Thomas Jefferson's life was so entirely devoted to the service of his country that it was not until after his second term as President that he may fairly be said to have lived any length of time with his family. In March, 1809, he returned to Virginia, took his daughter Martha with her husband, Governor Randolph, and their large family of children, with him to Monticello. There they remained seventeen years until his death, July 4, 1826, at the age of eighty-three.
He had always been passionately fond of domestic life, and his letters are filled with regrets that public duties kept him away from his home. The following passages, taken from a great many of similar character in his letters, may be quoted as evidence of this feeling: --
"Abstracted from home, I know no happiness in this world." ( 1780.)
"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family." ( 1790.)
"I employ my leisure moments in repassing often in my mind our happy domestic society, when