“On the fifteenth of January, at Monticello, in the county of Albemarle; the whole of the residue of the personal property of Thomas Jefferson, dec., consisting of 130 valuable negroes, stock, crop, &c. household and kitchen furniture. The attention of the public is earnestly invited to this property. The negroes are believed to be the most valuable for their number ever offered at one time in the State of Virginia. The household furniture, many valuable historical and portrait paintings, busts of marble and plaister of distinguished individuals; one of marble of Thomas Jefferson, by Caracci, with the pedestal and truncated column on which it stands; a polygraph or copying instrument used by Thomas Jefferson, for the last twenty-five years; with various other articles curious and useful to men of business and private families. The terms of sale will be accommodating and made known previous to the day. The sale will be continued from day to day until completed. These sales being unavoidable, it is a sufficient guarantee to the public that they will take place at the times and places appointed.”
Published in the Richmond Enquirer, 3 Nov. 1826, and running unaltered until 20 Jan. 1827.
On his deathbed in 1826, Thomas Jefferson famously inquired, “Is it the Fourth?” It was indeed the 50th anniversary of America’s independence, which would naturally have been of great import to the original draftsman of the Declaration of Independence. Inventorying the accomplishments and scandals of the third president of United States require chapters, not pages. A personal favorite is that he established the United States Military Academy when he was in office. A nation is but a reflection of the patriotism of its People.
In modern times, Jefferson is upheld as a paragon of thrift. “To preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt,” he wrote. “We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”
An awkward public speaker, the Founding Father more than compensated with the written word. Jefferson was passionately articulate on the scourge of private banks: “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
But it was the purview of a central bank for which Jefferson reserved the deepest condemnation:
“The Bank of the United States is one of the most deadly hostilities existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution. An institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war! It might dictate to us the peace we should accept or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile?”