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Visitors at the University in 1825.-Mr. Wirt's last Visit to Monticello-Mr. Kennedy's Visit The Duke of Saxe-Weimar's Account of his Visit-Mr. Jefferson's Correspondence in 1825-His persistent Views in regard to the Aims of our early Political Parties-To Mr. Livingston, concerning his Civil Code-Miscellaneous Letters-Letter of Advice for the Future Guidance of a Child-Views on President J. Q. Adams's first Message Proposes that Virginia protest against Internal Improvements, by Congress Suggests a Constitutional Amendment-Asks Permission of Legislature to sell his Lands by Lottery-His Paper on the Subject-Reasons for the Request Other Plans suggested-Grant to University refused-A misrepresented Joke-Declines a Donation from the State-Letter to his Grandson-Gloomy Prospects-Correspondence with Cabell-Explains his Affairs to Madison-Loss by Indorsing-The Friend who gave the Coup de grâce-Some characteristic Incidents-Nicholas's last Declarations-Lottery Bill passes-Public Meetings on the Subject-Proceedings of Meeting in Nelson County-Lottery Scheme does not come up to the public wishes-Contributions from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc.-Manner in which Jefferson received these Aids-His declining Health-Conceals his Malady from his Family— Makes his Will-Reluctance to be helped-Continues his Rides Dangerous Accidents -Opening of 1826-Letter on Slavery-His last Reading-Nearly suffocated by an Artist-His Deportment to his Family-Invited to attend the 50th Anniversary of Independence at Washington-His Reply-Deaths of Jefferson and Adams on that Day Jefferson's Death described by his Grandson-His last written Message to his Daughter Mr. Trist's Recollections, etc.-Dr. Dunglison's Memoranda of Jefferson's Illness and Death-What he meant by asking Madison to "Take care of him when Dead"-Madison to Trist, on hearing of Jefferson's Death-Judge Carr's Letter-The Public Sorrow over the Deaths of Jefferson and Adains-Funeral Orations.
AMONG the distinguished visitors to the University the first year of its establishment, were Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach; Mr. Stanley, now Lord Derby; the Honorable J. Evelyn Denison, M.P.; Mr. Stuart Wortley, and others. It is probable that most, if not all of these gentlemen were drawn to Charlottesville by a desire to visit Monticello.
Mr. Wirt made his last visit to Mr. Jefferson in August, 1825. The accomplished author of Wirt's Memoirs, Mr. Kennedy, says of this visit: "The meeting, we believe, was of
CHAP. XIII.] DUKE OF SAXE-WEIMAR'S JOURNAL.
melancholy concern to the Attorney-General. It was the visit of a pilgrim, not to an empty shrine, but to an ancient hearthstone, where the friend of his youth yet inhabited, and where many vivid memories yet lingered to bring back the images of the past, now saddened by the thought that the brittle chain of a great life was soon to be broken, and with it, almost every surviving association which gave interest to the place.'
The Duke of Saxe-Weimar left the following account of his visit to Monticello, in his published "Travels in North America in 1825 and 1826:"
"The University is situated on a hill in a very healthy situation, and there is a very fine view of the Blue Ridge. President Jefferson invited us to a family dinner; but as in Charlottesville there is but a single hackney coach, and this being absent, we were obliged to go the three miles to Monticello on foot.
"We went by a pathway, through well cultivated and inclosed fields, crossed a creek named Rivanna, passing on a trunk of a tree, cut in a rough shape, and without rails; then ascended a steep hill overgrown with wood, and came on its top, to Mr. Jefferson's house, which is in an open space, walled round with bricks, forming an oblong, whose shorter sides are rounded; on each of the longer sides are portals of four columns.
"The unsuccessful waiting for a carriage, and our long walk, caused such a delay, that we found the company at table when we entered; but Mr. Jefferson came very kindly to meet us, forced us to take our seats, and ordered dinner to be served up anew. He was an old man of eighty-six years of age, of tall stature, plain appearance, and long, white hair.
