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Thomas Jefferson: Sacred and Undeniable?

Anectotage.com provides many stories about famous people. Check out this one on Thomas Jefferson
     Thomas Jefferson was not responsible for the final version of the most stirring passage in the American Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Jefferson’s original draft read: “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

     The Second Continental Congress cut or changed 500 of Jefferson’s words, “mutilations” for which he remained bitter for the rest of his life. Years after the Constitutional Convention, he was still sending both versions to friends to ask which one they preferred.

     The final insult to Jefferson’s legacy came two centuries later, however, when the home in which he had drafted the Declaration of Independence was torn down – and replaced with a hamburger stand.

 Source: http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=7533

Tommorow:  A Special Valentine

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Jefferson on Guns

     “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” 

                            Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to his nephew Peter Carr, August 19, 1785.

    Jefferson over years owned numerous firearms.  The most well known firearms owned by Jefferson were a pair of Turkish pistols received from the estate of General Isaac Zane in place of a money bequest. Jefferson described them and, at the same time, modestly alluded to his ability as a pistol shot: “They are 20. inch barrels so well made that I never missed a squirrel at 30 yards with them…” 

    In a letter to Payne Todd dated August 15, 1816, Jefferson wrote:  “You must now accept a keep-sake from me, which may suit you as a sportsman, better than myself who have ceased to be one. I send by the stage, to be lodged for you at Orange C.H. a box containing a pair of Turkish pistols. They were originally with wheel-locks, which not being convenient, I had locks of the modern form substituted, but so that they can be changed for the former in a moment. They are 20. inch barrels so well made that I never missed a squirrel 30. yards with them. I fixed one in a wooden holster to hang in the loop of the pommel of [my saddle] to be handily taken out and in…I had other holsters also made for both [to] hang them at the side of my carriage for road use, and with locks and staples to secure them from being handled by curious people. One of the wheel locks is a little out of order, and will require a skilful gunsmith to put to rights.”

For more info:  http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/firearms

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Jefferson on Jenner’s Smallpox Vaccine

 Despite his skepticism of many medical treatments, Jefferson was an early advocate of smallpox inoculation. Smallpox epidemics caused many deaths in the American colonies. However, in 1766 at age twenty-three, Jefferson made a special visit to Philadelphia in order to be inoculated for smallpox. In later years, he would have his daughters, grandchildren, and slaves inoculated as well. 

In later years, Jefferson penned a note to Dr. Edward Jenner, who developed the small pox vaccine.

Letter from Jefferson To Dr. Edward Jenner,Monticello, May 14, 1806

  SIR, — I have received a copy of the evidence at large respecting the discovery of the vaccine inoculation which you have been pleased to send me, and for which I return you my thanks.  Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to its efficiency, I took an early part in recommending it to my countrymen.  I avail myself of this occasion of rendering you a portion of the tribute of gratitude due to you from the whole human family.  Medicine has never before produced any single improvement of such utility.  Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood was a beautiful addition to our knowledge of the animal economy, but on a review of the practice of medicine before and since that epoch, I do not see any great amelioration which has been derived from that discovery.  You have erased from the calendar of human afflictions one of its greatest.  Yours is the comfortable reflection that mankind can never forget that you have lived.  Future nations will know by history only that the loathsome small-pox has existed and by you has been extirpated.

        Accept my fervent wishes for your health and happiness and assurances of the greatest respect and consideration.

Tomorrow:  Jefferson on Guns     Rita Bay

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The Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemings Affair

     Whether Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, had a long-term affair and the paternity of her six children has remained a controversial to the present day.   The passage below is a truncated excerpt from Monticello.org that based on their investigation and DNA testing concludes that Jefferson was the probable father of some, if not all, of the children.  The link to the full report that includes a rebuttal to the report is provided at the end of the excerpt.

    “The claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings, a slave at Monticello, entered the public arena during Jefferson’s first term as president, and it has remained a subject of discussion and disagreement for two centuries.” (Break)

     “Although there had been rumors of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and a slave before 1802, Callender’s article spread the story widely. It was taken up by Jefferson’s Federalist opponents and was published in many newspapers during the remainder of Jefferson’s presidency. (Break)

     “Over the years, however, belief in a Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings relationship was perpetuated in private. Two of her children – Madison and Eston – indicated that Jefferson was their father, and this belief has been relayed through generations of their descendants as an important family truth.

