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Jefferson VIII

Jefferson VIII

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Letters to John Adams.—Number of Letters written and received.—To John
Adams.—Breaks his Arm.—Letter to Judge Johnson.—To Lafayette.

The University of Virginia.—Anxiety to have Southern Young Men edu-

cated at the South.—Letters on the Subject.—Lafayette's Visit to Ameri-
ca.—His Meeting with Jefferson.—Daniel Websters Visit to Monticello,
and Description of Mi\ Jefferson.

. In the following letter to Mr. Adams we find Mr. Jefier-

son not complaining of, but fully appreciating the rapidity

with which old age and its debilities were advancing on


To John Adams.

Monticello, June 1st, 1822.

It is very long, my dear Sir, since I have written to you.
My dislocated wrist is now become so stiff that I write slow-

ly and with pain, and therefore write as little as I can. Yet

it is due to mutual friendship to ask once in a while how we

do. The papers tell us that General Stark is off at the age

of 93. Charles Thompson still lives at about the same age
—cheerful, slender as a grasshopper, and so much without
memory that he scarcely recognizes the members of his

household. An intimate friend of his called on him not long

since; it was difficult to make him recollect who he was,

and, sitting one hour, he told him the same story four times

over. Is this life

"With lab'ring step

To tread our former footsteps?

—pace the round

Eternal ?—to beat and beat
The beaten track?—to see what we have seen,
To taste the tasted?—o'er our palates to decant
Another vintage?"

It is at most but the life of a cabbage ; surely not worth a

wish. "When all our faculties have left, or are leaving us,

one by one—sight, hearing, memory—every avenue of pleas-

ing sensation is closed, and athumy, debility, and malaise left



in tlieir places—when friends of our youth are all gone, and

a generation is risen around us whom we know not, is deatli

an evil ?

"Wlien one by one oiu* ties are torn,
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,
"When man is left aJone to mourn,
Oh ! then how sweet it is to die


When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
And films slow gathering dim the sight.
When clouds obscure the mental light,

'Tis nature's kindest boon to die!"

I really think so. I have ever dreaded a doting old age


and my health has been generally so good, and is now so

good, that I dread it still. The raj^id decline ofmy strength

during the last winter has made me hope sometimes that I

see land. During summer I enjoy its temperature; but I

shudder at the approach of winter, and wish I could sleep

thi'ough it with the dormouse, and only wake with him in

spring, if ever. They say that Stark could walk about his

room. I am told you walk well and firmly. I can only

reach my garden, and that with sensible fatigue. I ride,

however, daily. But reading is my delight. I should wish

never to put pen to paper; and the more because of the

treacherous practice some people have of publishing one's

letters without leave. Lord Mansfield declared it a breach

of trust, and punisliable at law. I think it should be a pen-

itentiary felony; yet you will have seen that they have

drawn me out into the arena of the newspapers.* Although

I know it is too late for me to buckle on the armor of youth,

yet my indignation would not permit me passively to re-

ceive the kick of an ass.

To turn to the news of the day, it seems that the canni-

bals of Europe are going to eating one another again. A

war between Russia and Turkey is like the battle of the kite

and snake. Whichever destroys the other leaves a destroy-

er the less for the world. This pugnacious humor of man-

kind seems to be the law of his nature, one of the obstacles

to too great multiplication provided in the mechanism of the

universe. The cocks ofthe hen-yard kill one another. Bears,

bulls, rams, do the same. And the horse, in his wild state,

* Alluding to a reply which he made to an attack made on him bv one

signing himself a "Native Virginian."



kills all the young males, until, worn down with age and

war, some vigorous youth kills him, and takes to himself the

harem of females. I hope we shall prove how much happier

for man the Quaker policy is, and that the life of the feeder

is better than that of the fighter ; and it is some consolation

that the desolation by these maniacs of one part of the earth

is the means of improving it in other parts. Let the latter

be our office, and let us milk the cow, while the Russian

holds her by the horns, and the Turk by the tail. God bless

you, and give you health, strength, and good spirits, and as

much of life as you think worth having.

In another letter to Mr. Adams he gives really a pitiable

account of the tax on his strength which letter-writing had

become. Mr. Adams had suggested that he should publish

the letter just quoted, by way of letting the public know

liow much he suffered from the number of letters he had to

answer. Jefferson, in reply, says :

To John Adams.

