Thomas Jefferson - In Brief

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A brief biography of Thomas Jefferson. Liberty Education Series. Gloucester, Virginia Links and News. GVLN. Come and explore all the incredible content.

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<ul><li> 1. THOMAS JEFFERSON IN BRIEF; SPECIAL EDITION BROUGHT TO YOU BY; CHUCK THOMPSON OF TTC MEDIA DIGITAL PUBLISHING; AUGUST, 2013. HTTP://WWW.GLOUCESTERCOUNTY-VA.COM VISIT US. THE SAGES AND HEROES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. IN TWO PARTS INCLUDING THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY THREE OF THE SAGES AND HEROES ARE PRESENTED IN DUE FORM AND MANY OTHERS ARE NAMED INCIDENTALLY. BY L. CARROLL JUDSON, AUTHOR OF A BIOGRAPHY OF THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, MORAL PROBE, ET CET. ET CET. </li></ul><p> 2. PHILADELPHIA: MOSS &amp; BROTHER. 1854. GENUINE moral courage is a sterling virtuethe motive power of the true dignity of man. It invigorates the mind like a refreshing dew falling gently on the flowers of spring. It is a heavenly sparkanimating the immortal soul with the fire of purity that illuminates the path of rectitude. It is an attribute that opposes all wrong and propels its possessor right onward to the performance of all right. Based on virtue and equity, it spurns vice in all its borrowed and delusive forms. It courts no servile favorsfears no earthly scrutiny. No flattery can seduce itno eclat allureno bribe purchaseno tyrant awe no misfortune bendno intrigue corruptno adversity crushno tortures can subdue it. On its breastplate is inscribed in bold relievoFiat justitiaruat calum. [Let justice be done though the heavens fall.] Without it, fame is ephemeralrenown transient. It is the saline basis of a good name that gives enduring richness to its memory. It is a pillar of light to revolving thoughtthe polar star that points to duty, secures merit and leads to victory. It is the soul of reasonthe essence of wisdomthe crowning glory of mental power. It was this that nerved the leaders of the American Revolution to noble and god-like action. In the front rank of this band of patriots stood Thomas Jefferson, who was born at Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia, on the 24th of April 1743. His ancestors were among the early pioneers of the Old Dominion and highly respectable. They were Republicans to the corein affluent circumstances and exercised an extensive and happy influence. Thomas was the son of Peter Jefferson, a man much esteemed in public and private life. The liberal feelings imbibed from him by this son were conspicuous at an early age. From his childhood the mind of Thomas Jefferson assumed a high elevation took a broad and expansive view of men and things. He was educated at the college of William and Mary and was always found at the head of his class. Untiring industry in the exploration of the fields of science marked his collegiate career. He analyzed every subject he investigated, passing through the opening avenues of literature with astonishing celerity. His mind became enraptured with the history of classic Greece and republican Rome. Improving upon the suggestions of liberal principles found in the classics, he early matured his political creed and opposed every kind of government tinctured with the shadow of monarchy, hierarchy or aristocracy. After completing his collegiate course he commenced the study of law under Chancellor Wythe, whose liberal views were calculated to mature and strengthen those already preponderating in the mind of Jefferson. With regard to the oppressions of the mother countrythe justice and necessity of resistance by the Colonies, their kindred hearts 3. beat in unison. By a thorough investigation of the principles of law and government, Jefferson became rapidly prepared to enter upon the great theatre of public lifethe service of his injured country. Planting himself upon the broad basis of Magna Charta encircling himself within the pale of the British Constitutionhe demonstrated most clearly that the ministry of the crown had long been rapidly advancing beyond the bounds of their legitimate authorityexercising a tyranny over the Colonies not delegated to them by the constitution of the monarchy they represented. So luminous were his expositions of chartered rights on the one hand and accumulating wrongs on the other, that he became the nucleus of a band of patriots resolved on LIBERTY OR DEATH. At the age of twenty-two he was elected to the legislature which enabled him to disseminate his liberal principles throughout the Colony. He proclaimed himself the unyielding advocate of equal rights and had engraved upon his watch seal"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." By his eloquence and unanswerable arguments he kindled the flame of opposition in old Virginia which increased as tyranny advanced. In 1769 a resolution was passed by the legislaturenot to import a single article from Great Britain. In the advocacy of this proposition by Mr. Jefferson, the adherents of the