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selections of The Most VALUABLE Pontions of His voluminous AND UNRIVALED
By B. L. RAYNER.
“For I have sworn upon the Altar of God, cternal hostility against overy
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1831, by Alfred Francis and William Boardman, in the Clerk's office of the District
court of Connecticut.
ERRATA.—Page 34, fifth line from the top, for “ 1769 read 1765.
397, third line from top, for ‘Jay' read Marshal.
Note.---Owing to the extension of the volume about 50 pages beyond what was contemplated, the Appendix is necessarily omitted.
The materials for this volume are principally derived from the posthumous works of Mr. Jefferson himself, lately published by his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. These works were received with extraordinary approbation by one great portion of the public, as was the case, indeed, with every thing that ever came from that remarkable man ; and by another considerable portion, with a corresponding degree of dissatisfaction, always to be expected from the well known opinions of the Author on certain fundamental points of principle, and the strongly marked division of public sentiment on those points.
These works extend through four large octavo volumes, of about 500 pages each; nearly the whole of which is occupied with the Correspondence of the Author, public and private. In the first volume is an auto-memoir of about ninety pages, exhibiting a brief outline of the first forty-seven years only of the Author's life, and terminating, unfortunately, at the precise epoch when his history began to assume the highest importance. It appears in the rough form of ‘memoranda and recollections of dates and facts, taken simply as he states, “for his own more ready reference, and for the information of his family.” Besides containing many interesting notices of his personal and family history, the Memoir is enriched by many important particulars relating to the origin and early stages of the Revolution, and the establishment of the Republic—by the Debates in Congress on the great question of Independence, with the historical circumstances attending the preparation and adoption of that memorable instrument; and by a narrative, interspersed with sage political reflections, of the causes and early course of the French Revolution, as exhibited to the observation of the Author, during his diplomatic residence at Paris. This portion of the work derives peculiar value from the circumstance of its containing the first disclosure to the world, in an authentic form, of the Debates on the memorable occasion of Independence, and from the probability, or rather certainty, that a like knowledge of them is not to be expect. ed from any other source. Appended to the Memoir, or within the body of it, are a variety of ancient productions of Mr. Jefferson, which will be new to most readers. Among them are, a paper drawn up in 1774, as instructions to the Delegates in Congress from Virginia, being the first formal enunciation of the political doctrines of the Revolution—A Penal Code, being part of a Revised Code of Laws executed by himself and others, in 1776, with reference to the humane principles of a Republican form of government—An historical account of the overthrow of the Church establishment in Wirginia, always considered by the Author as one of his best efforts in the cause of Liberty—And an elaborate paper, drafted in 1784, on the establishment of a uniform system of Coinage and Currency, which laid the foundation of the present system in the United States. At the end of the fourth volume are about eighty pages of what are quaintly denominated ANAs ; being Notes of Conversations held with President Washington, Mr. Adams, General Hamilton, and others, while he was Secretary of State, or Vice President; and memoranda of Cabinet Councils, committed to paper on the spot, and filed; the whole combining to show the views and tendencies of parties, from the year 1790 to 1800, and preserved for the purpose of furnishing “their testimony against the only history of that period which pretends to have been compiled from authentic and unpublished documents.” The remainder of the four volumes consists entirely of the Correspondence of the Author, chiefly private and confidential, from the year 1775 to his death. During the greater period of his life. Mr. Jefferson wrote with a polygraph or copying press, which enabled him to preserve with ease a regular file of his letters from year to year. These letters are addressed to a great variety of individuals in this, and in foreign countries. They comprise an immense range of information, and in many instances, regular Essays on subjects of History, Politics, Science, Morals, and Religion. Taken all in all, this posthumous work is the richest auto-biographical deposite, and one of the most important publications ever presented to the world. Viewed in the light of Political History, Philosophy and Literature, it abounds with relations of momentous import, with reflections of consummate wisdom and profound observation, conveyed in a style of unrivaled felicity and power; and it supplies the record of many important transactions connected with our government, of which no authentic memorials had been preserved. But it is in the light of a private revelation, pushing its fearless disclosures into the inmost recesses of the mind and character of the man, that its most distinguishing excellence consists. We have here the ungarbled contents of the Cabinet of the Author, gradually accumulating through an era among the most momentous in the annals of the world, and of which himself was a principal actor, incessantly placed in the most trying situations which it asforded. This vast collection of letters, compiled from the unrevised manuscripts of the Writer, thrown off on the spur of the occasion, in the freedom of unrestrained confidence, and spreading over a period of fifty years, have opened the folding doors to the character of Mr. Jefferson, and introduced us into the sanctuary of his most secret meditations. They derive essential importance from the fact