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mass of his fellow-countrymen, penetrated their souls and in spite of defamation held for him the unshakable citadel of their loyalty and their love.
Passing over the record of Jefferson as Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, as not vitally connected with our immediate topic, we turn to his work in Congress to which he was again elected in June, 1783. Congress assembled at Trenton in November after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, 19th October, 1783, had practically closed the war. Thence they adjourned to Annapolis, and there it was Jefferson's privilege to arrange the noble ceremonial with which Congress received the resignation of the victorious Commander-in-Chief and to compose the address delivered by the President of the Congress on that occasion. He was chairman also of the Congressional Committee which on behalf of the United Colonies signed the treaty of peace with Great Britain, in which was at last recognized that Independence which had been so eloquently declared by him in 1776.
Only two bills of fundamental and permanent importance were passed by this Congress, notorious as the most contentious in our history. Both were drawn by Jefferson. One was the bill establishing our present system of coinage and currency on the decimal basis instead of the duodecimal basis recommended by the Financier of Congress, Robert Morris. The incomparable advantages of the decimal basis have been attested not only by the experience of America, but by the imitation of almost every civilized nation.
The other bill was the Ordinance of the Northwestern Territory, establishing a plan of temporary government for this region, which Virginia with the consent and co-operation of the other states had ceded to the United States. The Jeffersonian bill was so drawn as to prohibit slavery after 1800 in all the region west of the meridian of the western cape of the mouth of the Great Kanawha. This provision was lost because only six of the states voted for it instead of seven. Had both the delegates from New Jersey been in their places or had either one of Jefferson's own colleagues, Hardy and Mercer, sustained him, this clause would have been adopted and our great Civil War would never have been fought. Mr. Spaight, of North Carolina, deserves the unhappy fame of having compassed the defeat of this vital clause and brought upon his country the disastrous conflict over negro slavery. The later ordinance of 1787, one of the immortal documents in our political history, made free soil of the Northwestern states alone. Jefferson's law would have secured freedom not for the Northwest only, but for Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, the entire Louisiana Purchase, Texas, and every state west of the Mississippi River.
Jefferson had now reached the loftiest plane of his public career. His genius had blossomed into its consummate flower. His fertile and originative mind had laid the broad and deep foundations of American Nationality and had transformed his native state from a mediaeval colony into a modern commonwealth. Virginia had received at his hands the triple crown of political freedom, of religious freedom, and of social freedom, while from him the infant nation derived not only the power to grow, but the law for her future expansion. The cession of the great Northwestern territory to the general government and the law of its organization into new states was his work; and this is the law, potent as the principle of universal gravitation, which has created and is creating a modern nation. Under its action the thirteen new stars which rose in the western heavens in 1783 have grown into a great planetary system, in which each star sweeps through its own orbit, while all the stars march together in eternal union along one glorious and predestined path.
If time permitted, we might endeavor to complete the outline of Jefferson's great public career. We should see his deep soul brooding over the problem of his country's future development, until his thought swept beyond the Mississippi and grasped the continental conception of her destiny; until the compulsive force of this vast ideal nerved him to brave-since he could not bribe—the great Napoleon himself; until the swift tides of European politics made of Napoleon's necessities Jefferson's allies, and enabled him to pour the riches of Louisiana into the young Republic's lap.
We should see him year after year planning to open up divided the United States from the Pacific; suggesting explorations from the West as well as from the East; until at last he
was able to send on this task Meriwether Lewis, his former private secretary, and William Clarke, brother to George Rogers Clarke, who had conquered the Northwestern territory for Virginia. These bold pioneers, acting upon Jefferson's commission, laid the foundation of our future successful claim upon the Oregon country.
We should see him as Washington's Secretary of State brought into collision with the most powerful and alert of all his adversaries, Alexander Hamilton; the one with his birthright in American soil, the other an alien serving an adopted country; the one a democrat with aristocrat lineage, the other a commoner with all the vacuous pride of a partician; the one with his noble faith in the people, the other thinking of the mass as a vast, blind, raging Polyphemus, incapable of selfcontrol and unfit to be trusted with power. We should see Jefferson forced by this antagonism from his stand as an impartial and far-seeing patriot into the position of the founder and leader of a great political party. We should see the final overthrow of Federalism, after Federalism had done its appointed work for the nation, and the establishment of Representative Democracy as the living principle of the future for the American Nation.
