The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Jefferson, Thomas

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The American Cyclopædia
Jefferson, Thomas
Edition of 1879. See also Thomas Jefferson on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

JEFFERSON, Thomas, third president of the United States, born at Shadwell, Albemarle co., Va., April 2, 1743, died at Monticello, July 4, 1826. His father was Col. Peter Jefferson, a planter of great force of character and high position; his mother, Jane Randolph, daughter of Isham Randolph of Dungeoness in Goochland. At five years of age he was placed at an English school, and at nine commenced the study of Greek, Latin, and French under Mr. Douglass, a Scottish clergyman. Upon his father's death in 1757, he was sent to the classical school of the Rev. Mr. Maury, where he continued for two years, passing thence at the age of 17 to the college of William and Mary at Williamsburg. He soon became popular with his companions and the college professors, and is described at this time as ardent and impulsive in demeanor, with a tall, thin, and angular person, ruddy complexion, red hair, and bright gray eyes flecked with hazel. Among the friends whom he made was Francis Fauquier, the popular governor of the colony. After remaining in college two years, he studied law with George Wythe, and commenced practice in 1767 at the bar of the general court, attending also the county courts of his district. He is said to have been but slightly acquainted with the practice of the profession, and an infrequent speaker; yet during the first two years of his practice he was employed in about 200 suits, his fees amounting to at least £600, at a time when fees were very moderate. The record of the two succeeding years shows a regular increase, and in 1771 Robert Carter Nicholas, an eminent lawyer, intrusted to him all of his unfinished business. In 1769, at the age of 26, he was chosen to represent his county in the house of burgesses, where he at once took a prominent stand with the opponents of parliamentary encroachment, drafting the resolutions to be used as heads in framing a reply to Governor Botetourt's address, and signing the non-importation agreement. At this his first session he introduced a bill empowering the owners of slaves to manumit them if they thought proper; it was defeated, and its policy not fully embraced till 1782. Jefferson returned to his practice, and in the following year removed from Shadwell to a new residence but partially finished, which afterward became famous as “Monticello.” On Jan. 1, 1772, he was married to Martha Skelton, widow of Bathurst Skelton, and daughter of John Wayles, an influential lawyer of Charles City. This lady, then 23 years of age, and remarkable for the beauty of her person and the grace of her manners, brought him a very considerable fortune. She had inherited 135 slaves and 40,000 acres of land, the value of the whole being about equal to Jefferson's own patrimony. The two combined formed an ample estate, and Jefferson's practice added largely to his income. In the spring of 1773 he was appointed by the house of burgesses a member of the “committee of correspondence and inquiry for the dissemination of intelligence between the colonies,” the plan of which he had aided in devising. The house was dissolved by the governor; its members were reflected and resumed their seats in the spring of 1774; and it was again dissolved after adopting a resolution drafted by Jefferson and a few associates at a private meeting, recommending the observance of June 1 as “a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer,” in consequence of the passage of the Boston port bill in parliament. The members met privately, and recommended the election of deputies from the counties to a convention to meet on Aug. 1. Jefferson was chosen a member of this convention, but was taken sick just before the assembling of the body, and could not attend. He had however drawn up a paper to serve for instructions to the delegates to the general congress which the committee of correspondence had been directed to propose to all the colonies, and this he sent to Peyton Randolph, the president of the convention. The document was afterward ordered by the burgesses to be printed under the title of “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,” and, as Jefferson believed, procured the enrolment of his name on a bill for treason brought into parliament. It was a bold, elaborate, and eloquent exposition of the right of the colonies to resist taxation, and contained the germ of the subsequent declaration of independence. The paper was offered, but not adopted, being regarded as too much in advance of public sentiment. The people were not yet ripe for resistance by force, and even the leaders still believed in the possibility of renewing the old amicable relations with Great Britain. Such a restoration of good feeling was warmly hoped for by the planters generally. A “redress of grievances” was all that the foremost leaders aimed at thus early, and the tone of the appeal for redress was the point at issue. The “Summary View” was printed in England as well as in Virginia, and extensively made use of by opposition speakers in parliament. Its influence upon the fortunes of Jefferson was marked; it placed him before the public as a courageous and uncompromising advocate of constitutional freedom, and above all as a most accomplished and eloquent writer. He attended the second convention, which met in March, 1775, and was placed upon the committee to report a plan of defence, which was soon drawn up. The convention then proceeded to elect delegates to congress, and Jefferson was chosen as the alternate of Peyton Randolph, who might be retained by his office of president of the house in