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earliest history and laws. Some of the copies recovered by him were unique; some rotten and obscure from age; some actually perished in the exposure necessary for the transcription. If posterity owes to Jefferson its undying thanks for these patriotic labors, Jefferson himself drew from them that peculiar and intimate knowledge of the political institutions developed through the long struggle for freedom in England and transplanted by Englishmen to the shores of the new world, which made him in the troubled years approaching the greatest and most powerful advocate of his country's rights.
The ten years of this period developed Jefferson in other aspects of his rich and complex nature. The purest and sweetest friendship of a life singularly rich in genuine friendships shed its perfume over them. Dabney Carr, his boyhood's mate, his sister Martha's husband from 1765 to 1775, growing day by day into a companionship and love closer than brotherhood itself, was torn away by death while the eloquent echoes of Carr's maiden speech still floated on the Virginian air. Jefferson at once took charge of Carr's widow, supported and educated and launched in life all his six children, loving his sister more tenderly for her sorrow and Carr's offspring as his own. The ashes of the two friends today mingle beneath the oaks of Monticello.
If there be an earthly relationship between man and woman, which has in it somewhat of angelical sanctity and sweetness, it is that between a loving sister and a devoted and high-minded brother. Free from a fetter of dependence, passionless and pure and holy, alike intimate and affectionate, compact of loyalty and sacred faith, it rings sound and true in every earthly trial as in every earthly joy. It alone of all human loves may dare to pass unpurged and unchallenged beyond the gate of paradise. Such a sister was Jane Jefferson, such a brother was Thomas. His peer in intellect, his rival only in their mutual devotion, the confident of all his earthly ambitions and his early loves, warm with the fervor of deep religious feeling, gifted with a voice of rare sweetness and exquisite skill, she lives for us in the tradition of their music, when her harpsichord and Jefferson's violin accompanied their youthful voices in tender ballad or in sacred chant. This tie, too, death was to sever; the autumn leaves of 1765 hid with their golden glories the sister's new-made grave. Jefferson never forgot her; even in his old age the chanted liturgy of the church would bring back to him that sacred and beloved image, and he would tell over to his grand-daughters the story of her tenderness and her truth.
One other link in the chain of life was forged for Jefferson in these same days. Those first love passages with Rebecca Burwell now sounded through his dreams like far distant echoes of an earlier life. The sprightly Rebecca had with delicious promptitude thrown Thomas over, and given herself to his hated rival, when Thomas proposed to hang her up to dry, while he went a-touring for three years across the ocean. But this was ages ago, as lovers count time, seven long years, and Thomas now began to sit up and take notice. This time 'twas not a maid, but a widow; not Rebecca, but Martha. What fine, good-sounding names men's sweethearts had in those distant days! But the gentle hand of the widow has not lost its cunning, whether her name be Mary, or Martha, or Gladys, or Gwendolen, and that hand will always be skillful in the nursing back to life of lovelorn swains. The time we are studying might indeed be fairly called the Widow's Age. Washington married the widow Curtis; Jefferson married the widow Skelton ; Madison married the widow Todd; Hamilton married a charming spinster, but (if we may trust tradition) loved widows in the plural. The catalogue of charming widows and illustrous lovers would be a long one. Jefferson's widow was musical, beautiful, twenty-two, and an heiress. They were married on the New Year's day of 1772, journeyed homeward in a phaeton, were caught in a blinding snowstorm, mounted on their horses backs and plodded up through three feet of snow to the top of Monticello. It was after midnight when they reached their dwelling place and the servants despairing of their coming had gone to bed. But love, candles, a big fireplace soon filled with blazing hickory logs, a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, laughter and song made it a happy homecoming, and for ten years this beautiful and gracious woman filled Jefferson's life with such happiness as only perfect love and unalloyed tenderness can give to man. The love-light kindled that night upon his hearthstone never grew dim. On his wife's deathbed he vowed to her that he would give her children no new mother, and for four and forty years he kept his vow.
I have grouped together these sentimental episodes in Jefferson's life that we might feel their potency in the tempering of his character and the moulding of his life. His years of hearthappiness were the rich years of his constructive statemanship. If of all the great men of his epoch he was the best endowed with patience and charity; if he alone among them knew how to touch the souls of men with a man's firmness and a woman's gentleness; if his faith in the deep wellsprings of goodness and wisdom in his fellow-men never faltered; it was in large measure because of his own heart, already formed by nature to love and to trust, had been nourished and strengthened by these three perfect loves; the perfect friend, the perfect sister, and the perfect wife. In men of supreme wisdom we find always united these two—the wisdom of the heart and the wisdom of the head.
