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´╗┐Title: Thomas Jefferson, a Character Sketch
Author: Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Thomas Jefferson, a Character Sketch" ***

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BY EDWARD S. ELLIS, A. M. AUTHOR OF "The People's Standard History of
the United States," "The Eclectic Primary History of the United States,"

with supplementary essay by G. MERCER ADAM Late Editor of "Self-Culture"
Magazine, Etc., Etc.


No golden eagle, warm from the stamping press of the mint, is more
sharply impressed with its image and superscription than was the
formative period of our government by the genius and personality of
Thomas Jefferson.

Standing on the threshold of the nineteenth century, no one who
attempted to peer down the shadowy vista, saw more clearly than he the
possibilities, the perils, the pitfalls and the achievements that were
within the grasp of the Nation. None was inspired by purer patriotism.
None was more sagacious, wise and prudent, and none understood his
countrymen better.

By birth an aristocrat, by nature he was a democrat. The most learned
man that ever sat in the president's chair, his tastes were the simple
ones of a farmer. Surrounded by the pomp and ceremony of Washington and
Adams' courts, his dress was homely. He despised titles, and preferred
severe plainness of speech and the sober garb of the Quakers.

"What is the date of your birth, Mr. President?" asked an admirer.

"Of what possible concern is that to you?" queried the President in

"We wish to give it fitting celebration."

"For that reason, I decline to enlighten you; nothing could be more
distasteful to me than what you propose, and, when you address me, I
shall be obliged if you will omit the 'Mr.'"

If we can imagine Washington doing so undignified a thing as did
President Lincoln, when he first met our present Secretary of State,
(John Sherman) and compared their respective heights by standing back to
back, a sheet of paper resting on the crowns of Washington and Jefferson
would have lain horizontal and been six feet two inches from the earth,
but the one was magnificent in physique, of massive frame and prodigious
strength,--the other was thin, wiry, bony, active, but with muscles of
steel, while both were as straight as the proverbial Indian arrow.

Jefferson's hair was of sandy color, his cheeks ruddy, his eyes of a
light hazel, his features angular, but glowing with intelligence and
neither could lay any claim to the gift of oratory.

Washington lacked literary ability, while in the hand of Jefferson, the
pen was as masterful as the sword in the clutch of Saladin or Godfrey of
Bouillon. Washington had only a common school education, while Jefferson
was a classical scholar and could express his thoughts in excellent
Italian, Spanish and French, and both were masters of their temper.

Jefferson was an excellent violinist, a skilled mathematician and a
profound scholar. Add to all these his spotless integrity and honor,
his statesmanship, and his well curbed but aggressive patriotism, and he
embodied within himself all the attributes of an ideal president of the
United States.

In the colonial times, Virginia was the South and Massachusetts the
North. The other colonies were only appendages. The New York Dutchman
dozed over his beer and pipe, and when the other New England settlements
saw the Narragansetts bearing down upon them with upraised tomahawks,
they ran for cover and yelled to Massachusetts to save them.

Clayborne fired popguns at Lord Baltimore, and the Catholic and
Protestant Marylanders enacted Toleration Acts, and then chased one
another over the border, with some of the fugitives running all the way
to the Carolinas, where the settlers were perspiring over their efforts
in installing new governors and thrusting them out again, in the hope
that a half-fledged statesman would turn up sometime or other in the

What a roystering set those Cavaliers were! Fond of horse racing, cock
fighting, gambling and drinking, the soul of hospitality, quick to
take offense, and quicker to forgive,--duellists as brave as Spartans,
chivalric, proud of honor, their province, their blood and their
families, they envied only one being in the world and that was he who
could establish his claim to the possession of a strain from the veins
of the dusky daughter of Powhatan--Pocahontas.

Could such people succeed as pioneers of the wilderness?

Into the snowy wastes of New England plunged the Pilgrims to blaze a
path for civilization in the New World. They were perfect pioneers
down to the minutest detail. Sturdy, grimly resolute, painfully honest,
industrious, patient, moral and seeing God's hand in every affliction,
they smothered their groans while writhing in the pangs of starvation
and gasped in husky whispers: "He doeth all things well; praise to his
name!" Such people could not fail in their work.

And yet of the first ten presidents, New England furnished only the
two Adamses, while Virginia gave to the nation, Washington, Jefferson,
Madison, Monroe and then tapered off with Tyler.

In the War for the Union, the ten most prominent leaders were Grant,
Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, Farragut, Porter, Lee, Stonewall Jackson,
J. E. Johnston and Longstreet. Of these, four were the products of
Virginia, while none came from New England, nor did she produce a real,
military leader throughout the civil war, though she poured out treasure
like water and sent as brave soldiers to the field as ever kept step
to the drum beat, while in oratory, statesmanship and humanitarian
achievement, her sons have been leaders from the foundation of the

Thomas Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Albemarle County, Va., April
2,1743. His father was the owner of thirty slaves and of a wheat and
tobacco farm of nearly two thousand acres. There were ten children,
Thomas being the third. His father was considered the strongest man
physically in the county, and the son grew to be like him in that
respect, but the elder died while the younger was a boy.

Entering William and Mary College, Thomas was shy, but his ability
quickly drew attention to him. He was an irrestrainable student,
sometimes studying twelve and fourteen hours out of the twenty-four. He
acquired the strength to stand this terrific strain by his exercise
of body. His father warned his wife just before his death not to allow
their son to neglect this necessity, but the warning was superfluous.
The youth was a keen hunter, a fine horseman and as fond as Washington
of out door sports.

He was seventeen years old when he entered college and was one of
the "gawkiest" students. He was tall, growing fast, raw-boned, with
prominent chin and cheek bones, big hands and feet, sandy-haired and
freckled. His mind broadened and expanded fast under the tutelage of Dr.
William Small, a Scotchman and the professor of mathematics, who made
young Jefferson his companion in his walks, and showed an interest in
the talented youth, which the latter gratefully remembered throughout

Jefferson was by choice a farmer and never lost interest in the
management of his estate. One day, while a student at law, he wandered
into the legislature and was thrilled by the glowing speech of Patrick
Henry who replied to an interruption:

"If this be treason, make the most of it."

He became a lawyer in his twenty-fourth year, and was successful from
the first, his practice soon growing to nearly five hundred cases
annually, which yielded an income that would be a godsend to the
majority of lawyers in these days.

Ere long, the mutterings of the coming Revolution drew Jefferson aside
into the service of his country.

At the age of twenty-six (May 11, 1769), he took his seat in the House
of Burgesses, of which Washington was a member. On the threshold of his
public career, he made the resolution which was not once violated during
his life, "never to engage, while in public office, in any kind of
enterprise for the improvement of my fortune, nor to wear any other
character than that of a farmer." Thus, during his career of nearly half
a century, he was impartial in his consideration of questions of public

His first important speech was in favor of the repeal of the law that
compelled a master when he freed his slaves to send them out of the
colony. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated, and its mover denounced
as an enemy of his country.

It was about this time that Jefferson became interested in Mrs. Martha
Wayles Skelton, a childless widow, beautiful and accomplished and a
daughter of John Wayles, a prominent member of the Williamsburg bar. She
was under twenty years of age, when she lost her first husband, rather
tall, with luxuriant auburn hair and an exceedingly graceful manner.

She had many suitors, but showed no haste to lay aside her weeds. The
aspirants indeed were so numerous that she might well hesitate whom to
choose, and more than one was hopeful of winning the prize.

It so happened that one evening, two of the gentlemen called at the same
time at her father's house. They were friends, and were about to pass
from the hall into the drawing-room, when they paused at the sound of
music. Some one was playing a violin with exquisite skill, accompanied
by the harpsicord, and a lady and gentleman were singing.

There was no mistaking the violinist, for there was only one in the
neighborhood capable of so artistic work, while Mrs. Skelton had no
superior as a player upon the harpsicord, the fashionable instrument of
those days. Besides, it was easy to identify the rich, musical voice of
Jefferson and the sweet tones of the young widow.

The gentlemen looked significantly at each other. Their feelings were
the same.

"We are wasting our time," said one; "we may as well go home."

They quietly donned their hats and departed, leaving the ground to him
who had manifestly already pre-empted it.

On New Year's day, 1772, Jefferson and Mrs. Skelton were married and
no union was more happy. His affection was tender and romantic and they
were devoted lovers throughout her life. Her health and wishes were his
first consideration, and he resolved to accept no post or honor that
would involve their separation, while she proved one of the truest
wives with which any man was ever blessed of heaven. The death of his
father-in-law doubled Jefferson's estate, a year after his marriage. His
life as a gentleman farmer was an ideal one, and it is said that as a
result of experimentation, Jefferson domesticated nearly every tree and
shrub, native and foreign, that was able to stand the Virginia winters.

Jefferson's commanding ability, however, speedily thrust him into the
stirring incidents that opened the Revolution. In September, 1774, his
"Draught of Instructions" for Virginia's delegation to the congress in
Philadelphia was presented. The convention refused to adopt his radical
views, but they were published in a pamphlet and copies were send to
England, where Edmund Burke had it republished with emendations of his

Great Britain viewed the paper as the extreme of insolence and punished
the author by adding his name to the list of proscriptions enrolled in a
bill of attainder.

Jefferson was present as a member of the convention, which met in the
parish church at Richmond, in March, 1775, to consider the course that
Virginia should take in the impending crisis. It was at that meeting
that Patrick Henry electrified his hearers with the thrilling words:

"Gentlemen may cry, 'Peace, peace!' but there is no peace! The war has
actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to
our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the
field. Why stand we here idle? What is it the gentlemen wish? What would
they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the
price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what
course others may take, but as for me, GIVE ME LIBERTY, Or GIVE ME

Within the following month occurred the battle of Lexington.

Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry were members of the committee
appointed to arrange a plan for preparing Virginia to act her part in
the struggle. When Washington, June, 20, 1775, received his commission
as commander-in-chief of the American army, Jefferson succeeded to the
vacancy thus created, and the next day took his seat in congress.

A few hours later came the news of the battle of Bunker Hill.

Jefferson was an influential member of the body from the first. John
Adams said of him: "he was so prompt, frank, explicit and decisive upon
committees that he soon seized upon every heart." Virginia promptly
re-elected him and the part he took in draughting the Declaration of
Independence is known to every school boy.

His associates on the committee were Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman
and Robert R. Livingston. It was by their request that he prepared the
document (see fac-simile, page 49,) done on the second floor of a small
building, on the corner of Market and Seventh Streets. The house and the
little desk, constructed by Jefferson himself, are carefully preserved.

The paper was warmly debated and revised in congress on the 2nd, 3rd and
4th of July, 1776. The weather was oppressively hot, and on the last
day an exasperating but providential invasion of the hall by a swarm
of flies hurried the signing of the document. Some days afterward, the
committee of which Jefferson was a member provided as a motto of the new
seal, that perfect legend,--E Pluribus Unum.

The facts connected with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence
must always be of profound interest. The public are inclined to think
that our Magna Charta was accepted and signed with unbounded enthusiasm
and that scarcely any opposition to it appeared, but the contrary was
the fact.

While Jefferson was the author of the instrument, John Adams, more than
any one man or half a dozen men brought about its adoption. When the
question was afterward asked him, whether every member of congress
cordially approved it, he replied, "Majorities were constantly against
it. For many days the majority depended on Mr. Hewes of North Carolina.
While a member one day was reading documents to prove that public
opinion was in favor of the measure, Mr. Hewes suddenly started upright,
and lifting up both hands to heaven, as if in a trance, cried out:

'It is done, and I will abide by it.'

I would give more for a perfect painting of the terror and horror of
the faces of the old majority at that moment than for the best piece of

Jefferson has given a synopsis of the arguments for and against the
adoption of the Declaration. It will be remembered that the hope of
the colonies or new States, even after the war had continued for a
considerable time, was not so much independence as to extort justice
from Great Britain.

Had this been granted, the separation would have been deferred and when
it came, as come it must, probably would have been peaceable. At the
same time, there was a strenuous, aggressive minority who was insistent
from the first for a complete severance of the ties binding us to the
mother country.

The debate in congress showed that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were not ready to take the
irrevocable step, but it was evident that they were fast approaching
that mood, and the wise leaders tarried in order to take them in their

In the vote of July 1, the Pennsylvania and South Carolina delegates
still opposed, while those from New York did the same, contrary to their
own convictions but in obedience to home instructions, which later were

The signs of unanimity became unmistakable on the Second, and two days
later, as every one knows, the adoption of the Declaration took place,
though it was not until the Second of August that all the members,
excepting John Dickinson had signed.

Five years passed before the Articles of Confederation were formally
adopted by the states, by which time it had become clear that they must
totally fail of their purpose, for each state decided for itself whether
to respond to the demands of congress. The poison of nullification thus
infused into the body politic at its birth bore baleful fruit in the
years that followed.

On six separate occasions, there were overt acts on the part of the

The first occurred in 1798, when Virginia and Kentucky passed
nullification resolutions.

The second was the attempt of New England in 1803 to form a northern
confederacy, comprising five New England States, and New York and New
Jersey. The third was Aaron Burr's wild scheme in the Southwest.

The fourth, the resolution of the New England States to withhold
cooperation in the War of 1812.

The fifth, the nullification acts of South Carolina in 1832.

The sixth and last, the effort of eleven states to form the Southern
Confederacy. This brought the burning issue to a head and settled the
question for the ages to come.

It seems incredible in these times that the country submitted for a
month to the intolerable Alien and Sedition acts. Should any congressman
propose their reenactment to-day, he would be looked upon as a crank
and be laughed out of court. They were enacted when Jefferson was Vice
President and were the creation of the brilliant Alexander Hamilton,
whose belief was in a monarchy rather than a republic.

The Sedition act made it a felony punishable with a fine of $5000 and
five years imprisonment for persons to combine in order to impede the
operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate persons from
taking Federal office, or to commit or advise a riot or insurrection or
unlawful assembly.

It declared further that the writing or publishing of any scandalous,
malicious or false statement against the president or either house of
congress should be punishable by a fine of $2000 and imprisonment for
two years.

It will be noted that this law precluded all free discussion of an act
of congress, or the conduct of the president.

In other words, it was meant to be the death blow to freedom of speech.

But bad as it was, the Alien act, which congress passed at the same
session, 1798, was ten fold worse.

There had been much unrest caused by the intermeddling of foreigners in
the States, and it was now decided that the president might drive out
of the country any alien he chose thus to banish, and to do it without
assigning any reason therefor. It was not necessary even to sue or to
bring charges; if an alien receiving such notice from the president
refused to obey, he could be imprisoned for three years.

President Adams afterward declared that he did not approve of this stern
measure which was the work of Hamilton, and boasted that it was not
enforced by him in a single instance.

Nevertheless, the Sedition act was enforced to a farcical degree.

When President Adams was passing through Newark, N. J., he was saluted
by the firing of cannon. One of the cannoneers, who was strongly opposed
to him, expressed the wish that he might be struck by some of the
wadding. For this remark, he was arrested and compelled to pay a fine of
one hundred dollars.

Editor Frothingham printed his belief that Hamilton wished to buy the
Aurora for the purpose of suppressing it. For expressing that opinion
he was fined and imprisoned. Thomas Cooper made the remark that in 1797
President Adams was "hardly in the infancy of political mistakes," and
these mild words cost him $400 and kept him in prison for six months.

It is hard to believe that the following proceedings took place within
the present hundred years in the United States of America, and yet they

In the case against Callender, Judge Chase denounced the accused to the
jurors and forbade the marshals to place any one not a Federalist on the
jury. The lawyers who defended Callender were threatened with corporal

In Otsego, N. Y., Judge Peck obtained signers to a petition for the
repeal of the obnoxious acts. For such action he was indicted and taken
to New York city for trial.

That was the sacred right of petition with a vengeance.

Matthew Lyon, while canvassing his district in Vermont for re-election
to congress, charged the president in one of his speeches with
"unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation and a selfish
avarice," certainly mild expressions compared with what are heard in
these times, but because of their utterance, Mr. Lyon spent four months
in jail and paid a fine of $1000.

When he had served out his term and been re-elected, a strong effort was
made to prevent his taking his seat. It failed and in 1840, his fine was
returned to him with interest.

It can well be understood that the passage and enforcement of such
iniquitous measures caused alarm and indignation throughout the country.

Edward Livingston declared that they would "disgrace Gothic barbarism."
Jefferson's soul was stirred with the profoundest indignation. Under his
inspiration, the Virginia assembly adopted resolutions calling on the
state to nullify within its limits the enforcement of the Sedition act.
The Alien and Sedition laws were declared unconstitutional, and the
sister States were invited to unite in resisting them, "in order to
maintain unimpaired the authorities, rights and liberties reserved to
the States respectively or to the people."

These views were not only those of Jefferson, but of Patrick Henry,
George Mason and nearly all leading Virginians.

Kentucky, the child of her loins, seconded the action of Virginia, urged
thereto by Jefferson who moulded her resolutions.

The revolt against the measures was so widespread that the Alien act was
repealed in 1800, and the Sedition act in the following year.

Having been essentially Federal measures, they were buried in the same
grave with the Federal party.

Having rendered these invaluable services, Jefferson resigned his seat
in congress, on account of the illness of his wife and the urgent need
of his presence at home. Moreover, he had been elected a member of the
legislature of his State and was anxious to purge its statute books of a
number of objectionable laws.

He had hardly entered upon the work, when he was notified of his
appointment as a joint commissioner with Franklin and Deane as
representatives of the United States in France. After reflection, he
declined the appointment, believing his duty at home was more important.
That such was the fact was proven by his success in securing the repeal
of the system of entail, thus allowing all property in the State to be
held in fee simple, and by the abolishment of the connection between
church and state. The latter required years in order to effect complete
success, but it was reached at last.

How forceful were many of the expressions he employed during that
contest, such as: "Compulsion makes hypocrites, not converts;" "Truth
stands by itself; error alone needs the support of government."

Jefferson's committee abolished the frightful penalties of the ancient
code; he set on foot the movement for the improvement of public
education; he drew the bill for the establishment of courts of law in
the State, and prescribing their methods and powers; he destroyed the
principle of primogeniture, and brought about the removal of the capital
from Williamsburg to Richmond.

Jefferson succeeded Patrick Henry as Governor of the State, at the
opening of the year 1779. The two years were marked by incessant trial
and the severest labor, for the war had reached Virginia soil and the
State was desolated.

More than once the legislature was obliged to flee before the enemy;
Gates was crushed at Camden; Arnold the traitor scourged Richmond with
his raiders; Monticello itself was captured by cavalry, and Jefferson
escaped only by a hair's breadth. His estate was trampled over, his
horses stolen, his barns burned, his crops destroyed and many of his
slaves run off.

He declined a third election, and in the autumn of 1782, to his
inconsolable sorrow, his wife died, leaving three daughters, the
youngest a babe.

In the following November, he took his seat in congress at Annapolis,
and during that session he proposed and caused the adoption of our
present system of decimal currency.

In May, 1784, he was again elected plenipotentiary to France to assist
Franklin and Adams in negotiating commercial treaties with foreign
nations. He arrived in Paris in July, and in May, succeeding, became
sole plenipotentiary to the king of France for three years from March
10, 1785.

Jefferson's residence in France produced a profound impression upon
him and had much to do in crystallizing his ideas of the true form of

That country was groveling under the heel of one of the most hideous
systems that the baseness of man ever conceived. Who has not read of
the nobleman who, when his coachman ran over a child and crushed out its
life, was only concerned lest its blood should soil his carriage, or of
the poor peasants who were compelled to beat the bogs all night long,
to prevent the frogs from croaking and thereby disturbing the slumber of
their lordly masters? The condition of no people could be more horrible,
than that of the lower classes in France previous to the uprising, with
its excesses that horrified the world.

Jefferson enjoyed the music, the art and the culture of the gay capital,
but could never shake off the oppression caused by the misery of the

"They are ground to powder," he said, "by the vices of the form of
government which is one of wolves over sheep, or kites over pigeons."

He took many journeys through the country and made it a practice to
enter the houses of the peasants and talk with them upon their affairs
and manner of living. He often did this, using his eyes at the same
time with the utmost assiduity. All that he learned deepened the
sad impression he had formed, and he saw with unerring prevision the
appalling retribution that was at hand.

But Jefferson was not the officer to forget or neglect his duties to his
own government, during the five years spent in France.

Algiers, one of the pestilent Barbary States, held a number of American
captives which she refused to release except upon the payment of a large
ransom. It had been the custom for years for the powerful Christian
nations to pay those savages to let their ships alone, because it was
cheaper to do so than to maintain a fleet to fight them. Jefferson
strove to bring about a union of several nations with his own, for the
purpose of pounding some sense into the heads of the barbarians and
compelling them to behave themselves.

One reason why he did not succeed was because our own country had no
navy with which to perform her part in the compact.

France, with that idiotic blindness which ruled her in those fearful
days, maintained a protective system which prevented America from
sending cheap food to starving people, nor was Jefferson able to effect
more than a slight change in the pernicious law. One thing done by him
made him popular with the masses. His "Notes on Virginia" was published
both in French and English. Like everything that emanated from his
master hand, it was well conceived and full of information. In addition,
it glowed with republican sentiment and delighted the people. He was
in Paris when his State legislature enacted the act for which he had
so strenuously worked, establishing the freedom of religion. He had
numerous copies of it printed in French and distributed. It struck
another popular chord and received the ardent praise of the advanced

Jefferson was too deeply interested in educational work to forget it
among any surroundings. All new discoveries, inventions and scientific
books were brought to the knowledge of the colleges in the United
States, and he collected a vast quantity of seeds, roots and nuts for
transplanting in American soil.

It need hardly be said that his loved Monticello was not forgotten, and,
as stated elsewhere, he grew about everything of that nature that would
stand the rigor of the Virginia winters. No office or honor could take
away Jefferson's pride as a cultivator of the soil.

Returning to Virginia on leave of absence, in the autumn of 1789, he
was welcomed with official honors and the cordial respect of his fellow
citizens. On the same day he learned of his appointment by Washington as
his Secretary of State.

He would have preferred to return to his former post, but yielded to the
wishes of the first president, and, arriving in New York in March, 1790,
entered at once upon the duties of his office.

In the cabinet Jefferson immediately collided with the brilliant
Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury.

The two could no more agree than oil and water.

Jefferson was an intense republican-democrat, and was shocked and
disgusted to find himself in an atmosphere of distrust of a republican
system of government, with an unmistakable leaning toward monarchical
methods. This feeling prevailed not only in society, but showed itself
among the political leaders.

Jefferson's political creed may be summed up in his own words:

"The will of the majority is the natural law of every society and the
only sure guardian of the rights of man; though this may err, yet its
errors are honest, solitary and short-lived. We are safe with that, even
in its deviations, for it soon returns again to the right way."

Hamilton believed in a strong, centralized government, and on nearly
every measure that came before the cabinet, these intellectual giants
wrangled. Their quarrels were so sharp that Washington was often
distressed. He respected both too deeply to be willing to lose either,
but it required all his tact and mastering influence to hold them in
check. Each found the other so intolerable, that he wished to resign
that he might be freed from meeting him.

Hamilton abhorred the French revolution, with its terrifying excesses,
and Jefferson declared that no horror equalled that of France's old
system of government.

Finally Jefferson could stand it no longer and withdrew from the cabinet
January 1, 1794.

An equally potent cause for his resignation was the meagreness of his
salary of $3500. It was wholly insufficient and his estate was going to
ruin. He yearned to return to his beloved pursuit, that of a farmer.

The request by Washington to act as special envoy to Spain did not tempt
him, but he allowed his name to be put forward as a candidate for the
presidency in 1796. John Adams received 71 votes and Jefferson 68, which
in accordance with the law at that time made him vice-president.