Virginia. This was the case when Gov. Dunmore summoned the burgesses to meet on June 1. Jefferson was present, and at the request of his associates drew up before leaving Williamsburg the reply of the Virginia assembly to Lord North's “conciliatory proposition.” This bold and forcible paper he carried with him to Philadelphia soon afterward. Eight days before his arrival Washington had been appointed by congress commander-in-chief of the armies of the colonies. America was thus in open resistance against the crown. Jefferson's arrival was anxiously expected, as he was known to be the bearer of the reply of Virginia to Lord North's proposal; and when the reply was delivered to congress, it met with the warmest approbation. As the author of the paper, and of the “Summary View” in the preceding year, Jefferson took his position among the leaders of the body. He had “the reputation of a masterly pen,” says John Adams, and “writings of his were handed about, remarkable for the peculiar felicity of expression.” He was silent upon the floor, but in committee was so “prompt, frank, explicit, and decisive,” says the same authority, that he won the cordial regard as well as respect of his associates. He was at once placed upon the committee to draw up the declaration of the cause of taking up arms, and aided John Dickinson in drafting the paper, of which congress approved. The body then proceeded to act upon Lord North's proposition; and Jefferson, as author of the answer of Virginia, was requested by the committee, of which he was a member, to prepare that of congress. He did so, nearly in the words of the former paper. Congress adopted it, and then adjourned. In November the news arrived of the rejection of the last petition. On May 15, 1776, Virginia instructed her delegates to propose a declaration of the independence of the colonies; and congress now solemnly approached that great event. Early in June a committee to draw up the declaration was appointed, with Jefferson for its chairman. He was “unanimously pressed to undertake the draft” by his associates of the committee, and did so, Franklin and Adams only making two or three verbal alterations in it. It was laid before congress on June 28. On July 2, the resolution to declare the colonies independent, which had been introduced by Richard Henry Lee, in accordance with the Virginia instructions, passed the body, and the draft of the declaration was taken up. The debate upon the paper, as to its tone, its statements, and the propriety of adopting at that time a measure so extreme, lasted for nearly three days, and was very hot. It was so powerfully opposed by some of the members, that Jefferson compared the opposition to “the ceaseless action of gravity, weighing upon us by night and by day.” Its supporters, however, were the leading minds, and urged its adoption with masterly eloquence and ability. On July 4 the declaration with the amendments was agreed to; and thus commenced the republic of the United States of America. The paper has justly secured a renown more extended perhaps than that of any other state paper in existence. Two questions have however arisen as to its originality: the first upon the substance of the document; the second in regard to its phraseology, in connection with the alleged Mecklenburg declaration of May, 1775. It is more than probable that Jefferson made use of some of the ideas expressed in newspapers, conversation, and by public speakers at the time; and that his study of the great English writers upon constitutional freedom was of service to him. But an impartial criticism will not base upon the fact a charge of want of originality. It should rather be regarded as the peculiar merit of the writer that he thus collected and embodied the conclusions upon government of the leading thinkers of the age in Europe and America, rejecting what was false, and combining his material into a production of so much eloquence and dignity. The “Summary View” of 1774 will however be found to contain the complete germ of the “Declaration;” and as the originality of the former has not been impeached, the merit of the latter is in every fair sense due to Jefferson. The second charge, that he made use of the alleged Mecklenburg paper, has excited volumes of controversy. Jefferson distinctly denied that he had ever seen it at the time, and John Adams declared that he had not himself met with it. Jefferson was rechosen a delegate to congress, but resigned the appointment. “The laboring oar,” he wrote, was at home in Virginia. His aim now was to carry out radical changes in the laws of his native state. The new era could not commence there until fundamental reforms had taken place, and the practicability of such reforms had long engaged his attention. The first movement in the proposed direction had been the formation by the convention of a constitution for the commonwealth. Just before the composition of the declaration, Jefferson had drawn up a preamble and outline sketch of the proposed instrument, and sent it to Edmund Randolph, president of the convention then sitting. George Mason had however framed a constitution upon which the final vote was about to be taken. Jefferson's draft was not proposed, but his preamble was prefixed to the work of Mason. The great reforms in the organic laws were still unattained, and to these Jefferson ardently addressed himself. He was elected to represent his county, and declining the appointment by congress to become one of the commissioners to negotiate the now important treaties of commerce and alliance with France, he took his seat in the Virginia house in October, 1776. He commenced at once by obtaining leave to bring in bills for cutting off entails, and for a general revision of the laws of the commonwealth. A committee of revision was appointed, and Jefferson placed at the head of it, with Edmund Pendleton and other distinguished lawyers for colleagues. The work employed the committee for more than two years, and was arduous in the extreme. To Jefferson were allotted the common law and statutes to the 4th of James I.; and he applied himself with zeal to the revision. To the more important bills which he brought in, the opposition was resolute and bitter. The explanation of this fact may be found in a few sentences of his memoir: “I considered four of these bills as forming a system by which every fibre would be eradicated of ancient or future aristocracy. . . . The repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and perpetuation of wealth in select families. . . . The abolition of primogeniture, and equal partition of inheritances, removed the feudal and unnatural distinctions which made one member of every family rich and all the rest poor. . . . The restoration of the rights of conscience relieved the people from taxation for the support of a religion not theirs, for the establishment was truly the religion of the rich.” The latter reference is to the bill “for establishing religious freedom.” On the adoption of this, and the proposition to cut off entails and abolish the right of primogeniture, took place the determined stand which has been mentioned. From the peculiar character of Virginia society at the period, no measures could have been more revolutionary. The dominant class was essentially aristocratic, and the law of primogeniture represented their deliberate views of social order; the establishment was dear to them as the church of their ancestors, and as the bulwark of Protestant Christianity against heresy and superstition. The contest was prolonged for years, and enlisted all the ability of the commonwealth. The advocates and opponents of the measures fought with the desperation of men who were contending for the dearest prizes of existence. The bills all finally passed, and the reorganization was complete. When Jefferson drew up the epitaph to be inscribed upon his tomb, he added to the words, “author of the Declaration of Independence,” those others, “and of the statute of Virginia for religious freedom.” In addition to these radical measures, Jefferson was the author of others of importance, for the establishment of courts of law, and a complete system of elementary and collegiate education. He continued to sit in the house in 1777 and 1778. In the former year he strongly opposed the alleged scheme for appointing Patrick Henry dictator. In the latter year he proposed and procured the passage of a bill forbidding the future importation of slaves. In the spring of 1770 he was busily employed in ameliorating the condition of the British prisoners at Charlottesville. On June 1 he was elected governor of Virginia. He entered upon office at a gloomy period in the history of the country. The last campaign had not been encouraging to the American arms, and the enemy were about to carry the war into the south. Jefferson found the commonwealth almost defenceless. Virginia had nearly 10,000 troops in the army of the United States, and the steady drain upon her other resources had so greatly enfeebled her that there was little prospect of her being able to resist an enemy. The southern campaign began in Georgia and the Carolinas, and the resources of the colonies were laid under a heavy tax for raising supplies. Virginia was so profuse in contributions of men, arms, horses, and provisions, that she was soon completely exhausted. Her extended coast and the banks of her great rivers were wholly unfortified. A few small vessels and gunboats, imperfectly manned and equipped, were all that she could oppose to the approach of an enemy's fleet. Gen. Leslie easily took possession of Hampton and Portsmouth, and Arnold ascended James river almost unresisted with fewer than 2,000 men. He entered Richmond, which had recently become the capital, on Jan. 5, 1781. The public functionaries, including the governor, retired before the enemy; but Jefferson remained until they entered the lower part of the town, and afterward busied himself in their immediate vicinity in attempts to protect the public stores. Arnold ravaged the place, burned some buildings, and then dropped down the river again. In April Gen. Phillips ascended the river and threatened Richmond; but receiving orders from Cornwallis, who had entered Virginia from the south, he joined the main army, then advancing in pursuit of Lafayette toward the Rapidan. Lafayette escaped, and Cornwallis determined to capture or disperse the legislature, which had adjourned to meet in Charlottesville. Tarleton was despatched upon this enterprise, and by a forced march he fell upon the body almost before they knew of his approach. They were dispersed, but without any captures; and Tarleton detached several of his troop to take the governor prisoner at Monticello, which was in sight of the town. Jefferson received intelligence of their approach, and hastily sent off his family. Having secured his more important papers, he followed on horseback, just in time to escape the party sent to take him. Tarleton rejoined Cornwallis, burning and ravaging on his way. Among other estates laid waste was Elk Hill, belonging to Jefferson, where a large amount of property was wantonly destroyed. The events attending this inroad of the enemy formed subsequently the basis of violent diatribes against Jefferson, who was declared to have received warning of the danger from Washington, but to have wantonly disregarded it, and neglected to put the state in a posture of defence. Additional charges were made, discrediting his personal courage, on the ground of his withdrawal from Richmond and Monticello. But that he had the continued approbation of Washington in exhausting Virginia for the benefit