I do not know how far you may suffer, as I do, under the

persecution of letters, of which every mail brings a fresh

load. They are letters of inquiry, for the most part, always

of good-will, sometimes from friends whom I esteem, but
much oftener from persons whose names are unknown to

me, but written kindly and civilly, and to which, therefore,

civility requires answers. Perhaps the better-known failure

of your hand in its function of writing may shield you in

greater degree from this distress, and so far qualify the mis-

foi-tune of its disability. I happened to turn to my letter-

list some time ago, and a curiosity was excited to count those

received in a single yeai*. It was the year before the last. I

found the number to be one thousand two hundred and six-

ty-seven, many of them requiring answers of elaborate re-

search, and all to be answered with due attention and con-

sideration. Take an average of this number for a week or

a day, and I will repeat the question suggested by other

considerations in mine of the 1 st. Is this life ? At best it

is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle

but in death. To such a life that of a cabbage is paradise.


It occurs, then, that ray condition of existence, truly stated

in that letter, if better known, might check the kind indis-

cretions which are so heavily depressing the departing hours

of life. Such a relief would, to me, be an ineffable blessing.

The reader can form some idea of the extent of this cor-

respondence, which, in his old age, became such a grievous

burden to the veteran statesman, from the fact that the let-

ters received by him that were preserved amounted to twen-

ty-six thousand at the time of his death ; while the copies left

by him, of those which he himselfhad written, numbered six-

teen thousand. These were but a small jDortion of what he

wrote, as he Avrote numbers of which he retained no copies.

Mr. Jefferson's estimate of Napoleon's character is found

in the following interesting extract from a letter Vv^ritten to

Mr. Adams, February 24, 1823


To John Adams.—Character of Napoleon.

I have just finished reading O'Meara's Bonaparte. It

places him in a higher scale of understanding than I had al-

lotted him. I had thought him the greatest of all military

captains, but an indifferent statesman, and misled by unwor-

thy passions. The flashes, however, which escaped from him

in these conversations with O'Meara prove a mind of great

expansion, although not of distinct development and reason-

ing. He seizes results with rapidity and penetration, but

never explains logically the process of reasoning by which

he arrives at them.

This book, too, makes us forget his atrocities for a mo-

ment, in commiseration of his sufferings. I will not say

that the awtliorities of the world, charged with the care of

their country and people, had not a right to confine him for

life, as a lion or tiger, on the principle of self-preservation.

There was no safety to nations while he was permitted to

roam at large. But the putting him to death in cold blood,
by lingering tortures of mind, by vexations, insults, and dep-

rivations, was a degree of inhumanity to which the poison-

ings and assassinations of the school of Borgia and den of

Marat never attained. The book proves, also, that nature

had denied him the moral sense, the first excellence of well-



organized man. If he could seriously and repeatedly affirm

that he had raised himself to power without ever having

committed a crime, it proved that he wanted totally the

sense of right and wrong. If he could consider the millions

ofhuman lives which he had destroyed, or caused to be de-

stroyed, the desolations of countries by plunderings, burn-

ings, and famine, the destitutions of lawful rulers of the

world without the consent of their constituents, to place his

brothers and sisters on their thrones, the cutting up of es-

tablished societies of men and jumbling them discordantly

together again at his caprice, the demolition of the fairest

hopes of mankind for the recovery of their rights and amel-

ioration of their condition, and all the numberless train of

his other enormities—the man, I say, who could consider all

these as no crimes, must have been a moral monster, against
whom every hand should have been lifted to slay him.
You are so kind as to inquire after my health. The bone

ofmy arm is well knitted, but my hand and fingers are in a

discouraging condition, kept entirely useless by an oedema-

tous swelling of slow amendment. God bless you, and con-

tinue your good health of body and mind.

