Monday, February 16, 2009
Today is President's Day and for me that means that I have a day off. It is gray outside and chilly this morning. It looks like another good day to take it easy.
I've been reading quite a bit of history about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. I didn't know much about Adams until I watched the mini-series on him and became fascinated by his erudite, dogmatic and tenacious ways. His relationship with his wife is truly moving. Even though they were separated by great distances for many years of their marriage, their friendship and love for each other never wavered. Tragically, their son Charles died of alcoholism. John Adams was never able to forgive his son for being an alcoholic, yet Abigail loved Charles with all her heart.
Thomas Jefferson has been a figure of history that I knew quite a bit about since he went to my alma mater the College of William and Mary, was born and bred a Virginian, visited the county where I grew up, and was studied in classes that I took. I also visited his famous house Monticello several times.
I'm currently reading a book Mr. Jefferson's Women that is a scholarly work on his relationship with women. He was somewhat of a misogynist and largely mistrusted women after his two proposals of marriage to Miss Burwell were turned down. He later married but lost his wife following childbirth. His relationship with his slave Sally Hemings has been the subject of much writing.
What I think is the most interesting aspect of the relationship of Adams and Jefferson is that they both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. Jefferson died a few hours before Adams, both having made amends for political enmity years before. They remained steadfast friends up until the time of their deaths. It seems that this was a moment that God decided to take these two men, within hours of each other who had both done so much to shape this nation. Another "came to believe" moment for me.