Posts tagged ‘Charlie’

Thomas Jefferson: Forgotten Legislator

Today has been pretty fascinating. Building off of what I had unearthed yesterday in a letter to TJ from Samuel Stanhope Smith in the second volume of the former’s papers, I had, I guess, re-discovered for myself that somewhere in the ginormous list of TJ’s life accomplishments that he once wrote a few bills for revamping the educational system of Virginia. I’m not sure that this tidbit in particular is part of the grade school history curriculum nowadays (or even in my day, some 15 years ago for that matter) but after I had realized this, a certain feeling of “Wow, how could you NOT know this?” came over me like a tsunami. I mean, I had worked pretty hard last semester on an entire presentation that speculated what TJ might have thought about the recent economic stimulus package (and going as far as to bring in copies of two of the bills from the Senate Printing Office to show the class just how big and nasty those puppies were at 400+ pages a pop) , and for me NOT to have remembered that he wrote some of his own legislation dealing with some economic matters in his day just kind of made me feel like there was egg all over my face.

However, this metaphorical (?) egg was quickly mopped up from my forehead as I had the victory of FINALLY stumbling across the text of his bill on revamping the College of William and Mary into a university (and also a few bits on revenue for the College). The endnotes to Mr. Smith’s letter pointed me to TJ’s Bill no. 79 in the appendix, so I quickly flipped a few hundred pages  to that bill first. This bill does allude to William and Mary becoming a university in an outline of the proposed educational system’s structure, however, no where in the text is the word “university” used. Nor does it mention other goodies such as making the College non-denominal or revamping the board of visitors as I had read that it did in other materials. Crap.

So after huffing about not finding any pot ‘o golden information at the end of that rainbow, my eyes suddenly darted to the next bill – no. 80, which is titled “A Bill for Amending the Constitution  of the College of William and Mary, and Substituting More Certain Revenues for Its Support”.  DING DING DING! I knew I had a winner, but I also felt like a total idiot for not noticing it earlier. Honestly, how can several modern scholarly articles mention one “act” or “bill”, all heralding about the same magic content, and then somehow I can’t find it? Wow. Don’t get me wrong though – I’m ecstatic that I did find it, but just a little disappointed that it was in a roundabout way.  I guess we all have our off days though. 😛

So I had finally found my pot o’ gold, and I’m currently pouring over it and gobbling up all of the glittering details. One thing that I’ve noticed is that TJ’s bills are almost like legislative poetry, giving the reader a synopsis of the College’s history and the major figures involved before getting to his point –

“And, whereas the experience of near an hundred years hath proved, that the said College, thus amply endowed by the public, hath not answered their expectations…”

OH SNAP! There he abruptly ends the serene poetry and throws down the gauntlet right in the College’s face for all of the state to read (well, had the printer actually printed and distributed the bill like he was supposed to, but that’s a different story). It is especially tasty to have read that considering that the governance of the College (the board of visitors, the rector, president, trustees?, even the archbishop of London, etc. etc.) had done almost nothing but bicker at each other since the first president, James Blair, had left; and since then there was A LOT of chaos and student (and sometimes even faculty) rioting that had been going on at the College even while TJ was studying there.

Thus, it has been speculated, based on what TJ has said in his Autobiography and in his letters (I currently have a migraine and thus can’t think of any specific letters in particular at the moment, but may come back to fix it later), that a good part of the reason he wanted to revamp William and Mary was because he had so much distaste for the chaos that had occured there in his day. Delicious.

Pictures of the Day (a twofah! :)) –

Today was a pretty rainy, stormy day.

Today was a pretty rainy, stormy day.

This cute lil' booger attacked my leg today when I was putting his bed to proper DDR usage.

This cute lil' booger attacked my leg today when I was putting his "bed" to proper DDR usage.


July 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm 2 comments

Ah, Sweet, Sweet Sundays.

Today was a pretty relaxing day. I didn’t do too much, and I was relieved to be able to sleep in until 11 this morning. I mainly just hung out with Charlie and studied Japanese kanji all day, but I also snapped a few quick photos in between.

Charlie doing what he does best - bein' cute.

Charlie doing what he does best - bein' cute.

"What do ya want?"

"What do ya want?"

This bird was perched just outside my window for most of the afternoon, just chattering away. Jen - If you're reading this - QUICK What kind of bird is it?

This bird was perched just outside my window for most of the afternoon, just chattering away. Jen - If you're reading this - QUICK What kind of bird is it?

Charlie watching our feathered friends just outside the window. Now wonder he sits there so often. :P

Charlie watching our feathered friends just outside the window. No wonder he sits there so often. 😛

Also, I found this fantastically interesting video of Christopher Walken humbly showing the viewer how to prepare “Chicken with Pears” or “Chicken on a Throne”. Enthralling stuff! 🙂

June 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm 1 comment

I’ve Been a Busy Lil’ Bee.

