Story of Thomas Jefferson - J. W. McSpadden

Danger on the Border

A broad band of silver moonlight lay across the rippling surface of the little River Rivanna, flowing rapidly through wilderness and sweep of new-made meadowland, bordered by many a tangle of shrubbery and bending sapling, to mingle with the deeper waters of the James. Old Virginia, then young Virginia, lay asleep. It was a land whose thriving plantations sent over to Mother England their great hogsheads of tobacco, but where the settler's axe still hewed out his farm from the pathless backwoods, and the restless and cruel savage prowled on the war trail or followed the deer.

Across the ribbon of light the dark head of a horse, flung back as the animal swam with powerful strokes, cut through the current. On its back sat a straight, slender boy of about fourteen with a gun across his shoulder. The horse made directly for the shore, plunged once or twice in the sand, and finally scrambled up the bank to gain footing on a narrow trail among the trees. The boy looked back, jumped down and stamped vigorously, adjusted something that hung limp behind the saddle and, with a pat of the glistening wet neck, sprang up again and urged the horse forward.

Both seemed to know the way. When an opening among the thick growth was reached, the pace became a sharp gallop, and before long the lights of a broad, comfortable-looking farmhouse gleamed at them from among the trees.

The boy was Thomas Jefferson, the farm-house was his childhood's home at Shadwell, Virginia. Here in the early days of April, 1743, he had been born, and despite the hardships of pioneer life he and the other members of a goodly-sized household had seen many happy days.

To-night as he reached home he found the family gathered about the great fireplace where, in spite of the late spring, a cheerful blaze roared up the wide chimney. His mother sat at one side, a wide cradle near her in which a tiny child lay resting among soft coverlets. A group of girls clustered about her, the youngest rocking a doll cradle of her own. Each girl had her own bit of sewing, and the mother's fingers flew busily among her knitting needles. His father and a neighbor who had stopped to spend the night on his way home stood together with their backs to the blaze discussing the Indian troubles that were beginning once again to terrify the border.

"I tell you, Colonel Jefferson," Tom heard the visitor say, "we must call out the men again. It can't be stood longer. Why, Colonel Madison sends word from Orange County that the Injuns have raided, murdered and burnt almost to his very door!"

Peter Jefferson waved his hand toward a table where a folded paper lay.

"Read the word that's come from Colonel Washington, wife," he said. "Jane, hand the letter to your mother."

"Give it to Thomas, dear. Let him read it." Tom came forward, greeted the neighbor and took the paper to hold it near the light.

It held a moving story of Indian outrage and horror. General Braddock, whose stubborn pride and ignorance of border warfare had brought upon him and the colonies the terrible defeat of nearly two years before, had left the settlers to pay dearly for it. The Indians seemed to have lost all fear of punishment and their war parties were more and more daring and numerous. Whole counties of settlers fled for their lives while the flames that burned many a little cabin consumed the bloody bodies of its inmates.

Tom read clearly, his voice faltering a little as he came to the words:

"The supplicating tears of the women and the moving petitions of the men melt me with such deadly sorrow that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's ease."

Colonel Jefferson drew a deep breath as the boy read the name at the end of the letter, "George Washington."

"Colonel Washington will do all a man can, Mr. Nevin," he said gravely, "and we'll do our best here in Albemarle County. Colonel Madison has written me also. We must go forward within two days."

He glanced across at his wife, who smiled bravely, although her lips trembled.

The Jeffersons were a sturdy, happy family. The father, Peter Jefferson, surveyor, planter, colonel of the county, justice-of-the-peace and member of the assembly of the time, and whose ancestors had come, long ago, from old Wales to the colony, was a tall, broad-shouldered, silent man, strong enough to be marveled at, even in those days of hardship and vigor. He was fond of books and as clear of mind as he was powerful of muscle. Mrs. Jefferson, a daughter of the fine old Randolph family, was a wise and gentle mother to her growing brood.

"Won't young Thomas, here, and Miss Jane cheer us up a bit with some music?" asked the visitor, in order to break the tension.

Tom glanced hesitatingly at his mother, who smiled and nodded.

"We try for cheerfulness always, Mr. Nevin," she returned. "My husband there insists that to be really brave one must be cheery."

Mr. Nevin glanced at the calm face of Colonel Jefferson.

"I suppose he gets his philosophy from this," he suggested, his eyes twinkling as he pointed to a shelf of worn books above the fire-place. "Shakespeare—I've often heard of him—and this, what is it—The Spectator, eh, Colonel?"

Peter Jefferson got up and took down a volume to lay it upon his knee.

"There's schooling for a man in the wilderness in this, friend Nevin," he said. "Many a time, when I've been out surveying in the woods, I've had it in the bosom of my hunting shirt. If I can bring Tom up to love it as I do, I'll be pretty well pleased."

Mrs. Jefferson looked across at Tom, who stood tuning up his violin.

"There's no fear on that score, Peter," she murmured. "Music and books—they're what he loves best."

Colonel Jefferson drew down his brows and gazed into the fire.

"True enough. And yet they are not all. A man can't have an independent mind—one that is really free—in a weak body. The body must be looked to. What do you say, neighbor?"

Mr. Nevin laughed and touched the swelling muscles of Colonel Jefferson's arm.

"Wa-al, Colonel, it's a text that's got a good preacher in you. I'm told you can stand two thousand-pound hogsheads of tobacco on end with a single motion! I don't doubt the boy's body will be right enough. He's a well grown lad for his age."

Peter Jefferson smoothed his beard with one large brown hand. "The lad will do well enough, I hope. He gets on with his studies with Mr. Douglas, I believe. But time will tell."

He leaned forward to help a little girl to his knee. Silence fell upon them, broken by the snapping of the fire, as they listened to the playing of the boy and the singing of his sister. Bits of quicksteps, reels and jigs, simple melodies and tunes followed one another, and the sweet voice of Jane Jefferson, to the boy's accompaniment, filled the room with the quaint music of the old psalm tunes.

After awhile, at a nod from Mrs. Jefferson, Tom put down his fiddle and Jane took up her sewing again. Mr. Nevin was greatly pleased and thanked them with rough but ready appreciation.

"Times change," he went on thoughtfully. "That boy's fiddlin' reminds me of my brother at his age. I remember he played the fiddle at the fair on St. Andrew's Day." He chuckled. "There was twenty of 'em, ma'am, twenty fiddlers. I remember how the notice ran: 'A fiddle to be played for by twenty fiddlers, no person to have the liberty of playing unless he bring a fiddle with him!' When Neil heard of it, nothing would do but he must take his fiddle and go. But he couldn't play well enough to win the fiddle. After it was given to a lad of twice his size who played like a whirlwind, all twenty of 'em got together and played, each one a different tune, as hard as they could go it! Wa-al! As for Bedlam! I've heard some rackets in my time, but that one beat 'em all! Such a squeaking and a squawking I never expect to hear again!"

Colonel Jefferson's rare, deep laugh rang out above the shouts of the children.

"What else did they do, Mr. Nevin?" asked Tom, moving nearer.

The visitor passed his hand through his thin hair thoughtfully.

"Do? Wa-al, it was a great celebration. Let me see. There was a race. Twenty horses was in it and the course was three miles long. Five pounds was the prize and nobody was allowed to start a horse unless he'd paid in half a pistole. Then twelve boys, each twelve years old, ran a race of a hundred and twelve yards for a hat worth twelve shillings. I won a hat myself that day—a mighty good one, too, Colonel—at cudgeling. Then there was silver buckles that some of the lads wrestled for, a pair of shoes was danced for, and Sally Smith won a pair of fine silk stockings for being the handsomest country maid at the fair—and a mighty proud one she was, too, when she got 'em." Mr. Nevin chuckled again. "Oh, 'twas a grand day, Mrs. Jefferson."

Colonel Jefferson smoothed the little head that lay against him.

"Times are changing. Folks have little enough heart about here just now for fairs," he said soberly.

Mrs. Jefferson drew out a needle from her knitting and turned the stocking about.

"Peace and safety will be won again—even on the border," she said earnestly. "I feel that the time will come when you brave men may stay peacefully at home. The Indians 'must be conquered!"

"True; but now—can you be ready to take the trail in two days, Nevin? I must send word to Washington in the morning."

"I shall be ready, sir," answered the other heartily. "You can count on me to do all I can to get rid of the varmints."

"Good. We must all stand and act together. That is the only way to make Virginia safe."

"You are right, sir," agreed Nevin.

When bedtime came—all too soon—the children left the three before the fire to resume their talk of Indian troubles and plans for going forward to help the young commander of Virginia's soldiers—Colonel George Washington.

The dreams of young Thomas Jefferson, that night, as he lay in his bed under the low sloping roof of the farmhouse, were a mixture of fiddlers playing a whirlwind of tunes for a wonderful fiddle, and of painted Indians thirsting for the blood of the settlers, slipping single-file along the forest trails of old Virginia, while his broad-shouldered father and he hurried madly along in hot pursuit.

A Challenge

Over three years passed away after that night. The storm of Indian troubles that caused Colonel Peter Jefferson many a long march and bloody skirmish was lulled and the brave pioneer himself laid to rest. Thomas, owner now of Shadwell, his father's best farm, but the poorer for the loss of that father, was nearly seventeen. He was ready to go to college, and William and Mary, at Williamsburg, five days' ride from Shadwell, was his goal.

The boy traveled slowly, stopping now and then for a day or two at the house of some relative or friend.

When evening was falling, one spring day in 1760, he turned his tired horse into a broad driveway that led towards a white, wide-verandaed house sitting well back from the road behind a screen of trees. Figures flitting past the lighted windows, the sounds of a violin and gay; laughing voices told of what was going on within. Tom urged his horse.

A hearty welcome awaited him. After he had been refreshed by a bountiful meal and had hastily changed his clothing from the extra garments he carried in his ample saddle bags, he went down to join the fun below stairs.

At the doorway he paused. The room into which he looked was a long one with a floor well polished for dancing. At one end was a raised platform and upon it an aged negro sat playing the fiddle, patting one large flat foot and nodding his gray woolly head in time to his music. Around the sides of the room were chairs, where a number of persons were sitting about talking. The floor itself was thronged with girls in pretty, billowy gowns of various dainty tints, and young men in long-tailed coats, knee-breeches and buckled shoes.

A stately minuet was being danced. Pretty girls stepping gracefully, their curls nodding about laughing faces and half hiding sparkling eyes; tall youths bowing grandly or taking the fingertips of their partners to lead them in dignified promenade—what a gay sight it was, and how hard it seemed for a rosy-cheeked young blade over near the corner' to step about with such dignity!

When the dance was over, the young people gathered in a knot in the center of the room to hear something the jolly-looking youth had to tell them. In a moment, while Tom still stood hesitating in the doorway, a shout of laughter from the boys and a chorus of merriment from the girls shook the circle apart.

"Fie, Patrick!" called a young girl in a dainty blue dress, shaking her fan at him and whirling to catch sight of Tom's tall figure. "Here's our great Cousin Thomas Jefferson who will think you are a hare-brained rascal. He's laughing at us all this minute!"

Tom, slender, square-shouldered, ungainly, his long coat creased from its narrow quarters in the saddle bag, came forward and stood towering above her. His sandy-red hair was carefully brushed back from his fine white forehead and tied in a short queue. This good-natured hazel eyes beamed with pleasure, and a broad smile lighted his homely, freckled face. He held out his hand awkwardly to the fun-maker.

"I'm glad to know you, Mr. Henry," he said, quietly. "You folks seem to be having a good time."

"Mr. Jefferson. Glad to know you."

Patrick Henry shook hands vigorously and then turned briskly around and held up his arms.

"Let's speed things up!" he called, in a jolly voice. "We'll ask Mr. Jefferson, who I hear fiddles himself, to play. Then I'll give you something that will make everybody's head and heels spin. What do you say?"

A general chorus of delight drowned young Jefferson's answer, and the party moved with one accord to where Jonah sat blinking as he rested from his labors. Patrick Henry seemed to be master of the fun.

"Here, Jonah, let me have your little pet there and I'll give it to Mr. Jefferson, who will be mighty kind to it," he commanded, taking the fiddle from the old man's ready hand. "Now, Mr. Jefferson, let's hear something from your noble hand."

Torn raised his hand.

"Listen a minute, all of you," he pleaded. "Let's elect Mr. Henry to play. He'll do it better than I can."

"Oh, come now, Cousin Tom!" Barbara put her hand on his arm. "You know you can play!"

"Now, Thomas Jefferson," called a short, stout boy, "none of your airs just because you're going to college. Go on!"

"I'll tell you what let's do!" struck in Barbara. "Let's have a fiddler's fair! Patrick against Tom. Challenge him, Tom!"

"A challenge! A challenge!"

"Go on, Tom!"

Patrick Henry, drawing down the corners of his mouth to a solemn gravity, folded his arms and placed himself directly in front of Thomas.

"What sayest thou?" he inquired sternly. "A challenge, is it? This to me? Say on!"

Thomas, still holding the old negro's fiddle under one long arm, looked around the circle and laughed a little.

"Well, then," he said, "if you're bound to have it! Now then, here it is. Ahem! I challenge you, Patrick Henry, to fiddle against me. Old Jonah shall be the judge."

A great clapping of hands was his answer as he and Patrick solemnly clasped hands again. Tom handed the fiddle to the other and turned toward the door.

"I'll just run upstairs and get my own fiddle," he called, over his shoulder.

When he came back with the little kit, as a small fiddle was called, he found the company seated in a circle about the fiddler's platform, and Patrick Henry standing before it, Jonah's fiddle ready for the trial. Old Jonah, chuckling delightedly at the nonsense of "de young white folks," sat in state on the platform, wearing a cloak Patrick had placed on his bent shoulders to represent the robes of a judge.

The "fair" was a jolly one. After a few quick strokes to see whether the kit was in tune or not, and the twist of a peg or two, Thomas began to play. A brisk, pleasant little air came tripping off the strings, and as he played the tall figure of the youth seemed to lose some of its lanky awkwardness in the skill of the musician. At the last note, Patrick Henry flourished his bow and, striking it on the strings with a bounce, broke into a rollicking country Jig that set everybody's feet keeping time. A shuffling sound was heard from the veranda, where the house negroes were standing, their white teeth gleaming as they watched the scene.

"Hyah, hyah!" chuckled a fat negress. "Dat Marse Henry he sho kin scrape de old fiddle!" She nodded her turbaned head in time. "Dat Misto Jef'son cain't hol' a can'le—"

"Sho, Sukie! De quality'll heah yo! Jes wait 'twell Marse Tom gits limbered up an den dey ain't no Marse Henrys in de worl', kin ketch him!  I done heard him befo'!"

Patrick's jig gave place to a reel on Thomas's kit and that, in turn, to another from Patrick Henry, each faster and more furious than the last. It seemed that mortal fingers could fly no faster, and the whites of old Jonah's eyeballs shone in the candlelight as he rolled them. At the end of Tom's last tune, which was a veritable whirlwind, Patrick threw up his hands.

"I'm done for!" he called out. "He's a mountain-peak of song! He's a mocking-bird and a nightingale in one. He's a—well, he's everything I'm not with a fiddle. I surrender without the honors of war!"

Chuckling with delight, Jonah broke into gay tune, partners were chosen in a hurry, and Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Barbara and the rest were soon hard at it again, all of their former attempts at style and stateliness forgotten.

When the dancing was at last over, and the girls and their mothers and cousins and aunts of elder years had trooped up the wide stair to their rooms, the boys stood or sat about the fireplace for a final talk. Tom found Patrick Henry beside him, and before many minutes their talk turned to the College of William and Mary and the town of Williamsburg.

"You've been to Williamsburg, of course?" he asked.

Patrick shook his head and sighed.

"Not yet, but I'll be there before I'm much older. I've been reading about it, though—everything I can get. It's a fine place. Wait, I've a paper here that tells something."

The two bent over the page while Patrick read aloud:

"The city of Williamsburg, which is the seat of the vice-regal court, a court that is second only to that of St. James in London in elegance, is gayest in the wintertime. Then, the carriages of the gentry, the entertainments given at the palace and the splendor and wealth of the fashionable world make it a center of refinement and beauty!"

Thomas drew a long breath.

