repair; the event is in the hand of God.”
The whole personality of the great Virginian
is back of that simple, perfect sentence.
It brings us to our feet, like a national anthem.
One American, no doubt our most gifted man of letters of that century, passed most of the Revolutionary period abroad, in the service of his country.
was fifty-nine in the year of the Stamp Act.
When he returned from France
in 1785 he was seventy-nine, but he was still writing as admirably as ever when he died at eighty-four.
We cannot dismiss this singular, varied, and fascinating American better than by quoting the letter which George Washington
wrote to him in September, 1789.
It has the dignity and formality of the eighteenth century, but it is warm with tested friendship and it glows with deep human feeling: “If to be venerated for benevolence, if to be admired for talents, if to be esteemed for patriotism, if to be beloved for philanthropy, can gratify the human mind, you must have the pleasing consolation to know that you have not lived in vain.
And I flatter myself that it will not be ranked among the least grateful occurrences of your life to be assured, that, so long as I retain my memory, you will be recollected with respect, veneration, ”