The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Retirement Series, Volume 21: 1 April to 31 October 1824

    Edited by
  • J. Jefferson Looney

A definitive new volume of the retirement papers of Thomas Jefferson


Published (US):
Apr 15, 2025
Published (UK):
Jun 10, 2025
6.13 x 9.25 in.
8 color + 9 b/w illus. 5 maps.
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The 533 documents in this volume include revealing material on Jefferson’s health. He is limited to a liquid diet for weeks due to an abscess under his jaw. Although daily horseback rides take him “3. or 4. to 8. or 10. miles without fatigue,” he cannot walk “further than my garden.” He has lost only one tooth due to age and is glad not to need “teeth of porcelain.”

Due to debility, Jefferson’s only serious occupation is the effort to open the University of Virginia. Francis W. Gilmer travels to Great Britain to recruit professors and buy “a library and apparatus.” Jefferson is determined to hire only faculty of “the first grade of science.” The Rotunda is still unfinished but fit for use “until funds may occur to compleat it.”

Jefferson predicts that a plan to send freed African Americans to Africa will fail. He observes that “barbarism” is in decline and “will in time I trust disappear from the earth.” To another correspondent he defends “the principles which have guided my public life,” but adds that, when altered circumstances make changes of principle beneficial, “then let such changes take place, and the means yield to the end.”