"In conversation, he was very lively, and his spirits, as also his hearing and sight, seemed not to have decreased at all, with his advancing age. I found in him a man who retained his faculties remarkably well in his old age, and one would have taken him for a man of sixty. He asked me what I had seen in Virginia. I eulogized all the places that I was certain would meet with his approbation, and he seemed very much pleased. The company at the table consisted of the family of his daughter, Mrs. Randolph, and of that of the Professor of Mathematics at the
1 Mr. Kennedy says in a note on the same page: "The writer of this memoir visited Monticello within a few weeks after the period referred to in the text. I was accompanied by a friend, and had a letter of introduction from Mr. Wirt. I had never seen Mr. Jefferson. It was a hot day in July when we reached the top of the mountain, and entered the spacious hall of the mansion. We presented the letter to a lady of the family. Mr. Jefferson had been very ill with a recent attack of his malady, and therefore excused himself from receiving company. There was a large glass door which opened upon the hall and separated Mr. Jefferson's apartments from it. Whilst we sat in this hall, a tall, attenuated figure, slightly stooping forward, and exhibiting a countenance filled with an expression of pain, slowly walked across the space visible through the glass door. It was Mr. Jefferson. He was dressed in a costume long out of fashion -smallclothes, a waistcoat with flaps, and, as it struck us, in the brief view we had, some remnants of embroidery. The silence of the footfall, the venerable figure, the old costume, and the short space in which that image glided past the glass door, made a strange and mysterious impression upon us. It was all I ever saw of the sage of Mon
The hastiness of Mr. Kennedy's view betrayed him into some errors. Mr. Jefferson wore no embroidery. The smallclothes had given place to pantaloons when he was about seventy years old; and with characteristic utilitarianism he had immediately wondered that he had not discovered their superior convenience before.
University, an Englishmau and his wife. I turned the conversation to the subject of the University, and observed that this was the favorite topic with Mr. Jefferson; he entertained very sanguine hopes as to the flourishing state of the University in future, and believed that it, and the Harvard University, near Boston, would in a very short time be the only institutions, where the youth of the United States would receive a truly classical and solid education. After dinner we intended to take our leave, in order to return to Charlottesville, but Mr. Jefferson would not consent to it. He pressed us to remain for the night at his house. The evening was spent by the fire; a great deal was said about travels, and objects of natural history; the fine arts were also introduced, of which Mr. Jefferson was a great admirer. He spoke also of his travels in France, and the country on the Rhine, where he was very much pleased. His description of Virginia is the best proof what an admirer he is of the beauties of Nature. He told us that it was only eight months since he could not ride on horseback; otherwise he rode every day to visit the surrounding country; he entertained, however, hopes of being able to re-commence, the next spring, his favorite exercise. Between nine and ten o'clock in the evening, the company broke up, and a handsome room was assigned to me.
"The next morning I took a walk round the house and admired the beautiful panorama which this spot presents. On the left I saw the Blue Ridge, and between them and Monticello are smaller hills. Charlottesville and the University lay at my feet; before me, the valley of the Rivanna River, which farther on makes its junction with the James River, and on my right was the flat part of Virginia, the extent of which is lost in distance; behind me was a towering hill which limited the sight. The interior of the house was plain, and the furniture somewhat of an old fashion. In the entrance was a marble stove with Mr. Jefferson's bust, by Ceracchi. In the room hung several copies of the celebrated pictures of the Italian school, views of Monticello, Mount Vernon, the principal buildings in Washington, and Harper's Ferry; there were also an oil painting and an engraving of the Natural Bridge, views of Niagara by Vanderlin, a sketch of the large picture by Trumbull, representing the Surrender at Yorktown, and a pen drawing of Hector's Departure, by Benjamin West, presented by him to General KOSCIUSKO; finally, several portraits of Mr. Jefferson, among which, the best was that in profile, by Stuart. In the saloon, there were two busts, one of Napoleon, as First Consul, and another of the Emperor Alexander. Mr. Jefferson admired Napoleon's military tactics, but did not love him. After breakfast, which we took with the family, we bid the respectable old man farewell, and set out upon our return to Charlottesville.