"So that's  what it's like," he murmured, half to himself, and sat back thinking, his long square chin on his hand, while Patrick Henry and the others went on talking.

Off to College

The next morning Thomas Jefferson continued his journey towards Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia and seat of William and Mary College. For five days, now, he had been plodding patiently along, crossing a winding brook, or following a narrow trail under overhanging branches that sometimes reached far enough downward almost to sweep him from the saddle, or again picking his way carefully through the thick mud of the unkempt road.

At last he could make out a cluster of trees. His heart leaped as he thought he saw among them the stately spires of the town.

"Williamsburg!" he exclaimed, under his breath, urging Admiral to a gallop.

The way now led between great dark green fields of tobacco that stretched their broad acres as far away on each side as his eyes could reach. Now and then a man passed him on horseback, greeting him with the hearty politeness of country travelers unspoiled by city life. Thomas replied gravely and pleasantly, but kept to himself and rode on alone. A lumbering stage coach and a wagon laden with empty hogsheads rumbled by, the latter driven by a young negro singing a jovial tune. The winding roadway led him at last straight into the heart of Williamsburg. The lanky country boy, who had never before beheld even so small a town as this village of a couple of hundred houses and a thousand people, drew rein to admire it, his face lighted with wonder and interest.

At length, riding down the broad street, which he calculated must be all of one hundred feet wide, guiding Admiral now and then to avoid stepping into a gully, he reached the public square. Here he paused again to gaze at the public buildings with their stately trees and well-kept grounds. The capitol he had already passed, looking up at it with awe and admiration. The street, the only one the town boasted, stretched away toward the college. Catching sight of the brick building half-hidden among graceful trees, Tom touched Admiral with the whip and galloped toward it, with eyes and thoughts now for nothing else.

As he came nearer he could see, besides the main building of two stories with its inspiring belfry, several smaller structures that looked more like dwellings than halls of learning. He supposed that possibly the professors lived in those. Well-worn paths led among the trees and grass from each to the large main entrance of the principal building.

Tom reined Admiral down to a sober walk as he entered the grounds, his heart beating high with hope and excitement at having at last actually arrived at the place of his dreams—college itself! It seemed unreal, somehow, and as if he were still out hunting deer on the hillside with James Maury, the two talking of how some day" they would be college men. But here he was, and Admiral, wet and tired with his journey, was jogging along the avenue toward a white hitching place near the front steps.

Two young men were standing there, talking gayly, one of them holding his three-cornered hat in his hand and now and then tapping his companion on the shoulder with it. They paused to glance toward the newcomer, who dismounted, buckled his bridle over the railing, and strode toward the steps. He was about to pass them with a shy nod, when one stepped forward holding out his hand.

"Excuse me, sir, but I can't help thinking you are newly come to college?" he inquired in a pleasant voice.

Thomas paused, his long face lighting up as he took the hand offered.

"My name is Page," went on the speaker, turning to introduce his friend; "and this fellow here in the green coat is Burk, one of the high lights of the place."

"Now, Page, don't lose me my reputation that way! I'm glad to welcome you, Mr—a hallway, up a flight of wooden stairs, and down a narrow corridor to a room, the door of which Page threw open with a flourish.

"Behold the place where Burk, future author of the 'Annals of Williamsburg Society,' and other learned works, holds forth. Enter without fear, sir!"

It was a comfortable looking room, its furniture showing signs of wear and some ill usage. Over the mantel hung a pair of rapiers with a fencer's mask, and in one corner two long-barreled guns stood against the wall. A long-eared hunting dog jumped from a sofa and came forward, working his whole body and whining with delight. The whole atmosphere of the place was one of good fellowship, but the pile of well-thumbed books on the table beside the window showed that study had its share, too, in the life of the two inmates.

The friends made Tom feel thoroughly at ease. After he had brushed his clothing and refreshed himself, Page took him down to register and go through the necessary formalities of becoming a real college student. He insisted on bringing Tom back with him, and he and Burk gave the new student various bits of information regarding college ways and life.

"We're due for a battle with the town boys again before long. With that long arm of yours and those shoulders, you'll be a reinforcement worth having," remarked Burk, looking at Tom's strong spare frame thoughtfully. "Won't he, Page?"

"Battle? How's that?" asked Tom curiously.

"Oh, we have 'em once a year or thereabouts.

"It helps to keep things lively. Have you seen any of our educated Indians yet?"

"Hasn't had time, of course," put in Page. "Remember, Burk, you absent-minded genius, he's new-hatched—not an old bird like you.

"Give him time."

"Why no. I didn't know—" Tom looked curious.

"Oh, well, of course you didn't," agreed Burk, casually throwing a cushion at Page. "We've a few. A lot of the money the college runs on was given for the purpose of teaching Indians. Much good it does 'em, and precious little they'll take, anyhow."

"What are you going to make a specialty of, Mr, Jefferson?" asked Burk, presently, from the sofa, where he had thrown himself full length. "Theology?"

Tom shook his head.

"No. I've been digging away at Latin and Greek since I was nine, and I think I'd like a little mathematics."

Page nodded thoughtfully.

"That's good. The college has been filling up with a crowd of boys this last year or two, studying their very first Latin. I tell you, Mr. Jefferson, it's getting hard to tell whether this is a grammar school, an Indian school, or a college! We have mission teachers, school-masters, and what not. Of course we have a professor of divinity and one of moral philosophy and all that. Then the president himself gives four lectures on theology every year—"

"Who gives the mathematics?" asked Tom anxiously

Burk sat up suddenly.

"The one man in William and Mary most worth listening to," he exclaimed, "and, unless I'm getting short-sighted in my old age, he's coming up the avenue this minute. Come on down, Jefferson, and I'll introduce you."

Seizing Tom's arm, he rushed him out the door and down the stairs in time to meet a slender, scholarly-looking man who was coming very deliberately into the front hall. As the two boys came forward, the gentleman paused and, noting the shy flush on Tom's freckled cheeks, smiled a little and looked at the newcomer inquiringly. Burk bowed.

"Dr. Small," he said, respectfully, "Mr. Jefferson has just come, and I know he doesn't wish to lose any time in being introduced to you."

Tom bowed, as did the doctor.

"Welcome to William and Mary, Mr. Jefferson," said Dr. Small, in a broad Scotch accent. Then the man who, as Thomas Jefferson wrote many years afterward, was to "fix the destinies" of his life, took him by the hand.

Such was the entrance of Jefferson into one of the earliest of the American colleges, and here for the next two years the tall, sandy-haired youth attended classes. Here also he made some life-long friends, among them more than one who was to make a name for himself on the pages of Virginia's history.

But the laughing, talking group on the campus that first day little dreamed of the great work ahead of them, a few years later.

The Law Student

Two years were not long in rolling by. The first one sped so fast, filled as it was with fun among the young people and pleasant concerts and dinners at the governor's parties, balls, and rides, that it must have seemed to Tom that old Father Time had spread his white wings and whizzed off into space with the earth spinning along at a great rate behind him.

The expense of this first year, when Tom counted it up, filled him with shame. He had spent a good deal on his horses, for one thing. Then, too, his clothes had cost a pretty penny. Considering that Shadwell did not provide what we should call a large income, he felt that he had been extravagant. He thought he, ought to do better the second year. When Thomas Jefferson made up his mind to do a thing it was as good as done. His carefulness in the second term made up for his carelessness in the first.

Fifteen hours a day of reading and study became his rule, with the parties left out, the horses sent away, the fiddle put aside, and only a sharp two-mile run every day for exercise. Nobody without a will of iron, a perfectly healthy body and a mind keen for learning could have done it. His reward came in graduation and a college degree, at the end of the second year.

One day, as he was passing the capitol, he met his friend Mr. Wythe, who was just coming out.

"Ah, Jefferson!" called the lawyer, waving his hand. "Well met! I've been wanting a word or two with you. Won't you come over to my chambers for awhile, if you've nothing better to do?"

Tom fell into step beside his friend.

"I'd like nothing better, Mr. Wythe. I've been studying until I need a change."

As the two sat down in the book-lined office, Tom sighed a little. He was rather tired and the big armchair near the window was a comfortable one to lounge in. Wythe dropped into another chair and leaned back.

"Court was tiresome to-day," he said, smothering a yawn behind his hand. "Long arguments on fine points are apt to make a person tired."

Tom looked thoughtful.

"Well, I suppose so," he agreed, "but it's a wonderful study, isn't it? It takes in everything the greatest minds have thought of to protect the rights of mankind, doesn't it?"

Mr. Wythe looked pleased.

"Yes, it's a great study. You know, Jefferson, I've been wanting to ask you what you're planning on doing. Graduation's not very far away and if I could be of any help

He paused. Tom's long face brightened gratefully.

"That's kind of you," he said simply. "Well, to be frank with you, I must plan on some sort of a career. Shadwell, you know, was left me by my father. My brother Randolph has the estate on the James. It's my affair, of course, to provide for my mother and my six sisters. So, you see, I must get to work."

"I see." Mr. Wythe leaned back and placed the tips of his fingers together absently. "What sort of a career would you like?"

Tom rubbed his chin.

"Well, I'd like nothing better than to be an architect," he murmured, looking dreamily out of the window. "Or, if I could be a musician—"

Mr. Wythe shifted in his chair and frowned. Tom went on.

"But there's no scope for that sort of thing in Virginia, and I can't go abroad, as things are. Then, I've thought of the army and the navy, but somehow I don't feel that I'm fitted for either."

"How about the law?" suggested Mr. Wythe dryly.

"That's what I've settled on," said Tom decidedly. "I have a taste for it, and if I can do it thoroughly—"

He hearer got up and crossed the room to lean against the mantel.

"If I can help you there I'd like to do it. How would you like to study law under my direction?"

Tom turned and the two looked at each other a moment without speaking, while a quick surge of color mounted to the boy's forehead.

"I'd like nothing better in the world Mr. Wythe," he replied quietly. "But can you take the time and trouble, a man of your standing and—"

Wythe held up one hand.

"Tut-tut, Torn! It will be a pleasure. Say no more about it. The thing's settled. Now, the only question is, when do you wish to begin?"

"With the new year. Seventeen hundred and sixty-three ought to find me beginning my new work. I suppose about five years would be right, wouldn't it?"

"Enough to start on, anyway. You ought to be able to catch up with Patrick Henry by that time." The lawyer laughed.

"Well, Henry doesn't care for study, and as far as I know he isn't trying to practice. Well, then, I'll be going home to Shadwell about Christmas. I'll get your instructions then as to how to begin the law."

He arose and held out his hand.

"I can't thank you, Mr. Wythe," he stammered. "I—I'll try—"

Wythe laid his hand over the boy's.

"That part of it is all right. I'll see that you do us both credit," he promised good-naturedly.

When college was at last over, Thomas went to a grand ball given in the Apollo, as the large ballroom in the Raleigh tavern was called, and had the pleasure of taking, of all the pretty girls in the world, none other than Miss Rebecca Burwell. A fine time he had, too, and when he said good-bye to Miss Rebecca, thinking how sorry he was to leave her in Williamsburg while he traveled one hundred and fifty miles away, she made him a present of a little picture painted by herself and cut to carry in his watch-case.

With this picture put carefully inside his watch, and the timepiece itself safe inside his waistcoat pocket; with his kit and a roll of new music, and with his box packed with law books, Tom set out for home. He intended to spend the winter there studying law.

As usual he made the journey slowly, as he had many invitations to spend a few days here and there along the way. Christmas overtook him half a day's ride from home. The house of a friend welcomed the traveler, and a jolly Christmas of feasting, songs and games followed.

But that night brought with it what seemed to Tom a dreadful misfortune. Unluckily, his bedroom roof was in need of mending, and the Weather Clerk either did not know it or did not care, for the winter skies let fall a tremendous drizzle all night long. To make the matter worse, rats bothered him. When morning came at last, Tom's pocket-book had been chewed up and his money was gone! But this was not the worst. His "jemmy-worked silk garters" had been carried away by the ambitious little burglars and, yet more sorrow! His watch was lying in a puddle of water, its solemn tick-tick stilled. Tom rushed to it and opened the case. The precious watch paper of Miss Rebecca was soaked! Trying to take it out to dry was of no use. It was so wet that his long fingers went through it, and there, gone—completely gone—was the work of the dearest girl in the world!

Tom dressed very soberly after that, tied up his long stockings the best he could, put his equally silent watch into his pocket, and went downstairs to say good-bye.

That evening found him at home once more with his mother, Jane, Martha and the others, gathered about the roaring old fireplace at Shadwell, telling of his doings at college; of the sights of the little city of two hundred houses, the wonderful capital of Virginia; of the balls, the girls, and, best of all, of his wonderful chum, John Page.

Days at Home

"What, idle, Tom?"

Jane pushed back a screen of the first delicate spring leaves and stepped through to join her brother, who sat on a grassy hillock over-looking the river. Law books were strewn about him, and one lay open on his knee, but his eyes were dreamy and he was watching the flight of a lonely bird over the trees. The girl, tall and slender, with gentle eyes and a pale, delicate face, slipped down beside him and picked up one of the books.

"Why, no—not exactly, Jane. Just digesting a little of this dry fodder," he laughed, sweeping the books aside to make room for her. "How does it come that you're not busy?"

She put her hand on his shoulder and patted it.

"I've been thinking, too, Tom," she said; "and I want to ask you something."

"Go ahead, sister."

"Now that you're nearly twenty-one, Tom, why not think of the things that you can do for Shadwell and the folks about here?"

He sat up straight and brought down his fist on the back of a great law book.

"It's what I'm going to do, Jane. I've been thinking about it, but I've been mooning over the good times in Williamsburg, too. I'll quit that. Dabney and I've been talking over a scheme to have the Rivanna River dredged out. It would help the farmers to send their stuff to market by water instead of over these awful roads. Don't you think it would be a good thing?"


"Well, I'm going to take it up, get the farmers to subscribe the money, get permission from the legislature, and

"Why, Tom, we'll be able to travel on the river, perhaps! How wonderful!"

"Well, it's just something needs doing, that's all. Now I'm nearly twenty-one, as you say—"

"Oh, Tom! What are you going to do on your birthday? Let's have a gay time!"

"I believe I'll have an avenue of locust trees planted to celebrate it."

"That's a good idea, but why not sycamores? They're such beautiful trees!" Jane's eyes were bright with interest. "Do have sycamores, Tom, or, better still, have both. They'll look well together."

"Good idea! You're full of them, Jane. We'll do it. Dabney's coming over this afternoon early and we're going up into the hills for awhile. It's time I had a horse brought out."

Dabney Carr found Tom hard at work in his room. Dabney was a handsome young man a little older than Tom; and he, too, was a student just beginning to practice law. He came in tapping his long riding boots with a slender whip. Tom stood up.

"Be ready in a second, Dabney. Wait till I get my coat."

Dabney looked at the pile of account books on which Tom had been working.

"I say, Tom, you're the most painstaking person I ever knew. I'd give a penny to look over those account books of yours—but I wouldn't write 'em up for a penny!"

"Well, take a look if you care about it," called Tom from the next room.

Dabney took up one of the books.

"Hello! What's all this? Your writing's so fine, Thomas, my son, that it strains my poor old eyes. Well, now, here's something vital, to be sure! 'Garden Book.' Humph!

'March 30, sowed a patch of later peas;

July 15, planted out celery;

July 22, had the last dish of spring peas;'

"Urn! That's last year. Now for this: 'Weather Book.' I declare, Tom, this is fine writing! If I'd known I'd have brought a pair of glasses.

"'March 24, at 6:30 A. M. ther. 27, barom. 25; wind N.W. weather clear after rain; Blue Ridge and higher parts of S.W. mountain covered with snow. No snow here but much ice; black frost.'

"Well, it was cold in March last year. But why on earth do you write that sort of thing down every day, and Heaven only knows how much else?"

Tom drew on his coat.

"Well, it's only by keeping records a person ever finds out anything about nature, for one thing," he explained. "And as for accounts and so on, it's a habit. Suppose I get it from Father. He was always figuring about his surveying or something else. I'm ready. Come on."

They gathered up Tom's law books and went out to the horses.

