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degree to disturb the happiness of the last years of his life. As the greater part of his life had been spent in the service of his country, and in public stations, to the support of which the small salary, which the more than Spartan economy of a republic allowed, was by no means equal, the estate of Mr. Jefferson, though originally large, had been constantly diminishing, and in 1825, he found himself obliged to apply to the Legislature of Virginia, for leave to dispose of his estate of Monticello by lottery, to prevent its being sacrificed, and in order to raise money sufficient to discharge his debts. This indeed was granted, but the days of the patriot were numbered, the time was fast approaching when his earthly wants were to cease, and the name of Jefferson must ever remain another instance of the tardy gratitude of republics.
The fourth of July, 1826, being the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence, great preparations were made, in every part of the Union for its celebration, as the nation's jubilee, and the citizens of Washington, to add to the solemnity of the occasion, invited Mr. Jefferson, as the framer, and one of the few surviving signers, of the Declaration, to participate in their festivities. But an illness, which had been of several weeks' duration, and had been continually increasing, compelled him to decline the invitation. In his reply, on the twentyfourth of June, he gives evidence, that although his earthly frame was fast perishing, his mind was still the same ; still animated with the same ardent love of liberty, still eager for the universal emancipation of man. " It adds sensibly," he writes, “to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day; but acquiescence under circumstances, is a duty not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations, personally, with the small band, the remnant of the host of worthies who joined with us, on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission and the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow-citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self government. The form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the lights or science has already laid open, to every view, the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few, booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others; for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
Soon after this letter was written, the illness, which before had not, been considered at all dangerous, increased rapidly, and on the tweaty. sixth, he was obliged to confine himself to his bed. On the second of
July, the disease, under which he was laboring, left him, but in such a reduced state, that his medical attendants entertained no hope of his recovery. From this time he himself was perfectly sensible, that his last hour was at hand, and with the utmost calmness he conversed with the different members of his family, and gave directions concerning his coffin, and his funeral, which he was desirous should be at Monticello, and without any display or parade. On the next day, which was Monday, he asked of those around him, the day of the month, and on being told it was the third of July, he expressed the earnest wish that he might be permitted to breathe the air of the fiftieth anniversary. His prayer was heard—that day, whose dawn was hailed with such rapture through our land, burst upon his eyes, and then they were closed forever. And what a noble consummation of a noble life! To die on that day,—the birthday of a nation,—the day which his own name and his own act had rendered glorious; to die amidst the rejoicings and festivities of a whole nation, who looked up to him, as the author, under God, of their greatest blessings, was all that was wanting to fill up the record of his life. Fifty summers had rolled over his head, since the day when the Congress of '76 declared America independent; fifty years he had watched over her like a parent over his child; and he had been permitted to see that country, whose cause in her hour of darkness he had so nobly maintained, prosperous and happy. He had prayed that he might see that day; and on that day, amidst the acclamations of twelve millions of freemen, in the hour within which, fifty years before, he had signed the Magna Charta of American Freedom, his spirit was freed from the bondage of earth. Happy in his life, more happy in his death, of him it may truly be said, that
Nothing in his life,
Became him like the leaving it.”. And almost at the same hour, the kindred spirit of the venerable Adams, as if to bear him company, left the scene of his earthly honors. Hand in hand they had stood forth, the champions of freedom; hand in hand, during the dark and desperate struggle of the revolution, they had cheered and animated their desponding countrymen; for half a century they had labored together for the good of their country; and now hand in hand they departed. In their lives they had been united in the same great cause of liberty, and in their deaths they were not divided.
At the time of his death, Mr. Jefferson had attained the age of eightythree years and a few months. In January, 1772, he was married to Martha, widow of Bathurst Skelton, and daughter of John Wayles, a lawyer of considerable eminence in the then colony of Virginia. Their union, however, was of short duration ; she died in September, 1782, leaving three daughters, one of whom died young, the other two were married, one to Thomas M. Randolph, afterwards Governor of Virginia, the other to Mr. Eppes.
In person Mr. Jefferson was tall and thin, rather above six feet in height, but well formed; his eyes were light, his hair, originally red, in after life became white and silvery; his complexion was fair, his forehead broad, and his whole countenance intelligent and thoughtful.
Ile possosscd great fortitude of mind as well as personal courage ; and his command of temper was such, that his oldest and most intimate friends never recollected to have seen him in a passion. His manners, though dignified, were simple and unaffected, and his hospitality was so unbounded, that all found at his house a ready welcome. In conversation he was fluent, eloquent, and enthusiastic; and his language was remarkably pure and correct. He was a finished classical scholar, and in his writings is discernible the care with which he formed his style upon the best models of antiquity. His style is pleasing and attractive, seeking rather to persuade by the beauty and refinement of manner, than to convince by the mere force of argument. Of Mr. Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, we have already spoken; another work published by him, while he was Vice-President, and, consequently, presiding officer of the Senate, was a Manual of Parliamentary Practice, which has since been a standard work on that subject, and probably contains the best collection of rules for forensic debate in existence. But for Mr. Jefferson's most numerous and most important productions, we must go to the archives of the government, and there in the state papers, and reports made by him, we shall find the evidence of his talents, industry, and learning. His correspondence was very extensive, embracing not only the great men of his own country, but also the most distinguished philosophers and statesmen of France. Since his death, four volumes of his writings, edited by his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, have been published, containing a short meinoir of his life, to the time of his appointment to be Secretary of State, written by himself, in 1821, and also a large collection of his letters, to various persons, and on various subjects.
