Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What Would Jefferson Do ?

             
Central Virginia



    Both of the farms we have owned here in Virginia were originally properties of Thomas Jefferson's family.  This sounds like a really special distinction, worthy of a realtor's brochure, but it isn't as large a deal as it, at first, sounds.  Thomas Jefferson's parents owned a great deal of land in Central Virginia in their day.  Peter Jefferson, his father, was a surveyor, and his mother Jane Randolph's father owned a great deal of land.  Thomas eventually inherited the bulk of these lands from both families. At one point he owned thousands of acres in multiple counties here, so my farm shares the distinction of being owned by the Jeffersons or Randolphs at one time with literally thousands of other properties.  There is no real indication that Thomas Jefferson himself ever set foot on the land which is actually our farm, although he was frequently in this county.  At the time of his death, he was land rich, but quite cash poor, and he died having never paid back his Italian friend, Philip Mazzei .   Oddly, one of Philip Mazzei's descendants actually went to high school with me in New Jersey and is now an anesthesiologist.)

                Thomas Jefferson was a risk taker.  He left his farms to family and workers while he traveled by horse and helped to craft a new nation.  He took personal risks and risks to his own safety in order to leave us with the legacy of the nation with which we have grown up.  Remember that in the days of Jefferson, no heavy equipment existed.  Much smaller areas could be farmed, and much of it was done using slave labor. He was often away and did not give input as to how things should be done, and history tells us that Jefferson's properties were not as productive as they could have been, had they received his full attention.  We are indebted to this person who did his best to move our nation forward.  Jefferson did keep slaves, but by most accounts, he treated them exceptionally well, and did train and educate those he believed could benefit, in an era in which this was not done. He was wrong in that he believed that society might never progress sufficiently to allow black slaves freedom and equality, though he likely knew that this was the right thing to do.

                When others tell me that by speaking out on what is a little blog that I may subject myself to additional IRS audits and additional Obama Regime intrusions, I think of Thomas Jefferson.  How would he feel if the present day owner of one of his tracts decided that putting all of my interests first came before the issues of freedom and truth ?  How would he feel if I chose not to call tyranny, tyranny ?   We must all balance personal costs of doing what is right, along with the issues of personal and family safety.


10 comments:

Rick Kratzke said...

There are very few people in this world I think that will actually stand up and voice their opinion on what they think is right or wrong, I commend you for being one of those very few.

JaneofVirginia said...

There used to be far more people who would. I think bombing Syria is wrong simply because I don't think we can ever win the hearts and minds of Muslims by blowing up civilians, and even with a cruise missile, there would be collateral damage. I think that the Muslims in neighboring countries should deal with Assad. Just watch, the Obama administration will go to war against powder keg Syria.

Gorges Smythe said...

Folks like us were on their radar a long time ago; it's too late to worry now anyway! :-)

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Jefferson lived in a time that I will call the American Renaissance in that the colonies had established themselves and were growing in population and wealth by the day. They had achieved great things and were destined to achieve even greater, there was no stopping them.
We live with the results of 100 years of progressive manipulation of our constitution and country to where we are not looking forward to anything but the stagnant mire of socialism. There is little need for freedoms in a socialist society and that is what the majority of the people have voted for. Like a beehive with too few workers, it will eventually die so what we are experiencing is the end stages of the constitution based on freedom. When the communists took power in 1917 and the Nazis a few years later, the people who spoke out didn't end up too good. If we make it to the next election, that will be the time to make hard decisions.

JaneofVirginia said...

And yet even in 1917, there were those who fled to England and to the US, who found ways to be truthful but short of being a threat to the regime. Dr. Botkin, the personal physician to the Czar and his family was executed along with the family. However, his son Gleb and his siblings made it to the United States, where Gleb worked happily telling the truth as a college professor at the University of Virginia. His daughter Marina still lives in Virginia to this day. My parents have friends who fled Austria and lost their everything including their estate which had been in the family for generations.They made it to England where they amassed a fortune and had a wonderful family with hard work and rugged individualism. They also spoke out, but did so carefully.

JaneofVirginia said...

I have no doubt we are on the radar, but we are in exceptionally good company.

lotta joy said...

They also spoke out, but did so carefully.

This hit a nerve. It seems the majority speaks out with vengeance, without regard for the facts. The minority keeps quiet. I cannot remember the platitude correctly, but it goes something like this: The only thing we need to do to advocate carnage is keep our opinion to ourselves

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, my point exactly. If the only people who speak advocate the decapitation of those who oppose them, then the reasonable people are never heard, and free speech is never balanced. In a sense we have an obligation to speak, but it must be carefully, judiciously and calmly enough that we are heard, rather than rejected as simply reactionary. Thanks for posting, Lotta Joy, and everyone.

BBC said...

Back in Jefferson's days there wasn't a heck of a lot of people and many of them were allotted large tracks of land by the then government as a reward for service to the country. At one time even Davy Crockett and Danial Boon had large tracks of land, thousands and thousands of acres.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, this is true. Land also wasn't worth nearly as much as it is today. My great-grandparents owned 9600 acres, unfortunately much of it was without water and this severely limited what could be done there. A direct descendant of Daniel Boone lives in this county. He is a blacksmith/sculptural artist and makes ornate gating and fencing for museums and expensive private homes.