In his Autobiography, Jefferson wrote:
The tradition in my father’s family was that their ancestor came to this country from Wales, and from near the mountain of Snowdon, the highest in Gr. Br. I noted once a case from Wales in the law reports where a person of our name was either pl. or def. 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.
An alert patron alerted me to the following: "American Revolution Flags Sell for $17.4 Million." Apparently Col. Banastre Tarleton was quite the flag collector, and a descendant has sold at auction several flags that he captured during the American Revolution and brought back to England. The flags are in remarkably good shape, it turns out. Go figure.
It was announced this week that the Homestead Resort in Bath County intends to restore the historic bathhouses that surround their famed mineral pools (now called the Jefferson Pools). Thomas Jefferson is just one of the thousands of Virginians, aristocratic and ordinary, who have sought the comforts of the waters over the course of two and a half centuries. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson wrote of the "Warm spring" that was to become the resort:
One of our alert former fellows brought Hillary Clinton's quotation of Jefferson during her recent Secretary of State confirmation hearings to my attention. Of course I can't help myself from checking to make sure that famous people quoting TJ have actually gotten their quotes correct, because a) I'm a stickler, and b) someone else will surely ask about it.
A few days ago I set up a Google Alert to let me know when any new material appeared on the Internet (or technically speaking, in Google's index of the Internet) with the phrase "Thomas Jefferson." Amidst all the reportage of Thomas Jefferson High School's basketball triumph over West Diddlyfunk and so forth, in each day's update is a huge preponderance of blogs, columns and news articles that quote Jefferson.
Well, it took me all day but I plowed through all of the Google Alerts I've gotten in the past week (even the weekend ones, that's how dedicated I am), just as I said I would, and came up with the following numbers: A total of 22 websites quoted TJ in some form or fashion. (Mind you, the Alert catches only new material cropping up on the Web, not material that's already there.) The total quotes used came to 85, 35 of which were spurious. So if you choose to take my sampling
A recent editorial by Thomas Fleming in the Wall Street Journal asks the question, "Was George W. Bush such a bad president?" I mean, look at...Thomas Jefferson, for example! He really whiffed on that embargo thing. Read Fleming's litany of Low Moments in the American Presidency and decide for yourself...
The National Weather Service bestows awards each year for outstanding-ness in their Cooperative Weather Observer Program; the award is, appropriately enough, named after Thomas Jefferson. This year's winner is Brother Anselm of Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas. TJ would be proud!
I've been curiously watching the flutterings about this in the news for the past week or so - the Seattle Atheists are running a bus ad campaign featuring quotations by Jefferson and some other people. (You can see images of all three ads here.) Before anybody asks, that is in fact a genuine Jefferson quote - it's from a letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787.
Jefferson's got something uncannily insightful to say about everything (or so it seems), so I suppose it was only a matter of time before comparisons of the current Somali Pirate Situation to Jefferson's Barbary Pirate Situation starting popping up like daffodils. Just a sideways mention at first. Then a more direct one.
I was unaware of this, but it seems that our beloved local apple, the Albemarle Pippin, is in fact a native of New York (just like Your Correspondent, here). The Big Apple has decided to get serious about jettisoning the image of the vile-tasting but very photogenic Red Delicious Apple in favor of the homely-but-yummy Pippin. This all goes along nicely with the cresting wave of the local food movement, as well. A blog entry
Since I set up my Google Alert, which allows me to track when new mentions of "Thomas Jefferson" appear on the Internet, I've been amazed to see that there is almost always a tiny little wave of rhetorical consultations of TJ in reaction to each big news story. In essence, every time something big happens, people start asking themselves and others, "What would Thomas Jefferson do/say/think about this?" and quoting his writings on the topic and talking about how he dealt with similar problems. TJ apparently had lots to say about the recent bank crisis; he had the solution to the Somali pirate
As I believe I mentioned in a previous blog post, this fall will mark the 200th anniversary of Meriwether Lewis's untimely and weird death on the Natchez Trace. To prepare for the momentous occasion, I felt the need to read up on the whole debate on the nature of his death: was it suicide, or murder, or something else? Since at work I have the attention span of a gnat, I am having to keep my background reading cursory, and so my program consists entirely of reading
There was a little mini-explosion of chatter over the last week on What Jefferson Thought About Intelligent Design. I wasn't aware that Jefferson thought about intelligent design, but as we all know, if you use Thomas Jefferson's name in your argument, you automatically win. Double points for including a relevant quotation.
We are having some calamitous (for Virginia) weather lately - an astonishingly brutal winter altogether so far, in fact. I'm told the kids are calling it "Snowpocalypse," or "Snowtorious B.I.G." So I thought it would be nice to shamelessly mooch off some splendid research done by one of my colleagues and bring you a snow-themed post in honor of this snowy weekend; something to do for about 3 minutes while you're snowed in, or, if you are not snowed in, something to feel real good about.