Alright, so most of you have by now noticed that I’ve been ‘a slackin in my daily postings. There IS a good reason for this, I assure you. I’ve been having some major problems with misunderstandings and whatnot with the woman who I’ve been subleasing from, but all of that has FINALLY been resolved today. All is now very well in the land of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (and sometimes James  Monroe too!). I’ve also been very, very busy with my daily Japanese lessons as well. They’ve been taking up a considerable chunk of time as well, but not nearly as much as the first thing.

As you can tell by now, this week  was really stressful. It began with frantically trying to solve the leasor/rent problem, then onto solving the problem of my housemate’s puppy having an accident (twice!) on my bed. Thankfully I sleep on an air-mattress and laundry doesn’t cost too much to do. On Thursday this problem was solved by Susan from the Library, who is loaning me a fantastic wooden baby gate to keep the little leaky puppy out of my room. Awesome! 🙂

As for my research (oh yeah, I remember that! :P), in spite of all the shenanigans, it’s been going very well. I’ve been getting a lot of work done researching and taking notes on the people in TJ’s life while he was in Williamsburg and while he was being tutored in his earlier years as well. It’s pretty fun and interesting stuff, but it’s also hard work as well.

This weekend so far has been fantastic. I had two very wonderful and productive days at the bookstore, and I even got to leave 1 1/2 hours early today since I did such an awesome job in restocking shelves. I even got paid for those 1 1/2 hours! What can I say, I love my job. 🙂

On to the juicier bits – the Pictures of the Day that I’ve missed for the past few days.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library. TJ had a few of these made for himself, he liked them so much. He also liked to give them as gifts as well, if my memory serves me right.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I <3 Scott Wilson or I <3 TJ on it. :'(

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I ❤ Scott Wilson or I ❤ TJ on it. :'(

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: TJ, J-Mads, and President Monroe.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: J-Mads, TJ, and President Monroe. Presidents Monument on the side of City Hall in Downtown Charlottesville.

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. :P

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. 😛

June 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm 2 comments

Learning About Jefferson’s Musical Passions and a Blurb about Sunday.

Once again, I have most unfortunately fallen behind a day in keeping my daily blog. I’ve been super, super busy lately with many, many things, so I haven’t had much time at night lately to write anything up. But we will get to that later.


Sunday was a pretty good day. Nothing much of note happened, except that my other housemate Jenna had finally settled in to join myself and Megan. She also brought her adorable and sweet puppy Lady, much to Charlie’s chagrin.


Everything started fantastic as usual, I started my morning routine and made it to the Library (which now I have a habit of calling it “work” even though it’s a super fun internship) on time. I continued my studies of Jefferson’s life at William and Mary by taking more notes from the first volume of the Marie Kimball set. I would also like to note that  Anna was dead on in stating on the Library’s blog that “Kimball’s research [was] assiduously documented”, as I’ve been very busy lately in hunting down the sources of the letters and other works that the author has cited. Not that I’m complaining, I’ve come to find that “chasing information”, or as Anna put it – “gathering pearls”, is definitely my cup of tea. I love it. 🙂

In my note-taking time, I also learned a little bit about Jefferson and his passion for music. Apparently he loved the popular European works and was very disappointed in the colonies’ lackthereof, as he states to a French friend in a letter dated June 8th, 1778:

If there is a gratification which I envy any people in this world, it is your country and its music. This is a favorite passion of my soul, and fortune has cast my lot in a country where it is in a state of deplorable barbarism” (letter cited in Kimball, pg 54. Also cited in the first Randall volume, pg 132).

This is very interesting to keep in mind while reading through Kimball’s well-documented portrait of Jefferson’s musical interests. I had some idea beforehand that Jefferson had played the violin at some point, but I had no idea that he had owned quite a large chunk of music over the course of his life, some even copies in his own handwriting. It is also sad to note, however, that when one of his great-granddaughters had possession of these handwritten copies, a servant boy had tossed a good portion of them into a hearthfire instead of the old newspapers that he was given for that purpose (Kimball, pg 59). This is just one of the many infuriating injustices done to TJ’s papers, but thats another blog entry.

I don’t have a Picture of the Day for today or yesterday, so that means that tomorrow must be an unprecedented Three-fer!

June 8, 2009 at 10:37 pm 1 comment

Ketchup Day.

First, I would like to apologize for the massive lack in posts for the past two days. Every night that I’ve gotten home I’ve been too busy and/or tired to post, so here’s some highlights of the past few days:


– Went to the library as usual,and had a jolly time doing my work. I then attended a historical meeting of sorts afterwards.

– Studied some Japanese.


– Went to work my first day at the bookstore. I restocked the Science Fiction section, mailed an online order for my boss, met the guy that owns Blue Whale Books, and cleaned off some shelves. It was actually lots of fun! 🙂

– Ate a tasty ham and cheese sandwich washed down with a massive strawberry milkshake at the locally famous historical landmark, Timberlake’s Drug Store. I also explored the Pedestrian Mall a little bit.

