The Beauty and Brilliance of Monticello

I recently visited the University of Virginia for a speech at the Miller Center, which was always an immense pleasure. It is remains one of the most beautiful and historic campuses in the country and I was able to bring my son, Aidan, who is looking at Virginia for college. As has been my custom for decades, I never go to Charlottesville without taking a pilgrimage to Monticello and the home of Thomas Jefferson. There has been many changes since my last visit due to a wonderful gift of David Rubenstein, who continues to leave a lasting mark on our historical record with his generous and well-placed giving. Monticello is an even greater delight with Rubenstein’s support. No other historic home more perfectly reflects the figure who lived within it. In this case, the home is filled with designs and inventions of Jefferson whose creativity seems to explode in every room with novel architectural points and quirky inventions. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of our country, Monticello is as timeless as the legal contributions of Jefferson from the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom to our Declaration of Independence.

Monticello is a lovely and short ride from University of Virginia, which should also be visited if only to see Jefferson’s vision of the “Academical Village” with its great lawn and Rotunda. The chapel is also quite lovely. (By the way, we stayed at the Boar’s Inn, which was a lovely and expansive property just five minutes from the campus. We also had a great burger at “Citizen Burger” with some onion rings to die for – literally). Here are a few pictures from the campus.

Now for Monticello. I strongly recommend that all visitors take advantage of all of the tours. These guides are some the most knowledgable that you will find at any historical site. They are incredible people who love history and committed their lives to preserving the stories of all who lived here. They hold a wealth of information and do an excellent job of dealing frankly with the most troubling part of Jefferson’s legacy as a slave owner. While Jefferson was never known to have personally beaten a slave and freed a number of people at his death, he was still a slave owner and had hundreds of enslaved persons on his estate. Despite my respect for Jefferson (and opposition to those who want to remove monuments to him), he deserves the condemnation of history for being a slave owner. The guides do a terrific job in vividly explaining the human cost of slavery for these families, including many sold off at Jefferson’s death. While Jefferson died in great debt, there was no excuse for his possession of enslaved persons or his leaving so many in slavery at the end of his life. One has to consider that conflicted legacy when visiting this beautiful stop. For that reason, it is fortunate that the tour begins in the area of slave housing at Monticello, including structures used for forging and Jefferson’s prized horses.

Notably, along his path is a little graveyard that can be easily missed but should not be ignored. (It is next to the garden used by Jefferson’s slaves to grow food for their families). It is the grave site of Uriah Levy. Levy is not known to most Americans but he should be. He was an extraordinary American in his own right. He was the first Jewish Commodore of the United States Navy and he is credited with being one of the most determined opponents to flogging — a practice ended due in part to his advocacy. Perhaps the greatest debt that we owe to Levy and his family is that they saved Monticello. Jefferson died heavily in debt and the family could not unload the property. It was at risk of being lost for the ages. Levy saw the need for preserving this site for his country and moved his family to the mountain top and took remarkable care in preserving the home that Jefferson built. This is one of those debts that a nation could not possibly repay. It is also another example of how Jewish families have contributed so much to our country despite facing anti-Semitism, as did Levy. The grave of Levy is located along a path fittingly preserved and improved by the largess of David Rubenstein, who has given this country so much in terms of own philanthropy.

After exploring the mountain top (and visiting Jefferson’s grave site), you can join the tour of the house. My favorite part of the house has always been the Jefferson clock just inside of the front door. It has both a face on the outside and the main clock facing inside. It is still working and also tracks the day of the week (the chain marking the days on the side was too long for all of the days so Jefferson cut a hole in the floor to allow Sunday to be marked in the room below). It still chimes and is lovingly cranked once a week. The clock for me personifies Jefferson’s genius and his restless creativity.

The house is filled with quirky Jeffersonian touches including European elements that he incorporates after serving as ambassador to France. That includes automatically closing doors and a dumbwaiter for wine to the dining room. Of course, as a Madisonian scholar, I perfectly move the “Madison room” where Madison often stayed while visiting Jefferson.

One element that I particularly enjoyed on this visit was the trunk of a huge tree that was felled recently. To the surprise of the custodians, a new tree then sprouted up with the trunk — a symbol of the stubborn persistence of the Jefferson legacy.

I was also given access to the octagon room at the top of the home. This was my first such visit to this area, which is often cut off from tours. A narrow stairway goes to the top floor. It is gorgeous including a cute little room where the girls would hide and have their own special space. It was a reminder that this home for the Jeffersons and the Levys was filled with kids. The thought of all those kids running about adds to the vision of this as a real home. It is also a home that is bathed in sunlight. I love Mount Vernon but it can be a tad confining and dark at places. These two properties are true personifications of the two leaders. Jefferson wanted a home open to sunlight with areas designed for gatherings and discussions. In that architecture, Monticello was virtually unique among the great estates of its time.

Here are a few more pictures from the estate:

Now for one last note. On the way to Monticello, you pass the Michie Tavern. This 1784 landmark was actually moved in 1927 from its original location in Earlysville — seventeen miles away. It is a great way to finish off a visit at Monticello with the quintessential Revolutionary-era pub. We were fortunate to be the last customers around 3 when any crowds or buses had long left. While a little pricey, they serve the same all-you-can-eat menu with fried chicken, pulled pork, greens, mashed potatoes, and peach cobbler. I came largely for the building and expected the food to be frankly a disappointment. It was not. I may have had better fried chicken but I cannot remember when. The chicken is unbelievably good — an unchanged recipe that alone is worth the money. The mashed potatoes, biscuits, and gravy were another hit for us. You should definitely plan a stop at the Michie Tavern for lunch.

Here are few pictures from the Tavern:

So here is my recommendation (and your marching orders). Visit the University of Virginia (and go to the top of the Rotunda to the round reading room). Then go to Monticello for much of the day. Finish off with a late lunch (before 3 pm) at the Michie Tavern (save room for extra fried chicken). That is a day (like mine) that you will not soon forget.

106 thoughts on “The Beauty and Brilliance of Monticello”

  1. carnage on wall street, Saudi mischief as big a factor as anything, tomorrow will be ugly too

    dont try and catch a falling knife!

  2. They say just before dark on crisp, breezy fall nights you can hear amid the rustling of the yellow skeleton shreds of the sugar maple and tulip poplars in the Grove, a crunching of pebbles as if beneath a man’s feet along one of the peaceful roundabouts. The pragmatic among us just scoff at a stray deer on the prowl but to those of us who’ve pilgrimaged to the mountain shrine, we always catch a glimpse of a fleeting wool coat tail whipping behind the mulberrys, and we know, without doubt, it’s the Sage of Monticello who never really absents his home.

  3. Looks awesome. Never got to go there, maybe next time I visit, or move to Virginia, ya never know. I did drive myself down to George Washington place Mount Vernon when I lived there, and wanted to stay longer, but they were kicking people out at closing time. Hope your son enjoyed it. Virginia has so many great schools and universities, and so.much history. UVA is a great choice. Interesting winged statue. Nice photos.

  4. I love Monticello and the Shenandoah Valley. One of my favorite parts of the country. Thank you for sharing the photos.

    1. The comment about Jefferson’s horses brought to mind one of the aspects of the protest at Charlottesville that bothered me. Destroying Robert E Lee’s statue would also destroy the statue of his famous Saddlebred horse, Traveller. The horse is an icon in the South. So much so that his stable doors at Washington and Lee University are still left open, so that his spirit may wander freely. He was an amazing horse to have survived any war, let alone the Civil War. Sadly, he died the year after General Lee died. He got tetanus and had to be put down at 14, still a young horse by today’s standards.

      Traveller is so famous that the original name of USC’s mascot horse was Traveler. All horses who serve as this mascot ride under that name.

      “If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth, and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist Markie, and can therefore only say he is a Confederate gray.”

      — Robert E. Lee, letter to Markie Williams

  5. I’m planning to go to Monticello in April, along with Lumpkin’s Slave Jail in Richmond and the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian. I read Turley’s version of Jefferson’s history regarding slavery. I submit it’s a lot worse than he allows. Jefferson was responsible for ending the International Slave Trade on the first day allowed by the Constitution. Not as some prelude to ending slavery but as a way to protect the domestic slave trade in a protectionist move to keep prices up for slaves. The primary beneficiaries were slave owners in Virginia and Maryland who had excess slaves. The big loser was South Carolina whose port of Charleston was the biggest receiver of African slaves. The other losers were the slave women who were forced to keep having babies to sell down the river.

