5 Most Recent Updates

Epilogue (Final Update)

7/4/2006

"What's up with all these hicks sending bricks to us? Xenophobic assholes." said Jonathan Bullwort, the most obviously bored of all the three, lounging in the mail center whilst processing the odds and ends. As the whir of letterhead sorters and racks of mail rolled by to their pre-sorted destinations the three men, who sort out the odd end-of-the-line mailings to be reported or discarded, sat in the Congressional mailroom, as bored as the day they got the job. It is a tedious task, one can imagine, especially with all the lunatics who have access to paper - or in this case cinderblocks - and the money for the appropriate postage.

"Y'know, if someone mails us anthrax, we'd be screwed", said Roberto, the least bored of the three.

"Yeah, and you know it's only a matter of time before some crackpot slips us some kind of AIDS-infected needle or exotic, odorless poison intended for some random senator. To think, that people are actually going to read their worthless manifestos and opinions, when they can't even address the letters right." replied Jon.

"I've been here 24 years," started Norm, the eldest of the three, who was only somewhat less bored than Jon and perhaps a bit more bored than Roberto. However, his thoughts adrift, he did not finish his statement, forgetting exactly what it was that he was going to say.

"Here is something interesting", said Jon, attempting to liven the atmosphere. "This guy addressed his letter to the central hall of Congress. What, does he think that every letter we get is read aloud each morning in front of every senator? Who spends their time writing letters to Congress?"

"That'd be great if they did that, I know the first letter I'd send. 'Vote me a raise too!'", replied Roberto, who was already slightly amused from a somewhat funny joke he had heard earlier in the day.

"Well," started Norm, but Norm never really finishes his sentences. He's old, after all.

"We need some kind of distraction, so read the thing.", interjected Roberto, attempting to decrease the level of boredom shared somewhat by the three, less by him and more by the others.

"Yes", said Norm, who said nothing else.

"Alright, what the hell..." and so, Jon read the letter. It said...


To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress:

It is under unusual and strange circumstances that I summon you here today, and perhaps you will not find it fit to be summonable. It is my earnest and greatest hope that you may find a gratification in reading a letter such as this, that you shall pass it on to as many others as you may.

A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye - when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue, and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. We carry out in our lives the bold and seemingly insurmountable undertaking of attempting to create, each day, a more Perfect Union, a world where we promise ourselves that we can do our best, and that we strive to do better for our descendants. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable our posterity to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.

Since the Dawn of Time, Man has been confronted with Nature and Nature's Law, and frustrated with the possibility of knowing more than he does, he has regretted in his own way each lesson that passed unlearned. So, as it was destined to be repeated throughout history by the peoples of many different nations, he created a set of ideas about the way things should be, called them a government, and set about the moral and practical change necessary to keep the peace. However, it was not long before these governments were realized to be centrally flawed, in that there was no binding principle that stood true to affect their governance, until he learnt of the concept of Liberty. Indeed, the idea before him now was that no matter how binding the vices of the world, it was his right to be his own man, and the right of his fellows to be their own in kind: under this no God of the world would be worth worshipping who did not recognize this as its sole fundamental truth, no aspect of Nature worth finding beautiful if this premise indeed were false, and certainly no King whose mighty edicts were ever worth obeying throughout the course of history, no matter how benevolent or wise they may have been. It was this cause which compelled Man to seek change, and many times he tried and failed to do so. I would like to believe this is the story of our nation, but perhaps it is the story of every man in the annals of history who understood this basic idea, in his heart, and who was not afraid to speak, act and think upon it.

It is in such light that one realizes that death and life are the process of exercise of our inalienable rights, that a slave yearning freedom is free in mind knowing the freedom is his by Right, that he owns that Right and cherishes it, even under the most brutal oppression. Under this premise, he who has little and suffers injustice daily is equal before Creation itself to him who has plenty and lives in ease, for they have equal rights, amongst them the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of their own Happiness.

In the world today I come forward for this so that you might ask yourself, "What principle compels me?" Do the interests of your parties, so distraught and confused, reflect a principle, or merely an attitude with which you were raised? I look towards politics and I see a surmounting confusion, a bulky and unyielding bureaucracy growing towards such levels that it has become unmanageably difficult. Such political change as that of today is embodied only in a particular status quo, a certain senseless and faithless allegiance to whosoever is the lesser of two common evils. The evil being not of a particular platform or issue, but the evil being of a failure to represent the real nature of Liberty, that we all, while taking sides, never should forget we exist as individual men and women in the eternal debate, that we hope to know more right than wrong, and exercise it with sensibility and understanding.

Certainly, governments are not to be replaced for light and transient causes, but their central trapping is that when evils are sufferable we are more disposed to suffer than to commit to change, and that this suffering dispenses with us a greater tolerance for furthered suffering. More men, over the course of history, have been disposed to do evil, not because he himself was empowered by evil people, but because good people too often used force against other good people to secure what they believed to be good things. So builds the background for the need of a constant state of revolution, that we each must attempt to dissuade our fellow men to not let their sufferings bind them to passions of greater suffering, to hope that they understand that to avoid repeating the mistakes of history they must embrace a greater aspiration for their lives and the lives of others than a belief that they each hold a power to apply, with force, on other men, something that their imagination tells them will interest them all. For it is against the interests of every man to submit to such a force.

So, I pose the question again to you, what principle compels you? For in that question is the foundation of the destruction of every political party ever known to man, the dissolution of every political bond than we hold, for every different answer is its own platform, every different answer balances between what is right and what is wrong. It is, that for the purposes of a nation, for the purposes of its growth towards tolerance and understanding of the different causes which compel us all, that we all might seek only one true political principle - Liberty. For in it, all other causes, attitudes, cultures and beliefs will thrive.

There are certain circumstances that prevent me the satisfaction of being there today, engaging in the social intercourse of ideas with you, being a trader in knowledge and philosophy. However, it is with due recourse that I hope to ensure, that through some way when you look back upon the true nature of these ideas, that you will find within them a subtle method which will hold together a lifetime of passion and affections. So too, having lived that lifetime myself, I give my eternal affection to you along with my assurances of the highest respects, so that if nothing more, these sentiments are not forgotten in the remises of the caretakers of human history, as so many often are.

- TH. Jefferson

"Boring!" said Roberto, who was now probably more bored than the others.

"So, worthless manifesto number one thousand one hundred and one. What should we do with it?" asked Jon.

"I think it's time to shoot some hoops." Roberto said, grabbing the garbage can high.

"He shoots..." Jon says, as he takes aim, and aloft a mighty crumpling of the letter, he throws the ballistic wad, hitting Norm in the head, who stood stunned but had already said everything he was going to, but amazingly... "He scores!"