crown were astonished at the boldness and firmness with which he exposed and laid bare the venal corruption of the British cabinet. It gave a fresh impetus to the cause of Liberty just bursting into life. With ample pecuniary meanswith talents equal to the work he had undertaken, his soul illuminated with the fire of patriotismhis indignation roused against the hirelings of the kinghis sympathies excited by the sufferings of his countryhis moral courage raised to the zenith of its gloryMr. Jefferson was amply armed for the conflict and became one of the master spirits of the Revolutiona gigantic champion of universal freedoma pillar of fire, flashing terror and dismay into the ranks of the foe. He wrote "A Summary View of the Rights of British America"addressed it to the king respectfully but very plainly pointed to the true position of the two countries and the final result of the policy of ministers. The following is an extract. "Open your breast, sire, to liberal and expanded thought. It behooves you to think and act for your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader. To perceive them needs not the aid of many counsellors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." The art of being honest in matters of government is a knotty problem for some modern politicians to solve. Were they all honest a political millennium would illuminate our countrybring us back to primitive tangible landmarks and unmask multitudes of political wolves cunningly dressed in sheep's clothing. So exasperated was Lord Dunmore on perusing this article from the pen of Jefferson that he threatened to arrest him for high treason. Finding most of the members of the legislature, then in session, quite as treasonable in their views he at once dissolved that body. The following year the British ministry, in answer to petitions for redress of grievances, sent to the legislature of the Old Dominion a series of propositions that they termed 4. conciliatory but which added insult to injury. Their fallacy was exposed by Mr. Jefferson in such a masterly strain of eloquent burning logic and sarcasm, that conviction was carried to a large majority of his colleagues. They were referred to a committee which reported an answer written by him and was very similar to the Declaration of Independence. This reply was immediately adopted. The ball of resistance was put in motionthe electric fluid of patriotism commenced its insulating powers in the north and southextending from sire to son, from heart to heart, until the two streams of fire met in the centrethen rising in grandeur, formed the luminous arch of Freedomits chord extending from Maine to Georgiaits versed sine resting on the city Penn. Under its zenith at Philadelphia, Mr. Jefferson took his seat in the Continental Congress on the 21st of June 1775. Although one of the youngest members of that venerated assembly of patriotic sages, he was hailed as one of its main pillars. Known as a man of superior intelligence, liberal sentiments, strict integrity, stern republicanism and unbending patriotismhis influence was strongly felt and judiciously exercised. From the beginning he advocated a separation from the mother country and ably met every objection urged against it. In his view, oppression, not recognised by Magna Charta, had dissolved all allegiance to the crownthat the original contract had been cancelled on the heights of Lexington by American blood. Submission was no longer a virtuethe measure of wrongs had been overflowing for yearspublic sentiment demanded the sundering of the Gordian knota voice from Heaven proclaimed in tones of thunder"Let my people go." The following year the Declaration of Independence was proposed. Mr. Jefferson was appointed chairman of the committee to prepare this momentous document. The work was assigned to him by his colleagues. He performed the task with a boldness of design and beauty of execution before unknown and yet unrivalled. The substantial result of his labor has long been before the world. Admiring nations have united in bestowing the highest encomiums upon this sacred instrument. As a masterpiece of compositiona lucid exposition of the rights of manthe principles of a free governmentthe sufferings of an oppressed peoplethe abuses of a corrupt ministry and the effects of monarchy upon the destinies of manit stands unequalled. Pure in its origingraphic in its delineationsbenign in its influence and salutary in its resultsit has become the chart of patriots over the civilized world. It is the ne plus ultra [nothing more beyond] of a gigantic mind raised to its loftiest elevation by the finest touches of creative Power displaying its noblest effortsbrightest conceptionsholiest zealpurest desires happiest conclusions. It combines the attributes of justicethe flowers of eloquence the force of logicthe soul of wisdom. It is the grand palladium of equal rightsthe polar star of rational LIBERTYthe Magna Charta of universal FREEDOM and has crowned its author with laurels of enduring fame. In the autumn of 1776 Mr. Jefferson was appointed a