Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thomas Jefferson

What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion?  And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?  Let them take arms. . . . The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

From a letter to William Stephens Smith written on this date in 1787.

Yes, I realize that it is the 13th of the month, which means that it is "French-day the 13th" here at 2 or 3 lines a day.  But Jefferson, who was the U.S. Minister to France in the years leading up to the French Revolution (which he supported), exhibited distinctly French-like behavior while residing in Paris -- to wit, he initiated a long-term affair with a young slave named Sally Hemings (who had been brought to Paris to be a companion to Jefferson's daughter).  In 1805, Hemings gave birth to Jefferson's son, Madison Hemings. 

By the way, this year marks the passage of a century and a half since the outbreak of the American Civil War.  (Just sayin' . . .)

Thandie Newton as Sally Hemings
in the movie "Jefferson in Paris" (1995)

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