GENUINE moral courage is a sterling virtue—the motive power of the true dignity of man...
beat in unison. By a thorough investigation of the principles of law and government,
Jefferson became rapidly prepared to ...
conciliatory but which added insult to injury. Their fallacy was exposed by Mr. Jefferson
in such a masterly strain of elo...
He was immediately elected to the first legislature of his state convened under the new
Constitution. On taking ...
True to his long cherished desire to ultimately emancipate the negro, he introduced a
clause prohibiting slavery in any of...
relative to the privileges and restrictions of the commercial intercourse of this with other
countries, which showed great...
promptly and uniformly to the satisfaction of members.
At the next Presidential Election he was again opposed to Mr. Adams...
military authority—economy in public expenses that labor may be lightly burthened—
the honest payment of our debts and sac...
walls of various creeds, claimed to be drawn from the same pure fountain, would be
dissolved by heaven-born Charity and th...
of his retirement, show that he labored arduously in the fields of science and philosophy.
For the promotion of literature...
awaiting Jehovah's signal to cut the silver cord of life and set the prisoner free.
Early in the spring of 1826 his bodily...
Thomas Jefferson -  In Brief
Thomas Jefferson -  In Brief
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Thomas Jefferson - In Brief


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A brief biography of Thomas Jefferson. Liberty Education Series. Gloucester, Virginia Links and News. GVLN. Come and explore all the incredible content.

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Thomas Jefferson - In Brief

  2. 2. PHILADELPHIA: MOSS & BROTHER. 1854. GENUINE moral courage is a sterling virtue—the motive power of the true dignity of man. It invigorates the mind like a refreshing dew falling gently on the flowers of spring. It is a heavenly spark—animating the immortal soul with the fire of purity that illuminates the path of rectitude. It is an attribute that opposes all wrong and propels its possessor right onward to the performance of all right. Based on virtue and equity, it spurns vice in all its borrowed and delusive forms. It courts no servile favors—fears no earthly scrutiny. No flattery can seduce it—no eclat allure—no bribe purchase—no tyrant awe —no misfortune bend—no intrigue corrupt—no adversity crush—no tortures can subdue it. On its breastplate is inscribed in bold relievo—Fiat justitia—ruat calum. [Let justice be done though the heavens fall.] Without it, fame is ephemeral—renown transient. It is the saline basis of a good name that gives enduring richness to its memory. It is a pillar of light to revolving thought—the polar star that points to duty, secures merit and leads to victory. It is the soul of reason—the essence of wisdom—the crowning glory of mental power. It was this that nerved the leaders of the American Revolution to noble and god-like action. In the front rank of this band of patriots stood Thomas Jefferson, who was born at Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia, on the 24th of April 1743. His ancestors were among the early pioneers of the Old Dominion and highly respectable. They were Republicans to the core—in affluent circumstances and exercised an extensive and happy influence. Thomas was the son of Peter Jefferson, a man much esteemed in public and private life. The liberal feelings imbibed from him by this son were conspicuous at an early age. From his childhood the mind of Thomas Jefferson assumed a high elevation took a broad and expansive view of men and things. He was educated at the college of William and Mary and was always found at the head of his class. Untiring industry in the exploration of the fields of science marked his collegiate career. He analyzed every subject he investigated, passing through the opening avenues of literature with astonishing celerity. His mind became enraptured with the history of classic Greece and republican Rome. Improving upon the suggestions of liberal principles found in the classics, he early matured his political creed and opposed every kind of government tinctured with the shadow of monarchy, hierarchy or aristocracy. After completing his collegiate course he commenced the study of law under Chancellor Wythe, whose liberal views were calculated to mature and strengthen those already preponderating in the mind of Jefferson. With regard to the oppressions of the mother country—the justice and necessity of resistance by the Colonies, their kindred hearts
