« PreviousContinue »
"When Col. Washington was stationed at Alexandria, in 1754, there was an election for members of the assembly, when Mr. W. Payne opposed the candidate supported by Washington. In the course of the contest, Washington grew warm, and said something offensive to Mr. Payne, who, at one blow, extended him on the ground. The regiment heard that their colonel was murdered by the mob, and they were soon under arms, and in rapid motion to the town to inflict punishment on the supposed murderers. To their great joy he came out to meet them, thanking them for such a proof of attachment, but conjuring them by their love for him and their duty to return peaceably to their barracks. Feeling himself to be the aggressor, he resolved to make honorable reparation. Early next morning he wrote a polite note to Mr. Payne, requesting to see him at the tavern. Payne repaired to the place appointed, in expectation of a duel, but what was his surprise to see wine and glasses in lieu of pistols. Washington rose to meet him, and smiling as he offered his hand, began, 'Mr. Payne, to err is nature; to rectify error is glory. I believe I was wrong yesterday; you have already had some satisfaction, and if you deem that sufficient, here is my hand; let us be friends.' An act of such sublime virtue produced its proper effect, and Mr. Payne was from that moment an enthusiastic admirer of Washington.'
Charlottesville, is 97 miles north-westerly from Richmond by railroad. It is the county seat of Albemarle county, and is beautifully situated in a fertile valley, and contains about 3,000 inhabitants. Much of the society of the town and county is highly refined, and the county has given birth to several distinguished men.
The University of Virginia, one of the largest and most distinguished institutions of learning in the United States, is about a mile and a half west of Charlottesville, in a spot of great natural beauty, commanding a fine view of the distant Blue Ridge. The University of Virginia was founded in 1819, by Thomas Jefferson, and so great was his interest in its success, and his estimate of its importance, that in his epitaph, found among his papers, he ranks his share in its foundation third among the achievements and honors of his life—the authorship of the Declaration of Independence being the first, and of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom the second. The University is endowed and controlled by the state. It has over 400 students, and 30,000 volumes in its libraries.
The other colleges in the state are William and Mary, at Williamsburg, founded in 1692; Hampden-Sidney, Prince Edward county, founded in 1789;
Washington, at Lexington, founded in 1781; Randolph-Macon, at Boydon, founded in 1832; Emory and Henry, in Washington, founded in 1838; Rector, in Taylor county, founded in 1839; Bethany, founded in 1841; Richmond, founded in 1840; Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington, founded in 1839.
Monticello, the seat of Thomas Jefferson, is three miles S. E. of Charlottesville. "In its dimensions, its architecture, its arrangements and ornaments,
it is such a one as
in the world. The MONTICELLO, SEAT OF JEFFERSON.
furniture of its dis
tinguished owner is nearly all gone, excepting a few pictures and mirrors; otherwise, the interior of the house is the same as when Mr. Jefferson died.
Mr. Jefferson was born at Shadwell, in Albemarle county, April 2, 1743. He was educated at William and Mary College, became a student at law, and when of age was admitted to the bar, soon after which he was elected a representative to the legislature. From his youth his mind was imbued with the most liberal political sentiments. On one of his seals about this time was engraved the motto “ Resistance to Tyrants is obedience to God.” In 1772 he married Miss Wayles, who died in about two years, leaving two infant daughters. In 1775 he took his seat as a delegate to Congress. In the sticceeding summer Jefferson was chairman of the committee, and drew.up
the Declaration of Independence, which, after a few alterations, was adopted by Congress July 4, 1776.
In June 1779, he was elected governor of Virginia, and when the state was invaded by Tarleton and Arnold he was himself made an object of particular pursuit. In the summer of 1784 he was sent a minister plenipotentiary to France; when he returned he occupied the office of secretary of state under Washington. The Federal Constitution had been formed during his absence, and it contained some points which he thought did not give adequate security for political rights. In its practical interpretation he adopted the more popular view, and he became the head of the political party by which this was sus
tained. While in the department of state he laid down the great and ever since approved maxims relative to our foreign commerce.
In Dec., 1793, Jefferson resigned his office and retired to Monticello. The Duke de Liancourt, a French traveler, has given in his work a pleasing narrative of the manner in which the life of the retired statesman was passed. “ His conversation," he says, “is of the most agreeable kind, and he possesses a stock of information not inferior to any other man. In Europe he would hold a distinguished rank among men of letters, and as such he has already appeared there. At present he is employed with activity and perseverance in the managemant of his farms and buildings; and he orders, directs and pursues, in the minutest detail, every branch of business relating to them. I found him in the midst of barvest, from which the scorching heat of the sun does not prevent his attendance. His negroes are nourished, clothed, and treated as well as white servants could be. Every article is made on his farm, his negroes being cabinet-makers, carpenters and masons. The chil. dren he employs in a nail factory, and the young and old negresses spin for the clothing of the rest. He animates them all by rewards and distinctions. In fine, his superior mind directs the management of his domestic concerns with the same abilities, activity and regularity which he evinced in the conduct of public affairs, and which he is calculated to display in every situation of life.”
