News

Annual Report Finds Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Remains Largely White, Male

News

Harvard Square Celebrates Oktoberfest

News

Harvard Corporation Members Donated Big to Democrats in 2020 Elections

News

City Council Candidates Propose Strategies for Supporting Low-Income Residents at Virtual Forum

News

FAS Dean Gay Hopes to Update Affiliates on Ethnic Studies Search by Semester’s End

Bowdoin Prize Dissertation.

Jefferson as a Country Gentleman The Essay of Mr. Charles Warren, '89.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the casual student of United States history, Jefferson appears to be an advocate of republican theories, the leader of the states-rights party, the third republican president. But to the student who searches more deeply into the annals of American history, who looks carefully into the chronicles and letters of the revolutionary period, Jefferson's life is more that of a farmer and a country gentleman, than of the politician. From his boyhood up he exhibited a fondness for nature, for horses of all sorts, etc. Like Webster, too, he was fond of hunting and fishing, and in the season, Monticello never wanted for game while its master was at home. Monticello was not the home of his boyhood, but was inherited by him in his early manhood. The care of the estate was a pleasure to the young man and he showed the liveliest interest in the cultivation of the crops and the navigation of the river near which Monticello was situated. He took especial care, too, in keeping up his different account books-his farm book, his agricultural book, his weather book. There are many curious entries in his agricultural book, such as-"June 10. Gratted 10 chestnuts today with two of a different kind and hope the experiment will succeed." His weather book also has entries of his thought, such as-"Today I heard the first whippoorwill whistle and it did much please me." After Jefferson became married he devoted himself entirely to building up Montecello, and its lawn road works. His wife was a Mrs. Kelton, herself very rich, and she of course was much interested in the farm and stock. Jefferson's income at this time was about $5,000 a year-$2,000 from his farm and $3.000 from his law practice. Jefferson's "agricultural book" showed much botanical knowledge and often curious mottoes were written on the bark of different trees. His lawns and gardens were his especial pleasure and he often said "Americans should pay especial attention to their lawns, for, as the country is new. There need be no limit to their extent." Jefferson's own lawns were beautifully situated for they extended west many acres in front of the house, and the view to the west commanded the country for one hundred miles as far as the Alleganies. It was Jefferson's idea to make himself perfectly independent, a true country gentleman, and hence it was that on his estate dwelt blacksmith, carpenter, slaves, etc.- a miniature village. From this it is to be judged that Jefferson was a wealthy man and it was, for the construction of the house at Monticello and the improvements of the grounds, etc., cost over $400,000-a very large sum in those days Mr. Warren then drew a vivid picture of Mr. Jefferson's public life, his work for the nation as secretary of state, as vice-president, and as president, but through all the course of his political life he kept up to the end his interest in agriculture, hunting and fishing. And as he "believed in agriculture as first in utility and therefore first in mankind's respect," Thomas Jefferson deserves the name of a "true country gentleman."

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags