Tag Archives: Morality

We do not want those immigrants, but we cannot refuse them!

I lament the misfortunes of the persons who have been driven from Cuba to seek Asylum with you. this it is impossible to refuse them, or to withold any relief they can need. we should be monsters to shut the door against such sufferers. true, it is not a population we can desire, at that place, because it retards the desired epoch of it’s becoming entirely American in spirit. no people on earth retain their national adherence longer or more warmly than the French. but such considerations are not to prevent us from taking up human beings from a wreck at sea. gratitude will doubtless secure their fidelity to the country which has recieved them into it’s bosom.
To William C.C. Claiborne, September 10, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Humane leaders recognize the need to help the helpless.
Claiborne, territorial governor of New Orleans, reported the arrival of about 1,000 poverty-stricken French immigrants, whom Spain had banished from their homes in Cuba.

Jefferson didn’t regard the French as desirable subjects, because they above all other immigrants clung to their native culture. It would take them much longer to assimilate and become “entirely American in spirit.” Regardless, they could not be allowed to perish on the open sea. Only “monsters” would refuse them refuge and relief.

He hoped they would be grateful for the kindness shown and become loyal to their new land.

“I would like to thank you for your wonderfully entertaining speech …”
President, Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association
Mr. Jefferson will entertain your audience … wonderfully!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Immigration can be criminal, yet moral.

I did not mean to suggest that I thought the object, even as I supposed it, to be in any degree immoral, that it could be criminal to counteract an immoral law. if ever there was a case where a law could impose no other obligation than the risque of the arbitrary penalty it is that which makes the country in which a man happens to be born his perpetual prison, obliging him to starve in that rather than seek another where he can find the means of subsistence.
To Alexander McRae, August 27, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Principled leaders understand that immigration can be wrong … and right.
Through previous imprecise communication, each man misunderstood the other regarding McRae’s effort to recruit skilled workmen from England to America. England’s laws criminalized that activity, punishing both the recruiters and the immigrants who took tools of their trade with them when left.

The men cleared the air, and Jefferson expressed interesting thoughts about immigration, morality and criminality.
1. It was not immoral to break an immoral law, even thought it might subject one to criminal penalty.
2. A law that tied a man forever to the land of his birth, making it his prison, was immoral.
3. Natural law allowed a man to feed himself, and if he could not do that in one country, he had a moral right to go to another where he could.

“You were a “HIT.”
…thank you for such an excellent presentation …”
University of Missouri College of Business and Public Administration
Institute for Executive Development
Mr. Jefferson will be a HIT for your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Can happiness exist without morality?

I believe firmly with you in the connection between virtue & happiness: that the latter can never exist [without the former] …: and that virtuous habits are produced by exercising the mind in and contemplating good moral writings. the publication of these [Blair’s writings] cannot therefore but be publicly useful …
To Mason Locke Weems, June 12, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Moral leaders know virtue must precede happiness.
Weems (1759-18250), a Maryland Episcopal priest, wrote to Jefferson about publishing the sermons of a deceased Scottish theologian named Blair. Perhaps Weems, whose letter has not been found, asked Jefferson to endorse his work.

Jefferson agreed with Weems, that virtue and happiness were closely related: There can be no true happiness without virtue. A virtuous life. resulting in a happy one, was built by absorbing “good moral writings.” Blair’s sermons were that kind of writing

Thus, Jefferson commended Weem’s effort. In keeping with his neutral policy, however, Jefferson said the only support he could give would be to buy a copy of the finished work.

”By all accounts, your appearance as Thomas Jefferson was a bit hit.”
President, Missouri Council on New and Expanding Business
Mr. Jefferson’s comments will be a hit with your audience, too.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Who exactly is in charge here? Part 11 D (OR Yours is yours. Mine is mine. We do not mix well.)

 [This is the 14th post in a series abstracted from Jefferson’s famous “My Head and My Heart” dialogue written to Maria Cosway. This is part of Heart’s final reply.]

Heart: When nature assigned us [both Head and Heart] the same habitation, she gave us over it a divided empire. To you she allotted the field of science; to me that of morals. When the circle is to be squared, or the orbit of a comet to be traced; when the arch of greatest strength, or the solid of least resistance is to be investigated, take up the problem; it is yours; nature has given me no cognizance of it. In like manner, in denying to you the feelings of sympathy, of benevolence, of gratitude, of justice, of love, of friendship, she has excluded you from their controul. To these she has adapted the mechanism of the heart.

Morals were too essential to the happiness of man to be risked on the incertain combinations of the head. She laid their foundation therefore in sentiment, not in science.
To Maria Cosway, October 12, 1786

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders correctly discern between realms of science and morality.
Jefferson’s Heart freely gave Head total control over anything scientific or mathematic. Nature had decreed it so. Heart had no knowledge of them.

In contrast, nature gave to the Heart alone expressions of love, kindness, justice and friendship, Since these “morals” were necessary for man’s happiness, they were founded “in sentiment, not in science,” in the Heart, not in the Head.

The next post will give two examples of moral issues, involving a battle-worn soldier and a poor woman, where Head stepped out of his territory and told Heart what to do and why. Heart went along and was wrong on both counts. Only one could be corrected.

Invite Thomas Jefferson to inspire your audience!
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