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right to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare the law of that direction; and this declaration can only be made by their majority.”— Vol. vii. pp. 16, 17.
Secondly, Like every great and good man of his times, he was inexorably opposed to the system of African slavery. His keen philosophy and clear statesmanship impelled him to this, not less than his large sense of justice. It was to be expected of the author of the Declaration of Independence, notwithstanding that great instrument is denounced by the sophists of the present day as consisting of “sounding and glittering generalities.” There was neither sound nor glitter about the great Virginia democrat; and he would have been ashamed to proclaim in general propositions what he could not support in special instances. The leading trait of his character, that which gave form and color to his life, was justice, and therefore his natural bent was to universal liberty. His great sense and practical logic revealed to him at a glance the sophisms upon which had rested the oppression of ages, and he attacked them fearlessly. If his successors had emulated his powerful and well-directed blows, we should not now be shaken by dissensions, and be compelled to rediscuss the doctrines that led to the American Revolution. His utterances upon the questio vexata of American politics were unhesitating and manly. They date from so early as 1769, when he was a member of the Colonial Legislature of Virginia, down to the hour of his death. In his Notes on Virginia, contained in Volume VIII of his Complete Works, on pages 403-4, he says:
“ The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other; our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present; but generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to the worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners anI morals undepraved by such circumstanies. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriæ of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another; in which he inust lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute, as far as depends upon his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable tondition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XI.- 5
of the people their industry also is destroyed; for in a warm climate no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves, a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the erties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of-fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in such a contest.”
He declares elsewhere, (Vol. II. p. 357 :) “ Nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition, not only of the trade, but of the condition of slavery; and certainly nobody will be more willing to encounter every sacrifice for that object."
To show that this was no idle vaunt, but uttered in sincerity, we make one other quotation. In June, 1781, Lord Cornwallis, with a detachment of his army, made an incursion into the neighborhood of Monticello, for the purpose of awing the inhabitants, and, if possible, of seizing on the person of Mr. Jefferson. Failing in this last, he destroyed Mr. Jefferson's crops of corn and tobacco, burned his barns containing the crops of the previous year, consumed his cattle. sheep and hogs for the sustenance of the army, and carried off all the horses capable of service, cutting the throats of those not capable, and burning all the fences on his plantation, so as to leave it an absolute waste. Says Mr. Jefferson :
“ He carried off, also, about thirty slaves. Had this been done to give them freedom, he would have done RIGHT.”--Vol. ii, p. 426.
Surely, there is no sound or glitter about that, and an absence of all generality. It is, on the contrary, special and practical. It sinks from the airy regions of philosophy to the solid domains of profit. He based his opposition to the great crime of an age upon the immutable principles of justice, block by block erected the stately fabric, pushing it heavenward with all the strength of his massive character, and shrunk from no opportunity of vindicating his precepts by practical examples. Believing in the universal brotherhood of man, he was too wise to deny that Africans are participators therein, without denying their humanity ; unable to do this, he boldly asserted their inalienable right to freedom, and crowned his repeated assertions by directing his executors to emancipate such of his own slaves as he deemed capable of enjoying liberty. (Vol, ix., p. 514.) This last act rendered his life complete, It would have been brilliant, indeed, without this; but this was a proper finis to a book from the beginning so nobly written.
So far we have proceeded with a full love of our subject, as well as admiration; we wish we could continue so. approach a point anything but agreeable to our pen, but which cannot be ignored if we are true to our vocation. His religious views, it must be confessed, were sadly tainted by the skepticism of the times. While minister to France he mingled freely with the "small philosophers "* of that day, and imperceptibly imbibed many of their sentiments. From their grossness of life he always continued free; but their ideas colored his opinions to the last. Undoubtedly his morals were pure and upright ; no man could breathe aught of calumny against him. Unfortunate in endorsing for friends, he cheerfully sacrificed thousands of dollars rather than suffer the least imputation of dishonor. He was not an atheist, neither was he a disciple of Priestly; nor is it quite fair to rank him as an infidel. His confidential correspondence with John Adams, (then retired from the presidency, at Quincy, and perhaps less orthodox in his religious opinions than Jefferson) running through the entire volumes before us, abundantly shows that he was a devout follower of what he believed to be the doctrines of Christianity. He believed the Scriptures greatly corrupted by interpolations and omissions, and therefore could not accept unreservedly the doctrines which the modern Church legitimately extracts from them. Yet he thought Jesus the most incomparable being that ever appeared on earth, greatly superior to Socrates or any other philosopher before or since; clipped from the New Testament what he believed to be the passages containing his words, pasted them on the leaves of a blank-book, and named this singular synopsis the Philosophy of Jesus.
“ I have made a wee-little book, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus; it is a paradigma or' his doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them in the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”— Vol. vi, p. 518.
Much as we may dissent from his views and lament his heresies, we must at least admire his sincerity. It is greatly to be regretted that his creed was not more orthodox; so great in most respects, and original in all, and filling so prominent a place in the early years of the Republic, his life and character are closely studied by most young men, their opinions yet unformed, and who are there. fore greatly liable to be tainted by his pernicious sentiments, ere detecting their subtle poison. He was undoubtedly an earnest and honest inquirer after truth; he had read Confucius, the Vedas, the
• Cicero De Senectute, Cap. xxiii.
