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sent, early in 1779, into the interior of Virginia, near the residence of Mr. Jefferson ; and his benevolent feelings were strongly exhibited by his sympathy for these enemies of his country. The prisoners were in great distress, and Mr. Jefferson and his friends did all in their power to alleviate their sufferings. An apprehended scarcity of provisions, determined Governor Patrick Henry to remove them to another part of the State, or out of it entirely. At this the officers and men were greatly distressed, and Mr. Jefferson wrote a touching appeal to the governor in their behalf, and they were allowed to remain.*
In June, 1779, Mr. Jefferson succeeded Mr. Henry as governor of Virginia, and the close of his administration was a period of great difficulty and danger. His State became the theatre of predatory warfare, the infamous Arnold having entered it with British and tory troops, and commenced spreading desolation with fire and sword along the James river. Richmond, the capital, was partly destroyed, and Jefferson and his council narrowly escaped capture. He tried, but in vain, to get possession of the person of Arnold, but the wily traitor was too cautious for him.
Very soon after his retirement to private life, Tarleton, who attempted to capture the members of the legislature convened at Charlottesville, a short distance from Jefferson's residence, came very near taking him prisoner. Jefferson had sent his family away in his carriage, and remained to attend to some matters in his dwelling, when he saw the cavalry ascending a hill toward his house. He mounted a fleet horse, dashed through the woods, and reached his family in safety.
* The officers and soldiers were very grateful to Mr. Jefferson, and when they were about to depart for England, the former united in a letter of thanks to him. Mr. Jefferson, in reply, disclaimed the performance of any great service to them, and said : “ Opposed as we happen to be in our sentiments of duty and honor, and anxious for contrary events, I shall, nevertheless, sincerely rejoice in every circumstance of happiness and safety which may attend you personally."
M. de Marbois, secretary of the French legation in the United States, having questioned Mr. Jefferson respecting the resources, &c., of his native State, he wrote, in 1781, his celebrated work entitled “ Notes on Virginia.” The great amount of information which it contains, and the simple perspicuity of its style, made its author exceedingly popular in Europe as a writer and man of science, in addition to his character as a statesman.
In 1782, he was appointed a minister plenipotentiary to assist others in negotiating a treaty of peace with Great Britain; but information of the preliminaries having been signed, reached Congress before his departure, and he did not go.
He was soon after elected a delegate to Congress, and was chairman of the committee, in 1783, to whom the treaty with Great Britain was referred. On their report, the treaty was unanimously ratified.
In 1784, he wrote an essay on coinage and currency for the United States, and to him we are indebted for the convenient denominations of our federal money, the dollar as a unit, and the system of decimals.
In May of this year, he was appointed, with Adams and Franklin, a minister to negotiate treaties of commerce with foreign nations. In company with his eldest daughter, he reached Paris in August. Dr. Franklin having obtained leave to return home, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him as minister at the French court, and he remained in France, until October, 1789. While there, he became popular among the literati, and his '80ciety was courted by the leading writers of the day.
During his absence the constitution had been formed, and under it Washington had been elected and inaugurated President of the United States. His visit home was under leave of absence, but Washington offered him a seat in his cabinet as secretary of state, and gave him his choice to remain in that capacity or return to Prance.
He chose to remain, and he was one of the most efficient aids to the President during the stormy period of his first administration. He differed in opinion with Washington respecting the kindling revolution in France, but he agreed with him on the question of the neutrality of the United States. His bold avowal of democratic sentiments, and his expressed sympathies with the struggling populace of France in their aspirations for republicanism, made him the leader of the democratic party here, opposed to the federal administration of Washington ;* and in 1793 he resigned his seat in the cabinet.
In 1796, he was the republican candidate for President, in opposition to John Adams. Mr. Adams succeeded, and Mr. Jefferson was elected Vice-President.f In 1800, he was again nominated for President, and received a majority of votes over Mr. Adams. Aaron Burr was on the ticket with him, and received an equal number of votes ; but on the thirty-sixth balloting, two of Burr's friends withdrew, and Mr. Jefferson was elected.