It is neither our intention or wish, to speak of the religious opinions of Mr. Jefferson. Discarding as we do, all political prejudices, we have heretofore been enabled to speak of him in terms of approbation, and that too, as we trust, without any sacrifice of truth. This could not be the case, however, should we now enter upon the consideration of his religious sentiments. As a mere moralist, he must ever be esteemed for opinions and doctrines, which would have done honor to the purest sages of Greece and Rome, and which certainly far surpassed the theories and the practice of his masters in religion, the sceptics of the French school.
But little now remains to be said of Mr. Jefferson; his whole life was passed before the public eye, and his actions speak his character better than any words can express them. Whatever may be the judgment of posterity, in regard to Mr. Jefferson's administration, it is as the bold and fearless patriot of the revolution,—as the frame of the Declaration of American Independence, that he will be best known. Posterity may be divided, as the present age has been, concerning the wisdom and the expediency of his measures, while he occupied the chair of the Chief Magistrate, for those measures were of such doubtful tendency, that the best and wisest might differ concerning them; but as one of the Congress of '76, as one of the firmest opposers of British aggressions, as one of the most able statesmen of the revolution, his conduct has been stamped by the approbation of a whole nation, and a judgment rendered, that no future age will ever reverse. The latter part of Mr. Jefferson's life also presents a most pleasing picture. It is delightful to see a man of such vast acquisitions, and such varied powers, after a life spent in the service of his country, and in the fulfilment of the highest duties, calmly retire from public stations, to spend his declining years, not in inactivity and lethargy, but in untiring exertions for the advancement of the human race; and instead of sinking into a second childhood, by constant exercise maintaining all the faculties of his mind unimpaired to the last. We hardly know which is the more interesting object-Thomas Jefferson, as the young and ardent patriot of '76, or as the silver haired philosopher of Monticello. Or if the former is the more interesting, surely the latter is the more pleasing. When we look upon the former, while we admire his noble spirit, and his holy daring, we yet tremble for his safety, as we think of the rocks and quicksands by which he is surrounded, and of which the least may make shipwreck of him forever
. But when we contemplate the latter, in all the serenity of an honored old age, resting from his labors, and seeking in the cultivation of philosophy the highest pleasures of the intellect, and the means still to benefit mankind-we feel an emotion of thankfulness rising in our hearts, at the thought that all those dangers we so much dreaded have been passed; that the course so prosperously commenced, has been gloriously pursued, and the long wished for haven at last obtained. The admiration we involuntarily feel for the former, is more than equalled by the veneration we willingly offer to the latter.
Materials for the biography of a public man are to be found, for the most part, in the history of the great events in which he was an actor. In our own country this is particularly the case. It is, perhaps, hardly to be regretted that the private life of our distinguished men is in some measure sacred from the offensive notoriety which is the lot and the penalty of eminence in other countries. The numerous dependants on the periodical press of Great Britain deem themselves privileged to annoy men of
any reputation, by what they term sketches of their lives. They pick up garbled and inaccurate stories, invent one or two leading incidents, and, to complete the biography, fasten upon its unfortunate subject a few of the most popular anecdotes that have been current for the last century. These accounts circulate for the truth, and a man is obliged to see himself the hero of battles which he never fought, and an actor upon boards which he never trod.
But there is some satisfaction in reading even an incorrect, but well written account of a great man's life, for the same reason that there is pleasure in looking on an indifferent likeness, which is well painted and handsonely framed. Taste is pleased, if curiosity is not satisfied. A void is filled ; we have learned something, and if that something is not accurate, we still have high authority for believing that all history is little better than fable.
Of the early life of Mr. Madison we have been able to collect no authentic anecdotes. His later years were passed in the most entire seclusion, as he lived in the strictest privacy at his seat in Montpelier, Virginia. He was born in the ycar 1750, and took an early and efficient interest in the affairs of our infant republic. Sound principles on subjects of public and political interest seem to have been instilled into him from his birth. To state what little we know of his private life, before commencing the narration of that part of his career which is the property of his country, Mr. Madison, in 1794, was married to Mrs. Todd, in Philadelphia, widow of John Todd, Esq. a practitioner of the Pennsylvania bar. Her maiden name was Paine, and her father, who was of the Society of Friends, emigrated from Virginia to Philadelphia. She was eighteen years of age at the time of her first marriage, and as her husband died in less than
years afterwards, she was still quite young when she became the wife of Mr. Madison. Her manners were agreeable, her deportment mild and dignified, and her conversation fascinating. With the wish to please, and a willingness to be pleased, she was popular in her circle of associates ; and when her second husband was called to his high office, she discharged, with a dignified affability, those polite attentions which were so constantly required of her. She exerted a woman's tender influ