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read; what words and works that live! How much for the young republic was here thought and done. Now how sadly lonely!
On the fly-leaf of an old book of accounts for 1741, was found, after Jefferson's death, the following in his hand, which was supposed to refer to the place where he would have his body sleep in peace. "Choose some unfrequented vale in the park, where is no sound to break the stillness, but a brook that bubbling winds among the woods-no mark of human shape that has been there, unless the skeleton of some poor wretch who sought that place out of despair to die in. Let it be among ancient and venerable oaks; intersperse some gloomy evergreens. Appropriate one half to the use of my family; the other to strangers, servants, etc. Let the exit look upon a small and distant part of the blue mountains."
A little way from his old residence, which crowns Monticello, and a little to the right of the Charlotteville road, in a thick growth of woods, still and lonely as he could wish, is Jefferson's grave. There is no vale, no brook to murmur, no sound but the soughing of the wind in the evergreens. There are some thirty graves in a space about one hundred feet square, which was enclosed by a brick wall, ten feet high. On the south side, this wall had fallen into a ruin. On the north and west sides it yet stood. The iron gates on these two sides were locked in rust. Virginia creepers adorned the west wall. The ground of the enclosure was neglected, grown up to grass, shrubs and weeds. Loose bricks and stones, and vegetable decay and growth marked the place as a solitude, if not a ruin. The tombstones were generally defaced and broken,-many of them fallen and overgrown with weeds and moss. About the middle of the northern side, is the grave of Jefferson, precisely where he had often told Wormley, his old servant, he desired to have it. The mound is trodden even with the ground. At the head of the grave was placed a coarse granite obelisk, nine feet high, which rested on a base three feet square. The monument was beaten and battered into a ruin by relic-hunters; even the inscription was beaten off, except the part that tells his birth and death.
After Jefferson's death, a rough sketch of an obelisk was found, after which this was patterned. this inscription:
Under the design was
HERE WAS BURIED
AUTHOR OF THE
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,
FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY
BORN APRIL 2, O. s. 1743;
Even this inscription, which was put upon the obelisk, is beaten off by the sacrilegious horde who have thronged the sacred place in idle curiosity, except the words that give the birth and death.
This was the cordition of Jefferson's grave until very recently. In 1878 a movement was made in Congress to remove this battered and disfigured monument and to put in its place one which should properly recognize the great sleeper underneath. That movement failed because of objections by the owner of the place, who claimed ownership of the grave and the right of way to it. Arrangements were finally made, and last year a resolution was passed by Congress appropriating ten thousand dollars for erecting a suitable monument. During the pending of this resolution, Miss Sarah N. Randolph, a descendant of Jefferson, made to a member of Congress a full statement of the condition of the graveyard and the title to it by the family. The following is a part of this statement:
"The little graveyard at Monticello- only one hundred feet. square-is all of the ten thousand acres of land owned by Jefferson when he entered public life, which is now left in the
pessession of his descendants. He sleeps amid scenes of surpassing beauty and grandeur, on that lovely mountain side, surrounded by the graves of his children and grandchildren to the fifth generation. At his side lies his wife whom he loved with singular devotion. A few feet from him rests the cherished friend of his youth-young Dabney Carr-whose motion in the Virginia House of Burgesses, to establish committees of correspondence between the sister colonies, leading as it did to the meeting of the First Congress, has given his name an enviable place in American history. A little farther off lie the remains of another devoted and distinguished friend, Governor Wilson Cary Nicolas, of Virginia; while at his feet sleeps another governor of the old commonwealth, his own son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. The modesty of the spot is in striking contrast with the celebrity of its dead; and there are, perhaps, few in America of greater historic interest, or more deserving of the nation's care. Soon after the appropriation was made by Congress, Mr. W. W. Corcoran, the distinguished philanthropist, with characteristic munificence, endowed a professorship of natural history in the University of Virginia, on condition that the institution should take care of the graveyard at Monticello, thus very appropriately placing the care of Jefferson's tomb in the hands of this child of his old age and the last creation of his genius."
Congressman Manning said: "In God's universe there perhaps never lived a man who could point to grander and more glorious testimonials that he had lived.' He was, indeed, tenacious of living among men as one that serveth,' and 'Heaven, that lent him genius, was repaid.' He was sure of his reward through all succeeding generations."
The monument was erected last year, and inscribed, as was the old one, according to his direction. The three things for which Jefferson cared most to be known, were those he named for his monument. It is hoped they will stand perpetual monuments of his genius and humanity.
At last a fitting monument marks his resting place, erected as it should be, by the nation he did so much to create. A
fitting enclosure is also made of the sacred place, and a suitable provision for its care.
The old Jefferson mansion, on the summit of Monticello, once so brilliant and hospitable, is now in desolate and ruinous decay. Thriving trees embower it. Living vegetables and animals are making inroads upon it. Ruin is seeking it for its own. Unless arrested, the decay will before long become complete. It is a brick structure which the tooth of time is gnawing at effectually.
There is much that is saddening at Monticello, the contrast between the past and the present is so great. It was once so much to the country and the world; now it is so little save in memory.
If Monticello, like Mount Vernon, were in the hands of some patriotic national association, or were owned by the national government, it could be so cared for as to invite visitors from every part of the world, and would still speak to the world of the great principles for which Jefferson lived. Jefferson dead would be as real and powerful as Jefferson living. It is more than likely that something of this kind will be realized by and by, and Monticello will rise from the dead.