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Response to jimmy the one (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 03:41 PM

1. jefferson's letter to his nephew, 1795

I should also point out that 'guns on campus' was evidently discretionary then, while also far less dangerous than today's highly sophisticated firearms.
Thomas Jefferson gave this advice to his nephew attending another Virginia college, Wm & Mary, 30 years earlier in 1795.
Jefferson then advised his nephew when walking on campus, to Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.
But this is not what it seems to be, jefferson was not advising his nephew to carry a gun for self defense or to be armed, but, believe it or not, to aid in the daily exercise of walking about! The gun ostensibly would add to the weight & build up muscles, & perhaps aid in gun handling for future militia service. Nowhere does jefferson write that the gun should be used for self defense, or even be loaded. He does say it gives 'boldness' to the mind by carrying a gun while walking, tho at the same time says to 'relax' ones mind:

thomas jefferson to his nephew, 1795: In order to assure a certain progress in this reading, consider what hours you have free from the school and the exercises of the school. Give about two of them, every day, to exercise; for health must not be sacrificed to learning. A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind.
Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk; but divert your attention by the objects surrounding you.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans value themselves on having subdued the horse to the uses of man; but I doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained, by the use of this animal. No one has occasioned so much, the degeneracy of the human body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey, as an enfeebled white does on his horse; and he will tire the best horses. There is no habit you will value so much as that of walking far without fatigue.
I would advise you to take your exercise in the afternoon: not because it is the best time for exercise, for certainly it is not; but because it is the best time to spare from your studies; and habit will soon reconcile it to health, and render it nearly as useful as if you gave to that the more precious hours of the day. A little walk of half an hour, in the morning, when you first rise, is advisable also. It shakes off sleep, and produces other good effects in the animal economy. Rise at a fixed and an early hour, and go to bed at a fixed and early hour also.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/let31.asp

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