« PředchozíPokračovat »
heretofore in print, it will be new to most readers; and will be regarded by all, as the most ample and precise enumeration of British violations that had then appeared, or, perhaps, that has since been presented in a form at once so compact and so complete. 2. A Penal code, being part of a Revised Code of Laws, prepared by appointment of the Legislature of Virginia, in 1776, with reference to the Republican form of Government, and to the principles of humanity congenial therewith, and with the improving spirit of the age. Annexed to the several articles, are explanatory and other remarks of the Author, worthy of being preserved by the aid of the press. 3. A historical and critical review of the repeal of the laws establishing the Church in Virginia ; which was followed by the “ Act for establishing religious freedom.” This act, it is well known, was always held by Mr. Jefferson to be one of his best efforts in the cause of liberty, to which he was devoted : and it is certainly the strongest legal barrier that could be erected against a connection between Church and State, so fatal in its tendency to the purity of both. 4. An elaborate paper concerning a Money Unit, prepared in the year 1784, and which laid the foundation of the system adopted by Congress, for a coinage and money of account. For other particulars, not here noted, the Reader is referred to the volume itself.
The termination of the Memoir, at the date mentioned, by the Author, may be explained by the laborious tasks assumed or not declined by him, on his return to private life ; which, with his great age, did not permit him to reduce his materials into a state proper to be embodied in such a work.
The other volumes contain, I. Letters from 1775, to his death, addressed to a very great variety of individuals; and comprising a range of information, and in many instances, regular essays, on subjects of History, Politics, Science, Morals and Religion. The letters to him are omitted except in a very few instances, where it was supposed their publication would be generally acceptable, from the important character of the communication, or the general interest in the views of the writer; or where the whole or a part of a letter had been filed for the better understanding of the answer.
In these cases, such letters are inserted in the body of the work, or in an appendix, as their importance, and connection with the subject discussed by the Author, rendered advisable. And where inferences from the tenor of the answer, might in any way
affect the correspondent, his name does not appear in the copy filed. The historical parts of the letters, and the entire publication, have the rare value of coming from one of the chief actors himself, and of being written, not for the public eye, but in the freedom and confidence of private friendship.
II. Notes of conversations, whilst Secretary of State, with President Washington, and others high in office; and memoranda of Cabinet Councils, committed to paper on the spot, and filed; the whole, with the explanatory and miscellaneous additions, shewing the views and tendencies of parties, from the year 1789 to 1800.
Appended to the publication, is a Fac simile' of the rough draught of the Declaration of Independence, in which will be seen the erasures, interlineations and additions of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, two of the appointed Committee, in the hand writing of each.
The Editor, though he cannot be insensible to the genius, the learning, the philosophic inspiration, the generous devotion to virtue, and the love of country, displayed in the writings now committed to the press, is restrained, not less by his incompetency, than by his relation to the Author, from dwelling on themes which belong to an eloquence that can do justice to the names of illustrious benefactors to their country and to their fellow men.
Albemarle, Va. January, 1829.
The Fac simile of the rough draught of the Declaration of Independence, was not engraved in time, to be inserted in its appropriate place in this volume. It is, therefore, appended to a subsequent one.
The notes inclosed in brackets, are by the Editor. In one instance only, (page 29 of this volume) this mark of distinction has been accidentally omitted.
A list of the principal errata, will be found at the close of the last volume.
JANUARY 6, 1821. At the age of 77, I begin to make some memoranda, and state some recollections of dates and facts concerning myself, for my own more ready reference, and for the information of my family.
The tradition in my father's family was, that their ancestor came to this country from Wales, and from near the mountain of Snowden, the highest in Great Britain. I noted once a case from Wales, in the law reports, where a person of our name was either plaintiff or defendant ; and one of the same name was secretary to the Virginia Company. These are the only instances in which I have met with the name in that country. I have found it in our early records ; but the first particular information I have of any ancestor was of my grandfather, who lived at the place in Chesterfield called Ozborne's, and owned the lands afterwards the glebe of the parish. He had three sons; Thomas who died young, Field who settled on the waters of Roanoke and left numerous descendants, and Peter, my father, who settled on the lands I still own, called Shadwell, adjoining my present residence. He was born February 29, 1707-8, and intermarried 1739, with Jane Randolph, of the age of 19, daughter of Isham Randolph, one of the seven sons of that name and family settled at Dungeoness in Goochland. They trace their pedigree far back in England and Scotland, to which let every one ascribe the faith and merit he chooses.
My father's education had been quite neglected; but being of a strong mind, sound judgment, and eager after information, he read much and improved himself, insomuch that he was chosen, with Joshua Fry, professor of Mathematics in William and Mary college, to continue the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, which had been begun by Colonel Byrd ; and was afterwards employed with the same Mr. Fry, to make the first map
of Virginia which had ever been made, that of Captain Smith being