  3. 3. beat in unison. By a thorough investigation of the principles of law and government, Jefferson became rapidly prepared to enter upon the great theatre of public life—the service of his injured country. Planting himself upon the broad basis of Magna Charta— encircling himself within the pale of the British Constitution—he demonstrated most clearly that the ministry of the crown had long been rapidly advancing beyond the bounds of their legitimate authority—exercising a tyranny over the Colonies not delegated to them by the constitution of the monarchy they represented. So luminous were his expositions of chartered rights on the one hand and accumulating wrongs on the other, that he became the nucleus of a band of patriots resolved on LIBERTY OR DEATH. At the age of twenty-two he was elected to the legislature which enabled him to disseminate his liberal principles throughout the Colony. He proclaimed himself the unyielding advocate of equal rights and had engraved upon his watch seal—"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." By his eloquence and unanswerable arguments he kindled the flame of opposition in old Virginia which increased as tyranny advanced. In 1769 a resolution was passed by the legislature—not to import a single article from Great Britain. In the advocacy of this proposition by Mr. Jefferson, the adherents of the crown were astonished at the boldness and firmness with which he exposed and laid bare the venal corruption of the British cabinet. It gave a fresh impetus to the cause of Liberty just bursting into life. With ample pecuniary means—with talents equal to the work he had undertaken, his soul illuminated with the fire of patriotism—his indignation roused against the hirelings of the king—his sympathies excited by the sufferings of his country—his moral courage raised to the zenith of its glory—Mr. Jefferson was amply armed for the conflict and became one of the master spirits of the Revolution—a gigantic champion of universal freedom—a pillar of fire, flashing terror and dismay into the ranks of the foe. He wrote "A Summary View of the Rights of British America"—addressed it to the king respectfully but very plainly pointed to the true position of the two countries and the final result of the policy of ministers. The following is an extract. "Open your breast, sire, to liberal and expanded thought. It behooves you to think and act for your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader. To perceive them needs not the aid of many counsellors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." The art of being honest in matters of government is a knotty problem for some modern politicians to solve. Were they all honest a political millennium would illuminate our country—bring us back to primitive tangible landmarks and unmask multitudes of political wolves cunningly dressed in sheep's clothing. So exasperated was Lord Dunmore on perusing this article from the pen of Jefferson that he threatened to arrest him for high treason. Finding most of the members of the legislature, then in session, quite as treasonable in their views he at once dissolved that body. The following year the British ministry, in answer to petitions for redress of grievances, sent to the legislature of the Old Dominion a series of propositions that they termed
  4. 4. conciliatory but which added insult to injury. Their fallacy was exposed by Mr. Jefferson in such a masterly strain of eloquent burning logic and sarcasm, that conviction was carried to a large majority of his colleagues. They were referred to a committee which reported an answer written by him and was very similar to the Declaration of Independence. This reply was immediately adopted. The ball of resistance was put in motion—the electric fluid of patriotism commenced its insulating powers in the north and south—extending from sire to son, from heart to heart, until the two streams of fire met in the centre—then rising in grandeur, formed the luminous arch of Freedom—its chord extending from Maine to Georgia—its versed sine resting on the city Penn. Under its zenith at Philadelphia, Mr. Jefferson took his seat in the Continental Congress on the 21st of June 1775. Although one of the youngest members of that venerated assembly of patriotic sages, he was hailed as one of its main pillars. Known as a man of superior intelligence, liberal sentiments, strict integrity, stern republicanism and unbending patriotism—his influence was strongly felt and judiciously exercised. From the beginning he advocated a separation from the mother country and ably met every objection urged against it. In his view, oppression, not recognised by Magna Charta, had dissolved all allegiance to the crown—that the original contract had been cancelled on the heights of Lexington by American blood. Submission was no longer a virtue—the measure of wrongs had been overflowing for years—public sentiment demanded the sundering of the Gordian knot—a voice from Heaven proclaimed in tones of thunder—"Let my people go." The following year the Declaration of Independence was proposed. Mr. Jefferson was appointed chairman of the committee to prepare this momentous document. The work was assigned to him by his colleagues. He performed the