Koran, and was familiar with the doctrines of the Grecian and Roman schools; and we cannot resist the conviction, that if he had come to the study of the Scriptures with his usual vigor and thoroughness, he would have arrived at very different conclusions. But engaging in the exciting and absorbing affairs of a long political life, he neglected the investigations the importance of the subject demanded, and so failed in detecting its rich veins of gold. It is not for us to judge him: God forbid! Let it suffice, that we have not suppressed the truth, though its utterance be painful.
The best description of Mr. Jefferson's person, dress, and habits, that we have met with, is from the pen of Mr. Webster, written in the plain, untrammeled, and unpretending style of a private letter. In December, 1824, Mr. Webster, already a man of note, in company with four or five congressional friends, visited Mr. Jefferson at Monticello. On his return to Washington, at the request of some friends in Massachusetts, he committed his first impressions to writing for their perusal. We subjoin his remarks entirely from the third work at the head of this article.
“ Mr. Jefferson is now between eighty-one and eighty-two, above six feet high, of an ample long frame, rather thin and spare. His head, which is not peculiar in its shape, is set rather forward on his shoulders; and his neck being long, there is, when he is walking or conversing, an habitual protrusion of it. It is still well covered with hair, which, having been once red, and now turning gray, is of an indistinct sandy color. His eyes are small
, very light, and now neither brilliant nor striking. His chin is rather long, but not pointed. His nose small, regular in its outline, and the nostrils a little elevated. His mouth is well formed, and still filled with teeth; it is strongly compressed, bearing an expression of contentment and benevolence. His complexion, formerly light and freckled, now bears the marks of age and cutaneous affection. His limbs are uncommonly long, his hands and feet very large, and his wrists of an extraordinary size. His walk is not precise and military, but easy and swinging. He stoops not a little, not so much from age as from natural formation. When sitting he appears short, partly from rather a lounging babit of sitting, and partly from the disproportionate length of his limbs.
His dress when in the house is a gray surtout coat, kerseymere stuff waistcoat, with an under one faced with some material of a dingy red. His pantaloons were very large and loose, and of the same color as his coat. His stockings are woolen, either white or gray, and his shoes of the kind that bear his name. His whole dress is very much neglected, but not slovenly. He wears a common round hat. His dress, when on horseback, is a gray straight-bodied coat, and a spencer of the same material, hoth fastened with large pearl buttons. When we first saw him he was riding, and, in addition to the above articles of apparel, wore around his throat a knit white woolen tippet, in the place of a cravat, and black velvet gaiters under his pantaloons. His general appearance indicates an extraordinary degree of health, vivacity, and spirit. His sight is still good, for he needs glasses only in the evening. His hearing is generally good, but a number of voices in animated conversation confuses it.
“Mr. Jefferson rises in the morning as soon as he can see the hands of his clock, which is directly opposite his bed, and examines bis thermometer immediately, as he keeps a regular meteorological diary.' He employs himself chiefly in writing till breakfast, which is at nine. From that time till dinner he is in his library, excepting that in fair weather he rides on horseback from seven to fourteen miles; dines at four, returns to the drawing-room at six, when coffee is brought in, and passes the evening till nine in conversation. His babit of retiring at that hour is so strong, that it has become essential to his health and comfort. His diet is simple, but he seems restrained only by his taste. His breakfast is tea and coffee, bread always fresh from the oven, of which he does not seem afraid, with sometimes a slight accompaniment of cold meat. He enjoys his dinner well, taking with his meat a large proportion of vegetables." Vol. i., p. 364-5.
Such was Thomas Jefferson, and as such he passed to his account on the fourth of July, 1826, a day of all others the most fitting for his departure. He was one of those strong, vigorous, and uncompromising characters, in which our Revolutionary times abounded, and albeit be erred, we yet do well to reverence him. Perhaps no statesman of our history has enjoyed so wide a reputation abroad, and none, surely, has had so extensive an influence upon our domestic and foreign policy. He numbered among his correspondents the most learned men of both continents, and a political party professing his principles, however it has practiced them, has chiefly borne rule since his elevation to the presidency. The people have always regarded him as the great apostle of democracy, as he undoubtedly was, and as such his place hereafter in history is indisputably secure.
" He is Freedom's now and Fame's,
That were not born to die." We award him great praise for his scientific as well as political achievements; we rejoice to claim him as a fellow countryman; and while we regret, deeply regret his errors, we commend him to our young men as an example well worthy of their best emulation. Informed of his errors, may they cultivate his graces, equal his virtues, and become the Jeffersons improved of their day and generation.
ART. V.-UNITAS FRATRUM-THE MORAVIANS.
The Church of the United Brethren claims an original descent from the Sclavonian branch of the Greek Church, which received the Gospel through the direct agency of the apostles and their contemporaries. St. Paul, during his missionary labors, visited Illyricum, on the borders of Italy, (Rom. xv, 19,) and he mentions Titus as having proceeded, for the same purpose, into Dalmatia, (2 Tim. iv, x.)