Henry James Lee.

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sibility. Having thus devoted the best part of
his life to the sen-ice of his country, he now felt
desirous of that rest which his declining years re-
quired, and upon the organization of the ne\v ad-
ministration, in March, 1809, he bade farewell for-
ever to public life and retired to Monticello, his
famous country home, which, next to Mt. Vernon,
was the most distinguished residence in the land.

The Fourth of July, 1826, being the fiftieth an-
niversary of the Declaration of American Inde-
pendence, great preparations were made in every
part of the Union for its celebration as the nation's
jubilee, and the citizens of Washington, to add to
the solemnity of the occasion, invited Mr. Jeffer-
son, as the framer and one of the few surviving
signers of the Declaration, to participate in their
festivities. But an illness, which had been of
several weeks' duration and had been continually
increasing, compelled him to decline the invita-

On the 2d of July the disease under which he
was laboring left him, but in such a reduced
state that his medical attendants entertained no
hope of his recovery. From this time he was

perfectly sensible that his last hour was at hand.
On the next day, which was Monday, he asked
of those around him the day of the month, and
on being told it was the 3d of July, he ex-
pressed the earnest wish that he might be per-
mitted to breathe the air of the fiflieth anniver-
sary. His prayer was heard — that day whose
dawn was hailed with such rapture through our
land burst upon his eyes, and then they were
closed forever. And what a noble consummation
of a noble life! To die on that day^the birth-
day of a nation — the day which his own name
and his own act had rendered glorious, to die
amidst the rejoicings and festivities of a whole
nation, who looked up to him as the author, un-
dgr God, of their greatest blessings, was all that
was wanting to fill up the record of his life.

Almost at the same hour of his death, the kin-
dred spirit of the venerable Adams, as if to bear
him company, left the scene of his earthly honors.
Hand in hand they had stood forth, the cham-
pions of freedom ; hand in hand, during the dark
and desperate struggle of the Revolution, they
had cheered and animated their desponding coun-
trymen; for half a century they had labored to-
gether for the good of the countrj', and now hand
in hand they departed. In their lives they had
been united in the same great cause of liberty,
and in their deaths they were not divided.

In person Mr. Jefferson was tall and thin, rather
above six feet in height, but well formed; his eyes
were light, his hair, originally red, in after life be-
came white and silvery', his complexion was fair,
his forehead broad, and his whole countenance
intelligent and thoughtful. He possessed great
fortitude of mind as well as personal courage, and
his command of temper was such that his oldest
and most intimate friends never recollected to
have seen him in a passion. His manners, though
dignified, were simple and unaffected, and his
hospitality was so unbounded that all found at
his house a ready welcome. In conversation he
was fluent, eloquent and enthusiastic, and his
language was remarkably pure and correct. He
was a finished classical scholar, and in his writ-
ings is discernible the care with which he formed
his style upon the best models of antiquity.


.f •' . '■










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(lAMES MADISON, "Father of the Coiisti-

I tutioii," and fourth President of the Uuited
Q) States, was born March i6, 1757, and died
at his home in Virginia June 28, 1836. The
name of James Madison is inseparably connected
with most of the important events in that heroic
period of our country during which the founda-
tions of this great repubhc were laid. He was
the last of the founders of the Constitution of the
United States to be called to his eternal rev^'ard.

The Madison family were among the early emi-
grants to the New World, landing upon the shores
of the Chesapeake but fifteen years after the settle-
ment of Jamestown. The father of James Madison
was an opulent planter, residing upon a verj' fine
estate called Montpelier, in Orange County, Va.
It was but twenty-five miles from the home of Jef-
ferson at Monticello, and the closest personal and
political attachment existed between these illustri-
ous men from their early youth until death.

The early education of Mr. Madison was con-
ducted mostly at home under a private tutor. At
the age of eigliteen he was sent to Princeton Col-
lege, in New Jersc}'. Here he applied himself to
study with the most imprudent zeal, allowing him-
self for months but three hours' sleep out of the
twenty-four. His health thus became so seriously
impaired that he never reco\ered any vigor of
constitution. He graduated in 1 77 1 , with a feeble
body, but with a character of utmost purity, and
a mind highly disciplined and richly stored with
learning, which embellished and gave efficiency
to his subsequent career.