task with a boldness of design and beauty of execution before unknown and yet unrivalled. The substantial result of his labor has long been before the world. Admiring nations have united in bestowing the highest encomiums upon this sacred instrument. As a masterpiece of composition—a lucid exposition of the rights of man—the principles of a free government—the sufferings of an oppressed people—the abuses of a corrupt ministry and the effects of monarchy upon the destinies of man—it stands unequalled. Pure in its origin—graphic in its delineations—benign in its influence and salutary in its results—it has become the chart of patriots over the civilized world. It is the ne plus ultra [nothing more beyond] of a gigantic mind raised to its loftiest elevation by the finest touches of creative Power— displaying its noblest efforts—brightest conceptions—holiest zeal—purest desires— happiest conclusions. It combines the attributes of justice—the flowers of eloquence— the force of logic—the soul of wisdom. It is the grand palladium of equal rights—the polar star of rational LIBERTY—the Magna Charta of universal FREEDOM and has crowned its author with laurels of enduring fame. In the autumn of 1776 Mr. Jefferson was appointed a commissioner to the court of France in conjunction with Messrs. Franklin and Deane for the purpose of forming a treaty of alliance. Ill health of himself and family and an urgent necessity for his services in his native state, induced him to decline the proffered honor and resign his seat in
  5. 5. Congress. He was immediately elected to the first legislature of his state convened under the new Constitution. On taking his seal in that body his attention was at once directed to the demolition of the judicial code which had emanated from the British Parliament. The work of rearing a new superstructure was mostly performed by him. The first bill he introduced was aimed at the slave trade and prohibited the farther importation of negroes into Virginia. This is a triumphant refutation of the accusation often reiterated against Mr. Jefferson—that he was an advocate of slavery. To its principles he and a large majority of the South were always opposed and submitted to it practically by ENTAIL. It is a fact beyond dispute that he struck the first blow in the Colonies at the unhallowed trade of importing human beings for the purpose of consigning them to bondage. That this was the first great step to towards a correction of the most cruel feature of this system, originated by philanthropic England, is equally true. To transfer those negroes, born in the United States, from one section of this country to another, bears no comparison in cruelty to the heart-rending barbarity of forcing the African from his native home—even should he fall into the hands of those emancipators who, instead of returning him to his native shores—put him an"APPRENTICE" to hard labor on their own plantations. Consistency thou art a jewel rather rare. Common humanity forbids the sudden emancipation of the slaves as proposed by emissary Thompson and his converts. Mr. Jefferson next effected the passage of bills destroying entails—primogeniture—the church as established by England and various others—assimilating the entire system of jurisprudence in the state to its republican form of government. He reported one hundred and twenty-six bills, most of which were passed and constitute the present much admired statutory code of Virginia. In 1779 Mr. Jefferson was called to the gubernatorial chair of his native state, then surrounded by perils. The British troops, led on by the proud Tarleton and the traitor Arnold, were spreading death and devastation over the Old Dominion and contemplated the capture of the governor. Terror seized the more timid patriots—the boldest were alarmed at the approach of the merciless foe. The energy of the governor was equal to the emergency. He rallied the bone and sinew of old Virginia, who "with hearts of oak and nerves of steel," checked the enemy in their bold career of indiscriminate slaughter. He imparted confidence and vigor to the desponding and roused them to bold and noble action. He dispersed the black cloud that hung over his bleeding state and inspired the friends of liberty with cheering hopes of ultimate success. So highly were his services appreciated during the eventful term of his administration that the legislature entered upon their records a unanimous vote of thanks to him for the able and efficient manner he had discharged his public duties—highly complimenting his talents, rectitude, moral courage and stern integrity. In 1783 he again took his seat in Congress—one of the brightest luminaries in the galaxy of statesmen. The chaste and moving address to Washington when he surrendered his commission, was from the soul-stirring pen of Jefferson. He was chairman of the committee to form a territorial government for the extensive regions of the then far west.
