentence in order to make it more presentable as a quotation. The Cato Institute deleted the first sentence in order to substitute the "Post Office" for a "proposition respecting post roads." Can you believe that?
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