of the general cause is certain; that the commonwealth, thus drained of her resources, could have been defended, is at least doubtful; and the circumstances of his withdrawal from Richmond and Monticello do not support the accusation of a want of personal courage. An error of judgment is thus all which might be justly chargeable upon Jefferson. His term of office had expired two days before Tarleton entered Charlottesville, and in his memoir he says that he had determined to decline a reëlection, “from a belief that under the pressure of the invasion, under which we were then laboring, the public would have more confidence in a military chief.” At the next session of the house a young member demanded an inquiry into his conduct; but it was never made, though Jefferson, who had gone to the assembly to meet it, rose in his place and also demanded it. On the contrary, the house resolved “that the sincere thanks of the general assembly be given to our former governor, Thomas Jefferson, for his impartial, upright, and attentive administration while in office.” But the charges against his administration wounded him deeply, and he did not appear in the spring session of 1782. — From his retirement at Monticello, which had been recently rendered doubly gloomy by the death of his wife, he was summoned by congress to act as one of the plenipotentiaries to England, to negotiate the terms of the treaty of peace. The business was so far advanced before he was ready to sail that congress recalled the appointment; but taking his seat in that body in the winter session of 1783, he reported, as chairman of the committee to which it had been referred, the definitive treaty of peace with England. At the succeeding session Jefferson proposed and secured the adoption of the present system of United States coinage, doing away with the old £. s. d., and substituting the dollar and its subdivisions, down to the hundredth part, to which, in order to describe its value, he gave the present name of cent. At the same session he drafted the report of the committee appointed to “prepare a plan for the temporary government of the western territory.” Virginia held this great extent of country under charter from James I. In 1780 she ceded to the confederation the whole territory N. W. of the Ohio, but the cession was not then formally consummated. Jefferson's plan of a government for this territory was adopted with a few amendments; these consisted of an omission of the names suggested for the districts, and of the clause providing “that after the year 1800 of the Christian era there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said states, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall be duly convicted to have been personally guilty.” The cession was finally consummated in 1788. — In May, 1784, Jefferson was appointed minister plenipotentiary to Europe, to assist John Adams and Benjamin Franklin in negotiating treaties of commerce. He sailed in July with his eldest daughter, and was joined by his associates in Paris. They succeeded in negotiating treaties with Prussia and Morocco, the ships of which latter government had made depredations on American commerce. By the treaties, blockades were abolished, the flag covered the cargo, and contrabands were exempted from confiscation. With England all negotiations failed. At this time Jefferson printed and distributed among his friends a small edition of his “Notes on Virginia.” The substance of this work had been prepared in 1782, at the request of M. de Marbois, French secretary of legation, in hours of confinement produced by a fall from horseback. An incorrect copy had been printed, and the author now published it in an accurate form. In the same year he furnished, at the request of the Virginia directors, a plan for the capitol at Richmond, on the model of the maison carrée at Nîmes, and another for a penitentiary, similar to a building which he had examined in England. Both plans were adopted with some alterations. In 1785 congress appointed Jefferson minister plenipotentiary to France, in place of Franklin, who had resigned. He combated the intrigues of Vergennes and Calonne, the French ministers, in opposition to the desired treaties of commerce, with energy and effect. Among other objects which he attained were the abolition of a number of monopolies, and the admission into France of tobacco, rice, whale oil, salted fish, and flour. In the midst of these duties he found time to make excursions into Germany, Italy, and the French provinces. In Paris he became intimately acquainted with Condorcet, D'Alembert, Destutt de Tracy, and other liberal thinkers. This seems to have been one of the happiest periods of his life; and his sympathies toward France remained ever afterward unshaken. He left the country before the excesses of the revolution, and always regarded it with a strong feeling of preference, especially in comparison with England. His diplomatic functions were performed with marked ability. The adoption of the American constitution did not meet his full approval. He did not know, he wrote, whether the good or the bad predominated in the instrument, and some portions “staggered” him. He afterward formed a more favorable opinion of it. — In 1789 he obtained leave of absence for a time, and returned to America. Soon after his arrival he was offered the post of secretary of state in Washington's cabinet, and, in spite of his desire to return to France, accepted it, thus terminating his ministerial career. With the entrance of Jefferson into the cabinet in March, 1790, commenced the struggle between the federalists and republicans, under the banners of their two most distinguished leaders. Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury, stood at the head of the former. Jefferson was a democrat by nature and training; strongly opposed to England and the English system, against which he had struggled from the moment of his entrance into public affairs; and an unyielding advocate of state sovereignty and decentralization. His visit to Europe had strengthened these convictions of the danger of strong governments, and the uprising of the French people had secured his cordial sympathy. In the cabinet of Washington he now represented the principles of the republican party, who opposed a strong government as tending to monarchy, advocated state sovereignty as the only true republicanism, and espoused the cause of France in opposition to England. In all the great measures Hamilton defeated his rival. The entire system of finance, including the establishment of a bank of the United States, proposed by the secretary of the treasury, was adopted in spite of the protest of Jefferson, and of Randolph the attorney general. In February, 1791, Jefferson wrote an able report upon the cod and whale fisheries, recommending congress to protect those valuable branches of trade. Later in the same year he conducted an important correspondence with Mr. Hammond, the British minister, in relation to alleged violations of the treaty of peace with England. Jefferson complained of non-compliance with that article of the treaty which contained stipulations against carrying away negroes or destroying property, and provided for the evacuation by Great Britain of all posts within the limits of the United States. Mr. Hammond replied, and Jefferson rejoined, when the correspondence closed; and the questions were not reopened for discussion until the more important differences occurred which were terminated by the treaty of 1794. In the spring of 1792 Jefferson drew up an elaborate report upon the relations of the United States with Spain. These involved the determination of boundaries, the exclusion of American citizens from the navigation of the Mississippi below our limits, interference with the Indian tribes, the restitution of fugitives from justice and of property carried off, and the terms of a commercial treaty. The negotiations were indefinitely protracted, and it was not until many years afterward that they were even partially successful. In the spring of 1793 arose the paramount question of the neutral policy and rights of the United States, in view of the declaration of war just made by France against Holland and Great Britain. Upon this question was put forth the entire strength of the two great leaders of the federal and republican parties in the cabinet. The republican party was enthusiastic in its sympathy for France in the struggle with her great enemies, and a disposition was immediately shown to fit out privateers in American ports to cruise against English vessels. This was energetically opposed by the federal leaders, who were anxious that no cause of hostilities should be given to England, and held that the true policy of America was to preserve peace and friendship with all nations, but form entangling alliances with none. The president, who had just entered upon his second term, issued his proclamation warning the citizens of the United States against carrying to the hostile powers any articles deemed contraband of war, or performing other acts inconsistent with the duties of a friendly nation. This was advised by Jefferson, as by his colleagues. He however advocated the propriety of receiving a minister from the French republic, which was determined upon. This was followed by the appearance of Genest as minister, to succeed the former royal functionary, who had been recalled. Genest authorized the fitting out and arming of privateers, and empowered the French consuls throughout the United States to erect courts of admiralty to try and condemn prizes brought into American ports. The president ordered that his privateers should leave the ports immediately, notwithstanding which he armed a prize and ordered her to sail as a privateer. A violent debate took place in the cabinet in Washington's absence. Hamilton, supported by Knox, advocated the erection of a battery to prevent the vessel from sailing, and denounced Genest as an agent sent to embroil America with England. Jefferson opposed the scheme of a battery on the ground that the vessel would not sail, and that the matter was too trifling to cause hostilities with France. Washington arrived and addressed a heated note to Jefferson; but explanations were made. In spite of all, the vessel sailed. Genest then grew so insolent that the question arose whether he should not be ordered out of the country. It was determined, however, to request his recall. Jefferson says that he was in favor of “expressing that desire with great delicacy,” but that “the others were for peremptory terms.” Genest was finally recalled, and this affair terminated. It had aroused to the utmost extent all the bitterness in the hearts of the two great rivals, and the meetings of the cabinet were stormy. The last act of Jefferson as secretary of state was an elaborate report on commercial intercourse with foreign nations, with the measures necessary for regulating and improving it. In this paper he first enumerates the articles of export, with their value, and then states the various restrictions imposed upon them, calling attention to the best method of modifying or removing them. This report gave rise to long and animated discussions, and the measures secured the favor of a great majority of the national legislature; but a vote was not immediately taken, and the subject was lost sight of. — On Dec. 31, 1793, Jefferson resigned his place in the cabinet, and, returning to his home at Monticello, devoted himself to his private affairs, which had become somewhat embarrassed. In September, 1796, Washington announced that he would not again be a