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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

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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.


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Nativity of Mr. Jefferson. Peculiarity in the concealment of his birth-day—

Curiosity felt to ascertain it—Motives of his conduct in this particular—Reply

to the city authorities of Washington–To Levi Lincoln, pp. 17:18. Genealo-

gy of Mr. Jefferson – Peculiarity by which it was marked—Prominency of the

feature in Thomas. Anecdote related by Mr. Madison. Antiquity of his mater-

nal pedigree. Character of his father—Extent of his patrimony. His early

education—Critical position of his boy-hood—His juvenile mind and habits

—Fondness for the classics—For what qualities distinguished in College—

Passion for certain Sciences and Fine Arts, pp. 18:20. Circumstances which

decided the particular direction of his life. His character of Dr. Small—Of

George Wythe. Coinmences the study of Law—Extent of his researches.

His fervid description of the speech of Patrick Henry against the Stamp-act—

Influence of that scene upon his subsequent career. Mottos of his Seals, pp.

22:27. Enquiry into the relative birth of individual opinions on the question of

American Independence—Remark of Mr. Jefferson upon this point. Notice of

his claims to the distinction of giving direction and permanency to the moral

power of the Revolution—His sarcastic compliment to Massachusetts upon this

point—The idea pursued in a letter to General Dearborn. Enters the Practice

of the Law—Professional celebrity. Qualifications as an Advocate-–As a Pop-

ular Orator. Letter to Major John Cartwright of England, displaying the depth

and precision of his legal preparation—Interest excited on the publication of

this letter—Answer to E. Everett upon the subject, pp. 27:33.

Mr. Jefferson comes of age. Elected to the Legislature. His first effort in

that body for the Emancipation of Slaves—Overwhelming defeat of the measure

—Remarks on the singular merits of the proposition. Extract from his Notes

on Virginia, on Slavery. Progress of the Revolution. System of Non-inter-

course adopted by the Colonies—Agency of Mr. Jefferson in bringing Virginia

into the measure—Its utility as an engine of coercion. Retaliatory resolutions

of the British Parliament. Counter resolutions brought forward by Mr. Jeffer-

son. Germ of the A aerican Union. Sudden dissolution of the Legislature.

Jefferson and others rally a private meeting of the members at the Raleigh

tavern—Its spirited doings. Influence of the revolutionary proceedings in Vir-

ginia, pp. 34: ;0. Apathy of the Colonists—How viewed by Mr. Jefferson—

He devises measures-for arousing them to a sense of their situation. Meeting

of the bolder spirits, to set the machinery in motion—Influence of this conclave

upon the course of the Revolution. Committees of Correspondence established

–Agency of this measure in begetting a General Congress—Strong presenti-

ment of Mr. Jefferson of the result of their deliberations. Interesting debut of

Mr. Carr in the Legislature--Mr. Jefferson's character of him. Legislature again

dissolved, pp. 41 : 45. Parallel Committees of Correspondence appointed by

the other Colonies–-Moral agency of this institution in the Revolution. Nows

of the Boston Port Bill. Popular effervescence. Measures set in motion by Mr.

Jefferson. Holds another council with his former confederates, Appointment of

a general Fast in Virginia—Mr. Jefferson's account of his draft of the proclama-

tion—Effect of this measure throughout the Colonies. Legislature again dis-

solved. Spirited Association entered into by the members. Recommendation

of a General Congress, pp. 46: 53.

The other Colonies unite in the measure of a General Congress. First demo-
cratic Convention in Virginia. Mr. Jefferson elected a member. Instructions
proposed by him for the Congressional Delegates––Published by the Convention
under the title of ‘Summary View of the Rights of British America'—Effect of
this work in England---Re-published by the Whigs in Parliament---Bill of At-
tainder commenced against the author--Political doctrines of this work form
the text of the Revolution; inserted at length---Remarks on the Political merits
of the work. The Convention virtually assumes the government of the colony,

Mr. Jefferson takes his seat in the Continental Congress---His emotions---

Curiostiy of members on his appearance. Political influence of the decisions of

that body. Mr. Jefferson appointed on the committee to prepare a Declaration

of the Causes of taking up arms - Character of the document. Curious remin-

iscence related by Mr. Jefferson. Disparity of sentiment in Congress. Opinions

of Mr. Jefferson. Extract from the War Manifesto, pp. 84: 98. Mr. Jefferson

designated to prepare the answer of Congress to Lord North's Conciliatory Prop-

osition---The document. His letters to a gentleman in England. Re-elected

to Congress. His agency in the principal movements in Virginia while in

Congress. His draught of a Preamble, Declaration of Rights, and Constitu-

tion for that State. Reasons why they were not adopted entire. His opinion

on the Constitution as adopted, and on popular government in general, at this

epoch, pp. 89 : 100. Virginia instructs her Delegates in Congress to declare In-

dependence--Causes of the rapid proclivity of the public mind to the same sen-

timent. Preparatory steps of Congress for declaring Independence. Mr. Jef.

ferson appointed to prepare an animated Address. Introductory motion of In-

dependence—Powerful resistance to the measure—Heads of debate on the mo-

tion. Committee appointed to prepare a Declaration of Independence—Mr. Jes.

ferson designated to make the draught---His report, pp. 100: 107. Debates re-

newed on the preliminary motion. Wehement opposition to the Declaration---

Parts striken out. The original instrument, with the alterations. Reception of

the Declaration by the people.--Its immediate and ulterior influences in the

world.--Review of its merits. Extracts from the writings of Mr. Jefferson.