"Great shot man. I'm so completely bored out of my mind now." said Roberto, who was not amused anymore, really at all.

"Same here." said Jon, who looked on to Norm, who was nearly asleep now.

They all resumed their busy-work, paying not much attention to the lost thoughts of others, but that was the way it was to be, in a world of boredom and mediocrity most likely not too different from our own.

Editor's Notes:

Please be on the lookout for more news on the publishing status of this novel and new projects at NAMyth.com or at my personal blog, PAOracle.com.


The Return Home Pt. 6: Apotheosis of Liberty

4/13/2006

Dear Friends,

Well, my dearest & enviable friends, it is with much sadness that I have come to a decision. I will be returning to my own time, despite the hardships associated with it. I do not know for certain if I will arrive intact, or to what extent the complications will be when I arrive, however I do know that if it succeeds I shall be able to live out the last few remaining months or years of my life as it was intended & I have great faith in my friends Ludwig and Julius to get me there. This decision has weighed heavily on my heart in the last few days, but no longer. I know now that this is the right thing to do. I choose to be remembered as Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of a great nation, & to see off my friend John Adams. I have good faith that my friends in this time will be okay... their posterity however, will live in a bleak world, without a new revolution in favor of their liberties. However, it is not a revolution I could provide them, even if I wanted. This world is not the world which any longer favors the ideas of my time. My values and beliefs, are antient & outdated, people too busy to acquaint themselves very closely to them... perhaps what I believe in most is that someone, somewhere, will learn lessons from people such as myself, and become the wiser for it. If that is such, then I have served my purpose as beneficiary to the future, and may return to my past without regret. Surely there, I can live my life as a free man in the free world I once knew.

Certainly, this shall be my last update. Natalie was perhaps the one that most regretted my decision, however I let her know that it was not her beauty nor grace that drove me away, but that it was these things which compelled me to stay the most. She shall do well for herself; I hope the better off for having met me. Ludwig Von Meises and Julius Rothsbard have concluded that the time travel experiment is best brought to a close, especially as the reaction on which it is built shall surely destroy the entire laboratory. They will prevent extensive damage to the whole building in the process, and assure that preliminary tests show that they can in fact pinpoint the old location of which I had lost myself in time, due to a form of detected temporal distortion. I have faith in their abilities. It was my good and dearest friend, Daniel, who concerned me the most, and we talked before I left...

Daniel: I just wanted to apologize. I was going to turn you and everyone in to the cops, only they didn't really believe me. If they did, the government would have a real-life time machine and who knows what would happen to history? I was stupid.

Me: My good friend, there is never a time when we cannot mend the divisions between us. You are an amiable young man and an honest soul.

Daniel: Well, I'm not too honest. You got to be kind of a pain in the ass. Always talking about politics, and I never understood that much, my friends and I would make fun of you sometimes, yet I felt bad. I felt like if I abandoned you, I'd be the asshole.

Me: Never did I want my friendship to be burdensome.

Daniel: No, man. It's my fault really. I didn't appreciate you while you were here, and to tell you the truth, I don't want you to go back. I mean, I tried to sabotage you at the last moment. That's just not cool note to end on.

Me: Well, my friend, I do not leave for anything that you have done, I leave for me. It is the proper thing for me and the world, to leave. I want you to know, however, that I regret not being able to attend this future with you. The indulgence in convenience and technology, but moreso the knowledge, is tempting. Remember that this world is yours, to do with as you will. It is your place to create a new revolution, or to see shackled up again in tyranny. Please, do with it what you will, and may your days consist of health and happiness.

Daniel: Well then, I just want to say that I'd like to think we're friends, and that this whole thing has been a blast.

Me: Your words of kindness and honesty are enough for me. I only needed this knowledge to revive towards you all of the affections of the most cordial moments of our lives. I also have one last favor, my friend.

Daniel: What is that?

Me: In these last days, I have finished this, please take it. I would appreciate it if you had it delivered for me, in my absence. It is my final affair in this world.

Daniel: Will do, man, will do.

So I head back to return home, and to our humble correspondence I draw to you a close. I expect to return home and then live the little bit of my life I had left at my natural age, I can only hope I live to see another July 4th. I never really knew who you were, the people on the internet, I never met you, talked to you or walked with you, but to you I add sincere assurances of my unabated, and constant attachment, friendship and respect.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

Part of the point I hoped to show with this story was that Thomas Jefferson's relationship to Daniel is a parallel to Jefferson's relationship with John Adams and indeed, Jefferson's relationship to history. In a way, the characters of this book have been representations both of people in Jefferson's lives mixed with modern society. Daniel was a representation of John Adams mixed with modern American culture. You see, Jefferson and Adams were friends, but disagreed in core aspects of where the nation was to go. A rift formed over political issues, perhaps the most offensive gesture being made prior to Jefferson's Presidency, at the final moment Adams did everything he could to stack the changing government against Jefferson, with midnight appointments and emergency replacements. These events set the pace for the government as it was to be, particularly amongst the judiciary and popular media. The newspapers were becoming more political and staged the rivalry in the public eye between Jefferson and Adams, depicting them as mortal foes. Jefferson was deeply remorseful throughout the years at the separation, but in the twilight of their lives, they resumed their communication and friendship, eventually dying together on July 4th, the day they helped forge, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration. The last words of John Adams were said to be "Jefferson still survives", however, yet unbeknownst to Adams, Jefferson had died a few hours before in his estate, Monticello. Despite their rifts, Jefferson remained steadfast as a friend to Adams, till his dying day.

To end this novel, I've decided to make a careful selection. The final piece of material I will quote is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, October 12th, 1823. Both men were old and would die 3 years later. They had finally mended their friendship, this being the last significant word Jefferson penned during the exchange. It is, as some would say, "The Best Letter That Ever Was Written".

DEAR SIR,

I do not write with the ease which your letter of Sep. 18. supposes. Crippled wrists and fingers make writing slow and laborious. But, while writing to you, I lose the sense of these things, in the recollection of antient times, when youth and health made happiness out of every thing. I forget for a while the hoary winter of age, when we can think of nothing but how to keep ourselves warm, and how to get rid of our heavy hours until the friendly hand of death shall rid us of all at once. Against this tedium vitae however I am fortunately mounted on a Hobby, which indeed I should have better managed some 30. or 40. years ago, but whose easy amble is still sufficient to give exercise and amusement to an Octogenary rider. This is the establishment of an University, on a scale more comprehensive, and in a country more healthy and central than our old William and Mary, which these obstacles have long kept in a state of languor and inefficiency. But the tardiness with which such works proceed may render it doubtful whether I shall live to see it go into action.