candidate for the presidency, and thereupon the two great parties fixed upon John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as their nominees. In February, 1797, the votes were opened and counted in presence of both houses; and the highest number appearing in favor of Adams, with the next in favor of Jefferson, the former was declared, in accordance with the existing law, president of the United States, and the latter vice president. On March 4, 1797, Jefferson took the chair as president of the senate, and delivered a short address, in which he expressed his attachment to the laws, and his anxious wish to properly fulfil his duties. The greater part of the next four years was spent at Monticello, but Jefferson was a close observer of public events, and largely participated in affairs, through his wide correspondence. The reaction of public feeling, resulting from the excesses of the reign of terror, had almost overwhelmed the American sympathizers with France. The aggressions of the French directory, and the insulting reception of our envoys, paralyzed the enemies of the federalists. The “war message” of Adams in the spring of 1797 threw the country into unheard-of agitation. The general indignation against France swept all opposition before it. Congress declared all treaties annulled; merchant vessels were authorized to resist search; large sums were voted for defence; and these measures were soon followed by others still more energetic. The alien and sedition laws were passed; the former empowered the president to order out of the country such aliens as he considered dangerous, on pain of heavy penalties; the latter declared that printing or uttering false and malicious charges against the president or congress should be deemed seditious, and punished by fine and imprisonment. These measures were vainly opposed by the republican party. The whole nation was urgent for war, and Washington offered to take his place at the head of the army. Nothing was left for the republicans but to make an issue on the constitutionality of the alien and sedition laws, and even this was impossible in congress. “Finding themselves of no use there,” they determined to resort to the state arenas; and the result was the Kentucky and Virginia “resolutions of '98.” The former state was closely connected with Virginia, and Jefferson drafted the Kentucky resolutions, denouncing the obnoxious laws, and intimating a determination on the part of the states to proceed to armed resistance. They were followed in Virginia by similar resolves, drawn up by James Madison, opposing the consolidation measures of the federal party, and calling on the states to maintain their liberties inviolate. The spring of 1799 brought a revulsion in favor of the republicans. Adams sent envoys to France; Washington retired again to Mount Vernon; and the war spirit rapidly subsided. Washington died before the close of the year, and the brief pause in political strife which succeeded the intelligence of his death was followed by more violent commotions than before. The elections in New York in the spring of 1800 were bitterly contested, but terminated in a republican triumph, which extended throughout the Union. The result was largely attributed to the intrigues of Aaron Burr, who became the republican candidate for vice president, with Jefferson for president. The federalists supported Adams and Pinckney. When the votes were opened, it was found that Jefferson and Burr were elected, but by an equal number of voices. The dilemma was serious, as the constitution did not require the specification of the office to which each was elected, and the decision devolved upon the house of representatives. Many weeks of violent struggles on the part of the supporters of the two candidates took place; but on the 36th ballot Jefferson was elected president and Burr became vice president. Jefferson took his seat March 4, 1801, at Washington, to which the capital had been removed some months before, and delivered an inaugural address which lucidly and eloquently summed up the principles of republican government. He had come in upon a swelling tide of popularity, and he carefully avoided all acts which would tend to diminish it. Few removals were made, and these chiefly of those who were appointed by Adams in the last hours of his administration. A general amnesty was granted to the federalists, and they seemed to gradually become merged in the masses, which every day grew more “republican.” The old régime appeared to have suddenly passed away. A change in dress and manners followed the political success of the republicans. The reaction against the stately dignity and ceremony of Washington's era was headed by the new president, who would have no formal address from congress, and sent in his message by a common messenger. Everywhere the new philosophy of life was received with acclamations which swelled still higher the flood of Jefferson's popularity. In 1800 Louisiana had been ceded by Spain to France, and in 1802 the president opened a private correspondence with the French government, which resulted in the succeeding year in the purchase of the entire territory for the sum of $15,000,000. The question of the constitutionality of that measure was evaded, and so great was the advantage which it secured that all opposition soon disappeared. In 1804 Captains Lewis and Clarke, under the auspices of Jefferson, set out to explore the continent to the Pacific, with instructions drawn up by the president's own hand. The expedition returned two years afterward with a mass of valuable information, which exhibited the skill of their instructions. In 1803 Commodore Preble vindicated American rights in the Mediterranean against the emperor of Morocco; Decatur in a small schooner entered the harbor of Tripoli, and burned the