   The results of the study established that an individual carrying the male Jefferson Y chromosome fathered Eston Hemings (born 1808), the last known child born to Sally Hemings. There were approximately 25 adult male Jeffersons who carried this chromosome living in Virginia at that time, and a few of them are known to have visited Monticello. The study’s authors, however, said “the simplest and most probable” conclusion was that Thomas Jefferson had fathered Eston Hemings.” (Break)

         “The DNA testing also found no genetic link between the Hemings and Carr descendants.  Shortly after the DNA test results were released in November 1998, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation formed a research committee consisting of nine members of the foundation staff, including four with Ph.D.s. In January 2000, the committee reported its finding that the weight of all known evidence – from the DNA study, original documents, written and oral historical accounts, and statistical data – indicated a high probability that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Eston Hemings, and that he was perhaps the father of all six of Sally Hemings’ children listed in Monticello records – Harriet (born 1795; died in infancy); Beverly (born 1798); an unnamed daughter (born 1799; died in infancy); Harriet (born 1801); Madison (born 1805); and Eston (born 1808).

      Thomas Jefferson was at Monticello at the likely conception times of Sally Hemings’ six known children. There are no records suggesting that she was elsewhere at these times, or records of any births at times that would exclude Jefferson paternity.

There are no indications in contemporary accounts by people familiar with Monticello that Sally Hemings’ children had different fathers. Sally Hemings’ children were light-skinned, and three of them (daughter Harriet and sons Beverly and Eston) lived as members of white society as adults. According to contemporary accounts, some of Sally Hemings’ children strongly resembled Thomas Jefferson.

     Thomas Jefferson freed all of Sally Hemings’ children: Beverly and Harriet were allowed to leave Monticello in 1822; Madison and Eston were released in Jefferson’s 1826 will. Jefferson gave freedom to no other nuclear slave family. Thomas Jefferson did not free Sally Hemings. She was permitted to leave Monticello by his daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph not long after Jefferson’s death in 1826, and went to live with her sons Madison and Eston in Charlottesville.” (Large break)

     “Although the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings has been for many years, and will surely continue to be, a subject of intense interest to historians and the public, the evidence is not definitive, and the complete story may never be known. The Foundation encourages its visitors and patrons, based on what evidence does exist, to make up their own minds as to the true nature of the relationship.”

Read the full account of the Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemings controversy at:

 http://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-sally-hemings-brief-account

Tomorrow:  Jefferson on Jenner’s SmallpoxVaccine  Rita Bay

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Essential Principles of Government

Jefferson’s Essential Principles of Government from his First Inaugural Address    March 4, 1801
     About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people — a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

Read the full text:  www.milestonedocuments.com/…/thomas-jeffersons-first-inaugural-address/

Tomorrow: The Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemings Affair   Rita Bay

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Jefferson’s Ice Cream Recipe

     Thomas Jefferson was able to enjoy ice cream throughout the year because ice was “harvested” from the Rivanna River in winter and taken to the Monticello ice house, which held sixty-two wagon-loads. The ice house located in Monticello’s north dependency wing was used throughout the year primarily to preserve meat and butter, but also to chill wine and to make ice cream. In 1815, Jefferson noted, the ice supply lasted until October 15.  Tomorrow, Jackson’s statement of the Essential Prinicples of Government from his 1st Inaugural Address.  Rita Bay

 

    The original recipe is found in the Jefferson Papers collection at the Library of Congress.  The recipe written in Jefferson’s own hand is the first American recipe for ice cream.  The sabottiere Jefferson refered to is the inner cannister shown in the drawing. There was no crank to turn it; when Jefferson wrote “turn the Sabottiere in the ice 10 minutes” he meant for someone to grab the handle and turn the cannister clockwise and then counterclockwise.

Ice Cream.

