Volume Nine of the project documenting Thomas Jefferson's last years presents 523 documents from 1 September 1815 to 30 April 1816. In this period, Jefferson makes three trips to Poplar Forest. During two visits to the Peaks of Otter, he measures their altitude and his calculations are reprinted in several newspapers. Jefferson welcomes the returning war hero Andrew Jackson in a visit to Poplar Forest and offers a toast at a public dinner in Lynchburg held in the general's honor. With the end of the War of 1812, Jefferson uses European contacts to begin restocking his wine cellar and refilling his bookshelves. In a draft letter to Horatio G. Spafford, Jefferson indulges in a "tirade" against a pamphlet by a New England clergyman. Jefferson decides to drop the section from the letter but sends it to Richmond Enquirer publisher Thomas Ritchie with permission to publish it without Jefferson's name. An anonymous letter in the Washington Daily National Intelligencer on the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution elicits a similarly anonymous response from Jefferson. His family circle grows with the birth of a great-granddaughter. Despite a report of his death, Jefferson continues to enjoy perfect health.
J. Jefferson Looney is editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, which is sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia. He was formerly the editor and project director of the Dictionary of Virginia Biography, and is the author or editor of several works on the history of Princeton University.
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