frigate Philadelphia, under the guns of the enemy, returning without the loss of a man, and the Tripolitans were compelled to sue for peace. The acquisition of Louisiana, the naval victories, and the general prosperity throughout the nation, greatly increased the popularity of the administration; and Jefferson was reëlected, with George Clinton of New York for vice president, for the term commencing March 4, 1805, by a majority of 148 out of 176 electoral votes. In 1806 Jefferson was called upon to arrest Aaron Burr for treasonable operations in the southwest. (See Burr.) The former position of the accused, and his prominence before the country, rendered the trial one of deep interest. It soon took a political complexion, and the opponents of the administration bitterly inveighed against the anxiety displayed by the president to procure a conviction. At the same time the country was powerfully excited by the loss of its profitable foreign trade as a neutral, through the British orders in council and Napoleon's Berlin decree, blockading European ports; and still more by the “right of search” asserted by Great Britain, under color of which American vessels were boarded, and their sailors impressed as subjects of the king. This wrong had been persistently opposed, but the claim was never relinquished. When, in June, 1807, the American frigate Chesapeake was fired upon by the British ship Leopard, and four of her crew were seized as deserters, the country was in a flame, and the president issued his proclamation, interdicting the entrance of British armed vessels into the ports or waters of the United States. In consequence of the continued hostile policy of France and England, congress in December passed an act laying an embargo upon American vessels, which were forbidden to leave any port of the United States. This law was violently opposed by the federal party, but it was declared by the friends of the president to be intended as only temporary; and in February, 1809, congress repealed it from and after the 4th of the ensuing March, substituting an act of non-intercourse with France and England. — At this point in the history of the country Jefferson retired from office, and terminated his political career. He remained in retirement ever afterward, employing his time in the performance of his various duties as the head of a large plantation. In 1817 he took an active part in the measures then set on foot to establish the “central college” near Charlottesville, now the university of Virginia. In 1819 he superintended the erection of the building, and in the same year was chosen rector. The leading part which he took in founding this great institution was a subject of peculiar pride with him, and he directed “Father of the university of Virginia” to be inscribed upon his tombstone. In the spring of 1826, his fortunes having become greatly embarrassed by the generous scale of his expenditures and the profuse hospitality at Monticello, he was empowered by the legislature to dispose of his estates by lottery, with a view to the discharge of his liabilities. But the project was suspended, and then abandoned. His health had long been failing, and in June he rapidly declined. As midnight approached on July 3, he was evidently dying, but retained his memory, and muttered, “This is the fourth of July.” He lived until past noon on the succeeding day, July 4, 1826, when he expired, a few hours before John Adams. On the same day and nearly at the same hour, just half a century before, these two great men had attached their signatures to the Declaration of Independence; and the coincidence of their death made a deep impression on the country. — Jefferson was an original thinker in every department of human concern, and essentially a reformer. He had no respect for claims of right founded only upon prescription, and attached no decisive weight to authority. In the old house of burgesses he opposed parliament upon abstract grounds which were clearly defined, and which became the bases of the subsequent struggle, inaugurated by the formal exposition of the same principles in the Declaration of Independence. In the general assembly of the state he attacked the time-honored system of aristocratic and religious intolerance, as in conflict with natural right, and for that reason wrongful, however fully acquiesced in and respected by preceding generations. He carried the rule of subjecting everything to the test of abstract reason into matters of religion, venerating the moral character of Christ, but refusing belief in his divine mission. In politics he was an opponent of strong government, and maintained that the world was governed too much. He was in favor of the free development and exercise of human power, so far as was consistent with the good order of society, and a jealous advocate of individualism. His aim in Virginia was to overthrow the old domination of the ruling classes, and raise the people. He carried the same principles to the study of the federal compact. Once convinced that the state rights doctrine of restriction was the true theory of the government, he fought for it with persistent energy. Thus commenced, on the threshold of his entrance into the cabinet, the long struggle against Hamilton, the federal champion. The first measure of that great leader, the funding law, had passed; and it was followed by the assumption of state debts, and by the United States bank, in spite of Jefferson's protest against the constitutionality of the measure. He did not waver, however, and the republican party, long suffering a series of defeats, never found its leader wanting, and finally in 1801 bore Jefferson triumphantly into the presidency. His devotion to state rights was so ardent that it led him to regard Shays's insurrection as a mere trifle, which the government made