Margaret Bayard Smith was a friend of Thomas Jefferson. Her writings provided the content for the book The First Forty Years of Washington Society which includes first hand accounts of her interactions with Jefferson. This week, we speak with Mister Jefferson about Mrs. Smith. He shares his recollections of their relationship.
"A traveler, sais I, retired at night to his chamber in an inn, all his effects contained in a single trunk, all his cares circumscribed by the walls of his apartment, unknown to all, unheeded, and undisturbed, writes, reads, thinks, sleeps, just in the moments when nature and the movements of his body and mind require."
"Two seraphs await me long shrouded in death; I will bear them your love on my last parting breath."
— Thomas Jefferson, July 1826
We conclude our Jefferson 101 biographical series by discussing his final days at Monticello, his legacy, and the deaths of both Jefferson and John Adams on July 4th, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
In the end food is just fuel. It keeps the engine running, and for me the engine was designed to do the work of the soul—to read books and maybe write some too, to imagine the world you want to live in, to evaluate the events that take place in the public square, to lift oneself and those around you to a higher plane of enlightenment, to do what you can—in Jefferson’s words—to ameliorate the condition of mankind.