Returning to Virginia, he commenced the study
of law and a course of extensive and systematic
reading. This educational course, the spirit of
the times in which he lived, and the society with
which he associated, all combined to inspire him
with a strong love of liljerty, and to train him for
his life-work as a statesman.

In the spring of 1776, when twenty-six years of

age, he was elected a member of the Virginia Con-
vention to frame the constitution of the State. The
next year (1777), he was a candidate for the Gen-
eral Assembly. He refused to treat the whisky-lov-
ing voters, and consequently lost his election; but
those who had witnessed the talent, energy and
1 pubhc spirit of the modest young man enlisted
themselves in his behalf and he was appointed to
the Executive Council.

Both Patrick Henry and Thomas Jetterson were
Governors of Virginia while Mr. Madison re-
mained member of the Council, and their apprecia-
tion of his intellectual, social and moral wortt
contributed not a little to his subsequent eminence.
In the year 1780 he was elected a member of the
Continental Congress. Here he met the most il-
lustrious men in our land, and he was immediately-
assigned to one oi the most conspicuous positions
among them. For three years he continued in Con-
gress, one of its most active and influential mem-
bers. In 1784, his tenn having expired, he was
elected a member of the Virginia I,egislature.

No man felt more deeply than Mr. Madison the
utter inefficiency of the old confederacy, with no
national government, and no power to form trea-
ties which would be binding, or to enforce law.
There was not any State more prominent than
Virginia in the declaration that an efficient na-
tional government must be formed. In January,
1786, Mr. Madison carried a resolution through
the General Assembly of Virginia, inviting the
other States to appoint commissioners to meet in
convention at Annapolis to discuss this subject.
Five States only were represented. The conven-
tion, however, issued another call, drawn up by
Mr. Madison, urging all the States to send their
delegates to Philadelphia in May, 1787, to draft
a Constitution for the United States, to take the
place of the Confederate League. The delegates
met at the time appointed. Every State but
Rhode Island was represented. George Washing-



toil was chosen president of tlic convention, and the
present Constitution of tlie United States was then
and there formed. There was, perhaps, no mind
and no pen more active in framing this immortal
document than the mind and the pen of James
The Constitution, adopted by a vote of eighty-one
to seventy-nine, was to be presented to the several
States for acceptance. But grave solicitude was
felt. Should it be rejected, we should be left but a
conglomeration of independent States, with but
little power at home and little respect abroad. Mr.
Madison was elected by the convention to draw up
an. address to the people of the United States, ex-
pounding the principles of the Constitution, and
urging its adoption. There was great opposition
to it at first, but at length it triumphed over all,
and went into effect in 1789.

Mr. Madison was elected to the House of Repre-
sentatives in the first Congress, and soon became
the avowed leader of the Republican party. While
in New York attending Congress, he met Mrs.
Todd, a young widow of remarkable power of fas-
cination, whom he married. She was in person
and character queenly, and probaby no lady has
thus far occupied so prominent a position in the
very peculiar society which has constituted our
republican court as did Mrs. Madison.

Mr. Madison served as Secretary of State under
Jefferson, and at the close of his administration
was chosen President. At this time the encroach-
ments of England had brought us to the verge of
war. British orders in council destroyed our com-
merce, and our ilag was exposed to constant insult.
Mr. Madison was a man of peace. Scholarly in
his taste, retiring in his disposition, war had no
charms for him. But the meekest spirit can be
roused. It makes one's blood boil, even now, to
think of an American ship brought to upon the
ocean by the guns of an English cruiser. A
young lieutenant steps on board and orders the
crew to be paraded before him. With great non-
chalance he selects any number whom he may
please to designate as Briti.sli. subjects, orders them
c'.own the ship's side into his boat, and places them
on the gundeck of his man-of-war, to fight, by
c..;;ipulsion, the battles of England. This right

of search and impressment no efforts of our Gov-
ernment could induce the British cabinet to re-

On the i8th of June, 1812, President Madison
gave his approval to an act of Congress declaring
war against Great Britain. Notwithstanding the
bitter hostility of the Federal party to the war, the
country in general approved; and Mr. Madison,
on the 4th of March, 1813, was re-elected by a
large majority, and entered upon his second term
of office. This is not the place to describe the
various adventures of this war on the land and on
the water. Our infant navy then laid the found-
ations of its renown in grappling with the most
formidable power which ever swept the seas. The
contest commenced in earnest by the appearance
of a British fleet, early in February, 1813, in
Chesapeake Bay, declaring nearly the whole coast
of the United States under blockade.