It was a clear, sunny day in early April. The sky hung like a blue curtain above the hills, a curtain on which far away was painted just a hint of gray, as if old Mother Nature was considering a late afternoon shower. The two young men galloped along gayly and turned into a trail that led up the side of a small mountain whose slopes and summit were covered with a heavy growth of trees.

At the top was a thick copse and within this a mighty oak tree held out wide branches filled with dancing young leaves. Beneath them was a rude seat which Tom and Dabney had made.

"Let's settle down here," suggested Tom, putting his books on the bench. "I'm going to read Coke this afternoon, Dab. Dry old scoundrel! But I'm beginning to like him."

Dabney threw himself down, peering among the bushes out across the valley.

"Tom," he said suddenly, "let's promise each other something. It comes over me to-day that this is just the place I'd want to be buried in, up here with the valley and the woods, the river and all that down there." He waved his hand. Let's make a compact. Whichever one outlives the other is to see the other's buried right here. What do you say?"

Tom looked astonished and then, as his eyes wandered toward the view of quiet mountain and valley, woodland and river, a dreamy look came into them.

"I promise, Dabney," he said, seriously. "But what makes you so quiet to-day? Better look out! I believe you're thinking of something besides your law. Out with it! What's in the wind?"

Dabney got up and sat down on the bench, his face flushing a little.

"Well, Tom, to tell the truth I've been trying to tell you. It's just—Martha and I—" Toni whistled.

"Martha! Why, Dabney! Are you two—?" Dabney nodded.

"Going to be married. How'll you like me for a brother, Tom?"

Tom seized his hand and wrung it.

"Oh, this is  good news, Dabney!" he cried, joyfully. "I can't read law to-day. Let's go down and talk things over with the girls."

The New Governor

A sunny May day, in 1769, laid its blessing upon the little town of Williamsburg, whose long street, from the capitol with its portico and columns far out almost to the brick-built college was lined, bright and early, with every one of its inhabitants able to be out, to say nothing of the whites and blacks who had driven, ridden or trudged afoot into town from the country.

The crowd craned their necks. Down the street a gorgeous coach, carved and gilded, its footmen and coachmen in bright livery, preceded and followed by a guard of soldiers, rolled slowly along. Eight milk-white horses, in the gayest of trappings, with glossy coats and beribboned manes and tails, drew this wonderful vehicle, the gift, so it was said, of King George himself.

The new governor, Lord Botetourt, sent over by his majesty, was on his way to open the Virginia parliament.

The assembly chamber of the capitol was a long room with seats and desks arranged about the floor in orderly lines. Facing them were the platform and chair of the speaker. A little to one side stood a high reading-desk where the clerk of the House stood to call the roll.

Members of the House were standing about talking. Among them were Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, for our old friend Tom and the jolly youth of the "fiddlers' fair" had both been elected. Thomas Jefferson had not only become a lawyer, but a thoroughly well-read one. Colonel George Washington, too, tall, fine-looking and grave, stood talking with them.

A small man had taken his place before the members, after they had filed in to the hall, and they listened gravely to his message.

"Gentlemen, the Governor commands this House to attend His Excellency immediately in the council chamber."

Everybody arose forthwith. The House of Burgesses, followed by a few of the bolder among the spectators, filed through the doorway way and down the corridor. When they reached the council chamber, they formed themselves into a half-circle before the throne, where Governor Lord Botetourt sat waiting for them.

The ceremony was disappointingly short. The Governor greeted the members of the House formally and commanded them to return at once to their chamber and elect a speaker, or presiding officer. Then the same solemn procession passed along the corridor to the chamber of the House.

When the Burgesses had once more settled themselves in their places, a vote was taken, and Peyton Randolph elected their speaker. This done, two members were sent to tell the Governor that the House of Burgesses had obeyed his commands. After the members had returned and taken their seats, there was a short period of waiting and then the clerk arrived to give them the command of the Governor.

Such was the legislature of which Thomas Jefferson had become a member.

But all these polite ceremonies did not put down or conceal a feeling of uneasiness on the part of both Governor Lord Botetourt and the Virginia legislature. True, the English parliament had repealed the Stamp Act to which the Americans had so bitterly objected some three years before, that act by which it had tried to make the colonists pay taxes to England against their will; but, being determined to tax the people of the colonies somehow, it had declared that they should pay certain sums whenever they brought paper, tea, glass and some other things from across the Atlantic. This was called a tax on imports. It also seemed unjust to the colonists, who thought it did not seem right that, without their having a word to say in the matter, or the privilege of electing somebody to go to parliament for them, the English government could force them to pay taxes. It is true that the colonies of other nations were taxed by their mother countries, but the Americans were used to the "rights of Englishmen" and those rights they intended to keep.

The English laws compelling the colonies to do virtually all their foreign buying and selling with England alone, and those that forbade certain manufacturing in them were also the cause of a great deal of angry feeling. Many of the people of England sympathized with these ideas, even in the English parliament itself, but even such men as William Pitt, Edmund Burke, Conway and Fox could not turn back the King, with Lord North and his other supporters, from the path that was leading straight to the American revolution.

So it was that trouble was in the very air, even while the dignified Burgesses made their finest bows to the Royal Governor. This trouble was not long in making itself known. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and the others were not the men to let a royal governor frighten them, or a king bribe their with sight of a gilded coach, into giving all the rights and liberties of loyal English subjects.

On the third day of the session, the Burgesses declared that they believed "taxation without representation" to be wrong, and that sending American colonists who were accused of treason across to England to be tried in English courts was unjust. They also stated that the colonies n4ikht very rightly stand by one another when things were going ill, in order to try to set them right again. A paper setting forth their views was ordered sent to each one of the other colonies.

This bold act caused a great deal of excitement. The next day after the Burgesses had expressed their opinions so independently, something quite unexpected happened. Governor Lord Botetourt summoned them before him.

His Lordship was not so smilingly polite, now. He sat frowning, his face very red, looking from the Speaker, who stood before him with easy dignity, to the other members as they ranged themselves in a half-circle.

"Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses," he said at length, clearing his, throat harshly. "I have heard of your resolves and augur ill of their effects. You have made it my duty to dissolve you, and you are hereby dissolved, accordingly!"

It was like a bombshell! Dissolved! That meant that when they left the presence of Lord Botetourt they were, according to the law of those days, no longer a legislature. The Royal Governor had sent them about their business with "a flea in the ear." So much for their bold resolutions of the day before!

"Well, Tom," laughed Patrick Henry, "you've been a legislator for just five days and are now a plain farmer again. How is that for speed?"

A rousing meeting, held by the members the next day in the old ballroom where, not so long ago, Jefferson had danced the minuet with Rebecca Burwell, rang with the burning words of Patrick Henry, now known to be a great orator, while the brief and weighty opinions of George Washington were listened to with respect, and the practical suggestions of young Thomas Jefferson met with the approval of the assembly. Richard Henry Lee, Peyton Randolph, Richard Randolph and others spoke as fearlessly.

It was agreed that so long as Great Britain taxed goods imported into the colonies, Americans would stop sending to England for them; would wear homespun clothing; drink no tea; and be so saving and industrious that they could raise enough in America to be independent of the English merchants and manufacturers. This agreement was written and eighty-eight of the dismissed legislators signed it.

After that, Thomas Jefferson returned to Shadwell. He found, when he got back into Albemarle County, that the people who had sent him were well satisfied with the part he had taken in affairs. When election time came again, they promptly re-elected him to act for, them in the next House of Burgesses.

Meanwhile, he busied himself with plans for a beautiful new home. Dabney Carr and Martha had made a home for themselves note many miles away. Jane, dearest of all the sisters that had filled the house at Shadwell, had lingered but a few months after their marriage. Some four years had passed since then. Thomas had set his heart on building a fine house on the summit of the little mountain where he and Dabney had loved to study.

He had workmen clear away a space, and others were now erecting the first part of what was one day to be one of the handsomest houses in America. He decided to call the place Monticello, or Little Mountain, an appropriate as well as a beautiful name. It was fortunate that he began this building when he did, for not long afterward the comfortable old house at Shadwell was burned to the ground.

At the next meeting of the legislature the young member from Albemarle County made an attempt which shows the kindness of his heart as well as the brave stand he was always ready to take for human freedom and justice. He asked the legislature to make a law which should do away with the old one forbidding a Virginian to free his slaves without sending them outside the colony. He wished to have the slaves given greater protection by the laws than they then enjoyed. But his ideas were too far in advance of the time, and the House of Burgesses angrily refused to pass his bill.

The session of 1773 brought him a great deal of work. He was appointed one of a group of members, with Patrick Henry, Dabney Carr, and others, that was given the important duty of writing to the same kind of committees in other colonies telling what Virginia was doing, and receiving the news from them of what was being accomplished in every one of them, from New Hampshire to Georgia. If we remember that the telegraph had not then been invented, to say nothing of the telephone, and that travel was only by horse or stage, in the interior, we shall realize how necessary this work was, in order to keep the colonies abreast of one another and united in their acts on matters of the greatest moment to American freedom.

A Stormy Wedding Journey

January, 1772, was a cold month in Virginia. Lead-colored skies, chilly downpours, and roaring, growling winds, worrying the clouds like giant mastiffs had marked the coming in of the year. But, in spite of the angry skies, New Year's Day was a joyful one at "The Forest," a broad plantation not far away from Williamsburg, for there, on that day, Thomas Jefferson was married to Martha Skelton, a beautiful young widow.

Within a few days the two set out in a two-wheeled chaise to drive more than a hundred miles home to Monticello.

A happy pair they were; the tall young lawyer, now a successful and honored man, no longer the bashful, freckled youth who treasured and then lost the precious watch paper of Rebecca Burwell; and the beautiful woman, used to every luxury the times could provide, who was snuggled down beside him so warmly, wrapped in her furs.

The horses made as good time as was possible, for loitering was out of the question. But, as the journey advanced, the cold grew every day more bitter. Snow was on the ground when they started boldly out and, as they followed the roads that were hidden under their thin white cover, Jefferson often looked anxiously at the sky.



"Oh, do you think it's going to clear?" asked Mrs. Jefferson. "Or is it really going to snow again? And can we reach home this evening?"

He shook his head doubtfully.

"It may hold off at any rate until we can get to Monticello. I'm hoping we can reach there before sunset. Are you warm enough?"

Reaching over, he wrapped her more closely in the robe.

"Keep this robe about you."

She gave a gay little laugh and pointed one mittened hand.

"There! See that, Thomas! Snowflakes! More and more and more of them! Oh, how thick and lovely they are!"

The young husband was busy with the horses. Greater speed than ever was of the utmost importance to them now. They must get on. The coats of the two animals began to steam udder the fall of the melting snow-flakes. Their breath made frosty clouds.

Darker and darker grew the afternoon, and still the chaise and its gallant horses kept on through the fast deepening snow, alone in a wilderness of white. All traces of the roads had disappeared. Thomas and Martha strained their eyes in vain for the welcome glimmer of light from farmhouse windows, as slowly and yet more slowly the struggling animals pulled the vehicle through the clinging, heavy mass of the snow.

"What shall we do now? Can't they go any farther?" Mrs. Jefferson's face was grave but she was not frightened.

The animals had stopped. Mr. Jefferson jumped out into the snow.

"Well, Martha, there seems only one thing we can do now. That is to take out the horses, leave the chaise here and ride on We ought to he able to reach shelter in an hour or so—it's certainly not far—and, perhaps, by that time—well, we'll see. Here, let me help you."

The bride clapped her mittens softly together and, pushing back a curl of auburn hair that had strayed from under her bonnet, stood up.

"Thomas! It's glorious fun! What would Father say?"

"Say?" He laughed a low, amused laugh. "He'd scalp me for getting you into such a scrape."

He took her in his strong arms and swung her to the back of one of the horses. Then he; mounted the other.

The close of the day, with its twilight that was almost like darkness, brought them within sight of the longed for lights. In a short time after, they were sitting beside a roaring fire, their heavy wraps drying in the kitchen, and themselves telling their adventures to their kind hosts.

After the horses were rested and had been fed and rubbed down, Mrs. Jefferson insisted on going on.

He was as anxious as she to get to Monticello, where he expected a hearty welcome, lights and fires. So they started merrily onward again, the horses, full of renewed strength, plodded along toward the long rest and dry shelter of the stable, their heads down.

It was fortunate that the way was so well known to Mr. Jefferson, who had traveled it since boyhood, for the danger now lay in their getting lost and wandering about all night to freeze, perhaps, at last.

When they reached the foot of the mountain and began the toilsome ascent, the slender bride breathed a sigh of relief.

"Not long, now!" called her husband, cheerfully. "Keep up your courage."

He was watching for the lights, rubbing his eyes as he failed to see them.

"I sent word to the servants," he muttered, "but suppose it's so late they've given us up and gone to bed."

"Never mind," came the cheery answer. "It's all the funnier. You shall make the fires and the lights and the welcome for me. I'll be quite satisfied."

It was but the work of a few moments to strike a light, and to kindle the fire which lay ready on the hearth. Two or three sleepy-looking servants came in and began bustling about, and soon the travelers found food and rest.

Dark and cold, Monticello, a small part of the mansion that was one day to crown the beautiful hill, received them. But dark and; cold it did not long remain, for youth and courage, happiness and high spirits soon made it the brightest home in Virginia.

A Foretaste of War

Early May hovered above the hills and valleys, and the green shadow of her wings lay softly upon the land. Monticello was bright with grasses and the fairylike leafage of springtime.

Jefferson was walking back and forth upon the lawn, a letter in his hand. Sometimes he held it behind him and marched steadily, his head down and his usually calm forehead wrinkled in thought; then, halting, he would flutter its leaves over to find some particular part and read it again, his lips pressed into an anxious line, Mrs. Jefferson came slowly from the house and linked her arm into his.

"Why, Thomas, something disturbs you!" she exclaimed. "What is it?"

He held out the letter.

"This has just come," he said, "a terrible bit of news from Massachusetts. I am afraid peace with England is no longer possible. This means war!"

"War! Oh, Thomas, not that! What has happened?"

He clasped the hand on his arm and the two walked on together.

"The people of Massachusetts have put the King's troops to flight," he explained briefly. "Governor Gage sent soldiers to capture or destroy the store of powder belonging to the people. The news of what he was doing got about, and the farmers—minute-men, they're called—gathered like swarming bees from every side. They chased the King's troops thirty miles! This letter reports that five hundred were left dead on Lexington road!"

Her eyes widened with horror. "Five hundred dead! Oh, Thomas, it can't be. You know how early reports always exaggerate! It can't be! But oh, I glory in the farmers of Massachusetts!"

"They chased the troops like seasoned veterans. Chased, mind you, Martha, chased  the King's own troops and shut them up in Boston!" His eyes sparkled. "'Twill teach Gage and his sort a lesson!"

"It's dreadful, Thomas. It makes one's heart fill with dread. If war has come—why, there comes a carriage! Perhaps it brings more news. Hurry! We'll go to meet it."

A traveling carriage was coming up the slope as rapidly as its four horses, urged by the efforts of a negro driver, could bring it. The Jeffersons walked forward to meet it. When it came to a standstill, a red-faced, elderly man whose white wig had become considerably rumpled and whose clothing was covered with travel stains, burst out of the vehicle like a ripe nut coming out of a burr. He came forward hastily, bowing.

"Mr. Thomas Jefferson?" he asked. "I thought so. My name is Thomas, Gabriel Thomas, sir, plain Gabriel Thomas, merchant of Williamsburg. Finding myself hereabouts, I called, sir, to pay my respects to your lady and yourself "

Jefferson extended his hand gravely, and Mrs. Jefferson smiled and bowed.

"I am glad to see you, Mr. Thomas. Will you come in and rest? I see you are travel worn and your carriage has been badly mired down."

The red-faced man bowed again.

"Thank you, sir, I shall be happy to do so," he said formally. "I was hoping to find a blacksmith somewhere about. That rear axle is going to break the next thing and—" "If you will just send the carriage around will have it seen to. One of my servants is an excellent blacksmith. Meanwhile, we shall be glad to have you refresh yourself."

The two men were soon seated in the comfortable library.

"I've just had very distressing news from the North," remarked Jefferson, when Mrs. Jefferson had left them. "A battle has been fought between the King's troops and the farmers about Lexington."

Gabriel Thomas held up his hand.