Putting aside these things however for the present, I write this letter as due to a friendship co-eval with our government, and now attempted to be poisoned, when too late in life to be replaced by new affections. I had for some time observed, in the public papers, dark hints and mysterious innuendoes of a correspondence of yours with a friend, to whom you had opened your bosom without reserve, and which was to be made public by that friend, or his representative. And now it is said to be actually published. It has not yet reached us, but extracts have been given, and such as seemed most likely to draw a curtain of separation between you and myself. Were there no other motive than that of indignation against the author of this outrage on private confidence, whose shaft seems to have been aimed at yourself more particularly, this would make it the duty of every honorable mind to disappoint that aim, by opposing to it's impression a seven-fold shield of apathy and insensibility. With me however no such armour is needed. The circumstances of the times, in which we have happened to live, and the partiality of our friends, at a particular period, placed us in a state of apparent opposition, which some might suppose to be personal also; and there might not be wanting those who wish'd to make it so, by filling our ears with malignant falsehoods, by dressing up hideous phantoms of their own creation, presenting them to you under my name, to me under your's, and endeavoring to instill into our minds things concerning each other the most destitute of truth. And if there had been, at any time, a moment when we were off our guard, and in a temper to let the whispers of these people make us forget what we had known of each other for so many years, and years of so much trial, yet all men who have attended to the workings of the human mind, who have seen the false colours under which passion sometimes dresses the actions and motives of others, have seen also these passions subsiding with time and reflection, dissipating, like mists before the rising sun, and restoring to us the sight of all things in their true shape and colours. It would be strange indeed if, at our years, we were to go an age back to hunt up imaginary, or forgotten facts, to disturb the repose of affections so sweetening to the evening of our lives. Be assured, my dear Sir, that I am incapable of recieving the slightest impression from the effort now made to plant thorns on the pillow of age, worth, and wisdom, and to sow tares between friends who have been such for near half a century.

Beseeching you then not to suffer your mind to be disquieted by this wicked attempt to poison it's peace, and praying you to throw it by, among the things which have never happened, I add sincere assurances of my unabated, and constant attachment, friendship and respect.

- TH. Jefferson

I would like to say that Jefferson's feelings towards John Adams are feelings he extends towards all of us, and that these feelings merit value even more than 200 years after his death. In this sense, Jefferson still survives. It is something worth remembering this April the 13th, Jefferson's nationally recognized birthday. Thanks for reading.


The Return Home Pt. 5: A Dialogue Between My Head & My Heart

4/10/2006

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

I care not to peform the last sad office of handing this world into a carriage and seeing the wheels of time get set into motion without me. My decision between these two objects: I must choose between a life of comfort in a future world where I & my ideas do not rightly belong or to instead retire to my past, sure to die as I would have anyways, returning history to its proper course. Do I turn on my heel & walk on it, feeling more dead than alive, into an older time where I was once free to be the whole of my character? To return to a world where I was not merely a silent observer, but a true participant of history? Do I cram myself into that uncomfortable time, like a recruit for the Bastille, & not having soul enough to give much for the rest of my days? I've discovered the time crisis is not a crisis of physics or reality, but instead a crisis of faith in this new world, a faith I cannot readily give. My mind has stayed silent on the subject, the silence breaking only to say "Je suis vraiment afflige du depart de ces bons gens". Natalie and Daniel, Ludwig and Julius. Good friends of many I would meet in this world that give me hope. Arriving in Chicago for the first day, and seated by the fireside in Ludwig's home, solitary & sad, the following dialogue took place between my Head & my Heart:

Head: Well, friend, you seem to be in a pretty trim.

Heart: For even considering abandoning all I have seen here, I am indeed the most wretched of all earthly beings. Overwhelmed with grief, every fibre of my frame distended beyond its natural powers to bear, I would willingly meet whatever catastrophe should leave me no more to feel or to fear. I see the world today, all its earthly conveniences, and yet all it's problems, they invoke my every passion, am I to ignore this?

Head: These are the eternal consequences of your warmth & precipitation. This is one of the scrapes into which you are ever leading us. You confess your follies indeed; but still you hug & cherish them; & no reformation can be hoped, where there is no repentance. You know the proper place for you, and me, is somewhere else. A forgotten time when men were free, where they remembered the values that put us here, in America.

Heart: Oh, my friend! this is no moment to upbraid my foibles. I am rent into fragments by the force of my grief! If you have any balm, pour it into my wounds; if none, do not harrow them by new torments. Spare me in this awful moment! At any other I will attend with patience to your admonitions.

Head: On the contrary I never found that the moment of triumph with you was the moment of attention to my admonitions. While suffering under your follies, you may perhaps be made sensible of them, but, the paroxysm over, you fancy it can never return. Harsh therefore as the medicine may be, it is my office to administer it. You will be pleased to remember life in your home Monticello, your rememberance of your dear friend John Adams, all the things comfortable and dear to you.

Heart: Accordingly, Sir, this situation was not the consequence of my doings. It was you, remember, & not I, who desired to fix the problems of this modern world, to get involved in politics again, to help people rediscover the freedoms they've lost not through action but through inaction. It was your logical confines from which that desire dwelt, your desire to teach and to see them learn. And when you had seen this possible future, oh! It was the most superb thing on earth! What you had seen there was worth all you had yet to see! I thought so too. You then, Sir, & not I, have been the cause of the present distress.

Head: It would have been happy for you if my diagrams & crotchets had gotten you to sleep night after night, as you are pleased to say they eternally do. Surely God brought us to this future to see something we would not have otherwise, so my activities have been purely practical, recording the things we seek to correct and composing a letter to Congress to do so. While I was occupied with these objects, you were dilating with your new acquaintances, & contriving how to prevent a separation from them. Every soul of you had an engagement for the final affairs of your life, should we send lying messengers back through history to excuse us so that we can dine with the future? You want me to invent the ingenious excuse to stay; I know you are getting into a scrape, & I will have nothing to do with it.

Heart: Oh! My dear friend, how you have revived me by recalling to my mind the transactions of my days here! How well I remember them all, & I have looked back upon waking this morning having it seem like my stay here has been a lifetime agone. Go on then, like a kind comforter & paint to me each day of my visit. How beautiful was every object! How great the nights spent with Natalie, the days spent with Daniel? The new knowledge and science, a greater understanding of the world shared to me by every delicious morsel of knowledge I consumed. Retrace all those scenes to me, my good companion, & I will forgive the unkindness with which you were chiding me.

