« AnteriorContinuar »
The person of Mr. Adams was an index of his mind,--his frame was compact, sturdy, and above the ordinary size. His countenance beaming with intelligence, and moral as well as physical courage. His walk was firm and dignified to a late period of his life. There are several likenesses of him from the pencils of distinguished artists; probably the best, from which this was taken, is from the hand of Stuart.
BIOGR A P H Y
'THOMAS JEFFERSON was born on the 2d day of April, 1743, at Shadwell, in Albermarle county, Virginia. His ancestors hau emigrated to that province at an early period; their standing in the community was highly respectable, and they lived in circumstances of considerable affluence. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a person much esteemed and well known; he had been one of the commissioners for determining the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina, and at his death he lelt his son an ample and umembarrassed fortune.
Thomas Jefferson was educated at the college of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, and after distinguishing himself there, by his habits of patience and labor, became a student of law under the well known George Wythe, afterwards chancellor of the state of Virginia. On coming of age, he was admit. ted to the bar, appointed a justice of the peace for the county in which he lived, and, at the election following, became one of its representatives in the provincial legislature. His mind seems to have been imbued from his earliest youth with the most liberal political sentiments. On one of his scals, engraved about this time, the motto was “ Ab eo libertas, a quo spiritus ;" and on another, “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." These feelings gained strength from the position of public affairs. From the year 1763, á spirit of opposition to the British government gradually rose in the province, until, in 1769, it assumed the shape of a formal resolution not to import articles from the mother country; this resolution Mr. Jefferson signed himself, and promoted with all his influence.
On'the 1st of January, 1772, he married the daugh* ter of Mr. Wayles, an eminent lawyer of Virginia, and, in the amiable and accomplished character of the lady, secured that domestic happiness which his own disposition so well fisted him to enjoy. Its duration, however, was but short; in little more than ten years, death deprived him of his wife, and left him the sole guardian of two insant daughters, to whose education he devoted himself with a zeal that might compensate them for their early loss.
In the early part of 1773, the first organized s584 tem ol colonial resistance was established by the for. mation of committees of correspondence in the different provinces. This plan was devised and arranged by Mr. Jefferson, who privately assembled some of the bolder spirits of the state, at a public house called the Raleigh tavern, in Richmond, and uggested it to them. It was eagerly adopted, and its benefits became strikingly apparent, when in the following year the ineasures of the British governe ment showed the increased necessity of united and resolute resistance. The passage of the Boston port act, and the bills which immediately followed it, had filled up the measurc of insult and oppression. At this erisis, not content with his labors, which were constant as a member of the legislature, he wrote and published "A Summary View of the Rights of British America.” This he designed as an exposition, to be laid before the British sovereign, of the