The broken arm alluded to at the close of this letter was

caused by an accident which Mr. Jefferson met with towards

the close of the year 1822. While descending a flight of

steps leading from one of the terraces at Monticello, a de-

cayed plank gave way and threw him forward at full length

on the ground. To a man in his eightieth year such a fall

might have been fatal, and Jefferson was fortunate in escap-

ing with a broken arm, though it gave him much pain at the

time, and was a serious inconvenience to him during the few

remaining years of his life. Though debarred from his usual

daily exercise on horseback for a short time after the acci-

dent occurred, he resumed his rides while his arm was yet

in a sling. His favorite riding-horse, Eagle, was brought up

to the terrace, whence he mounted while in this disabled

state. Eagle, though a spirited Virginia full-blood, seemed

instinctively to know that his venerable master was an in-

valid ; for, usually restless and spirited, he on these occasions



stood as quietly as a lamb, and, leaning up towards tlie ter-

race, seemed to wish to aid the crippled octogenarian as he

mounted into the saddle.

I make the following extracts from a letter full of interest,

written to Judge Johnson, of South Carolina, early in the

summer of 1823. He writes


To Judge Johnson.

What a treasure will be found in General Washington's

cabinet, when it shall pass into the hands of as candid a

friend to truth as he was himself!

With respect to his [Washington's] Farewell Address, to

the authorship ofwhich, it seems, there are conflicting claims,

I can state to you some facts. He had determined to decline

a re-election at the end of his first term, and so far deter-

mined, that he had requested Mr. Madison to prepare for

him something valedictory, to be addressed to his constitu-

ents on his retirement. This was done : but he was finally

persuaded to acquiesce in a second election, to which no one

more strenuously pressed him than myself, from a conviction

of the importance of strengthening, by longer habit, the re-

spect necessary for that office, which the weight of his char-

acter only could effect. •

When, at the end of this second

term, his Valedictory came out, Mn Madison recognized in

it several passages of his draught ; several others, we were

both satisfied, were from the pen of Hamilton ; and others

from that of the President himself These he probably put

into the hands of Hamilton to form into a whole, and hence

it may all appear in Hamilton's handwriting, as if it were all

of his composition

The close ofmysecond sheet warns me that it is time now

to relieve you from this letter of unmerciful length. Indeed,

I wonder how I have accomplished it, with two crippled

wrists, the one scarcely able to move my pen, the other to

hold my paper. But I am hurried sometimes beyond the

sense of pain, when unbosoming myself to friends who har-

monize with me in principle. You and I may differ occa-

sionally in details of minor consequence, as no two minds,

more than two faces, are the same in every feature. But our

general objects are the same—to preserve the republican



forms and principles of our Constitution, and cleave to the

salutary distribution of powers which that has established.

These are the two sheet-anchors of our Union. If driven

from either, we shall be in danger of foundering. To my

prayers for its safety and perpetuity, I add those for the con-

tinuation of your health, happiness, and usefulness to your


Towards the close of the year 1823 he wrote a long letter

to Lafayette, the following extracts from which show how

well he felt the infirmities of old age advancing upon him


To the Marquis de Lafayette.—[LJxtracts.]

Monticello, November 4th, 1823.
My dear Friend—Two dislocated wrists and crippled fin-

gers have rendered writing so slow and laborious, as to

oblige me to withdraw from nearly all correspondence—not

however, from yours, while I can make a stroke with a pen.
We have gone through too many trying scenes together to

forget the sympathies and afl^ections they nourished

After much sickness, and the accident of a broken and dis-

abled arm, I am again in tolerable health, but extremely de-

bilitated, so as to be scarcely able to walk into my garden.

The hebetude of age, too, and extinguishment of interest in

the things around me, are weaning me from them, and dis-

pose me with cheerfulness to resign them to the existing

generation, satisfied that the daily advance of science will

enable them to administer the commonwealth with increased

wisdom. You have still many valuable years to give to

your country, and with my prayers that they may be years

of health and happiness, and especially that they may see the

establishment of the principles of government which you

have cherished through life, accept the assurance of my con-

stant friendship and respect.

Early in the following year, in a reply to a request of

Isaac Engelbrecht that he would send him something from

his own hand, he writes :


Knowing nothing more moral,

more sublime, more worthy of your preservation than Da-

vid's description of the good man, in his 15th Psalm, I will



here transcribe it from Brady and Tate's version :"

he then

gives the Psalm in full.

In alluding to this year of his life, his biographer says,

^'Mr. Jefferson's absorbing topic throughout 1824 was the

University." He had first interested himself in this institu-

tion in the year 1817. The plan originally was only to es-

tablish a college, to be called the "

Central College of Vir-

ginia;" but in his hands it was enlarged, and consummated

in the erection of the University of Virginia, whose classic

dome and columns are now lit up by the morning rays of

the same sun which shines on the ruin and desolation of his

own once happy home.* The architectural plans and form

of government and instruction for this institution afforded

congenial occujaation for his declining years, and made it

emphatically the child of his old age. While the buildings

were being erected, his visits to them were daily ; and from

the northeast corner of the terrace at Monticello he frequent-

ly watched the workmen engaged on them, through a tele-

scope which is still jsreserved in the library of the Univer-


His toil and labors for this institution, and the obstacles

which he had to overcome in procuring the necessary funds

from the Virginia Legislature, served to distract his thoughts,

in a measure, from those pecuniary embarrassments which,

though resulting from his protracted services to his country,

so imbittered the closing years of his honored life. None

appreciated more highly than himself the importance of es-

tablishing Southern institutions for the instruction of South-

ern young men. We find allusions to this subject scattered

through the whole of his correspondence during this period

of his life.

How entirely he was absorbed in this darling project of

his old age, may be seen from the following extract from a

letter written by him to Mr, Adams, October 12, 1823 :

* The accompanying illustration presents the University of Virginia, as it

appeared in 185G.



To John Adams.

I do not write with the ease which your letter of Septem-

ber 18th su23poses. Crippled wrists and fingers make writ-

ing slow and laborious. But while writing to you, I lose the

sense of these things in the recollection of ancient times,

when youth and health made happiness out of every thing,

I forget for a while the hoary winter of age, when we can

think of nothing but how to keep ourselves warm, and how

to get rid of our heavy hours until the friendly hand of death

shall rid us .of all at once. Against this tedium vitce, how-

ever, I am fortunately mounted on a hobby, which, indeed, I

should have better managed some thirty or forty years ago


but whose easy amble is still sufficient to give exercise and

amusement to an octogenary rider. This is the establish-

ment of a University, on a scale more comprehensive, and

in a country more healthy and centi'al, than our old William

and Mary, which these obstacles have long kept in a state

of languor and inefficiency.

The following extract from a letter to a friend, inviting

him to Monticello, shows what little interest he took in j^ol-



You must be contented with the plain and sober family

and neighborl)'- society, with the assurance that you shall

hear no wrangling about the next President, although the

excitement on that subject will then be at its acme. Nu-

merous have been the attempts to entangle me in that im-

broglio. But at the age of eighty, I seek quiet, and abjure

contention, I read but a single newspaper, Ritchie's En.

quirej\ the best that is published or ever has been jjublished

in America.

In one of his letters to J. C, Cabell, written about the ap-

pointment of Professors for the University, we find the fol-

lowing passage, which sounds strangely now in an age when

nepotism is so rife


In the course of the trusts I have exercised through life

with powers of appointment, I can say with truth, and with

unspeakable comfort, that I never did appoint a relation to



office, and that merely because I never saw the case in which

some one did not oiFer, or occur, better qualified ; and I have

the most unlimited confidence that in the appointment of

Professors to our nursling institution every individual of
my associates will look with a single eye to the sublimation

of its character, and adopt, as our sacred motto, '"'Detitr dig-

nioxi!'''' In this way it will honor us, and bless our country.

In August, 1824, the people of the United States were, as

Jefierson wrote to a friend, thrown into a "delirium" ofjoy

by the arrival in New York of Lafayette. He had left their

shores forty years before, loaded with all the honors that an

admiring and victorious people could heap upon a generous

and gallant young defender. Filled with all the enthusiasm

inspired by youth, genius, and patriotism, he had returned to

his beloved France with a future full of promise and hope


and now, after having passed through the storms of two

Revolutions, after having seen his fairest hopes, both for

himself and his country, perish, he came back to America, an

impoverished and decrepit old man. His misfortunes, in the

eyes of the Americans, gave him greater claims on their love

and sympathy, and his visit was really triumphal. Jefier-

son, in describing his tour through the country, wrote : "


is making a triumphant progress through the States, from

town to town, with acclamations of welcome, such as no

crowned head ever received."

In writing to Lafayette to hasten his visit to Monticello,

where he was impatiently expected, Jefierson says


To Lafayette.