Head: Thou art the most incorrigible of all the beings that ever sinned! I reminded you of the follies caused by this time traveling, intending to deduce from thence some useful lessons for you, but instead of listening to these, you kindle at the recollection, you retrace the whole series with a fondness which shews you want nothing but the opportunity to act it over again. I often told you during its course that you were imprudently engaging your affections under circumstances that must have cost you a great deal of pain: that the persons we've met indeed were of the greatest merit, possessing good sense, good humour, honest hearts, honest manners, & eminence in a lovely art; that you found that Natalie had moreover qualities & accomplishments, belonging to her sex, which might form a chapter apart for her: such as music, modesty, beauty, & that softness of disposition which is the ornament of her sex & charm of ours, but that all these considerations would increase the pang of separation: that our stay here was to be short: that you rack our whole system when you are parted from those you love, complaining that such a separation is worse than death, inasmuch as this ends our sufferings, whereas that only begins them: & that the separation would in this instance be the more severe as you would certainly never see them again.

Heart: If I am to stay, I worry not then the consequences.

Head: The consequences for the world and yourself are dire. These people, the living, deserve their right to make the world as it is, for themselves. To meddle in time is to play the part of the most despotic of Gods. I at first saw its utility, but not in staying in this future to change its course, but to go to the past to change its course. Now I see they are in fact, one in the same. If I am to set the world right, it is to let go of it, to not cradle the people who live in it in my arms, and to let them decide what to do with the world they have created. It is not here that I am truly free, I still misunderstand so much about the way the world works, and I cannot suffer living here for longer because of the dire straights the situation is in.

Heart: God only knows what is to happen. I see nothing impossible in that supposition. And I see things wonderfully contrived sometimes to make us happy. Where could we find such objects as in this future America for the exercise of our enchanting arts? I hope in God no circumstance may ever make my dearest Natalie seek an asylum from grief of my absence! With what sincere sympathy I would open every cell of my composition to receive the effusion of her woes! I would pour my tears into her wounds. Deeply practised in the school of affliction, the human heart knows no joy which I have not lost, no sorrow of which I have not drunk! Fortune can present no grief of unknown form to me! Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself? But Heaven forbid they should ever know a sorrow! Let us turn over another leaf, for this has distracted me.

Head: Well. Let us put the possibility of staying here to trial then on another point. When you consider the character which is given of our country by its own people, the dialogues of pundits who pretend to argue with one another in lying newspapers and television shows, & their credulous copyers on the internet; when you reflect that the nations of the world have made a good half of our own people believe we are a lawless banditti, in a state of unresolvable war, cutting one another's throats, & plundering without distinction... while the other half continues to believe we are in a decay of our morality & faith, falling to godlessness and deviance, while neither situation is ultimately the truth. How can you expect that any reasonable creature would venture among Americans such as these? Look at America today, the people called forth for a word called socialism to cure their concerns of their economy, bounding to Congress the mechanics of tyrants, while at the same time the government's censors and officers seek to control the growth of our enslaved culture, calling towards the fascisms of times past. Now that I have seen the history unfolded, I see the faults of either path, but we pursue not one or the other, but both. Imagine then how much we would be indebted to fix, how great the challenge is for myself to be what I was before.

Heart: But you & I know that all this great challenge is itself, somewhat false: that there is not a country on earth where there is greater tranquillity, where the laws are milder, or better obeyed: where every one is more attentive to his own business, or meddles less with that of others: where strangers are better received, more hospitably treated, & with a more sacred respect. Still, even after so much has changed, this remains true.

Head: True, you & I know this, but we also know it is far too late to be stirring up new revolutions, at least for old men such as we.

Heart: But there are sensible people who think for themselves. They will ask of impartial citizens who have been among us, whether they saw or heard on the spot any instances of anarchy. They will judge too that people are not altogether disinterested in making roads, building schools, establishing academies, erecting busts & statues to our great men, protecting religious freedom, abolishing sanguinary punishments, reforming & improving our laws in general, they will judge I say for themselves whether these are not the occupations of a people at their ease, whether this is not better evidence of our true state. I look back on the history of our people and I hope that this is the case, I hope to my very core that they still remember.

Head: I did not begin this lecture my friend with a view to learn from you what naive hopes you have for America. Let us return then to our point. I wished to make you sensible how imprudent it is to place your affections, without reserve, on objects you must so soon lose, & whose loss when it comes must cost you such severe pangs. You know if you must return home, your friends would be gone, and this America you so eagerly desire to fix too, will be forever out of your reach. This knowledge was enough to throw you into agonies. All night you tossed us from one side of the bed to the other. No sleep, no rest. The poor crippled wrist too beginning to act up again, never left one moment in the same position, now up, now down, now here, now there; was it to be wondered at if it's pains returned? In fine, my friend, you must mend your manners. This is not a world to live at random in as you do. To avoid those eternal distresses, to which you are forever exposing us, you must learn to look forward before you take a step which may interest our peace. Everything in this world is a matter of calculation. Advance then with caution, the balance in your hand. Put into one scale the pleasures which any object may offer; but put fairly into the other the pains which are to follow, & see which preponderates. The making an acquaintance is not a matter of indifference. When a new one is proposed to you, view it all round. Consider what advantages it presents, & to what inconveniences it may expose you. Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it. The art of life is the art of avoiding pain: & he is the best pilot who steers clearest of the rocks & shoals with which he is beset. Pleasure is always before us; but misfortune is at our side: while running after that, this arrests us. The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, & to suffice for our own happiness. Those, which depend on ourselves, are the only pleasures a wise man will count on. Hence the inestimable value of intellectual pleasures. Even in our power, always leading us to something new, never cloying, we ride serene & sublime above the concerns of this mortal world, contemplating truth & nature, matter & motion, the laws which bind up their existence, & that eternal being who made & bound them up by those laws. Let this be our employ. Leave the bustle & tumult of this futuristic society to those who have not talents to occupy themselves without them. Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies & the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another? Is there so little gall poured into our cup that we must needs help to drink that of our neighbor? A friend dies or leaves us: we feel as if a limb was cut off. It was how we felt when we heard the name John Adams. He fell sick because of grief we caused: we must watch over him, & participate of his pains, it would be irresponsible to abandon him to the past as we have done. His fortune is shipwrecked; ours must be laid under contribution. What he loses we must mourn as our own loss.