"It's the cause of my journey, sir. It means war and I've property I must look after. But it's only the first flash in the pan, Mr. Jefferson," he went on, impressively, "and Virginia—mark my words—Virginia will take fire next!"


"Listen." The visitor leaned forward, his red face earnest. "We have a Governor in Virginia who will arouse the people to open rebellion. What am I saying? Who has aroused the people to rebellion! I tell you, Mr. Jefferson, the fire of Virginia's wrath has already been kindled by Governor Lord Dunmore. They may talk, sir," he went on warmly, "they may talk about Gage's acts and his attempt to disarm the people of Massachusetts. What less has Dunmore done here—I ask you, sir?"

Jefferson's face was full of puzzled anxiety. "I see, Mr. Thomas, that you have later news than I have. Pray do not wait a moment to—"

"I have, sir," interrupted the other. "Governor Lord Dunmore has shown himself the enemy of the people of Virginia, sir, and he has tried to disarm them—"

Jefferson waved his hand.

"I beg of you, tell me the whole of it. I am in the dark and most anxious," he begged.

His guest settled back into his chair and squared his broad shoulders.

"Well, sir, I'll try to. But when I think of it all—Gad, sir! My blood boils! But I'll try to go back to the beginning. You remember the powder magazine, of course, in the public square in Williamsburg?"

"Yes," said Jefferson, nodding.

"Twenty barrels of gunpowder were stored there, the property, as you know, of the colony of Virginia. You know well why it was kept there. Danger from Indian warfare is always a possibility, and then, suppose Dunmore or others should try to raise the negroes! We must have a store of gunpowder ready. Our very lives may some day depend on it."

He paused to mop his forehead.

"And Lord Dunmore?" asked Jefferson, leaning forward.

"Stole it!" exploded the other, clenching his hand. "Stole it, I tell you, sir. Zounds! Sent a file of marines with a wagon in the middle of the night—April 20, it was—"

"But I thought the citizens guarded the powder!"

"We did, sir! We did! I was one of the guards. But we thought nothing was going to happen. Nothing had, and we'd patrolled around that powder magazine for nights, the same guard of us. So we went home about midnight."

Jefferson drew a sharp breath.

"You went home?" he asked unbelievingly. "Leaving the magazine—"

The other bowed his head.

"We did. I'm ashamed to say, sir, we did. And the Governor's marines came about one o'clock and—"

"But, could they get in?"

"The Governor's key, Mr. Jefferson, of course. Well, sir, they loaded on fifteen barrels of the powder—all the wagon would hold—and drove out of Williamsburg down to the James, seven miles, and put it on a British man-of-war. The rest of it, we found out later, they buried somewhere in the powder-house itself!"

His host got to his feet.

"You say Dunmore did that!" he exclaimed. "Why, man, that's the act of a tyrant! It's unbelievable he'd go so far—and yet—" He turned toward the window and looked out again, "he's never seemed over wise. What happened next? Are the people rising?"

"Rising?" Thomas puffed out his cheeks until they looked like two red apples. "Rising, sir? They've risen—and they've conquered!"

The exulting merchant threw himself back into his chair with a bounce.

"What?" Thomas Jefferson's long face lost color. "You don't mean they've risen against the King's governor?"

"Let me tell you, Mr. Jefferson," replied Gabriel Thomas, nodding his head, "Virginia has shown Lord Dunmore and, perhaps, George the Third what mettle is to be found in the colony." Up went one pudgy finger. "The first thing they did, after rushing about like a hive of bees that's been robbed by a bear, the first thing, I say, was to call together the mayor, aldermen and councilmen. Peyton Randolph, chairman of the Congress, and Mr. Nicholas got them to do it. Well, sir, what do the mayor and the others do but send a letter to His Excellency the Earl of Dunmore asking him very humbly why he took their powder." He brought down the fat finger into the palm of his hand. Jefferson waited.

"Second thing," up went another finger, "was to receive the Governor's answer, which was that he'd heard there was a rising or some such thing in a neighboring colony, and thought it was best to put the powder where it would be safe! Cock-and-bull story, sir. Ha, ha!"

"He said that?"

Thomas, still chuckling, nodded.

"He did, and also that if it were needed in Williamsburg he'd have it back in half an hour! Well, nobody believed him, and everybody knew then, and does now, that he was trying to disarm the colony of Virginia."

The two sat silent a moment, then Jefferson waved his hand.

"I fear so," he said. "Go on, Mr. Thomas. What has been done?"

"Well, Mr. Jefferson," went on his visitor, rubbing his hands, "the people of Virginia began to take what arms they could find and, in a day or two, fourteen companies of horsemen were ready at Fredericksburg to march the seventy miles on Williamsburg and Governor Lord Dunmore."

Jefferson threw up his hands. "War! War!" he exclaimed, clasping them together and bringing them down upon the arm of his chair.

"You may well say so, sir," Thomas nodded until his newly-tied stock seemed about to choke him. "But they didn't march after all."

"Not march? Why?"

"Well,—and this is the best part of the story—they heard—Peyton Randolph sent 'em word—that one man had scared His Excellency into paying for the powder—"

"One man? You astound me, Mr. Thomas. What man could—"

"Only one man in Virginia could do it, I believe, and that man's name is Patrick Henry!" he exclaimed. "Patrick Henry called together the men of Hanover County and started for Williamsburg at the head of 'em. On the way others joined him until he had over a hundred men, some say a hundred and fifty. Well, sir, we folks in Williamsburg heard that he was coming with five thousand red-hot horsemen at his back. And the Governor heard it, too." The narrator stopped to chuckle until his red face purpled with enjoyment.

"Patrick Henry! Go on, sir!"

"Well, when Henry and his men had got to within sixteen miles of us, they halted. Dunmore was in a fright. He sent his wife and daughters aboard a warship, and had the captain put marines into the palace to protect him. Gad, sir! That captain's a bad one. He threatened to fire on the town itself—the innocent to suffer along with the guilty—that sort of thing, sir. But Henry'd halted and everybody waited to see the outcome, all of us holding our breath, as you might say."

"And Dunmore? What did he do then?"

"Why, called his council together to talk things over, since he'd got 'em into such a mess by himself. You know John Page, sir, member of his council?"

"Yes, yes. An old college-mate. What about him, Mr. Thomas?"

"Advised the Governor to give up the powder. They say Dunmore was furious, but Page told him it was the only thing to do to quiet the people. And he was right, too, sir; he was right."

"John Page would be," remarked Jefferson quietly, a smile beginning to hover about his lips. "I wish I'd heard him! Well, well! Good old John! What followed?"

"What followed, sir, was that His Excellency finally sent a messenger to Patrick Henry with money to pay for the powder. I've talked with one of the men who saw Mr. Henry's receipt for the money—three hundred odd pounds it was—"

Jefferson breathed a sigh of relief.

"And things are quiet again?" he inquired anxiously.

"As quiet as you can expect," replied the visitor, rising as Mrs. Jefferson came softly into the room. His host arose also and pushed forward a chair for her. She stood with her hand on the back of it.

"No, I cannot sit down now, Thomas," she said. "I came in to give you this letter. A messenger has just left it. There is no bad news, I hope?" Her voice and eyes were full of anxiety. In these stirring times every letter was becoming a thing to be feared.

With a word of apology, Jefferson broke the seal and unwrapped the letter.

"My dear," he said, after glancing at it, "I find that I shall be called away to attend the Congress. Lord Dunmore has summoned the House of Burgesses, and Peyton Randolph will have to come from Philadelphia to act as speaker. In that event, as I told you, I was to go to Congress in Randolph's place. You see, Mr. Thomas," he went on, politely including his guest, who had turned away, in the conversation, "I find that I must go to Williamsburg to the House and from there on to the Congress at Philadelphia. I hope I may be of some little help in untying this terrible tangle. It is high time that something was being done. I want my share of the labor."

His visitor bowed. "A privilege, sir," he agreed gravely, "a privilege for any man. My carriage, I see, is at the door and I must go on.

"Why, Mr. Thomas," protested Mrs. Jefferson, with ready kindness, "you are not going on without at least a night's rest? We will be honored to have you stay. A room is now ready."

The stout merchant shook his head regretfully.

"I thank you, madam, but my time is not my own now," he explained. "Events in Massachusetts—like those in Virginia"—he smiled at Jefferson—"leave us no time to tarry, now-a-days."

He was right. Nearer and nearer, out from the unknown future into the daylight of the present came toward them the booming cannon, the march of soldiers, and the waving banners of the revolution. Every man in Virginia and in the entire country would be needed.

The Continental Congress

On a pleasant June day in 1775, Thomas Jefferson took his seat in Congress.

The room occupied by this wise and honorable body of men was small for the sixty gentlemen who were to discuss and decide such important matters. Carpenters' Hall, as the building in Philadelphia was called, was the property of the Society of Carpenters, a plain brick structure to which the gentlemen made their way up a narrow alley, probably at the risk of their buckled shoes and silk stockings.

As Jefferson went along the street, he overtook an elderly gentleman walking somewhat slowly with a younger one beside him. Hearing footsteps, the old man turned and thumped his walking-stick upon the walk.

"Thomas Jefferson! Well, well, sir! How do the times deal with you?"

Jefferson fell into step, his face full of pleased surprise. "Dr. Franklin! This is indeed a happy chance, sir!"

Benjamin Franklin turned to his younger companion.

"Mr. Jefferson should know Mr. Thomas Stone, of Maryland," he said smilingly. "You two are members of the younger generation in Congress, about the same in years, I fancy. There are but a few of us gray-heads among you—but enough to hold the hotheads in check, I hope!" He laughed heartily. "Here we are! There's John Jay—another youngster—in the doorway, with Edward Rutledge, a baby of but twenty-six, so they say. Isn't that Mr. Henry just behind us, Mr. Jefferson?"

"I believe so, Dr. Franklin. He and Mr. Lee and Mr. John Adams are just turning the corner there."

The three paused in the doorway, where a general handshaking and bowing took place. Much attention was shown the young member from Virginia who, as Benjamin Franklin whispered to John Dickinson, was "a very marvel of learning, sir. They tell me he can plan a building; explain a knotty point of law; tie a cut artery as well as a surgeon; read Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and what not; play the fiddle like a concert master, and—well, sir, I know not how much else. A marvel, sir; a most learned young man!"

But it was not only the reputation of the young Virginian for learning that made him welcome. His manner was pleasant, modest and easy and, like Benjamin Franklin himself, he was never apt to disagree, but always willing to learn from the experience of those with whom he talked.

That afternoon a dusty messenger came spurring into Philadelphia, his horse, with staring eyeballs and foaming mouth, straining forward toward the little brick building where the Congress met. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry stood in the doorway as he flung himself to the ground and rushed up the steps.

"A battle! A battle, gentlemen!" he gasped. "I bring a message for the Congress! Make way!"

Members hurried to crowd about him as he leaned breathlessly against the door frame.

"The British regulars were sent reeling down Breed's Hill twice!" he gasped. "Twice, sirs! Our men clubbed their guns when their powder gave out! Oh, sirs, a defeat—but the most glorious defeat! Over a thousand red-coats dead or wounded! Thirteen of the King's officers killed, and seventy wounded! And now they're helpless—general, army and all, in Boston!"

Excitement flushed every cheek. A battle! Raw colonial troops had sent the British reeling down the hill again and again! Thirteen officers; over a thousand dead! It was almost too much to believe. Why, the King's troops were trained and seasoned veterans; the Americans untrained. Oh, but it was stunning, glorious, amazing news!

A burst of enthusiasm drowned the messenger's words as he sank into a seat.

The tidings were indeed a shock to the Congress, especially to those like John Dickinson, who could not bear the thought of separation from Great Britain. To others, who saw in the battles of Lexington and Bunker, or Breed's Hill the dawn of the revolution, it came like the sound of the trumpet that calls the war horse to battle.

The pen of Thomas Jefferson was soon busy, for Congress wished that an explanation of the reasons for taking up arms should be published to the world, so that none should misjudge the colonies. A committee for this had already been appointed, and to this were added the names of Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson.

Jefferson, whose fame as a writer was now widespread, was asked by the others to draw up this paper, so that General Washington might make it public when he arrived at the camp before Boston. He did so, but his language was so strong and bold that some members thought the ideas too far in advance for the more timid among the people who still hoped to make friends with the Mother Country.

"Let John Dickinson write it," suggested one. "He's a man of great ability, but he'd rather cut off his hand than write anything that would make a war between us and Britain a necessity!"

"A good idea! If we take the words of the most backward among us—"

"Why, Congress will not then be in danger of moving too fast for the mass of the people. Yes; let John Dickinson write the paper."

So good John Dickinson, who loved England still with all his heart, in spite of all that had happened, wrote the explanation, setting forth in very careful language the wishes of the colonies. Some words and phrases of Thomas Jefferson's paper were probably included in this, but just how much nobody seems to know.

At any rate, the explanation was accepted, by Congress, read everywhere, and greeted with cheers and even the salute of artillery.

But another opportunity came to Thomas Jefferson before long. He had brought to the Congress Virginia's reply, which he had written for its House of Burgesses, to the new plan of Lord North, the man who now headed the King's ministry, for the taxing of the colonies. This reply so pleased the Congress that Jefferson was asked to write their own answer to Lord North. The young member from Virginia was equal to the task, and his pen produced another of those honest, eloquent and earnest appeals that had already made a name for him.

The sixty gentlemen of the Congress made this answer their own. It was one of the last acts of this session of Congress, for on the first day of August it adjourned to meet again in the fall.

The session over, Thomas Jefferson and his friend Benjamin Harrison drove homeward to Virginia, an eight-day journey, while Patrick Henry, Edmund Pendleton and Richard Henry Lee closely followed them. They all made what speed they could, these young Virginia Congressmen, for in the little Church of St. John, in Richmond, another convention was anxiously waiting for them and their news of the acts of Congress.

Virginia was now wide awake to the dangers of the time. War, she saw, was even now raising its bloody head above the horizon. In preparation for its coming, the little convention was examining samples of saltpetre for the making of gunpowder, and appointing colonels of the regiments that the colony would send into the field. The services of Patrick Henry to Virginia had not been forgotten. He was made colonel of the very first regiment of all. To Jefferson came the honor of re-election to Congress.

Thomas Jefferson drove happily home to Monticello, his mind full of the stirring affairs of the day, his heart, of thoughts of the dear ones waiting there for him. In the chaise, packed carefully so that no jolt should injure it, was a wonderful fiddle—one he had for years longed to have and which he had bought at last from John Randolph. Fast trotted the horses along the well-known road, as Thomas Jefferson, fiddler and Congressman, sped toward home.

A Blow at Virginia

The session of Congress in the fall was filled with affairs of the greatest importance. The people of Philadelphia, as, indeed, of every town and hamlet in the colonies, were aflame with excitement and expectation of the coming of—something—they knew not what.

Gunpowder had to be manufactured; salt was now so scarce as to be a luxury. In Virginia Lord Dunmore was trying to induce the slaves to run away from their masters and join his forces, promising them freedom if they did so; he was even trying to blockade Hampton Roads; worst of all, the army about Boston became smaller and smaller every day and those who were left were neither properly fed nor clothed.

Thinking over these things, Thomas Jefferson turned once again from Philadelphia toward Virginia. The air was cold and bracing and the ground hard with frost. Wrapped in a heavy great-coat, he sat and watched the drift of cloud in the east, wondering, now and then, whether he was to be caught in another snowstorm like the memorable one that had made his bride's first white winter welcome to Monticello.

At thought of her, his face grew anxious. She was not well; had not been well since baby Jane, named for the dearly-loved Jane Jefferson who had not lived to see her, had died. Tiny Martha must, of course, have grown since he saw her last in the autumn time. That was a comfort to think of. But his mother's health was also failing, and the long journey home again this time was filled with misgivings and anxious care.

"What's that ahead there?" he asked suddenly, narrowing his eyes. The negro drew rein.

"Hit looks lak a ca'iage, suh," he said. "Hm! Some traveler in trouble. Hurry on and we'll see what we can do."

When they reached the spot they found that the driver of the carriage, another negro, had cut the traces and was holding two handsome black horses by the bridles. Beside the road lay an overturned chaise. A stout gentleman dressed in dark, heavy clothing, and with a red shawl wrapped about his neck, stood looking helplessly at the wreck.