Jefferson was not, however, permitted to enjoy the tranquillity of private life. On the 4th of March, 1801, he entered on his first presidential term. His administration of eight years embraced an interesting period of our history, and measures of lasting importance carried through. On the 3d of March, 1809, when Mr. Jefferson's second term of office ex. pired, his political career closed. He had been engaged, almost without interruption, for forty years in the most arduous public duties. From this time until his death he resided at Monticello. His home was the abode of hospitality and the seat of dignified retirement.
Mr. Jefferson died July 4th, 1826, at the age of 83 years. His family and servants were called around his dying bed. After having declared himself gratified by their affectionate solicitude, and having distinctly articulated these words, “I resign myself to God, and my child to my country,” he expired without a groan.
The neighborhood of Monticello affords innumerable monuments of the benevolence and liberality of Mr. Jefferson ; and on his own estate, such was the condition of his slaves that in their comfort his own interest was too often entirely forgotten. His attachment to his friends was unvarying, and few public men have had warmer. His domestic habits were simple, his application was excessive, and he conducted all his business with great exactness and method. His correspondence was wonderfully extensive.
In person, Mr. Jefferson was six feet two inches in hight, erect and well formed, though thin ; his eyes were light, and full of intelligence ; his hair, originally of a yellowish red, was in his later years silvered with age; his complexion was fair, his forehead broad, and the whole face square and expressive of deep thinking ; his countenance was remarkably intelligent, and open as day, its general expression full of good will and kindness, and when the occasion excited it, beaming with enthusiasm ; his address was cordial, confirming the good will of his lips ; his motions were flexible and easy, his step firm and sprightly; and such were his strength and agility that he was accustomed in the society of children, of which he was fond, to practice feats that few could imitate. His manner was simple, mingled with native dignity, but cheerful, unassuming, frank and kind ; his language was remarkable for vivacity and correctness ; and in his conversation, which was without apparent effort, he poured forth knowledge, the most various, from an exhaustless fountain, yet so modestly and engagingly that he seemed rather to seek than to impart information.
He lies buried in a small burying-ground near the road, which winds around it to Monticello. It has a slight inclosure, and is surrounded by the native wood. In it lie the remains of members of the family, some two or three of whom have tablets of marble. On his own grave his executor has erected a granite obelisk, eight feet high, and on a piece of marble, inserted on its southern face, are inscribed the three acts for which he thought he best deserved to be remembered by posterity. This inscription was found among his papers after his death, in his own handwriting, and it is in these words :
“Here lies buried THOMAS JEFFERSON, author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia."
“Mr. Jefferson's religious creed, says Tucker, “as described in his correspondence, can not perhaps be classed with that of any particular sect, but was nearer the Socinian than any other. In the last years of his life, when questioned by any friends on this subject, he used to say he was a Unitarian."
The British and German prisoners taken at Saratoga in the revolution, and known as the “Convention troops," were sent to Charlottesville in the be
ginning of the year 1779. At first they suffered many privations; they were billeted in block houses without doors or windows, and but poorly defended from the cold. But they went diligently to work to construct better dwellings, and in a short time the place had the appearance of a neat little town. Mr. Jefferson, who then resided in the vicinity, did his utmost to render the situation of the troops and officers as pleasant as possible. They remained here until Oct., 1780, when the state was invaded by Leslie; they then were removed to Ft. Frederick, in Maryland.
Lynchburg, a flourishing town, is situated on a steep declivity on the south bank of James River, 124 miles by railroad westerly of Richmond, and 20 S. E. from Blue Ridge. The James River and Kanawha Canal, an important public work, passes through this place, rendering it a market for an extensive and fertile tract of country. The Virginia and Tennessee railroad passes through this town. Large quantities of tobacco and wheat are annually exported. There is abundant water power here, which is employed in the manufacture of cotton, wool, flour, etc. Population about 10,000.
Lynchburg was established in October, 1786, when it was enacted that 45 acres of land, the property of John Lynch, and lying contiguous to Lynch's Ferry, are hereby vested in John Clarke, Adam Clement, Charles Lynch, John Callaway, Achilles Douglass, Williain Martin, Jesse Burton, Joseph Stratton, Micajah Moorman, and Charles Brooks, gentlemen, trustees, to be by them, or any six of them, laid off into lots of half an acre each, with convenient streets, and established a town by the name of Lynchburg.” The father of the above-mentioned John Lynch was an Irish emigrant, and took up land here previous to the revolution. His place, then called Chestnut Hill, afterward the seat of Judge Edmund Winston, was two miles below here. At his death the present site of Lynchburg fell to his son John, by whose exertions the town was established. The original founder of Lynchburg was a member of the denomination of Friends, and a plain man, of strict integrity and great benevolence of character.