The Emperor of Russia offered his services as
mediator. America accepted; England refused.
A British force of five thousand men landed on the
banks of the Patuxet River, near its entrance into
Chesapeake Bay, and marched rapidly, by way of
Bladensburg, upon Washington.

The straggling little .city of Washington was
thrown into consternation. The cannon of the
brief conflict at Bladensburg echoed through the
streets of the metropolis. The whole population
fled from the city. The President, leaving Mrs.
Madison in the White House, with her carriage
drawn up at the door to await his speedy return,
hurried to meet the ofiicers in a council of war.
He met our troops utterly routed, and he could not
go back without danger of being captured. But
few hours elapsed ere the Presidential Mansion,
the Capitol, and all the public buildings in Wash-
ington were in flames.

The war closed after two years of fighting, and
on February 13, 18 15, the treaty of peace was
signed at Ghent. On the 4th of March, 18 17, his
second term of office expired, and he resigned the
Presidential chair to his friend, James Monroe.
He retired to his beautiful home at Montpelier, and
there passed the remainder of his days. On June
28, 1836, at the age of eighty-five years, he fell
asleep in death. Mrs. Madison died July 12, 1849.




(Tames MONROE, the fifth president of the
I United States, was born in Westmoreland
Q) County, Va., April 28, 1758. His early life
was passed at the place of his nativity. His an-
cestors had for many years resided in the province
in which he was born. When he was seventeen
years old, and in process of completing his educa-
tion at William and Mary College, the Colonial
Congress, assembled at Philadelphia to deliberate
upon the unjust and manifold oppressions of Great
Britain, declared the separation of the Colonies,
and promulgated the Declaration of Independence.
Had he been born ten years before, it is highly
probable that he would have been one of the
signers of that celebrated instrument. At this
time he left school and enlisted among the pa-

He joined the army when everything looked
hopeless and gloomy. The number of deserters
increased from day to day. The invading armies
came pouring in, and the Tories not only favored
the cause of the mother country, but disheartened
the new recruits, who were sufficiently terrified
at the prospect of contending with an enemy
whom they had been taught to deem invincible.
To such brave spirits as James Monroe, who went
right onward undismaj-ed through difiiculty and
danger, the United States owe their political
emancipation. The young cadet joined the ranks
and espoused the cause of his injured country,
with a firm determination to live or die in her
strife for liberty. Firmly, yet sadly, he shared in
the melancholy retreat from Harlem Heights
and White Plains, and accompanied the dispirited i
army as it fled before its foes through New Jersey, j
In four months after the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, the patriots had been beaten in seven
battles. At the battle of Trenton he led the van-
guard, and in the act of charging upon the enemy
he received a wound in the left shoulder. I

As a reward for his bravery, Mr. Monroe was
promoted to be captain of infantry, and, havmg re-
covered from his wounds, he rejoined the army.
He, however, receded from the line of promotion
by becoming an officer on the staff of Lord Ster-
ling. During the campaigns of 1777 and 1778,
in the actions of Brandywine, Germantown and
Monmouth, he continued aide-de-camp; but be-
coming desirous to regain his position in the
army, he exerted himself to collect a regiment for
the Virginia line. This scheme failed, owing to
the exhausted condition of the State. Upon this
failure he entered the office of Mr. Jefferson, at
that period Governor, and pursued with consid-
erable ardor the study of common law. He did
not, however, entirely lay aside the knapsack for
the green bag, but on the invasion of the enemy
ser\'ed as a volunteer during the two years of his
legal pursuits.

