How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.

letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825

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More from Thomas Jefferson

Although an old man, I am but a young gardener.

That Indian swamp in the wilderness.

on Washington, D.C., attributed, 1789

He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truth without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.

First Inaugural Address. March 4, 1801

When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.