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forth our policies were our own. We were an independent nation in spirit as well as form. We had a system which was supposed to be adapted to our particular wants and situation as a people, and which was our free choice. We were no longer copyists or colonists in spirit—we were Americans.
Mr. Jefferson's feelings in bidding a final farewell to office, after holding it with but a few brief intervals for nearly half a century, were thus described by him in a letter to his old friend Dupont de Nemours, written two days before the expiration of his Presidency:
“Within a few days I retire to my family, my books and farms; and having gained the harbor myself, I shall look on my friends still buffeting the storm with anxiety indeed, but not with envy. Never did a prisoner, released from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power. Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived, have forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions. I thank God for the opportunity of retiring from them without censure, and carrying with me the most consoling proofs of public approbation. I leave everything in the hands of men so able to take care of them, that if we are destined to meet misfortunes, it will be because no human wisdom could avert them. Should you return to the United States, perhaps your curiosity may lead you to visit the hermit of Monticello. He will receive you with affection and delight; hailing you in the meantime with his affectionate salutations and assurances of constant esteem and respect.”
Addresses poured in upon him, on his approaching retirement, from every part of the Union. They came from legislatures, and popular bodies—from State, city, county, and town, conventions and meetings—from political, ecclesiastical, military, industrial, and almost all other associations. We will quote one of them as presenting the spirit of the whole. The following address (written by William Wirt) was moved in the Virginia Legislature, and passed, February 6th, by a vote of about five to one:
SIR: The General Assembly of your native State cannot close their session without acknowledging your services in the office which you are just about to lay down, and bidding you a respectful and affectionate farewell. We have to thank you for the model of an administration conducted on the purest principles of republicanism ; for pomp and state laid aside; patronage discarded; internal taxes abolished; a host of superfluous officers disbanded; the monarchic maxim that a national debt is a national blessing, renounced, and more than thirty-three millions of our debt discharged; the native right to near one hundred millions of acres of our national domain extinguished; and without the guilt or calamities of conquest, a vast and fertile region added to our country, far more extensive than her original possessions, bringing along with it the Mississippi and the port of Orleans, the trade of the West to the Pacific ocean, and in the intrinsic value of the land itself, a source of permanent and almost inexhaustible revenue. These are points in your Administration which the historian will not fail to seize, to expand, and to teach posterity to dwell upon with delight. Nor will he forget our peace with the civilized world, preserved through a season of uncommon difficulty and trial; the good will cultivated with the unfortunate aborigines of our country, and the civilization humanely extended among them; the lesson taught the inhabitants of the coast of Barbary, that we have the means of chastising their piratical encroachments, and awing them into justice; and that theme, which, above all others, the historic genius will hang upon with rapture, the liberty of speech and the press preserved inviolate, without which genius and science are given to man in Waln. In the principles on which you have administered the government, we see only the continuation and maturity of the same virtues and abilities which drew upon you in your youth the resentment of Dunmore. From the first brilliant and happy moment of your resistance to foreign tyranny until the present day, we mark with pleasure and with gratitude the same uniform and consistent character—the same warm and devoted attachment to liberty and the Republic, the same Roman love of your country, her rights, her peace, her honor, her prosperity. How blessed will be the retirement into which you are about to go! How deservedly blessed will it be For you carry with you the richest of all rewards, the recollection of a life well spent in the service of your country, and proofs the most decisive of the love, the gratitude, the veneration of your countrymen. That your retirement may be as happy as your life has been virtuous and useful; that our youth may see in the blissful close of your days, an additional inducement to form themselves on your model, is the devout and earnest prayer of your fellow-citizens who compose the General Assembly of Virginia.
To this address, transmitted by his friend Governor John Tyler (father of ex-President Tyler), Mr. Jefferson returned the following reply:
February 16th, 1839.
I receive with peculiar sensibility the affectionate address of the General Assembly of my native State, on my approaching retirement from the office with which I have been honored by the nation at large. Having been one of those who entered into public life at the commencement of an era the most extraordinary which the history of man has ever yet presented to his contemplation, I claim nothing more, for the part I have acted in it, than a common merit of having, with others, faithfully endeavored to do my duty in the several stations allotted me. In the measures which you are pleased particularly to approve, I have been aided by the wisdom and patriotism of the national legislature, and the talents and virtues of the able coadjutors with whom it has been my happiness to be associated, and to whose valuable and faithful services I with pleasure and gratitude bear witness.
From the moment that to preserve our rights a change of government became necessary, no doubt could be entertained that a republican form was most cotsonant with reason, with right, with the freedom of man, and with the character and situation of our fellow citizens. To the sincere spirit of republicanism are naturally associated the love of country, devotion to its liberty, its rights, and its honor. Our preference to that form of government has been so far justified by its success, and the prosperity with which it has blessed us. In no portion of the earth were life, liberty and property ever so securely held; and it is with infinite satisfaction that withdrawing from the active scenes of life, I see the sacred design of these blessings committed to those who are sensible of their value and determined to defend them.
It would have been a great consolation to have left the nation under the assurance of continued peace. Nothing has been spared to effect it; and at no other period of history would such efforts have failed to ensure it. For neither belligerent pretends to have been injured by us, or can say that we have in any instance departed from the most faithful neutrality; and certainly none will charge us with a want of forbearance.
