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January 06, 2006

Thomas Jefferson Quote-Controversy Update

In case you missed it, there's a running argument about whether Thomas Jefferson uttered the (very famous) quote "Free speech is quite overrated." Although Dave From Texas has been pretty thorough in providing search-terms for Jersey to Google in order to find this famous quote, Jersey hasn't found it yet, leading him to conclude, very unfairly, that Dave is lying about the whole thing.

JERSEY:

Oh, and Dave...by now, even your buddies know your Jefferson quote was total bullshit (although they'll never admit it, much like our president), but here's a question for little ol' you:

Why don't you have the balls to admit you were lying through your teeth...if you actually have teeth?

You can't possibly be that gutless.

DAVE:

You still can't find it Jersey?

Wow. I would have thought it would be pretty easy. I don't have an online reference, but if I get some time later today I'll see what I can find. I actually copied it out of one of my college history books, Stuff Jefferson Said, 3rd. edition. You might be able to find it on Amazon. Here, try "www.amazon.com" and search on "Stuff Jefferson Said".

I'll bet there's a newer version in publication now, so leave out "3rd edition."

I can attest that I have a copy of Stuff Jefferson Said, 4th Edition (Revised), which I bought from a second-hand book-dealer a couple of years back. I'm now turned to page 112, and here I find the quote I think Dave means.

It's not exactly as Dave reported, which might be causing all the difficulty in finding it. The quote reads:

"Of all the Necessities of a Prudent & Effective Government, the Virtue & Wisdom of the People is paramount. Free Speech is Nice & Everything, but really, it's No Big Shakes in the Greater Scheme of Things." -- Thomas Jefferson

(Capitalizations and ampersands per original text.)

Apparently it's from a letter he wrote to Governeur Morris in the weeks before the Constitutional convention. Governeur Morris wrote back, simply, "Eh, I'm not all that exercised about it either way, truth be told. But what about quartering troops in people's homes? We should probably say something definitive about that." He then made a reference to being "PWNd," which might be some sort of Masonic acronym (according to the volume's annotations).

I hope this finally settles the matter once and for all.


digg this
posted by Ace at 05:22 PM

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