CONGRESSMAN JEFFERSON. Jefferson's life enters now upon its period of noblest activity. He had served in the House of Burgesses of 1769, dissolved after five days by the Royal Governor on account of their treasonable sentiments, and had participated in the Non-Importation Agreement, then promulgated as Virginia's reply to the tyrannical action of the king and the Parliament. Of the eighty-eight signers of this agreement Jefferson was one.
In 1773 the House of Burgesses, exasperated still further by the encroachments of the crown, passed with practical unanimity the resolution creating the Committee of Correspondence, which should invite the appointment of a like committee in each of the other colonies and should take counsel with them on “various rumors and reports of proceedings tending to deprive his Majesty's faithful subjects of their ancient legal and constitutional rights." Jefferson drew these resolutions, Dabney Carr supported them with equal eloquence and force, and both Carr and Jefferson were named on the Virginian Committee. The Royal Governor again dissolved the House.
In May, 1774, the Boston Port Bill precipitated Virginia into further defensive measures. The House of Burgesses resolved that the 1st day of June, on which the bill was to go into effect, should be set aside "for a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to implore heaven to avert from us the evils of civil war.” Jefferson drew up the resolution, Nicholas introduced it, and it passed without opposition. The Royal Governor again dissolved the House. The members met in the Apollo Room, instructed their Committee of Correspondence to ask for an Annual Congress of deputies from all the colonies and further called a convention to meet in Williamsburg on August 1st to elect the Virginian members of the Congress.
In August, 1774, the convention met. Jefferson was detained by illness, but sent two copies of a draft of instructions, such as he hoped to see given to the delegates to the Congress. This draft seemed too bold for the more conservative members. It was printed, however, as “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,” was circulated through the colonies and sent to England. It was the first truly revolutionary paper issued by the American patriots, and was in fact the glowing ignot from which was forged the Declaration of Independence. The delegates to the Congress were elected and a new convention called to meet in Richmond.
On 20th March, 1775, the Richmond Convention assembled in St. John's Church, Jefferson being one of the two delegates from Albemarle. It was here that Patrick Henry moved that the Colony “be immediately put into a state of defense,” and after listening calmly to the earnest expostulations of almost every leading man in the convention, supported his resolutions in an oration of such superhuman eloquence as men had never listened to before and never since have heard. The resolutions were passed by a decided majority, the committee was appointed to carry out their provisions, and on this committee Thomas Jefferson was placed. Before adjournment the delegates to the former Congress were re-elected but as Peyton Randolph would probably be called back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses, Thomas Jefferson was chosen as alternate in that event. The convention adjourned 28th March, 1775.
On June 1st, 1775, the House of Burgesses assembled in Williamsburg. Thomas Jefferson, now a member of both the House and the Congress, was present and at the request of the Speaker delayed his departure until the reply of Virginia to the “Conciliatory proposition" of Lord North could be formulated. At the Speaker's request Jefferson drew the paper, which on 10th June, 1775, was accepted by the House. Jefferson at once set out for Philadelphia, carrying with him a copy of this spirited and unanswerable reply. He reached Philadelphia on the 20th June, the day on which Washington received his commission from Congress. With a certain dramatic fitness the news of Bunker Hill reached Philadelphia the next morning.
On 21st June, 1775, Thomas Jefferson took his seat in Congress. John Adams records the fact that he brought with him a “reputation for literature, science, and a happy talent for composition. Though a silent member of Congress, he was so prompt, frank, explicit, and decisive upon committees and in conversation, that he soon seized upon my heart." Five days later he was placed upon the committee to draw up for the united colonies a declaration of the causes of taking up arms. His paper was too radical in its statements for the more conservative members and was turned over by Jefferson to Dickinson for amendment. Dickinson made a new draft, into which he incorporated the last four and a half paragraphs of Jefferson's paper. The document thus drawn was approved by the committee, passed by Congress, and published to the world.
On 22nd July, 1775, the Congress took up the “Conciliatory Proposition” of Lord North. A committee was elected by ballot to draft their reply. Franklin, Jefferson, Adams and Lee constituted this committee. The work was intrusted to Jefferson, who was known as the framer of the Virginia resolutions. This paper, which is wholly Jefferson's work, was adopted by Congress in the 31st July and on 1st August an adjournment was taken until 5th September following. Jefferson returned to Virginia, was re-elected to Congress 11th August, 1775, and spent the next eight months, partly in Philadelphia attending the sessions of Congress, and partly in Virginia pressing forward the revolutionary movement among his own people. The loss of an infant daughter, September, 1775, and of his mother, March, 1776, were grave additions to his public sorrow and his public cares.
On 13th May, 1776, Jefferson was again in his seat in Congress. The Virginian Convention adopted their resolution in favor of American Independence on 15th May, 1776, and this