Col. Charles Lynch, a brother of the founder of Lynchburg, was an officer in the American revolution, and lived in this vicinity. At that time the country was thinly settled, and infested by a lawless band of tories and desperadoes. The necessity of the case involved desperate measures, and Col. Lynch, then a leading whig, had them apprehended, tried by an assembly of his neighbors, and then punished without any further ceremony. Hence the origin of the term “Lynch law.” This practice of "lynching" continued
and was applied to many cases of mere supposition of guilt which could not be regularly proved.
New London, 11 miles S. W. of Lynchburg, during the revolution was a place of some importance, containing some seventy or eighty houses, with an arsenal and a magazine. Early in the war there were several Scotch merchants largely engaged in business here, wbo, refusing to take the oath of allegiance, were compelled to break up and leave the country. Since this period the village has gone to decay. New London was at first the county seat of Lunenburg, and in 1753, on the foundation of Bedford county, it became its county seat. Still later, under the old district system, the superior court was held here.
The annexed engraving is a representation of the ancient court house, now in a ruinous state. Humble as this building is, within its walls admiring audiences have been moved by the magic eloquence of Patrick Henry. Here
years after the
OLD COURT HOUSE, NEW LONDON.
it was that he delivered his celebrated speech in the "Johnny Hook case," the account of which is thus given by his biographer:
Hook was a Scotchman, a man of wealth, and suspected of being unfriendly to the American cause. During the distresses of the American army, consequent on the joint invasion of Cornwallis and Phillips in 1781, a Mr. Venable, an army commissary, had taken two of Hook's steers for the use of the troops. The act had not been strictly legal, and on the establishment of peace Hook, on the advice of Mr. Cowan, a gentleman of some distinction in the law, thought proper to bring an action of trespass against Mr. Vena
ble in the district court of New LonThe building in which Patrick Henry delivered his noted don. Mr. Henry appeared for the speech in the "Johnny Hook case."
defendant, and is said to have de
ported himself in this cause to the infinite enjoyment of his hearers, the unfortunate Hook always excepted. After Mr. Henry became animated in the cause, says a correspondent, he appeared to have complete control over the passions of his audience; at one time he excited their indignation against Hook; vengeance was visible in every countenance; again, when he chose to relax and ridicule him, the whole audience was in a roar of laughter. He painted the distresses of the American army, exposed almost naked to the rigor of a winter's sky, and marking the frozen ground over which they marched with the blood of their unshod feet; where was the man, he said, who had an American heart in his bosom who would not have thrown open his fields, his barns, his cellars, the doors of his house, the portals of his breast, to have received with open arms the meanest soldier in that little band of famished patriots? Where is the man? There he stands—but whether the heart of an American beats in his bosom you, gentlemen, are to judge. He then carried the jury, by the powers of his imagination, to the plains around York, the surrender of which had followed shortly after the act complained of; be depicted the surrender in the most glowing and noble colors of his eloquence—the audience saw before their eyes the humiliation and dejection of the British as they marched out of their trenches—they saw the triumph which lighted up every patriotic face, and heard the shouts of victory, and the cry of Washington and liberty, as it rung and echoed through the American ranks, and was reverberated from the hills and shores of the neighboring river—"but hark! what notes of discord are these which disturb the general joy, and silence the acclamations of victory—they are the notes of John Hook, hoarsely bawling through the American camp, beefi beef! beef!"
The whole audience were convulsed. A particular incident will give a better idea of the effect than any general description. The clerk of the court, unable to contain himself, and unwilling to commit any breach of decorum in his place, rushed out of the court-house, and threw himself on the grass, in the most violent paroxysm of laughter, where he was rolling when Hook, with very different feelings, came out for relief into the yard also. “Jemmy Steptoe,” he said to the clerk, “what the devil ails you mon?" Mr. Steptoe was only able to say that he could not help it
. “Never mind ye,” said Hook, ""wait till Billy Cowan gets uphe'll show him the la'.” Mr. Cowan, however, was so completesy overwhelmed by the torrent which bore upon his client that when he rose to reply to Mr. Henry he was scarcely able to make an intelligible or audible remark. The cause was decided almost by acclamation. The jury retired for form sake, and instantly returned with a verdict for the defendant. Nor did the effect of Mr. Henry's speech stop here. The people were so highly excited by the tory audacity of such a suit that Hook began to hear around him a cry more terrible than that of beef—it was