Wednesday, July 4, 2012

july, 4, 2012 (sat.) château de la grange-bléneau, france

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, a French lover of liberty and fighter in the American Revolution, wrote to his friend and colleague in the great cause of freedom, Thomas Jefferson. France, too, had had its troubles, but the former general was optimistic about the future of both young republics.

"Here is, my dear friend, the Anniversary of the Great day on which Both the deed and the Expression were worthy of Each other -- This double Rememberance in your Quiete Retirements is Happily Refreshed By the Extension of independance to all America -- an event which, altho' we Have Had the pleasure to foresee and the Good fortune to prepare it, we should not, Had it not Been for the Ambition of an European despot, probably Have witnessed -- you Have Seen me in france, a few days after one 4h of July, very Sanguine and I was Approved By you in a short declaration the Effect of which we Hoped to Be as durable as it Had Been Communicative and determining -- But whatever Has Since Been the violation, Corruption, and Lately the Avowed proscription of Liberal ideas, I am Convinced more Seed Has Been preserved than is Commonly thought; nor do I Question their Reviving Again to Enliven the old as well as the New world. ..."

(What with the war disrupting shipping and thus international mail, the letter didn't arrive until October 30.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

june 24, 1812 (wed.)

A letter from the President. Mr. Jefferson's old friend, Jemmy Madison,  came in today's mail, with a copy of the Declaration of war on England enclosed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

december 16, 2011 (mon.)

Around 4 o'clock this morning Mr. Jefferson awoke to the shaking of an earthquake. But it wasn't a local quake, as the one in 1774 had been. This one was from 700 miles west, just across the Mississippi River.

2011 note: This was the first major shock of the New Madrid series of earthquakes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

november 22, 2011 (fri.)

Growing old is such a bother. The simplest things become inconvenient and complicated. Eyesight dims, spectacles become necessary for reading, but they're so easily misplaced. Fortunately, Martin, a house servant, has found them. Mr. Jefferson gave him 45 cents in gratitude.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

nov. 15, 1811 (fri.)

In October, Melatiah Nash, a teacher, librarian, and grocer in New York, wrote concerning a book he is writing, to be called The Columbian Ephemeris and Astronomical Diary. The work is to be a sort of combination of a common and a nautical almanac, as well as a simple introductory textbook of astronomy.

This morning Mr. Jefferson replied, giving his encouragement and some advice, including a method by which readers in places other than where the book is published can calculate their own local time of sunrise "with scarcely more trouble than taking it from an Almanac" --
"add the Log. tangent of the [sun's] declination:
taking 10, from the Index, the remainder is the Sine of an arch which, turned into time and added to VI. Hours
gives Sunrise for the Winter half
and Sunset for the Summer half of the year."

2011 note: There appears to be no free, publicly-accessible, online copy of The Columbian Ephemeris and Astronomical Diary, for the Year 1812, but several university libraries have a print copy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

sept. 25, 1811 (wed.)

Time to look over the accounts and tally up what is owed to David Higginbottom & Co. in Milton. (Well, perhaps a bit past time. These are the outstanding debts from August of last year to August of this year.)

A plantation like Monticello is largely self-sufficient, but of course it's necessary to import iron and salt, and tropical products such as coffee, tea, sugar, and molasses. And some things such as candles, whiskey, and cloth for the slaves' clothing are more convenient to buy than make in the quantities needed.