Jefferson stopped his own carriage and got out.

"Can I be of any help, sir?" he asked politely. "I see you have had an accident."

The stout man struck his hands together.

"Accident!" he exclaimed angrily, glancing at the driver. "Accident, sir! If I'd had a driver that—but there, sir, there! I forget myself when I think of it! Thank you, I don't know just what can be done—unless you care to offer me a seat."

Jefferson motioned toward his phaeton. "I was about to ask you to drive on with me, sir. Your servant can see to the horses and chaise, of course."

The stranger turned toward the negro.

"Jasper, ride on to the inn. Leave the horses there and get somebody to come back to see to the chaise. I shall drive that far with this gentleman."

The two travelers got into the carriage, driver cracked his whip, and Jefferson and the stout stranger in the woolen shawl were once more on their way along the road.

"Terrible times, sir, terrible times, these!" said the stout man, who had introduced himself as John Robinson. "The blood of the people of Norfolk cries from the very earth, sir, against the tyranny of our masters!"

"Of Norfolk!" Thomas Jefferson leaned forward suddenly. "The people of Norfolk! What awful news is this?"

John Robinson twisted in his seat to look at his companion.

"Sir!" he cried, solemnly, "I am come from a heap of ruins that, but a few days ago, was the richest and largest city of Virginia."

"Was the richest! What has happened!" Thomas Jefferson's face was pale with anxiety. "What new trouble has come upon Virginia?"

The stout passenger's lips were drawn into a grim line.

"The bombarding and burning of Norfolk, Mr. Jefferson, on New Year's Day. Nine-tenths of that beautiful city burned to the ground, and five thousand innocent persons left without shelter in the midst of the winter, sir! I saw it all, and I say to you that the day will come when savage Dunmore, who has done all man can do to ruin the colony, as well as the British who have helped him in his work, will learn that the people of these colonies can strike back!"

Thomas Jefferson, speechless, put his head down into his hands. Norfolk burned to the ground! Five thousand of his countrymen shelterless in the middle of the winter! What were George the Third and his ministers thinking of? He shrank from the thoughts that raced through his brain. He had loved old England and union with her, but how had she treated this land of his birth? He had hoped—had continued to hope—that the sane and right-minded among the English people would prevail to bring to reason those bent on the rule of ruin. But now! That King—un-English though he was—had succeeded in turning the tools of his government upon Virginia, unprotected and helpless, and had done this thing!

But little else was said between the two. Details of the destruction of Norfolk were few and, when the short story had been told, both men became grimly, bitterly silent.

When they reached the inn, the stout man got out, the two shook hands sorrowfully, and the phaeton drove onward.

The Declaration of Independence

It was not until May, 1776, that Jefferson went back to Congress. During the spring which he spent at home, affairs in the colonies sped swiftly. The news that General Washington had captured Boston, and that the red-coats had been forced to leave it, added another thrill to the stirring excitement that filled the air. On the seventh of June, 1776, Richard Henry Lee asked Congress to declare the colonies free from Great Britain.

For two days this was talked over, many of the members thinking that it was too soon to take such a step. Then, in order that everything might be done properly and well, further action was put off for twenty days, and a committee of five members was appointed to write a Declaration of Independence. The first man named was Thomas Jefferson. With him were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.

To Thomas Jefferson, youngest of the five, was given the glorious task of putting upon paper the burning words which would declare to the world that the people of the colonies were forever free.

Beginning with the immortal sentence: "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another,"—Jefferson wrote down in plain, vigorous words a detailed recital of America's wrongs, and why it was that we should become "free and independent states." This brief but weighty document has become one of the nation's priceless possessions.

Declaration of Independence


Thursday, the fourth day of July, 1776, had come. For three days Congress had been debating the Declaration of Independence, changing a word here, leaving out an expression there; while outside the streets of Philadelphia were thronged with the excited people, waiting to hear their decision.

"There was tumult in the city

In the quaint old Quaker Town,

And the streets were rife with people

Pacing, restless, up and down

People gathering at corners,

Where they whispered each to each,

And the sweat stood on their temples

With the earnestness of speech.

Will they do it? Dare they do it?

Who is speaking? What's the news?

What of Adams? What of Sherman?

Oh, God grant they won't refuse!"

"The bell will ring the tidings," were the words that had been passed from mouth to mouth, and many were the anxious looks cast upward to the old bell whose motto, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof," seemed like a holy prophecy. Suddenly, above the cheering, madly-excited crowd, it began to swing, and clear, deep-toned and thrilling came the iron voice to send forth its message over land and sea. "Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Ding-dong!"

"How they shouted! What rejoicing!

How the old bell shook the air,

Till the clang of freedom ruffled

The calmly gliding Delaware!"

Inside the building, John Hancock, the speaker, was signing the Declaration of Independence.

"There," he remarked, smiling as he laid down the pen, "John Bull may read my name without spectacles!"

Then, more seriously, John Hancock spoke to those before him of the need of firmness and loyalty to the sacred cause of liberty.

"We must all hang together, gentlemen, he repeated, earnestly.

Benjamin Franklin laughed. The strain of the long struggle gone, and the decision made, a sudden feeling of joyousness seemed to seize all these grave men.

"Yes, gentlemen," said the old statesman, his merry eyes twinkling, "we must all hang together, or else, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately!"

The great moment had come and gone. A! new country, the United States of America, declared independent by the immortal pen of Thomas Jefferson, had flung its defiance to the tyrant across the broad Atlantic. But that independence remained yet to be won.

The next Monday, at noon, the Declaration was read aloud in Independence Square. Thousands of people stood silent to listen and, with the last words, broke into a rapture of cheers. The coat-of-arms of George the Third was torn from the hall of the State House and set on fire. Every colon, hail its own public reading of the Declaration soon as copies could be had, the people greeting it everywhere with delight.

As for Thomas Jefferson, he felt that his work in the Congress was now finished. Mrs. Jefferson, whose health was failing, needed him; his estate was going to ruin without him; and Virginia needed him. With the coming of September he said good-bye to "the quaint old Quaker Town" and rode back to Monticello.

For Old Virginia

"Well, Jefferson, the House of Burgesses is waiting to know your decision," said Mr. Wythe, as he sat down, "Governor Henry was telling me he thought you had made it to-day? Is that so?"

Jefferson, who had been standing by the window of his chambers in Williamsburg, bowed his head.

"I have just sent the answer to Congress. It was hard to refuse, Wythe," he went on, a tone of regret in his voice. "To think of being appointed to go to Paris—and with men like Dr. Franklin and Silas Deane—and to represent the country there!"

He walked thought fully up and down the room. Mr. Wythe nodded sympathetically.

"I know—I know," he murmured. "But Mrs. Jefferson's state of health, I believe—and the cares of your estate—"

"Yes, yes." Mr. Jefferson passed his hand across his eyes. "Her health is such—I cannot leave her and she could not live through the journey with me. No, Mr. Wythe. Much as I should love to hear the music and see the beauties of the Old World, I have had to give up the appointment. The messenger is galloping along the road just there, now!"

He pointed and the two watched the distant horseman a moment in silence.

"Well, my friend," said Wythe, at length, "Virginia needs all the wisdom and learning of the best of us. Perhaps she needs you more than the country does. There is much to be done right here in Williamsburg. The laws of Virginia are in a confusion that is little less than barbarous. They must be made over, and there's no one who can help better to do it than you. I know that."

Jefferson's face lighted.

"That's the comfort I'm laying to my soul," he confessed. "I hope I can help here. There are many things I'd like to talk over with you. For instance, the laws of primogeniture and entail, by which a man may leave all of his estate to his eldest son, entirely leaving out his daughters and other sons from a share, and whereby the whole property must be kept together—none of it sold. Those laws are in crying need of being wiped off the books, it seems to me."

"You are right," agreed Wythe, nodding emphatically. "Why not propose to the House of Burgesses that a committee of five be appointed to go over the old English laws, throw out some like the one about ducking a woman for talking slander, for example, put the rest into just and sensible form, and make new laws of them?"

The speaker leaned his elbow on the table and watched his friend. Jefferson threw himself into a chair and crossed his long legs comfortably.

"A good idea," he granted. "We'll do it. There must be new laws—different laws, too. Virginia is supposed to hold four hundred thousand people, half slaves, to be sure, and many of them very ignorant. It seems to me some school system should be brought about. Then, too, now we've cast England off, we must form our own courts; make laws permitting foreigners to become voters, and so on. There's work for us all for years to come, here!"

Wythe laughed. "My dear Jefferson, you've spoken the solemn truth. There's work to arrange them, and there's fighting to get them passed, in spite of those who are always against anything new. What other ideas have you been brooding on?"

"Well, for one thing, why shouldn't the capital of Virginia be removed to Richmond?" asked Jefferson. "But the most important matter of all—the one that sits nearest my heart and conscience—is that all men should be allowed to worship God in the way that seems best to them."

Wythe straightened in his chair.

"What! You mean, you are against the government's establishing the religion of the state?"

"I am. Everyone should settle his religion for himself, I believe, and if I live, I mean to draw up an act that I shall call 'An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom.'"

His visitor arose and took his hand in a firm grasp.

"Jefferson!" he exclaimed, earnestly. "If you will do that—and I know Patrick Henry—Mason—young James Madison, and others will help us put it through—I say if you will do that, you will be the greatest man in Virginia!"

"A great man!" cried Jefferson, putting back his head and laughing heartily. "But, Wythe," he went on, "seriously, if I can be the one who shall father a law to give to the people of Virginia religious freedom, I shall feel I've at least won something worthy to be put on my tombstone."

At his last words his laughter came back again.

The two friends stood a moment, each with a hand on the other's shoulder.

"There's one subject you haven't mentioned," suggested Wythe. "What do you think we ought to do about the slaves? Free them?"

Jefferson nodded.

"I do—after a certain date. And we ought to forbid the bringing of other slaves into the state."

"Right!" Wythe moved toward the door. "Well, I must leave you. I'll stop and tell Governor Henry about your decision not to go to Paris, shall I?"

"I wish you would. Tell him I've given up everything but Virginia."

Wythe waved his hat, smiling, and closed the door behind him.

The ideas the two had talked of, became the new work of Thomas Jefferson. He was made the head of the committee, of which George Wythe was one, to collect the old English laws that had governed the colony, select all that was best in them, and bring it before the legislatures from time to time to be passed as the laws of the new state.

It was a labor not only of months but of years of patient study; of many journeys to and from Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Monticello to do this. But to the person whose heart is in the serving of his country, as Thomas Jefferson's was, wearisome journeys and hard study are welcome.

While thus at work, Jefferson was made happy by the birth of a baby boy, but this joy was not to last. The little son, who saw the light in May, 1777, soon left those who had learned so soon to love him. His life summed up but seventeen brief days.

The disappointment at this loss—for Jefferson had no son and heir—only nerved him to renewed labors for the state.

"I have given up everything for Virginia," he repeated.

Governor Jefferson,
and the Perils of War

Patrick Henry was Virginia's first American governor. When his third term was completed, who should be the rival candidates for the high post but John Page and Thomas Jefferson! It was the friendliest of contests and, though John Page had to step aside for his old college-mate, he was, twenty-three years afterward, to take his seat in turn as the chief of the great state they both loved.

Governor Jefferson found Virginia in danger. Several thousand prisoners of war, English and German, were settled in Albemarle County not far from Monticello. This, in itself, was a danger, for no one knew when they might plan to escape to the British.

New York was in the hands of the enemy, and General Washington's, army, doing all it could in the North, was in the greatest need of men, money, guns, and provisions of all kinds. Governor Henry had been sending help. Governor Jefferson in turn sent all that it seemed possible to supply, but it left Virginia with almost no money, and guns enough for only about one-fourth of the militia in the state.

The coast of Virginia was open to the English, whose great war frigates with their tiers of cannon could never be driven off by its tiny navy of four small ships. As for forts to withstand an attack, there was none of any value in a time of need.

In the West, too, were threatening foes.

The Virginia of that day stretched to the Mississippi River and included the states we now call Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky, with much of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. This great region held many an Indian village whose "braves" were always ready to follow the war path.

Knowing this, and that the western border was almost without American soldiers to protect it, the British commander sent his aide, Colonel Hamilton, to bribe the Indians to fight against the Virginians. Gold, beads, scarlet cloth,—all these were used by the wily Hamilton to hire the tribes to a bloody war. Only too well, as the smoke of many a burning cabin told, did he succeed.

This, then, was the condition of Virginia when Thomas Jefferson took the reins from the hands of Patrick Henry. This, and worse than this, for just before Governor Henry left the office, a dozen enemy ships had anchored and landed two thousand soldiers on the soil of Virginia. For several days they had raided, burned, and laid waste the country around, while the few men the state had kept to defend it were unable, through lack of guns, to protect the people, and fled in despair. When the enemy had done all the mischief they wished, they went on board their ships and sailed grimly away.

It was three weeks after this that Governor Jefferson took office.

Amid all these troubles the first cheering news he received was that Colonel George Rogers Clarke, of Albemarle County, whom Governor Henry had sent into the western wilds against the British and Indians, had reached and captured Kaskaskia on the Mississippi, and from there fought successfully against his and his country's enemies.

It was in April, 1780, not long after the capital of Virginia had been moved from Williamsburg to Richmond, that Governor Jefferson sat one day at his desk glancing over a letter that seemed to have been read and reread a good many times. As he looked it over, a shadow seemed to darken his face,—the shadow of the troubles that its writer, James Madison, summed up.

The Governor laid the letter on the desk and began to walk up and down with long, hasty strides.

"Washington!" he murmured. "His army almost falling to pieces! Short of bread and nearly out of any kind of meat! Neither money nor credit; paper money almost worthless! What are we coming to? What can Virginia do?"

He paced awhile with his head down, thinking, his eyes on the floor.

"Georgia conquered," he went on presently, "the British ravaging and raging in South Carolina; Virginia crippled—poor in men and guns, and with so much that must be done! We must manage to get some help for them all somehow!"

He stopped at his desk to look down at the letter. At that moment a loud knock on his door was followed by the entrance of a young man in torn, mud-spattered clothing and without a hat, his long hair untied and hanging around his face, his eyes bloodshot with weariness and strain. The Governor turned calmly toward him.

"News?" he asked quickly, his eyes full of anxiety.

"Your Excellency," said the man, "I've ridden post-haste to bring it. A British fleet and army under Cornwallis are attacking Charleston! Virginia must send help at once!"

"It shall be attended to," said the Governor with quiet determination.

How Governor Jefferson stepped into the breach is a matter of history. He was really torn between two appeals—that of Washington's army in the North, and Gates's army in the South. Mrs. Jefferson set an example by giving her jewelry, and other brave women did the same. Blacksmiths were set to work forging weapons; and Jefferson sent agents through the state ransacking it for supplies. Meanwhile the state militia was reorganized. It looked as though Virginia was soon to be the storm center—as events afterwards proved.

Then came the tidings of the disastrous defeat of Gates at the hands of Cornwallis, and the latter's advance north. 'When advance scouts from the American Army came to Richmond they found the little capitol full of tumult. Messengers from the Governor galloped into and out of town bringing and taking news and orders. Noble Virginia was again doing her best to stem the dreadful tide of defeat. The harvest soon to be gathered must be bought with promises to pay for it later; what cattle could be found must be driven south for the soldiers; the blacksmiths must make more axes; men must go into the western settlements and get at least a hundred more wagons, for General Gates was forming a new army in North Carolina, where Lord Cornwallis and his "hunting leopard," the terrible and pitiless Tarleton, were being held in check by the bold soldier-farmers of that hard-pressed state.

In the midst of this stirring time there came, like a clap of thunder, the news that a fleet of British vessels, sixty strong, were landing troops at Portsmouth!

Governor Jefferson at once sent messengers to General Gates in the South and General Washington in the North. Virginia had so few men left for her own defense, that she could do nothing more.

A Traitor's Raid

"Ah, good morning, General." Governor Jefferson held out his hand to General Nelson, head of the Virginia state troopers who had just entered his office hurriedly. "I'm sorry to have to call you out so early. But you will grant I have an excuse," he explained, with his unfailing politeness. "Be seated, sir. I've just had word that a fleet of twenty-seven sail was seen yesterday morning below Willoughby's Point."