     2 bottles of good cream.
     6 yolks of eggs.
     1/2 lb sugar

Mix the yolks & sugar. Put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of Vanilla. When near boiling take it off & pour it gently into the mixture of eggs & sugar.  Stir it well. Put it on the fire again stirring it thoroughly with a spoon to prevent it’s sticking to the casserole.  When near boiling take it off and strain it thro’ a towel.  Put it in the Sabottiere then set it in ice an hour before it is to be served.  Put into the ice a handful of salt. Put salt on the coverlid of the Sabottiere & cover the whole with ice.  Leave it still half a quarter of an hour.  Then turn the Sabottiere in the ice 10 minutes  Open it to loosen with a spatula the ice from the inner sides of the Sabottiere. Shut it & replace it in the ice open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides  when well taken (prise) stir it well with the Spatula.  Put it in moulds, justling it well down on the knee. Then put the mould into the same bucket of ice. Leave it there to the moment of serving it. To withdraw it, immerse the mould in warm water, turning it well till it will come out & turn it into a plate.

MODERN VERSION  From Marie Kimball’s Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book 

Beat the yolks of 6 eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add, gradually, 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil 1 quart of cream and pour slowly on the egg mixture. Put in top of double boiler and when thickens, remove and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. When cool add 2 teaspoonfuls of vanilla. Freeze, as usual, with one part of salt to three parts of ice. Place in a mould, pack with ice and salt for several hours. For electric refrigerators, follow usual direction, but stir frequently.

Source of full text:  http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/home-activity-0

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Washington’s Dentures Put Under the Laser

     Story was that Washington’s false teeth were made of wood.  In 2005 researchers at the dental museum in Baltimore conducted a high-tech study of Washington’s famous false teeth.  High-tech laser scans revealed that the dentures are made from gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were common components). The dentures had springs to help them open and bolts to hold them together.

Washington had Several Sets

     Scientists and historians plan to use the information to help create new, expressive, life-sized figures of plaster and wax to show aspects of the 6-foot-3 Washington’s personality they consider underappreciated.

Tomorrow, a salute to to Thomas Jefferson begins with his recipe for ice cream, the first recorded in the US,

For more info check out: the Associated Press article of  1/27/2005  at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6875436/ns/technology_and_science-science/

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An Eyewitness Account of the Death of George Washington

George Custis in 1844

     George Washington Custis, Martha Washington’s grandson, was a witness to George Washington’s death.   Custis who was 19 years old when Washington died in 1799 records his account of Washington’s death in Recollections of Washington (1860). Tomorrow, a high-tech look at Washington’s dentures.

     “On the morning of the thirteenth, the general was engaged in making some improvements in the front of Mount Vernon. As was usual with him, he carried his own compass, noted his observations, and marked out the ground. The day became rainy, with sleet, and the improver remained so long exposed to the inclemency of the weather as to be considerably wetted before his return to the house. About one o’clock he was seized with chilliness and nausea, but having changed his clothes, he sat down to his indoor work – there being no moment of his time for which he had not provided an appropriate employment.

     At night on joining his family circle, the general complained of a slight indisposition, and after a single cup of tea, repaired to his library, where he remained writing until between eleven and twelve o’clock. Mrs. Washington retired about the usual family hour, but becoming alarmed at not hearing the accustomed sound of the library door as it closed for the night, and gave signal for rest in the well-regulated mansion, she rose again, and continued sitting up, in much anxiety and suspense. At length the well-known step was heard on the stair, and upon the general’s entering his chamber, the lady chided him for staying up so late, knowing him to be unwell, to which Washington made this memorably reply: ‘I came so soon as my business was accomplished. You well know that through a long life, it has been my unvaried rule, never to put off till the morrow the duties which should be performed today.’

     Having first covered the fire with care, the man of mighty labors sought repose; but it came not, as it long had been wont to do, to comfort and restore after the many and earnest occupations of the well-spent day. The night was passed in feverish restlessness and pain…The manly sufferer uttered no complaint, would permit no one to be disturbed in their rest on his account, and it was only at daybreak he would consent that the overseer might be called in, and bleeding resorted to. A vein was opened, but no relief afforded. Couriers were dispatched to Dr. Craik, the family, and Drs. Dick and Brown, the consulting physicians, all of whom came with speed. The proper remedies were administered, but without producing their healing effects; while the patient, yielding to the anxious looks of all around him, waived his usual objections to medicines, and took those which were prescribed without hesitation or remark. The medical gentlemen spared not their skill, and all the resources of their art were exhausted in unwearied endeavors to preserve this noblest work of nature.

    The night approached – the last night of Washington. The weather became severely cold while the group gathered nearer to the couch of the sufferer, watching with intense anxiety for the slightest dawning of hope. He spoke but little. To the respectful and affectionate inquiries of an old family servant, as she smoothed down his pillow, how he felt himself, he answered, ‘I am very ill.’ To Dr. Craik, his earliest companion-in-arms, longest tried and bosom friend, he observed, ‘I am dying, sir – but am not afraid to die.’ To Mrs. Washington he said, ‘Go to my desk, and in the private drawer you will find two papers – bring them to me.’ They were brought. He continued -‘These are my Wills -preserve this one and burn the other,’ which was accordingly done. Calling to Colonel Lear, he directed – ‘Let my corpse be kept for the usual period of three days.’

     The patient bore his acute sufferings with fortitude and perfect resignation to the Divine will, while as the night advanced it became evident that he was sinking, and he seemed fully aware that ‘his hour was nigh.’ He inquired the time, and was answered a few minutes to ten. He spoke no more – the hand of death was upon him, and he was conscious that ‘his hour was come.’ With surprising self-possession he prepared to die. Composing his form at length, and folding his arms on his bosom, without a sigh, without a groan, the Father of his Country died. No pang or struggle told when the noble spirit took its noiseless flight; while so tranquil appeared the manly features in the repose of death, that some moments had passed ere those around could believe that the patriarch was no more.”
For more info, check out:  “The Death of George Washington, 1799,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001).

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Washington on Weapons

Washington's Pistol

     George Washington was a warrior before he became the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, a statesman that helped fashion the Constitution, and the first President of the United States.  He wrote in support of firearms:  “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”  His favorite weapon was this decorative flintlock pistol with embossed wood and metal grips is 13.5″ long and weighs 1.2 lbs. 

     George Washington wore this simple hanger sword as his battle sword while serving as commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  The sword has a slightly curved, grooved forged steel blade, a silver mounted cross guard and pommel, and a green ivory grip.  The scabbard was leather with silver trim. The dimensions were: 3.5″ H x 36.25″ W x 1.25″ D.  It was made in Fishkill, New York by John Bailey, an immigrant cutler from Sheffield, England. The sword was inherited by Washington’s nephew, Samuel T. Washington, an army captain.  Samuel’s son donated the sword to the United States government in 1843.  It is housed at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Behring Center.

     According to Washington’s will, his swords were bequeathed “To each of my Nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington, & Samuel Washington, I give one of the Swords or Cutteaux of which I may die possessed; and they are to chuse in the order they are named. These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheath them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self defence, or in defence of their Country & its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands, to the relinquishment thereof.”

Tomorrow, Sunday’s Storytellers: An Eyewitness Account of the Death of George Washington.   Rita Bay

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Martha Washington’s Cure for Respiratory Ills

Indian Turnip

     One of the duties of the mistress of the home was to treat the injuries and illnesses of the household.  Martha Custis Washington was known for her proficiency as a household manager.  As a young widow with children, she even managed the business dealings of her plantations which was uncommon for the time.  Although she didn’t want to leave Mount Vernon to move to New York to become the first First Lady, she supported her husband (as she always had) and was a gracious hostess to all.  Check out her recipe for respiratory illnesses.

     Take the wild or Indian Turnip when it is in blossom or has the fruit on it, wash and cut it in thin slices Run a thread thro it, and hang it in the chimney corner to dry quickly but do not let the fire come to it – when it is very dry power it in a mortar – the potion to take as much as will lay on the point of a knife when the difficulty of breathing or coughing come on make it in to a bolus with honey – it may be repeated as often as the stomack will bear till it gives ease.

For more information:   http://marthawashington.us/items/browse?tags=medicine

Tomorrow, George Washington in his own words on the right to carry and when weapons should be used.  Rita Bay

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