Heart: And what more sublime delight than to mingle tears with one whom the hand of heaven hath smitten! To remite ourselves to watch over the bed of sickness, & to beguile it's tedious & it's painful moments! To share our bread with one to whom misfortune has left none! Nobody will care for him who cares for nobody. But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life; & thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine. I will recur for proof to the days we have lately passed. On these indeed the sun shone brightly. How gay did the face of nature appear! Hills, valleys, chateaux, gardens, rivers, every object wore it's liveliest hue! Whence did they borrow it? From the presence of our charming companion. I have new friends too I cannot neglect, despite my responsibilities. I will cherish and remember their contributions to my life, even in its twilight, as all those who have come before me. If I return it is not because I shall listen to your miserable arithmetic which could estimate our friendships now gained at nothing, or at less than nothing. Respect for you has induced me to enter into this discussion, & to hear principles uttered which I detest & abjure. Respect for myself now obliges me to recall you into the proper limits of your office. When nature assigned us the same habitation, she gave us over it a divided empire. To you she allotted the field of science; to me that of morals. When the circle is to be squared, or the orbit of a comet to be traced; when the arch of greatest strength, or the solid of least resistance is to be investigated, take up the problem; it is yours; nature has given me no cognizance of it. In like manner, in denying to you the feelings of sympathy, of benevolence, of gratitude, of justice, of love, of friendship, she has excluded you from their controul. To these she has adapted the mechanism of the heart. Morals were too essential to the happiness of man to be risked on the incertain combinations of the head. She laid their foundation therefore in sentiment, not in science. That she gave to all, as necessary to all: this to a few only, as sufficing with a few. I know indeed that you pretend authority to the sovereign controul of our conduct in all its parts: & a respect for your grave saws & maxims, a desire to do what is right, has sometimes induced me to conform to your counsels. If our country, when pressed with wrongs at the point of the bayonet, had been governed by it's heads instead of it's hearts, where should we have been now? Hanging on a gallows as high as Haman's. You began to calculate & to compare wealth and numbers: we threw up a few pulsations of our warmest blood; we supplied enthusiasm against wealth and numbers; we put our existence to the hazard when the hazard seemed against us, and we saved our country: justifying at the same time the ways of Providence, whose precept is to do always what is right, and leave the issue to him. In short, my friend, as far as my recollection serves me, I do not know that I ever did a good thing on your suggestion, or a dirty one without it. I do forever then disclaim your interference in my province. Fill papers as you please with triangles & squares: try how many ways you can hang & combine them together. I shall never envy nor controul your sublime delights. Tonight, we have a decision of the heart. My passions fill up and you invoke me to consider judgement of an important thing. Do not tell me where these passions lay, for you do not know. Are they in my past, or in this makeshift future? It is that which will be the basis of my decision now, and that alone.

We have had incessant rains all day, as I considered these weights, and I believe I have made my decision.

your most obedient humble servant.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

The passions of Thomas Jefferson really defined the man, so today's update mulling over the decision whether or not to return home is based on Jefferson's own decision whether or not to retain his friendship with Maria Cosway, the only love interest he had after his wife passed away. She lived in France and he was returning to America and had hoped she would come visit him. He wrote the following letter on Oct. 12th, 1786. This was about four years after the fairly devestating loss of his wife during childbirth, taken in mind that most of his children died before adulthood (including the child born during her childbirth). Maria Cosway, which in the end was a failed and fleeting romance, sort of permanently shook Jefferson's stupor and allowed him to enter the public stage a focused man. Here, his Head & Heart struggle to understand his motives and interests in pursuing the romance further.

MY DEAR MADAM,

Having performed the last sad office of handing you into your carriage at the pavillon de St. Denis, and seen the wheels get actually into motion, I turned on my heel & walked, more dead than alive, to the opposite door, where my own was awaiting me. Mr. Danquerville was missing. He was sought for, found, & dragged down stairs. We were crammed into the carriage, like recruits for the Bastille, & not having soul enough to give orders to the coachman, he presumed Paris our destination, & drove off. After a considerable interval, silence was broke with a "Je suis vraiment afflige du depart de ces bons gens." This was a signal for a mutual confession of distress. We began immediately to talk of Mr. & Mrs. Cosway, of their goodness, their talents, their amiability; & tho we spoke of nothing else, we seemed hardly to have entered into matter when the coachman announced the rue St. Denis, & that we were opposite Mr. Danquerville's. He insisted on descending there & traversing a short passage to his lodgings. I was carried home. Seated by my fireside, solitary & sad, the following dialogue took place between my Head & my Heart:

Head.
Well, friend, you seem to be in a pretty trim.

Heart.
I am indeed the most wretched of all earthly beings. Overwhelmed with grief, every fibre of my frame distended beyond its natural powers to bear, I would willingly meet whatever catastrophe should leave me no more to feel or to fear.

Head.
These are the eternal consequences of your warmth & precipitation. This is one of the scrapes into which you are ever leading us. You confess your follies indeed; but still you hug & cherish them; & no reformation can be hoped, where there is no repentance.

Heart.
Oh, my friend! this is no moment to upbraid my foibles. I am rent into fragments by the force of my grief! If you have any balm, pour it into my wounds; if none, do not harrow them by new torments. Spare me in this awful moment! At any other I will attend with patience to your admonitions.

Head.
On the contrary I never found that the moment of triumph with you was the moment of attention to my admonitions. While suffering under your follies, you may perhaps be made sensible of them, but, the paroxysm over, you fancy it can never return. Harsh therefore as the medicine may be, it is my office to administer it. You will be pleased to remember that when our friend Trumbull used to be telling us of the merits & talents of these good people, I never ceased whispering to you that we had no occasion for new acquaintance; that the greater their merits & talents, the more dangerous their friendship to our tranquillity, because the regret at parting would be greater.

Heart.
Accordingly, Sir, this acquaintance was not the consequence of my doings. It was one of your projects which threw us in the way of it. It was you, remember, & not I, who desired the meeting at Legrand & Molinos. I never trouble myself with domes nor arches. The Halle aux bleds might have rotted down before I should have gone to see it. But you, forsooth, who are eternally getting us to sleep with your diagrams & crotchets, must go & examine this wonderful piece of architecture. And when you had seen it, oh! it was the most superb thing on earth! What you had seen there was worth all you had yet seen in Paris! I thought so too. But I meant it of the lady & gentleman to whom we had been presented; & not of a parcel of sticks & chips put together in pens. You then, Sir, & not I, have been the cause of the present distress.

Head.
It would have been happy for you if my diagrams & crotchets had gotten you to sleep on that day, as you are pleased to say they eternally do. My visit to Legrand & Molinos had public utility for it's object. A market is to be built in Richmond. What a commodious plan is that of Legrand & Molinos; especially if we put on it the noble dome of the Halle aux bleds. If such a bridge as they shewed us can be thrown across the Schuylkill at Philadelphia, the floating bridges taken up & the navigation of that river opened, what a copious resource will be added, of wood & provisions, to warm & feed the poor of that city? While I was occupied with these objects, you were dilating with your new acquaintances, & contriving how to prevent a separation from them. Every soul of you had an engagement for the day. Yet all these were to be sacrificed, that you might dine together. Lying messengers were to be despatched into every quarter of the city, with apologies for your breach of engagement. You particularly had the effrontery to send word to the Dutchess Danville that, on the moment we were setting out to dine with her, despatches came to hand which required immediate attention. You wanted me to invent a more ingenious excuse; but I knew you were getting into a scrape, & I would have nothing to do with it. Well, after dinner to St. Cloud, from St. Cloud to Ruggieri's, from Ruggieri to Krumfoltz, & if the day had been as long as a Lapland summer day, you would still have contrived means among you to have filled it.