itself ridiculous by opposing. He could never get rid of the idea that Hamilton wished to create a monarchy in America. Such was Jefferson as a statesman and leader of a party under the old régime, which was ruled by his enemies. Under the new order of things, with his own party in power, the case was altered. The force of his opinions of the rights of individuals suffered a marked diminution when Aaron Burr openly bearded his authority. He threw the weight of his great office against Burr, and advised that one of his counsel, Luther Martin, should be indicted as an accomplice, in order to “put down this impudent and unprincipled federal bulldog.” In the same manner, his state rights doctrines became modified. The executive authority had to be stretched to cover the purchase of Louisiana; and he became convinced on other occasions that the federal government, to use his own expression, must “show its teeth.” In social life he faithfully carried out his democratic principles. He discarded every advantage which his birthright gave him, and mingled familiarly with the common people, as their equal. He was naturally a democrat, and held as a radical doctrine of his philosophy the principle that one man is no better than another. He was easily approached, and the natural amiability of his character rendered his society delightful to all classes. His dislike of all the trappings of authority was excessive. Not content with eradicating all traces of past authority and influence, he inaugurated a crusade against the old forms and ceremonies which had accompanied it. Washington had held levees, and awaited the two houses, standing in full dress to receive them. Jefferson abolished the practice, and sent his first message by an unofficial hand to avoid the address which was customary. A committee had been usually appointed to inform the president of his election; but Jefferson declared it was more in consonance with the simplicity of republican institutions to communicate the intelligence through the common post office. To all titles of honor he was strongly opposed. “Excellency,” “Honorable,” and even “Mr.,” were distasteful to him. He could wish, he declared, that the last, too, might disappear. It was always “Thomas Jefferson,” or “T. J.,” not “Mr. Jefferson,” who presented his respects to “the president,” not “your excellency.” These apparent trifles were in reality strong indications of the character of the man, and contributed powerfully to his popularity with the people. He was regarded as the epitome and incarnation of democracy, as opposed to the old world of aristocracy. These social traits were supported by consummate partisan ability. He never made a formal public speech, but his adroitness in politics was unsurpassed, and his management of persons and events for the accomplishment of the ends which he aimed at was masterly. The objects which he had in view were in a large measure attained by his elaborate correspondence. Monticello became the centre of a vast system of political nerves, extending their ramifications throughout the nation. In his retirement Jefferson was thus as powerful as in office. His hand was often felt as decisively, and his opinions, instilled into active minds holding high positions, became not seldom the ruling influence in public affairs. Slavery he regarded as a moral and political evil; but in opposing it he did not advocate a change in the agricultural character of the south. He wrote that the people would “remain virtuous as long as agriculture is our principal object, which will be the case while there remain vacant lands in America. When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe.” At home he was a tender husband and father, a mild master, a warm friend, and a delightful host. His knowledge of life, extensive travels, and long familiarity with great events and distinguished men, rendered his conversation highly attractive to mere social visitors. His scientific acquisitions, and the deep interest which he took in all branches of natural history, made his society equally agreeable to men of learning. Many such visited him, and were impressed as deeply by his general knowledge as they were charmed by the courtesy of his demeanor. De Chastellux, De Liancourt, and other noblemen and foreigners of distinction, came away from Monticello with an enthusiastic opinion of their host, and informed all Europe that the country gentleman of Virginia was the most accomplished man of his epoch. In entertaining this diverse society, in reading, writing, riding, and attending to his farms, passed the intervals of his absence from public affairs, and the long period of retirement which extended from the termination of his presidency to his death. Of his “Notes on Virginia” many editions have been published; that issued at Richmond in 1853 was revised from his own annotated copy. His “Manual of Parliamentary Practice” is used by congress and other legislative bodies in America. A portion of his manuscripts were purchased by congress in 1848, edited by H. A. Washington, and published under the title, “The Writings of Thomas Jefferson; being his Autobiography, Correspondence, Reports, Messages, Addresses, and other Writings, Official and Private,” &c. (9 vols. 8vo, Washington, 1853-'5). Among the biographical works relating to Jefferson, the most important are: “Memoirs, Correspondence, and Private Papers,” edited by his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph (4 vols., New York, 1829); “Life, and part of his unpublished Correspondence,” by George Tucker (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1837); “Life,” by Henry S. Randall (3 vols., New York, 1858); “Domestic Life,” compiled from family sources, by his granddaughter Sarah N. Randolph (New York, 1871); and “Life,” by James Parton (Boston, 1874).