Графични страници
PDF файл

light from Mr. Jefferson, and that he seems not to have been thoroughly aware of the inherent difficulty of the question, or rather of the improbability of reaching any certain or inevitable conclusion concerning it; as it lies beyond the first foundations of human knowledge, and there can be no reasoning on it, in support of either side, which does not assume the very point in dispute. That ready sagacity which saw truth in the most complicated concerns of life, and in those which were most remote from ordinary apprehension; and that firmness which fearlessly expressed what it confidently believed, were out of place here, where sagacity is left to wander in random conjecture, and decision of mind can produce nothing better than dogmatism. He seems to suppose that his opinion is sanctioned by the authority of Locke and Dugald Stewart, but in this he was clearly mistaken, as they both expressly recognise mind as distinct from matter, and think the evidence of the former at least as strong as that of the latter. He is not, however, the first who has mistaken Locke's opinions on this subject, by way of inference from his argument that we have no innate ideas, but that the mind is first put into activity by sensation ; without adverting to the fact that this inference of the materiality of mind is precluded by his positive assertion of a contrary opinion.



The University of Virginia. Massachusetts Constitution. Political

views of Spanish America. His applications to the legislature in behalf of the University. Letters to Mr. Nicholas. Resolutions of Kentucky. Nullification. His fears of the judiciary-Examined. Letter to Mr. Morse--against extensive voluntary associations. Arguments considered. His extensive correspondence. Letter to Mr. Barry on the judiciary power. To Mr. Adams-On the navy of the United States. Dry docks. Letter to Mr. Adams. Napoleon at St. Helena. Natural Theology. Letter to President Monroe. On the Foreign Policy of the United States.


From the spring of the year 1819, Mr. Jefferson was closely and personally engaged in superintending the buildings of the new university until they were finished. On him had devolved the duty of procuring the different workmen required, bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, and stone-cutters, most of whom were procured from Philadelphia. He not only formed the general plan of the buildings, but draughts of every subordinate part were made by him; and he superintended the execution by almost daily visits to the workmen; though the ride from Monticello to the university and back is at least ten miles, over a rough and mountainous road. Next to seeing the work advancing to its completion, his greatest pleasure consisted in showing the edifice to such respectable strangers as visited it.

This plan has indeed been the subject of frequent criticism; yet it is probable that any other plan which could have been devised would have incurred as much censure, since architecture is a branch of art in which all-docti indoctique—think themselves equally competent to judge. It is certainly remarkably showy to the eye, and the view of its exterior is always very imposing to him who beholds it for the first time. Though extensive for the accommodation it affords, in consequence of its spreading over so large a surface, it is on that account more favourable to order and quiet than if the students had been congregated into one or two large buildings. It is also more secure from destruction by fire, by reason of the case with which every part can be approached and subjected to the action of the fire-en. gine, and because but a small part can be consumed at one time.

Though every essential part of the establishment required the sanction of the Board of Visitors, yet on almost all occasions they yielded to his views, partly from the unaffected deference which most of the board had for his judgment and experience, and partly for the reason often urged by, Mr. Madison, that as the scheme was originally Mr. Jefferson's, and the chief responsibility for its success or failure would fall on him, it was but fair to let him execute it in his own way.

There was no employment whatever in which he could have found such agreeable occupation, as in thus carrying into execution the long cherished schemes of his patriotism in providing for the education of the youth of the country, and at the same time gratifying his taste, or rather his passion, for architecture; especially for Grecian architecture. The pavilions provided for the professors were cach adorned with a portico, where he exhibited to his admiring country-, men models of all the orders, rigidly copied to the smallest minutiæ; and to furnish these models, probably more money was spent in the ornamental parts of the edifice than in those which were indispensable.

According to ordinary experience in building, unforeseen contingencies and occasional enlargements of the original plan swelled the cost of this establishment greatly beyond the first estimates, and certain ménagemens were necessary with the legislature, (always sufficiently sensitive on the subject of money,) not only to reconcile them to the past expenditure, but to obtain from them further appropriations. His knowledge of the springs of human action, and his address in putting them into operation, were never more conspicuous; and as he sometimes met with checks and disappointments, his efforts had been unavailing if his patience and perseverance had not been equal to his consummate skill.

At the meeting of the legislature in 1820, he informed his correspondent in that body that the cost of the establishment when completed would not exceed 162,000 dollars, and he makes strong appeals to the pride as well as the patriotism of the members, to add to their former contributions.

They finally succeeded in obtaining of the legislature this session, a loan of 60,000 dollars, to be repaid out of the annuity of 15,000 dollars, appropriated from the literary fund, and in the following year 60,000 dollars more.

In speaking of Spanish America to Mr. Adams, in January 1821, he thus renews his former unfavourable presages. “I feared from the beginning that these people were not sufficiently enlightened for self-government; and that, after wading through blood and slaughter, they would end in military tyrannies, more or less numerous. Yet, as they wished to try the experiment, I wished them success in it; they have now tried it, and will probably find that their safest road will be an accommodation with the mother-country, which shall hold them together by the single link of the same chief magistrate, leaving to him power enough to keep them in peace with one another, and to themselves the es



sential power of self-government and self-improvement, until they shall be sufficiently trained by education and habits of freedom, to walk safely by themselves. Representative government, native functionaries, a qualified negative on their laws, with a previous security, by compact, for freedom of commerce, freedom of the press, habeas corpus, and trial by jury, would make a good beginning. This last would be the school in which their people might begin to learn the exercise of civic duties as well as rights. For freedom of religion they are not yet prepared. The scales of bigotry have not sufficiently fallen from their eyes, to accept it for themselves individually, much less to trust others with it. But that will come in time, as well as a general ripeness to break from the parent stem.”

If the strong and irreconcileable hatred of Spanish America to the European Spaniard, which had taken place long before this, had not rendered Mr. Jefferson's scheme impracticable, their history thus far seems to show that it would have been a wiser course than a complete and sudden independence, for which they were not prepared. The difficulties, however, in this state of qualified dependence would not have been light. Collisions would very probably soon have arisen between the colonists and Spain, each jealous that the other was seeking to pass the prescribed limits to its power, and but too probably with good reason, until complete separation was effected. But there would have been this advantage gained ; they would have been united among themselves in their contests with the mother country, and in the common struggle they would have insensibly acquired much of the habits and the institutions requisite for self-government. Even in the case of the revolution of the United States, one cannot say what party contests and civil commotions might have arisen in some of them, had the struggle been a short one, and less arduous; and, after the peace of 1783, had the

« ПредишнаНапред »