Heart.
Oh! my dear friend, how you have revived me by recalling to my mind the transactions of that day! How well I remember them all, & that when I came home at night & looked back to the morning, it seemed to have been a month agone. Go on then, like a kind comforter & paint to me the day we went to St. Germains. How beautiful was every object! the Port de Reuilly, the hills along the Seine, the rainbows of the machine of Marly, the terrace of St. Germains, the chateaux, the gardens, the statues of Marly, the pavillon of Lucienne. Recollect too Madrid, Bagatelle, the King's garden, the Dessert. How grand the idea excited by the remains of such a column! The spiral staircase too was beautiful. Every moment was filled with something agreeable. The wheels of time moved on with a rapidity of which those of our carriage gave but a faint idea. And yet in the evening when one took a retrospect of the day, what a mass of happiness had we travelled over! Retrace all those scenes to me, my good companion, & I will forgive the unkindness with which you were chiding me. The day we went to St. Germains was a little too warm, I think; was it not?

Head.
Thou art the most incorrigible of all the beings that ever sinned! I reminded you of the follies of the first day, intending to deduce from thence some useful lessons for you, but instead of listening to these, you kindle at the recollection, you retrace the whole series with a fondness which shews you want nothing but the opportunity to act it over again. I often told you during its course that you were imprudently engaging your affections under circumstances that must have cost you a great deal of pain: that the persons indeed were of the greatest merit, possessing good sense, good humour, honest hearts, honest manners, & eminence in a lovely art; that the lady had moreover qualities & accomplishments, belonging to her sex, which might form a chapter apart for her: such as music, modesty, beauty, & that softness of disposition which is the ornament of her sex & charm of ours, but that all these considerations would increase the pang of separation: that their stay here was to be short: that you rack our whole system when you are parted from those you love, complaining that such a separation is worse than death, inasmuch as this ends our sufferings, whereas that only begins them: & that the separation would in this instance be the more severe as you would probably never see them again.

Heart.
But they told me they would come back again the next year.

Head.
But in the meantime see what you suffer: & their return too depends on so many circumstances that if you had a grain of prudence you would not count upon it. Upon the whole it is improbable & therefore you should abandon the idea of ever seeing them again.

Heart.
May heaven abandon me if I do!

Head.
Very well. Suppose then they come back. They are to stay two months, & when these are expired, what is to follow? Perhaps you flatter yourself they may come to America?

Heart.
God only knows what is to happen. I see nothing impossible in that supposition. And I see things wonderfully contrived sometimes to make us happy. Where could they find such objects as in America for the exercise of their enchanting art? especially the lady, who paints landscapes so inimitably. She wants only subjects worthy of immortality to render her pencil immortal. The Falling Spring, the Cascade of Niagara, the Passage of the Potowmac through the Blue Mountains, the Natural bridge. It is worth a voyage across the Atlantic to see these objects; much more to paint, and make them, & thereby ourselves, known to all ages. And our own dear Monticello, where has nature spread so rich a mantle under the eye? mountains, forests, rocks, rivers. With what majesty do we there ride above the storms! How sublime to look down into the workhouse of nature, to see her clouds, hail, snow, rain, thunder, all fabricated at our feet! and the glorious sun when rising as if out of a distant water, just gilding the tops of the mountains, & giving life to all nature! I hope in God no circumstance may ever make either seek an asylum from grief! With what sincere sympathy I would open every cell of my composition to receive the effusion of their woes! I would pour my tears into their wounds: & if a drop of balm could be found on the top of the Cordilleras, or at the remotest sources of the Missouri, I would go thither myself to seek & to bring it. Deeply practised in the school of affliction, the human heart knows no joy which I have not lost, no sorrow of which I have not drunk! Fortune can present no grief of unknown form to me! Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself? But Heaven forbid they should ever know a sorrow! Let us turn over another leaf, for this has distracted me.

Head.
Well. Let us put this possibility to trial then on another point. When you consider the character which is given of our country by the lying newspapers of London, & their credulous copyers in other countries; when you reflect that all Europe is made to believe we are a lawless banditti, in a state of absolute anarchy, cutting one another's throats, & plundering without distinction, how can you expect that any reasonable creature would venture among us?

Heart.
But you & I know that all this is false: that there is not a country on earth where there is greater tranquillity, where the laws are milder, or better obeyed: where every one is more attentive to his own business, or meddles less with that of others: where strangers are better received, more hospitably treated, & with a more sacred respect.

Head.
True, you & I know this, but your friends do not know it.

Heart.
But they are sensible people who think for themselves. They will ask of impartial foreigners who have been among us, whether they saw or heard on the spot any instances of anarchy. They will judge too that a people occupied as we are in opening rivers, digging navigable canals, making roads, building public schools, establishing academies, erecting busts & statues to our great men, protecting religious freedom, abolishing sanguinary punishments, reforming & improving our laws in general, they will judge I say for themselves whether these are not the occupations of a people at their ease, whether this is not better evidence of our true state than a London newspaper, hired to lie, & from which no truth can ever be extracted but by reversing everything it says.

Head.
I did not begin this lecture my friend with a view to learn from you what America is doing. Let us return then to our point. I wished to make you sensible how imprudent it is to place your affections, without reserve, on objects you must so soon lose, & whose loss when it comes must cost you such severe pangs. Remember the last night. You knew your friends were to leave Paris to-day. This was enough to throw you into agonies. All night you tossed us from one side of the bed to the other. No sleep, no rest. The poor crippled wrist too, never left one moment in the same position, now up, now down, now here, now there; was it to be wondered at if it's pains returned? The Surgeon then was to be called, & to be rated as an ignoramus because he could not divine the cause of this extraordinary change. In fine, my friend, you must mend your manners. This is not a world to live at random in as you do. To avoid those eternal distresses, to which you are forever exposing us, you must learn to look forward before you take a step which may interest our peace. Everything in this world is a matter of calculation. Advance then with caution, the balance in your hand. Put into one scale the pleasures which any object may offer; but put fairly into the other the pains which are to follow, & see which preponderates. The making an acquaintance is not a matter of indifference. When a new one is proposed to you, view it all round. Consider what advantages it presents, & to what inconveniences it may expose you. Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it. The art of life is the art of avoiding pain: & he is the best pilot who steers clearest of the rocks & shoals with which he is beset. Pleasure is always before us; but misfortune is at our side: while running after that, this arrests us. The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, & to suffice for our own happiness. Those, which depend on ourselves, are the only pleasures a wise man will count on: for nothing is ours which another may deprive us of. Hence the inestimable value of intellectual pleasures. Even in our power, always leading us to something new, never cloying, we ride serene & sublime above the concerns of this mortal world, contemplating truth & nature, matter & motion, the laws which bind up their existence, & that eternal being who made & bound them up by those laws. Let this be our employ. Leave the bustle & tumult of society to those who have not talents to occupy themselves without them. Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies & the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another? Is there so little gall poured into our cup that we must needs help to drink that of our neighbor? A friend dies or leaves us: we feel as if a limb was cut off. He is sick: we must watch over him, & participate of his pains. His fortune is shipwrecked; ours must be laid under contribution. He loses a child, a parent, or a partner: we must mourn the loss as if it were our own.