We should see him in the brief retirement to Monticello, when wearied brain and tortured heart sank into the healing bath of quiet and peace and love. The serene skies of his Virginian home bent their blue arch above him. The tender voices of his daughters and his grand-children caressed him into forgetfulness of the hatreds and turmoils of his storm-tossed years. From the shelves of his library, enriched by liberal purchases among the book-stalls of Paris, the sages and the saints of all the ages spoke their message of consolation and inspiration to his soul. It was this religious retreat into the sanctuary of his home which healed the wounds of his soul and made possible the triumphs of his later years. Even the duties of the Vice-Presidency did not remove him far or long from that best beloved of all the mountains of the earth. They served only to give him closer contact with the friends and allies of his public life. When by a “kind of miracle”—to use Hamilton's pungent phrase—John Adams was elected President, Jefferson rejoiced in his victory. He was a man careless of dignities, indifferent to profit, but avaricious of power. Under the stress of his conflict with Hamilton the postulates of Democracy had been exalted in his mind from the realm of reason into the realm of faith. They became his Articles of Religion, and the war against Federalism was a holy crusade. The Vice-Presidency was the commanding and impregnable citadel from which he conducted the war to complete and conclusive victory.
And then we should see him exalted to the Presidential office and preaching thence the simple evangel of Democracy by act as well as by voice and pen. In recent years contemporary documents have come to light that take the place of all those foolish inventions of political foes which made the vulgar gossip of alleged historians of the times. The dispatch of Dr. William Thornton, then in charge of the British Legation, to Lord Grenville in London, gives the authentic story of his inauguration. “Mr. Jefferson,” he wrote, “came from his own lodging to the Capitol on foot, in his ordinary dress, escorted by a body of militia artillery from the neighboring state, and accompanied by the Secretaries of the Navy and the Treasury, and a number of his political friends in the House of Representatives.” The inaugural address was delivered in the Senate Chamber. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Marshall. Samuel Harrison Smith, the founder of the National Intelligencer, in a private letter to his sister, dated 5th July, 1801, gave an interesting account of Jefferson's first official reception. The guests, who included “all the public officers and most of the respectable citizens and strangers of distinction,” were ushered into the room “where sat Mr. Jefferson surrounded by the five Cherokee Chiefs. After a conversation of a few minutes he invited his guests into the usual dining room, where four large sideboards were covered with refreshments, as cakes of various kinds, wine, punch, and so on. Every citizen was invited to partake. All appeared cheerful, all happy. Mr. Jefferson mingled promiscuously with the citizens, and far from designating any particular friend for consultation, conversed for a short time with every one who came in his way.” In her private notebooks written in 1841, and not intended for publication, Mrs. Smith, who had been Margaret Bayard, of Delaware, and came thus originally from the very camp of his enemies, tells us something of Jefferson's attire and dress. “If Mr. Jefferson's dress was plain, unstudied, and sometimes old-fashioned in its form, it was always of the finest materials. In his personal habits he was always fastidiously neat; and if in his manner he was simple, affable and unceremonious, it was not because he was ignorant of, but because he despised the conventional and artificial usages of courts and fashionable life. His external appearance had no pretentions to elegance, but it was neither coarse nor awkward; and it must be owned his greatest personal attraction was a countenance beaming with benevolence and intelligence.” Such contemporary testimonials are the best refutation of all the stupid and malicious calumnies which once gathered about Jefferson's great name. His slovenly attire, his vulgar manners, his rude address, his dusky concubines, his flouts at religion, his flatteries of the vulgar, all these were the cheap inventions of an ignoble political hostility. Once they did harm, today they are impotent. They simply pollute the pages on which Scandal masquerades as History. They are no longer able to shake the faith of mankind in the prevalent virtue, the lofty genius, the broad benignity of the greatest statesman of the modern world. Well may we say with Parton,
“If Jefferson was wrong, America is wrong.
Last of all we should once more see Jefferson in retirement on his mountain home. The storms of politics rage about the levels beneath his feet, but he heeds them little. Far around · the head of this great, calm, foreseeing, deep-pondering man the serene heavens pour their radiant light. He sees that the great destiny of the nation he had aided to bring into beiny, whose infancy he had helped to foster, whose vigorous youth he had contributed to nurture and to train, was in the safeguard of that great power which guides the fortunes of men and of nations. His heart is at rest, his soul reposes in the confidence of a certain hope. And now he sets about the last work for his country's good that his hands were to find to do. He takes up again the problem of public education, which had occupied his earliest