Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Jefferson Diary

Newly Dicovered Monticello Diary
Sheds Light on Jefferson's Religion

I am assuming that some of you have already heard the news about the new Thomas Jefferson diaries of his post-presidential years at Monticello. The news was broke to the public at a Monday press conference at Monticello where Jefferson historian, Dianne Swann-Wright expressed her excitement at having a new primary source on Jefferson:

This is a wonderful day for us here at Monticello and for American history enthusiasts everywhere...We look forward to reviewing and making public these records available to the public. The revelations in this journal are extraordinary...We are gaining new insight into the man that before was nothing more than mystery in many ways.
The Journal contains roughly 500 pages (all written by Jefferson himself). So far, historians at the University of Virginia (where the diary is being scrutinized in detail), have only released a few of its entries. For our blog's purposes, here are a few interesting entries regarding religion:

"Tired and cold today. Ms. Hemmings and I in continual quarrel. Unable to strike reason into the woman. She is so incorrigible. I feel myself longing for the quiet seclusion that only the Bible can provide. I hope posterity will one day recognize that I hold the Bible to be the absolute, supreme and infallible word of God. It's best understood when completely and totally inebriated, which allows the Holy Spirit to bring enlightenment into my life...much in the same way that peyote brings about inspiration to the Indian, so does alcohol to the Christian.
On October 30, 1788 Jefferson writes:

"Met with J. Madison my dear friend of many years. Though short in stature, I find Madison surprisingly strong. We Engaged in mud wrestling and I let said friend, Madison win. Drank more Madeira wine. I wish to run naked through the beautiful meadows between Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains come this Spring. I will delight in frolicking like a young schoolgirl through the tulips."
Incredible stuff! Who would have thought that Jefferson would mud wrestle James Madison and run in the nude! AMAZING!!!

"This is sure to cause quite a stir in the historical community" stated historian David McCullough.



bpabbott said...


jimmiraybob said...

Very well done. I'll be chuckling for the rest of the day. I look forward to seeing these excerpts quoted in the upcoming scholarly work by a certain Mr. B_____.

Chris Rodda said...

Best April Fool's blog post I've seen so far today!!!

Chris Rodda said...

"I look forward to seeing these excerpts quoted in the upcoming scholarly work by a certain Mr. B_____."

I actually have seen snark posts with joke quotes like this get make their way to being quoted on some of the Christian Nationalist websites, so it could happen -- not by Mr. B, but by some overly zealous Christian nation defender.

Brian Tubbs said...

Saw this one coming, Brad! :-)

Only because you pulled a similar prank last year.

Brad Hart said...

A prank? Wait, you all mean to tell me that this isn't true? Jefferson didn't like running naked through a field of tulips? Damn! That was my plan for Spring Break!

Chris Rodda said...

He might have been able to get away with that running naked crap when he was in France, but definitely not in Virginia. I mean, he didn't even try to sneak his "Bill for Establishing Naked Tulip Running" into his revisal of the laws.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I love it, Brad. Ace, dude.

Brad Hart said...

Ms. Rodda:

I beg to differ. David Barton and others have CLEARLY proven that Jefferson was in fact FOR naked tulip running. Obviously your interpretation of the historical record is biased. How could you miss such an obvious fact of history?

Chris Rodda said...

But Barton deliberately leaves out the entire mud wrestling episode. That's a lie of omission and changes the entire meaning of that diary entry!!! How can you defend Barton after that?

Anonymous said...

I'll excerpt from a letter written by Jefferson to J. Madison, dated May 12, 1776.

My short statured friend, we stand ready to bring forth a new nation based on solid republican principles and sound philosophical ideas. But first we must run through the tulips. Then we shall muddy up some ground. And then we wrestle. No coercion shall be applied, nakedness shall be at the discretion of the patriot.

I should point out that this letter is in my private collection.

jimmiraybob said...

That should have been Anonius. Not that I know who Anonius is.