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Jefferson and His Colleagues; a chronicle of the Virginia dynasty   By: (1870-1931)

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JEFFERSON AND HIS COLLEAGUES,

A CHRONICLE OF THE VIRGINIA DYNASTY

By Allen Johnson

CONTENTS

I. PRESIDENT JEFFERSON'S COURT

II. PUTTING THE SHIP ON HER REPUBLICAN TACK

III. THE CORSAIRS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

IV. THE SHADOW OF THE FIRST CONSUL

V. IN PURSUIT OF THE FLORIDAS

VI. AN AMERICAN CATILINE

VII. AN ABUSE OF HOSPITALITY

VIII. THE PACIFISTS OF 1807

IX. THE LAST PHASE OF PEACEABLE COERCION

X. THE WAR HAWKS

XI. PRESIDENT MADISON UNDER FIRE

XII. THE PEACEMAKERS

XIII. SPANISH DERELICTS IN THE NEW WORLD

XIV. FRAMING AN AMERICAN POLICY

XV. THE END OF AN ERA

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

JEFFERSON AND HIS COLLEAGUES

CHAPTER I. PRESIDENT JEFFERSON'S COURT

The rumble of President John Adams's coach had hardly died away in the distance on the morning of March 4,1801, when Mr. Thomas Jefferson entered the breakfast room of Conrad's boarding house on Capitol Hill, where he had been living in bachelor's quarters during his Vice Presidency. He took his usual seat at the lower end of the table among the other boarders, declining with a smile to accept the chair of the impulsive Mrs. Brown, who felt, in spite of her democratic principles, that on this day of all days Mr. Jefferson should have the place which he had obstinately refused to occupy at the head of the table and near the fireplace. There were others besides the wife of the Senator from Kentucky who felt that Mr. Jefferson was carrying equality too far. But Mr. Jefferson would not take precedence over the Congressmen who were his fellow boarders.

Conrad's was conveniently near the Capitol, on the south side of the hill, and commanded an extensive view. The slope of the hill, which was a wild tangle of verdure in summer, debouched into a wide plain extending to the Potomac. Through this lowland wandered a little stream, once known as Goose Creek but now dignified by the name of Tiber. The banks of the stream as well as of the Potomac were fringed with native flowering shrubs and graceful trees, in which Mr. Jefferson took great delight. The prospect from his drawing room windows, indeed, quite as much as anything else, attached him to Conrad's.

As was his wont, Mr. Jefferson withdrew to his study after breakfast and doubtless ran over the pages of a manuscript which he had been preparing with some care for this Fourth of March. It may be guessed, too, that here, as at Monticello, he made his usual observations noting in his diary the temperature, jotting down in the garden book which he kept for thirty years an item or two about the planting of vegetables, and recording, as he continued to do for eight years, the earliest and latest appearance of each comestible in the Washington market. Perhaps he made a few notes about the "seeds of the cymbling (cucurbita vermeosa) and squash (cucurbita melopipo)" which he purposed to send to his friend Philip Mazzei, with directions for planting; or even wrote a letter full of reflections upon bigotry in politics and religion to Dr. Joseph Priestley, whom he hoped soon to have as his guest in the President's House.

Toward noon Mr. Jefferson stepped out of the house and walked over to the Capitol a tall, rather loose jointed figure, with swinging stride, symbolizing, one is tempted to think, the angularity of the American character. "A tall, large boned farmer," an unfriendly English observer called him. His complexion was that of a man constantly exposed to the sun sandy or freckled, contemporaries called it but his features were clean cut and strong and his expression was always kindly and benignant.

Aside from salvos of artillery at the hour of twelve, the inauguration of Mr. Jefferson as President of the United States was marked by extreme simplicity. In the Senate chamber of the unfinished Capitol, he was met by Aaron Burr, who had already been installed as presiding officer, and conducted to the Vice President's chair, while that debonair man of the world took a seat on his right with easy grace... Continue reading book >>




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