The General clenched his hand. "Twenty-seven sail! But could they be French, do you think?"

"I have no way of knowing. The messenger rode furiously to Richmond with the news—didn't even stop to find out what flag they bore; just jumped on a horse and set out. He's ridden over a hundred miles to warn us."

"Did he—but of course he didn't—have any way of discovering whither they were bound?"

"No, no. I fear it may be General Leslie again. And yet—perhaps the French—"

"It may be the expedition General Washington mentioned in his last circular. What was it he said? Something about an expedition fitting out at New York and that he thought likely might go southward?"

The Governor nodded.

"Yes. It may be that expedition, but the General was quite uncertain about it. We must find out where it is bound. They may content themselves with raiding along the shores of the lower river counties, or they may advance up the York, the James, the Potomac, or the Patapsco."

"Uncertainty! Uncertainty!" muttered General Nelson. "They may be moving on Baltimore, Governor."

"They may, or on Alexandria or Petersburg or Williamsburg or Richmond, my dear General. Now, sir, I wish you to go at once and find out. This paper will give you full authority to raise what forces you can, if the fleet is the enemy's. Can you start at once?"

The General sprang up and strode to the door, then, remembering the paper, came back to take it from the desk.

"I shall be on the road in a quarter of an hour, Governor," he said briefly.

"Good. Lose no time. Let me have an express from you as soon as you have news."

As General Nelson hurried away, the Governor turned to his desk to prepare orders calling out the militia so that, when he had the full information needed, he could act without delay.

The news spread through the little capitol with the speed of a cyclone. Twenty-seven vessels sailing up the Chesapeake! Could it be the French, come to help? Could it be Leslie, come again to plunder and destroy? Where were they going? What could be done? The day wore on feverishly. Would a messenger from General Nelson never come? Every clatter of hoofs along the street brought citizens rushing out to inquire what were the tidings. The residence of the Governor was watched eagerly and the capitol as well, so that no messenger could enter or leave without being seen and questioned. Richmond was in an agony of suspense.

But nothing further was heard until Tuesday morning the second day of January. All of New Year's Day was spent in uncertainty and dread.

On Tuesday the members of the legislature had not long been in session when a messenger came to them from the Governor announcing that he had received word that the fleet was British and that it had entered the James River.

Although the Governor had asked their advice, the legislators could suggest little or nothing. He had already signed orders calling out four thousand, seven hundred men, and directing that all public supplies and such property belonging to the state as could be removed should be taken to Westham, a little town beyond the rapids above Richmond.

The lawmakers, seeing that Governor Jefferson was doing all that could be done, hastily adjourned, some to hurry away with the orders to the militia in different parts of the state; but most to go to their homes and place their families out of the threatened danger.

Wednesday wore on to afternoon, with no further tidings, until three o'clock, when a man rode into the city to tell the Governor that the vessels had arrived and were anchored near Jamestown.

Williamsburg, then, must be their object. So everybody thought until the next morning, when, just before sunrise, another horseman came spurring into town calling out the news as he passed that the enemy had swept onward up the James to a point below the Appomattox.

"They're coming! The redcoats are coming!" shouted a man who had run into the street.

Windows had been raised and the flicker of candles began to light the houses along the street.

"Maybe they're bound for Petersburg," called a voice from a window.

A sound of footsteps running came down the street from the direction taken by the messenger.

"Who's that?" cried a woman's voice shrilly.

"It's Burwell," called the other. "Word has come that Benedict Arnold commands the redcoats!"

"Arnold! The traitor! Benedict Arnold! Arnold! Arnold come to murder his own!" were the cries that answered.

The thought was horrible. Arnold, who had betrayed his country for the gold of the enemy, who had tried to sell it to the British, was now a British commander coming to rob, ruin, and shoot down his countrymen. No wonder the dread and confusion of the time grew, as morning dawned and messenger after messenger was seen spurring this way and that, carrying orders for the militia to gather as fast as they, could, not to wait to come in companies, but each man to take what arms he could find and hurry to join a few others on the way.

In the afternoon came Captain De Ponthere with news that the British had drawn up their troops at Westover, only twenty-five miles from Richmond.

Governor Jefferson sent his wife and three small children up the river to a relative's house at Tuckahoe. He had already ordered that the taking of stores to Westham should stop, and that everything the enemy would be likely to seize or destroy should be taken across the river or even thrown into it, so that Arnold, the betrayer, should not be able to get hold of it.

These things attended to, Governor Jefferson mounted his horse and galloped along the road to Westham. Here he found that a quantity of arms and ammunition had been piled on the bank by the excited men who had carried them up the river. These he ordered taken to a safer place.

Many a sleepless household in small town or lonely plantation house heard the clatter of his horse's hoofs, as the anxious Governor galloped now here now there to command where he was needed most. At one o'clock in the morning he reached Tuckahoe, where Mrs. Jefferson and the children were waiting for him. He felt that they were not safe there so bundled them all across the river and sent them, in charge of a faithful friend, eight miles farther up the James.

Then, tireless, he galloped back to Westham to take charge again. From there he rushed on toward the little village of Manchester. But before he could reach it the noble and willing horse that had carried him so swiftly all through the long hours sank beneath him, dying upon the road.

With a heavy heart, Thomas Jefferson took the saddle and bridle, slung them upon his back and hurried on toward the next farm.

"I must find another horse there," he thought, striding along. "I must get on to Manchester to see to the public property, and I must see Baron Steuben."

Horses were so scarce that only a young, unbroken colt could be found at the next farm. Jefferson's skill as a horseman was now a blessing indeed as he sprang to the animal's back and galloped madly away.

Little could be done in Manchester, but that little he saw finished. He could view, too, from across the James, the little city of Richmond. The British had entered it. One regiment of their infantry and thirty cavalry were already there, and the smoke of the burning foundry and powder magazine was beginning to float upward from beyond the housetops.

Only two hundred of the nearby militiamen had gathered to resist the enemy, too few and too poorly armed to do any good.

Seeing that he could do nothing further at Manchester, the Governor rode to Chetwoods to consult with the great soldier whom Washington had sent to Virginia, Baron Steuben.

Benedict Arnold had chosen his time and place well. To be sure, Colonel Clarke and his militiamen killed thirty of the raiders, but the redcoats did a great deal of damage. Stores of tobacco, the chief product of this region and its greatest means of income, were burned—and not in pipes either. Worst of all, Arnold and his men threw into the river five tons of gunpowder which the Americans had stored, and ruined three hundred muskets.

As the American militia gathered in greater and greater numbers, the traitor and his red-coats found it best to make their escape. So they sailed away down the river, plundering and burning wherever the chance offered, and took up their position in the camp that General Leslie had left.

Governor Jefferson, worn out with eighty-four hours of riding, at last reached Richmond where he summoned an officer of the militia.

"Sir," he said, wearily, his eyes glowing and bloodshot beneath his down-drawn brows, "Arnold has retreated to Leslie's old camp. If you will take a small band of men and bring him into Richmond alive, I will undertake that five thousand guineas shall be your reward!"

But Benedict Arnold knew too well the temper of the people of Virginia to let himself be caught in any trap, however cunning. In his own evil time he sailed, unharmed and uncaught, out to sea.

A Hair-Breadth Escape

On that troubled January second, 1781, when the legislature hastened to adjourn it had taken a very important step. All the country north of the Ohio River which then belonged to Virginia was given to the United States, on but one condition. It was that all the states should agree to what were called "The Articles of Confederation," and thus become, instead of thirteen small countries, one larger country of thirteen parts.

In June, Jefferson's term of office expired, but so great was the trouble and confusion that the legislature had failed to attend to its duty of naming a new governor. Meeting now in one small city, only to learn that the enemy was apt to come; adjourning to meet in another and another, trying to keep in advance of the redcoats, the members were kept too busy keeping alive and together to do much else. So Virginia was without a governor for a time, and Thomas Jefferson continued to act as head of the government, until the next chief should be appointed.

On the fourth of June the owner of Monticello, wakeful in the early hours of the morning, heard the clatter of hoofs coming furiously toward the house. Dressing hastily, he hurried to the door in time to see a neighbor come 'galloping up the hill.

"Mr. Jouitte!" called Mr. Jefferson. "What has happened?"

"The British are only twenty miles away, Governor," the visitor replied. "I was at the tavern in Louisa last night at midnight when two hundred and fifty of them galloped into town. They're under that devil Tarleton, and of course they are on their way to seize the legislature and you."

"Thank you, Mr. Jouitte. You are on your way to warn the members of the legislature? Some of the members are here now."

Jouitte mounted his horse and reined it around.

"Yes, I'm off. Better hide everything of value," he called back and, touching spurs to his horse, disappeared down the road on the way to Charlottesville.

Jefferson walked quietly into the house and rang the bell.

Breakfast that morning was early, but not too early for the visiting legislators when they heard the reason for it. Still, everybody talked cheerfully and ate heartily, even joking a little about the need of once more outwitting the enemy. After the meal, the guests, whose horses had been brought around, rode swiftly away to make the best of their escape from Charlottesville to the back country while yet there was time.

While Mrs. Jefferson and her servants were hurrying preparations for flight, her husband busied himself in collecting his most valuable papers.

"Caesar, you and Martin gather up the silver and all the other valuables you can lay hands on and hide them under the floor of the portico. Take up a plank," he directed.

The papers took a long time to look over, but Jefferson made a thorough search among them, took out and tied together the most important, and placed them in the waiting carriage. As he turned back toward the door he heard a shout.

"Oh, Governor! Wait a minute!"

It was an officer of the state militia, his uniform covered with dust, his horse reeking with foam and sweat as he strained up the slope.

"The British cavalry," he called out, "coming up the mountain!"

"What! They've not reached Charlottesville yet!"

"Tarleton's on his way there. He's sent a troop to take you in on the way. Hurry!"

Pulling his horse about on its haunches, the officer galloped swiftly away. Jefferson hurried into the house. The other members of the family were bundled into the carriage and sent briskly down the road toward Colonel Coles's home, fifteen good miles away.

Taking his telescope under his arm and buckling on a short walking sword, Jefferson, after looking about to see that every last paper he needed had been put in safety and that Martin and Caesar were busily storing away the family valuables, walked out of the house and took a trail through the woods.

At the spot where this trail wound its way to join the road, he found his horse standing with the bridle over a limb. Taking the rein over his arm he stopped a moment to listen.

"Cavalry ought to make some sound," he thought. "Hum! Nothing to be heard! I suppose they're some distance away yet. I'll just go up to the rock there on the mountain-side and take a look at the valley."

He kneeled down, rested the glass on the rock and placed his eye to it. A low exclamation of astonishment came from his lips as he looked. The little town was swarming with redcoats.

To hurry down to the patient horse, mount and ride along the road that led toward Colonel Coles's home was the work of but a few minutes. The troopers of the "hunting leopard" were not to have the joy of capturing Thomas Jefferson.

Meanwhile, Martin and Caesar were hard at work packing the heavy silverware into the floor of the veranda. Martin was kneeling, a pile of valuables beside him, handing them one at a time down into the narrow opening where Caesar packed them snugly away.

"Dat's de las'," he announced, sitting back on his heels and stretching his arms high above his head, as Caesar took a small jewel box. A shriek from the doorway behind startled him.

"Oh, mah Lawd! Heah dey-all is!"

With a single movement the ready Martin pushed the loosened plank down over Caesar and sprang to his feet. Up to the slope came the British, their captain at their head.

"Halt!" came the order. The ranks of the troop came to a stand. The officers dismounted. Martin waited, perspiring with fear, and trying hard to be brave as he stood rigid on the plank above the crouching Caesar.

"Where is Mr. Jefferson?" asked the officer. "Tell him Captain McLeod is here and wishes to speak with him."

Martin swallowed and managed to bow politely.

"Yes, suh, Cap'n. Marse Jefferson he ain' at home, sub. I'se sho sorry, suh! Will you walk right in, suh? Dis way?"

"Humph! Well, yes. I'll just take a look. Show me over the house."

Leaving his men posted about the outside, Captain McLeod, whom Colonel Tarleton had sent to seize Thomas Jefferson and take possession of Monticello, went through the house with Martin. When they came to the library the officer looked down at the books and papers that had been left here and there, showing the work that had just been done.

"Valuable collection!" he muttered turning about. "Here, give me the key!"

He closed the door and turned the key in the lock, took it out and handed it to the wondering negro.

"Take that key," he said. "And if anybody tries to get into the library or asks for the key, say that I've got it. No harm shall come to Mr. Jefferson's property if I can help it."

For eighteen hours, while the soldiers were at Monticello, the brave Caesar, cramped and sweltering in the narrow hole, scarcely dared to move. At last, with no harm done save the drinking of some wine in the cellar by the thirsty soldiers, the troop rode away. When the last clank of metal against metal told him they had gone, the black head of the faithful Caesar rose stiffly from his hiding place. Martin, on the watch, hurried to help him.

"Yo's sho stiff in de laigs, Caesar!" he said. "Jes' set down."

"Stiff! Ise turned to wood! But golly! Dey didn't ketch de fambly!"

At Elk Hill, Jefferson's plantation down the James, the enemy was not so kindly as Captain McLeod had been, for crops were destroyed, barns and fences burned, slaves carried away to a worse slavery, cattle and sheep taken, horses stolen, and the throats of colts too young for use cut. Ten days of the soldiery there completely wrecked that fine estate.

However, it was not to be much longer that Lord Cornwallis was to go his way unchecked. October, 1781, found him at Yorktown, hemmed in between the French fleet, the French army, and the Americans under Washington, where he was forced to surrender his whole army as prisoners of war.

Virginia was free from the invader, and the closing scenes of the Revolution were at hand.

In Paris

A great grief now came upon Thomas Jefferson. For months his wife had been ill and he had been at home to watch over her. With the coming of September, 1782, the dimming light of her life went gently out. Her husband's only comfort in this time of suffering was little ten-year-old Martha, the eldest of the three daughters left him.

Sometime after his loss, Congress asked Jefferson to join the commissioners in Paris who were trying to make the treaty of peace there. He was only too glad to enter into some work for his country that could help him to bear his sorrow, so he accepted. But before he sailed away for France the news came that the work, of the commissioners had been finished.

Still, the country was not content to allow so useful a man to stay at home. Within three weeks of his going back to Monticello, the legislature of Virginia once again elected him to Congress. His friend and former law student James Monroe and three others were also chosen to serve the state. November found him once more busy in Congress where until nearly summer he took a leading part.

"I see," said one member of that body to another as they met one day in the lobby, "I see that Thomas Jefferson has had the honor of handing to Congress Virginia's deeds to that wonderful northwestern territory. It's a vast region and a noble gift to the country."

"A wonderful region!" echoed the other. "And the noblest thing about the gift, to my mind, is the ordinance Jefferson has written to govern it. I hope it will pass. He's striking another blow against slavery—and he a rich slave-holder, too!"

The other shook his head.

"Slave-holder, yes, but he's lost a great deal by the war. But what is he doing?"

"Why, his bill declares that there shall be no slavery after the year 1800 in the new states to be made out of this territory. I hope it will pass."

In spite, however, of the hopes of the friends of this measure, Congress did not pass it. The defeat of Jefferson's slavery provision for the territories doubtless made possible the terrible Civil War that came upon our country long years after he lay quiet beneath the trees at Monticello.

Another matter that concerns us all to-day was his idea regarding the money to be coined by the new United States. Up to that time the coins of various foreign countries such as England, Spain, France and even Arabia were in use in the states, a fact that probably caused some confusion. Congress thought it would be wise to have a table of values of these coins. Gouverneur Morris made such a list and then suggested that a dollar should be used as an American coin which should be worth one thousand, four hundred and forty times as much as a small silver unit. This plan seemed very unwieldy to Thomas Jefferson, who thought it over and devised another based on the decimal system, which now makes our money so convenient and easy to count.

Jefferson had long wanted to visit Europe, and now, at last, came the time when he was to go. Congress once more appointed him to serve his country abroad. This time it was to help Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, who were trying to make treaties of trade for us with various other countries.

The finding of a ship and taking passage for a voyage was not an easy thing in those days. Great liners did not ply between the New and Old Worlds, and a person wishing to cross had to gain news of the sailing dates of merchant ships or to catch the little monthly "packets" as they were called.