Heart.
And what more sublime delight than to mingle tears with one whom the hand of heaven hath smitten! to watch over the bed of sickness, & to beguile it's tedious & it's painful moments! to share our bread with one to whom misfortune has left none! This world abounds indeed with misery: to lighten it's burthen we must divide it with one another. But let us now try the virtues of your mathematical balance, & as you have put into one scale the burthen of friendship, let me put it's comforts into the other. When languishing then under disease, how grateful is the solace of our friends! how are we penetrated with their assiduities & attentions! how much are we supported by their encouragements & kind offices! When heaven has taken from us some object of our love, how sweet is it to have a bosom whereon to recline our heads, & into which we may pour the torrent of our tears! Grief, with such a comfort, is almost a luxury! In a life where we are perpetually exposed to want & accident, yours is a wonderful proposition, to insulate ourselves, to retire from all aid, & to wrap ourselves in the mantle of self-sufficiency! For assuredly nobody will care for him who cares for nobody. But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life; & thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine. I will recur for proof to the days we have lately passed. On these indeed the sun shone brightly. How gay did the face of nature appear! Hills, valleys, chateaux, gardens, rivers, every object wore it's liveliest hue! Whence did they borrow it? From the presence of our charming companion. They were pleasing, because she seemed pleased. Alone, the scene would have been dull & insipid: the participation of it with her gave it relish. Let the gloomy monk, sequestered from the world, seek unsocial pleasures in the bottom of his cell! Let the sublimated philosopher grasp visionary happiness while pursuing phantoms dressed in the garb of truth! Their supreme wisdom is supreme folly; & they mistake for happiness the mere absence of pain. Had they ever felt the solid pleasure of one generous spasm of the heart, they would exchange for it all the frigid speculations of their lives, which you have been vaunting in such elevated terms. Believe me then my friend, that that is a miserable arithmetic which could estimate friendship at nothing, or at less than nothing. Respect for you has induced me to enter into this discussion, & to hear principles uttered which I detest & abjure. Respect for myself now obliges me to recall you into the proper limits of your office. When nature assigned us the same habitation, she gave us over it a divided empire. To you she allotted the field of science; to me that of morals. When the circle is to be squared, or the orbit of a comet to be traced; when the arch of greatest strength, or the solid of least resistance is to be investigated, take up the problem; it is yours; nature has given me no cognizance of it. In like manner, in denying to you the feelings of sympathy, of benevolence, of gratitude, of justice, of love, of friendship, she has excluded you from their controul. To these she has adapted the mechanism of the heart. Morals were too essential to the happiness of man to be risked on the incertain combinations of the head. She laid their foundation therefore in sentiment, not in science. That she gave to all, as necessary to all: this to a few only, as sufficing with a few. I know indeed that you pretend authority to the sovereign controul of our conduct in all its parts: & a respect for your grave saws & maxims, a desire to do what is right, has sometimes induced me to conform to your counsels. A few facts however which I can readily recall to your memory, will suffice to prove to you that nature has not organized you for our moral direction. When the poor wearied souldier whom we overtook at Chickahomony with his pack on his back, begged us to let him get up behind our chariot, you began to calculate that the road was full of souldiers, & that if all should be taken up our horses would fail in their journey. We drove on therefore. But soon becoming sensible you had made me do wrong, that tho we cannot relieve all the distressed we should relieve as many as we can, I turned about to take up the souldier; but he had entered a bye path, & was no more to be found; & from that moment to this I could never find him out to ask his forgiveness. Again, when the poor woman came to ask a charity in Philadelphia, you whispered that she looked like a drunkard, & that half a dollar was enough to give her for the ale-house. Those who want the dispositions to give, easily find reasons why they ought not to give. When I sought her out afterwards, & did what I should have done at first, you know that she employed the money immediately towards placing her child at school. If our country, when pressed with wrongs at the point of the bayonet, had been governed by it's heads instead of it's hearts, where should we have been now? Hanging on a gallows as high as Haman's. You began to calculate & to compare wealth and numbers: we threw up a few pulsations of our warmest blood; we supplied enthusiasm against wealth and numbers; we put our existence to the hazard when the hazard seemed against us, and we saved our country: justifying at the same time the ways of Providence, whose precept is to do always what is right, and leave the issue to him. In short, my friend, as far as my recollection serves me, I do not know that I ever did a good thing on your suggestion, or a dirty one without it. I do forever then disclaim your interference in my province. Fill papers as you please with triangles & squares: try how many ways you can hang & combine them together. I shall never envy nor controul your sublime delights. But leave me to decide when & where friendships are to be contracted. You say I contract them at random. So you said the woman at Philadelphia was a drunkard. I receive no one into my esteem till I know they are worthy of it. Wealth, title, office, are no recommendations to my friendship. On the contrary great good qualities are requisite to make amends for their having wealth, title, & office. You confess that in the present case I could not have made a worthier choice. You only object that I was so soon to lose them. We are not immortal ourselves, my friend; how can we expect our enjoyments to be so? We have no rose without it's thorn; no pleasure without alloy. It is the law of our existence; & we must acquiesce. It is the condition annexed to all our pleasures, not by us who receive, but by him who gives them. True, this condition is pressing cruelly on me at this moment. I feel more fit for death than life. But when I look back on the pleasures of which it is the consequence, I am conscious they were worth the price I am paying. Notwithstanding your endeavours too to damp my hopes, I comfort myself with expectations of their promised return. Hope is sweeter than despair, & they were too good to mean to deceive me. In the summer, said the gentleman; but in the spring, said the lady: & I should love her forever, were it only for that! Know then, my friend, that I have taken these good people into my bosom; that I have lodged them in the warmest cell I could find: that I love them, & will continue to love them through life: that if fortune should dispose them on one side the globe, & me on the other, my affections shall pervade it's whole mass to reach them. Knowing then my determination, attempt not to disturb it. If you can at any time furnish matter for their amusement, it will be the office of a good neighbor to do it. I will in like manner seize any occasion which may offer to do the like good turn for you with Condorcet, Rittenhouse, Madison, La Cretelle, or any other of those worthy sons of science whom you so justly prize.