President Adams ignored him in all political matters, and Jefferson
found the chair of presiding officer of the senate congenial. He
presided with dignity and great acceptability, and his "Manual of
Parliamentary Practice" is still the accepted authority in nearly all of
our deliberative bodies.

The presidential election of 1800 will always retain its place among the
most memorable in our history.

The Federalists had controlled the national government for twelve years,
or ever since its organization, and they were determined to prevent the
elevation of Jefferson, the founder of the new Republican party. The
Federal nominees were John Adams for president and Charles Cotesworth
Pinckney for vice-president, while the Republican vote was divided
between Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

A favorite warning on the part of those who see their ideas threatened
with overthrow is that our country is "trembling on the verge of
revolution." How many times in the past twenty-five, ten and five years
have ranting men and women proclaimed from the housetops that we were
"on the verge of revolution?" According to these wild pessimists the
revolution is always at hand, but somehow or other it fails to arrive.
The probabilities are that it has been permanently side-tracked.

During the campaign of 1800, Hamilton sounded the trumpet of alarm, when
he declared in response to a toast:

"If Mr. Pinckney is not elected, a revolution will be the consequence,
and within four years I will lose my head or be the leader of a
triumphant army."

The Federalist clergy joined in denouncing Jefferson on the ground that
he was an atheist. The Federalists said what they chose, but when the
Republicans grew too careless they were fined and imprisoned under the
Sedition law.

The exciting canvas established one fact: there was no man in the United
States so devotedly loved and so fiercely hated as Thomas Jefferson. New
York had twelve electoral votes, and because of the Alien and Sedition
laws she withheld them from Adams and cast them upon the Republican side.

It may not be generally known that it was because of this fact that New
York gained its name of the "Empire State."

The presidential vote was: Jefferson, 73; Burr, 73; John Adams, 65;
C. C. Pinckney, 64; Jay, 1. There being a tie between the leading
candidates, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives,
which assembled on the 11th of February, 1801, to make choice between
Burr and Jefferson.

It is to the credit of Hamilton that, knowing the debased character of
Burr, he used his utmost influence against him.

A great snow storm descended upon the little town of Washington and the
excitement became intense. On the first ballot, eight States voted for
Jefferson and six for Burr, while Maryland and Vermont were equally
divided. All the Federalists voted for Burr with the single exception of
Huger of South Carolina, not because of any love for Burr, but because
he did not hate him as much as he did Jefferson.

Mr. Nicholson of Maryland was too ill to leave his bed. Without his
vote, his State would have been given to Burr, but with it, the result
in Maryland would be a tie.

It was a time when illness had to give way to the stern necessity of the
case, and the invalid was wrapped up and brought on his bed through
the driving snow storm and placed in one of the committee rooms of the
house, with his wife at his side, administering medicines and stimulants
night and day. On each vote the ballot box was brought to the bed side
and his feeble hand deposited the powerful bit of paper.

Day after day, the balloting went on until thirty-five ballots had been

By that time, it was clear that no break could be made in the Jefferson
columns and it was impossible to elect Burr. When the thirty-sixth
ballot was cast, the Federalists of Maryland, Delaware and South
Carolina threw blanks and the Federalists of Vermont stayed away,
leaving their Republican brothers to vote those States for Jefferson. By
this slender chance did the republic escape a calamity, and secure the
election of Jefferson for president with Burr for vice-president.

The inauguration of the third president was made a national holiday
throughout the country. The church bells were rung, the military
paraded, joyous orations were delivered, and many of the newspapers
printed in full the Declaration of Independence.

The closeness of the election resulted in a change in the electoral law
by which the president and vice-president must of necessity belong to
the same political party.

Jefferson had every reason to feel proud of his triumph, but one of the
finest traits of his character was his magnanimity.

The irascible Adams made an exhibition of himself on the 4th of March,
when in a fit of rage, he rose before day-light and set out in his coach
for Massachusetts, refusing to wait and take part in the inauguration
of his successor. With the mellowness of growing years, he realized the
silliness of the act, and he and Jefferson became fully reconciled and
kept up an affectionate correspondence to the end of their lives.

Jefferson did all he could to soothe the violent party feeling that had
been roused during the election. This spirit ran like a golden thread
through his first excellently conceived inaugural. He reminded his
fellow citizens that while they differed in opinion, there was no
difference in principle, and put forth the following happy thought:

"We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among
us, who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican
form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which
error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat

There can be little doubt that he had Hamilton in mind when he answered,
as follows, in his own forceful way the radical views of that gifted

"Some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong,
that this government is not strong enough. I believe this, on the
contrary, is the strongest government on earth. I believe it is the only
one where every man, at the call of the laws, would fly to the standard
of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own
personal concern."

It was characteristic of Jefferson's nobility that one of his first
efforts was to undo, so far as he could, the mischief effected by the
detested Sedition law. Every man who was in durance because of its
operation was pardoned, and he looked upon the law as "a nullity as
obsolete and palpable, as if congress had ordered us to fall down and
worship a golden image."

He addressed friendly and affectionate letters to Kosciusko and others,
and invited them to be his guests at the White House. Samuel Adams of
Massachusetts had been shamefully abused during the canvas, but he felt
fully compensated by the touching letter from the president. Thomas
Paine was suffering almost the pangs of starvation in Paris, and
Jefferson paid his passage home. Everywhere that it was possible for
Jefferson to extend the helping hand he did so with a delicacy and
a tact, that won him multitudes of friends and stamped him as one of
nature's noblemen.

The new president selected an able cabinet, consisting of James Madison,
Secretary of State; Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury; Henry
Dearborn, Secretary of War; Robert Smith, Secretary of the Navy; Gideon
Granger, Postmaster-general; Levi Lincoln, Attorney General. This
household proved a veritable "happy family," all working together in
harmony throughout the two terms, and Jefferson declared that if he had
his work to do over again, he would select the same advisers without

Although the policy, "to the victors belong the spoils," had not
been formulated at that time, its spirit quickened the body politic.
Jefferson's supporters expected him to turn out a part at least of the
Federalists, who held nearly all the offices, but he refused, on the
principle that a competent and honest office holder should not be
removed because of his political opinions. When he, therefore, made a
removal, it was as a rule, for other and sufficient reasons.

But he did not hesitate to show his dislike of the ceremony that
prevailed around him. He stopped the weekly levee at the White House,
and the system of precedence in force at the present time; also the
appointment of fast and thanksgiving days. He dressed with severe
simplicity and would not permit any attention to be paid him as
president which would be refused him as a private citizen. In some
respects, it must be conceded that this remarkable man carried his views
to an extreme point.

The story, however, that he rode his horse alone to the capitol,
and, tying him to the fence, entered the building, unattended, lacks

Jefferson was re-elected in 1804, by a vote of 162 to 14 for Pinckney,
who carried only two States out of the seventeen.

The administrations of Jefferson were marked not only by many important
national events, but were accompanied by great changes in the people
themselves. Before and for some years after the Revolution, the majority
were content to leave the task of thinking, speaking and acting to
the representatives, first of the crown and then to their influential
neighbors. The property qualification abridged the right to vote, but
the active, hustling nature of the Americans now began to assert itself.
The universal custom of wearing wigs and queues was given up and men cut
their own hair short and insisted that every free man should have the
right to vote.

Jefferson was the founder and head of the new order of things, and
of the republican party, soon to take the name of democratic, which
controlled all the country with the exception of New England.

Our commerce increased enormously, for the leading nations of Europe
were warring with one another; money came in fast and most of the
national debt was paid.

Louisiana with an area exceeding all the rest of the United States, was
bought from France in 1803, for $15,000,000, and from the territory
were afterward carved the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa,
Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, Oklahoma, the Indian Territory
and most of the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming.

The upper Missouri River and the Columbia River country to the Pacific
Ocean were explored in 1804-6, by Lewis and Clarke, the first party of
white men to cross the continent north of Mexico. Ohio was admitted to
the Union in 1802. Fulton's steamboat, the Clermont made her maiden trip
from New York to Albany in 1807. The first boatload of anthracite coal
was shipped to Philadelphia, and it was a long time before the people
knew what to do with it.

The Tripolitan Pirates were snuffed out (1801-1805). The blight of the
Embargo Act settled upon our commerce in 1807, in which year the
opening gun of the War of 1812 was fired when the Leopard outraged the

The Embargo Act was a grievous mistake of Jefferson, though its purpose
was commendable. Under the plea of securing our ships against capture,
its real object was to deprive England and France of the commodities
which could be secured only in the United States. This measure might
have been endurable for an agricultural people, but it could not be
borne by a commercial and manufacturing one, like New England, whose
goods must find their market abroad. Under the Embargo Act, the New
England ships were rotting and crumbling to pieces at her wharves. It
was not long before she became restless. The measure was first endorsed
by the Massachusetts legislature, but the next session denounced it.

Early in 1809, congress passed an act allowing the use of the army and
navy to enforce the embargo and make seizures.

The Boston papers printed the act in mourning and, meetings were called
to memorialize the legislature. That body took strong ground, justifying
the course of Great Britain, demanding of congress that it should repeal
the embargo and declare war against France. Moreover, the enforcement
act was declared "not legally binding," and resistance to it was urged.

This was as clear a case of nullification as that of South Carolina in

Connecticut was as hot-headed as Massachusetts.

John Quincy Adams has stated that at that time the "Essex Junto" agreed
upon a New England convention to consider the expediency of secession.
Adams denounced the plotters so violently that the Massachusetts
legislature censured him by vote, upon which he resigned his seat in the
United States senate.

The Embargo Act was passed by congress, December 22, 1807, at the
instance of Jefferson, and repealed February 28, 1809, being succeeded
by the Non-Intercourse Act, which forbade French and British vessels to
enter American ports. It was mainly due to Jefferson's consummate tact
that war with Great Britain was averted after the Leopard and Chesapeake
affair, and he always maintained that had his views been honestly
carried out by the entire nation, we should have obtained all we
afterward fought for, without the firing of a hostile gun.

When on March 4, 1809, Jefferson withdrew forever from public life, he
was in danger of being arrested in Washington for debt. He was in great
distress, but a Richmond bank helped him for a time with a loan. He
returned to Monticello, where he lived with his only surviving daughter
Martha, her husband and numerous children, and with the children of his
daughter Maria, who had died in 1804.

He devoted hard labor and many years to the perfection of the common
school system in Virginia, and was so pleased with his establishment
of the college at Charlottesville, out of which grew the University
of Virginia, that he had engraved on his tombstone, "Father of the
University of Virginia," and was prouder of the fact than of being the
author of the Declaration of Independence.

Meanwhile, his lavish hospitality carried him lower and lower into
poverty. There was a continual procession of curious visitors to
Monticello, and old women poked their umbrellas through the window panes
to get a better view of the grand old man. Congress in 1814, paid
him $23,000 for his library which was not half its value. Some time
afterward a neighbor obtained his name as security on a note for $20,000
and left him to pay it all.

In the last year of his life, when almost on the verge of want, $16,500
was sent to him as a present from friends in New York, Philadelphia and
Baltimore, more than one-half being raised by Mayor Hone of New York.
Jefferson was moved to tears, and in expressing his gratitude said, he
was thankful that not a penny had been wrung from taxpayers.

In the serene sunset of life, the "Sage of Monticello" peacefully passed
away on the afternoon of July 4, 1826, and a few hours later, John
Adams, at his home in Quincy, Mass., breathed his last. A reverent hush
fell upon the country, at the thought of these two great men, one the
author of the Declaration of Independence and the other the man who
brought about its adoption, dying on the fiftieth anniversary of its
signing, and many saw a sacred significance in the fact.

Horace Greeley in referring to the co-incidence, said there was as
much probability of a bushel of type flung into the street arranging
themselves so as to print the Declaration of Independence, as there
was of Jefferson and Adams expiring on the fiftieth anniversary of the
adoption of that instrument; and yet one alternative of the contingency
happened and the other never can happen.

Jefferson's liberal views have caused him to be charged with infidelity.

He profoundly respected the moral character of Christ, but did not
believe in divine redemption through Christ's work. His dearest aim was
to bring down the aristocracy and elevate the masses.

He regarded slavery as a great moral and political evil, and in
referring to it said: "I tremble for my country when I remember that God
is just."

No more humane slave owner ever lived, and his servants regarded
him with almost idolatrous affection, while his love of justice, his
hospitality, his fairness to all and his winning personality disarmed
enmity and gave him many of his truest and warmest friends from among
his political opponents.

A peculiar fact connected with Jefferson is the difference among his
portraits. This is due to the varying periods at which they were made.
As we have stated, he was raw-boned, freckled and ungainly in his youth,
but showed a marked improvement in middle life. When he became old, many
esteemed him good looking, though it can hardly be claimed that he was

When Jefferson was eighty years old, Daniel Webster wrote the following
description of the venerable "Sage of Monticello:"

"Never in my life did I see his countenance distorted by a single bad
passion or unworthy feeling. I have seen the expression of suffering,
bodily and mental, of grief, pain, sadness, disagreeable surprise and
displeasure, but never of anger, impatience, peevishness, discontent, to
say nothing of worse or more ignoble emotions. To the contrary, it was
impossible to look on his face without being struck with the
benevolent, intelligent, cheerful and placid expression. It was at once
intellectual, good, kind and pleasant, whilst his tall, spare figure
spoke of health, activity and that helpfulness, that power and will,
'never to trouble another for what he could do himself,' which marked
his character."

This sketch may well be closed with Jefferson's own words regarding life
and happiness.

"Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the
lot of one of his creatures in this world; but that He has very much
put it in our power the nearness of our approach to it, is what I have
steadfastly believed.

"The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet
with calamities and misfortunes, which may greatly afflict us; and
to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and
misfortunes should be one of the principal studies and endeavors of our

"The only method of doing this is to assume a perfect resignation to the
Divine will, to consider that whatever does happen must happen, and that
by our uneasiness we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we
may add to its force after it has fallen.

"These considerations, and others such as these, may enable us in some
measure to surmount the difficulties thrown in our way, to bear up with
a tolerable degree of patience under this burden of life, and to proceed
with a pious and unshaken resignation till we arrive at our journey's
end, when we may deliver up our trust into the hands of Him who gave
it, and receive such reward as to Him shall seem proportionate to our

THOMAS JEFFERSON. (1743-1826), By G. Mercer Adam

JEFFERSON, when he penned the famous Declaration of Independence, which
broke all hope of reconciliation with the motherland and showed England
what the deeply-wronged Colonies of the New World unitedly desired
and would in the last resort fight for, had then just passed his
thirty-third birthday. Who was the man, and what were his upbringings
and status in the then young community, that inspired the writing of
this great historic document--a document that on its adoption gave
these United States an ever-memorable national birthday, and seven years
later, by the Peace of Versailles, wrung from Britain recognition of the
independence of the country and ushered it into the great sisterhood of
Nations? To his contemporaries and a later political age, Jefferson, in
spite of his culture and the aristocratic strain in his blood, is known
as the advocate of popular sovereignty and the champion of democracy in
matters governmental, as United States minister to France between the
years 1784-89, as Secretary of State under Washington, and as U. S.
President from 1801 to 1809. By education and bent of mind, he was,
however, an idealist in politics, a thinker and writer, rather than a
debater and speaker, and one who in his private letters, State papers,
and public documents did much to throw light, in his era, on the origin
and development of American political thought. A man of fine education
and of noble, elevated character, he earned distinction among his
fellows, and though opposed politically by many prominent statesmen of
the day, who, like Washington, Hamilton, and Adams, were in favor of a
strong centralized government, while Jefferson, in the interests of the
masses, feared encroachments on State and individual liberty, he
was nevertheless paid the respect, consideration, and regard of his
generation, as his services have earned the gratitude and his memory the
endearing commendation of posterity.

The illustrious statesman was born April 13, 1743, at "Shadwell," his
father's home in the hill country of central Virginia, about 150 miles
from Williamsburg, once the capital of the State, and the seat of
William and Mary college, where Jefferson received his higher education.
His father, Peter Jefferson, was a planter, owning an estate of about
2,000 acres, cultivated, as was usual in Virginia, by slave labor.
His mother was a Miss Randolph, and well connected; to her the future
President owed his aristocratic blood and refined tastes, and with good
looks a fine, manly presence. By her, Thomas, who was the third of nine
children, was in his childhood's days gently nurtured, though himself
fond of outdoor life and invigorating physical exercise. His father
died when his son was but fourteen, and to him he bequeathed the Roanoke
River estate, afterwards rebuilt and christened "Monticello." His
studies at the time were pursued under a fairly good classical scholar;
and on passing to college he there made diligent use of his time in the
study of history, literature, the sciences, and mathematics.

When he left college Jefferson took up the study of law under the
direction of George Wythe, afterwards Chancellor, then a rising
professional man of high attainments, to whom the youth seems to have
been greatly indebted as mentor and warm, abiding friend. He was also
fortunate in the acquaintance he was able to make among many of the
best people of Virginia, including some historic names, such as Patrick
Henry, Edmund Randolph, and Francis Fauquier, the lieutenant-governor of
the province, a gentleman with strong French proclivities, and a devoted
student of the destructive writings of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot,
that had much to do in bringing on the French Revolution. By his
father's death, he acquired a modest income, besides his little estate,
and the former he added to by his legal practice when, in 1767, he
obtained his diploma as a lawyer. In 1769, he became a member of the
House of Burgesses along with Washington and other prominent Virginians,
and with the exception of brief intervals he served with distinction
until the outbreak of the Revolution. In 1772, he married a young widow
in good circumstances, and this enabled him to add alike to his income
and to his patrimony. About the time of the meeting of the Colonial
Convention, called in 1775, to choose delegates for the Continental
Congress at Philadelphia, at which Patrick Henry was present, the
youthful Jefferson, now known as an able political writer, wrote his
"Summary View of the Rights of British America"--a trenchant protest
against English taxation of the Colonies, which had considerable
influence in creating public feeling favorable to American Independence.

The effect of this notable utterance was, later on, vastly increased
by the draft he prepared of the Declaration of Independence, the latter
immortal document being somewhat of a transcript of views set forth
by Jefferson in his former paper, as well as of ideas expressed by the
English philosopher, John Locke, in his "Theory of Government," and
by Rousseau, in his "Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Among Men;"
though the circumstances of the Colonies at this time were of course
different; while to England and the European nations the Declaration was
a startling revelation of the attitude now assumed by the great leaders
of the movement for separation as well as for freedom and independence.
In the passing of this great national charter John Adams, as all know,
was of much service to Jefferson in the debate over it in committee, as
well as in the subsequent ratification of it by the House. Franklin was
also of assistance in its revision in draft form; and most happy was the
result, not only in the ultimate passing of the great historic document,
but in its affirmation of the intelligent stand taken by the Colonies
against England and her monarch, and in its pointed definition of the
theory of democratic government on which the new fabric of popular rule
in the New World was founded and raised.

In the autumn of 1776, Jefferson resigned his seat in Congress, or
rather declined re-election to the Third Continental Congress, and
retired for a time to his Virginia home. He also, at this period,
declined appointment to France on the mission on which Franklin had set
out; nevertheless, we presently find him a member of the legislature
of his own State, taking part in passing measures in which he was
particularly interested. Many of these measures are indicative of the
breadth of mind and large, tolerant views for which Jefferson was noted,
viz.: the repeal in Virginia of the laws of entail; the abolition of
primogeniture and the substitution of equal partition of inheritance;
the affirmation of the rights of conscience and the relief of the people
from taxation for the support of a religion not their own; and the
introduction of a general system of education, so that the people, as
the author of these beneficent acts himself expressed it, "would be
qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise
with intelligence their parts in self-government." Other measures
included the abolition of capital punishment, save for murder and
treason, and an embargo placed on the importation of slaves, though
Jefferson failed in his larger design of freeing all slaves, as he
desired, hoping that this would be done throughout the entire country,
while also beneficently extending to them white aid and protection.

In 1779, Jefferson succeeded Patrick Henry in the governorship of
Virginia. This was the period when the English were prosecuting their
campaigns in the South, checked by General Nathaniel Greene--when
South Carolina was being overrun by Cornwallis, and Virginia itself
was invaded by expeditions from New York under Philips and Arnold. As
Jefferson had no military abilities, indeed, was a recluse rather than a
man of action, the administration of his native Province, while able and
efficient, was lacking in the notable incident which the then crisis of
affairs would naturally call forth. Even his own Virginia homestead was
at this time raided by the English cavalry officer, Colonel Tarleton,
and much of his property was either desolated or stolen. This occasioned
bitter resentment against the English in Jefferson's mind; while the
serious illness and early death of his loved wife, which occurred just
then, led him to surrender office and return for a time to the seclusion
of his home.

Meanwhile, thrice was the offer made to the fast-budding statesman to
proceed to France as ambassador; and only on the post being pressed upon
him for the fourth time did he accept its duties and responsibilities
and set out, accompanied by a daughter whom he wished to have educated
abroad, for Paris in the summer of 1784.

In the post now vacated by Franklin, Jefferson remained for five years,
until the meeting of the French Estates-General and the outbreak of
the Revolution against absolute monarchy and the theory of the State in
France upon which it rested. With French society, Jefferson, even more
than his predecessor, was greatly enamored, and was on intimate terms
with the savants of the era, including those who by their writings had
precipitated the French Revolution, with all its excesses and horrors.
The latter, it is true, filled Jefferson with dismay on his return to
America, though dear to him were the principles which the apostles of
revolution advocated and the wellbeing of the people, in spite of the
anarchy that ensued. What diplomatic business was called for during his
holding the post of minister, Jefferson efficiently conducted, and with
the courtesy as well as sagacity which marked all his relations as a
publicist and man of the world. Unlike John Adams, who with Franklin had
been his predecessor as American envoy to France, he was on good terms
with the French minister, Count Vergennes; while he shut his eyes,
which Adams could not do, to the lack of disinterestedness in French
friendliness toward the Colonies and remembered only the practical and
timely service the nation had rendered to his country. Jefferson added
to his services at this era by his efforts to suppress piracy in the
Mediterranean, on the part of corsairs belonging to the Barbary States,
which he further checked, later on, by the bombardment of Tripoli
and the punishment administered to Algiers during the Tripolitan war
(1801-05), for her piratical attacks on neutral commerce.

