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gerly engaged. The little spice of ambition which I had in my younger days has long since evaporated. and I set still less store by a posthumous than present name. In stating to you the heads of reasons which have produced my determination, I do not mean an opening for future discussion, or that I may be reasoned out of it. The question is for ever closed with me.”

The whole time of Mr. Jefferson was now devoted to the education of his family, the cultivation of his estate, the intercourse of friendship, and the pursuit of those philosophical studies which he had so long abandoned, but to which he now returned with revived ardour. In the retirement of his closet, and amid such employments, the biographer has but little to relate, and detail would be monotonous to the reader; yet, perhaps, we will be pardoned for introducing the remarks of two distinguished French travellers, who visited him at different times, and enjoyed his privacy. “His conversation,” says the Duke de Liancourt, who visited Monticello in '94, “is of the most agreeable kind, and he possesses a stock of information not inferiour to that of any other man. In Europe he would hold a distinguished rank among men of letters, and as such he has already appeared there. At present he is employed with activity in the management of his farms and buildings, and he orders, directs, and pursues, in the minutest detail, every branch of business relating to them. The author of this sketch found him in the midst of harvest, from which the scorching heat of the sun does not prevent his attendance. His negroes are nourished, clothed, and treated as well as white servants could be. As he cannot expect any assistance from the two small neighbouring towns, every article is made on his farm; his negroes are cabinet makers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, &c. The children he employs in a nail manufactory, which yields already a considerable profit. The young and old negresses spin for the clothing of the rest. He animates them by rewards and distinctions; in fine, his superiour mind directs the management of his domestick concerns with the same ability, activity, and regularity, which he evinced in the conduct of publick affairs, and which he is calculated to display in every situation of life.” Twelve years before this, he had made the same impression on the Marquis de Chastellux, a Major General in the French army, and who had come to this country with Lieutenant General Count Rochambeau. “The conversation,” writes the Marquis, “continued, and brought us insensibly to the foot of the mountains. On the summit of one of them we discovered the house of Mr. Jefferson, which stands preeminent in these retirements; it was himself who built it, and preferred this situation; for although he possessed considerable property in the neighbourhood, there was nothing to prevent him from fixing his residence whereever he thought proper. But it was a debt nature owed to a philosopher and a man of taste, that in his own posses. sions he should find a spot where he might best study and enjoy her. He calls his house Monticello, (in Italian, Little Mountain,) a very modest title, for it is situated upon a very lofty one, but which announces the owner's attachment to the language of Italy; and, above all, to the fine arts, of which that country was


the cradle, and is still the asylum. After ascending by a tolerably commodious road for more than half an hour, we arrived at Monticello. This house, of which Mr. Jefferson was the architect, and often one of the workmen, is rather elegant, and in the Italian taste, though not without a fault: it consists of one large square pavilion, the entrance of which is by two porticoes ornamented with pillars. The ground floor consists chiefly of a very large lofty saloon, which is to be decorated entirely in the antique style; above it is a library of the same form; two small wings, with only a ground floor, and attick story, are joined to this pavilion, and communicate with the kitchen, offices, &c. which will form a kind of basement story, over which runs a terrace. My object in this short description is only to show the difference between this and the other houses of the country; for we may safely aver, that Mr. Jefferson is the first American who has courted the fine arts to know how he should shelter himself from the weather. But it is on himself alone I ought to bestow my time. Let me describe to you a man, not yet forty, tall, and with a mild and pleasing countenance, but whose mind and understanding are ample substitutes for every exteriour grace. An American, who, without ever having quitted his own country, is at once a musician, skilled in drawing, a geometrician, an astronomer, a natural philosopher, legislator, and statesman. A Senator of America, who sat for two years in that famous Congress which brought about the revolution; a Governour of Virginia, who filled this difficult station during the invasions of Arnold, of Phillips, and of Cornwallis; a philosopher, in vol

untary retirement from the world and publick business, inasmuch only as he can flatter himself with being useful to mankind. A mild and amiable wife, charming children, of whose education he himself takes charge, a house to embellish, great provisions to improve, and the arts and sciences to cultivate, these are what remain to Mr. Jefferson, after having played a principal character on the theatre of the new world, and which he preferred to the honourable commission of Minister Plenipotentiary in Europe. The visit which I made him was not unexpected, for he had long since invited me to come and pass a few days with him, in the centre of the mountains; notwithstanding which, I found his first appearance serious, nay, even cold; but before I had been two hours with him, we were as intimate as if we had passed our whole lives, together; walking, books, but above all, a conversation always varied and interesting, made four days pass away like so many minutes. Sometimes natural philosophy, at others politicks, or the arts, were the topicks of our conversation, for no object had escaped Mr. Jefferson; and it seemed as if from his youth he had placed his mind, as he had done his house, on an elewated situation, from which he might contemplate the


From this retirement, Mr. Jefferson writes to Mr. Giles, April 27, 1795, “I shall be rendered very happy by the visit you promise me. The only thing wanting to make me completely so, is the more frequent society of my friends. It is the more wanting, as I am become the more firmly fixed to the glebe. If you visit me as a farmer, it must be as a condisciple, for I am but a

learner; an eager one, indeed, but yet desperate, being too old now to learn a new art. However, I am as much delighted and occupied with it as if I was the greatest adept. I shall talk with you about it from morning till night, and put you on very short allowance as to political aliment. Now and then a pious ejaculation for the French and Dutch republicans, returning with due despatch to clover, potatoes, wheat, &c.”

But the situation of the country and the desires of many, warmly expressed, did not permit Mr. Jefferson long to enjoy the pleasures of a private life; and he was drawn most reluctantly from his retirement. General Washington had, for some time, contemplated a retirement from office, and in his farewell address to the people of the United States, he had, in the month of September, 1796, declined being considered any longer a candidate for it. The person in whom alone the voice of the whole nation could be united, having thus withdrawn, the two great parties, in which the country was then divided, respectively brought forward their chiefs. Mr. Jefferson was supported by the one, Mr. Adams by the other. “The first wish of my heart,” says the former, in a letter to Mr. Madison, " was, that you should have been proposed for the administration of the government. On your declining it, I wish any body rather than myself; and there is nothing that I so anxiously hope, as that my name may come out either second or third. These would be indifferent to me; as the last would leave me at home the whole year, and the other two thirds of it. It seems also possible, that the Representatives may

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