Comparative merits of the leaders of the physical and the moral power of the

Revolution. Remarks on the attempt to detract from the merits of the Decla-

ration---Letter of the Author to Mr. Madison, pp. 107: 128. Mr. Jefferson re-

elected to Congress---Reasons for declining-- Retirement. Appointed Commis-

sioner to France-- Letter to Congress declining. Extract from his private me-

moranda, pp. 128: 132.


Mr. Jefferson resumes his Seat in the Virginia Legislature---Commences the
work of republicanizing the government. His bill for establishing a Judiciary
System---For abolishing the Law of Entals. Anstocratic peculiarities in the
social state of Virginia–Contrary biasses of Mr. Jefferson. His eulogium upon
agriculturalists. View of his objects in repealing the law of Entails. Opposi-
tion of the landed aristocracy. Preamble to the act, pp. 133: 137. His attack
upon the hierarchy. History of the Church establishment in Virginia. Resis-
tance of the privileged order. Final success of his efforts—Glories of this
achievement. He introduces a bill for abolishing the Slave trade—For establish-
ing a new Seat of government, pp. 138: 144. He introduces a resolution for Re-
vising the Legal Code of Virginia---Appointed, with others, to execute the work.
Project for a Dictator—Resistance of Mr. Jefferson--His powerful development
of this atrocious measure, pp. 145: 148. Meeting of the Revisors of the Laws---
Plan of the work---Difference of opinion-- Distribution of the labor---General
propositions of Mr. Jefferson---Opinion of Mr. Pendleton. Letter of Mr. J. to
Dr. Franklin. Passage of his bill for abolishing the Slave traffick--Historical
comparison of this achievment with that of the European nations—Merit of
priority---Order in which the example of Virginia was followed by the other


Mr. Jefferson elected Governor--- 'agnan inity towards his competitor. He

institutes retallatory measures on British prisoners—Remonstrance of the British

General-- His r. ply-- Approbation of his conduct by the Commander in Chief.

Specimen of his early State papers. Effect of his policy upon the enemy --His

appeal to Amer can captives, suffering under the first effects of his policy. His

measures for extending the western establishments of Virginia.--Success. Vir-

ginia cedes her unappropriated territory to the U. States–Effect of this measure,

pp. 185: 196. Re-elected Governor. D.stressing situation of Virginia. Extra-

ordinary powers conferred on the Governor. Invasion of the State under Gen.

Leslie. Measures of defence. Honorable conduct of the enemy. Invasion un-

der Arnold. Capture of the set opolis. Intrepidity of the Governor— Attempt

to seize Arnold. Deplorable situation of Virginia. British re inforcement un-

der Philips. Exposure of the Governor. Invasion of Virginia by Cornwallis.

Governor's appeal to the Commander in chief for aud. Mr. Jefferson declines a

re-election Closing events of his administration. Attempted impeachment of

his character. Approbatory resolution of the Legislature. Tarlton's attack on

Monticello. Story of Carter's Mountain. Narrow escape of Mr. Jefferson. His

description of Cornwallis's invasion, pp. 196: 203. Writes his Notes on Virginia.

Outines and general inerits of the work.-His comparison of American gen-

ius with that of Europe—Remarks on he Constitution of Virginia—on Slave-

1 y—on Free Inquiry in matters of religion. Appointed a Commissioner to ne-

gotiate peace-Reasons for d clining. His pursuits in retirement. Description

of him by a traveller. Again appointed Commissioner—Acceptance—Reasons

for not joining in the act of pacification, pp. 209 : 223.


Re-elected to Congress—Remarks on his re-appearance. Washington's re-
signation of the command of the army Description of the ceremony. Appoint-
ed chairman of the committee on the ratification of the treaty of Peace—De-
bates. Content ous character of Congress described by him—Reconciling meas-
ure, pp. 224: 229. Appointed to drought a system of Uniform Currency for
the United States, and establish a Money Unit—Difference of views between
him and the Financier---Adoption of his plan—lts merits. Magnitude of his
Congressional duties. Appointed chairman of a committee to revise the treas-
ury Department, and report—of Finance, and report—to draught a Plan of Gov-
ernment for the Western Territories, and report. On a committee of retrench-
ment—of locating and disposing the Western lands. Measures taken by Con-
gress for investing the General Government with exclusive power to regulate

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