At Boston his party heard of a vessel called the Ceres that was soon to sail for London. In this they succeeded in taking passage. Thirty-two days after leaving Boston they found themselves in Paris. Little Martha was getting better of an illness and ready to look with wondering eyes on this new French world. Her father and his secretary, William Short, were already charmed with the beauties of the gay French capital.

For five years Thomas Jefferson represented America in Europe. With the coming of the first spring his duties were enlarged. Benjamin Franklin went home, John Adams left Paris for England, and he was made our direct representative in France, a position the most delightful in the world for a man of his disposition.

While he was in Europe his book, "Notes on Virginia," which contained a great deal of valuable information about America, was printed in both English and French. A great many copies were bought and read in Paris, and people there thought much of the famous author who represented his country.

But a thing of e'en greater influence was the printing of his Act for Freedom of Religion. It seemed wonderful and glorious to the greatest minds of the day and a strange and new idea, that every person should be allowed to believe in whatever seemed to his own mind to be right; that nobody ought to have the right to say what religion any other person must believe, and no government the power to compel its people to belong to any one church.

Many and of different kinds were the labors of the American minister plenipotentiary, as he was called. The sending of news of all important affairs of trade, politics, invention, science and whatever might be of help to America or its citizens kept him very busy. His keen and eager wish to have for his own country all that was best in the Old World was the cause of the introduction into our southern states of the finest rice in the world. This he secured in Italy. He tried hard to introduce the olive, too, but was not successful, although he sent many plants across the ocean to the South. Whenever he could get a valuable plant, seed, nut or root, he sent it home for trial.

His work was of great value not only to American farmers but also to France, for he secured valuable plants for that country from the New World. In the winter of 1788-1789, when the people of Paris were suffering from the terrible cold and famine, it was through an appeal of Jefferson's that over thirty thousand barrels of flour from America were sent them.

In the midst of his first few weeks in Paris the sad news came to him that baby Lucy, two years old, had died.

"I cannot be any longer separated from my other little one," he thought sorrowfully. "I will send for her to come to us here."

So, when all the troublesome arrangements of sailing ships and travel were made, to Paris came the little Maria, called Polly by those, who loved her.

With his two little girls by his side, Jefferson was well content to remain in France for so long a time as his country might require his services.

Home Again

It was two days before Christmas. For five long years "Marse Jefferson" had been away and now he was coming home—home from across the wide ocean. The negroes were wild with excitement. Early in the morning the servants from every part of the Jefferson possessions had come to Monticello, for the news had gone out like wildfire, "Marse Tom's comin' home to-morrow!"

Wonderful had been the washing and ironing of gay cotton turbans and best dresses, and many and joyful had been the chuckles at the prospect of having home again beloved Marse Tom and their own little ladies.

For a mile or two along the road from the foot of Monticello the excited watchers straggled, straining forward to catch the first glimpse of the returning travelers.

Suddenly a small black boy came running back as hard as his short legs could bear him up the road.

"Dey's a-comin'! Marse is a-comin'!" he shrieked, throwing a handspring and coming up all breathless with excitement and joy.

A shout broke from the crowd near the foot of the hill.

"Dere dey is! Dere dey is!"

"Marse Tom! Oh, Marse Tom! You sho is home again!"

"Lawdy! Lawdy! Heah is Marse Jefferson! Marse!"

Along the road that passed Shadwell, Thomas Jefferson's old home, came a heavy traveling carriage, drawn by four horses. With a cracking of whips and a cheer the postillions urged the animals forward and at a gallop the carriage rumbled and swayed onward. The slaves had begun to run when they saw it. Fat and thin; old and young; men, women and children, they all ran, shouting, along the road. Before the carriage reached the foot of the hill it was surrounded by the laughing, shouting, crying, hurrahing, pushing crowd.

"Take out de hosses!" yelled a negro. The postillions, delighted, sprang down and helped. In a rush, in spite of the master's laughing attempt to be heard, the horses were taken from the carriage. Eager negroes seized the pole; others, shouting, laid shoulders to the back and, with a rush and a rumble, a chorus of hurrahs and a babel of happy voices shouting welcomes, the carriage rolled up the hill, around the lawn and came to a halt at the front door. Marse Tons was home!

He opened the door and tried to step down, only to be seized and carried to the steps, while the happy crowd tried to kiss his hands, or his feet, or even to touch one of his garments.

"Marse Tom! Welcome home, Marse Tom!"

The carriage door was opened again and a beautiful young girl stood hesitating on the step. Behind her peeped the rosy face of a little girl.

Sudden silence fell on the rejoicing throng. Their young ladies were not the children they remembered; but a pride too deep for words glistened in every eye. Their own young ladies were sho' quality—and they had come home!

Down a lane formed by the admiring negroes, while the women held up their babies to see, Martha and Maria walked, smiling with delight. It was so good to be home again!

What a gay Christmas it was for all of them! Christmas gifts for each one and everybody calling out gay greetings to everybody else. And in the mail that arrived, what a wealth of presents and good wishes!

But Jefferson was not allowed to enjoy his home in quiet for long. One day James Madison came to call upon him with an important message.

"President Washington asked me to come to see you," explained the visitor, as he took his seat in one of the great armchairs. "He wishes to know just how you feel about this appointment he offers you."

Jefferson bowed his head. "I see. Well, I can say but little more than I wrote him in reply to his letter asking me to be his Secretary of State. I'd rather return to Paris. The duties of the position there are well known to me and agreeable. If I were to remain in America I should wish to be at home. My estate needs my personal care. Then, too, the duties of the Secretary of State are quite different

Letter from Jefferson to Thomas Paine


Madison raised his hand. "The President thinks that if they proved too complicated Congress would amend that. He is very anxious to have you take the place in his cabinet where he feels that you would be of the greatest service to him and the country."

One of Jefferson's large, bony hands went up to his chin.

"Well," he said, at length. "You may say to the President what I have mentioned. I really feel better qualified to remain in Paris, but I will think the question over very carefully. Of course my wish is to serve the country in whatever way I best can do so."

"I'll report to President Washington what your feeling is," Madison promised after a pause, "and he will, I am sure, write you about it again."

This the President did, explaining that if the new and unknown business should prove difficult, Congress would "apply a remedy." Jefferson could not longer refuse, but wrote in reply, "I no longer hesitate to undertake the office to which you are pleased to call me."

Thus it was settled. Thomas Jefferson was to take the first place in the cabinet of George Washington and to be the first Secretary of State of the United States. The books and treasures of art that had been left in Paris were packed and shipped home. France must again be given up for America; Paris for New York. George Washington and his country needed him.

President Jefferson

The work of Washington's little cabinet of four was very difficult and important. The idea of being but parts of one nation was a new one to the states, and their people were very jealous lest something be done to take away the liberty they had so long fought for. Systems of doing things had to be invented, and the country raised in the eyes of the world from a little partnership of rebellious colonies to a steady and responsible government, whose people held together, made and obeyed their own laws, and paid the debts the war had brought upon them.

It was natural that two sorts of opinions should be held. One was that the states should be more or less independent of the nation, themselves handle most of their own affairs, and pay their own war debts. The other was that the states should give up much of their freedom to a government by the nation, which should pay all war debts and manage most important affairs. The people who held the former opinions were very democratic, or republican, in their ideas; believed in the rights of the common people; wished for a simple and inexpensive national government, and did not care for so much style and show as the others thought fitting. The second party believed that a supreme national government should be formed, and also that a certain amount of formal ceremony, with titles like Your Excellency, Your Honor, Esquire, and more or less imitation of English court manners should be the rule. The one stood for the mass of the people; the other for a privileged and powerful few.

It did not take long to find out who was the leader of those who upheld the rights of the plain people. Thomas Jefferson was soon known as the man who stood always for what were called "the rights of man." Alexander Hamilton, the gifted young Secretary of the Treasury, led the other side. Jefferson's followers came to be known as democrats, and he is still spoken of as the founder of the Democratic Party; although the first political significance of this title has passed away.

This first term of Washington and his cabinet was anything but easy. Important questions were always coming up to cause trouble. Such, for instance, was the matter of the nation's taking over the debts of the states; of the choice of a place for the national capital, and, when war between England and France raged fiercely, of what action the United States ought to take. Naturally, many of the people were for France and against England, while others felt that it would be better to stand by our old mother. While still others said that we should be neutral.

So it went. Every decision was full of difficulties and dangers. The wisdom of all the great statesmen of the time was needed to steer the new ship of state among the rocks and shoals on every hand.

The nation did assume the state debts. The place for the capital was chosen and later named Washington. The United States kept itself free from taking part with either France or England.

Thomas Jefferson's duties did not end with foreign affairs. He was called upon to act as Postmaster-General; to superintend the laying out of the new District of Columbia and its buildings; to head the new Patent Office, and various other new and important things. While he was head of the Patent Office, Eli Whitney sent in his model of the cotton-gin.

Tired out, at length, of being always away from the home he cared for so dearly, and of the labors that seemed only to bring never-ending strife, Jefferson persuaded the President to accept his resignation.

Monticello again welcomed him. Here he watched his crops; sent to Scotland for a new threshing machine; put into use the plow he had invented, which had won a gold medal from France; and was once more happy to be at home. But the rest was only temporary. Public life was to claim him again before long.

In November, 1796, he was elected Vice-President. John Adams, the federalist, was chosen to take the chair of the great chief, Washington. Until the spring of 1801, after the close of the century that had held the Declaration of Independence and the war that won American freedom, Thomas Jefferson held the second place in the government of the country.

May, 1800, found him and Aaron Burr candidates against Adams and Pinckney for the presidency. As the months went by, the new federal center, Washington, a little village in the wilderness to which the capital of the nation was removed in June, was all agog with the excitement of the coming election. But the election, when it did come, only served to bring further excitement, for it resulted in a tie vote between Jefferson and Burr. This then left it to the House of Representatives to decide by vote which of these two should be the President and which the Vice-President.

It was not until the thirty-sixth ballot, after seven days of strife and struggle among the representatives, that Thomas Jefferson was elected third President of the United States. While he held this office, John Page became governor of Virginia.

A Pirate Story

Let us go back to Thanksgiving Day, 1793, seven years and a half before Thomas Jefferson came to be president. Morning services were being held in the small church of the little New England town of Newburyport.

Dressed in their sober best, with here and there a gay-colored bonnet or a bright feather or ribbon among the women, the congregation sat listening to the words of the preacher.

"I have a letter which it seems fitting that I should read to-day," he was saying, as he lifted a folded paper from the desk. "I have been speaking of the many things for which we should give thanks. Among them is the opportunity given us of sending to help the writer of this letter and other poor souls like him, who have been captured by the cruel pirates of the Mediterranean and sold into a slavery worse than death. Listen to this sad message from one of our own townsmen."

Pausing a moment, he looked gravely about into the raised and earnest faces of his hearers and then read slowly:

"'I was captured on the eighteenth of October by an Algerine corsair and stripped of everything. On arriving at Algiers, I was conducted to the Dey's house; and in the morning was sent to the slaves' bagnio, and there received an iron shackle round my leg and a chain of twenty pounds, and three loaves of coarse bread for twenty-four hours, and some water, and was immediately put to hard labor. My situation is so deplorable that to mention but a small part of it would require much longer time than I am allowed!' "

The reader looked up. A tremor passed through the congregation. This was not a new thing to them. Appeals had been made before for money to send to the "King of Cruelties" to buy back to freedom American seamen he had thrown into slavery. Many a time had they gone deep into their scanty savings, only to get news long after the money had been sent that the poor Americans who waited so prayerfully for freedom had died of ill-treatment before it reached the coffers of the pirate king.

But to-day it was different. It was Thanks-giving Day. Also, the man whose cry of suffering had come to them was a citizen of their own little town. Most of them had known him since his boyhood. So this letter seemed like the cry of a brother from the wilderness.

Hands began fumbling eagerly with bags and in pockets, and the clink of silver coins caught the ear. Tears were rolling down the cheeks of many as the minister came to the end of the letter.

"Before taking up the collection, friends," he said, "there is one here whom I am asking to tell you something about the acts of the Barbary pirates, and of the ransom Newbury-port is being asked to send."

A weather-beaten man who had been sitting almost unseen in a corner got slowly up and walked limping to the pulpit, where he turned toward the startled congregation a face lined and seamed with pain. A dark purple scar ran from his forehead down to his bearded chin, and the fires of his sunken eyes told of some past grim struggle and long-endured suffering.

"Friends," he began, his voice harsh and grating like the rush and roar of the wind across the decks of a storm-driven ship, "friends, I brought the letter you've just heard. I've been more than a year getting here with it. Your townsman may still be alive, or he may have joined those who have paid their last ransom of life itself to the Dey of Algiers, 'King of Cruelties,' as we call him.

"I, myself, was a slave in Morocco. I was aboard the good brig Betsy  when she was taken by the pirates. They came aboard us, every man of them carrying a knife in each hand and one in his teeth. We fought as best we could, friends, but we hadn't men enough to stand against 'em. I was laid low by the stroke that left me this"—he pointed one shaking finger at the scar—"and, with the others, I was carried off into slavery.

"It was Spain and its officers that got our freedom for us. What became of the others I don't know, but I took ship for home, only to be captured by the pirates of Algiers off the coast of Portugal. They threw me once more into slavery.

"They took away everything I had except just clothes enough to cover me, and gave me only two small cakes of bread a day. Hard labor I had to do on this. How I did it, nearly starved as I was, I can't tell you, for I don't know. At last I managed to send a letter, much like the one I brought to you, to our American minister in France, Thomas Jefferson.

"I know now that he worked hard to get the money to ransom me and others. At last he secretly sent a Christian monk, who bargained for me with the Dey of Algiers and succeeded in buying my freedom. But your townsman and many others were left groaning in their chains, half-starving and wearing out what is left of their lives, until their friends can send the money to ransom them.

"Sickness and misfortune kept me from getting to you. Twice I have sent you copies of this letter, which, I am told, never reached you. The letter I had promised to bring myself and make a plea for the money needed to free a man of your own town from suffering, slavery and death.

"Here is a table of the ransoms the pirates require." The speaker drew from his breast pocket a yellowed paper and read:

"For a captain     $6,000

For a mate      4,000

For a passenger     4,000

For a seaman      1,400"

Without speaking further, the gaunt stranger folded and returned the paper carefully to his breast. Then, with a brief bending of his neck he walked slowly to his corner and sat down. The sound of muffled sobs was heard throughout the little church.

Scenes like this were not uncommon in other towns and cities of New England. The corsairs, or pirate ships of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco and Algiers, were the wolves of the sea, boldly attacking any vessel they thought weak enough to capture.

While plenipotentiary in France, Thomas Jefferson had given much anxious effort to the cases of the suffering prisoners, hundreds of whom were held in these African countries waiting until money should be sent to ransom them or, lacking this, kept in a slavery that ended only with death.

Other Christian nations paid the rulers of the Barbary States a tribute, or tax, in order that the vessels carrying their flags might be free from attack by the pirates. Our own country, while disliking this way of securing peace, was also too poor, just after the revolution, to afford the large sums of money demanded. What little it could afford was offered, only to meet with the disdain of the greedy pirate princes.

Jefferson, while he was in France, tried to persuade the different nations of the Old World to join with the United States in keeping a small fleet of ships ready to wage war on the corsairs and so protect travelers on the sea, but the plan, a bold and sensible one, fell through. The Congress of that day was not strong enough to carry it out. When he was Secretary of State for Washington, he again brought up the matter of forcing the pirates to respect our flag, but nothing could be done.

Finally, in 1796, a peace was brought about at the cost of a million dollars. But to maintain this peace and prevent the breaking of it by the pirates, another million had to be paid within the next four years. One hundred and twenty-two captives, ten of them having been slaves to the pirates for eleven years, came home to America, half-starved, their health wrecked, but pitifully happy to gain the freedom for which they had long given up hoping.

The worst part of these transactions with the pirates was that they insisted on having the tribute sent them in articles that would help them to go on in their cruel business. A frigate which cost nearly a hundred thousand dollars was built and paid for by the United States, fitted with thirty-six cannon, loaded with an-other hundred thousand dollars' worth of powder, lead and ship supplies, and sent to the Dey as one item of our country's tax. All this was before Thomas Jefferson became president.