What a history have we to run over, from the evening that

yourself, Mousnier, Bernan, and other patriots settled, in my

house in Paris, the outlines of the constitution you wished.
And to trace it through all the disastrous chapters of Robes-

pierre, Barras, Bonaparte, and the Bourbons !

These things,
however, are for our meeting. You mention the return of

Miss Wright to America, accompanied by her sister ; but do

not say what her stay is to be, nor what her course. Should

it lead her to a visit of our University, which in its archi-



tecture only is as yet an object, herself and her companion

will nowhere find a welcome more hearty than with Mrs.

Randolph, and all the inhabitants of Monticello. This Athe-

naeum of our country, in embryo, is as yet but promise ; and

not in a state to recall the recollections of Athens. But

every thing has its beginning, its growth, and end ; and who

knows with what future delicious morsels of philosophy, by what future Miss Wright raked from its ruins, the world
may, some day, be gratified and instructed ?..*., . .

But all

these things d revoir ; in the mean time we are impatient

that your ceremonies at York should be over, and give you

to the embraces of friendship.

To Monticello, where "

the embraces of friendship "


ed him, Lafayette accordingly went, and the following de-

scription of the touching and beautiful scene witnessed by

those who saw the meeting between these two old friends

and veteran patriots has been furnished me by his grandson,

Mr. JeiFerson Randolph, Avho was present on that memorable

occasion :

Lafayette and Jefferson in 1824.

The lawn on the eastern side of the house at Monticello

contains not quite an acre. On this spot was the meeting of

Jeflerson and Lafayette, on the latter's visit to the United

States. The barouche containing Lafayette stopped at the

edge of this lawn. His escort—one hundred and twenty

mounted men—formed on one side in a semicircle extending

from the carriage to the hoxise. A crowd of about two hun-

dx'ed men, who were drawn together by curiosity to witness

the meeting of these two venerable men, formed themselves

in a semicircle on the opposite side. As Lafayette descend-

ed from the carriage, Jefferson descended the steps of the

portico. The scene which followed was touching. Jeffer-

son was feeble and tottering with age—Lafayette perma-

nently lamed and broken in health by his long confinement

in the dungeon of Olmutz. As they approached each other,

their uncertain gait quickened itself into a shufiling run,

and exclaiming, "Ah, Jefferson !"

"Ah, Lafayette !" they burst

into tears as they fell into each other's arras. Among the



four hundred men witnessing the scene there was not a dry

eye—no sound save an occasional suppressed sob. The two

old men entered the house as the crowd dispersed in pro-

found silence.

At a dinner given to Lafayette in Charlottesville, besides

the " Nation's Guest," there were present Jefferson, Madison,

and Monroe. To the toast : "

Thomas Jefferson and the

Declaration ofIndependence—alike identified with the Cause


Jeffer&on responded in a few written remarks,

which were read by Mr. Southall. We find in the follow-

ing extract from them a graceful and heartfelt tribute to his

well-loved friend


I joy, my friends, in your Joy, inspired by the visit of this

our ancient and distinguished leader and benefactor. His

deeds in the war of independence you have heard and read.

They are known to you, and embalmed in your memories

and in the pages of faithful history. His deeds in the peace

which followed that war, are perhaps not known to you


but I can attest them. When I was stationed in his coun-

try, for the purpose of cementing its friendship with ours

and of advancing our mutual interests, this friend of both

was my most powerful auxiliary and advocate. He made

our cause his own, as in truth it was that of his native coun-

try also. His influence and connections there were great.

All doors of all departments wei-e open to him at all times


to me only formally and at appointed times. In truth I only

held the nail, he drove it. Honor him, then, as your benefac-

tor in peace as well as in war.

Towards the close of the year 1824 Daniel Webster visit-

ed Monticello, and spent a day or two there. He has left us

an account of this visit, containing a minute description of

Jefferson's j)ersonal appearance, style of dress, and habits.

After giving extracts from this account, Mr. Randall, in his

Life of Jefferson, says : "

These descriptions appearing to us

to lack some of those gradations and qualifications in expres-

sion which are essential to convey accurate impressions, we

sought an opinion on them from one as familiar with Mr.



Jefferson, with his views and modes of expression, as any

person ever was, and received the following reply :

—, 1857.