– Went grocery shopping and forgot to buy chicken, paperclips, and laundry detergent. Whoops. 😛


Moving on to today, I once again headed over to the bookstore for work this morning. I cleaned all of the outdoor bookcarts and restocked a lot of the fiction section. When it was time for lunch, I once again went out to explore the mall and headed into Five Guys, which was a highly recommended burger joint. It definitely lived up to expectations, but I think that I’ll be heading back to Timberlake’s next week. 😛

So all in all, it wasn’t TOO much of an eventful weekend (although I did have the bejeezus scared out of me when I came home from work and was face to face with a MASSIVE  wolf spider on my closet door). Starting my fun new job was pretty exciting, but now that my week has ended it is time to kickback, relax, toss in a couple loads of laundry, and maybe even sleep in tomorrow (that is, Charlie permitting 😛 ). My first full week here in Charlottesville has been pretty amazing, but also very demanding at  the same time. There is so much that I want to do and so little time, and I hope that I can spare a few moments to squeeze it all in.

Picture of the Day (once again, a delectable two-fer!):

This one is for Lisa - The Great Wall of Mystery.

This one is for Lisa - The Great Wall of Mystery.

In an unfortunate turn of events for us at the Jefferson Library, apparently there will be no Pie allowed in Charlottesville. :'(

In an unfortunate turn of events for us at the Jefferson Library, apparently there is no Pie allowed in Charlottesville. :'(

June 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm 2 comments

Some Interesting Finds, Sprinkled with a Few Thunderstorms.

Today pretty much started out as usual, as I headed over to the library and immediately dug into my tasty research. I had FINALLY finished reading and taking notes on the chapters that I had selected from the Dumas Malone book, which is awesome. What did I learn from Dumas Malone, you ask? Well first of all, I learned that my partner in crime Scott “Feets” Wilson is a lot more like TJ than I would like to admit (or actually, maybe I would…). Secondly, I learned a great deal more about TJ’s younger years when he was floating from Shadwell to Williamsburg every now and then learning law (and a little bit about the classics as well) under the respectable George Wythe. I also didn’t know that from time to time that he had played violin for, and I think sometimes with, Governor Fauquier.

As far as tasty tidbits go,  I particularly liked this quote from Euripides that Jefferson had included in his literary notebook after he was basically snubbed by his love interest, Miss Rebecca Burwell:

“Nothing is better than  a reliable friend, not riches, not absolute sovereignty. Nay more, the crowd is not to be reckoned with, in exchange for a noble friend” (found on page 85 of the first volume of the Dumas Malone series, if you’re interested).

Very touching, I’d say. Malone continued to note that Jefferson made an effort to say very little, if anything at all about “individual women” after that, but continued to reminisce fondly of dear friends of his. However, on a side note, if I were TJ after being snubbed by the girl of my dreams, I’d be quoting something by Aeschylus in my literary notebook. But thats just me. 😛

As the afternoon rolled in, I then dove into the first volume of the highly recommended Marie Kimball set. I didn’t have much time left at the library at that point, so I only had managed to write maybe a page  of notes before I skidaddled out of there for the day.

One final note: It storms A LOT in Charlottesville during the summer, apparently.

Picture of the Day (a two-fer, as promised! :)):

The Elegant Front Entranceway of the Jefferson Library.

The Elegant Front Entrance of the Jefferson Library/Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Hehe Charlie Peekin.

Hehe Charlie Peekin.

June 3, 2009 at 6:44 pm 4 comments

Learning How to Do History, One Baby Step at a Time.

Today was my second full day at the library, and to be honest it flew by before I even could sit down to do research for more than 5 minutes (in a good and rather productive way!). First, I sat in for about two hours on the weekly staff meeting. It was very interesting to hear about everything that was happening at the library, but it was also great to get a larger sense of the group dynamic and how everyone interacts. For something that is usually supposed to be something people dread coming to each week, ESPECIALLY on a Monday morning on about five hours of sleep, I actually enjoyed it.

After the meeting, I had my lunch and then went to the reading room to wait for Anna to give me her take on the library and what I should know. It turns out that I had already knew quite a bit about using databases and whatnot, but she certainly helped immensely by filling me in on things that my experiences had missed. She then showed me around the stacks, giving me excellent pointers on what authors and works to trust in terms of scholasticism and reliability. The Princeton-edited series of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson is the best in this case; with the worst being a set by a guy whose name I can’t remember but he slashed portions out of  and personally rewrote some parts of the letters organized in his little published series of Jefferson writings.

The tour went on throughout the whole library, and before we knew it, it was four o’ clock. Quittin’ time. I mused for a few moments about whether or not I should hang around and do some work, but I then remembered that I had to pick up some paperwork from my apartment complex’s leasing office and also to tend to some other odds n’ ends of errands. Nothing too exciting.

I also realized that I hadn’t made a post for yesterday, so here are some of the highlights:

– The Comcast man came by and installed a modem for internet usage, so now I can quit leeching from whoever setup that open wireless connection!

– Started making my Kanji flashcards for this week.

– Charlie was a real jerk cat and peed all over my duffel bag full of clean clothes, so I did laundry.

– Moved some of the furniture from the living room into my room, making it seem much more cozy to relax or work in.

Also, a two-fer Picture of the Day:

The new room set-up! :)

The new room set-up! 🙂

A pooped little Charlie cat.

A pooped little Charlie cat.

June 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm 3 comments

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