    1. enigma – good to see you. Was beginning to worry because you had been absent for awhile. Hope all is well. 🙂

    2. Who even cares about a bunch of damned slaves anyway. That was over 200 years ago, and it was other black people in Africa who sold them to us. So why should us white folks be beating ourselves up about this nonsense in 2020???

      If black people are poor today, it is mostly because their women are popping out 77.3% of their kids as b&st&ards – into one income families. And because those same b&st&rds are dropping out of high school and following in mammy’s footsteps of trying to grab free stuff.

      You can’t change slavery, but you can still change the bad choices made in 2020 by blacks. BUT, you got to quit whining about slavery and Jim Crow and start behaving yourselves. And quit blaming White People for everything wrong in your lives.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. I see you’ve returned to form Squeeky. You were rather nice the last time we communicated, not totally out of character but rare. This response here is the Squeeky I know and love.
        I’m starting an article; I haven’t gotten past the title, “What do Americans tell their children about slavery?” Do you have any thoughts or should I just use the first paragraph of this reply?
        BTW, I write about slavery and other history because so few people actually know it.

        1. HI Enigma!

          Nice to see you again too. Here is how I would start my slavery talk:

          Most of our ancestors were slaves over 150 years ago, but we got freed in 1865. We had a hard time there for a while but we started our own colleges and schools, and we began to make progress. Most Southerners still did not like the coloreds and eventually Congress had to pass laws that let us vote there. That was around 1965, and about 85% of us were married, and maybe only 20% of our kids were born out of wedlock. Our neighborhoods were places where we could feel comfortable. But the Democrats were still not our friends, and they passed Great Society Free Crap laws which too many of our people shamefully latched onto. They sold their families and most of the progress we had made for Food Stamps, housing vouchers, and free phones. Democrats needed a dependent welfare class to keep them in power. Sort of barefoot and pregnant. So now, when so many of our people have become stupid, savage and worthless, Slavery is the thing we blame so we don’t have to blame ourselves and take responsibility for our own lives. Plus, if we can make the White Folks feel guilty enough, maybe they will throw us some more free stuff!

          That is how I would do it if I was you!

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. Great Society Free Crap laws which too many of our people shamefully latched onto. They sold their families and most of the progress we had made for Food Stamps, housing vouchers, and free phones.
            What you are describing is all the poor white folks that live around here

            1. About 7% of the non-hispanic white population is enrolled in the SNAP (ne Food Stamps) program and about 3% receive federal housing subsidies. A great many of them are elderly or adjudicated as disabled.

              1. Anyone can end up poor, broke, and down on their luck. A few goof ups or missteps and no support and it’s Over, consider yourself homeless, and you do not have to have a mental disorder or be a drug addict. While true, many are, also true, many are not, however, some become mentally or drug addicts, bc of the predicament or circumstances of their life.

                I have a brother on SNAP, he is very much so white, can from an upper middle class to upper lower class family. We spent holidays at the Country Club, mother’s day brunch, father’s day, you name it.

                My brother had symptoms of the disorder going back to high school, which was apparent to the other two siblings who did not speak up out of fear. It took a complete collapse of his small business and a full blown melt down, as the disease progressed, to get him help and under some control.

                He cannot work a normal business job, he’s tried, and failed, always fired or quits. He cannot work a retail job either. So, that leaves him with SSDI, and Snap, and maybe one other, but I’m not sure. SNAP comes out to less than 6 bucks per day…Can you feed yourself on 6 bucks per day? I doubt it!

                My father still supplements him every month for food, food has become rather expensive.

                It’s not all a bunch of deadbeats and awful ppl…who are lazy…some ppl are dealt better cards in life than others. Life is random…

                1. I have a friend, an actress, she spent 6 months living in her car in LA, before she was able to get out of that predicament. Comes from a nice middle-class family, is white and Jewish. She told me she is still messed up from those 6 months in her car, that it traumatized her.

                  And she currently runs a successful food truck business 3 ways with 3 other actors, and they’re doing well, and expanding the business.