My dear Mr. Randall—

First, on the subject of

Mr. Jefferson's personal appearance. Mr, Webster's descrip-

tion of it did not please me, because, though I will not stop

to quarrel with any of the details, the general impression it

was calculated to produce seemed to me an unfavorable one;

that is, a person who had never seen my grandfather, would,

from Mr. Webster's description, have thought him rather an

ill-looking man, which he certainly never was

It would be, however, very difficult for me to give an ac-

curate description of the appearance of one whom I so ten-

derly loved and deeply venerated. His person and counte-

nance were to me associated with so many of my best af-

fections, so much of my highest reverence, that I could not

expect other persons to see them as I did. One thing I will

say—that never inmy life did I see his countenance distorted

by a single bad passion or unworthy feeling. I have seen

the expression of suffering, bodily and mental, of grief, pain,

sadness, just indignation, disappointment, disagreeable sur-

prise, and displeasure, but never of anger, impatience, pee-

vishness, discontent, to say nothing of worse or moi'e ignoble

emotions. To the contrary, it was impossible to look on his

face without being struck with its benevolent, intelligent,

cheerful, and placid expression. It was at once intellectual,

good, kind, and pleasant, while his tall, spare figure spoke of

health, activity, and that helpfulness., that power and Avill,

"never to trouble another for what he could do himself,"

which marked his character.

His dress was simple, and adapted to his ideas of neatness

and comfort. He paid little attention to fashion, wearing

whatever he liked best, and sometimes blending the fashions

of several different periods. He wore long waistcoats, when

the mode was for very short ; white cambric stocks fastened

behind with a buckle, Avhen cravats were universal. He

adopted the pantaloon Very late in life, because he found it

more comfortable and convenient, and cut off his queue for

the same reason. He made no change except from motives

of the same kind, and did nothing to be in conformity with



the fashion of the day. He considered such independence

as the privilege of his age

In like manner, I never heard him speak of Wirt's Life of

Patrick Henry with the amount of severity recorded by Mr,

Webster. My impression is that here too, Mr. Webster,

from a very natural impulse, and without the least intention

of misrepresentation, has put down only those parts of Mr.

Jefierson's remarks which accorded with his own views, and

left out all the extenuations—the "

circonstantes attendantes,^''

as the French say. This, of course, would lead to an erro-

neous impression. Of Mr. Wirt's book my grandfather did

not think very highly ; but the unkind remark, so far as Mr.

Wirt was personally concerned, unaccompanied by any thing

to soften its severity, is, to say the least, very little like Mr.



OfJefferson's opinion ofHenry, Mr. Randall goes on to say:

His whole correspondence, and his Memoir written at the

age of seventy-seven, exhibit his unbounded admiration of
Henry in certain particulars, and his dislike or severe ani-

madversion in none. Henry and lie came to differ very

widely in politics, and the former literally died leading a

gallant political sortie against the conquering Republicans.
On one occasion, at least, his keen native humor was directed

personally against Jefferson. With his inimitable look and

tone, he with great effect declared that he did not approve

of gentlemen's "

abjuring their native victuals."* This gave

great diversion to Jefferson. He loved to talk about Henry,

to narrate anecdotes of their early intimacy ; to paint his

taste for unrestrained nature in every thing ; to describe his

bonhomie^ his humor, his unquestionable integrity, mixed

with a certain waywardness and freakishness ; to give illus-

trations of his shrewdness, and of his overwhelming power

as an orator.

Mr. Randall's indefatigable industry in ferretting out ev-

ery account and record of Jefferson has laid before the pub-

* The Republicans were accused of being adherents of France—tlie cookery

of Monticello was French.

Randall's Note.



lie Dr. Dunglison's interesting and valuable memoranda con-

cerning his intercourse with Mr. Jefferson and his last illness

and death. I make the following extracts :

Dr. Dunglison's Memoranda.