commissioner to the court of France in conjunction with Messrs. Franklin and Deane for the purpose of forming a treaty of alliance. Ill health of himself and family and an urgent necessity for his services in his native state, induced him to decline the proffered honor and resign his seat in 5. Congress. He was immediately elected to the first legislature of his state convened under the new Constitution. On taking his seal in that body his attention was at once directed to the demolition of the judicial code which had emanated from the British Parliament. The work of rearing a new superstructure was mostly performed by him. The first bill he introduced was aimed at the slave trade and prohibited the farther importation of negroes into Virginia. This is a triumphant refutation of the accusation often reiterated against Mr. Jeffersonthat he was an advocate of slavery. To its principles he and a large majority of the South were always opposed and submitted to it practically by ENTAIL. It is a fact beyond dispute that he struck the first blow in the Colonies at the unhallowed trade of importing human beings for the purpose of consigning them to bondage. That this was the first great step to towards a correction of the most cruel feature of this system, originated by philanthropic England, is equally true. To transfer those negroes, born in the United States, from one section of this country to another, bears no comparison in cruelty to the heart-rending barbarity of forcing the African from his native homeeven should he fall into the hands of those emancipators who, instead of returning him to his native shoresput him an"APPRENTICE" to hard labor on their own plantations. Consistency thou art a jewel rather rare. Common humanity forbids the sudden emancipation of the slaves as proposed by emissary Thompson and his converts. Mr. Jefferson next effected the passage of bills destroying entailsprimogeniturethe church as established by England and various othersassimilating the entire system of jurisprudence in the state to its republican form of government. He reported one hundred and twenty-six bills, most of which were passed and constitute the present much admired statutory code of Virginia. In 1779 Mr. Jefferson was called to the gubernatorial chair of his native state, then surrounded by perils. The British troops, led on by the proud Tarleton and the traitor Arnold, were spreading death and devastation over the Old Dominion and contemplated the capture of the governor. Terror seized the more timid patriotsthe boldest were alarmed at the approach of the merciless foe. The energy of the governor was equal to the emergency. He rallied the bone and sinew of old Virginia, who "with hearts of oak and nerves of steel," checked the enemy in their bold career of indiscriminate slaughter. He imparted confidence and vigor to the desponding and roused them to bold and noble action. He dispersed the black cloud that hung over his bleeding state and inspired the friends of liberty with cheering hopes of ultimate success. So highly were his services appreciated during the eventful term of his administration that the legislature entered upon their records a unanimous vote of thanks to him for the able and efficient manner he had discharged his public dutieshighly complimenting his talents, rectitude, moral courage and stern integrity. In 1783 he again took his seat in Congressone of the brightest luminaries in the galaxy of statesmen. The chaste and moving address to Washington when he surrendered his commission, was from the soul-stirring pen of Jefferson. He was chairman of the committee to form a territorial government for the extensive regions of the then far west. 6. True to his long cherished desire to ultimately emancipate the negro, he introduced a clause prohibiting slavery in any of the territories or the states that should be formed from them after 1800. In May, 1784, he was a minister plenipotentiary in conjunction with Dr. Franklin and John Adams, with power to negotiate treaties of commerce with several European nations. In July he embarked for France and arrived in Paris on the 6th of August. During his absence he visited several foreign courts but spent most of his time in France. He commanded the highest respect and was made a welcome guest in the halls of literature, legislation and jurisprudence. Kings and courtiers treated him with profound deference and were convinced intelligence and talent were not exclusively confined to the old world. He was in Paris when the French Revolution commenced and was often consulted by the leading members of the national convention relative to the best course to be pursued in order to establish their government upon the Republican basis. So far as was proper he gave his opinions freely in favor of rational Liberty. He returned on the 23d of November 1789 and was received with great enthusiasm and kindness by his fellow citizens. Soon after his arrival he resigned his ministerial commission and became Secretary of State under President Washington. The appointment was a compli...</p>