                  Actually, hold on, I don’t think you can get SNAP as a homeless person, I think you needs a permanent address for it, so if you’re homeless, you get Nothing, just food banks, if you can find one near by, and of course begging…

                  I’m not personally well off, and I always roll my window down and give homeless money, even 1 dollar, just one dollar. I don’t care what they do with it, it’s not my business. And I’m not even well off….

                  1. Unlike you, I do care what they do with the money. Because of lot of these people should be in drug addict concentration camps in my opinion. They should be locked up for a minimum of two years, and made to work 40 hours a week on a regular schedule. And no drugs or alcohol. They should get drug counseling, and if no education, a GED before they can get released.

                    If they get caught in possession after that or test positive for drugs, then a 10 year sentence in a drug prison. Quit treating addictiion as a medical problem and treat it is a criminal problem.

                    Squeeky Fromm
                    Girl Reporter

                2. Believe it or not, I am not against food stamps, or even housing vouchers, or increased disability and social security payments. I am against people who do stuff voluntarily to suck off these systems. For example, druggies, drunks, gay men who get HIV, and women who pop out one b&st&rd kid after another.

                  I would not even be against giving these women money if it meant their children would not be following in their footsteps. But it doesn’t. That is where all the little black thugs are coming from. That is what is “Institutional”.

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                  1. I think you’re getting at something very important, and that is the family unit, regardless of what race, depending on what state, and locale a person lives in…

                    The family unit has been broken down over time…the next generation learns from their parents, and so forth.

                    If your father is a thug or a criminal, then it’s more likely at a young and an influential age, he will get you into the “family” business. Whether as an adult, the said child continues, or walks away, that is a choice they have to make. That does for drug dealing, mafia, or even prostitution.

                    If your mother is a prostitute, she may pimo you out as a young prostitute for higher compensation. And that does shockingly happen in the U.S.

                    It’s very hard to get out of the crab pot, and the environment. And some do, but a lot don’t, and they fall right into all the traps, end up drug addicts, like you’re talking about, rehab would be great for them, govt rehab for a lot who can’t afford rehab.

                    Ya know, if you’re a rich kid, your parents send you to Cliffside Malibu for a 40,000 est detox, but if you’re a poor kid, I dunno.

                    I’ve jokingly said Cliffside Malibu looks like a nice vacation spot, like a luxury resort.

                    I hate to say this, but a lot of people have kids, by accidents, at young ages, and make a decision to keep the child, and they don’t have the means to raise a child, especially in a city, so it comes down to welfare or 3 jobs, and the kids are “LatchKey” kids, and if you can keep them out of a gang, that is a major accomplishment, if you can get them into college, when you yourself have the reading and writing skills of an 8th grader, that is like a blessing from God.

                    I’m ranting here, but it’s a very complicated topic.

                    1. I was just thinking, just a thought, is it more likely that if your mother had kids very young, you as well will have kids very young? Idk.

                      I see Kris Jenner, and she had kids very young, so naturally, some of her daughters had kids very young, to be like their mom.

                      Now, they have wealth, and help on hand, in the house, paid for by their reality tv and other ventures, probably products, but the one gal, who was pulled out of high school, and never finished h.s., had her first child at 20 yo.

                      Now, imagine if they were not rich, and did the same thing, it would lead to strife, and life problems, up the you know what…

                      Some of its from being not educated in sex, some of it’s just plain accidents, some of it is a desire to have kids, like they’re mothers, I.e., well, my single mom raised me just fine, so I’ll do the same as her…but sometimes it doesn’t work out.

                      A lot of time, the kids raise themselves, not like the Kardashians, with all the help and assistants.

                      But it’s pervasive, bc drug addiction can get Hunter Biden, or Lindsey Lohan, but can also get the poor, a homeless drug addict.

                      I feel like a lot of it comes down to money and disposable resources.

                      You do not get to pick your parents, and who brings you here.

                      But also, you can make decisions to not join gangs, and stay away from drugs…sometimes the crab pot is just too deep, and they feel stuck…they give up, some turn to robbery or burglary, to get by, until they get caught.


            1. Democrats needed a dependent welfare class to keep them in power. And they STILL do. That’s why the Democrats are looking to black voters to save their asses in the next election, as they always do. I would tell my children Just Say No to Democrat Politicians who don’t give a dam about you until election time. Do what Trump suggested, give him a chance. What have you got to lose? #Truth.