"Mr. Jefferson tendered us the use of his carriage, but I declined, as I preferred walking in a fine and cool morning." Vol. i., p. 197, et seq.
The observing reader will note a number of trifling errors in this description, and in one or two instances an amusing tone of complaisance. But amiable Duke Bernhard does not take credit to himself for resolutely insisting, contrary to the protestations of Mrs. Randolph, that the cold meats be returned to the dinner table for him, precisely as they left it, and then of feeding from them with a relish which offered the best compliment to the housekeeping. Anxious to please, sensible and down
right, he left a favorable impression on the mind of Mr. Jefferson, and every member of his family.' His Travels contain more serious errors in regard to the University, but these do not call for attention here.
We will return to Mr. Jefferson's correspondence. He wrote to Mr. Short, January 8th, 1825, a letter (commenting on some published statements of H. G. Otis and R. G. Harper) which will be read with curiosity by those who wish to know whether he preserved to the last the views so often expressed, during earlier political conflicts, in regard to the aims of the leaders of the two great American parties. His letter is cool, argumentative, and from the citations it contains was evidently written with deliberation. As unhesitatingly, as twenty-five years earlier he asserts, on the evidence of his own ears, that Hamilton, Adams, and other great Federal leaders, were monarchists in theory, and again distinctly carries the idea that a portion of those leaders were monarchists in their aims. He again says, that "the true history of that conflict of parties" 'will never be understood, until "by the death of the actors in it the hoards of their letters shall be broken up and given to the world." He again prophesies that "time will in the end produce the truth." But he admits that "after all" these divisions were not to be wondered at-that under one name or another they have everywhere existed in the human heart-that they have exhibited themselves in every country "where not suppressed by the rod of despotism."
Edward Livingston forwarded to Mr. Jefferson, in March, a portion of his celebrated civil code of the State of Louisiana, requesting him to examine its provisions, weigh their bearings on each other in all their parts, their harmony with reason and nature, and their adaptation to the habits and sentiments of those for whom they were prepared. The latter, March 25th, declined this honorable task, but expressed great admiration of the
1 Wirt wrote to his wife from Baltimore, October 30th, 1825: . . "I dined yesterday with the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, at Mr. Oliver's. He is about a head taller than myself, with a nose retroussé and features a good deal like's, not fair and auburnhaired, however, like, but with a sallow complexion, and dark hair; no redundant fat, but brawny, muscular, and of herculean strength. He is about thirty-five years old, and looks like a Russian, or one of those gigantic Cossacks. I dare say he makes a magnificent figure in uniform. He speaks English tolerably well; yet, he has that apparent dullness of apprehension which always accompanies a defective knowledge of a language, and which renders it rather up-hill work to talk with him."-Kennedy's Memoirs of Wirt, vol. ii. p. 178.
Code, declaring to Mr. Livingston that "it would certainly
arrange his name with the sages of antiquity."
In a letter to , October 25th, he gave a fuller course of ancient and modern reading for young persons, than we remember to have seen elsewhere in his writings; and it is interspersed with highly characteristic remarks. In answer to a letter from J. Evelyn Denison, he strongly commended the taste then reviving in England "for the recovery of the Anglo-Saxon dialect "and also the publication of the existing 66 county dialects of England," which he said "would restore to our language all its shades of variation." To Lewis M. Wiss, November 27th, he made an explanation of the plan of dry-docks, recommended during his Presidency. This will be found far more accessible to those desiring to know the outlines of that plan, than the official records which contain them.
An application having been made to Mr. Jefferson to prepare a letter of advice for the future guidance of a little namesake, whose parents resided in Washington, he sent the following:
THOMAS JEFFERSON TO THOMAS JEFFERSON SMITH,
This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favor able influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.
MONTICELLO, February 21, 1825.
THE PORTRAIT OF A GOOD MAN BY THE MOST SUBLIME OF POETS, FOR YOUR IMITATION.
Lord, who's the happy man that may to thy blest courts repair;
'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves;
1 Name not given. See Congress edition of his Works, vol. vii. p. 411.