Mr. Jefferson's administration continued eight years, he having been elected for a second term. The most prominent measures of his administration, were the purchase of Louisiana from France, the embargo on the commerce and ocean-navigation of the United States ;$ the non
* In 1791, Washington asked his opinion respecting a national bank, a bill for which had been passed by Congress and approved by Washington. He gave his opinion in writing, and strongly objected to the measure as being unconstitutional.
† At that time, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to the one elected president, was vice president. The constitution, on that point, has since been altered. During the time he was vice president, he wrote a manual for the Senate, which is still the standard of parliamentary rule in Congress and other bodies.
| The United States agreed to pay fifteen millions of dollars to France for Louisiana (an area of more than million of square miles), four millions of which France allowed to go toward the payment of indemnities for spoliations during peace.
$ The Embargo Act prohibited all American vessels from sailing for foreign ports; all foreign vessels from taking out cargoes; and all coasting vessels were required to give bonds to land their cargoes in the United States. These restric
intercourse and non-importation systems; the gun-boat experiment;* the suppression of Burr's expedition down the Mississippi river ;t and the sending of an exploring company to the region of the Rocky mountains, and westward to the Pacific ocean. Mr. Jefferson- also introduced the practice of communicating with Congress by message, instead of by a personal address; a practice followed by all the Presidents since his time. The foreign relations of the United States during the whole time of his administration were in a very perplexing condition, yet he managed with so much firmness, that he kept other powers at bay, and highly exalted our Republic among the family of nations.
At the close of his second Presidential term, Mr. Jefferson retired to private life, and amid the quiet scenes of Monticello, he spent the remaining seventeen years of his being, in philosophical and agricultural pursuits. Through his instrumentality, a university was founded in 1818, at Charlottesville, near Monticello, of which he was rector until his death, and a liberal patron as far as his means would allow.
Toward the close of his life, his pecuniary affairs became embarrassed, and he was obliged to sell his library, which Congress purchased for thirty thousand dollars. A short time previous to his death, he received permis
tive measures were intended so to affect the commerce of Great Britain, as to bring that government to a fair treaty of amity and commerce.
* Mr. Jefferson recommended the construction of a large number of gun-boats for the protection of American harbors. But they were unpopular with navy officers, and being liable to destruction by storms, the scheme, after a brief experiment, was abandoned.
† Aaron Burr organized a military expedition, ostensibly to act against the re. public of Mexico; but the belief being generally entertained that it was really intended to dissever the Union, and form a separate government in the valley of the Mississippi, he was arrested, in 1807, on a charge of high treason. He was tried and acquitted.
This expedition was under the direction of Captains Lewis and Clarke, and they made a toilsome overland journey from the Mississippi to the mouth of the Columbia River.
sion from the Legislature of Virginia, to dispose of his estate by lottery, to prevent its being sacrificed to pay his debts. He did not live to see it consummated.
In the spring of 1826, his bodily infirmities greatly increased, and in June he was confined wholly to his bed. About the first of July he seemed free from disease, and his friends had hopes of his recovery; but it was his own conviction that he should die, and he
directions accordingly. On the third, he inquired the day of the month. On being told, he expressed an ardent desire to live until the next day, to breathe the air of the fiftieth anniversary of his country's independence. His wish was granted : and on the morning of the fourth, after having expressed his gratitude to his friends and servants for their care, he said with a distinct voice, “I resign myself to my God, and my child to my country.
These were his last words, and about noon on that glorious day he expired. It was a most remarkable coincidence that two of the committee (Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson) who drew up the Declaration of Independence; who signed it; who successively held the office of Chief Magistrate, should have died at nearly the same hour on the fiftieth anniversary of that solemn act.
He was a little over eighty-three years of age at the time of his death. Mr. Jefferson's manner was simple but dignified, and his conversational powers were of the rarest value. He was exceedingly kind and benevolent, an indulgent master to his servants, liberal and
* Mrs. Randolph, whom he tenderly loved. Just before he died, he handed her a morocco case, with a request that she would not open it until after his decease. It contained a poetical tribute to her virtues, and an epitaph for his tomb, if any should be placed upon it. He wished his monument to be a small granite obelisk with this inscription :
" Here was buried
And Father of the University of Virginia."