- The Book
- The Editor
- Thomas Jefferson
About Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson had a charm of manner and conversation that passes all description - so cheerful - so unassuming - so free, and easy, and frank, and kind, and gay - that even the young and overawed and embarrassed visitor at once forgot his fears and felt himself by the side of an old and familiar friend. There was no effort, no ambition in the conversation of the philosopher. It was as simple and unpretending as nature itself. And while in this easy manner he was pouring out instruction, like light from an inexhaustible solar fountain, he seemed continually to be asking, instead of giving information. The visitor felt himself lifted by the contact into a new and nobler region of thought, and became surprised at his own buoyancy and vigor. He could not, indeed, help being astounded, now and then, at those transcendent leaps of the mind, which he saw made out without the slightest exertion. And there seemed to be no end to his knowledge. He was a thorough master of every subject that he touched. There seemed to be no longer any terra incognita of the human understanding; for, what the visitor had thought so, he had now found reduced to a familiar garden walk; and all this carried off so lightly, so playfully, so gracefully, so engagingly, that he won every heart that approached him, as certainly as he astonished every mind.
- United States Attorney General William Wirt's 1826 tribute to Thomas Jefferson.