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his disposition. To his slaves he was an indulgent master. bor, he was much esteemed for his liberality and friendly offices. As a friend, he was ardent and unchangeable; and as a host, the munificence of his hospitality was carried to the excess of self-impoverishment. He possessed great fortitude of mind, and his command of temper was such that he was never seen in a passion.
As a man of letters, and a votary of science, he acquired high distinction. In the classics, and in several European languages, as well as in mathematics, he attained a proficiency not common to American students.
With regard to his political opinions, and his character as a statesman, his countrymen have widely differed in their estimates. By some persons he has been considered as one of the most pure, amiable, dignified, wise, and patriotic of men. By others he has been considered as remarkably defective in the qualities which dignify and adorn human life, and as one of the most wrong-headed statesmen that ever lived. Posterity will judge which of these opinions is right, and which is wrong. His writings which, agreeably to directions left by him, have been published since his death, afford ample materials for judging of his character. They consist of four volumes, octavo, of correspondence, anas, &c.
The religious opinions of Mr. Jefferson were peculiar and eccentric. His writings show that he was a free-thinker, with a preference for some of the doctrines of unitarianism. In a letter to a friend he says: "I have to thank you for your pamphlets on the subjects of unitarianism, and to express my gratification with your efforts for the revival of primitive Christianity in your quarter. And a strong proof of the solidity of the primitive faith is its restoration, as soon as a nation arises which vindicates to itself the freedom of religious opinion, and its external divorce from civil authority. I confidently expect that the present generation will see unitarianism become the general religion of the United States."
In a letter to William Short, dated April, 1820, when alluding to the subject of religion, Mr. Jefferson remarks: "But it is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a materialist; he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it, &c., &c. It is the innocence of his character, the purity and sublimity of his moral precepts, the eloquence of his inculcations, the beauty of the apologues in which he conveys them, that I so much admire; sometimes, indeed, needing indulgence to eastern hyperbolism. My eulogies, too, may be founded on a postulate which all may not be ready to grant. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from
the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore to him the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphæus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus. These palpable interpolations and falsification of his doctrines led me to try to sift them apart. I found the work obvious and easy, and that his part composed the most beautiful morsel of morality which has been given to us by man."
The following is an extract from the last letter of Mr. Jefferson, written only ten days previous to his death:
"MONTICELLO, June 24, 1826. "RESPECTED SIR: The kind invitation I received from you, on the part of the citizens of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration on the fiftieth anniversary of American independence, as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. May that day be to the world, what I believe it will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day for ever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. "TH. JEFFERSON.
"To Mr. WEIGHTMAN."
ADMINISTRATION OF JEFFERSON.
On the day of his inauguration as president of the United States, March 4, 1801, Mr. Jefferson was in the 58th year of his age. He delivered his inaugural address in the new capitol at Washington, in presence of the vice-president, the senators, many members of the house of representatives, the foreign ministers, and a large concourse of citizens. The oath of office was administered by Chief-Justice Marshall, after the address was delivered.. The vice-president, Colonel Burr, took his seat in the senate the same day. He had taken no part in the election of president by the house of representatives, having been in Albany during that contest. The democratic party in the house were pledged to persevere in voting for Mr. Jefferson to the end, whatever might be the consequence, and none of them varied from that pledge. Colonel Burr, on the 16th of December, 1800, addressed a letter to General S. Smith, of Baltimore, who was then a member of the house of representatives, in which he disclaimed all competition with Mr. Jefferson. "As to my friends," he says, "they would dishonor my views, and insult my feelings, by a suspicion that I would submit to be instrumental in counteracting the wishes and the expectations of the people of the United States. And I now constitute you my proxy to declare these sentiments, if the occasion should require." Notwithstanding this course of Colonel Burr, the contest in Congress produced, almost immediately after the election, strong feelings of dissatisfaction between some of the friends of the president and vice-president. Jealousies and distrust had previously existed between these different sections of the democratic party, now triumphant in the possession of the power of the federal government. These feelings were suppressed for a time, but circumstances subsequently occurred which renewed them, and the result was the political prostration of the vice-president, before his term of office had expired.