In 1782 he was elected from King George
County a member of the Legislature of Virginia,
and by that body he was elevated to a seat in the
Executive Council. He was thus honored with
the confidence of his fellow-citizens at twenty-
three years of age, and having at this early period
displayed some of that ability and aptitude for
legislation which were afterward employed with
unremitting energy for the public good, he was
in the succeeding year chosen a member of the
Congress of the United States.

Deeply as Mr. Monroe felt the imperfections of
the old Confederacy, he was opposed to the new
Constitution, thinking, with many others of the
Republican party, that it gave too much power to
the Central Government, and not enough to the
individual States. Still he retained the esteem
of his friends who were its warm supporters, and
who, notwithstanding his opposition, secured its
adoption. In 1789 he became a member of the
United States Senate, which ofiSce he held for



fouj years. Every month the Ihie of distinction
between the two great parties uhich divided the
nation, the Federal and the Republican, was
growing more distinct. The differences which
now separated them lay in the fact that the Repub-
lican party was in sympathy with France, and
also in favor of such a strict construction of the
Constitution as to give the Central Government as
little power, and the State G^ov .rnments as much
power, as the Constitution would warrant; while
the Federalists sympathized with England, and
were in favor of a liberal construction of the Con-
stitution, which would give as much power to the
Central Government as that document could pos-
sibly authorize.

Washington was then President. England had .
espoused the cause of the Bourbons against the
principles of the French Revolution. All Europe
was drawn into the conflict. We were feeble and
far away. Washington issued a proclamation of
neutrality between these contending powers.
France had helped us in the struggles for our
liberties. All the despotisms of Europe were now
combined to prevent the French from escaping
from a tyranny a thousand-fold worse than that
which we had endured. Col. Monroe, more mag-
nanimous than prudent, was anxious that, at
whatever hazard, we should help our old allies in
their extremity. It was the impulse of a gener-
ous and noble nature, and Washington, who could
appreciate such a character, showed his calm, se-
rene, almost divine, greatness, by appointing that
V£ry James Monroe who was denouncing the pol-
icy of the Government, as the minister of that
Government to the Republic of France. Mr.
Monroe was welcomed by the National Conven-
tion in France with the most enthusiastic dem-

Shortly after his return to this country, Mr.
Monroe was elected Governor of Virginia, and
held the office for three years. He was again
sent to France to co-operate with Chancellor Liv-
ingston in obtaining the vast territory then known
as the province of Louisiana, which France had
but shortly before obtained from Spain. Their
united efforts were successful. For the compara-
tively small sum of fifteen millions of dollars, the

entire territory of Orleans and district of Loui-
siana were added to the United States. This was
probably the largest transfer of real estate which
was ever made in all the history of the world.

From France Mr. Monroe went to England to
obtain from that country some recognition of our
rights as neutrals, and to remonstrate against
those odious impressments of our seamen. But
England was unrelenting. He again returned to
England on the same mission, but could receive
no redress. He returned to his home and was
again cho.sen Governor of Virginia. This he soon
resigned to accept the position of Secretary of
State under Madison. While in this office war
with England was declared, the Secretary of War
resigned, and during these trying times the
duties of the War Department were also put upon
him. He was truly the armor-bearer of President
Madison, and the most efficient business man in
his cabinet. Upon the return of peace he re-
signed the Department of War, but continued in
the office of Secretary of State until the expira-
tion of Mr. Madison's administration. At the
election held the previous autumn, Mr. Monroe
himself had been chosen President with but little,
opposition, and upon March 4, 1817, he was in-
augurated. Four years later he was elected for
a second term.

Among the important measures of his Presi-
dency were the cession of Florida to the United
States, the Missouri Compromise, and the famous
' ' Monroe doctrine. ' ' This doctrine was enun-
ciated by him in 1823, and was as follows: " That
we should consider any attempt on the part of
European powers to extend their system to any
portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our
peace and safety," and that "we could not view
any interposition for the purpose of oppressing or
controlling American governments or provinces
in any other light than as a manifestation by
European powers of an unfriendly disposition
toward the United States."

