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that at the time they were written, the Author had no conception of their ever being made public. On this point we have the authority of the Editor, who states in his Preface, that “the historical parts of the Letters, and the entire publication, have the rare value of coming from one of the chief actors himself, and of being written not for the public eye, but in the freedom and confidence of private friendship.”
It would undoubtedly be a happy circumstance for this country, and for the mass of mankind, besides serving, if possible, to enhance the reputation of the revered Author, if these works could obtain a circulation which should place them in the hands of every individual; for if any thing could give stability to those principles, which form alike the basis of his renown, and the elements of the splendid structure of free government which he was chiefly instrumental in establishing, it would be such an extensive dissemination of his Writings. Unfortunately, however, the form in which they have appeared, is not the most advantageous to the accomplishment of this desirable purpose. The publication is too voluminous, and consequently too expensive, to admit of a general introduction among all classes; nor is the mode of arrangement the best adapted to its reception into ordinary use as a work of reference.
These considerations have suggested the plan of the present undertaking, which aspires to no higher claims than that of an analytic, and, it is hoped, a well assorted generalization of the original publication. It has been the leading object of the compilation, to condense the most valuable substance of the four, within the compass of one volume, and to supply what are presumed to be essential wants of the former, by interweaving a connected narrative of the Author's Life, by systematizing the contents as much as possible, and furnishing the whole with a definite and copious Index. All the great political papers of Mr. Jefferson, contained in the original works, have been copied into this, or their substance faithfully stated; and many others, not therein contained, have been procured from other sources, and likewise introduced. Among the latter, are the Answer of Congress to the ‘Conciliatory Proposition' of Lord North; the celebrated bill for the establishment of Religious Freedom; and the first Inaugural Address of the Author, on his elevation to the Presidency—inserted at length; an analysis of his Reports, while Secretary of State, on Coins, Weights and Measures, on the Fisheries, and on Commerce and Navigation ; the Preambles to the bills for Abolishing the law of Entails, for the General Diffusion of Knowledge, and other organic acts of the Virginia Legislature, at the establishment of the 1epublican form of government; and extracts of the most interesting portions of his ‘Notes on Wirginia.’
The Selections from the Private Correspondence of Mr. Jefferson, are extensive, and dispersed through the volume, with reference to the topic under consideration, more than to the order of time. They
will probably be found the most interesting portions of the volume. In making the quotations from this department, it has been the object to bring the greatest quantity of useful matter within the smallest space. Parts of letters, therefore, are usually introduced.— rarely the whole of any one,—sufficient to give the full sense of the Writer on any required point, and avoiding all extraneous observations. The historical and biographical portions of the work have also been derived, in great part, from this pregnant source. In some cases the very language of the Author has been adopted, without invariably noting it with the usual mark of credit. In all such cases, however, the style or the sentiment will be sufficiently distinguishable to place it where it belongs. Some parts of the narrative may appear overwrought with culogy, to some minds—not so much because the subject does not deserve it, as because it was infinitely above the attempt. It is a difficult matter to commemorate the deeds of so distinguished a benefactor of the human race, without yielding in some degree to the influence of a passion which they are so justly calculated to inspire; and the writer does not scruple to admit, that he has less endeavored to restrain his own grateful feelings, than to infuse the same into the minds of his readers. The character of 'i'uox1 As JEFFERson should be held up to all succeeding generations of American people, as the model on which they should habitually six their eyes, and fashion their own charac. ters and principles. His unparalleled achievements and sacrifices for their benefit, with the pre-eminent success, and the blissful close . of his life, should be continually spread before them, as incitements to run the same virtuous and glorious career of action. His Writings should enlighten the fireside of every citizen of this Republic, and form the text-book of the American statesman. His pure fame should be religiously cherished by his countrymen, as a most precious inheritance to them, and as meriting from man universally an everlasting remembrance. If the present volume shall have been instrumental in promoting these objects, it will have fulfilled its des.
Nativity of Mr. Jefferson. Peculiarity in the concealment of his birth-day—
Mr. Jefferson comes of age. Elected to the Legislature. His first effort in
The other Colonies unite in the measure of a General Congress. First demo-
Mr. Jefferson takes his seat in the Continental Congress---His emotions---
Mr. Jefferson resumes his Seat in the Virginia Legislature---Commences the
Revisors report to the Legislature—Opinion of Mr. Madison on the Revised
CHA PTER WII.
Mr. Jefferson elected Governor--- 'agnan inity towards his competitor. He
Re-elected to Congress—Remarks on his re-appearance. Washington's re-