Monday, September 19, 2005

Life of Thomas Jefferson

Life of Thomas Jefferson. This is a biography of the third President of the United State of America presented by the University of Virginia. As Jefferson was the founder of this university, it is not surprising that they have put up this well written biography.

From the site:

Thomas Jefferson was born April 13, 1743 (April 2, old style), on the farm called Shadwell, adjoining what is now Monticello, in the county of Albermarle, Virginia. The date of his birth was unknown to the public until after his decease. Repeated attempts had been made to ascertain it by formal applications to him on various occasions, both by individuals and public bodies; but from scruples of a patriotic nature, he always declined revealing it and enjoined the same privacy upon his family. The principles which determined him on this subject were the great indelicacy and impropriety of permitting himself to be made the recipient of a homage, so incompatible with the true dignity and independence of the republican character, and the still greater repugnance which he should feel at seeing the birthday honors of the Republic transferred in any degree, to any individual.

Soon after his inauguration as President in 1801, he was waited on by the Mayor and Corporation of the city of Washington, with the request that he would communicate the anniversary of his birth, as they were desirous of commemorating an event which had conferred such distinguished glory upon their country. He replied, "The only birthday which I recognize is that of my country's liberties." In August, 1803, he received a similar communication from Levi Lincoln on behalf of a certain association in Boston, to which he replied: "Disapproving myself of transferring the honors and veneration for the great birthday of our Republic to any individual, or of dividing them with individuals, I have declined letting my own birthday be known, and have engaged my family not to communicate it." (ME 10:416) This has been the uniform answer to every application of the kind.

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