Imágenes de páginas



Lieutenant Hall's Account of his Visit to Monticello-Jefferson to Mrs. Adams-To Adams in regard to Disclosing religious Views, etc.-A Practical Commentary on Arraigning Private Religious Views of Candidates for Office-Monroe elected President J. Q. Adams Secretary of State-Jefferson's Comments on Adams' Appointment -Central College-Miscellaneous Correspondence of 1817-Views in regard to the Great Canal in New York-On an Amendment of the Constitution sanctioning Internal Improvements-On Persecution of Shakers in New York-Indoor Occupations of the Year, described by Himself-He keeps Copies of only a portion of his Letters-Omissions in the Congress Edition of his Writings-Illness in 1818-Kosciusko's DeathHe leaves Jefferson Executor of his Will-Death of Mrs. Adams Jefferson's Letter of Condolence to Mr. Adams-Wirt's Life of Henry-Historic Reclamations-Jefferson advises a Course of Female Education-His List of approved Novels-Tribute to Franklin-Temperance Reform Theories forty years ago-Correspondence of 1810His Account of his Physical Habits and Condition-His Reading for half an hour before going to Bed-His first Book of Selections from the New Testament-His Remarks on it to Charles Thompson-His Polyglot Book of Selections from New Testament-Contents of both Selections-His Remarks on the Materials for writing his Biography, etc.-His Strictures on Judicial Encroachments-Attacks of Illness in 1819 The Missouri Question-Jefferson's Remarks on it in 1820 and 1821-Virginia University-Its History Published in 1856-Professor Minor's Sketch of its Early History-Meeting of Commissioners to select a Site, etc.-First Board of Visitors Chosen-Jefferson appointed Rector-Plan of the Buildings-Establishment under Control of Jefferson-Expense exceeds Public Expectation-Struggles and Triumphs-Jefferson's Coadjutors-Joseph Carrington Cabell-An exciting Episode-Dr. Cooper's Appointment as a Professor, attacked by the Clergy-The Sequel-Later ChargesExplanations Professors Tucker and Dunglison-The Charge that Religious Instruction was excluded from the University-Invitation of the Visitors to all Sects to establish Chairs of Divinity-Reasons for the Omission of the Visitors to provide for Religious Instruction with the Funds of the Institution-By-laws in regard to Religious Instruction Jefferson's Miscellaneous Correspondence in 1820-Financial Affairs in Virginia-On the Florida Treaty and Texas-"Monroe Doctrine" full blown-Jefferson's Views of the Administration-His health in 1820-His Correspondence in 1821Pickering's Overture and its Acceptance-On Judiciary Encroachments-On the Abuse of his Confidence in publishing his private Letters-Correspondence of 1822-Ou a United States Society for the Civilization of the Indians Jefferson accused in the Newspapers of Overdrawing his Accounts while Minister to France-His Reply-His Letter to John Adams-His Statement of his Persecution by Letter Writers-His Remarks on the Obliteration of Party Lines-Parentage of the Navy-Letters to his Grandson.

An intelligent traveller, Lieutenant Hall, of the British army, made a visit to Monticello at this period, and he has left the following account of it.'

1 Travels in Canada and the United States in 1816 and 1817, by Lieut. Francis Hall,

"Having an introduction to Mr. Jefferson [said Mr. Hall] I ascended his little mountain, on a fine morning, which gave the situation its due effect. The whole of the sides and base are covered with forest, through which roads have been cut circularly so that the winding may be shortened at pleasure: the summit is an open lawn, near to the south side of which the house is built, with its garden just descending the brow: the saloon, or central hall, is ornamented with several pieces of antique sculpture, Indian arms, mammoth bones, and other curiosities collected from various parts of the Union. I found Mr. Jefferson tall in person, but stooping and lean with old age, thus exhibiting the fortunate mode of bodily decay which strips the frame of its most cumbersome parts, leaving it still strength of muscle and activity of limb. His deportment was exactly such as the Marquis de Chastellus describes it above thirty years ago. 'At first serious, nay, even cold,' but in a very short time relaxing into a most agreeable amenity, with an unabated flow of conversation on the most interesting topics discussed in the most gentlemanly and philosophic manner. I walked with him round his grounds, to visit his pet trees and improvements of various kinds; during the walk he pointed out to my observation a conical mountain, rising singly at the edge of the southern horizon of the landscape: its distance, he said, was forty miles, and its dimensions those of the greater Egyptian pyramid; so that it accurately represents the appearance of the pyramid at the same distance; there is a small cleft visible on its summit, through which the true meridian of Monticello exactly passes; its most singular property, however, is, that on different occasions it looms, or alters its appearance, becoming sometimes cylindrical, sometimes square, and sometimes assuming the form of an inverted cone. Mr. Jefferson had not been able to connect this phenomenon with any particular season or state of the atmosphere, except that it most commonly occurred in the forenoon. He observed that it was not only wholly unaccounted for by the laws of vision, but that it had not as yet engaged the attention of philosophers so far as to acquire a name; that of looming, being in fact, a term applied by sailors to appearances of a similar kind at sea. The Blue Mountains are also observed to loom, though not in so remarkable a degree.