In the desire of peace, but in full confidence of safety from our unity, our positon, and our resources, I shall retire into the bosom of my native State, endeared to me by every tie which can attach the human heart. The assurances of your approbation, and that my conduct has given satisfaction to my fellow citizens generally, will be an important ingredient in my future happiness; and that the supreme Ruler of the universe may have our country under his special care, will be among the latest of my prayers.
Mr. Jefferson was present at the inauguration of his successor, and soon afterwards set out for home. The inhabitants of the county of his birth and residence (Albemarle) had proposed to meet and escort him to Monticello, with imposing ceremonies. He quietly put aside the request by declaring that he could not decide on the day of his return, and he added:
“But it is a sufficient happiness to me to know that my fellow-citizens of the country generally entertain for me the kind sentiments which have prompted this proposition, without giving to so many the trouble of leaving their homes to meet a single individual. I shall have opportunities of taking them individually by the hand at our court-house and other public places, and of exchanging assurances of mutual esteem. Certainly it is the greatest consolation to me to know, that in returning to the bosom of my native county, I shall be again in the midst of their kind affections: and I can say with truth that my return to them will make me happier than I have been since I left them.”
The proposed ovation gave way to an address, and it was thus answered :
To THE INHABITANTs of ALBEMARLE County, IN VIRGINIA. - April 8, 1809. Returning to the scenes of my birth and early life, to the society of those with whom I was raised, and who have been ever dear to me, I receive, fellow-citizens and neighbors, with inexpressible pleasure, the cordial welcome you are so good as to give me. Long absent on duties which the history of a wonderful era made vol. III.-20
incumbent on those called to them, the pomp, the turmoil, the bustle and splendor of office, have drawn but deeper sighs for the tranquil and irresponsible occupations of private life, for the enjoyment of an affectionate intercourse with you, my neighbors and friends, and the endearments of family love, which nature has given us all, as the sweetener of every hour. For these I gladly lay down the distressing burden of power, and seek, with my fellow-citizens, repose and safety under the watchful cares, and labors and perplexities of younger and abler minds. The anxieties you express to administer to my happiness, do, of themselves, confer that happiness; and the measure will be complete, if my endeavors to fulfill my duties in the several public stations to which I have been called, have obtained for me the approbation of my country. The part which I have acted on the theatre of public life, has been before them, and to their sentence I submit it; but the testimony of my native county, of the individuals who have known me in private life, to my conduct in its various duties and relations, is the more grateful, as proceeding from eye-witnesses and observers, from triers of the vicinage. Of you, then, my neighbors, I may ask, in the face of the world, “whose ox have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or of whose hand have I received a bribe to blind mine eyes there with ?” On your verdict I rest with conscious security. Your wishes for my happiness are received with just sensibility, and I offer sincere prayers for your own welfare and prosperity.
Mr. Jefferson's return Home—His Correspondence with the President—Jefferson's and Madison's Friendship—Their Similarities and Contrasts of Character, etc.—Their dif. ferent Degrees of Popularity among Political Friends and Opponents—Their Usefulness to each other—Erskine's Treaty—Jefferson's Views of it—His Annexation Views— The Treaty rejected by England—" Copenhagen Jackson" succeeds Erskine— Habitual deportment of British Ministers in the United States—How the Treaty had been received by the Federalists—Their Declarations on its Rejection—Feelings of the American people—Jefferson to Eppes—His Views on Equilibrium of Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce—Dissensions in Mr. Madison's Cabinet—Jefferson dissuades Gallatin from retiring—Engaged in correcting Marshall's Life of Washington— Loss of his Indian Vocabularies—Domestic affairs—Letter to Kosciusko–Jefferson's Pecuniary Affairs—A Statement of them and of the Sources of his Pecuniary Misfortunes—Amount of his Property–Causes of the Depression of the Agricultural Interest in Virginia–Monetary Revulsions—Life at Monticello–Its Scale of Hospitality—A talk with old Wormley—Mr. Jefferson's proposed and actual Style of Living—Anecdote of Mr. C***.—The Current of Events unchangeable—The Sequel—Description of Monticello—Its Approach—The Grounds and Mansion—Interior of the House forty years ago—Prospect from Monticello—Looming of the Mountains—Jefferson's proposed Improvements to the Scenery—An early English Description of the Climate and Inhabitants—A Rain Storm and an important Computation—Reasons for Jefferson's building his House at Poplar Forest—The House and Life there described by his Grand-daughter—Journeying between his two Residences described by another Granddaughter—An Omission in the Sketch of the House at Poplar Forest—Interview with a Parson at Ford's Tavern—Jefferson in the Interior of his Family, his Reading, his Rural and Horticultural Tastes, described by a Grand-daughter—His Conduct and Manners in his Family, described by different Grand-daughters.
THE ex-President reached Monticello in the middle of March; and he thus wrote to his successor on the 17th :
“I had a very fatiguing journey, having found the roads excessively bad, although I have seen them worse. The last three days I found it better to be on horseback, and travelled eight hours through as disagreeable a snow storm as I was ever in. Feeling no inconvenience from the expedition but fatigue, I have more confidence in my vis vitae than I had before entertained. The spring is remarkably backward. No oats sown, not much tobacco seed, and little done in the gardens.
Wheat has suffered considerably. No vegetation visible yet but the red maple,