París, enero 25 de 1786
“Nuestra Confederación debe ser considerada como el nido desde el cual toda la América, la del Norte y la del Sur, ha de poblarse. Así, tengamos buen cuidado, por el interés de este gran continente, de no expulsar demasiado pronto a los españoles, pues aquellos países no pueden estar en mejores manos. Mi temor es que España sea demasiado débil para mantener su dominación sobre ellos hasta que nuestra población haya avanzado lo suficiente para ganarles el dominio palmo a palmo.!" (Ponce, Estaban. Fragmentos de un discurso no amoroso: Thomas Jefferson y la América Hispana. Una aproximación a las relaciones Sur-Norte.
To A. Stuart, Eaq.
Dear Sir, I have received your favor of the 17th of October, which, though you have mentioned it as the third you have written me, is the first that has come to hand. I sincerely thank you for the communication it contains. Nothing is so grateful to me, at this distance, as details, both great and small, of what is passing in my own country. Of the latter, we receive little here, because they either escape my correspondents, or are thought unworthy of notice. This, however, is a very mistaken opinion, as everyone may observe, by recollecting, that when he has been long absent from his neighborhood, the small news of that is the most pleasing, and occupies his first attention, either when he meets with a person from thence, or returns thither himself. I still hope, therefore, that the letter, in which you have been so good as to give me the minute occurrences in the neighborhood of Monticello, may yet come to hand, and I venture to rely on the many proofs of friendship I have received from you, for a continuance of your favors. This will be the more meritorious, as I have nothing to give you in exchange.
The quiet of Europe, at this moment, furnishes little which can attract your notice. Nor will that quiet be soon disturbed, at least for the current year. Perhaps it hangs on the life of the King of Prussia, and that hangs by a very slender thread. American reputation in Europe is not such as to be flattering to its citizens. Two circumstances are particularly objected to us: the non-payment of our debts, and the want of energy in our government. These discourage a connection with us. I own it to be my opinion, that good will arise from the destruction of our credit. I see nothing else which can restrain our disposition to luxury, and to the change of those manners which alone can preserve republican government. As it is impossible to prevent credit, the best way would be to cure its ill effects, by giving an instantaneous recovery to the creditor. This would be reducing purchases on credit to purchases for ready money. A man would then see a prison painted on everything he wished, but had not ready money to pay for.
I fear from an expression in your letter, that the people of Kentucky think of separating, not only from Virginia (in which they are right), but also from the confederacy. I own, I should think this a most calamitous event, and such a one as every good citizen should set himself against. Our present federal limits are not too large for good government, nor will the increase of votes in Congress produce any ill effect. On the contrary, it will drown the little divisions at present existing there. Our confederacy must be viewed as the nest, from which all America, North and South, is to be peopled. We should take care, too, not to think it for the interest of that great Continent to press too soon on the Spaniards. Those countries cannot be in better hands. My fear is, that they are too feeble to hold them till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them, piece by piece. The navigation of the Mississippi we must have. This is all we are, as yet, ready to receive. I have made acquaintance with a very sensible, candid gentleman here, who was in South America during the revolt which took place there, while our Revolution was going on. He says, that those disturbances (of which we scarcely heard anything) cost, on both sides, an hundred thousand lives.
I have made a particular acquaintance here, with Monsieur de Buffon, and have a great desire to give him the best idea I can of our elk. Perhaps your situation may enable you to aid me in this. You could not oblige me more than by sending me the horns, skeleton, and skin of an elk, were it possible to procure them. The most desirable form of receiving them would be, to have the skin slit from the under jaw along the belly to the tail, and down the thighs to the knee, to take the animal out, leaving the legs and hoofs, the bones of the head, and the horns attached to the skin. By sewing up the belly, &c., and stuffing the skin, it would present the form of the animal. However, as an opportunity of doing this is scarcely to be expected, I shall be glad to receive them detached, packed in a box, and sent to Richmond, to the care of Dr. Currie. Everything of this kind is precious here. And to prevent my adding to your trouble, I must close my letter, with assurances of the esteem and attachment with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.