"It must be remarkable to recall and preserve the political sentiments of a man who has held so distinguished a station in pubiic life as Mr. Jefferson. He seemed to consider much of the freedom and happiness of America to arise from local circumstances. Our population,' he observed, has an elasticity by which it would fly off from oppressive taxation.' He instanced the beneficial effects of a free government, in the case of New Orleans, where many proprietors who were in a state of indigence under the dominion of Spain, have risen to sudden wealth, solely by the rise in the value of land, which followed a change of government. Their ingenuity in mechanical inventions, agricultural improvements, and that mass of general information to be found among Americans of all ranks and conditions, he ascribed to that ease of circumstances which afforded them leisure to cultivate their minds, after the cultivation of their lands was completed. In fact I have frequently been surprised to find mathematical and other useful works, in houses which seemed to have little pretensions to the luxury of learning. Another cause,' Mr. Jefferson observed, 'might be discovered in the many court and county meetings which brought men frequently together on public business, and thus gave them habits, both of thinking, and expressing their thoughts on subjects, which in other countries are confined to the privileged few.' Mr. Jefferson has not the reputation of

14th Light Dragoons, H. P. London, printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme & Brown, Paternoster Row, 1819.


being very friendly to England; we should, however, be aware that a partiality in this respect, is not absolutely the duty of an American citizen; neither is it to be expected that the policy of our government should be regarded in foreign countries with the complacency with which it is looked upon by ourselves; but whatever may be his sentiments in this respect, politeness naturally repressed any offensive expression of them; he talked of our affairs with candor, and apparent good will, though leaning perhaps to the gloomier side of the picture. He did not perceive by what means we could be extricated from our present financial embarrassments, without some kind of revolution in our government. On my replying that our habits were remarkably steady, and that great sacrifices would be made to prevent a violent catastrophe, he acceded to the observation, but demanded if those who made the sacrifices would not require some political reformation in return. His repugnance was strongly marked to the despotic principles of Bonaparte, and he seemed to consider France, under Louis XVI. as scarcely capable of a republican form of government; but added that the present generation of Frenchmen had grown up with sounder notions which would probably lead to their emancipation. Relative to the light in which he views the conduct of the allied sovereigns, I cannot do better than insert a letter of his to Dr. Logan, dated 18th October, 1815, and published in the American newspapers:



"DEAR SIR: I thank you for the extract in yours of August 16th, respecting the Emperor Alexander. It arrived here a day or two after I had left this place, from which I have been absent about seven or eight weeks. I had, from other information, formed the most favorable opinion of the virtues of the Emperor Alexander, and considered his partiality to this country as a prominent proof of them. The magnanimity of his conduct on the first capture of Paris, still magnified everything we had believed of him, but how he will come out of his present trial remains to be seen: that the sufferings which France had inflicted on other countries, justified some reprisals cannot be questioned, but I have not yet learned what crimes Poland, Saxony, Belgium, Venice, Lombardy, and Genoa, had merited for them not merely a temporary punishment, but that of permanent subjugation, and a destitution of independence and self-government. The fable of Æsop and the Lion dividing the spoils, is, I fear, becoming true history, and the moral code of Napoleon and the English government, a substitute for that of Grotius of Puffendorf, and even of the pure doctrines of the great Author of our own religion. We were safe ourselves from Bonaparte, because he had not the British fleets at his command. We were safe from the British fleets because they had Bonaparte at their back; but the British fleets and the conquerors of Bonaparte being now com. bined, and the Hartford nation drawn off to them, we have uncommon reason to look to our own affairs. This, however, I leave to others, offering prayers to Heaven, the only contribution of old age, for the safety of our country. Be so good as to present me affectionately to Mrs. Logan, and to accept yourself the assurance of my esteem and respect.


"The same anxiety for his country's independence seems to have led him to a change of opinion on the relative importance of manufactories in America. He thus expresses himself in answer to an address from the American Society for the Encouragement of Manufactures: 'I have read with great satisfaction the eloquent pamphlet you were so kind as to send me, and sympathize with every line of it. I was once a doubter whether the labor of the cultivator, aided by the creative

powers of the earth itself, would not produce more value than that of the manufacturer alone, and unassisted by the dead subject on which he acted; in other words, whether the more we could bring into action of the energies of our boundless territory, in addition to the labor of our citizens, the more would not be our gain. But the inventions of the latter times by labor-saving machines, do as much now for the manufacturer as the earth for the cultivator. Experience too, has proved that mine was but half the question; the other half is, whether dollars and cents are to be weighed in the scale against real independence. The question is then solved, at least so far as respects our own wants. I much fear the effect on our infant establishment of the policy avowed by Mr. Brougham, and quoted in the pamphlet. Individual British merchants may lose by the late immense importations, but British commerce and manufactories in the mass will gain by beating down the competition of ours in our own markets, etc.'

