Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 3

By Lord Henry Brougham | Go to book overview
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THOMAS JEFFERSON.

WE have had occasion to note the extraordinary capacity and brilliant history of Washington and Franklin, next to whom undoubtedly among the great men that founded the American republic is to be mentioned Jefferson, although he follows them at a considerable distance. But without the extraordinary virtue of the one--because, indeed, he never passed through the same temptation,--and without the singular genius of the other, his services to the great cause of human liberty were truly valuable; his life was steadily devoted to the maintenance of his principles; and he displayed both firmness and ability in the important scenes in which he performed a conspicuous part. At a time when there is an unaccountable disposition, even among the friends of liberty, to undervalue the institutions of the Great Republic, to grudge her extraordinary success, and to take delight in foretelling her dismemberment and her downfall, it becomes a duty to commemorate the virtues of her founders, even if we should not in all particulars adopt their political opinions, and if we should witness with pain some glaring imperfections in the frame or in the working of the polity which they established.

He was educated very carefully for the profession of the law, and had also the inestimable advantage of

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