Soon afterwards [the arrival at Charlottesville] the vener-

able ex-President presented himself, and welcomed us* with

that dignity and kindness for which he was celebrated. He

was then eighty-two years old, with his intellectual powers

unshaken by age, and the physical man so active that he

rode to and from Monticello, and took exercise on foot with

all the activity of one twenty or thirty years younger. He

sympathized with us on the discomforts of our long voyage,

and on the disagreeable journey we must have passed over

the Virginia roads ; and depicted to us the great distress he

had felt lest we had been lost at sea—for he had almost

given us up, when my letter arrived with the joyful intelli-

gence that we were safe

The houses [the professors' houses, or "pavilions" of the

University] were much better furnished than we had expect-

ed to find them, and would have been far more commodious

had Mr. Jefferson consulted his excellent and competent

daughter, Mrs. Randolph, in regai'd to the interior arrange-

ments, instead of planning the architectural exterior first,

and leaving the interior to shift for itself. Closets would

have interfered with the symmetry of the rooms or passages,

and hence there were none in most of the houses; and of the

only one which was furnished Avith a closet, it was told as

an anecdote of Mr. Jefferson, that, not suspecting it, accord-

ing to his general arrangements, he opened the door and

walked into it in his way out of the pavilion

Mr. Jefferson was considered to have but little faith in

physic ; and has often told me that he would rather trust to

the unaided, or, rather, uninterfered with, efforts of nature

than to physicians in general. "

It is not," he was wont to

observe, "

to physic that I object so much, as to physicians."

Occasionally, too, he would speak jocularly, especially to the

unprofessional, of medical practice, and on one occasion gave

* The professors of the University, who were all foreigners, and brought

by Mr. Jefferson from Europe, with the exception of two only.



offense, when, most assuredly, if the same thing had been said

to me, no offense would have been taken. In the presence

of Dr. Everett, afterwards Private Secretary to Mr. Monroe,

he remarked that whenever he saw three physicians togeth-

er, he looked up to discover whether there was not a turkey-

buzzard in the neighborhood. The annoyance of the doctor,

I am told, was manifest. To me, when it was recounted, it

seemed a harmless jest. But whatever may have been Mr.

Jefferson's notions of physic and yjhysicians, it is but justice

to say that he was one of the most attentive and respectful

of patients. He bore suffering inflicted upon him for reme-

dial purposes with fortitude ; and in my visits, showed me,

by memoranda, the regularity with which he had taken the

prescribed remedies at the appointed times

In the summer of 1825, the monotonous life of the college

was broken in upon by the arrival of General Lafayette, to

take leave of his distinguished friend, Mr. Jefferson, prepara-

tory to his return to France. A dinner was given to him in

the rotunda by the professors and students, at which Mr.

Madison and Mr. Monroe were present, but Mr. Jefferson's

indisposition prevented him from attending. "

The meeting

at Monticello," says M. Levasseur, the Secretary to General

Lafayette during his journey, in his '"''Lafayette in America

in 1824 and 1825," vol. ii., p. 245, "of three men who, by

their successive elevation to the su^Dreme magistracy of the

state, had given to their country twenty-four years of pros-

perity and glory, and who still oflered it the example of pri-

vate virtues, was a suflaciently strong inducement to make

us wish to stay there a longer time ; but indispensable du-

ties recalled General Lafayette to Washington, and he was

obliged to take leave of his friends. I shall not attempt to

depict the sadness which prevailed at this cruel separation,

which had none of the alleviation which is usually felt by

youth; for in this instance the individuals who bade fare-

well had all passed through a long career, and the immensi-

ty of the ocean would still add to the difficulties of a re-


M. Levasseur has evidently confounded this banquet with

that given by the inhabitants of Charlottesville, the year

preceding, during the first visit of Lafayette to Mr. Jeffer-

son. At that period there were neither professors nor stu-



dents, as the institution was not opened until six mouths af-

terwards. "Every thing," says M. Levasseur (vol. i,,

p. 220),


had been prepared at Charlottesville, by the citizens and

students, to give a worthy reception to Lafayette. The

sight of the nation's guest seated at the patriotic banquet,

between Jefferson and Madison, excited in those present an

enthusiasm which expressed itself in enlivening sallies of

wit and humor. Mr. Madison, who had arrived that day at

Charlottesville to attend this meeting, was especially re-

markable for the originality of his expressions and the deli-

cacy of his allusions. Before leaving the table he gave a

toast—' To Liberty—with Virtue for her Guest, and Grati-

tude for the Feast^ which Avas received with rapturous ap-


The same enthusiasm prevailed at the dinner given in the

rotunda. One of the toasts proposed by an officer of the in-

stitution, I believe, was an example of forcing a metaphor to

the full extent of its capability

''The Ajjple of our Hearfs




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