Mr, Jefferson having, by his last will and testament, bequeathed to his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, all his manuscript papers, Congress, by an act of the 12th of April, 1848, made an appropriation for the purpose of purchasing them for the Government ; and, by the same act, an additional appropriation was made to print and publish them under the direction and supervision of the Joint Committee on the Library.
It is under the authority of this act that the present publication is made. The immense mass of manuscript left by Mr. Jefferson having been deposited with the Editor, he has carefully gone through and selected from it, for the present publication, everything which possesses permanent public interest either on account of its intrinsic value, or as matter of history, or as illustrating the character of the distinguished Author, or as embodying his views upon the almost infinite variety of topics, philosophical, moral, religious, scientific, historical, and political, so ably discussed by him.
Under the view which the Editor has taken of his editorial duties, and the instructions of the Library Committee, he has not felt himself at liberty to encumber the publication with matter of his own farther than is necessary to illustrate the text. Such notes as have been appended will, therefore, be found to be purely explanatory and historical in their character.
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