Wednesday, April 13, 2011

april 13, 1811 (sat.)

It's Mr. Jefferson's 68th birthday, but that's not what's on his mind. Instead, he's thinking about the political state of South America.

Last fall he received a book from his friend, Alexander von Humbolt, a German scientist living in Paris, but because of the unstable political situation in France, he hasn't been able to send his thanks until now. The book was a volume of Humbolt's work about his recent travels in Latin America, Voyages aux regions du nouveaux continent, fait en 1799, 1800, 1802, 1803, et 1804.

Now he ponders the futures of those South American countries. New Granada, Uruguay, and Argentina are currently in the struggle for freedom, and other colonies are surely soon to follow, as all the world seems to be following the examples of the United States and France in throwing off the chains of monarchy.

"What kind of government will they establish? How much liberty can they bear without intoxication? Are their chiefs sufficiently enlightened to form a well guarded government, and their people to watch their chiefs? Have they mind enough to place their domesticated Indians on a footing with whites?"

Heaven knows these problems have been, and continue to be, difficult enough here on the northern continent.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

april 5, 1811 (fri.)

When Mr. Jefferson came back to Monticello from Bedford County about a month ago, he found the that the plants he'd started in the greenhouse had died during his absence. And he still didn't have his flour. The miller said he'd send it as soon as it was ground. It's not here yet, but should be coming soon, and some of it can then be sold, with the money going toward paying down debts.