After traveling considerably through Europe and informing himself as
to the character and condition of the people in the several countries
visited, Jefferson returned to America just at the time when Washington
was elected to the Presidency. In his absence, the Federal Convention
had met at Philadelphia, the Constitution of the United States had been
adopted and ratified, and the government had been organized with its
executive departments, then limited to five, viz.: The State Department,
the Treasury, the War Department, the Department of Justice, and the
Post-office. The Judiciary had also been organized and the Supreme Court
founded. With these organizations of the machinery of government came
presently the founding of parties, especially the rise of the Republican
or Democratic party, as it was subsequently called, in opposition to
the Federalist party, then led by Hamilton, Jay, and Morris. At this
juncture, on the return of Jefferson from the French mission, and after
a visit to his home in Virginia, Washington offered him the post of
Secretary of State, which he accepted, and entered upon the duties
of that office in New York in March, 1791. His chief colleague in
the Cabinet, soon now to become his political opponent, was Alexander
Hamilton, who had charge of the finances, as head of the Treasury
department. Between these two men, as chiefs of the principal
departments of government, President Washington had an anxious time of
it in keeping the peace, for each was insistently arrayed against the
other, not only in their respective attitudes toward England and in the
policy of the administration in the then threatening war with France,
but also as to the powers the National Government should be entrusted
with in relation to the legislatures of the separate states. What
Jefferson specially feared, with his firmly held views as to the
independence of public opinion, and especially his hatred of monarchy
and all its ways, was that the conservative and aristocratic influences
of the environment  of New York, hardly as yet escaped from the era
of royal and Tory dominion and submission to the English Crown, might
fashion the newly federated nation upon English models and give it a
complexion far removed, socially as well as politically, from Republican
simplicity, coupled with a disposition to aggress upon and dictate to
the individual states of the Union, to their nullification and practical

For this apparent tendency, Jefferson specially blamed Hamilton, since
his tastes as well as his sympathies were known to be aristocratic, as
indeed were Washington's, in his fondness for courtly dignity and the
trappings and ceremonies of high office. But his antagonism to Hamilton
was specially called forth by the latter's creation of a National Bank,
with its tendency to aggrandize power and coerce or control votes at
the expense of the separate States. He further was opposed to the great
financier and aristocrat for his leanings toward England and against
France, in the war that had then broken out between these nations, and
for his sharp criticism of the draft of the message to Congress on the
relations of France and England, which Jefferson had penned, and
which was afterwards to influence Washington in issuing the Neutrality
Proclamation of 1793. In this attitude toward Hamilton and the
administration, of which both men were members, Jefferson was neither
selfish nor scheming, but, on the contrary, was discreet and patriotic,
as well as just and high-minded. "What he desired supremely," as has
been well stated by a writer, "was the triumph of democratic principles,
since he saw in this triumph the welfare of the country--the interests
of the many against the ascendancy of the few--the real reign of the
people, instead of the reign of an aristocracy of money or birth." In
this opposition to his chief and able colleague, and feeling strongly
on the matters which constantly brought him into collision with the
centralizing designs of the President and the preponderating influence
in the Cabinet hostile to his views, Jefferson resigned his post in
December, 1793, and retired for a time to his estate at Monticello.

Jefferson always relished the period of his brief retirements to his
Virginia home, where he could enjoy his library, entertain his friends,
and overlook his estates. There, too, he took a lively interest in
popular and higher education, varied by outlooks on the National
situation, not always pleasing to him, as in the case of Jay's treaty
with England (1794-95), which shortly afterwards proved fatal to that
statesman's candidature for the Presidential office. Meanwhile, the
contentions and rivalries of the political parties grew apace; and
in 1797, just before the retirement of Washington at the close of his
second administration, the struggle between Democrats and Federalists
became focussed on the prize of the Presidency--the "Father of his
Country" having declined to stand for a third term. The candidates,
we need hardly say, were John Adams, who had been Vice President in
Washington's administration, and Thomas Jefferson, the former being the
standard-bearer of the Federalists, and the latter the candidate of
the anti-Federal Republicans. The contest ended by Adams securing the
Presidency by three votes (71 to 68) over Jefferson, who thus, according
to the usage of the time, became Vice-President.

The Adams' Administration, though checkered by divided counsels and by
the machinations of party, was on the whole beneficial to the country.
It had, however, to face new complications with France, then under the
Directory. These complications arose, in part, from soreness over the
passing of the Jay treaty with England, and in part because America
could not be bled for money through its envoys, at the bidding of
unscrupulous members of the Directory. The situation was for a time
so grave as to incite to war preparations in the United States, and
to threatened naval demonstrations against France. Nor were matters
improved by the enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798),
directed against those deemed dangerous to the peace and safety of the
country, or who, like the more violent members of the Press, published
libels on the Government. The storm which these obnoxious Acts evoked
led to their speedy repeal, though not before Jefferson and Madison
had denounced them as fetters on the freedom of public speech and
infringements of the rights of the people. They were moreover resented
as not being in harmony with the Constitution, as a compact to which
the individual States of the Union were parties, and which Jefferson
especially deemed to be in jeopardy from Federalist legislation.

The result of these agitations of the period, and of breaches, which had
now come about, between the Adams and Hamilton wings of the Federalist
party, showed itself in the Presidential campaign of 1800. Washington,
by this time, had passed from earthly scenes, and the coming nineteenth
century was to bring such changes and developments in the young nation
as few then foresaw or even dreamed of. At this era, when the Adams
Administration was about to close, Jefferson, in spite of his known
liberal, democratic views, was one of the most popular of political
leaders, save with the Federalists, now dwindling in numbers and
influence. He it was who was put forward on the Republican side for the
Presidency, while Adams, still favored by the Federalists and himself
desiring a second term of office, became the Federalist candidate.
Associated with the latter in the contest was Charles C. Pinckney,
of South Carolina, who was named for the Vice-Presidency; while the
Republican candidate for the minor post was Aaron Burr, an able but
unscrupulous politician of New York. When the electoral votes
were counted, Jefferson and Burr, it was found, had each received
seventy-three votes; while Adams secured sixty-five and Pinckney
sixty-four votes. The tie between Jefferson and Burr caused the election
to be thrown into the House of Representatives, where the Federalists
were still strong, and who, in their dislike of Jefferson, reckoned
on finally giving the Presidency to Burr. To this, Hamilton,
however, magnanimously objected, and in the end Jefferson secured the
Presidential prize, while to Burr fell the Vice-Presidency.

For the next eight years, until the coming of Madison's Administration,
Jefferson was at the helm of national affairs, assisted by an able
Cabinet, the chief members of which were James Madison, Secretary
of State, and the Swiss financier, Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the
Treasury. Aaron Burr, as we have recorded, was Vice-President, though
the relations of Jefferson with him were far from cordial, owing to his
political intrigues, which led the President ultimately to eschew him
and distrust his character. Jefferson's attitude toward the man was
later on shown to be well justified, as the result of Burr's hateful
quarrel with Alexander Hamilton, and his mortally wounding that eminent
statesman in a duel, which doomed him to political and social ostracism.
It was still further intensified by Burr's treasonable attempt to
seduce the West out of the Union and to found with it and Mexico a rival
Republic, with the looked-for aid of Britain. These unscrupulous acts
occurred in Jefferson's second term; and, failing in his conspiracy,
Burr deservedly brought upon himself national obloquy, as well as
prosecution for treason, though nothing came of the latter.

Some two years after Jefferson's assumption of office, Ohio was admitted
as a State into the Union. The next year (1803) saw, however, an
enormous extension of the national domain, thanks to the President's
far-seeing, if at the time unconstitutional, policy. This was the
purchase from France, at the cost of $15,000,000, of Louisiana, a vast
territory lying between the Mississippi, the Rocky Mountains, and the
Rio Grande, which had been originally settled by the French, and by
their government ceded in 1763 to Spain as a set-off for Florida, while
the French King at the same time ceded his other possessions on this
continent to England. In 1800, Napoleon had forced Spain to re-cede
Louisiana to France, as the price of the First Consul's uncertain
goodwill and other intangible or elusive favors. At this period, France
desired to occupy the country, or at least to form a great seaport at
New Orleans, the entrepot of the Mississippi, that might be of use to
her against English warships in the region of the West Indies. When news
of the transfer of Louisiana to France reached this side of the water,
Jefferson was greatly exercised over it, and had notions of off-setting
it by some joint action with Great Britain. His inducement to this
unwonted course, considering his hatred of England and love for France,
was his knowledge of the fact that French occupation of Louisiana meant
the closing of the Mississippi to American commerce.

The purchase of Louisiana, which at one stroke more than doubled the
existing area of the nation, was at first hotly opposed, especially by
the Federalists. It was deemed by them an unwarrantable stretch of the
Constitution on Jefferson's part, both in negotiating for it as a then
foreign possession without authority from Congress, and in pledging
the country's resources in its acquisition. The President was, however,
sustained in his act, not only by the Senate, which ratified the
purchase, but by the hearty approval and acclaim of the people. Happily
at this time the nation was ready for the acquisition and in good shape
financially to pay for it, since the country was prospering, and its
finances, thanks to the President's policy of economy and retrenchment,
were adequate to assume the burden involved in the purchase. The
national debt at this period was being materially reduced, and with its
reduction came, of course, the saving on the interest charge; while
the national income and credit were encouragingly rising. Though the
economical condition of the United States was thus favorable at
this era, the state of trade, hampered by the policy of commercial
restriction against foreign commerce, then prevailing, was not as
satisfactory as the shippers of the East and the commercial classes
desired. The reason of this was the unsettled relations of the United
States with foreign countries, and especially with England, whose policy
had been and still was to thwart the New World republic and harass its
commerce and trade. To this England was incited by the bitter memories
of the Revolutionary war and her opposition to rivalry as mistress
of the seas. Hence followed, on the part of the United States, the
non-Importation Act, the Embargo Act of 1807-08, and other retaliatory
measures of Jefferson's administration, coupled with reprisals at sea
and other expedients to offset British empressment of American sailors
and the right of search, so ruthlessly and annoyingly put in force
against the newborn nation and her maritime people. The English people
themselves, or a large proportion of them at least, were as strongly
opposed to these aggressions of their government as were Americans, and
while their voice effected little in the way of amelioration, it brought
the two peoples once more distinctly nearer to the resort to war.
Meanwhile, the Embargo Act had become so irritating to our own people
that the Jefferson administration was compelled to repeal it, though
saving its face, for the time being, by the enforcement of the
non-intercourse law, which imposed stringent restrictions upon British
and French ships entering American harbors.

Such are the principal features of the Jefferson administration and the
more important questions with which it had to deal. Among other matters
which we have not noted were the organization of the United States
Courts; the removal of the seat of government from Philadelphia to
Washington; the party complexion of Jefferson's appointments to the
civil service, in spite of his expressed design to be non-partisan
in the selection to office; and the naming of men for the foreign
embassies, such as James Monroe as plenipotentiary to France, assisted
at the French Court by Robert R. Livingstone, and at the Spanish Court
by Charles C. Pinckney. Other matters to which Jefferson gave interested
attention include the dispatch of the explorers, Lewis and Clarke, to
report on the features of the Far Western country, then in reality a
wilderness, and to reclaim the vast unknown region for civilization. The
details of this notable expedition up the Missouri to its source, then
on through the Indian country across the Rockies to the Pacific, need
not detain us, since the story is familiar to all. With the Louisiana
purchase, it opened up great tracts of the continent, later on to become
habitable and settled areas, and make a great and important addition to
the public domain. In the appointment of the expedition and the interest
taken in it, Jefferson showed his intelligent appreciation of what was
to become of high value to the country, and ere long result in a land of
beautiful homes to future generations of its hardy people.

At the close of his second term in the Presidential chair (1809)
Jefferson retired once more, and finally, to "Monticello," after over
forty years of almost continuous public service. His career in this high
office was entirely worthy of the man, being that of an honorable and
public-spirited, as well as an able and patriotic, statesman. If not so
astute and sagacious as some who have held the presidency, especially in
failing to see where his political principles, if carried out to their
logical conclusions, would lead, his conscientiousness and liberality
of mind prevented him from falling gravely into error or making any very
fatal mistakes. Though far from orthodox,--indeed, a freethinker he may
be termed, in matters of religious belief, his personal life was
most exemplary, and his relations with his fellowmen were ever just,
honorable, and upright. He had no gifts as a speaker, but was endowed
highly as a writer and thinker; and, generally, was a man of broad
intelligence, unusual culture for his time, and possessed a most alert
and enlightened mind. His interest in education and the liberal arts was
great, and with his consideration for the deserving poor and those
in class servitude, was indulged in at no inconsiderable cost to
his pocket. His hospitality was almost a reproach to him, as his
impoverished estates and diminished fortunes in the latter part of
his life attest. His faith in democracy as a form of government was
unbounded, as was his loyalty to that beneficent political creed summed
up in the motto--"Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." "As a president,"
writes the lecturer, Dr. John Lord, "he is not to be compared with
Washington for dignity, for wisdom, for consistency, or executive
ability. Yet, on the whole, he has left a great name for giving shape to
the institutions of his country, and for intense patriotism."

"Jefferson's manners," records the same entertaining writer, "were
simple, his dress was plain, he was accessible to everybody, he was
boundless in his hospitalities, he cared little for money, his opinions
were liberal and progressive, he avoided quarrels, he had but few
prejudices, he was kind and generous to the poor and unfortunate, he
exalted agricultural life, he hated artificial splendor, and all shams
and lies. In his morals he was irreproachable, unlike Hamilton and Burr;
he never made himself ridiculous, like John Adams, by egotism, vanity,
and jealousy; he was the most domestic of men, worshipped by his family
and admired by his guests; always ready to communicate knowledge, strong
in his convictions, perpetually writing his sincere sentiments and
beliefs in letters to his friends,--as upright and honest a man as ever
filled a public station, and finally retiring to private life with
the respect of the whole nation, over which he continued to exercise
influence after he had parted with power. And when he found himself poor
and embarrassed in consequence of his unwise hospitality, he sold his
library, the best in the country, to pay his debts, as well as the
most valuable part of his estate, yet keeping up his cheerfulness and
serenity of temper, and rejoicing in the general prosperity,--which
was produced by the ever-expanding energies and resources of a great
country, rather than by the political theories which he advocated with
so much ability."

In Jefferson's own mind, just what was the essence of his political
gospel we ascertain from a succinct yet comprehensive passage in his
able First Inaugural Address. In that address President Jefferson
sets forth instructively what he terms the essential principles
of government, and those upon which, as he conceives, his own
administration was founded and by which it was guided. The governing
principles it affirms are:-- "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 jealous care
of the right of election by the people; a mild and safe corrective of
abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution, where peaceable
remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the
majority, the vital principle of republics, from which 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 military authority--economy in the public expenditure,
that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts, and
sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture,
and of commerce as its handmaiden; the diffusion of information and
arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom
of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of 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 the 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 touchstone by which
to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them
in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and
regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."

Jefferson had completed his sixty-sixth year when he relinquished the
presidency to his friend and pupil, James Madison, and retired to his
loved Virginia home. There he lived on for seventeen years, enjoying
the esteem and respect of the nation, and taking active interest in
his favorite schemes on behalf of education in his native state and his
helpful work in founding the college which was afterwards expanded into
the University of Virginia. His interest in national affairs, up to the
last, remained keen and fervid, as the vast collection of his published
correspondence show, as well as his many visiting contemporaries attest.
In the winter of 1825-6, his health began to fail, and in the following
spring he made his will and prepared for posterity the original draft of
his great historic achievement as a writer and patriot--the Declaration
of Independence. As the year (1826) wore on, he expressed a wish to
live until the fiftieth anniversary of the nation's independence, a wish
that, as in the case of his distinguished contemporary, John Adams, was
granted by the favor of Heaven, and he died on the 4th of July, mourned
by the whole country. In numberless quarters, funeral honors were paid
to his memory, the more memorable orations being that of Daniel Webster,
delivered in Boston. To his tomb still come annually many reverent
worshippers; while, among the historic shrines of the nation, his home
at Monticello attracts ever-increasing hosts of loving and admiring


Friends and fellow-citizens:--Called upon to undertake the duties of the
first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of
that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled, to express my
grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look
toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above
my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful
presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of
my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and
fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of
their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and
forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal
eye when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor,
the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the
issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation and
humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed,
should I despair, did not the presence of many whom I here see, remind
me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution, I
shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal on which to rely
under all difficulties. To you then, gentlemen, who are charged with the
sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I
look with encouragement for that guidance and support, which may enable
us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst
the conflicting elements of a troubled world.

During the contest of opinions through which we have passed, the
animation of discussions and exertions has sometimes worn an aspect
which might impose on strangers unused to think freely, and to speak and
to write as they think. But this being now decided by the voice of the
nation, enounced according to the rules of the constitution, all will,
of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in
common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this
sacred principle that, though the will of the majority is in all cases
to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the
minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and
to violate which would be oppression.

Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind; let us
restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which
liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things. Let us reflect
that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under
which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we
countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable
of as bitter and bloody persecution.

During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the
agonized spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter
his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the
billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this
should be more felt and feared by some, and should divide opinion as to
measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference
of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same
principle. We are all republicans; we are all federalists. If there
be any among us who wish to dissolve this union, or to change its
republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety
with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free
to combat it.

I know, indeed, that some honest men have feared that a republican
government cannot be strong; that this government is not strong enough.
But would not the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful
experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm
on the theoretic and visionary fear that this government, the world's
best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust
not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth.
I believe it is the only one where every man, at the call of the law,
would fly to the standard of the law; would meet invasions of public
order as his own personal concern.

Sometimes, it is said, that man cannot be trusted with the government of
himself. Can he then be trusted with the government of others? Or have
we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer
this question. Let us, then, pursue with courage and confidence our
own federal and republican principle, our attachment to union and
representative government.

Kindly separated by nature, and a wide ocean, from the exterminating
havoc of one quarter of the globe, too high-minded to endure the
degradation of the others; possessing a chosen country with room enough
for all to the hundredth and thousandth generation; entertaining a
dull sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to
the acquisition of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our
fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and
their sense of them, enlightened by a benign religion, professed,
indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating
honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude and the love of man, acknowledging
and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations
proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and in his greater
happiness hereafter. With all these blessings, what more is necessary
to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more,
fellow-citizens: a wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another shall leave them otherwise free to regulate
their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from
the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good
government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which
comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should
understand what I deem the essential principles of this government,
and consequently those which ought to shape its administration. I
will compress them in the narrowest limits they will bear, stating the
general principle, but not all its limitations: 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
jealous care of the right of election by the people, a mild and safe
corrective of abuses, which are lopped by the sword of revolution,
where 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 military authority; economy in
public expense that labor may be lightly burdened; 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 the public
reason; freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of
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 the 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 touchstone by which to try the services
of those we trust; and should we wander from them in error or alarm, let
us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads
to peace, liberty, and safety.

I repair then, fellow-citizens, to the post which you have assigned me.
With experience enough in subordinate stations to know the difficulties
of this, the greatest of all, I have learnt to expect that it will
rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station
with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it. Without
pretensions to that high confidence you reposed in our first and
greatest revolutionary character, whose preeminent services had entitled
him to the first place in his country's love, and had destined for
him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so
much confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal
administration of your affairs. I shall often go wrong through defect
of judgment; when right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose
positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your
indulgence for my errors, which will never be intentional; and your
support against the errors of others, who may contemn what they would
not, if seen in all its parts.

The approbation implied by your suffrage is a great consolation to
me for the past; and my future solicitude will be to retain the good
opinion of those who have bestowed it in advance to conciliate that of
others by doing them all the good in my power, and to be instrumental
to the happiness and freedom of all. Relying, then, on the patronage of
your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire
from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is
in your power to make. And may that infinite Power which rules the
destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best and give
them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, By Isidore A. Zacharias.

From "Self-Culture" Magazine for Jan., 1896 by kind permission of the
publishers The Werner Co., Akron, O.

No surer or more lasting cause conduced to the political, financial,
and national development of this country, no unforeseen or long-sought
measure received more universal approbation and revealed to all its
great importance, than did the Louisiana purchase. Its acquisition marks
a political revolution,--a bloodless and tearless revolution. It gave
incomputable energy to the centralization of our Government. By removing
the danger of foreign interference and relieving the burden of arming
against hostile forces, it opened a field for the spread and growth of
American institutions. It enlarged the field of freedom's action to work
out the task of civilization on a basis of substantial and inspiring
magnitude. It extended the jurisdiction of the United States to take in
the mighty Mississippi. It gave an impetus to exploration and adventure,
to investment and enterprise, and fed the infantile nation with a
security born of greatness.

The expeditions of La Salle furnished the basis of the original French
claims to the vast region called by France in the New World Louisiana.
Settlement was begun in 1699. French explorers secured the St. Lawrence
and Mississippi rivers, the two main entrances to the heart of America.
They sought to connect Canada and Louisiana by a chain of armed towns
and fortified posts, which were sparsely though gradually erected. In
1722 New Orleans was made the capital of the French possessions in
the Southwest. France hoped to build in this colony a kingdom rich and
lucrative, and this hope the early conditions, the stretch of fertile
and easily traversable country, stimulated. The French and Indian wars
came on. The English forces, aided by American colonists of English
descent, captured the French forts, destroyed their towns, and took
dominion of their territory. The Seven Years' War, ending in America in
the capture of Quebec by the immortal Wolfe, completed the downfall
of French-America. The treaty of Paris ceded to Spain the territory of

The Government at Madrid now assumed control of the region; settlers
became more numerous, the planting of sugar was begun, the province
flourished. While Spain in 1782-83 occupied both sides of the
Mississippi from 31 north latitude to its mouth, the United States and
Great Britian declared in the Treaty of Paris that the navigation of
that river from its source to its outlet should be free to both nations.
Spain denied that such provisions were binding on her. She sought to
levy a duty on merchandise transported on the river. She denied
the right of our citizens to use the Mississippi as a highway, and
complications ensued. The Americans claimed the free navigation of the
river and the use of New Orleans for a place of deposit as a matter of
right. However, the unfriendly policy of Spain continued for some years.
In 1795 the Spanish Government became involved in a war with France.
Weakened by loss of forces and fearing hostilities from this country,
Spain consented to sign a treaty of friendship, boundaries and
navigation with our envoy, Thomas Pinckney. Its most important article
was to this effect, that "His Catholic Majesty likewise agrees that the
navigation of the said river (Mississippi), in its whole breadth, from
its source to the ocean, shall be free only to his subjects and to the
subjects of the United States."

On October 1,1800, by the secret treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain gave
back to France that province of Louisiana which in 1762 France had given
her. The consideration for its retrocession was an assurance by France
that the Duke of Palma, son-in-law of the King of Spain, should be
raised to the dignity of King and have his territory enlarged by the
addition of Tuscany. Rumors of this treaty reached America in the spring
of 1801, though its exact terms were not known until the latter part
of that year. Immediately upon the reception of this information,
our Government and its citizens were aroused. The United States found
herself hemmed in between the two professional belligerents of Europe--a
perilous position for the young power. The excitement increased when, in
October, 1802, the Spanish Intendant declared that New Orleans could no
longer be used as a place of deposit. Nor was any other place designated
for such purpose, although in the treaty of 1795 it was stipulated
that in the event of a withdrawal of the right to use New Orleans, some
other point would be named. It was now a subject of extreme importance
to the Republic into whose control the highway of traffic should
pass. President Jefferson called the attention of Congress to this
retrocession. He anticipated the French designs. He justly feared that
Napoleon Bonaparte would seek to renew the old colonial glories of
France, and the warlike genius and ambitious spirit of the "First
Consul" augmented this fear. Word came in November, 1802, of an
expedition being fitted out under French command to take possession of
Louisiana, all protests of our Minister to the transfer having proved
futile. Our nation then realized fully the peril of the situation.
Congress directed the Governors of the States to call out 80,000
militia, if necessary, and it appropriated $2,000,000 for the purchase
of the Island of New Orleans and the adjacent lands.

Early in January, 1803, the President decided to hasten matters
by sending James Monroe to France, to be associated with Robert R.
Livingston, our minister to that country, as commissioners for the
purchase of New Orleans and the Floridas. Livingston had been previously
working on the same line, but without success. Instructions were given
them that if France was obstinate about selling the desired territory,
to open negotiations with the British Government, with a view to
preventing France from taking possession of Louisiana. European
complications, however, worked in favor of this country more than did
our own efforts. Ere Monroe arrived at his destination disputes arose
between England and France concerning the Island of Malta. The clouds
of war began to gather. Napoleon discerned that England's powerful navy
would constantly menace and probably capture New Orleans, if it were
possessed by him, and fearing a frustration of his designs of conquest
by too remote accessions, Napoleon, at this juncture, made overtures for
a sale to the United States not only of the Island of New Orleans but of
the whole area of the province. The money demanded would be helpful
to France, and the wily Frenchman probably saw in such a transfer an
opportunity of embroiling the Government at Washington in boundary
disputes with the British and Spanish sovereigns. These considerations
served to precipitate French action.

Marbois, who had the confidence of Napoleon, and who had been in
the diplomatic service in America, was now at the head of the French
Treasury. He was put forward to negotiate with our representatives with
respect to the proposed sale. On April 10, 1803, news came from London
that the peace of Amiens was at an end; war impended. Bonaparte at
once sent for Marbois and ordered him to push the negotiations with
Livingston, without awaiting the arrival of Monroe, of whose appointment
the "First Consul" was aware. Monroe reached Paris on the 12th of April,
and the negotiations, already well under way, progressed rapidly. A
treaty and two conventions were signed by Barbe-Marbois for the French,
and by Livingston and Monroe for the United States, on April 30th, less
than three weeks after the commission had begun its work. The price
agreed upon for the cession of Louisiana was 75,000,000 francs, and
for the satisfying of French spoliation claims due to Americans was
estimated at $3,750,000. The treaty was ratified by Bonaparte in May,
1803, and by the United States Senate in the following October. The
cession of the territory was contained in one paper, another fixed the
amount to be paid and the mode of payment, a third arranged the method
of settling the claims due to Americans.

The treaty did not attempt a precise description or boundary of the
territory ceded. In the treaty of San Ildefonso general terms only are
used. It speaks of Louisiana as of "the same extent that it now has in
the hands of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it, and such
as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between
Spain and the other States." The treaty with the United States describes
the land as "the said territory, with all its rights and appurtenances,
as fully and in the same manner as have been acquired by the French
Republic, in virtue of the above-mentioned treaty concluded with his
Catholic Majesty."

The Court at Madrid was astounded when it heard of the cession to the
United States. Florida was left hemmed in and an easy prey in the first
hostilities. Spain filed a protest against the transfer, claiming that
by express provision of the articles of cession to her, France was
prohibited from alienating it without Spanish consent. The protest being
ignored, Spain began a course of unfriendly proceedings against the
United States. Hostile acts on her part were continued to such an extent
that a declaration of war on the part of this country would have been
justified. We relied upon the French to protect our title. At length,
without any measures of force, the cavilling of Spain ceased and she
acquiesced in the transfer.

Upon being confronted with the proposition of sale by Marbois, our
Ministers were dazzled. They recognized the vast importance of
an acceptance, yet felt their want of authority. With a political
prescience and broad patriotism they overstepped all authority and
concluded the treaty for the purchase of this magnificent domain.
Authorized to purchase a small island and a coaling-place, they
contracted for an empire. The treaty of settlement was looked upon by
our representatives as a stroke of state. When the negotiations were
consummated and the treaties signed and delivered, Mr. Livingston said:
"We have lived long, and this is the fairest work of our lives. The
treaty we have just signed will transform a vast wilderness into
a flourishing country. From this day the United States becomes a
first-class power. The articles we have signed will produce no tears,
but ages of happiness for countless human beings." Time has verified
these expressions. At the same period, the motives and sentiment of
Bonaparte were bodied forth in the sentence: "I have given to England a
maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride."

The acquisition was received with merited and general applause. Few
objections were made. The only strenuous opposition arose from some
Federalists, who could see no good in any act of the Jeffersonian
administration, however meritorious it might be. Out of the territory
thus acquired have been carved Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas,
Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and the largest
portion of Minnesota, Wyoming, and Colorado. They now form the central
section of the United States, and are the homes of millions and the
sources of countless wealth.

It is possible here to notice but briefly the vast and permanent
political and economical consequences to the United States of this
purchase. The party which performed this service came into power as the
maintainer of voluntary union. The soul of the strict construction party
was Thomas Jefferson. Inclined to French ideas, he had been for several
years previous to the founding of our Constitution imbibing their
extreme doctrines. No sooner did he return than he discerned, with the
keen glance of genius, what passed Hamilton and Adams unobserved, the
key to the popular fancy. He knew precisely where the strength of
the Federalists lay, and by what means alone that strength could be

Coming into office as the champion of "State-rights and strict
construction," it was beyond his power to give theoretical affirmance to
this transcendent act of his agents. His own words reveal his anomalous
situation: "The Constitution has made no provision for our holding
foreign territory, still less for incorporating foreign nations into our
Union. The executive, in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so
much advances the good of their country, have done an act beyond the
Constitution. The Legislature, in casting behind metaphysical subtleties
and risking themselves like faithful servants, must ratify and pay
for it, and throw themselves on their country for doing for them
unauthorized what we know they would have done for themselves had they
been in a position to do it." "Doing for them unauthorized what we know
they would have done for themselves" was the policy of the Federalists,
and the very ground upon which Mr. Jefferson had denounced their policy
and defeated them. The purchase was, in fact, quite within those implied
powers of the Constitution which had always been contended for by the
Federalists, and such leaders as Hamilton and Morris acknowledged
this. Under the strict construction theory, not only could there be no
authority for such an acquisition of territory without the consent of
the several States denominated "part of the original compact," but the
manifest and necessary consequences of this accession, in its effects
upon the Union and upon the balance of power within the Government, were
overwhelming to such an extent as to amount almost to a revolution.

This event may be looked upon as a revolution in the direction of
unification and the impairment of the powers of the several States,
brought about by the very party which had undertaken to oppose such
tendencies. The territory gained stretches over a million square miles
equal in area to the territory previously comprised in the Union,
and twice as large as that actually occupied by the original thirteen
States. Compared with this innovation, the plans of the Federalists for
strengthening the Central Government were inconsiderable. A new nation
was engrafted on the old, and neither the people of the several States
nor their immediate representatives were questioned; but by a treaty the
President and the Senate changed the whole structure of the territory
and modified the relations of the States. Thenceforth, the Louisiana
purchase stood as a repudiation by their own champions of the strict
construction fallacies. Thenceforth, the welfare of the country stands
above party allegiance. The right to make purchases was thereafter, by
general acquiescence of all political parties, within the powers of the
Federal Government. Indeed, it became manifest that implied as well as
expressed powers accrued to the National Government.

The territory of Louisiana proved a fruitful soil for the spread of
slavery, nor was it less productive of struggles and strife over the
admission of States carved therefrom. The Civil War has pacified the
jarring elements and left to be realized now the beneficent results of
the empire gained. With Louisiana the United States gained control of
the entire country watered by the Mississippi and its effluents. With
the settlement of the western country, the Mississippi river assumed its
normal function in the national development, forming out of that region
the backbone of the Union. The Atlantic and Pacific States can never
destroy the Union while the Central States remain loyal. Thus do we see
the basis of our governmental existence removed from the narrow strip
along the Atlantic to the far larger central basin; binding by natural
ligaments a union far less secure on mere constitutional or artificial
connections. Thus have the intentions of its projectors been fulfilled,
the peace of our nation secured, a spirit of confidence in our
institutions diffused, and enterprise and prosperity advanced. The
purchase was an exercise of patriotism unrestrained and unbiased by
considerations unconnected with the public good. It curbed the impulse
of State jealousies, secured to the Union unwonted prestige, and
discovered the latent force and broad possibilities of our national



Jefferson and his young bride, after the marriage ceremony, set out for
their Monticello home. The road thither was a rough mountain track, upon
which lay the snow to a depth of two feet.

At sunset they reached the house of one of their neighbors eight miles
distant from Monticello. They arrived at their destination late at night
thoroughly chilled with the cold.

They found the fires all out, not a light burning, not a morsel of food
in the larder, and not a creature in the house. The servants had all
gone to their cabins for the night, not expecting their master and

But the young couple, all the world to each other, made merry of this
sorry welcome to a bride and bridegroom, and laughed heartily over it.


While the Presidential election was taking place in the House of
Representatives, amid scenes of great excitement, strife and intrigue,
which was to decide whether Jefferson or Burr should be the chief
magistrate of the nation, Jefferson was stopped one day, as he was
coming out of the Senate chamber, by Gouverneur Morris, a prominent
leader of the Federalists.

Mr. Morris said, "I wish to have an earnest talk with you, Mr.
Jefferson, on the alarming situation of things."

"I am very glad," said Jefferson, "to talk matters over with you."

"As you well know," said Mr. Morris, "I have been strenuously opposing
you, as have also the large minority of the States."

"To be frank with you," he continued, "we are very much afraid of you."

"We fear,

"First--That you will turn all the Federalists out of office.

"Second--That you will put down the navy.

"Third--That you will wipe off the public debt

"Now, if you will declare, or authorize your friends to declare that you
will not take these steps, your election will be made sure."

Mr. Jefferson replied, "Gouverneur Morris, I naturally want to be
President, and yet I cannot make any terms to obtain the position.

"I shall never go into the office by capitulation. I cannot have my
hands tied by any conditions which would hinder me from pursuing the
measures which I deem best for the public good.

"I must be perfectly free. The world can judge my future course by that
which I have hitherto followed.

"I am thankful to you for your interest, but I cannot make the slightest


Mr. A. J. Stansbury says: "I heard John Randolph (who hated Jefferson)
once describe, in his own biting, caustic manner, the delight expressed
by him in a new model for the mould-board of a plough.

"It was called 'the mould-board of least resistance;' and the inventor
had gone into a very profound mathematical demonstration, to prove that
it deserved its name.

"Jefferson listened and was convinced; and deeming it a great discovery,
recommended it, with zeal, to all his agricultural friends.

"The Virginia planters, accordingly (who thought every thing of their
great man as a natural philosopher), agreed, many of them, to take this
new 'mould-board of least resistance.'

"It was accordingly cast, and forwarded to their farms; when lo! on
trial, no ordinary team could draw it through the soil."


"He sometimes figured as an inventor himself, and on that subject let
me relate to you an anecdote which vividly portrays the character of
his mind. You know that he had perched his country seat on a mountain
height, commanding a magnificent prospect, but exposed to the sweep of
wintry winds, and not very convenient of access.

"Not far from Monticello, and within the bounds of his estate, was a
solitary and lofty hill, so situated as to be exposed to the blast of
two currents of wind, coming up through valleys on different sides of

"Mr. Jefferson thought this would be an admirable position for a
wind-mill; and having recently invented a model for a saw-mill to be
moved by vertical sails, he sent for an engineer and submitted it to
his judgment.

"The man of professional science examined his plan, and listened with
profound attention and deference to Mr. Jefferson's explanations of it,
and to his eloquent illustration of the advantages it would secure.

"He very attentively heard him through, but made no comment upon the

"'What do you think of my idea?' said Mr. Jefferson.

"'I think it is a most ingenious one,' was the reply, 'and decidedly the
best plan for a saw-mill I have ever seen.'

"Jefferson was delighted, and forthwith entered into a written agreement
for the erection of such a mill on the neighboring height.

"The work went bravely on; the inventor very frequently mounting his
horse, and riding over to see how it proceeded.

"When the frame was up, and the building approached its completion, the
engineer rode over to Monticello to obtain a supply of money, and to get
some directions about the saws.

"Jefferson kept him to dinner; and when the cloth was removed and wine
sat upon the table, he turned to his guest, and with an air of much
satisfaction, exclaimed,

"'And so, Mr.----, you like my mill.'

"'I do, sir, indeed, very much; it is certainly one of the greatest
improvements in the construction of saw mills I ever witnessed.'

"'You think the sails are so hung that it cannot fail to work?'

"'Certainly; it must work, it cannot help it.'

"'And there's always a wind upon that hill; if it does not come up one
valley, it is sure to come up the other; and the hill is so high and
steep that there is nothing to interrupt the full sweep of the wind,
come which way it will. You think, then, on the whole, that the thing
cannot fail of complete success?'

"'I should think so, sir, but for one thing.'

"'Ah! What's that?'

"'I have been wondering in my own mind, how you are to get up your

"Jefferson threw up his hands and eyes: 'I never thought of that!'

"The mill was abandoned, of course."


"Jefferson's favorite exercise was riding. He was a judge of a horse,
and rode a very good one.

"One day, during his presidential term, he was riding somewhere in
the neighborhood of Washington, when there came up a cross road, a
well-known jockey and dealer in horse-flesh, whose name we will call

"He did not know the President, but his professional eye was caught, in
a moment, by the noble steed he rode.

"Coming up with an impudent boldness characteristic of the man, he
accosted the rider, and forthwith began talking in the slang of
his trade, about the horse, his points, his age, and his value, and
expressed a readiness to 'swap' horses.

"Mr. Jefferson gave him brief replies, and civilly declined all offers
of exchange.

"The fellow offered boot, and pressed and increased his bids, as the
closer he looked at the stranger's steed, the better he liked him.

"All his offers were refused with a coolness that nettled him.

"He then became rude, but his vulgarity made as little impression as his
money, for Jefferson had the most perfect command of his temper, and no
man could put him in a passion.

"The jockey wanted him to show the animal's gait, and urged him to trot
with him for a wager. But all in vain.

"At length, seeing that the stranger was no customer, and utterly
impracticable, he raised his whip and struck Mr. Jefferson's horse
across the flank, setting him off in a sudden gallop, which would have
brought a less accomplished rider to the ground.

"At the same time he put spurs to his own beast, hoping for a race.
Jefferson kept his seat, reined in his restive steed, and put an equally
effective rein upon his own temper.

"The jockey wondered; but impudently turned it off with a laugh,
and still keeping by the side of his new acquaintance, began talking
politics. Being a staunch Federalist, he commenced to launch out against
'Long Tom,' and the policy of his administration.

"Jefferson took his part in the conversation, and urged some things in

"Meanwhile they had ridden into the city, and were making their way
along Pennsylvania avenue. At length they came opposite the gate of the
presidential mansion.

"Here Mr. Jefferson reined up, and courteously invited the man to enter.

"The jockey raised his eye-brows, and asked--

"'Why, do you live here?'

"'Yes,' was the simple reply.

"'Why, stranger, what the deuce might be your name?'

"'My name is Thomas Jefferson.'

"Even the jockey's brass turned pale--when, putting spurs to his nag, he

"'And my name is Richard Jones, and I'm ok!'

"Saying which, he dashed up the avenue at double quick time, while the
President looked after him with a smile, and then rode into the gate."


Patrick Henry was an early friend and companion of Jefferson. He was
a jovial young fellow noted for mimicry, practical jokes, fiddling and
dancing. Jefferson's holidays were sometimes spent with Henry, and
the two together would go off on hunting excursions of which each was
passionately fond. Both were swift of foot and sound of wind.

Deer, turkey, foxes and other game were eagerly pursued. Jefferson
looked upon Patrick Henry as the moving spirit of all the fun of the
younger circle, and had not the faintest idea of the wonderful talents
that lay latent in his companion's mind.

And, Henry too, did not see in the slender, freckled, sandy-haired
Jefferson, the coming man who was to be united with him in some of the
most stirring and important events in American history.

Jefferson did not realize that this rustic youngster, careless of dress,
and apparently thoughtless in manner, and sometimes, to all appearance,
so unconcerned that he was taken by some to be an idiot, was to be the
flaming tongue of a coming Revolution. Henry did not dream that this
fiddling boy, Jefferson, was to be the potent pen of a Declaration which
was to emancipate a hemisphere.

One day in 1760, just after Jefferson had entered upon his college
studies at Williamsburg, Henry came to his room to tell him, that since
their parting of a few months before, after the Christmas holidays,
he had studied law, and had come to Williamsburg to get a license to
practice. The fact was he had studied law but six weeks, and yet felt
himself able to pass the examination. The examination was conducted by
four examiners. Three of them signed the license. The fourth, George
Wythe, refused his signature. But Henry was now duly admitted to the
bar. He went back, however, to assist his father-in-law, Mr. Shelton,
in tending his tavern, and for four years, practicing occasionally, he
waited his time.

In May, 1765, Henry was elected to the House of Burgesses which met at
Williamsburg. While in attendance as a member Henry was the guest of
young Jefferson. Henry presented a rustic appearance. His dress was
coarse and worn. His fame had not become fully known at Williamsburg,
"and he moved about the streets unrecognized though not unmarked. The
very oddity of his appearance provoked comment."

In the Assembly were some of the most brilliant and distinguished men
in the Colony. Among them were Peyton Randolph, George Wythe, John
Robinson, Richard Henry Lee, and Edmund Pendleton.

Dignified manners prevailed among the members. An elaborate and formal
courtesy characterized them in their proceedings. They were polished and
aristocratic men, not specially interested in the welfare of the
common people. They were strongly desirous of perpetuating the class
distinctions observed in Virginia society. A very marked contrast was
apparent between them and the tall, gaunt, coarse-attired, unpolished
member from Louisa.

Not being personally known to the majority of the House, little notice
was taken of him, and no expectations of any particular influence to be
exercised by him upon its deliberations were expected. When the news
of the passage of the Stamp Act reached the assembly, amazement and
indignation were felt by the Royalist leaders, at the folly of the
English ministry. But there seemed no way before them but submission to
the Imperial decree. But Henry saw that the hour had come for meeting
the issue between the King and the Colonies.

He rose in his seat and offered his famous Five Resolutions, which in
substance declared that Englishmen living in America had all the rights
of Englishmen living in England, and that all attempts to impose taxes
upon them without the consent of their own representatives, had "a
manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom."

These resolutions provoked an animated and exciting debate. There is a
strong probability that Jefferson knew the intentions of Henry, for he
was present on that ever memorable occasion in the House.

No provision was made in the Assembly chamber for spectators. There was
no gallery from which they could look down upon the contestants. In
the doorway between the lobby and the chamber Jefferson took his stand,
intently watching Henry's attitude and actions.

In a hesitating way, stammering in his utterances, he began reading
his Resolutions. Then followed the opening sentences of the magnificent
oration of this "Demosthenes of the woods," as Byron termed him.

No promise did they give of what was to follow. Very soon the
transformation came. Jefferson saw him draw himself to his full height
and sweep with a conqueror's gaze the entire audience before and about

No impediment now; no inarticulate utterances now. With a voice rich and
full, and musical, he poured out his impassioned plea for the liberties
of the people. Then soaring to one of his boldest flights, he cried out
in electric tones:

"Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George
the Third -----." The Speaker sprang to his feet, crying, "Treason!
treason!" The whole assembly was in an uproar, shouting with the
Speaker, "Treason! treason!" Not only the royalists, but others who were
thoroughly alarmed by the orator's audacious words, joined in the
cry. But never for a moment did Henry flinch. Fixing his eye upon the
Speaker, and throwing his arm forward from his dilating form, as though
to hurl the words with the power of a thunderbolt, he added in a tone
none but he himself could command, "May profit by their example." Then,
with a defiant look around the room, he said, "If this be treason, make
the most of it."

Fifty-nine years afterwards Jefferson continued to speak of that great
occasion with unabated enthusiasm. He narrated anew the stirring scenes
when the shouts of; "treason, treason," echoed through the Hall.

In his record of the debate which followed the speech of Henry he
described it as "most bloody." The arguments against the resolutions,
he said were swept away by the "torrents of sublime eloquence" from the
lips of Patrick Henry. With breathless interest, Jefferson, standing in
the doorway, watched the taking of the vote on the last resolution. It
was upon this resolution that the battle had been waged the hottest.
It was carried by a majority of a single vote. When the result was
announced, Peyton Randolph, the King's Attorney General, brushed by
Jefferson, in going out of the House, exclaiming bitterly with an oath
as he went, "I would have given five hundred guineas for a single vote."

The next day, in the absence of the mighty orator, the timid Assembly
expunged the fifth resolution and modified the others. The Governor,
however, dissolved the House for daring to pass at all the resolutions.
But he could not dissolve the spirit of Henry nor the magical effect
of the resolutions which had been offered. By his intrepid action Henry
took the leadership of the Assembly out of the hands which hitherto had
controlled it.

The resolutions as originally passed were sent to Philadelphia. There
they were printed, and from that center of energetic action were widely
circulated throughout the Colonies. The heart of Samuel Adams and the
Boston patriots were filled with an unspeakable joy as they read them.
The drooping spirits of the people were revived and the doom of the
Stamp Act was sealed.


Dr. James Schouler says: "That Jefferson did not enter into the
rhapsodies of his times which magnified the first President into a
demigod infallible, is very certain; and that, sincerely or insincerely,
he had written from his distant retreat to private friends in Congress
with less veneration for Washington's good judgment on some points of
policy than for his personal virtues and honesty, is susceptible of
proof by more positive testimony than the once celebrated Mazzei letter.
Yet we should do Jefferson the justice to add that political differences
of opinion never blinded him to the transcendent qualities of
Washington's character, which he had known long and intimately enough to
appreciate with its possible limitations, which is the best appreciation
of all. Of many contemporary tributes which were evoked at the close of
the last century by that great hero's death, none bears reading so well
in the light of another hundred years as that which Jefferson penned
modestly in his private correspondence."


Speaking of the influence exerted over him by Dr. William Small,
Professor of Mathematics at William and Mary College, who supplied the
place of a father, and was at once "guide, philosopher and friend,"
Jefferson said: "It was Dr. Small's instruction and intercourse that
probably fixed the destinies of my life."


In the epitaph of Jefferson, written by himself, there is no mention
of his having been Governor of Virginia, Plenipotentiary to France,
Secretary of State, Vice President and President of the United States.
But the inscription does mention that he was the "Author of the
Declaration of American Independence; of the Statute of Virginia for
Religious Freedom; and Father of the University of Virginia."

These were the three things which, in his own opinion, constituted his
most enduring title to fame, and it is to be observed that freedom was
the fruit of all three. By the first he contributed to the emancipation
of the American colonies from British rule; by the second he broke the
chains of sectarian bigotry that had fettered his native State; and by
the third he gave that State and her sisters the chance to strike the
shackles of ignorance from the minds of their sons.

Free Government, free faith, free thought--these were the treasures
which Thomas Jefferson bequeathed to his country and his State; and who,
it may well be asked, has ever left a nobler legacy to mankind?

His was a mind that thrilled with that active, aggressive and innovating
spirit which has done so much to jostle men out of their accustomed
grooves and make them think for themselves.

No one appreciated more than he the fact that the light of experience,
as revealed in the history of the race, should be the guide of mankind.
But, for that very reason, he did not slavishly worship the past, well
knowing that history points not only to the wisdom of sages and the
virtues of saints, but also to the villainy of knaves and the stupidity
of fools.

The condition of life is change; the cessation of change is death.
History is movement, not stagnation; and Jefferson emphatically believed
in progress.

The fact that a dogma in politics, theology or educational theory had
been accepted by his ancestors did not make it necessarily true in his
eyes. "Let well enough alone" was no maxim of his. Onward and upward was
ever his aim.

His interests were wide and intense, ranging from Anglo-Saxon roots to
architectural designs, from fiddling to philosophy, from potatoes to
politics, from rice to religion. In all these things, and in many more
besides, he took the keenest interest; but in nothing, perhaps, did he
display throughout his life a more unfaltering zeal than in the cause of

"A system of general instruction," said he in 1818, "which shall reach
every description of our citizens, from the richest to the poorest, as
it was the earliest, so it will be the latest of all the public concerns
in which I shall permit myself to take an interest."

From first to last Jefferson's aim was to establish, in organic union
and harmonious co-operation, a system of educational institutions
consisting of (1) primary schools, to be supported by local taxation;
(2) grammar schools, classical academies or local colleges; and (3) a
State University, as roof and spire of the whole edifice.

He did not succeed in realizing the whole of his scheme, but he did
finally succeed in inducing the Legislature to pass an act in the
year 1819 by which the State accepted the gift of Central College
(a corporation based upon private subscriptions due to Jefferson's
efforts), and converted it into the University of Virginia.

This action was taken on the report of a commission previously
appointed, which had met at Rockfish Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains--a
commission composed probably of more eminent men than had ever before
presided over the birth of a university. Three of these men, who met
together in that unpretentious inn, were Thomas Jefferson, James Madison
and James Monroe (then President of the United States).

Yet it was remarked by the lookers-on that Mr. Jefferson was the
principal object of regard both to the members and spectators; that he
seemed to be the chief mover of the body--the soul that animated it;
and some who were present, struck by their manifestations of deference,
conceived a more exalted idea of him on this simple and unpretending
occasion than they had ever previously entertained.--R. H. Dabney.


Thomas Jefferson kept a financial diary and account book from January
1st 1791, to December 28th, 1803, embracing the last three years of his
service as Secretary of State under Washington, the four years of his
Vice-Presidency under John Adams, and the first three years following
his own election to the Presidency.

This diary was one of the most valuable treasures in the library of the
late Mr. Tilden.

Among the items enumerated in the very fine, but neat and legible hand
of Mr. Jefferson, is the following:

"Gave J. Madison ord. on bank for 9625 D."

The modern symbol of the dollar was not then in use. Jefferson uniformly
used a capital D to denote this unit of our Federal currency.

Madison was Jefferson's most intimate friend, and was a member
of congress at the time the above entry was made Jan. 8, 1791, at

Whenever Jefferson went home to Monticello or returned thence to his
duties, he frequently stopped with Mr. Madison.

While they were in the public service together, it appears by this
diary, that they traveled together to and from their posts of duty. It
also seems that one or the other generally acted as paymaster.

The inadequate salary of $3,500 which Jefferson received as Secretary of
State, was $500 more than that of any other cabinet officer.


It would seem on the authority of Mrs. Randolph, the great-granddaughter
of Mr. Jefferson, in her work, "The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson,"
that the President rode "the magnificent Wildair" to the capitol, and
hitched to the palisades while he went in to deliver his inaugural. The
truth of the incident, however, is not established.

In Jefferson's diary we have this entry:

Feb'y 3, 1801, Rec'd from Col. John Hoomes of the Bowling Green a bay
horse Wildair, 7 yr. old, 16 hands high, for which I am to pay him 300 D
May 1.

There were no pavements, sidewalks nor railroads then in Washington.
There were not even wagon roads. There was no getting about, therefore,
for either men or women without horses.


Jefferson estimated the cost of his ten servants per week, $28.70, or
$2.87 per head.

Jefferson managed to pay off many of his small debts with his first
year's salary as President. It seems never to have occurred to him to
lay by anything out of his receipts.

He thought that at the end of the second year he had about $300 in hand.

It is interesting to know in these temperance days that the wine bill of
Jefferson was $1,356.00 per year.

Mr. Jefferson, judging by his diary, was an inveterate buyer of books
and pamphlets. He also apparently never missed an opportunity of seeing
a show of any kind.

There are items for seeing a lion, a small seal, an elephant, an elk,
Caleb Phillips a dwarf, a painting, etc., with the prices charged. It
cost him 11 1/2 d for seeing the lion, and 25 cents the dwarf.


The Rev. Mr. Leland sent him a great cheese, presumably as a present.
Mr. Jefferson was not in the habit "of deadheading at hotels," nor of
receiving presents, however inconsiderable in value, which would place
him under any obligation to the donor. The diary contains the following
minute regarding the cheese:

1802. Gave Rev'd Mr. Leland, bearer of the cheese of 1235 Ibs weight,
200 D.

So the monster article cost the President sixteen cents a pound.

It will be a surprise to those who have been educated to associate Mr.
Jefferson's name with indifference, if not open hostility, to revealed
religion, to find among his expenses--some entered as charity, but most
of them, exclusive of what is reported under the charity rubric--entries
like the following:


Nov 27 Pd Mr B a Subscription for missionaries 15 D.

1798 Feby 26 pd 5D in part of 20D Subscription for a hot-press bible


June 25 Gave order on J Barnes for 25D towards fitting up a chapel.

Sept 23 pd Contribution at a Sermon 7.20


April 7 Gave order on J Barnes for 50D charity in favor of the Revd Mr
Parkinson towards a Baptist meeting house.

9 Gave order on J. Barnes in favr the Revd Doctr Smith towards
rebuilding Princeton College 100D


July 11 Subscribed to the Wilmington Academy 100D


Feby 25 Gave Hamilton & Campbell ord. on J. Barnes for 100D charity to
Carlisle College.

" 28 Gave Genl Winn ord. on J. Barnes for 100D charity to Jefferson
Monticello Academy in S. Carolina.

March 1. Gave in charity to the Revd Mr Chambers of Alexandria for his
church an order on J. Barnes for 50D

Nov 18 Gave order on J. Barnes for 100D in favor of Revd Mr Coffin for a
college in Tennessee.

We doubt whether since the Presidential salary was doubled any of
President Jefferson's successors has contributed as large a percentage
of his salary to charitable or religious uses.


In a letter to his daughter Martha, written in March,1787, Jefferson

"Of all the cankers of human happiness, none corrodes with so silent,
yet baneful a tooth, as indolence.

"Body and mind both unemployed, our being becomes a burthen, and every
object about us loathsome, even the dearest.

"Idleness begets ennui, ennui the hypochondria, and that a diseased

"No laborious person was ever yet hysterical.

"Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body
and cheerfulness of mind. These make us precious to our friends.

"It is while we are young that the habit of industry is formed. If not
then, it never is afterwards.

"The future of our lives, therefore, depends on employing well the short
period of youth.

"If at any moment, my dear, you catch yourself in idleness, start from
it as you would the precipice of a gulf.

"You are not, however, to consider yourself as unemployed while taking
exercise. That is necessary for your health, and health is the first of
all objects."


He wrote to one of his friends concerning this matter as follows:

"The Senate and Representatives differed about the title of President.
The former wanted to style him 'His Highness, George Washington,
President of the United States, and Protector of their Liberties.' I
hope the terms of Excellency, Honor, Worship, Esquire, forever disappear
from among us. I wish that of Mr. would follow them."


Mr. Jefferson was inclined at first to have the President elected for
seven years, and be thereafter ineligible. He afterwards modified his
views in favor of the present system, allowing only a continuance for
eight years.

Regarding a third term, he says in his autobiography: "Should a
President consent to be a candidate for a third election, I trust he
would be rejected on this demonstration of ambitious views."


Mr. Jefferson wrote in his autobiography regarding the Continental
Congress in 1783:

"Our body was little numerous, but very contentious. Day after day was
wasted on the most unimportant questions.

"If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be
otherwise, in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty
lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing and
talk by the hour?

"That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together ought
not to be expected."


George Bancroft, in glowing words, speaks of this great creation of the
genius of Jefferson:

"This immortal State paper, which for its composer was the aurora of
enduring fame, was 'the genuine effusion of the soul of the country at
that time.'

"It was the revelation of its mind, when, in its youth, its enthusiasm,
its sublime confronting of danger, it rose to the highest creative
powers of which man is capable."--Bancroft's U S., vol. 8, ch. 70.


"On the 30th of April, 1819, some forty-three years after Jefferson's
Declaration was written, there appeared in the Raleigh (N. C.) Register
what purported to be a Declaration of Independence, drawn up by the
citizens of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on May 20th, 1775.
As this was nearly fourteen months before the Colonies declared their
independence, and as many of the expressions in the Mecklenburg paper
bore a striking resemblance to Jefferson's expressions, it excited a
good deal of curiosity, and led to a discussion which has been continued
to the present day. Those desirous of seeing the arguments pro and con,
put in their latest and best form, will find them in two articles in
the 'Magazine of American History,' in the January and March numbers of

"It is sufficient here to say that there was found among the British
State papers, as well as in contemporaneous newspapers in this
country, the original Mecklenburg paper, which was not a Declaration of
Independence at all, but simply patriotic resolutions similar to those
which were published in most of the Colonies at that time.

"And so the Mecklenburg Declaration takes its place with the stories of
Pocahontas and of William Tell."--Boutell.


In effecting the purchase of Louisiana, Mr. Jefferson has thus been
eulogized by James G. Blaine, in his "Twenty Years of Congress:"

"Mr. Jefferson made the largest conquest ever peacefully achieved, at
a cost so small that the sum expended for the entire territory does not
equal the revenue which has since been collected on its soil in a single
month, in time of great public peril."


Benedict Arnold, with the British troops, had entered the Chesapeake in
January, 1781, and sailed up the James River. He captured Richmond, the
capital, then a town of less than two thousand people, and destroyed
everything upon which he could lay his hands.

Jefferson summoned the militia, who came by thousands to oppose the
traitor. Arnold, however, sailed down to Portsmouth and escaped.

Jefferson then urged upon General Muhlenburg the importance of picking
out a few of the best men in his command "to seize and bring off the
greatest of all traitors."

"I will undertake," he said, "if they are successful in bringing him off
alive, that they shall receive five thousand guineas reward among them."

The effort was not made.


Jefferson mingled a great deal with the common people, especially with

Often, when President, he would walk down to the Navy Yard early on a
summer's morning, and sitting down upon an anchor or spar, would enter
into conversation with the surprised and delighted shipwrights. He asked
many questions of these artisans, who would take the utmost pains to
satisfy his enquiries.

His political opponents believed unjustly that he did this simply for
effect. They would say,

"There, see the demagogue!"

"There's long Tom, sinking the dignity of his station to get votes and
court the mob."


Although Jefferson was an ardent democrat, in some sense he was also an

He firmly believed in an aristocracy of mind, and told John Adams that
he rejoiced that nature had created such an aristocracy.

He unmistakably gave his preference to men of learning and refinement,
at least he put these above other recommendations.

Mr. Jefferson, however, was not consistent with himself, for he
frequently called General Washington "Your Excellency," during the war,
and also when he was a private citizen at Mt. Vernon.


Just after his college days Mr. Jefferson fell into company, as so many
young men do, of a most undesirable sort.

According to his own statements it was a source of amazement even to
himself that he ever escaped to be worth anything to the world. He
realized in later years what a dangerous risk he had run.


While he was an extensive reader in his early days, going into almost
every field of literature, including poetry, he read very little

In fact, there was comparatively but little fiction then worth the name.
Not from any sentiment of duty or moral impropriety, but from simple
aversion he let it alone.


Jefferson was neither an orator nor a good talker. He could not make a
speech. His voice would sink downwards instead of rising upwards out of
his throat.

But as regards legal learning he was in the front rank. No one was more
ready than he in ably written opinions and defenses.

It was in what John Adams termed "the divine science of politics" that
Jefferson won his immortal and resplendent fame.


With all his apparent tolerance and good humor, there was a great deal
of the arbitrary and despotic in Mr. Jefferson's nature. Stern principle
alone enabled him to keep his native imperiousness within proper bounds.


Among those who exerted a marked influence on Jefferson's early years
was his oldest and favorite sister Jane. She was three years his senior,
and was a woman of superior standing and great elevation of character.
She was his constant companion when he was at home, and a sympathizing
friend to whom he unlocked his heart. She was a "singer of uncommon
skill and sweetness, and both were particularly fond of the solemn music
used by the Church of England in the Psalms." She died in the fall
of 1765, at the age of twenty-five. He cherished her memory with the
warmest affection to the close of his life.


Lewis Henry Boutell, in his "Jefferson as a Man of Letters," says:

"That Jefferson, in justifying the action of the colonists, should
have thought more of the metaphysical rights than historical facts,
illustrates one of the marked features of his character. He was often
more of a doctrinaire than a practical statesman. He reminds us of the
words which Burke applied on a certain occasion to Chatham: 'For a wise
man he seemed to me at that time to be governed too much by general


For many years the friendship between Jefferson and John Adams had been
broken off. Mrs. Adams had become decidedly hostile in feeling towards
Jefferson. But through a mutual friend, Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, a
reconciliation was fully established between them.

It was a spectacle in which the whole country greatly rejoiced, to see
the intimacy restored between the two venerable men, once Presidents of
the United States, and brothers in helping secure the independence of
their beloved land.

Although they did not see each other face to face again, a continuous,
instructive and affectionate correspondence was kept up between them.
Their topics of discourse were those relating to Revolutionary times,
but especially to religion.


Mr. Jefferson believed in the colonization of negroes to Africa, and the
substitution of free white labor in their place.

He wrote to John Lynch, of Virginia, in 1811, as follows: "Having long
ago made up my mind on this subject (colonization), I have no hesitation
in saying that I have ever thought it the most desirable measure which
could be adopted, for gradually drawing off this part of our population
most advantageously for themselves as well as for us.

"Going from a country possessing all the useful arts, they might be the
means of transplanting them among the inhabitants of Africa, and
would thus carry back to the country of their origin, the seeds of
civilization, which might render their sojournment and sufferings here a
blessing in the end to that country."

Many other eminent men have shared the same opinion, and not a few
prominent leaders among the Afro-American people.

But it is now an impossibility. The American negro is in America to
stay. The ever pressing problem of his relationship to the white man
involves questions of education, labor, politics and religion, which
will take infinite patience, insight, forbearance and wisdom to settle


Mr. Jefferson was a strong opponent of the practice of sending boys
abroad to be educated. He says:

"The boy sent to Europe acquires a fondness for European luxury and
dissipation, and a contempt for the simplicity of his own country.

"He is fascinated with the privileges of the European aristocrats, and
sees with abhorrence the lovely equality which the poor enjoy with the
rich in his own country.

"He contracts a partiality for aristocracy or monarchy.

"He forms foreign friendships which will never be useful to him.

"He loses the seasons of life for forming in his own country those
friendships which of all others are the most faithful and permanent.

"He returns to his own country a foreigner, unacquainted with the
practices of domestic economy necessary to preserve him from ruin.

"He speaks and writes his native tongue as a foreigner, and is therefore
unqualified to obtain those distinctions which eloquence of the tongue
and pen insures in a free country.

"It appears to me then that an American going to Europe for education
loses in his knowledge, in his morals, in his health, in his habits and
in his happiness."

These utterances of Jefferson apply of course only to boys in the
formative period of their lives, and not to mature students who go
abroad for higher culture.


Mr. Jefferson always believed the cause of the French Revolution to be
just. Its horrors and excesses were the necessary evils attendant upon
the death of tyranny and the birth of liberty.

Louis the XVI was thoroughly conscientious. At the age of twenty he
ascended the throne, and strove to present an example of morality,
justice and economy. But he had not firmness of will to support a good
minister or to adhere to a good policy.

In the course of events a great demonstration of the French populace
was made against the king. Thousands of persons carrying pikes and other
weapons marched to the Tuileries. For four hours Louis was mobbed. He
then put on a red cap to please his unwelcome visitors, who afterwards

Long after the "Days of Terror" Jefferson wrote in his autobiography:

"The deed which closed the mortal course of these sovereigns (Louis XVI
and Marie Antoinette), I shall neither approve nor condemn.

"I am not prepared to say that the first magistrate of a nation cannot
commit treason against his country or is not amenable to its punishment.
Nor yet, that where there is no written law, no regulated tribunal,
there is not a law in our hearts and a power in our hands given for
righteous employment in maintaining right and redressing wrong.

"I should have shut the queen up in a convent, putting her where she
could do no harm."

Mr. Jefferson then declared that he would have permitted the King to
reign, believing that with the restraints thrown around him, he would
have made a successful monarch.

SAYINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON. From the Life of Jefferson, by Dr. Irelan.


Harmony in the marriage state is the very first object to be aimed at.

Nothing can preserve affections uninterrupted but a firm resolution
never to differ in will, and a determination in each to consider the
love of the other as of more value than any object whatever on which a
wish had been fixed.

How light, in fact, is the sacrifice of any other wish when weighed
against the affections of one with whom we are to pass our whole life!


Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this:
Divide his paper into four chapters, heading the 1st, Truths; 2nd,
Probabilities; 3rd, Possibilities; 4th, Lies. The first chapter would be
very short, as it would contain little more than authentic papers, and
information from such sources as the editor would be willing to risk his
own reputation for their truth. The second would contain what, from
a mature consideration of all circumstances, he would conclude to be
probably true. This, however, should rather contain too little than too
much. The third and fourth should be professedly for those readers who
would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they would

Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and
all it contains rather than do an immoral act.

Whenever you are to do anything, though it can never be known but to
yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at
you, and act accordingly.

From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will
derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the
moment of death.

Though you cannot see when you take one step, what will be the next, yet
follow truth, justice, and plain dealing, and never fear their leading
you out of the labyrinth in the nearest manner possible.

An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second.

Nothing is so mistaken as the supposition that a person is to extricate
himself from a difficulty by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation,
by trimming, by untruth, by injustice.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much
liberty than those attending a too small degree of it.

Yet it is easy to foresee, from the nature of things, that the
encroachments of the State governments will tend to an excess of liberty
which will correct itself, while those of the General Government will
tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day.

Responsibility is a tremendous engine in a free government.

Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these
people (the slaves) are to be free.

When we see ourselves in a situation which must be endured and gone
through, it is best to make up our minds to it, meet it with firmness,
and accommodate every thing to it in the best way practicable.

The errors and misfortunes of others should be a school for our own

The article of dress is, perhaps, that in which economy is the least to
be recommended.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will
of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful,
must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which
equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression.

A good cause is often injured more by ill-timed efforts of its friends
than by the arguments of its enemies.

Persuasion, perseverance, and patience are the best advocates on
questions depending on the will of others.

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing,
and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. An
observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so
mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too
much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

No race of kings has ever presented above one man of common sense in
twenty generations.

With all the defects in our Constitution, whether general or particular,
the comparison of our government with those of Europe, is like a
comparison of Heaven with Hell. England, like the earth, may be allowed
to take the intermediate station.

I have a right to nothing, which another has a right to take away.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that
it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we
shall become corrupt as in Europe, and go to eating one another as they
do there.

Health, learning, and virtue will insure your happiness; they will give
you a quiet conscience, private esteem and public honor.

If I were to decide between the pleasures derived from the classical
education which my father gave me, and the estate left me, I should
decide in favor of the farmer.

Good humor and politeness never introduce into mixed society a question
on which they foresee there will be a difference of opinion.

The general desire of men to live by their heads rather than their
hands, and the strong allurements of great cities to those who have
any turn for dissipation, threaten to make them here, as in Europe, the
sinks of voluntary misery.

I have often thought that if Heaven had given me choice of my position
and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered,
and near a good market for the productions of the garden. No occupation
is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture
comparable to that of the garden.

I sincerely, then, believe with you in the general existence of a moral
instinct. I think it is the brightest gem with which the human character
is studded, and the want of it as more degrading than the most hideous
of the bodily deformities.

I must ever believe that religion substantially good, which produces
an honest life, and we have been authorized by one (One) whom you and I
equally respect, to judge of the tree by its fruit.

Where the law of majority ceases to be acknowledged there government
ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property
are his who can take them.

Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever He
has a chosen people, whose breasts he has made this peculiar deposit for
substantial and genuine virtue, it is the focus in which He keeps alive
that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the

The wise know their weakness too well to assume infallibility; and he
who knows most knows best how little he knows.


     1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do today.
     2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
     3. Never spend your money before you have it.
     4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it
          will be dear to you.
     5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
     6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
     7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
     8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
     9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
     10. When angry count ten before you speak; if very angry, a


By Daniel Webster

Discourse in Commemoration of the Lives and Services of John and Thomas
Jefferson, Delivered in Faneuil Hall, August 2, 1826.

This is an unaccustomed spectacle. For the first time, fellow-citizens,
badges of mourning shroud the columns and overhang the arches of this
hall. These walls, which were consecrated, so long ago, to the cause of
American liberty, which witnessed her infant struggles, and rung with
the shouts of her earliest victories, proclaim, now, that distinguished
friends and champions of that great cause have fallen. It is right that
it shall be thus. The tears which flow, and the honors that are shown
when the founders of the republic die, give hope that the republic
itself may be immortal. It is fit, by public assembly and solemn
observance, by anthem and by eulogy, we commemorate the services of
national benefactors, extol their virtues, and render thanks to God
for eminent blessings, early given and long continued, to our favored

Adams and Jefferson are no more; and we are assembled, fellow-citizens,
the aged, the middle-aged, and the young, by the spontaneous impulse of
all, under the authority of the municipal government, with the presence
of the chief-magistrate of the commonwealth, and others, its official
representatives, the university, and the learned societies, to bear our
part in those manifestations of respect and gratitude which universally
pervade the land. Adams and Jefferson are no more. On our fiftieth
anniversary, the great day of national jubilee, in the very hour of
public rejoicing, in the midst of echoing and re-echoing voices of
thanksgiving, while their own names were on all tongues, they took their
flight together to the world of spirits.

If it be true that no one can safely be pronounced happy while he lives,
if that event which terminates life can alone crown its honors and its
glory, what felicity is here! The great epic of their lives, how happily
concluded! Poetry itself has hardly closed illustrious lives, and
finished the career of earthly renown, by such a consummation. If we had
the power, we could not wish to reverse this dispensation of the Divine
Providence. The great objects of life were accomplished, the drama was
ready to be closed. It has closed; our patriots have fallen; but so
fallen, at such age, with such coincidence, on such a day, that we
cannot rationally lament that that end has come, which we know could not
long be deferred.

Neither of these great men, fellow-citizens, could have died, at any
time, without leaving an immense void in our American society. They have
been so intimately, and for so long a time blended with the history
of the country, and especially so united, in our thoughts and
recollections, with the events of the revolution [text destroyed] the
death of either would have touched the strings of public sympathy. We
should have felt that one great link connecting us with former times,
was broken; that we had lost something more, as it were, of the presence
of the revolution itself, and of the act of independence, and were
driven on, by another great remove, from the days of our country's early
distinction, to meet posterity, and to mix with the future. Like the
mariner, whom the ocean and the winds carry along, till he sees the
stars which have directed his course and lighted his pathless way
descent, one by one, beneath the rising horizon, we should have felt
that the stream of time had borne us onward till another luminary, whose
light had cheered us and whose guidance we had followed, had sunk away
from our sight.

But the concurrence of their death on the anniversary of independence
has naturally awakened stronger emotions. Both had been presidents,
both had lived to great age, both were early patriots, and both were
distinguished and ever honored by their immediate agency in the act of
independence. It cannot but seem striking and extraordinary, that these
two should live to see the fiftieth year from the date of that act; that
they should complete that year; and that then, on the day which had fast
linked forever their own fame with their country's glory, the heavens
should open to receive them both at once. As their lives themselves were
the gifts of Providence, who is not willing to recognize in their happy
termination, as well as in their long continuance, proofs that our
country and its benefactors are objects of His care?

Adams and Jefferson, I have said, are no more. As human beings, indeed
they are no more. They are no more, as in 1776, bold and fearless
advocates of independence; no more, as on subsequent periods, the head
of the government; no more, as we have recently seen them, aged and
venerable objects of admiration and regard. They are no more. They are
dead. But how little is there of the great and good which can die! To
their country they yet live, and live forever. They live in all that
perpetuates the remembrance of men on earth; in the recorded proofs of
their own great actions, in the offspring of their intellect, in the
deep-engraved lines of public gratitude, and in the respect and homage
of mankind. They live in their example; and they live, emphatically,
and will live, in the influence which their lives and efforts, their
principles and opinion, now exercise, and will continue to exercise,
on the affairs of men, not only in their own country, but throughout
the civilized world. A superior and commanding human intellect, a truly
great man, when Heaven vouchsafes so rare a gift, is not a temporary
flame, burning bright for a while, and then expiring, giving place to
returning darkness. It is rather a spark of fervent heat, as well as
radiant light, with power to enkindle the common mass of human mind; so
that when it glimmers in its own decay, and finally goes out in death,
no night follows, but it leaves the world all light, all on fire,
from the potent contact of its own spirit. Bacon died; but the human
understanding roused by the touch of his miraculous wand to a perception
of the true philosophy and the just mode of inquiring after truth, has
kept on its course successfully and gloriously. Newton died; yet the
courses of the spheres are still known, and they yet move on in the
orbits which he saw, and described for them, in the infinity of space.

No two men now live, fellow-citizens, perhaps it may be doubted whether
any two men have ever lived in one age, who, more than those we now
commemorate, have impressed their own sentiments, in regard to politics
and government, on mankind, infused their own opinions more deeply into
the opinions of others, or given a more lasting direction to the current
of human thought. Their work doth not perish with them. The tree which
they assisted to plant will flourish, although they water it and protect
it no longer; for it has struck its roots deep, it has sent them to the
very center; no storm, not of force to burst the orb, can overturn it;
its branches spread wide; they stretch their protecting arms broader
and broader, and its top is destined to reach the heavens. We are not
deceived. There is no delusion here. No age will come in which the
American revolution will appear less than it is, one of the greatest
events in human history. No age will come in which it will cease to be
seen and felt, on either continent, that a mighty step, a great advance,
not only in American affairs, but in human affairs, was made on the 4th
of July, 1776. And no age will come we trust, so ignorant or so unjust
as not to see and acknowledge the efficient agency of these we now honor
in producing that momentous event.

We are not assembled, therefore, fellow-citizens, as men overwhelmed
with calamity by the sudden disruption of the ties of friendship or
affection, or as in despair for the republic by the untimely blighting
of its hopes. Death has not surprised us by an unseasonable blow. We
have, indeed, seen the tomb close, but it has closed only over mature
years, over long-protracted public service, over the weakness of age,
and over life itself only when the ends of living had been fulfilled.
These suns, as they rose slowly and steadily, amidst clouds and storms
in their ascendant, so they have not rushed from their meridian to sink
suddenly in the west. Like the mildness, the serenity, the continuing
benignity of summer's day, they have gone down with slow-descending,
grateful, long-lingering light; and now that they are beyond the visible
margin of the world, good omens cheer us from "the bright track of their
fiery car!"

There were many points of similarity in the lives and fortunes of these
great men. They belonged to the same profession, and had pursued its
studies and its practice, for unequal lengths of time indeed, but with
diligence and effect. Both were learned and able lawyers. They were
natives and inhabitants, respectively, of those two of the colonies
which at the revolution were the largest and most powerful, and which
naturally had a lead in the political affairs of the times. When the
colonies became in some degree united, by the assembling of a general
congress, they were brought to act together in its deliberations, not
indeed at the same time, but both at early periods. Each had already
manifested his attachment to the cause of the country, as well as his
ability to maintain it, by printed addresses, public speeches, extensive
correspondence, and whatever other mode could be adopted for the purpose
of exposing the encroachments of the British parliament, and animating
the people to a manly resistance. Both, were not only decided, but
early, friends of independence. While others yet doubted, they were
resolved; where others hesitated, they pressed forward. They were both
members of the committee for preparing the declaration of independence,
and they constituted the sub-committee appointed by the other members to
make the draft. They left their seats in congress, being called to other
public employment, at periods not remote from each other, although one
of them returned to it afterward for a short time. Neither of them was
of the assembly of great men which formed the present constitution, and
neither was at any time member of congress under its provisions.
Both have been public ministers abroad, both vice-presidents and both
presidents. These coincidences are now singularly crowned and completed.
They have died together; and they died on the anniversary of liberty.

When many of us were last in this place, fellow-citizens, it was on the
day of that anniversary. We were met to enjoy the festivities belonging
to the occasion, and to manifest our grateful homage to our political
fathers. We did not, we could not here forget our venerable neighbor
of Quincy. We knew that we were standing, at a time of high and palmy
prosperity, where he had stood in the hour of utmost peril; that we saw
nothing but liberty and security, where he had met the frown of power;
that we were enjoying everything, where he had hazarded everything; and
just and sincere plaudits rose to his name, from the crowds which filled
this area, and hung over these galleries. He whose grateful duty it was
to speak to us, [Hon, Joshiah Quincy] on that day, of the virtues of our
fathers, had, indeed, admonished us that time and years were about to
level his venerable frame with the dust. But he bade us hope that "the
sound of a nation's joy, rushing from our cities, ringing from our
valleys, echoing from our hills, might yet break the silence of his aged
ear; that the rising blessings of grateful millions might yet visit
with glad light his decaying vision." Alas! that vision was then closing
forever. Alas! the silence which was then settling on that aged ear was
an everlasting silence! For, lo! in the very moment of our festivities,
his freed spirit ascended to God who gave it! Human aid and human solace
terminate at the grave; or we would gladly have borne him upward, on a
nation's outspread hands; we would have accompanied him, and with the
blessings of millions and the prayers of millions, commended him to the
Divine favor.

While still indulging our thoughts, on the coincidence of the death of
this venerable man with the anniversary of independence, we learn
that Jefferson, too, has fallen, and that these aged patriots, these
illustrious fellow-laborers, have left our world together. May not
such events raise the suggestion that they are not undesigned, and
that Heaven does so order things, as sometimes to attract strongly the
attention and excite the thoughts of men? The occurrence has added new
interest to our anniversary, and will be remembered in all time to come.

The occasion, fellow-citizens, requires some account of the lives and
services of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This duty must necessarily
be performed with great brevity, and in the discharge of it I shall be
obliged to confine myself, principally, to those parts of their history
and character which belonged to them as public men.

John Adams was born at Quincy, then part of the ancient town of
Braintree, on the 19th of October, (old style,) 1735. He was a
descendant of the Puritans, his ancestors having early emigrated from
England, and settled in Massachusetts. Discovering early a strong love
of reading and of knowledge, together with the marks of great strength
and activity of mind, proper care was taken by his worthy father to
provide for his education. He pursued his youthful studies in Braintree,
under Mr. Marsh, a teacher whose fortune it was that Josiah Quincy, Jr.,
as well as the subject of these remarks, should receive from him his
instruction in the rudiments of classical literature. Having been
admitted, in 1751, a member of Harvard College, Mr. Adams was graduated,
in course, in 1755; and on the catalogue of that institution, his name,
at the time of his death, was second among the living alumni, being
preceded only by that of the venerable Holyoke. With what degree of
reputation he left the university is not now precisely known. We know
only that he was a distinguished in a class which numbered Locke and
Hemmenway among its members. Choosing the law for his profession, he
commenced and prosecuted its studies at Worcester, under the direction
of Samuel Putnam, a gentleman whom he has himself described as an acute
man, an able and learned lawyer, and as in large professional practice
at that time. In 1758 he was admitted to the bar, and commenced
business in Braintree. He is understood to have made his first
considerable effort, or to have attained his first signal success,
at Plymouth, on one of those occasions which furnish the earliest
opportunity for distinction to many young men of the profession, a
jury trial, and a criminal cause. His business naturally grew with his
reputation, and his residence in the vicinity afforded the opportunity,
as his growing eminence gave the power, of entering on the large
field of practice which the capital presented. In 1766 he removed his
residence to Boston, still continuing his attendance on the neighboring
circuits, and not unfrequently called to remote parts of the province.
In 1770 his professional firmness was brought to a test of some
severity, on the application of the British officers and Soldiers to
undertake their defense, on the trial of the indictments found against
them on account of the transactions of the memorable 5th of March. He
seems to have thought, on this occasion, that a man can no more abandon
the proper duties of his profession, than he can abandon other duties.
The event proved, that, as he judged well for his own reputation, he
judged well, also, for the interest and permanent fame of his country.
The result of that trial proved, that notwithstanding the high degree of
excitement then existing in consequence of the measures of the British
government, a jury of Massachusetts would not deprive the most reckless
enemies, even the officers of that standing army quartered among them
which they so perfectly abhorred, of any part of that protection which
the law, in its mildest and most indulgent interpretation, afforded to
persons accused of crimes.

Without pursuing Mr. Adams's professional course further, suffice it to
say, that on the first establishment of the judicial tribunals under the
authority of the state, in 1776, he received an offer of the high and
responsible station of chief-justice of the supreme court of his state.
But he was destined for another and a different career. From early life,
the bent of his mind was toward politics, a propensity which the state
of the times, if it did not create, doubtless very much strengthened.
Public subjects must have occupied the thoughts and filled up the
conversation in the circles in which he then moved, and the interesting
questions at that time just arising could not but sieve on a mind like
his, ardent, sanguine, and patriotic. The letter, fortunately preserved,
written by him at Worcester, so early as the 12th of October, 1755, is a
proof of very comprehensive views, and uncommon depth of reflection,
in a young man not yet quite twenty. In this letter he predicted the
transfer of power, and the establishment of a new seat of empire in
America; he predicted, also, the increase of population in the colonies;
and anticipated their naval distinction, and foretold that all Europe
combined could not subdue them. All this is said not on a public
occasion or for effect, but in the style of sober and friendly
correspondence, as the result of his own thoughts. "I sometimes retire,"
said he, at the close of the letter, "and, laying things together,
form some reflections pleasing to myself. The produce of one of these
reveries you have read above." [1] This prognostication so early in his own
life, so early in the history of the country, of independence, of vast
increase of numbers, of naval force, off such augmented power as might
defy all Europe, is remarkable. It is more remarkable that its author
should have lived to see fulfilled to the letter what could have seemed
to others, at the time, but the extravagance of youthful fancy. His
earliest political feelings were thus strongly American, and from this
ardent attachment to his native soil he never departed.

While still living at Quincy, and at the age of twenty-four, Mr. Adams
was present, in this town, on the argument before the supreme court
respecting Writs of Assistance, and heard the celebrated and patriotic
speech of James Otis. Unquestionably, that was a masterly performance.
No flighty declamation about liberty, no superficial discussion
of popular topics, it was a learned, penetrating, convincing,
constitutional argument, expressed in a strain of high and resolute
patriotism. He grasped the question then pending between England and her
colonies with the strength of a lion; and if he sometimes sported, it
was only because the lion himself is sometimes playful. Its success
appears to have been as great as its merits, and its impression was
widely felt. Mr. Adams himself seems never to have lost the feeling it
produced, and to have entertained constantly the fullest conviction
of its important effects. "I do say," he observes, "in the most solemn
manner, that Mr. Otis's Oration against Writs of Assistance breathed
into this nation the breath of life."

In 1765 Mr. Adams laid before the public, what I suppose to be his
first printed performance, except essays for the periodical press, A
Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law. The object of this work was to
show that our New England ancestors, in, consenting to exile themselves
from their native land, were actuated mainly by the desire of delivering
themselves from the power of the hierarchy, and from the monarchial and
aristocratical political systems of the other continent, and to make
this truth bear with effect on the politics of the times. Its tone is
uncommonly bold and animated for that period. He calls on the people,
not only to defend, but to study and understand, their rights and
privileges; urges earnestly the necessity of diffusing general
knowledge; invokes the clergy and the bar, the colleges and academies,
and all others who have the ability and the means to expose the
insidious designs of arbitrary power, to resist its approaches, and to
be persuaded that there is a settled design on foot to enslave all
America. "Be it remembered," says the author, "that liberty must, at all
hazards, be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker.
But if we had not, our fathers have earned it and bought it for us, at
the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their
blood. And liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among
the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to
knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given
them understandings and a desire to know. But, besides this, they have a
right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible right, to that most
dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the character and
conduct of their rulers. Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, and
trustees of the people and if the cause, the interest and trust, is
insidiously betrayed or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right
to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed, and to
constitute other and better agents, attorneys, and trustees."

The citizens of this town conferred on Mr. Adams his first political
distinction, and clothed him with his first political trust, by electing
him one of their representatives in 1770. Before this time he had become
extensively known throughout the province, as well by the part he had
acted in relation to public affairs, as by the exercise of his
professional ability. He was among those who took the deepest interest
in the controversy with England and whether in or out of the
legislature, his time and talents were alike devoted to the cause. In
the years 1773 and 1774 he was chosen a councilor by the members of the
general court, but rejected by Governor Hutchinson in the former of
those years, and by Governor Gage in the latter.

The time was now at hand, however, when the affairs of the colonies
urgently demanded united counsels. An open rupture with the parent state
appeared inevitable, and it was but the dictate of prudence that those
who were united by a common interest and a common danger, should protect
that interest and guard against that danger, by united efforts. A
general congress of delegates from all the colonies having been proposed
and agreed to, the house of representatives, on the 17th of June, 1774,
elected James Bowdoin, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and
Robert Treat Paine, delegates from Massachusetts. This appointment was
made at Salem, where the general court had been convened by Governor
Gage, in the last hour of the existence of a house of representatives
under the provincial charter. While engaged in this important business,
the governor, having been informed of what was passing, sent his
secretary with a message dissolving the general court. The secretary,
finding the door locked, directed the messenger to go in and inform the
speaker that the secretary was at the door with a message from the
governor. The messenger returned, and informed the secretary that the
orders of the house were that the doors should be kept fast; whereupon
the secretary soon after read a proclamation, dissolving the general
court, upon, the stairs. Thus terminated forever, the actual exercise of
the political power of England in or over Massachusetts. The four last
named delegates accepted their appointments, and took their seats in
congress the first day of its meeting, September 5th, 1774, in

The proceedings of the first congress are well known, and have been
universally admired. It is in vain that we would look for superior
proofs of wisdom, talent, and patriotism. Lord Chatham said that, for
himself, he must declare that he had studied and admired the free states
of antiquity, the master states of the world, but that, for solidity of
reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, no body of men
could stand in preference to this congress. It is hardly inferior praise
to say that no production of that great man himself can be pronounced
superior to several of the papers, published as the proceedings of this
most able, most firm, most patriotic assembly. There is, indeed, nothing
superior to them in the range of political disquisition. They not only
embrace, illustrate and enforce everything which political philosophy,
the love of liberty, and the spirit of free inquiry had antecedently
produced, but they add new and striking views of their own, and apply
the whole, with irresistible force, in support of the cause which had
drawn them together.

Mr. Adams was a constant attendant on the deliberations of this body,
and bore an active part in its important measures. He was of the
committee to state the rights of the colonies, and of that, also, which
reported the Address to the King.

As it was in the continental congress, fellow-citizens, that those whose
deaths have given rise to this occasion were first brought together, and
called on to unite their industry and their ability in the service of
the country, let us now turn to the other of these distinguished men,
and take a brief notice of his life up to the period when he appeared
within the walls of congress.

Thomas Jefferson descended from ancestors who had been settled in
Virginia for some generations, was born near the spot on which he died,
in the county of Albemarle, on the 2d of April, (old style,) 1743. His
youthful studies were pursued in the neighborhood of his father's
residence, until he was removed to the college of William and Mary, the
highest honors of which he in due time received. Having left the college
with reputation, he applied himself to the study of the law under the
tuition of George Wythe, one of the highest judicial names of which that
state can boast. At an early age, he was elected a member of the
legislature, in which he had no sooner appeared than he distinguished
himself by knowledge, capacity, and promptitude.

Mr. Jefferson appears to have been imbued with an early love of letters
and science, and to have cherished a strong disposition to pursue these
objects. To the physical sciences, especially, and to ancient classic
literature, he is understood to have had a warm attachment, and
never entirely to have lost sight of them in the midst of the busiest
occupations. But the times were times for action, rather than for
contemplation. The country was to be defended, and to be saved, before
it could be enjoyed. Philosophic leisure and literary pursuits, and
even the objects of professional attention, wher all necessarily
postponed to the urgent calls of the public service. The exigency of the
country made the same demand on Mr. Jefferson that it made on others who
had the ability and the disposition to serve it; and he obeyed the call;
thinking and feeling in this respect with the great Roman orator: "Quis
enim est tam cupidus in perspicienda cognoscendaque rerum nature, ut,
si, ei tractanti contemplantique, res cognitione dignissmas subito
sit allatum periculum discrimenque patriae, cui subvenire opitularique
possit, non illa omnia relinquat atque abjiciat, etiam si dinumerare se
stellas, aut metiri mundi magnitudinem posse arbitretur?"

Entering with all his heart into the cause of liberty, his ability,
patriotism, and power with the pen, naturally drew upon him a large
participation in the most important concerns. Wherever he was, there was
found a soul devoted to the cause, power to defend and maintain it, and
willingness to incur all its hazards. In 1774 he published a Summary
View of the Rights of British America, a valuable production among
those intended to show the dangers which threatened the liberties of the
country, and to encourage the people in their defense. In June, 1775, he
was elected a member of the continental Congress, as successor to Peyton
Randolph, who had retired on account of ill health, and took his seat in
that body on the 21st of the same month.

And now, fellow-citizens, without pursuing the biography of these
illustrious men further, for the present, let us turn our attention
to the most prominent act of their lives, their participation in the

Preparatory to the introduction of that important measure, a committee,
at the head of which was Mr. Adams, had reported a resolution, which
congress adopted the 10th of May, recommending, in substance, to all
the colonies which had not already established governments suited to the
exigencies of their affairs, to adopt such government as would, in
the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the
happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in

This significant vote was soon followed by the direct proposition which
Richard Henry Lee had the honor to submit to Congress, by resolution, on
the 7th day of June. The published journal does not expressly state it,
but there is no doubt, I suppose, that this resolution was in the same
words when originally submitted by Mr. Lee, as when finally passed.
Having been discussed on Saturday, the 8th, and Monday, the 10th of
June, this resolution was on the last mentioned day postponed for
further consideration to the first day of July; and at the same time, it
was voted that a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration to the
effect of the resolution. This committee was elected by ballot, on the
following day, and consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin
Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.

It is usual when committees are elected by ballot, that their members
are arranged in order, according to the number of votes which each has
received. Mr. Jefferson, therefore, had received the highest, and Mr.
Adams the next highest number of votes. The difference is said to have
been but of a single vote. Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams, standing thus at
the head of the committee, were requested by the other members to act
as a sub-committee to prepare the draft; and Mr. Jefferson drew up
the paper. The original draft, as brought by him from his study, and
submitted to the other members of the committee, with interlineations in
the handwriting of Dr. Franklin, and others in that of Mr. Adams, was in
Mr. Jefferson's possession at the time of his death. The merit of this
paper is Mr. Jefferson's. Some changes were made in it on the suggestion
of other members of the committee, and others by congress while it was
under discussion. But none of them altered the tone, the frame,
the arrangement, or the general character of the instrument, As a
composition, the Declaration is Mr. Jefferson's. It is the production
of his mind, and the high honor of it belongs to him, clearly and

It has sometimes been said, as if it were a derogation from the merits
of this paper; that it contains nothing new; that it only states grounds
of proceeding, and presses topics of argument, which had often been
stated and pressed before. But it was not the object of the Declaration
to produce anything new. It was not to invent reasons for independence,
but to state those which governed the congress. For great and sufficient
causes it was proposed to declare independence; and the proper business
of the paper to be drawn was to set forth those causes, and justify the
authors of the measure, in any event of fortune, to the country, and to
posterity. The cause of American independence, moreover, was now to be
presented to the world in such manner, if it might so be, as to engage
its sympathy, to command its respect, to attract its admiration, and in
an assembly of most able and distinguished men, Thomas Jefferson had the
high honor of being the selected advocate of this cause. To say that he
performed his great work well, would be doing him injustice. To say
that he did it excellently well, admirably well, would be inadequate
and halting praise. Let us rather say that he so discharged the duty
assigned him, that all Americans may well rejoice that the work of
drawing the title-deed of their liberties devolved on his hands.

With all its merits, there are those who have thought that there was one
thing in the declaration to be regretted; and that is, the asperity and
anger with which it speaks of the person of the king; the industrious
ability with which it accumulates and charges upon him all the injuries
which the colonies had suffered from the mother country. Possibly some
degree of injustice, now or hereafter, at home or abroad, may be done to
the character of Mr. Jefferson, if this part of the declaration be not
placed in its proper light. Anger or resentment, certainly much less
personal reproach and invective, could not properly find place in
a composition of such high dignity, and of such lofty and permanent

A single reflection on the original ground of dispute between England
and the colonies, is sufficient to remove any unfavorable impression in
this respect.

The inhabitants of all the colonies, while colonies, admitted themselves
bound by their allegiance to the king; but they disclaimed altogether,
the authority of parliament; holding themselves, in this respect, to
resemble the condition of Scotland and Ireland before the respective
unions of those kingdoms with England, when they acknowledged allegiance
to the same king, but each had its separate legislature. The tie,
therefore, which our revolution was to break, did not subsist between us
and the British parliament, or between us and the British government,
in the aggregate, but directly between us and the king himself. The
colonists had never admitted themselves subject to parliament. That
was precisely the point of the original controversy. They had uniformly
denied that parliament had authority to make laws for them. There
was, therefore, no subjection to parliaments to be thrown off. [2] But
allegiance to the king did exist, and had been uniformly acknowledged;
and down to 1775, the most solemn assurances had been given that it was
not intended to break that allegiance, or to throw it off. Therefore, as
the direct object and only effect of the declaration, according to the
principles on which the controversy had been maintained on our part,
were to sever the tie of allegiance which bound us to the king, it was
properly and necessarily founded on acts of the crown itself, as its
justifying causes. Parliament is not so much as mentioned in the whole
instrument. When odious and oppressive acts are referred to, it is done
by charging the king with confederating with others, "in pretended acts
of legislation," the object being constantly to hold the king himself
directly responsible for those measures which were the grounds of
separation. Even the precedent of the English revolution was not
overlooked, and in this case as well as in that, occasion was found to
say that the king had abdicated the government. Consistency with the
principles upon which resistance began, and with all the previous state
papers issued by congress, required that the declaration should be
bottomed on the misgovernment of the king; and therefore it was properly
framed with that aim and to that end. The king was known, indeed,
to have acted, as in other cases, by his ministers, and with his
parliament; but as our ancestors had never admitted themselves subject
either to ministers or to parliament, there were no reasons to be given
for now refusing obedience to their authority. This clear and obvious
necessity of founding the declaration on the misconduct of the king
himself gives to that instrument its personal application, and its
character of direct and pointed accusation.

The declaration having been reported to congress by the committee, the
resolution itself was taken up and debated on the first day of July, and
again on the second on which last day, it was agreed to and adopted, in
these words:

"Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be,
free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance
to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and
the state of Great Britian is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

Having thus passed the main resolution, congress proceeded to consider
the reported draft of the declaration. It was discussed on the second,
and third, and fourth days of the month, in committee of the whole,
and on the last of those days, being reported from that committee, it
received the final approbation and sanction of congress. It was ordered,
at the same time, that copies be sent to the several states, and that
it be proclaimed at the head of the army. The declaration thus published
did not bear the names of the members, for as yet, it had not been
signed by them. It was authenticated like other papers of the congress,
by the signatures of the President and secretary. On the 19th of
July, as appears by the secret journal, congress "Resolved, That the
declaration, passed on the fourth, be fairly engrossed on parchment,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;' and that the same, when engrossed, be signed
by every member of congress." And on the SECOND day of August following,
"the declaration being engrossed, and compared at the table, was signed
by the members." So that it happens, fellow-citizens, that we pay these
honors to their memory on the anniversary of that day, on which
these great men actually signed their names to the declaration. The
declaration was thus made, that is, it passed and was adopted as an act
of congress, on the fourth of July; it was then signed, and certified
by the President and secretary, like other acts. The FOURTH OF JULY,
therefore, is the anniversary of the declaration. But the signatures of
the members present were made to it, being then engrossed on parchment,
on the second day of August. Absent members afterward signed, as they
came in; and indeed it bears the signatures of some who were not
chosen members of congress until after the fourth of July. The interest
belonging to the subject will be sufficient, I hope, to justify these

The congress of the revolution, fellow-citizens, sat with closed doors,
and no report of its debates was ever taken. The discussion, therefore,
which accompanied this great measure, has never been preserved, except
in memory and by tradition. But it is, I believe, doing no injustice to
others to say that the general opinion was, and uniformly has been, that
in debate, on the side of independence, John Adams had no equal. The
great author of the declaration himself has expressed that opinion
uniformly and strongly. "John Adams," said he, in the hearing of him who
has now the honor to address you, "John Adams was our colossus on the
floor. Not graceful, not elegant, not always fluent, in his public
addresses, he yet came out with a power, both of thought and of
expression, which moved us from our seats."