  6. 6. True to his long cherished desire to ultimately emancipate the negro, he introduced a clause prohibiting slavery in any of the territories or the states that should be formed from them after 1800. In May, 1784, he was a minister plenipotentiary in conjunction with Dr. Franklin and John Adams, with power to negotiate treaties of commerce with several European nations. In July he embarked for France and arrived in Paris on the 6th of August. During his absence he visited several foreign courts but spent most of his time in France. He commanded the highest respect and was made a welcome guest in the halls of literature, legislation and jurisprudence. Kings and courtiers treated him with profound deference and were convinced intelligence and talent were not exclusively confined to the old world. He was in Paris when the French Revolution commenced and was often consulted by the leading members of the national convention relative to the best course to be pursued in order to establish their government upon the Republican basis. So far as was proper he gave his opinions freely in favor of rational Liberty. He returned on the 23d of November 1789 and was received with great enthusiasm and kindness by his fellow citizens. Soon after his arrival he resigned his ministerial commission and became Secretary of State under President Washington. The appointment was a compliment to the matured judgment of the chief magistrate and proved a lasting benefit to our country. Familiar with every principle of government— comprehending the requisites necessary to perfect and perpetuate the new confederation —he proposed amendments to the constitution, which, with some suggested by John Adams and others, were adopted. He did much towards reducing the new order of things to harmonious system. Well versed in diplomacy, international law and the policy of European courts—he was prepared to plant the permanent land marks of foreign intercourse which stand as beacon lights to guide our nation safely in its onward career. A reciprocity of commerce and honorable peace with other governments—a rigid neutrality with belligerents—a careful avoidance of entangling alliances were some of his leading principles. To submit to nothing that was clearlywrong—to ask for nothing that was not clearly right—was a doctrine of Jefferson forcibly inculcated in his able correspondence with the French ministers during the brief period of their Republic. This motto has been handed down from sire to son and is firmly nailed to the flag staff of the star spangled banner. To the domestic concerns of our country he devoted a laudable and laborious attention. He recommended the adoption of a uniform system of currency, weights, measures and many other things designed to advance the best interest of the infant Republic. He urged the importance of protecting our fisheries and of encouraging enterprise in all the branches of industry. He demonstrated the advantages of every species of commerce and the necessity of preventing others from monopolizing the sources that legitimately belonged to the United States. He exhibited a masterly exposition of existing facts, showing the increasing policy of European courts to restrict the inter course of America that they might engross trade. He submitted to Congress an elaborate and able report
  7. 7. relative to the privileges and restrictions of the commercial intercourse of this with other countries, which showed great foresight, close observation and thorough investigation. It received great attention and was the foundation of a series of resolutions introduced by Mr. Madison, embracing the doctrines it contained—forming the great line of demarkation between the old school federal and democratic parties. It would require a skilful engineer to trace the original line now in consequence of the rapid growth of under brush. Having served his country long and faithfully and contributed largely in placing her on the great highway of FREEDOM and prosperity, Mr. Jefferson retired from public life on the 31st of December 1793 enjoying for a season the more peaceful and substantial comforts of life at Monticello. He imparted comfort to all around him—treated his slaves in the kindest manner, reducing to practice the mode of treatment he always recommended to others. The education of his children—the cultivation and improvement of his land and the resumption of his scientific researches, gave to him an exhilarating consolation he had long desired and could never enjoy in the arena of public business and political turmoil. His manner of life at the time alluded to is happily described by the Duke de Liancourt who visited him during his brief time of repose. "His conversation is of the most agreeable kind. He possesses a stock of information not inferior to any other man. In Europe he would hold a distinguished rank among men of letters and as such he has already appeared there. At present he is employed with activity and perseverance in the management of his farms and buildings and he orders, directs and pursues, in the minutest detail, every branch of business relating to them. I found him in the midst of harvest from which the scorching heat of the sun does not prevent his attendance. His negroes are nourished, clothed and treated as well as white servants could be. Every article is made on his farm—his negroes being cabinet makers, carpenters and masons. The children he employs in a nail manufactory and the young and old negresses spin for the clothing of the rest. He animates them all by rewards and distinctions. In fine, his superior mind directs the management of his domestic concerns with the same ability, activity and regularity, which he evinced in the conduct of public affairs and which he is calculated to display in every situation of life." During his recess from the toils of public life Mr. Jefferson was unanimously elected President of the American Philosophical Society with which he was highly gratified. It afforded him much pleasure to occupy the chair which had been ably filled by his revered friends—the illustrious Franklin and philosophic Rittenhouse. After a repose of three years he was again called to the theatre of public action. President Washington had announced his determination to retire to the peaceful shades of Mount Vernon. The people had become divided in two political parties, each determined to nominate a candidate for the high and responsible office about to become vacant. The federalists nominated John Adams—the democrats Thomas Jefferson. The former was elected President—the latter Vice President of the United States. As the presiding officer of the Senate Mr. Jefferson discharged his duty with dignity and impartiality. Familiar with parliamentary rules, he was prepared to decide questions
  8. 8. promptly and uniformly to the satisfaction of members. At the next Presidential Election he was again opposed to Mr. Adams. The mountain waves of party spirit rolled over the United States like a sweeping torrent. Each party presented a bold front regardless of danger pressed on by a rear rushing to conflict. The two candidates were bosom friends. Honest political differences did not interrupt their private good feelings. Not a word fell from the lips of either disparaging to his opponent. They regretted the fever heat of their partisans during the canvass but could not allay it. The Democrats carried the election and returned an equal number of votes for Mr. Jefferson as President and Col. Burr as Vice President. This singular circumstance imposed the election of the Chief Magistrate upon the House of Representatives. To defeat the election of the great leader of the popular party, several of his opponents voted for Col. Burr. A very spirited contest ensued. Thirty-five ineffectual ballotings were made. The ambition of Burr for promotion induced him to omit doing at once what propriety dictated and that which would have rendered him popular and perhaps saved him from the vortex of disgrace into which he subsequently plunged—the immediate withdrawal of his name. This he was finally compelled to do and on the thirty-sixth ballot Mr. Jefferson was duly elected President by a majority of eight votes and Col. Burr Vice President. I have long been convinced that the Federal Constitution should be amended with reference to the election of these two officers. The votes for each should be confined to each office independent of the other. The election should never go to the House of Representatives, especially as political honesty is constantly deteriorating. The history of all time shows clearly, that as a government grows older corruption increases until it finally dissolves the state. Let the President be elected for four years and until another shall be elected in his place and let this be done directly by the PEOPLE. Reckless party management would then be stripped of half its horrors. Better pay the expense of two elections than have one unworthy incumbent in the Presidential Chair. The following extract from the Inaugural Address of Mr. Jefferson should be committed by every man and boy in our country—the principles would then be better understood and perhaps more generally exemplified in practice. "Equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion—religious or political—peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none—the support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti- republican tendencies—the preservation of the general government in its whole constitutional vigor as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad—a zealous care of the right of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution when peaceable remedies are unprovided— absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of Republics from which there is no appeal but to force—the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism—a well disciplined militia our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them—the supremacy of the civil over the
  9. 9. military authority—economy in public expenses that labor may be lightly burthened— the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith— encouragement of agriculture and of commerce as its handmaid—the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason—freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom of the person under the protection of the habeas corpus and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touch stone by which to try the service of those we trust and should we wander from them in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety." Here is a statesman's chart drawn by one of the ablest, navigators that ever stood at the helm of government. His soundings were frequent—his observations were made with mathematical precision—he combined science and experience and traced his lines with boldness and truth. To follow its directions is to ensure safety. Its delineations are not designed for partisan use but for our whole country and the freemen of the world through all time. Based upon these principles practically, the administration of Jefferson became popular, peaceful and prosperous. He understood the reasonable desires of the people and exerted his noblest powers to gratify them. He knew that the art of governing harmoniously consisted in HONESTY and governed himself accordingly. He anticipated the future wants of the rising and expanding Republic and proposed in his