When that time came, Jefferson, who had tried so long and untiringly to stop this state of things, sent four of our six war vessels to the Mediterranean to whip the pirates into a proper and decent frame of mind. America was the first nation to show the cruel pirates that peace with them was not to be bought with money.

This act of Jefferson's, which opened the way to others, led, finally, to the deathblow of piracy in the Mediterranean.

Opening Up the Great West

The great wilderness that stretched, a mystery of far-sweeping plain and mountain, river and mighty woodland, to the west of the broad Mississippi, always held a fascination for the mind of Thomas Jefferson. Great unknown forests that roared in the wind sweeping inland from the rolling Pacific; wide spaces of prairie, dotted with grazing herds of bison and covered with the soft waves of the wild grasses; great rivers that thundered through deep chasms, the like of which the white man had never yet seen; all these were there waiting for the explorer and the pioneer.

President Jefferson made up his mind that an expedition should be sent to discover the wonders that he believed must exist in that broad land; to study its tribes of Indians, its animals, its plants, its rocks, and to journey onward even to the shores of the great Pacific.

The men he chose to command this bold party were Meriwether Lewis, his own secretary, the son of an old friend of Albemarle County, and William Clarke, brother of that famous George Rogers Clarke, whose brave work during the Revolution had saved the western frontier from the English and Indians.

A year was spent by these men in study and preparation before they went out into the wilderness to be gone over two years. What they saw and did makes a book in itself: wild tribes; high, rocky peaks; dangerous mountain passes; great rivers; the mighty, surging Pacific itself. From the wilds they brought back specimens to enrich the collections of the East.

But more than the exploration of this golden land was accomplished while Thomas Jefferson sat in the president's chair. Through his efforts and those of his agents the whole territory itself, from the Mississippi to the giant Rockies, was bought from France. France had claimed Louisiana because of the exploration of the Mississippi; had ceded it to Spain; and, in turn, was to receive it again. Our present state of Louisiana is but a very small part of this great region.

A great deal of trouble was caused at times by the threats of the Spaniards at New Orleans to stop our use of the Mississippi River for carrying to the outside world the produce of the great valley region along its eastern bank. This produce could be marketed at New Orleans, or sent from there across the ocean to other markets.

In the days when there were no railroads stretching their shining length across every country and ending in a network in every city, the use of the river as a highway was necessary to the welfare and growth of the settlements west of the Alleghanies.

When the news came to the United States that Spain had given up this region to France, the president felt that the time had come when at least the Island of New Orleans and the mouth of the Mississippi should belong to us. We could no longer endure the danger of having it closed to our people and their trade. At once we began trying to buy New Orleans.

Napoleon Bonaparte, the great general, was then at the head of the French government, and to him we had to apply. But it seemed that he had other plans. He had decided that France should send out colonists and soldiers to Louisiana which, he believed, would grow into a great and valuable colony of France. He had even chosen the ships to carry the soldiers and colonists across; had appointed the officers and the first governor of the colony-to-be, and had made up his mind to send three thousand troops.

Livingston, our representative in Paris, did his best to have these plans given up, but it seemed to him at last that he could do no more. He finally gave up hope and wrote home advising our government to "fortify Natchez and strengthen all the upper posts," on the Mississippi, for he believed that the time would surely come when we should have war on our hands over New Orleans.

The people of Kentucky, to whom the Mississippi River was the great highway to the world beyond, were aflame with excitement. The news of the French expedition preparing to sail for Louisiana only added fuel to the fire of their anger. Threats of rebellion and warfare were heard everywhere along the frontier. Even the largest cities of the East were full of unrest and turmoil.

President Jefferson was working in his own way. In fact, he had been busy for a long time, but the public did not know how hard he and his agents had been at work to buy at least the mouth of the river. Things seemed to be reaching a crisis. Then he despatched a letter to his friend James Monroe.

"I shall to-morrow nominate you to the Senate for an extraordinary mission to France," he wrote him. "Work night and day to arrange your affairs."

Meanwhile, another threatening war cloud had begun to darken the sky between France and England. The ambition of Napoleon was turned toward invasion of the "tight little isle." England, on the other hand, was determined to crush him if he tried it. Neither country wished the other to have the rich territory of Louisiana. England preferred that we should have it and, if France tried to keep it, the English navy could cut it off from all trade across the Atlantic.

But what France needed most was money. War is expensive, and the French had been making war and paying soldiers for a long time. Louisiana would not be sending money over to France until many years of expense and the slow growth of colonies could produce it to send. If sold now, it would at once bring the funds to fight England. Then, too, there was always the danger of England's seizing the colony.

Thinking of these and many other things, Napoleon Bonaparte all at once changed his mind and decided to turn Louisiana, not into a French colony, but into hard gold that 'night be spent now.

"The English have taken from France Canada, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the richest portions of Asia," he said. "They shall not have the Mississippi, which they covet. I have not a moment to lose in putting it out of their reach!"

James Monroe had scarcely arrived in Paris before the bargaining began. As each side was so eager, it did not take very long to make terms. To the great surprise of Livingston, not only New Orleans was for sale, but the whole of the vast Mississippi Valley to the west of the great stream and as far as the towering mountains that shut it from Spanish country, in the far West.

This whole region was bought for fifteen millions of dollars. It was the purchase of a territory that was to add thirteen stars to our flag and make the United States one of the great countries of the world.

A Threat of War

For eight years Jefferson filled the presidential chair. When the end of his first term came he was re-elected by a sweeping majority.

He was sitting, one day, in his office, a pile of papers strewn before him on the desk, his long chin in his hand.

"If we can keep the peace a few years longer," he murmured, anxiously, "only a few years, we can pay our national debt, and our income will then be large enough for any war that comes upon us."

He frowned and looked towards the window.

"This war in Europe will ruin our trade. Between the Orders in Council of the English and the decrees of Bonaparte, each side bound to seize all ships bound for the other's ports, our own vessels have little chance, now-a-days, of going anywhere without being taken and plundered. We'll be drawn into this war, unless something can be done to hold it off for awhile."

He drummed with his knuckles on the arm of his chair.

"But these English claims are too much to be borne," he went on frowningly. "The idea that a man born an Englishman cannot become a naturalized American citizen is absurd! Their treatment of American ships—seizing sailors from our vessels to place in their own navy, on the pretense that they are taking back English deserters, is getting beyond all patience. It's a situation that—"

A secretary entered at this moment, breaking in upon the President's thoughts.

"Well?" asked the latter, leaning back inquiringly.

"Sir," said the young man, whose face was flushed with excitement, "the news has just come that the English ship Leopard  has fired several broadsides on the Chesapeake—"

The President rose quickly to his feet.

"Broadsides, you say?" he asked quickly. "What did the Chesapeake  do?"

"Hauled down her flag, sir. She wasn't expecting to fight; wasn't ready—"

"Did the Englishmen board her?"

"Yes, sir. They went aboard and took four men, claiming they'd deserted from the English navy. They say, sir, that three of them are born Americans—"

President Jefferson took two or three strides up and down the office.

"Were any killed?" he asked, suddenly facing about.

The young man nodded soberly.

"Three, sir, and eighteen wounded. The account is being sent you at once. I heard it and hurried in to let you know."

"Thank you. Bring in the paper as soon as it comes."

The secretary hurried from the room, leaving the President pacing the floor, his usually calm, cheerful face full of sudden care.

"I have only to open my hand now," he muttered, "to let havoc loose!"

It was true. The whole country was ready to plunge into war with Great Britain. "Free trade and sailors' rights!" was the rallying cry of the people. The utmost excitement ruled the day and the wildest threats were uttered against England.

But Thomas Jefferson knew that America was not prepared for a second war with England and that to enter upon one at this time would lead only to defeat. He was not, however, going to submit any longer to such outrages without showing what America thought of these high-handed acts.

Without delay he sent the frigate Revenge  to England to demand an explanation and the return of the men who had been taken from her decks, as well as the punishment of Admiral Berkeley, the commanding officer of the British squadron. He issued a proclamation ordering all armed British ships to leave the waters of the United States, and declaring that no such ships would be allowed to come within those waters unless carrying dispatches, or in distress.

"Every one of our own vessels must be prepared for instant service. Gunboats must be sent to all points that might be attacked. Our fleet must be called home from the Mediterranean. At least two thousand soldiers must be placed along the coast," were his terse directions.

Besides these things, he ordered the governors of the states to have one hundred thousand militia ready to be called to the colors.

"You," he said to Decatur, the commander of our vessels at Norfolk, "you will attack the British fleet if it should attempt to pass into the inner harbor."

His secretary was busy sending letters to various members of Congress, bearing the warning to be ready to come to Washington at a moment's notice. When the frigate sent to England should come back, the country would know whether war was to come at once or not. It hardly seemed possible that it could be postponed much longer, with the temper of the people at such a fever heat.

Thomas Jefferson naturally felt the anger that filled the minds of all patriotic Americans, but with him lay the awful responsibility of plunging his country into a war for which he knew it was not ready, or, perhaps, of saving it from one; at least of putting one off until the chances of winning should be better.

When the frigate came back with a message of regret from England, though very little else was done by its government to make up for the outrage to the Chesapeake, Jefferson resolved to try one thing more to see whether or not the difference between the two countries might be settled without actual war.

"If we keep our ships at home," he thought, "neither England nor France can seize them. That is clear. But, besides this, both those countries will be suffering for the goods they get from America. If we lay an embargo in this way on our foreign trade, they'll be glad to come to terms and respect our commerce for the sake of having the embargo lifted again."

The idea was not a new one, but it was to be applied in a more sweeping manner than ever before.

"It will," wrote Jefferson, "introduce between nations another umpire than arms."

December, 1807, brought about the passage of this embargo. The Senate took but four hours to agree with Jefferson. John Quincy Adams, leaving the federalists to vote with the republican-democrats, stated the views of most Americans.

"The President has recommended this measure on his high responsibility," he said with stern earnestness. "I would not consider, I would not deliberate; I would act."

And act they did. Both Senate and douse passed the embargo that said to the bullying nations across the Atlantic: "We'll show you that the need of American goods will bring you to reason!"

At first everybody was delighted with the new and bloodless way of making war. But, after awhile, it began to be seen that the manufacturing and ship-building sections of the country were being injured quite as much as the English or the French, and perhaps even more. New England was anxious to be rid of the restraint, and there were again stormy meetings in the little states along the north-east coast, and even violent talk that pointed toward rebellion. Still, the main body of the people held to the embargo, anxious to try it out to its full extent.

At length, Jefferson, whose second term of office was drawing to an end, and who felt that he ought not to leave an affair that was causing such a tempest for the next president to handle, signed an act that raised the embargo but forbade trade with either Great Britain or France. This gave the ships that had been tied up to the wharves for two years a chance to sail once more on deep waters, carrying the goods of America and braving the threats of the unfriendly powers.

This was one of the last acts of Jefferson's eight years of the presidency. Like Washington, he refused to stand for a third term of office, hoping that his lifelong friend, James Madison, would be chosen to fill his place.

A Final Service to His State

"Good-bye, grandfather," called a tall boy from the portico at Monticello, waving his hand toward the driveway. A negro was standing holding a handsome horse by the bridle while an old man, surprisingly nimble for one of his age, was swinging himself into the saddle. He sat a moment to button the large pearl buttons of his short gray coat, draw about his neck more closely the folds of a white woolen scarf, and settle his round hat more firmly upon his sandy-white hair. Then he turned the horse about and waved his hand to the boy, who was running down the steps.

"Good-bye, grandson," he answered cheerily. "Isn't it pretty early for you to be out? You're ahead of the sun himself!"

"I know I am, but mother says you always get up as soon as you can see the hands of your clock—"

"Ah ha! Thought you'd try it? Well it's a good habit, one I've tried ever since I was your age. How many guests have we in the house this morning?"

The boy thought a moment, murmuring over names and counting.

"Forty-five, I think. No, let's see; forty-seven, sir. Mr. Bacon says he's had to send some horses away, the stalls are all full."

"Humph! Well, we'll make room somehow. Tell your mother I'll return this afternoon. Good-bye!"

The boy watched while his grandfather rode rapidly down the hill. The former president was a little stooped in the saddle, now, but his control of his horse was as complete as when he rode across the river with his brace of wild turkeys to Shadwell nearly seventy years before.

On the road a neighbor, also on horseback, joined him.

"Good-morning, sir. You're bound for the University, as usual, I dare say, Mr. Jefferson?" he asked pleasantly as the two horses paced along together. "How is the building going? It's a wonderful thing you and Joseph Cabell are doing for Virginia and its youth, sir!"

Jefferson smiled contentedly.

"The building is nearly complete," he replied. "Or much of it is, and we have good hope of having a fine corps of professors. Yes, we hope and expect much from our state university in the years to come."

The other looked pleased. "That's fine!" he approved. "Since my return to Virginia I've been told you have been trying to secure the adoption of a public school system for the whole state. I hope you are succeeding."

Jefferson shook his head slowly.

"The plan isn't succeeding to any great extent," he admitted. "Nor is the scheme for a circulating library in each county. The people will see it, though." His clouded face brightened. "I'm sure they'll see the need of a common school in every ward of every county in Virginia. Joseph C. Cabell, sir, in the State Senate, is a host in himself in aid of these projects, and the state is giving perhaps as much as we can hope for at this time."

They rode on for a few minutes in silence. Then Jefferson pointed to a spot they were nearing.

"There are the buildings," he said, his face all alight with pride. "Things are going forward very well indeed."

The other reined in his horse.

"'Twill be a handsome university, Mr. Jefferson. You designed the buildings?"

"Oh, yes; yes. It appeared to me that the young men of Virginia ought to have something before them to give an idea of classic architecture. But money, sir, money—" He sighed and shook his head.

The other nodded.

"I see. Well, what you have had, has been spent nobly, Mr. Jefferson. My road lies here. Good morning, sir."

Raising his hat, the gentleman turned and rode away. Thomas Jefferson, once more settling the round hat on his head, slapped his horse's neck with the end of the rein and cantered along toward the new buildings.

Passing around them until he came to a part he wished to inspect, the old gentleman tied his horse and, taking his walking-stick under his arm, went into an unfinished building. The workmen had not yet arrived for the day's labor, and the visitor was uninterrupted in looking over the place, and making mental note of directions he wished to give.

Presently, a little tired, he walked outside into the pleasant morning air, unjointed his walking-stick, cleverly invented by himself to serve as a stool, took a piece of cloth from his pocket, and stretched it across for a seat, and sat comfortably down to wait for the workmen.

Jefferson was superintending one of the last acts of his busy life—the erection of what was to be one of his proudest monuments, the University of Virginia.

The End of a Busy Life

It was nearing the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Its author lay dying. About his bed stood members of his family, their faces pale, their breath catching, now and again, in sobs hushed quickly.

The old man raised his hand. His eyes were closed.

"Warn the committee to be on the alert!" he whispered, dreaming of some time of trial and stress among the many he had faced and fought through.

Silently the watchers waited. Again his lips moved.

"This is the Fourth?" he asked, opening his eyes.

"Not yet."

Silence for a few moments.

"This is the Fourth?" once again anxiously. "Yes."

"Ah!" breathed Thomas Jefferson, the old kindly light upon his face. Once more sleep claimed him.

When the sun of the Fourth of July was a little past mid-heaven, he breathed his last.

The over-tired body had at last refused to carry on the behests of the busy brain. It was a needed rest.

By a strange coincidence, Quincy, Massachusetts, knew, on that day, the passing of another aged patriot, the second president of the United States, and the man who had spoken boldly for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams's last words were. "Thomas Jefferson still lives."

But Thomas Jefferson, whose long and busy life had been devoted to his country and to all that could contribute to the freedom of mankind, had, at that selfsame hour, preceded his old friend and compatriot. At evening on that Fourth of July, the last two who had taken part in the long-ago scene in the old "Quaker Town" had gone.

To-day, on the summit of the mountain where Dabney Carr and young Tom Jefferson studied and planned together, they rest side by side. Over the grave of the boy who grew up to be a great as well as a good man stands a stone bearing the words he had chosen for it: