You are here
Cameron Jones, SFC, USA, Retired
About MeI am a retired Army NCO, a Constitutionalist, and a Jefferson fan.
Although I am not sure why J.R. the “Teacher” feels it necessary to grind his political axe here on these pages, I feel compelled to set the facts straight. Thomas Jefferson by all accounts was a very frugal and fiscally responsible man. He did not go through his life as J.R. states, living beyond his means. His estate at Monticello was self-sustaining, and although at times in his life Jefferson made quite a bit of money, he also spent most of it providing for his family and paying much of his own way while serving his country. He was very generous with his children and grandchildren, and also with his friends and neighbors. When he retired he was $10,000 in debt, and this increased substantially throughout the rest of his life, but it was not due to his living an opulent lifestyle; quite the contrary. He supported his community, churches in the area, and was instrumental in establishing the University of Virginia in his later years. Much of his debt was incurred entertaining those who came to visit him for various reasons after his retirement. His grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph wrote this, “Twelve years before his death, he remarked to me… that if he lived long enough he would beggar his family – that the number of persons he was compelled to entertain would devour his estate.” Jefferson never turned away anyone who visited his home, even those who were just curious to see Jefferson the man, and this cost him considerable amounts of money to entertain these visitors. He incurred a substantial portion of his final debt in 1820 ($20,000) when a friend for whom he had countersigned a loan defaulted on the loan. In 1823, 3 years before his death his debt was $60,000. He was unable to discharge this debt as he had in the past, by selling some of his holdings because of the depressed prices of land at that time. This weighed heavily on his soul almost until the time of his death. After his death his debts were settled by his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph who was executor of his will. His grandson wrote this, “He never failed to comply with a pecuniary engagement; his creditors were all paid”. J.R., I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring your politics into this forum that celebrates one of the greatest men in the history of our nation, but if you insist on doing so you should at least get the facts straight. You may have been taught that what you say is so, but the facts speak differently. I suspect that your education has been quite progressive, and that those who taught you have a great stake in tearing down the character of our founders; I have an equally great stake in the preservation of the truth about these great men. I would advise anyone who is studying the life of Jefferson to read “The Real Thomas Jefferson” published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. They have performed extensive research, and much of the book is based on the actual writings of Jefferson and those who knew him best.Cameron Jones, ...
December 16, 2011 on Timeline of Jefferson's Life