Tag Archives: THomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson: The Patriot

The following is a century-old story from a children’s reader.

Thomas Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON was one of the great men of the Revolution. He was not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. But he was a great thinker. And he was a great writer. He wrote a paper that was the very beginning of the United States. It was a paper that said that we would be free from England, and be a country by ourselves. We call that paper the Decla­ration of Independence.

When he was a boy, Jefferson was fond of playing. But when he was tired of play, he took up a book. It pleased him to learn things. From the time when he was a boy he never sat down to rest without a book.

At school he learned what other boys did. But the difference between him and most other boys was this: he did not stop with knowing just what the other boys knew. Most boys want to learn what other boys learn. Most girls would like to know what their schoolmates know. But Jefferson wanted to know a great deal more.

As a young man, Jefferson knew Latin and Greek. He also knew French and Spanish and Italian. He did not talk to show off what he knew. He tried to learn what other people knew. When he talked to a wagon maker, he asked him about such things as a wagon maker knows most about. He would sometimes ask how a wagon maker would go to work to make a wheel.

When Jefferson talked to a learned man, he asked him about those things that this man knew most about. When he talked with Indians, he got them to tell him about their language. That is the way he came to know so much about so many things. Whenever anybody told him anything worth while, he wrote it down as soon as he could.

One day Jefferson was traveling. He went on horseback. That was a common way of traveling at that time. He stopped at a country tavern. At this tavern he talked with a stranger who was staying there.

After a while Jefferson rode away. Then the stranger said to the landlord, “Who is that man? He knew so much about law, that I was sure he was a lawyer. But when we talked about medicine, he knew so much about that, that I thought he must be a doctor. And after a while he seemed to know so much about religion, that I was sure he was a min­ister. Who is he? ”

The stranger was very much surprised to hear that the man he had talked with was Jefferson. Jefferson was a very polite man. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote these words : “All men are created equal.” He also said that the poor man had the same right as the rich man to live, and to be free, and to try to make himself happy.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Men on a Mission     Rita Bay

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Rita Bay’s Wonder of the World #2: Mount Rushmore

 

The Avenue

The Shrine to Democracy features the 60-foot high faces of four American presidents sitting 500 feet up looking out over South Dakota’s Black Hills. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were selected by sculptor because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. Controversy was involved with the construction of the monument because the Black Hills area was granted by an early treaty with the US to the Lakota Sioux. The US later exerted a claim to the area.

 

Confederate Memorial Stone Mountain, GA

In 1927, sculptor Gutzon Borglum who had  worked on the Confederate Memorial at Stone Mountain selected the Presidents to be honored and began drilling into granite of the mile+ high mountain near Keystone, South Dakota. After 14 years and $1 million the project was completed by Lincoln Borglum with no loss of life.  The Avenue of Flags, the primary approach to the monument, features the flags of all of the states and territories. The Memorial is managed by the National Parks Service.

FYI, the monuments were originally designed to be carved from waist up. The design was modified to busts only due to financial limitations.  The original carving of Jefferson that was located on Washington’s right but was dynamited and recarved because of technical problems with the rock.

Tomorrow, St. Peter’s Basilica     Rita Bay

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The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase

     In 1803 the United States bought from France the greater part of our country lying between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The area acquired contained nearly a million square miles. This “Louisiana Purchase” has been called an event ” worthy to rank with the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the Constitution.”

The cost of the purchase was $15,000,000.  In whole or in part fourteen states and territories have been formed in the area which was bought.

     The French held Louisiana until the fall of Quebec in 1759. Four years later France ceded Louisiana to Spain. After the American Revolution the US boundary was the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and the thirty-first degree. England had promised also the free navigation of the Mississippi. But Spain, holding the river’s mouth, refused to allow navigation on the Mississippi which cut off American access south.

The Lewis & Clark Expedition

     Napoleon regained Louisiana from Spain but the slave revolt in San Domingo and the prospect of war with England ruined his plans to develop Louisiana.  President Jefferson sent Monroe as commissioner to Paris to secure New Orleans and the Floridas and make clear the way to the sea. The instructions of Monroe and Livingston were limited to a strip of seacoast. Instead, Napoleon offered them the whole vast area of Louisiana.  The United States actually acquired Louisiana from France even before possession had formally passed to France from Spain.

Lewis & Clark

     The United States had acquired a wilderness.  President Jefferson ordered Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to follow the rivers, map them, collect scientific data, and assess the resources gained throughout the Louisiana Purchase.  On the first United States expedition (1804–1806) to the Pacific Coast the men were to find a “direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce” (the Northwest Passage).  Jefferson also wanted to compete with the British for control of land and the fur trade.

Tomorrow: Colonel Travis’s Letter from the Alamo  Rita Bay

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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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Rita Bay’s Blog Launches February 1st

     Rita Bay’s Blog will feature daily posts on history and culture that you won’t read about in a history book.  The post titles–Sunday’s Storytellers, Monday’s Myths & Legends. Tuesday’s Gems, Wednesday’s Worthy Words, Thursday’s Risque Ripostes & Prurient Pics, Friday’s Medicine & Magic, and Saturday’s Seconds –tell part of the story.  This February, we salute the Presidents–Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln.  In March, we salute Americana.

     I’ll write about myths and legends and the people who tell them, the words and deeds that have changed the course of history or insulted or titillated nations, how people and cultures lived and loved and died, and how wars were waged and the weapons the warriors wielded.  Patriots and presidents, pirates and philsophers, Celtic warriors and Viking berserkers, kings and their mistresses, and druids and dragons will fill my pages.  Check out the February Salute to President’s page to review the posts scheduled for the month as we salute the Presidents.  Read about me on the About Rita page and about the daily posts on the About Rita’s Blog page. 

     As a romance writer, I’m working on a couple of novellas (Devil’s Angel, a paranormal Regency romance, and For Want of a Woman , a futuristic paranormal romance with steampunk elements) and editing my completed Georgian and Regency historicals.  Read excerpts of these and my other stories at ritabay.com.  Each Monday, I blog with the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance on Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History. Check it out at http://southernsizzleromance.wordpress.com/.  Rita Bay

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