annual and special messages to Congress wise and politic measures to meet them. So fully was his course approved that he was re-elected by a majority of one hundred and forty-eight. His second inaugural address reiterated the same magnanimous principles of his first, manifesting a deep and growing interest in the prosperity and welfare of our common country. As he has been repeatedly charged with infidelity by those who descend so low as to desecrate the ashes of the illustrious dead and the charge repeated but a few days ago in a prominent print in the city of New York, I insert the following extract from his annual message, which sentiment is found in all his writings where the subject is alluded to. I have recently read two of his unpublished letters to a gentleman who is now a member of the New Jersey Senate, in which the same view is expressed. "I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries of life—who has covered our infancy with his Providence and our riper years with his wisdom and power." Washington and Adams said no more. If all who profess the religion of the Cross discarded sectarianism and honored unsophisticated practical religion as much as did Thomas Jefferson, the prospect of christianizing the world would burst upon us with refulgent brightness. The partition
  10. 10. walls of various creeds, claimed to be drawn from the same pure fountain, would be dissolved by heaven-born Charity and the superstructure of the Redeemer's kingdom would rise in majesty sublime. Soon after Mr. Jefferson entered upon the duties of his second term, a portentous storm darkened the horizon of our country, charged with the lightning of discord. In consequence of being disappointed in riding into the presidency on the whirlwind of confusion he created at the time he was made Vice President and at the end of four years —dropped like a traitor as he was, Aaron Burr mounted upon the tornado of his wild ambition and attempted the formation of a new Republic in the Spanish Provinces on the Mississippi, aiming at an ultimate division, if not dissolution of the Union. He was arrested and tried for high treason but being a man of great foresight, consummate genius and deep cunning—no overt act could be proved against him within the technical meaning of the law and he was acquitted—yet the dark stigma is marked upon the splendor of his brilliant talents in traces so deep, that time nor angels' tears can ever remove it. Like a comet propelled by its own centrifugal force from its constitutional orbit, he fell to rise no more—our country was saved from his Cataline grasp by the Cicero of our nation. About the same time France and Great Britain were at war—both of whom and more especially the latter—had repeatedly insulted the American flag under various but false pretences. Redress was promptly demanded and measures pursued to obtain it. Anxious to preserve peace but determined to vindicate our rights and dignity—Mr. Jefferson simultaneously prosecuted a negotiation and prepared for war. He well understood the importance of the importing and exporting trade to England. Among the means used to bring her to honorable terms, he recommended to Congress the embargo law which was passed on the 22d Dec. 1807. This measure was violently assailed by those opposed to his administration. As he anticipated, it had a salutary effect upon the British government and caused propositions to be made by England for an honorable adjustment of all differences. Thus were the foreign relations of the United States situated when the second term of Mr. Jefferson closed. He then bid a final farewell to public life and consigned the destinies of his beloved country into other hands. He had been an efficient and faithful laborer in the vineyard of American Liberty nearly forty years. He left it richly covered with green foliage and fruit—in the full vigor of health—enclosed by the palisades of truth and honesty—adorned with the crowning glories of philanthropy and patriotism. From that time he declined all public honors and remained in peaceful retirement to the day of his death—seldom leaving his sweet home—the beautiful Monticello. Unlike too many with ample means he did not lead a life of inglorious ease. The same innate activity that had marked his bright career from youth—the same nobleness of mind and energy of character that raised him to the loftiest pinnacle fame could rear, still promoted him to action. He reduced his time to a harmonious arrangement—his business to perfect system. He uniformly rose before the sun and held a supervision over all the concerns of his plantation. The various productions of his pen during the period
  11. 11. of his retirement, show that he labored arduously in the fields of science and philosophy. For the promotion of literature and general intelligence, he opened an extensive correspondence with men of letters in this country and Europe. He considered the diffusion of knowledge among the great mass of the human family the greatest safeguard against tyranny and oppression—the purest source of earthly bliss—the surest passport to freedom and happiness. Acting from this impulse, he submitted the plan of a University to the legislature of Virginia to be erected at Charlottesville, situated at the foot of the romantic mountain in front of his mansion. It was to be built with funds raised by donations from individuals in the state, himself to be a liberal contributor. The plan of the buildings and course of instruction were drawn by him and so much admired and approved by the members of the legislative body that an act was passed to carry into effect the design and Mr. Jefferson was appointed Rector. For the completion of this object he spent all necessary time and more money than strict justice called for. It became the doating object of his old age. His best efforts were exerted in its accomplishment, which were crowned with success and the University filled with students to whom he paid great attention. The course of instruction was designed to prepare youth for the general routine of business, public and private and was not strictly classical. The library was selected by him with great care, being composed entirely of solid useful books, treating on subjects important to every citizen in preparing him to discharge properly the duties he owes to his God, his family, his country and himself. A catalogue, written by Jefferson, is still there in a good state of preservation. He exercised a parental care over this institution until his physical powers failed. Much of his time was devoted to visitors to whom he was hospitable and kind. Thousands of his own countrymen paid their grateful respects to him—Europeans of distinction thought their tour in this country incomplete until they took by the hand the patriot, sage, philosopher and philanthropist of Monticello. He was ever anxious to please, delight and instruct. He was familiar with every subject. His mind united the vigor of youth with the experience of age. The broad expanse of the universe—the stupendous works of nature—the Pierian fields of science—the deep recesses of philosophy and labyrinthian avenues of the intellect of man—seemed spread before him like the map of the world. He was an encyclopædia of the age he adorned—a lexicon of the times he enlightened—one of the brightest diadems in the crown of his country's glory. With a calm and peaceful quietude Mr. Jefferson glided down the stream of time toward the ocean of eternity until he reached the eighty-fourth year of his age. Forty-four years had passed away since his amiable companion had been laid in the tomb. She was the daughter of Mr. Wayles, an eminent lawyer of Virginia. One of two interesting daughters was also resting in the grave. The charms of earth were receding from him—he felt sensibly that he stood on the confines of another and a better world. The physical powers and mechanical structure of his frame were fast decaying—the canker worm of disease was doing its final work—the angel of death hovered over him with a keen blade
  12. 12. awaiting Jehovah's signal to cut the silver cord of life and set the prisoner free. Early in the spring of 1826 his bodily infirmities increased. From the 26th of June to the time of his death he was confined to his bed. He then remarked to his attending physician—"My machine is worn out and can go no longer." His friends who attended him thought he would again recover but he was convinced that his voyage of life was about to close and that he would soon cast his anchor in the haven of rest. To those around him he said—"Do not imagine that I feel the smallest solicitude as to the result. I do not indeed wish to die but I do not fear to die." Do infidels die thus calm and resigned? Echo answers—Do infidels die thus? On the second day of July his body became extremely weak but his mental powers remained as clear as a crystal fountain. He called his family and friends around him and with a cheerful countenance and calm dignity gave direction for his funeral obsequies. He requested that he might be interred at Monticello without pomp or show and that the inscription on his tomb should only refer to him as "The author of the Declaration of Independence—of the Statutes of Virginia securing religious Freedom and the Father of the University." He then conversed separately with each of his family. To his surviving daughter, Mrs. Randolph, he presented a small morocco case which he requested her not to open until after his death. It was found to contain a beautiful and affectionate poetic tribute to her virtues. The next day, being told it was the 3d of July, he expressed a desire that he might be permitted to inhale the atmosphere of the fiftieth anniversary of our national freedom. His prayer was granted—the glorious 4th of July 1826 dawned upon him—he took an affectionate leave of those around him and then raising his eyes upward articulated distinctly, "I resign myself to God and my child to my country"—and expired as calmly as an infant sleeps in its mother's arms. Thus lived and thus died THOMAS JEFFERSON, universally esteemed in life—deeply mourned in death by a nation of freemen— sincerely lamented by every patriot in the civilized world. In person he was slender and erect—six feet two inches in height—light and intelligent eyes—noble and open countenance—fair complexion—yellowish red hair and commanding in his whole appearance. In all the relations of public and private life he was the model of a great and good man. His whole career was calm and dignified. Under all circumstances his coolness, strong moral courage—deliberation and equanimity of mind, placed him on a lofty eminence and enabled him to preserve a perfect equilibrium amidst all the changing vicissitudes and multiform ills flesh is heir to. He kept his passions under complete control and cultivated richly the finer qualities of his nature. His charity, the brightest star in the Christian diadem, was as broad as the human family —his sympathies co-extensive with the afflictions of Adam's race. He was created for usefulness—nobly did he fulfil the design of his creation. If his were not the fruits of practical Christianity, the immaculate Redeemer and the Apostles did not truly describe them. You who basely charge THOMAS JEFFERSON with infidelity, remember—O! remember, that his last words were those uttered by many of the martyrs—"I RESIGN MYSELF TO GOD AND MY CHILD TO MY COUNTRY."