The senate having been called together by President Adams, Mr. Jefferson commenced the organization of his cabinet by the appointment, with the consent of the senate, on the 5th of March, of James Madison, secretary of state, Henry Dearborn, of Massachusetts, secretary of war, and Levi Lincoln, of Massachusetts, attorney-general. The secretaries of the
treasury and navy, Samuel Dexter and Benjamin Stoddert, who had been appointed by Mr. Adams, were continued in office a short time; but before the meeting of Congress, Albert Gallatin, of Pennsylvania, was appointed secretary of the treasury, and Robert Smith, of Maryland, secretary of the navy. At the same time with the last, Gideon Granger, of Connecticut, was appointed postmaster-general, in place of Joseph Habersham, of Georgia. This officer was not made a member of the cabinet until the administration of President Jackson. The nominations of Gallatin, Smith, and Granger, were confirmed by the senate on the 26th of January, 1802.
In his inaugural speech, Mr. Jefferson soothed the serious apprehensions, which were entertained by his political opponents, as to the manner in which he might exercise executive power. From his declarations in that address, the federalists hoped that he would not disturb those of their party who were in office, or cause any radical change in the administration of the government. They were soon made to understand that political tolerance was not to be expected in all cases toward officeholders. In June, 1801, Mr. Jefferson removed Elizur Goodrich, a federalist, from the office of collector of the port of New Haven, and appointed Samuel Bishop, a democrat, in his place. In reply to a remonstrance from the merchants and other citizens of New Haven, in which they assert Mr. Goodrich's promptness, integrity, and ability; and better qualifications than those of Mr. Bishop, who was nearly seventy-eight years of age, and quite infirm, Mr. Jefferson said, among other things, in his answer, dated 12th of July: "Declarations by myself, in favor of political tolerance, exhortations to harmony and affection in social intercourse, and respect for the equal rights of the minority, have, on certain occasions, been quoted and misconstrued into assurances that the tenure of offices was not to be disturbed. But could candor apply such a construction? When it is considered that, during the late administration, those who were not of a particular sect of politics were excluded from all office; when, by a steady pursuit of this measure, nearly the whole offices of the United States were monopolized by that sect; when the public sentiment at length declared itself, and burst open the doors of honor and confidence to those whose opinions they approved; was it to be imagined that this monopoly of office was to be continued in the hands of the minority? Does it violate their equal rights to assert some rights in the majority also? Is it political intolerance to claim a proportionate share in the direction of the public affairs? If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few, by resignation none. Can any other mode than that of removal be proposed? This is a painful office; but it is made my duty, and I meet it as such. I proceed in the operation with deliberation and inquiry, that it may injure the best men least, and effect the purposes of justice and public utility with the least private distress; that it may be
thrown as much as possible on delinquency, on oppression, on intolerance, on anti-revolutionary adherence to our enemies.
"I lament sincerely that unessential differences of opinion should ever have been deemed sufficient to interdict half the society from the rights and the blessings of self-government, to proscribe them as unworthy of every trust. It would have been to me a circumstance of great relief, had I found a moderate participation of office in the hands of the majority. I would gladly have left to time and accident to raise them to their just share. But their total exclusion calls for prompter corrections. I shall correct the procedure; but that done, return with joy to that state of things when the only questions concerning a candidate shall be, Is he honest? as he capable? Is he faithful to the constitution?"
It should be borne in mind that most of the persons who were in office when Mr. Jefferson came into power, were those who had been appointed by General Washington, and continued in their places by Mr. Adams, who made few removals, and none for party reasons. If there was any
thing sectarian, then, in the system of appointments to office, it was chargeable more to General Washington than to Mr. Adams. The democratic party, however, had scarcely a name or an existence when Washington's administration commenced; and when the first appointments were made under the general government, reference could not have been had to political distinctions. Those who received appointments from Washington were doubtless preferred for their integrity, capacity, and fidelity to the constitution.
But Mr. Jefferson had been elected by a party, and was under the necessity of rewarding his supporters with offices and incomes; and in his letter, quoted above, may be found the origin of the doctrine," to the victors belong the spoils." But it is due to him to say, that although he confined his appointments to office to his political friends, as did generally his successors, Presidents Madison and Monroe, his removals of political opponents from office, during the eight years of his administration, were. but few in number, compared with those of more recent administrations.
The implied invitation given by Mr. Jefferson to all political adversaries, to abandon their creeds and adopt his own, with the expectation and implied promises of reward for apostacy, induced many of the federalists to join the triumphant party of the administration, some of whom were appointed. to office under the general government. To prove their sincerity, they resorted to the bitterest condemnation of their former principles and associates. Sustained by the salaries of office, and raised by titles above those they had deserted, they could clearly see how base, plotting, and traitorous, some of their fellow-citizens were, with whom, but yesterday, they were proud to rank, and most zealous to uphold, as worthy patriots. There were instances of departure from the federal side distinguishable from such as have been mentioned, and which did not deserve reproach.