"The conversation turning on American history, Mr. Jefferson related an anecdote of the Abbé Raynal, which serves to show how history, even when it calls itself philosophical, is written. The Abbé was in company with Dr. Franklin, and several Americans at Paris, when mention chanced to be made of his anecdote of Polly Baker, related in his sixth volume, upon which one of the company observed that no such law as that alluded to in the story existed in New England: the Abbé stoutly maintained the authenticity of his tale, when Dr. Franklin, who had hitherto remained silent, said, 'I can account for all this; you took the anecdote from a newspaper, of which I was at that time editor, and happening to be very short of news, I composed and inserted the whole story.' Ah! Doctor,' said the Abbé, making a true French retreat, 'I had rather have your stories, than other men's truths.'


"Mr. Jefferson preferred Botta's Italian History of the American Revolution to any that had yet appeared, remarking, however, the inaccuracy of the speeches.Indeed, the true history of that period seems to be generally considered as lost. A remarkable letter on this point lately appeared in print, from the venerable Mr. John Adams, to a Mr. Niles, who had solicited his aid to collect and publish a body of revolutionary speeches. He says, 'of all the speeches made in Congress from 1774 to 1777, inclusive of both years, not one sentence remains, except a few periods of Dr. Witherspoon, printed in his works.' His concluding sentence is very strong. 'In plain English, and in a few words, Mr. Niles, I consider the true history of the American Revolution, and the establishment of our present constitutions, as lost forever; and nothing but misrepresentations, or partial accounts of it, will ever be recovered.'

"I slept a night at Monticello, and left it in the morning, with such a feeling as the traveller quits the mouldering remains of a Grecian temple, or the pilgrim a fountain in the desert. It would indeed argue a great torpor, both of understanding and heart, to have looked without veneration and interest on the man who drew up the Declaration of American Independence, who shared in the councils by which her freedom was established; whom the unbought voice of his fellow-citizens called to the exercise of a dignity, from which his own moderation impelled him, when such an example was most salutary, to withdraw; and who, while he dedicates the evening of his glorious days to the pursuits of science and literature, shuns none of the humbler duties of private life; but, having filled a seat higher than that of kings, succeeds with graceful dignity to that of the good neighbor, and becomes the friendly adviser, lawyer, physician, and even gardener of his vicinity. This is the still small voice of philosophy, deeper and holier than the lightnings and earth


quakes which have preceded it. What monarch would venture thus to exhibit himself in the nakedness of his humanity? On what royal brow would the laurel replace the diadem? But they who are born and educated to be kings, are not expected to be philosophers. This is a just answer, though no great compliment, either to the governors or the governed."-Chap. xxxv., 374 to 385.


Lieutenant Hall, it appears from his Work, came near finding a "watery grave" in fording the Rivanna, on his return. His horse and wagon were swept down the stream, but he and his servant escaped, and his equipage was finally saved by the efforts of Mr. Jefferson's domestics. Our traveller then arrived at Richmond without further adventures. He often quotes Mr. Jefferson's opinions, evidently profoundly impressed with the greatness and benignity of his character.

Mr. Jefferson's first published letter in 1817, was addressed to Mrs. Adams.


MONTICELLO, Jan. 11, 1817.

I owe you, dear Madam, a thousand thanks for the letters communicated in your favor of December 15th, and now returned. They give me more information than I possessed before, of the family of Mr. Tracy. But what is infinitely interesting, is the scene of the exchange of Louis XVIII. for Bonaparte. What lessons of wisdom Mr. Adams must have read in that short space of time! More than fall to the lot of others in the course of a long life. Man, and the man of Paris, under those circumstances, must have been a subject of profound speculation! It would be a singular addition to that spectacle, to see the same beast in the cage of St. Helena, like a lion in the tower. That is probably the closing verse of the chapter of his crimes. But not so with Louis. He has other vicissitudes to go through.


I communicated the letters, according to your permission, to my grand-daughter, Ellen Randolph,' who read them with pleasure and edification. She is justly sensible of, and flattered by your kind notice of her; and additionally so, by the favorable recollections of our northern visiting friends. If Monticello has anything which has merited their remembrance, it gives it a value the more in our estimation; and could I, in the spirit of your wish, count backwards a score of years, it would not be long before Ellen and myself would pay our homage personally to Quincy. But those twenty years! Alas! where are they? With those beyond the flood. Our next meeting must then be in the country to which they have flown-a country for us not now very distant. For this journey we shall need neither gold nor silver in our purse, nor scrip, nor coats, nor staves. Nor is the provision for it more easy than the preparation has been kind. Nothing proves more than this, that the Being who presides over the world is essentially benevolent. Stealing from us, one by one the faculties of enjoyment, searing our sensibilities, leading us, like the horse in his mill, round and round the same beaten circle,

-To see what we have seen,
To taste the tasted, and at each return
Less tasteful; o'er our palates to decant
Another vintage-

1 The Count de Tracy.

"Now Mrs. Joseph Coolidge, of Boston.

« AnteriorContinuar »