              1. Democrats needed a dependent welfare class to keep them in power.

                No, not really. People collecting Social Security and enrolled in Medicare are not a secure constituency for the Democratic Party.

                Mainly what they need at this time is a multifarious set of client populations to provide the votes for them to harass and abuse core Americans, whom they despise.

                1. Yes, but people on Social Security do not get a bigger check if they have another kid. Plus, being on SS does not mean you are poor for a large number of them. That is why SS can be taxed as income, But not housing vouchers, Food Stamps, or other forms of welfare.

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                  1. Yes, but people on Social Security do not get a bigger check if they have another kid.

                    The population receiving TANF is currently about 2.8 million, or < 1% of the population. TANF households have an average of 1.75 children.

                    1. Like I have showed you multiple times before, TANF is hardly the only form of welfare.

                      You haven’t shown me anything at all. You’re also innumerate and childish.

                      As it happens, it’s the only federally-financed program that issues cash to the non-elderly and non-disabled. You were the one who brought more money with another kid. That’s the program where you might receive that. Only problem is, it doesn’t have a large caseload and the people on it don’t have any more children than does a randomly selected American with minor children.

                    2. “You haven’t shown me at all. You’re also innumerate and childish.”

                      She calls herself “Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter.” One can’t (and shouldn’t) expect much.

                1. You are a lost cause. No one should even try anymore to make a case with someone as dug in as you. Your mind is set in concrete. No one will ever move you off your righteously wrong position. What will Joe Biden administration do for you that Trump is not? What is it that you actually believe Democrats will do for you and the black community that you are willing to vote for someone as old, god awful and incompetent as Joe Biden????

                  1. Poor and middle class (which includes blacks) are doing demonstrably better in these three years under Trump than the entire prior eight years under Obama. You are a fool if you cannot see what Trump has done versus anything, and I mean anything, that Obama admin did in eight years that actually benefitted the black community. Barack Obama took care of Barack Obama. That’s what’s clear about his eight years. He’s on his way to becoming a billionaire. The Democrat party? In shambles. Thanks Obama!

                  2. Trump isn’t quite as old but he’s far more god awful and incompetent. If you were honest with yourself, you know he’s desperate to hide his finances for a reason, lies about everything and is mismanaging the corona virus situation. Is it down to one case yet? He’s telling people it’s alright to go to work. He’s telling people to still come to his rallies, he’s going to thin his own herd for crowd size.

                    1. enigma – the US is handling the corona virus better than any other country. Democrats don’t people going to Trump rallies because draws more people than the Democrats. He puts on a great show.

                    2. Enigma just repeated every single MSM Democrat talking point about Trump. Tip for you: a Democrat talking point, does not equal fact or truth.

                    3. Enigma – you just regurgitated Democrat/MSM talking points about Trump. Not one of your comments addressed my question which was: What is it that you actually believe Democrats will do for you and the black community that you are willing to vote for them and not Trump?

                2. Your pictures made a great virtual tour. Thank you for sharing!

                3. Enigma,
                  Good to see you. The truth about coronavirus isn’t even clear at this point. South Korea has had about 6000 cases but about a .6% mortality rate.


                  It seems the pollution in Hubei/Wuhan may play a role.


                  There were even protests about the pollution last summer, if I recall.

                4. Enigma said “The same man that can’t tell the truth about the Corona virus…”

                  You realize the anti-Trump media is stoking panic, spreading lies and confusing disinformation, and hoping for a recession just to hurt Trump, right? CNN is literally trying to cause panic with their idiotic coverage of Coronavirus.

                  All the same people who’ve been lying to you for three years about Russia Russia Russia didn’t decide to start telling you the truth when Wuhan Virus got to America.

                  1. If you can’t acknowledge that Trump is spreading lies about the virus. He’s literally saying the opposite of what the leading scientists and CDC are saying and has muted them, requiring their statements be approved by Pence first. When do you think the vaccine will be ready? Anything less than a year is a lie.

                    1. He said the virus will go away when it warms up. Show me the CDC saying that? He and his whole staff are saying the disease is “contained.” The CDC says it’s impossible to contain andwe’ve moved on to mitigation. There’s no point in me backing this up with news items since you’ll simply discredit the source and call it fake news. This page was already in a tab so I didn’t have to look for it. Anyone who truly believes Trumps statements/tweets are consistent with what the scientists are saying is deluding themself.


                    2. enigma:

                      “John Nicholls, a pathology professor at the University of Hong Kong, told financial investors on a conference call last week that he expected the virus to “burn itself out” with increased temperatures. He predicted the threat could subside by May, according to a transcript of the call that was leaked online.”

                      The CDC likened it to influenza which dissipates with heat and issued a cautious assessment but did mention the weather contributing to the end of the virus:


                    3. Nobody is saying warm weather will end the disease except Trump, it may subside with warmer weather (or not).
                      “When asked if the virus could experience a resurgence with the return of cold weather next fall, Nicholls didn’t offer a response.”
                      Trump has said many things nobody else is saying. His first news conference he spoke of a number of affected patients in the teens (I believe 14″ which he said would be down to one in a few days. The CDC was saying “not if but when the disease spreads.” The doctors are being muzzled while Trump makes shit up that sounds good. Hope you weren’t at CPAC.

                    4. The parts you left out…
                      “While the world has continued to hope that the spread of the virus will dwindle with increased temperatures in the spring, Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, cautioned that it would be “premature” to assume warmer weather will inhibit the virus.

                      Her remarks came days after President Donald Trump, at a rally in New Hampshire, declared that the coronavirus could “miraculously” go away “once the weather warms up. “I think I would caution overinterpreting that hypothesis,” Messonnier said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “Influenza has a season … So, if this behaves similarly, it may be that as we head towards summer and, I guess, spring and summer, the cases would go down, but this is a new disease. We haven’t even been through six weeks of it, much less a year, and so I certainly would, I mean, I’m happy to hope that it goes down as the weather warms up, but I think it’s premature to assume that, and we’re certainly not using that to sit back and expect it to go away.”
                      Maybe they should just stop working on the vaccine that won’t be ready until next year because it will be gone by May?

                    5. enigma:

                      Here I’ll repeat it:

                      “John Nicholls, a pathology professor at the University of Hong Kong, told financial investors on a conference call last week that he expected the virus to “burn itself out” with increased temperatures.”

                      He’s a professor and talks to investors. Here’s his bio:

                      “Professor John Nicholls is a Clinical Professor in Pathology at the University of Hong Kong. He commenced medical studies at the University of Adelaide, South Australia in 1977 and graduated in 1983. He commenced postgraduate training in pathology at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and The Adelaide Children’s Hospital. In 1988 he moved to Hong Kong as a Lecturer in Pathology at the University of Hong Kong where in addition to clinical and teaching duties commenced research into the relationship of viruses with the respiratory tract. His publications were focused on the role of Epstein-Barr Virus in nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a common tumour in the Guangdong region.

                      In 1997, following the first outbreak of H5N1 influenza in humans, he commenced collaboration with the Department of Microbiology to study the pathological effects of avian influenza viruses in the respiratory tract. In 2003 he was a key member of the research team at the University of Hong Kong which isolated and characterized the novel SARS coronavirus which was associated with the global outbreak of 2003.

                      His work on SARS and avian influenza has been published in prestigious journals such as Lancet, PLOS Medicine and Nature Medicine as listed in part of his selected biography. His current investigative work is looking at the viral binding sites in the respiratory tract and determining susceptibility to avian influenza in humans and other animals. Together with staff from the School of Public Health he has established a lung and bronchial ex vivo culture system to investigate tropism and pathogenesis of emerging viral infections, as well as potential novel antiviral agents such as DAS181 in these systems. In 2009 he was awarded a Croucher Senior Medical Fellowship to work on novel therapeutic strategies for influenza.”

                      And you’re exactly what?

                    6. From the CDC:

                      “Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?”

                      “It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.”


                    1. More on John Nicholls:


                      “In any case, Nicholls downplayed the severity of the epidemic as fear and panic were spreading. Hong Kong closed schools for over a month and speculation of shortages has prompted shoppers to hoard toilet paper and other goods. One likely explanation for the rapid circulation of the unofficial CLSA transcript was a yearning to hear something positive about the outbreak.”

                      “How lethal is the Wuhan virus?”

                      “No worse than a ‘bad cold’ say some experts, but others fear it could kill 14,000 people in Hong Kong alone”


                      Time will tell.

        2. “What do Americans tell their children about slavery?” Do you have any thoughts or should I just use the first paragraph of this reply?

          1. How detailed do you plan to be?

          2. Are you making a historical presentation or a sociological one?

          3. Are you intending to say anything prescriptive?

          1. I haven’t settled on the scope yet. In an individual family, much would depend on the age of the child and their level of curiousity. I imagine race would play a role but I’ve yet to get any feedback from anyone other than black as to what they would tell their child. (More than one black male has answered “Absolutely nothing.”) So far I only have the title n a page. I honestly don’t know what direction it will take. My daughter asked her 7 year old about slavery who replied, “What is that?” In her elementary school they had discussed Ruby Bridges who desegregated a school in New Orleans but the topic of slavery had never come up. I don’t remember telling my children when they were young anything about slavery. Then again, I’ve learned more about the institution since they were grown than before.
            I have feelings about what I perceive to be a rewrite of history as to how well-intended the founders were and their plan for slavery to end which I think untrue. I don’t think it would serve a purpose to overwhelm a child (again dependent upon age) with much of the history but the topic should probably be covered over time. My niece says their family has had discussions after watching movies as to what really happened. I don’t think the article will end up with a specific recommendation for every situation other than the information should be factual which means don’t look to a Texas school book. We will see.

            1. enigma – to be fair, blacks were not the only slaves. Most of the slaves in Rome were Germanic or Celtic. The Vikings sold Irish slaves to the Muslims. And the Muslims sold black slaves to the Portuguese, then the Spanish, then the Dutch, then the English.

              1. That’s true enough, in the majority of those societies, children of slaves were born free and the slaves themselves usually were freed after a time. Americans took things to a brand new level. Instead of following European tradition, they changed the tracing of the blood-line to follow the mother, freeing the father of any responsibility for the product of their rapes and making the offspring of black females, slaves in perpituity. They also engaged in the practice of forced breeding of slaves as if they were livestock, selling them for profit. The Supreme Court held in Dred Scott that slaves had no rights whatsoever. I’m limited to a couple of links according to the rules here, try these:


                1. enigma – the Framers of the Constitution kicked the can down the road which set up the problem for others. The others handled it badly. Do I have a better solution? No. And you probably don’t either. It is the Law of Unintended Consequences. They made the best decisions they could, at the time, under the circumstances.

                  The forced breeding is because of a provision in the Constitution that cuts off the importation of slaves. As the need for more slave grew with cotton and tobacco farming, they had to raise their own slaves or buy them domestically. Both cotton and tobacco farming are labor intensive and there was too much free land available (or almost free land available) for non-blacks to set up homesteads.

                  1. The provision in the Constitution; Article 1, Section 9: Clause 1. was not a provision that cut off the import of slaves after twenty years. It was a concession to South CArolina that said the international slave trade couldn’t be banned for at least twenty years. It would still take an Act of Congress to make it happen which is just what Thomas Jefferson did the year before so it would take place on the first day possible. Virginia and MAryland had excess slaves, partially because tobacco crops were failing in Virginia due to failure to rotate crops. Slavery became Virginia’s largest export exceeding tobacco. Virginia slaveholders got rich off the profits from their slaves. If Jefferson hadn’t built monuments to himself at Monticello and in Charlottesville, we wouldn’t have been broke when he died.


                    1. enigma – are you accusing Jefferson of using government money to monuments to himself and thus bankrupting the country?

                    2. enigma – for a man that gave his library to the country, I can forgive him. 😉

                    3. If I’d passed the law in 1807, I’d most likely be dead so he can have all the credit. I do wish someone would but my library for $23K in 1815 dollars. Oh well!

                    4. enigma – we both surely would be dead. There is a calculator on the web for differences in currency in years.

          2. “What do Americans tell their children about slavery?” Do you have any thoughts or should I just use the first paragraph of this reply?”
            I simply told mine:
            1. Slavery has been around since the dawn of time.
            2. The Brits got rid of the institution without a civil war; we didn’t
            3. About 410,000 Caucasian American died freeing the slaves while about 340,000 died trying to keep them enslaved. Your ancestors did neither. There was valor and maliciousness on both sides.
            4. The largest group in North American holding slaves weren’t the relatively few Southern planters but the Native Americans who all held slaves. Most people in the South weren’t slaveholders or those who those who dealt with slaveholders.
            5. Slavery is a moral and legal wrong but like every corrupt system, it took evolution to change.

  6. David Barton gets a lot of flack for his mistakes, but he has elucidated how challenging was the legal procedure for manumitting a slave in Virginia ca. 1790, particularly for those estates carrying debts, as Monticello was.

    My last visit to Monticello was around 1997. It’s hard to take the docents seriously. I half expected one of them to start yammering that “Mr. Jefferson” had anticipated Werner von Braun’s work in aerospace engineering.

    1. DSS – I have a friend who comes from “oppressor people” from South Carolina and she was going through the family papers to do her genealogy. She showed me one of the wills where they were willing away over 1500 slaves. About 10 were named, the rest were like willing a herd of cattle.

        1. Squeeky – did you see that the mothers of four of the yutes made them turn themselves in to the police?

          1. I did not read it but I read somewhere that 4 or 5 of them had turned themselves in. But I bet they were from single parent homes which is why their dads did not make them turn themselves in.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

            1. Squeeky – it appeared to have started with a fight that the girl was in with another girl at a local middle school. Hence school children.

      1. My people are upland Southerners. Their slaves were referred to by name in wills. I’ll wager most people’s were because it was atypical for a family to have more than 10 slaves.

          1. Squeeky – my “people” came to the US after the Civil War and I am not up for paying reparations. If you want families who owned slaves to pay reparations, that is fine with me. However, my family didn’t and shouldn’t. And how about those blacks who owned slaves? Who do that pay reparations to?

  7. Jefferson, Slavery And Ending Dependencies.

    Much has been made in recent years about Jefferson’s ownership of slaves.  I think it’s a case of people being incapable of putting the past in proper context.  Slavery was the essential business model on which colonial America was built.

    In the 17th and 18th centuries it would have impossible for a relatively small number of Europeans to develop a vast and mostly virgin continent.  Slaves were essential to not only developing the land, but in keeping plantations operational.

    Now one can say, with modern sensibilities, that slavery was inherently wrong from the start.  But most Europeans were peasants on estates well into the 19th century.  In terms of actual lifestyle, the peasantry would not have been too different from slavery.  Therefore colonial slave owners would have viewed the world in terms of how average commoners lived in their period.

    But by the time this country was founded, it would have been clear that slavery was an unsustainable institution. An ever-growing slave class was a threat to ‘all’ common people.  Yet slavery managed to survive halfway into the 19th century only because it was the default business model that had yet to be replaced.  To put this in perspective, one might look at our recent dependencey on oil.

    Scientists have known for decades that oil is killing the environment.  Smog in Los Angeles was a serious issue in the 1950’s.  Scientists suspected then that air pollution contributed to cancer.  Oil spills on waterways were a dreaded disaster before the 1970’s had dawned.

    The Arab Oil Embarge of ’73-’74 should have convinced any skeptic that oil was not just toxic, but dependency was an economic and security threat.  Yet almost 50 years later our economy is still largely dependent on oil.  What’s more, the current administration feels no urgent need to end this dependency.  

    Therefore one can see with oil how economic business models become so embedded that even the most flawed models survive decades after their flaws are well-known.  In fact, the current denial of Climate Change is comparable to the mindset of slave states as the Civil War approached.  They were clinging to an institution whose time had clearly passed.

      1. What Absurd means is, ” As long as we have water we can still frack until the last shred of tar sand”.

  8. “History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.”

    “Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.

    Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

  9. Michie tavern: 1784 is “pre-Revolutionary”? Turley’s probably right, it probably does predate the Revolution, just not sure I’d use that choice of words without explanation.

  10. Absolutely love these photos. Thanks so much for sharing these scenes of our history!

  11. So eloquent and heartfelt. For a moment, I was transported back in time–both to the joy of your trip, as well as to bittersweet glimpses of Jefferson’s life. In due time, we’ll act on our “matching orders”.

  12. Thanks for the great pictures, JT. Excellent commentary as well. 🙂

  13. So nice to see this side of Jonathan Turley. The Billy Goat Hill version!

Comments are closed.