At the end of hip second term, Mr. Monroe re-
tired to his home in Virginia, where he lived un-
til 1 830, when he went to New York to live with
his son-in-law. In that city he died, on the 4th
of July, 1831.



nOHN OUINCY ADAMS, the sixth President

I of the United States, was born in the rural
Q) home of his honored father, John Adams, in
Quincy, Mass., on the nth of July, 1767. His
mother, a woman of exalted worth, watched over
his childhood during the almost constant ab-
sence of his father. When but eight years of
_ age, he stood with his mother on an eminence,
listening to the booming of the great battle on
Bunker's Hill, and gazing out upon the smoke
and flames billowing up from the conflagration of

When but eleven years old he took a tearful
adieu of his mother, to sail with his father for Eu-
rope, through a fleet of hostile British cruisers.
The bright, animated boy spent a year and a-lialf
in Paris, where his father was associated with
Franklin and Lee as Minister Plenipotentiary.
His intelligence attracted the notice of these dis-
tinguished men, and he received from them flat-
tering marks of attention.

John Adams had scarcely returned to this
country, in 1779, ere he was again sent abroad.
Again John Quincy accompanied his father. At
Paris he applied himself to study with great dil-
igence for six months, and then accompanied his
father to Holland, where he entered first a school
in Amsterdam, then the University at Leyden.
About a year from this time, in 1781, when the
manly boy was but fourteen years of age, he was
selected by Mr. Dana, our Minister to the Rus-
sian court, as his private secretary.

In this school of incessant labor and of ennobl-
ing culture he spent fourteen months, and then
returned to Holland, through Sweden, Denmark,
Hamburg and Bremen. This long journey he
took alone in the winter, when in his sixteenth
year. Again he resumed his studies, under a pri-
vate tutor, at The Hague. Then, in the spring of
1782, he accompanied his father to Paris, travel-
ing leisurely, and forming acquaintances with the
most distinguished men on the continent, examin-

ing architectural remains, galleries of paintings
and all renowned works of art. At Paris he
again became associated with the most illustrious
men of all lands in the contemplation of the
loftiest temporal themes which can engross the
human mind. After a short visit to England he
returned to Paris, and consecrated all his energies
to study until May, 1785, when he returned to
America to finish his education.

Upon leaving Harvard College at the age of
twenty, he studied law for three years. In June,
1794, being then but twenty-seven years of age,
he was appointed by Washington Resident Min-
ister at the Netherlands. Sailing from Boston in
July, he reached London in October, where he
was immediately admitted to the deliberations of
Messrs. Jay & Pinckney, assisting them in nego-
tiating a commercial treaty with Great Britain.
After thus spending a fortnight in London, he
proceeded to The Hague.

In July, 1797, he left The Hague to go to Por-
tugal as Minister Plenipotentiary. On his way to
Portugal, upon arriving in London, he met with
despatches directing him to the court of Berlin, but
requesting him to remain in London until he
should receive his instructions. While waiting
he was married to an American lady, to whom he
had been previously engaged — Miss Louisa Cath-
erine Johnson, a daughter of Joshua Johnson,
American Consul in London, and a lady en-
dowed with that beauty and those accomplish-
ments which eminently fitted her to move in the
elevated sphere for which she was destined. He
reached Berlin with his wife in November, 1797,
where he remained until July, 1799, when, hav-
ing fulfilled all the purposes of his mission, he so-
licited his recall.

Soon after his return, in 1802, he was chosen
to the Senate of Massachusetts from Boston, and
then was elected Senator of the United States for
six years, from the 4th of March, 1804. His rep-
utation, his ability an4 his experience placed



him immediately among the most prominent and
influential members of that body.

In 1809, Madison succeeded Jefferson in the
Presidential chair, and he immediately nominated
John Quincy Adams Minister to St. Petersburgh.
Resigning his professorship m Harvard Col-
lege, he embarked at Boston in August, 1809.

While in Russia, Mr. Adams was an intense
student. He devoted his attention to the lan-
guage and history of Russia; to the Chinese trade;
to the European system of weights, measures and
coins; to the climate and astronomical observa-

Online LibraryHenry James LeePortrait and biographical record of Guernsey County, Ohio, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with biographies and portraits of all the p → online text (page 2 of 83)