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Second President of United States— Birth and Education- A Leading
Writer in the Revolution - Negotiates Important Treaties— Troubles with France-Becomes Wealthy and l'npopular-Dies on the same Day with Jefferson.
The second President of the United States was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1735, of English parentage. His father was able to give him the advantage of a good education, and he graduated at Harvard University in 1755. For a while he taught school, and being, as he afterwards said, frightened out of the purpose of studying for the ministry by the awful features of Calvanism, he commenced the study of the law. Having worked up considerable practice at his profession, le married, in 1764, Abigail Smith, a minister's daughter, and ao lady of superior mental ability and a judicious manager.
He immediately became known as a forcible writer and leader in the stirring events which led to the separation of the colonies from the mother country—the war for independence, and the establishment of our constitutional government.
The bare list of all the papers published, and acts in which he was engaged, would fill vol
umes. It is safe to say, that as a member of Congress he exercised an influence second to none, and was part of the life and soul of the movement which resulted in the achievement of our independence; untiring, energetic, he was not only one of the principal working members, but. he also possessed the faculty of inspiring others with his zeal, and his actions constantly exemplified the language which has been attributed to him: “Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this
Being sent to Europe in 1778, he negotiated, or
assisted in negotiating, many important treaties to the advantage of the United States, and returned home in 1783, having crossed the ocean several times in the interim.
Chosen President in 1796 to succeed Washington, he became involved in difficulties with France, then in the throes of revolution, which nearly involved the two countries in war, and the issue of which was the loss of influence by the Federal party, which prevented Mr. Adams's re-election.
Retiring thereafterwards to his home, his thrifty habits, united to the excellent management of his wife, so increased his fortune that, unlike Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, he was free of debt, and his devotion of a life in his country's service was not followed by an old age of impoverishment.
A good portion of this result was attributed to his habit of investing his spare means, on every opportunity, in the cheap lands of that time. He also, like Mr. Van Buren and one or two others, lived within his salary while President.
In his later years he seemed to have lost the confidence of his countrymen, and was scarcely treated with respect. This may be attributed to his somewhat aristocratic ideas, which he did not on occasion hesitate to express freely. He had also suffered from the unauthorized publication of many private letters in which he had uttered unfavorable opinions of some of his contemporaries.
His death occurred on July 4, 1826, on the same day with Jefferson, and the singular and almost miraculous coincidence did not fail to attract due notice at the time. The flight of time has softened the political asperities of those days, and
a grateful country now freely acknowledges his very great and important services in the hour of its greatest trials.
Ilis Name in the First Rank-A Synonym of Democracy-A Ripe
Scholar, Linguist, Architect and Musician-Early Public Career and Marriage-Writes the Declaration of Independence--Minister to France-Secretary of State under Washington-Elected Presidentllis Plain Manners-Purchase of Louisiana-Style of Speaking and Writing.
Of all the public men who have justly won a name to be mentioned with respect in the history of our country, Thomas Jefferson's stands in the foremost rank. If Washington alone be accepted, there is scarcely another person who has exercised as much influence, been employed in as many and responsible situations, and in them all acquitted himself with so much credit as the one whose name has become tho fynonym of Democracy.
Born in Virginia in 1743 of a wealthy and intelligent family, his surroundings in childhood and youth were well calculated to develop an active, intelligent, honest and honorable man. Endowed with riches, he was yet industrious, energetic and moderate-taught by the precepts and cxample of his father so to be. From him also he acquired an aversion to intemperance and excesses of any kind, and learned those lessons of equality and sauvity which, pleasantly blended
with sufficient self-assertion, mark the gentleman everywhere. But it is probably to his mother, who was a very superior woman, that he owed the valuable traits of character which most pre-eminently distinguished him. For, indeed, the instances are rare that any man has excelled in any act or calling whose infancy and youth were unblessed by the noble precepts and example of an excellent mother.
Under such circumstances, Jefferson becamo one of the best educated men in the country. Nor was his physical well-being neglected. He was noted as a good horseman, and excelled in most manly sports. Having a taste for music, he became a fine violinist, devoting, for a considerable period, three hours each day to practice on that instrument. He was also a good mathematician and architect, in after years furnishing the plans for the State House at Richmond, the capital of his State, a very imposing and attractive building, which still ornaments that city. He was besides well skilled in the languages. Having acquired Greek and Latin at college, he afterwards gained a fair knowledge of French, Spanish and Italian, becoming very familiar with the French during his residence as Minister at Paris in later ycarz.
After completing lis collegiate course, he applied himself zealously to the study of tlie law, devoting as many as fourteen hours a day to his studies. It is rare that a young man possessed