For the part which he was here to perform, Mr. Adams doubtless was
eminently fitted. He possessed a bold spirit, which disregarded danger,
and a sanguine reliance on the goodness of the cause, and the virtues of
the people, which led him to overlook all obstacles. His character,
too, had been formed in troubled times. He had been rocked in the early
storms of the controversy, and had acquired a decision and a hardihood
proportioned to the severity of the discipline which he had undergone.

He not only loved the American cause devoutly, but had studied and
understood it. It was all familiar to him. He had tried his powers on
the questions which it involved, often and in various ways; and had
brought to their consideration whatever of argument or illustration the
history of his own country, the history of England, or the stores of
ancient or of legal learning could furnish. Every grievance enumerated
in the long catalogue of the declaration had been the subject of his
discussion, and the object of his remonstrance and reprobation. From
1760, the colonies, the rights of the colonies, the liberties of the
colonies, and the wrongs inflicted on the colonies, had engaged
his constant attention; and it has surprised those who have had the
opportunity of observing, with what full remembrance and with what
prompt recollection he could refer, in his extreme old age, to every act
of parliament affecting the colonies, distinguishing and stating their
respective titles, sections, and provisions; and to all the colonial
memorials, remonstrances and petitions with whatever else belonged to
the intimate and exact history of the times from that year to 1775. It
was, in his own judgment, between these years that the American people
came to a full understanding and thorough knowledge of their rights,
and to a fixed resolution of maintaining them; and bearing, himself, an
active part in all important transactions, the controversy with
England being then in effect the business of his life, facts, dates
and particulars, made an impression which was never effaced. He was
prepared, therefore, by education and discipline, as well as by natural
talent and natural temperament, for the part which he was now to act.

The eloquence of Mr. Adams resembled his general character, and formed,
indeed, a part of it. It was bold, manly, and energetic, and such the
crisis required. When public bodies are to be addressed on momentous
occasions, when great interests are at stake, and strong passions
excited, nothing is valuable in speech farther than it is connected
with high intellectual and moral endowments. Clearness, force, and
earnestness, are the qualities which produce conviction. True eloquence,
indeed, does not consist in speech. It cannot be brought from far. Labor
and learning may toil for it, but they will toil in vain. Words and
phrases may be marshaled in every way, but they cannot compass it. It
must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Affected
passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire
after it; they cannot reach it. It comes, if it come at all, like the
outbreaking of a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of
volcanic fires, with spontaneous, original, native force. The graces
taught in the schools, the costly ornaments and studied contrivances
of speech, shock and disgust men, when their own lives, and the fate of
their wives, their children, and their country, hang on the decision of
the hour. Then words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain, and all
elaborate oratory contemptible. Even genius itself then feels rebuked
and subdued, as in the presence of higher qualities. Then patriotism
is eloquent; then self-devotion is eloquent. The clear conception,
outrunning the deductions of logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve,
the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye,
informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward
to his object--this, this is eloquence; or rather it is something
greater and higher than all eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime,
godlike action.

In July, 1776, the controversy had passed the stage of argument. An
appeal had been made to force, and opposing armies were in the field.
Congress, then, was to decide whether the tie which had so long bound us
to the parent state was to be severed at once, and severed forever. All
the colonies had signified their resolution to abide by this decision,
and the people looked for it with the most intense anxiety. And surely,
fellow-citizens, never, never were men called to a more important
political deliberation. If we contemplate it from the point where they
then stood, no question could be more full of interest; if we look at
it now, and judge of its importance by its effects, it appears in still
greater magnitude.

Let us, then, bring before us the assembly, which was about to decide a
question thus big with the fate of empire. Let us open their doors
and look in upon their deliberations. Let us survey the anxious and
care-worn countenances, let us hear the firm-toned voices of this band
of patriots.

HANCOCK presides over the solemn sitting; and one of those not yet
prepared to pronounce for absolute independence is on the floor, and is
urging his reasons for dissenting from the declaration.

"Let us pause! This step once taken, cannot be retraced. This
resolution, once passed, will cut off all hope of reconciliation. If
success attend the arms of England, we shall then be no longer colonies,
with charters and with privileges; these will all be forfeited by this
act; and we shall be in the condition of other conquered people, at
the mercy of the conquerors. For ourselves, we may be ready to run the
hazard; but are we ready to carry the country to that length? Is success
so probable as to justify it? Where is the military, where the naval
power, by which we are to resist the whole strength of the arm of
England, for she will exert that strength to the utmost? Can we rely on
the constancy and perseverance of the people? or will they not act as
the people of other countries have acted, and, wearied with a long war,
submit, in the end, to a worse oppression? While we stand on our old
ground, and insist on redress of grievances, we know we are right, and
are not answerable for consequences. Nothing, then can be imputed to us.
But if we now change our object, carry our pretensions farther, and set
up for absolute independence, we shall lose the sympathy of mankind.
We shall no longer be defending what we possess, but struggling for
something which we never did possess, and which we have solemnly and
uniformly disclaimed all intention of pursuing, from the very outset
of the troubles. Abandoning thus our old ground, of resistance only to
arbitrary acts of oppression, the nations will believe the whole to have
been mere pretense, and they will look on us, not as injured, but as
ambitious subjects. I shudder before this responsibility. It will be on
us, if, relinquishing the ground we have stood on so long, and stood on
so safely we now proclaim independence, and carry on the war for that
object, while these cities burn, these pleasant fields whiten and bleach
with the bones of their owners, and these streams run blood. It will be
upon us, it will be upon us, if, failing to maintain this unseasonable
and ill-judged declaration, a sterner despotism, maintained by military
power, shall be established over our posterity, when we ourselves, given
up by an exhausted, a harassed, a misled people, shall have expiated our
rashness and atoned for our presumption on the scaffold."

It was for Mr. Adams to reply to arguments like these. We know his
opinions, and we know his character. He would commence with his
accustomed directness and earnestness.

"'Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my
heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed
not at independence. But there's a divinity which shapes our ends. The
injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded to her own
interest for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till independence
is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is
ours. Why, then, should we defer the declaration? Is any man so weak as
now to hope for reconciliation with England, which shall leave either
safety to the country and its liberties, or safety to his own life and
his own honor? Are not you, sir, who sit in that chair, is not he, our
venerable colleague near you, are you not both already the proscribed
and predestined objects of punishment and of vengeance? Cut off from all
hope of royal clemency, what are you, what can you be, while the power
of England remains, but outlaws? If we postpone independence, do we mean
to carry on, or to give up the war? Do we mean to submit to the measures
of parliament, Boston Port Bill and all? Do we mean to submit, and
consent that we ourselves shall be ground to powder, and our country and
its rights trodden down in the dust? I know we do not mean to submit. We
never shall submit. Do we intend to violate that most solemn obligation
ever entered into by men, that plighting, before God, of our sacred
honor to Washington, when, putting him forth to incur the dangers of
war, as well as the political hazards of the times, we promised to
adhere to him, in every extremity, with our fortunes and our lives?
I know there is not a man here, who would not rather see a general
conflagration sweep over the land, or an earthquake sink it, than one
jot or title of that plighted faith fall to the ground. For myself,
having, twelve months ago, in this place, moved you, that George
Washington be appointed commander of the forces raised, or to be raised,
for defense of American liberty, may my right hand forget her cunning,
and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I hesitate or waver in
the support I give him.

"The war, then, must go on. We must fight it through. And if the war
must go on, why put off longer the declaration of independence? That
measure will strengthen us It will give us character abroad. The nations
will then treat with us, which they never can do while we acknowledge
ourselves subjects, in arms against our sovereign. Nay, I maintain that
England herself will sooner treat for peace with us on the footing of
independence, than consent, by repealing her acts, to acknowledge
that her whole conduct toward us has been a course of injustice and
oppression. Her pride will be less wounded by submitting to that course
of things which now predestinates our independence, than by yielding the
points in controversy to her rebellious subjects. The former she would
regard as the result of fortune, the latter she would feel as her own
deep disgrace. Why, then, why, then, sir, do we not as soon as possible
change this from a civil to a national war? And since we must fight it
through, why not put ourselves in a state to enjoy all the benefits of
victory, if we gain the victory?

"If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. The cause
will raise up armies; the cause will create navies. The people,
the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry
themselves, gloriously, through this struggle. I care not how fickle
other people have been found. I know the people of these colonies, and I
know that resistance to British aggression is deep and settled in their
hearts, and cannot be eradicated. Every colony, indeed, has expressed
its willingness to follow, if we but take the lead. Sir, the declaration
will inspire the people with increased courage. Instead of a long and
bloody war for the restoration of privileges, for redress of grievances,
for chartered immunities, held under a British king, set before them the
glorious object of entire independence, and it will breathe into them
anew the breath of life. Read this declaration at the head of the army;
every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered,
to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the
pulpit; religion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will
cling round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it
to the public halls; proclaim it there; let them hear it who heard the
first roar of the enemy's cannon, let them see it who saw their brothers
and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of
Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its support.

"Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see, I see clearly,
through this day's business. You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not
live to the time when this declaration shall be made good. We may die;
die colonists; die slaves; die, it may be, ignominiously and on the
scaffold. Be it so. Be it so. If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my
country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be
ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may.
But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a
country, and that a free country.

"But whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured that this
declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but
it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick
gloom of the present I see the brightness of the future as the sun in
heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are
in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with
thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On
its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of
subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of
gratitude, and of joy. Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My
judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that
I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now
ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I begun, that live
or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living
sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment,
independence, now, and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER."

And so that day shall be honored, illustrious prophet and patriot! so
that day shall be honored, and as often as it returns, thy renown shall
come along with it, and the glory of thy life, like the day of thy
death, shall not fail from the remembrance of men.

It would be unjust, fellow-citizens, on this occasion while we express
our veneration for him who is the immediate subject of these remarks,
were we to omit a most respectful, affectionate, and grateful mention of
those other great men, his colleagues, who stood with him, and with
the same spirit, the same devotion, took part in the interesting
transaction. Hancock, the proscribed Hancock, exiled from his home by
a military governor, cut off by proclamation from the mercy of the
crown--Heaven reserved for him the distinguished honor of putting this
great question to the vote, and of writing his own name first, and most
conspicuously, on that parchment which spoke defiance to the power of
the crown of England. There, too, is the name of that other proscribed
patriot, Samuel Adams, a man who hungered and thirsted for the
independence of his country, who thought the declaration halted and
lingered, being himself not only ready, but eager, for it, long before
it was proposed: a man of the deepest sagacity, the clearest foresight,
and the profoundest judgment in men. And there is Gerry, himself among
the earliest and the foremost of the patriots, found, when the battle of
Lexington summoned them to common counsels, by the side of Warren, a
man who lived to serve his country at home and abroad, and to die in
the second place in the government. There, too, is the inflexible, the
upright, the Spartan character, Robert Treat Paine. He also lived to
serve his country through the struggle, and then withdrew from her
councils, only that he might give his labors and his life to his native
state, in another relation. These names, fellow-citizens, are the
treasures of the commonwealth: and they are treasures which grow
brighter by time.

It is now necessary to resume and to finish with great brevity the
notice of the lives of those whose virtues and services we have met to

Mr. Adams remained in congress from its first meeting till November,
1777, when he was appointed minister to France. He proceeded on that
service in the February following, embarking in the Boston frigate on
the shore of his native town at the foot of Mount Wollaston. The year
following, he was appointed commissioner to treat of peace with England.
Returning to the United States, he was a delegate from Braintree in the
convention for framing the constitution of this commonwealth, in
1780. At the latter end of the same year, he again went abroad in the
diplomatic service of the country, and was employed at various courts,
and occupied with various negotiations, until 1788. The particulars of
these interesting and important services this occasion does not allow
time to relate. In 1782 he concluded our first treaty with Holland.
His negotiations with that republic, his efforts to persuade the
states-general to recognize our independence, his incessant and
indefatigable exertions to represent the American cause favorably on
the continent, and to counteract the designs of its enemies, open and
secret, and his successful undertaking to obtain loans, on the credit of
a nation yet new and unknown, are among his most arduous, most useful,
most honorable services. It was his fortune to bear a part in the
negotiation for peace with England, and in something more than six years
from the declaration which he had so strenuously supported, he had the
satisfaction to see the minister plenipotentiary of the crown
subscribe to the instrument which declared that his "Britannic majesty
acknowledged the United States to be free, sovereign, and independent."
In these important transactions, Mr. Adams' conduct received the marked
approbation of congress and of the countrty.

While abroad, in 1787, he published his Defense of the American
Constitution; a work of merit and ability, though composed with haste,
on the spur of a particular occasion, in the midst of other occupations,
and under circumstances not admitting of careful revision. The immediate
object of the work was to counteract the weight of opinion advanced by
several popular European writers of that day, Mr. Turgot, the Abbe de
Mably and Dr. Price, at a time when the people of the United States were
employed in forming and revising their system of government.

Returning to the United States in 1788, he found the new government
about going into operation, and was himself elected the first
vice-president, a situation which he filled with reputation for eight
years, at the expiration of which he was raised to the presidential
chair, as immediate successor to the immortal Washington. In this high
station he was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson, after a memorable controversy
between their respective friends, in 1801; and from that period his
manner of life has been known to all who hear me. He has lived for
five-and-twenty years, with every enjoyment that could render old age
happy. Not inattentive to the occurrences of the times, political cares
have not yet materially, or for any long time, disturbed his repose.
In 1820 he acted as elector of president and vice-president, and in the
same year we saw him, then at the age of eighty-five, a member of the
convention of this commonwealth called to revise the constitution. Forty
years before, he had been one of those who formed that constitution; and
he had now the pleasure of witnessing that there was little which the
people desired to change. Possessing all his faculties to the end of his
long life, with an unabated love of reading and contemplation, in
the center of interesting circles of friendship and affection, he was
blessed in his retirement with whatever of repose and felicity the
condition of man allows. He had, also, other enjoyments. He saw around
him that prosperity and general happiness which had been the object of
his public cares and labors. No man ever beheld more clearly, and for a
longer time, the great and beneficial effects of the services rendered
by himself to his country. That liberty which he so early defended, that
independence of which he was so able an advocate and supporter, he saw,
we trust, firmly and securely established. The population of the country
thickened around him faster, and extended wider, than his own sanguine
predictions had anticipated; and the wealth respectability, and power
of the nation sprang up to a magnitude which it is quite impossible he
could have expected to witness in his day. He lived also to behold those
principles of civil freedom which had been developed, established, and
practically applied in America, attract attention, command respect, and
awaken imitation, in other regions of the globe; and well might, and
well did, he exclaim, "Where will the consequences of the American
revolution end?"

If anything yet remains to fill this cup of happiness let it be added
that he lived to see a great and intelligent people bestow the highest
honor in their gift where he had bestowed his own kindest parental
affections and lodged his fondest hopes. Thus honored in life, thus
happy at death, he saw the JUBILEE, and he died; and with the last
prayers which trembled on his lips was the fervent supplication for his
country, "Independence forever!"

Mr. Jefferson, having been occupied in the years 1778 and 1779 in the
important service of revising the laws of Virginia, was elected governor
of that state, as successor to Patrick Henry, and held the situation
when the state was invaded by the British arms. In 1781 he published his
Notes on Virginia, a work which attracted attention in Europe as well
as America, dispelled many misconceptions respecting this continent,
and gave its author a place among men distinguished for science. In
November, 1783, he again took his seat in the continental congress,
but in the May following was appointed minister plenipotentiary, to act
abroad, in the negotiation of commercial treaties, with Dr. Franklin
and Mr. Adams. He proceeded to France in execution of this mission,
embarking at Boston; and that was the only occasion on which he ever
visited this place. In 1785 he was appointed minister to France, the
duties of which situation he continued to perform until October, 1789,
when he obtained leave to retire, just on the eve of that tremendous
revolution which has so much agitated the world in our times. Mr.
Jefferson's discharge of his diplomatic duties was marked by great
ability, diligence, and patriotism; and while he resided at Paris, in
one of the most interesting periods, his character for intelligence, his
love of knowledge and of the society of learned men, distinguished him
in the highest circles of the French capital. No court in Europe had at
that time in Paris a representative commanding or enjoying higher regard
for political knowledge or for general attainments, than the minister
of this then infant republic. Immediately on his return to his native
country, at the organization of the government under the present
constitution, his talents and experience recommended him to President
Washington for the first office in his gift. He was placed at the head
of the department of state. In this situation, also, he manifested
conspicuous ability. His correspondence with the ministers of other
powers residing here, and his instructions to our own diplomatic agents
abroad, are among our ablest state papers. A thorough knowledge of the
laws and usages of nations, perfect acquaintance with the immediate
subject before him, great felicity, and still greater faculty, in
writing, show themselves in whatever effort his official situation
called on him to make. It is believed by competent judges, that the
diplomatic intercourse of the government of the United States, from the
first meeting of the continental congress in 1774 to the present time
taken together, would not suffer, in respect to the talent with which
it has been conducted, by comparison with anything which other and older
states can produce; and to the attainment of this respectability and
distinction Mr. Jefferson has contributed his full part.

On the retirement of General Washington from the presidency, and
the election of Mr. Adams to that office in 1797, he was chosen
vice-president. While presiding in this capacity over the deliberations
of the senate, he compiled and published a Manual of Parliamentary
Practice, a work of more labor and more merit than is indicated by its
size. It is now received as the general standard by which proceedings
are regulated; not only in both houses of congress, but in most of
the other legislative bodies in the country. In 1801 he was elected
president, in opposition to Mr. Adams, and re-elected in 1805, by a vote
approaching toward unanimity.

From the time of his final retirement from public life, in 1809,
Mr. Jefferson lived as became a wise man. Surrounded by affectionate
friends, his ardor in the pursuit of knowledge undiminished, with
uncommon health and unbroken spirits, he was able to enjoy largely the
rational pleasures of life, and to partake in that public prosperity
which he had so much contributed to produce. His kindness and
hospitality, the charm of his conversation, the ease of his manners,
the extent of his acquirements, and, especially, the full store of
revolutionary incidents which he possessed, and which he knew when and
how to dispense, rendered his abode in a high degree attractive to his
admiring countrymen, while his high public and scientific character drew
toward him every intelligent and educated traveler from abroad. Both
Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson had the pleasure of knowing that the respect
which they so largely received was not paid to their official stations.
They were not men made great by office; but great men, on whom the
country for its own benefit had conferred office. There was that in them
which office did not give, and which the relinquishment of office did
not, and could not, take away. In their retirement, in the midst of
their fellow-citizens, themselves private citizens, they enjoyed as high
regard and esteem as when filling the most important places of public

There remained to Mr. Jefferson yet one other work of patriotism and
beneficence, the establishment of a university in his native state. To
this object he devoted years of incessant and anxious attention, and
by the enlightened liberality of the legislature of Virginia, and
the cooperation of other able and zealous friends, he lived to see it
accomplished. May all success attend this infant seminary; and may
those who enjoy its advantages, as often as their eyes shall rest on the
neighboring height, recollect what they owe to their disinterested and
indefatigable benefactor; and may letters honor him who thus labored in
the cause of letters!

Thus useful, and thus respected, passed the old age of Thomas Jefferson.
But time was on its ever-ceaseless wing, and was now bringing the last
hour of this illustrious man. He saw its approach with undisturbed
serenity. He counted the moments as they passed, and beheld that his
last sands were falling. That day, too, was at hand which he had helped
to make immortal. One wish, one hope, if it were not presumptuous, beat
in his fainting breast. Could it be so might it please God, he would
desire once more to see the sun, once more to look abroad on the scene
around him on the great day of liberty. Heaven, in its mercy, fulfilled
that prayer. He saw that sun, he enjoyed its sacred light he thanked God
for this mercy, and bowed his aged head to the grave. "Felix, non vitae
tantum claritate, sid etiam opportunitate mortis."

The last public labor of Mr. Jefferson naturally suggests the expression
of the high praise which is due, both to him and to Mr. Adams, for their
uniform and zealous attachment to learning, and to the cause of general
knowledge. Of the advantages of learning, indeed, and of literary
accomplishments, their own characters were striking recommendations
and illustrations. They were scholars, ripe and good scholars;
widely acquainted with ancient, as well as modern literature, and not
altogether uninstructed in the deeper sciences. Their acquirements,
doubtless, were different, and so were the particular objects of their
literary pursuits; as their tastes and characters, in these respects
differed like those of other men. Being, also, men of busy lives, with
great objects requiring action constantly before them, their attainments
in letters did not become showy or obtrusive. Yet I would hazard the
opinion, that, if we could now ascertain all the causes which gave them
eminence, and distinction in the midst of the great men with whom they
acted, we should find not among the least their early acquisitions
in literature, the resources which it furnished, the promptitude and
facility which it communicated, and the wide field it opened for analogy
and illustration; giving them thus, on every subject, a larger view and
a broader range, as well for discussion as for the government of their
own conduct.

Literature sometimes, and pretensions to it much oftener disgusts, by
appearing to hang loosely on the character, like something foreign or
extraneous, not a part, but an ill-adjusted appendage; or by seeming to
overload and weigh it down by its unsightly bulk, like the productions
of bad taste in architecture, where there is messy and cumbrous ornament
without strength or solidity of column. This has exposed learning, and
especially classical learning, to reproach. Men have seen that it might
exist without mental superiority, without vigor, without good taste,
and without utility. But in such cases classical learning has only
not inspired natural talent, or, at most, it has but made original
feebleness of intellect, and natural bluntness of perception, something
more conspicuous. The question, after all, if it be a question, is,
whether literature, ancient as well as modern, does not assist a good
understanding, improve natural good taste, add polished armor to native
strength, and render its possessor, not only more capable of deriving
private happiness from contemplation and reflection, but more
accomplished also for action in the affairs of life, and especially for
public action. Those whose memories we now honor were learned men; but
their learning was kept in its proper place, and made subservient to
the uses and objects of life. They were scholars, not common nor
superficial; but their scholarship was so in keeping with their
character, so blended and inwrought, that careless observers, or bad
judges, not seeing an ostentatious display of it, might infer that it
did not exist; forgetting, or not knowing, that classical learning
in men who act in conspicuous public stations, perform duties which
exercise the faculty of writing, or address popular deliberative, or
judicial bodies, is often felt where it is little seen, and sometimes
felt more effectually because it is not seen at all.

But the cause of knowledge, in a more enlarged sense, the cause of
general knowledge and of a popular education, had no warmer friends,
nor more powerful advocates, than Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson. On this
foundation they knew the whole republican system rested; and this great
and all-truth they strove to impress, by all the means in their power.
In the early publication already referred to Mr. Adams expresses the
strong and just sentiment, that the education of the poor is more
important, even to the rich themselves, than all their own. On this
great truth indeed, is founded that unrivaled, that invaluable political
and moral institution, our own blessing and the glory of our fathers,
the New England system of free schools.

As the promotion of knowledge had been the object of their regard
through life, so these great men made it the subject of their
testamentary bounty. Mr. Jefferson is understood to have bequeathed his
library to the university of his native state, and that of Mr. Adams is
bestowed on the inhabitants of Quincy.

Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, fellow-citizens, were successively
presidents of the United States. The comparative merits of their
respective administrations for a long time agitated and divided public
opinion. They were rivals, each supported by numerous and powerful
portions of the people, for the highest office. This contest, partly
the cause and partly the consequence of the long existence of two great
political parties in the country, is now part of the history of our
government. We may naturally regret that anything should have
occurred to create difference and discord between those who had acted
harmoniously and efficiently in the great concerns of the revolution.
But this is not the time, nor this the occasion, for entering into the
grounds of that difference, or for attempting to discuss the merits
of the questions which it involves. As practical questions, they were
canvassed when the measures which they regarded were acted on and
adopted; and as belonging to history, the time has not come for their

It is, perhaps, not wonderful, that, when the constitution of the
United States went first into operation, different opinions should be
entertained as to the extent of the powers conferred by it. Here was a
natural source of diversity of sentiment. It is still less wonderful,
that that event, about cotemporary with our government under the present
constitution, which so entirely shocked all Europe, and disturbed our
relations with her leading powers, should be thought, by different men,
to have different bearings on our own prosperity; and that the early
measures adopted by our government, in consequence of this new state
of things, should be seen in opposite lights. It is for the future
historian, when what now remains of prejudice and misconception shall
have passed away, to state these different opinions, and pronounce
impartial judgment. In the mean time, all good men rejoice, and well
may rejoice, that the sharpest differences sprung out of measures which,
whether right or wrong, have ceased with the exigencies that gave them
birth, and have left no permanent effect, either on the constitution or
on the general prosperity of the country. This remark, I am aware, may
be supposed to have its exception in one measure, the alteration of the
constitution as to the mode of choosing President; but it is true in its
general application. Thus the course of policy pursued toward France
in 1798, on the one hand, and the measures of commercial restriction
commenced in 1807, on the other, both subjects of warm and severe
opposition, have passed away and left nothing behind them. They were
temporary, and whether wise or unwise, their consequences were limited
to their respective occasions. It is equally clear, at the same
time, and it is equally gratifying, that those measures of both
administrations which were of durable importance, and which drew after
them interesting and long remaining consequences, have received general
approbation. Such was the organization, or rather the creation, of
the navy, in the administration of Mr. Adams; such the acquisition
of Louisiana, in that of Mr. Jefferson. The country, it may safely be
added, is not likely to be willing either to approve, or to reprobate,
indiscriminately, and in the aggregate, all the measures of either,
or of any, administration. The dictate of reason and justice is, that,
holding each one his own sentiments on the points in difference, we
imitate the great men themselves in the forbearance and moderation which
they have cherished, and in the mutual respect and kindness which they
have been so much inclined to feel and to reciprocate.

No men, fellow-citizens, ever served their country with more entire
exemption from every imputation of selfish and mercenary motives, than
those to whose memory we are paying these proofs of respect. A suspicion
of any disposition to enrich themselves, or to profit by their public
employments, never rested on either. No sordid motive approached them.
The inheritance which they have left to their children is of their
character and their fame.

Fellow-citizens, I will detain you no longer by this faint and feeble
tribute to the memory of the illustrious dead. Even in other hands,
adequate justice could not be performed, within the limits of this
occasion. Their highest, their best praise, is your deep conviction of
their merits, your affectionate gratitude for their labors and services.
It is not my voice, it is this cessation of ordinary pursuits, this
arresting of all attention, these solemn ceremonies, and this crowded
house, which speak their eulogy. Their fame, indeed, is safe. That is
now treasured up beyond the reach of accident. Although no sculptured
marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of
their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they
honored. Marble columns may, indeed, moulder into dust, time may erase
all impress from the crumbling stone, but their fame remains; for with
AMERICAN LIBERTY it rose, and with AMERICAN LIBERTY ONLY can it perish.
It was the last swelling peal of yonder choir, THEIR BODIES ARE BURIED
echo that lofty strain of funeral triumph, THEIR NAME LIVETH EVERMORE.

Of the illustrious signers of the declaration of independence there now
remains only Charles Carroll. He seems an aged oak, standing alone
on the plain, which time has spared a little longer after all its
cotemporaries have been leveled with the dust. Venerable object! we
delight to gather round its trunk, while yet it stands, and to dwell
beneath its shadow. Sole survivor of an assembly of as great men as the
world has witnessed, in a transaction one of the most important that
history records, what thoughts, what interesting reflections, must fill
his elevated and devout soul! If he dwell on the past, how touching its
recollections; if he survey the present, how happy, how joyous, how full
of the fruition of that hope, which his ardent patriotism indulged;
if he glance at the future, how does the prospect of his country's
advancement almost bewilder his weakened conception! Fortunate,
distinguished patriot! Interesting relic of the past! Let him know that,
while we honor the dead, we do not forget the living; and that there is
not a heart here which does not fervently pray that Heaven may keep him
yet back from the society of his companions.

And now, fellow-citizens, let us not retire from this occasion without
a deep and solemn conviction of the duties which have devolved upon us.
This lovely land, this glorious liberty, these benign institutions, the
dear purchase of our fathers, are ours; ours to enjoy, ours to preserve,
ours to transmit. Generations past and generations to come hold us
responsible for this sacred trust. Our fathers, from behind, admonish
us, with their anxious paternal voices; posterity calls out to us, from
the bosom of the future; the world turns hither its solicitous eyes;
all, all conjure us to act wisely, and faithfully, in the relation which
we sustain. We can never, indeed, pay the debt which is upon us; but
by virtue, by morality, by religion, by the cultivation of every good
principle and every good habit, we may hope to enjoy the blessing,
through our day, and to leave it unimpaired to our children. Let us feel
deeply how much of what we are and of what we possess we owe to this
liberty, and to these institutions of government. Nature has indeed
given us a soil which yields bounteously to the hands of industry, the
mighty and fruitful ocean is before us, and the skies over our heads
shed health and vigor. But what are lands, and seas, and skies to
civilized man, without society, without knowledge, without morals,
without religious culture; and how can these be enjoyed, in all their
extent and all their excellence, but under the protection of wise
institutions and a free government? Fellow-citizens, there is not one of
us, there is not one of us here present, who does not, at this moment,
and at every moment, experience in his own condition, and in the
condition of those most near and dear to him, the influence and the
benefits of this liberty and these institutions. Let us then acknowledge
the blessing, let us feel it deeply and powerfully, let us cherish a
strong affection for it, and resolve to maintain and perpetuate it. The
blood of our fathers, let it not have been shed in vain; the great hope
of posterity, let it not be blasted.

The striking attitude, too, in which we stand to the world around us,
a topic to which, I fear, I advert too often, and dwell on too long,
cannot be altogether omitted here. Neither individuals nor nations can
perform their part well, until they understand and feel its importance,
and comprehend and justly appreciate all the duties belonging to it.
It is not to inflate national vanity, nor to swell a light and empty
feeling of self-importance, but it is that we may judge justly of
our situation, and of our own duties, that I earnestly urge this
consideration of our position and our character among the nations of the
earth. It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against the
sun, that with America, and in America, a new era commences in human
affairs. This era is distinguished by free representative governments,
by entire religious liberty, by improved systems of national
intercourse, by a newly awakened and unconquerable spirit of free
inquiry and by a diffusion of knowledge through the community, such as
has been before altogether unknown and unheard of. America, America, our
country, fellow-citizens, our own dear and native land, is inseparably
connected, fast bound up, in fortune and by fate, with these great
interests. If they fall, we fall with them; if they stand, it will
be because we have upholden them. Let us contemplate, then, this
connection, which binds the prosperity of others to our own; and let us
manfully discharge all the duties which it imposes. If we cherish the
virtues and principles of our fathers, Heaven will assist us to carry
on the work of human liberty and human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer
us. Great examples are before us. Our own firmament now shines brightly
upon our path. WASHINGTON is in the clear, upper sky. These other stars
have now joined the American constellation; they circle round their
center, and the heavens beam with new light. Beneath this illumination
let us walk the course of life, and at its close devoutly commend our
beloved country, the common parent of us all, to the Divine Benignity.

[Footnote 1: Extract of a letter written by John Adams, dated at Worcester,
Massachusetts, October 12, 1755.

"Soon after the Reformation, a few people came over into this New World,
for conscience' sake. Perhaps this apparently trivial incident may
transfer the great seat of empire into America. It looks likely to me;
for, if we can remove the turbulent Gallios, our people, according to
the exactest computations, will, in another century, become more
numerous than England itself. Should this be the case, since we have, I
may say, all the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be
easy to obtain a mastery of the seas; and then the united forces of all
Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from
setting up for ourselves is to disunite us.

"Be not surprised that I am turned polititian. The whole town is
immersed in politics. The interests of nations, and all the dira of war,
make the subject of every conversation. I sit and hear, and after having
been led through a maze of sage obversations, I sometimes retire, and,
laying things together, form some reflections pleasing to myself. The
produce of one of these reveries you have read above."]

[Footnote 2: This question, of the power of parliament over the colonies, was
discussed with singular ability by Governor Hutchinson on the one side,
and the house of representatives of Massachusetts on the other, in 1773.
The argument of the house is in the form of an answer to the governor's
message, and was reported by Mr. Samuel Adams, Mr. Hancock, Mr. Hawley,
Mr. Bowers, Mr. Hobson, Mr. Foster, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Thayer. As the
power of the parliament had been acknowledged, so far, at least, as
to affect us by laws of trade, it was not easy to settle the line of
distinction. It was thought, however, to be very clear that the charters
of the colonies had exempted them from the general legislation of the
British parliament. See Massachusetts State Papers, p. 351]


Each numbered paragraph is to be given to a pupil or member to read, or
to recite in a clear, distinct tone.

If the school or club is small, each person may take three or four
paragraphs, but should not be required to recite them in succession.

1. Thomas Jefferson was born April 13, 1743. His home was among the
mountains of Central Virginia on a farm, called Shadwell, 150 miles
northwest of Williamsburg.

2. His father's name was Peter Jefferson. His ancestors were Welsh
people. Like George Washington, he learned the art of surveying. He was
a superb specimen of a Virginia landholder, being a giant in frame, and
having the strength of three strong men.

3. One of his father's favorite maxims was, "Never ask another to do for
you what you can do for yourself."

4. His mother's name was Jane Randolph. She was a noble woman. Thomas
Jefferson derived his temper, his disposition, his sympathy with living
nature from his mother.

5. He was very fond of the violin, as were a great many of the Virginia
people. During twelve years of his life, he practiced on that instrument
three hours a day.

6. He early learned to love the Indians from his acquaintance with many
of their best chiefs. He held them in great regard during his life.

7. His father died in 1757, when Thomas was but fourteen years of age.
The son always spoke of his father with pride and veneration.

8. He entered William and Mary College in the spring of 1760, when he
was seventeen years old.

9. After two years of college life he began the study of law in 1763.

10. When he came of age in April, 1764, he signalized the event by
planting a beautiful avenue of trees near his house.

11. While studying law he carried on the business of a farmer, and
showed by his example, that the genuine culture of the mind is the best
preparation for the common, as well as the higher, duties of life.

12. When he was elected to the Virginia Assembly, and thus entered upon
the public service, he avowed afterwards to Madison, that "the esteem of
the world was, perhaps, of higher value in his eyes than everything in

13. His marriage was a very happy one. His wife was a beautiful woman,
her countenance being brilliant with color and expression.

14. Six children blessed their marriage, five girls and a boy. Only two
of them, Martha and Mary, lived to mature life.

15. Monticello, the home of Jefferson, was blessed at every period of
his long life with a swarm of merry children whom, although not his own,
he greatly loved.

16. Mrs. Jefferson once said of her husband, who had done a generous
deed for which he had received an ungrateful return, "He is so good
himself that he cannot understand how bad other people may be."

17. In his draft of instructions for Virginia's delegates to the
Congress which was to meet in Philadelphia in September, 1774, he used
some plain language to George III.

18. The stupid, self-willed and conceited monarch did not follow his
advice, and so lost the American Colonies, the brightest jewels in
England's crown.

19. Sixty gentlemen, in silk stockings and pigtails, sitting in a
room of no great size in a plain brick building up a narrow alley in
Philadelphia, composed the Continental Congress.

20. Thomas Jefferson was one of the members most welcome in that
body. He brought with him "a reputation," as John Adams records, "for
literature, science, and a happy talent for composition."

21. As late as Nov. 29,1775, Jefferson clung to the idea of connection
with great Britain.

22. He wrote his kinsman, John Randolph, that there was not a man in the
British Empire who more cordially loved a union with Great Britain than
he did.

23. He said: "It is an immense misfortune to the whole empire to have
such a king at such a time. We are told, and everything proves it true,
that he is the bitterest enemy we have."

24. When the draft of the Declaration was submitted to the Congress
it made eighteen suppressions, six additions and ten alterations; and
nearly every one was an improvement.

25. It should be a comfort to students who have to witness the
corrections of their compositions to know, that this great work of
Jefferson, which has given him immortal fame had to be pruned of its
crudities, redundancies and imprudences.

26. They should be as ready as he was to submit to criticisms and to
profit by them as he did, in their future efforts.

27. Daniel Webster shall tell in his own language the remainder of this
story of Jefferson's life.

28. "In 1781 he published his notes on Virginia, a work which attracted
attention in Europe as well as America, dispelled many misconceptions
respecting this continent, and gave its author a place among men
distinguished for science.

29. "With Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, in 1784, he proceeded to France,
in execution of his mission as Minister plenipotentiary, to act in the
negotiation of commercial treaties.

30. "In 1785 he was appointed Minister to France.

31. "Mr. Jefferson's discharge of his diplomatic duties was marked by
great ability, diligence and patriotism.

32. "While he resided in Paris, in one of the most interesting periods,
his love of knowledge, and of the society of learned men, distinguished
him in the highest circles of the French capital.

33. "Immediately on his return to his native country he was placed by
Washington at the head of the department of State.

34. "In this situation, also, he manifested conspicuous ability.

35. "His correspondence with the ministers of other powers residing
here, and his instructions to our own diplomatic agents abroad are among
our ablest State papers.

36. "In 1797 he was chosen Vice President. In 1801 he was elected
President in opposition to Mr. Adams, and reelected in 1805, by a vote
approaching towards unanimity.

37. "From the time of his final retirement from public life Mr.
Jefferson lived as becomes a wise man.

38. "Surrounded by affectionate friends, his ardor in the pursuit of
knowledge undiminished, with uncommon health and unbroken spirits, he
was able to enjoy largely the rational pleasures of life, and to partake
in that public prosperity which he had so much contributed to produce.

39. "His kindness and hospitality, the charm of his conversation, the
ease of his manners, and especially the full store of revolutionary
incidents which he possessed, and which he knew when and how to
dispense, rendered his abode in a high degree attractive to his admiring

40. "His high public and scientific character drew towards him every
intelligent and educated traveler from abroad.

41. "Both Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson had the pleasure of knowing
that the respect which they so largely received was not paid to their
official stations.

42. "They were not men made great by office; but great men, on whom the
country for its own benefit had conferred office.

43. "There was that in them which office did not give, and which the
relinquishment of office did not and could not take away.

44. "In their retirement, in the midst of their fellow citizens,
themselves private citizens, they enjoyed as high regard and esteem as
when filling the most important places of public trust.

45. "Thus useful and thus respected passed the old age of Thomas

46. "But time was on its ever-ceaseless wing, and was now bringing the
last hour of this illustrious man.

47. "He saw its approach with undisturbed serenity. He counted the
moments as they passed, and beheld that his last sands were falling.

48. "That day, too, was at hand which he had helped make immortal.
One wish, one hope--if it were not presumptuous--beat in his fainting

49. "Could it be so--might it please God--he would desire once more to
see the sun--once more to look abroad on the scene around him, on the
great day of liberty.

50. "Heaven in its mercy fulfilled that prayer. He saw that sun--he
enjoyed that sacred light--he thanked God for this mercy, and bowed his
aged head to the grave."


  1.  Vocal Solo--"Star Spangled Banner."
  2.  Recitation--One of Jefferson's Speeches.
  3.  Description of Jefferson's Home, Illustrated by Pictures.
  4.  Recitation--Declaration of Independence.
  5.  Recitation--"Battle of the Kegs," by Francis Hopkinson,
      ("Progress," Vol. 2, page 761).
  6.  Instrumental Music--"Yankee Doodle."
  7.  Home Life of the Statesman. (Paper or Address.)
  8.  Anecdotes of Jefferson.
  9.  Question Box Concerning the Politics of the Time.
  10. Vocal Solo--"My Country, 'Tis of Thee."


When and where was Thomas Jefferson born? What was his height? What
was the color of his hair and eyes? What can you say of his literary
ability? What of his scholarship? What of his moral character? To which
of his teachers was he especially indebted? When was his public career
begun? What resolution was then taken? What effect would this resolution
have upon modern politicians, if it were made and faithfully kept? Upon
what subject was his first important speech made? With what result?
Whom did Jefferson marry? What was the reception given Jefferson and his
bride? What important public document did he prepare in connection with
the Revolution? When did he take his seat in Congress? In what way
was he connected with the Declaration of Independence? Who were
his associates on the Committee? Give a brief history of the events
connected with the signing of the Declaration of Independence? How much
time passed before the Articles of Confederation were formally signed
by the States? What were the overt acts of opposition by the various
States? What was the Alien act? What was the Sedition act? What
instances can you give of the prompt punishment of seditious utterances?
When were the Alien and Sedition acts repealed? What important measures
did Jefferson succeed in passing in his own State? When did he become
Governor of the State? What were his duties in relation to foreign
treaties? What were his impressions concerning the French government?
What was his influence upon educational work? What was the character
of the Barbary States? Why were they permitted to hold Americans as
captives? What was Jefferson's opinion on the subject? When did he
enter Washington's Cabinet, and what position did he fill? What was
his relation to Alexander Hamilton? Who were the other members of the
Cabinet? What led Jefferson to resign from the Cabinet? When did he
become Vice President? How did President Adams treat him? What have you
to say about Jefferson's "Manual of Parliamentary Practice?" Who were
the Federal nominees for President and Vice President in 1800? What
was the note of alarm sounded by Hamilton? What was the attitude of the
clergy towards Jefferson, and why? Who were the Federalists? Who were
the Republicans? What name did the Republicans afterwards take?
What were some of the exciting incidents connected with the vote for
President? What was the number of ballots cast for President? Who was
the Vice President elected with Jefferson? What was the character of his
administration? Who were the members of his Cabinet? Did Jefferson turn
men in a wholesale way out of office? What was his attitude towards
ceremonies? How did he dress? When was he re-elected? What was the most
important result of his influence? What great purchase of territory
was made? What States and Territories have been carved out of it? Who
explored the upper Missouri and Columbia River country, and when? What
steamboat made her maiden trip, and when? When was the first boat load
of anthracite coal shipped to Philadelphia? What pirates were snuffed
out, and when? Why did John Quincy Adams resign his seat in the United
States Senate? What was the Non-Intercourse act? What was the condition
of our commerce at this time? What Act proved to be one of his greatest
mistakes? When was it passed? When repealed? What was his financial
condition? What were the results of his efforts for education? What did
Congress pay for his library? When did he die? Who died on the same day
that Jefferson did? What did Horace Greeley say about the coincidence?
What was the character of Jefferson as a slave-holder? Why is there a
difference in Jefferson's portraits? What was Daniel Webster's statement
regarding, his countenance? What was his opinion of slavery? What
was Jefferson's opinion concerning happiness? What did he say of
resignations? What is the epitaph on Jefferson's tomb? What was
Jefferson's statement regarding promises for the Presidency? What is
the story of the Mould Board of Least Resistance? What is the story of
Jefferson as an inventor? What is the story of Jefferson and the horse
jockey? What was the peculiar relationship between Jefferson and Patrick
Henry? Who were some of the brilliant members of the Virginia assembly?
What are the main features of Henry's famous speech before that
assembly? What were the treasures Jefferson bequeathed to his country
and his State? What did Jefferson say of titles of honor and office?
What was his opinion of a third term? What were his views regarding
lawyers in Congress? What is the true history of the Mecklenburg
Declarations of Independence? What were Jefferson's oratorical powers?


 1.  The Declaration of Independence as a literary production.
 2.  The Declaration of Independence as apparently founded in Acts xvii,26.
 3.  General condition of the Country at the time of Jefferson's election
     to the Presidency.
 4.  Leading events connected with his administration.
 5.  General results of his political influence.
 6.  Leading characteristics of the man.
 7.  Jefferson and Hamilton.  Littell's Age, Vol. 81, p. 613.
 8.  College Days of Jefferson.  Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 29, p, 16.
 9.  Family of Jefferson.  Harpers Mag., Vol. 43, p. 366.
 10. Jefferson in Continental Congress.  Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 29, p. 676.
 11. Jefferson in the War of the Revolution.  Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 29, p.
 12. Jefferson and nullification.  See Lives of Jefferson.
 13. Jefferson and Patrick Henry.  See Lives of Jefferson..
 14. Pecuniary Embarrassments of Thomas Jefferson.  See Lives of Jefferson.
 15. Religious Opinions of Jefferson.  See Lives of Jefferson.
 16. Jefferson a Reformer of Old Virginia.  Atlantic Monthly Vol 30, p. 32


For those who wish to read extensively, the following works are especially

Life of Thomas Jefferson.  By James Parton. Jas. R. Osgood & Co., Boston,

Life of Thomas Jefferson.  By Henry S. Randall, LL. D. J. B. Lippincott &
Co., Philadelphia.

Life of Thomas Jefferson.  John Robert Irelan, M. D., Chicago.

Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson, the Man of Letters.  Lewis Henry Routell, Chicago.
Privately printed.

Biography of Thomas Jefferson.  Cyclopedia of American Biography. D.
Appleton & Co.

History of the People of the United States.  John Bach McMaster. Vols. I
and II. D. Appleton & Co.

Lives of the Presidents.  John Frost, LL. D. Phillips & Sampson, Boston.

Eulogy on Adams and Jefferson.  Daniel Webster, Faneuil Hall, Aug. 2,

Character of Thomas Jefferson.  North American Review, Vol. 91, p. 107.

Jefferson's Opinions on Slavery.  Andrew D. White, Atlantic Mag., Vol.
9, p. 29.

Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.  Littell's Living Age. Vol. 81, p.

War of Independence. John Fiske.  Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston and
New York.

The Critical Period of American History.  John Fiske. Houghton, Mifflin
& Co., Boston and New York.

CHRONOLOGICAL EVENTS In the Life of Jefferson.

 1743 Born Albemarle County, Virginia, April 2.
 1760 Entered William and Mary College.
 1764 Admitted to the bar of the General Court of Virginia when 21 years of
 1769 Chosen Representative in the Provincial Legislature.
 1772 Married Mrs. Martha Skelton, January 21st.
 1773 Appointed Member of the First Committee of Correspondence established
 by the Colonial Legislature, March 12th.
 1774 Published the "Summary View of the Rights of British America."
 1776 Chosen to a Seat in the Continental Congress.  Appointed Chairman of
 the Committee to prepare the Declaration of Independence.
 1779 Elected to the Virginia Legislature.  Helped alleviate the condition
 of the British Prisoners sent from Saratoga to Charlottesville, Va.
 Elected by the Legislature to succeed Patrick Henry as Governor of
 Virginia,June 1.
 1781 Elected to the Legislature of Virginia after serving as Governor two
 "Notes of Virginia" written.
 1782 Appointed by Congress to serve with the American Negotiators for
 1783 Elected Delegate to Congress.
 Wrote Notes on the Establishment of a Coinage of the United States.
 1784 Appointed by Congress as Minister Plenipotentiary, with John Adams
 and Benjamin Franklin, to negotiate Treaties of Commerce with Foreign
 Nations, May.
 1785 Succeeded Franklin as Minister to France.
 1789 Appointed Secretary of State by Washington.
 1793 Resigned the position of Secretary of State, December 31.
 1796 Elected Vice-President of the United States.
 1800 Elected President of the United States.
 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
 1804 Northwestern Exploring Expedition under Lewis and Clark.
   Re-Elected President of the United States.
 1807 Passage of The Embargo Act, December 22.
 1818 University of Virginia founded, of which Jefferson was Rector
   until his death.
 1826 Died on the same day that John Adams expired, July 4th.

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