I thought this a favorable proposition whereon to rest the issue of the dialogue. So I put an end to it by calling for my night-cap. Methinks I hear you wish to heaven I had called a little sooner, & so spared you the ennui of such a sermon. I did not interrupt them sooner because I was in a mood for hearing sermons. You too were the subject; & on such a thesis I never think the theme long; not even if I am to write it, and that slowly & awkwardly, as now, with the left hand. But that you may not be discouraged from a correspondence which begins so formidably, I will promise you on my honour that my future letters shall be of a reasonable length. I will even agree to express but half my esteem for you, for fear of cloying you with too full a dose. But, on your part, no curtailing. If your letters are as long as the bible, they will appear short to me. Only let them be brimful of affection. I shall read them with the dispositions with which Arlequin, in Les deux billets spelt the words "je t'aime," and wished that the whole alphabet had entered into their composition.

We have had incessant rains since your departure. These make me fear for your health, as well as that you had an uncomfortable journey. The same cause has prevented me from being able to give you any account of your friends here. This voyage to Fontainebleau will probably send the Count de Moustier & the Marquise de Brehan to America. Danquerville promised to visit me, but has not done it as yet. De la Tude comes sometimes to take family soup with me, & entertains me with anecdotes of his five & thirty years imprisonment. How fertile is the mind of man which can make the Bastile & Dungeon of Vincennes yield interesting anecdotes! You know this was for making four verses on Mme de Pompadour. But I think you told me you did not know the verses. They were these: "Sans esprit, sans sentiment, Sans etre belle, ni neuve, En France on peut avoir le premier amant: Pompadour en est l' epreuve." I have read the memoir of his three escapes. As to myself my health is good, except my wrist which mends slowly, & my mind which mends not at all, but broods constantly over your departure. The lateness of the season obliges me to decline my journey into the south of France. Present me in the most friendly terms to Mr. Cosway, & receive me into your own recollection with a partiality & a warmth, proportioned, not to my own poor merit, but to the sentiments of sincere affection & esteem with which I have the honour to be, my dear Madam,

your most obedient humble servant.

- TH. Jefferson


The Return Home Pt. 4: The Big Reveal

4/7/2006

Dear Friends,

To continue from where I left, we soon found ourselves in San Antonio, Texas. After waiting in anticipation for the meeting hour, we prepared ourselves for what would come next.

Daniel: So what do we do?

Me: I don't know. We go in, we find out what he wants?

Julius: Well, the techniques I gleaned from Agent N have taught me a few new things about tracking people. I called up local area hotels to see where he might be staying, and found one of his aliases staying at a hotel downtown, just outside Alamo Plaza. That has to be where he intends to hold any hostages, if he has them. So, I have the room number. All we need is someone to go... it probably would be best to go while we're meeting "N".

Me: I believe we can distract "N" long enough to have one of us sneak in, but I cannot go and neither can Julius. We have to retain our meeting with him at the Alamo if we are to keep him distracted long enough for you to intervene & free the captured.

Daniel: What, me? Hell no. I'm not doing this shit without some kind of gun or something. What if he like, has guards there?

Julius: Here, take mine. We're a distraction so you can get the hostages. I don't need it.

Daniel: Are you sure?

Me: You did not meet him at the meeting point last time, he may not know you are with me. If he thinks it is just me and Julius, perhaps then you need to act as our liaison on this dangerous mission. Just remember, nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. If we execute this operation in due haste without revealing ourselves, we will all be free of Agent N and have him in the compromising position we need him in.

Julius: Once we execute the meeting, you will sneak off to the hotel room. Once there, see if you can get in and secure the premises. If you find either hostage, sneak them out of there ASAP and call my cell. We'll drag the meeting on as long as we can.

Daniel: Got it. You guys think this is really going to work?

Me: Something tells me here is a higher power which will have a say on whether or not it shall work. For now, we wait.

As I waited I created a makeshift brace for my swollen ankle out of some cotton rags and a short piece of wood I broke off a bit of ply board in the back alleyway. Daniel stirred and was restless, talking at long hours on his phone, outside the hotel room. Julius on the other hand, happened to spend most of his time devising escape plans from a downloaded blueprint of the Alamo Mission. I steeled my resolve by reading a good book and staying away from the television journalists. It was soon shortly after 11 PM, on the night of the meeting, and we headed out the door to meet the night. Our first stop was the hotel, to drop Daniel off. We continued driving downtown, until we arrived at 11:45PM, to the Alamo Mission. This old building did not seem to have much by the way of a service entrance, although the main door was unlocked, so we entered. As we entered the main hall, we found a guard, incapacitated. Yes, Agent N had already arrived, and unfortunately, he was not alone. The hostages were here, Natalie and Ludwig, our plan of rescue already foiled. Both were gagged and bound in chairs in the center of the hall. As we approached, Agent N himself arose from the shadows, with his gun drawn, telling us to stand down. I instinctively reached to my holster for my pistol, but immediately remembered that it had been taken from me by the people who need it least. I knew I was not going to be able to so readily defend myself, this time.

N: So... you have finally brought the scientist. Thank you for that valuable address, I did not know he had a partner. All of you here are going to bear witness to an important historical occasion. I know what the government has been having you develop... a time machine! And I intend to go back, and fix what's wrong with this decrepit world.

Julius: What? That doesn't even make sense. None of the mainstream science journals ever covered our work to much extent, only tabloids covering strange science stories called anything we were researching a "time machine"... how did you even know that is what we were designing? It doesn't matter... the time machine doesn't work anymore.

Me: The machine worked once, I am living proof of this. Ungag Ludwig and he will explain it all better than I can.

N: Yes, as I had hoped! Finally! This should be fascinating! So, Mr. Von Meises, how does your time machine work?

Ludwig: Fick dich, feiger hund!

N: Oh, so brass indeed. Perhaps the butt of my gun will teach you to speak in English, you degenerate!

Me: Keep your hands off him! Strike him again and you'll have more to deal with than a man bound to a chair!

Ludwig: Okay, okay, stop, I am an old man. I will tell you. The man you see before you is Thomas Jefferson, of history. Our device was activated accidentally. Julius set random dates and events, and it so happened that one of the events was in Jefferson's path. So he's here, and that's what's wrong with history. So now you know, right? You intend to fix it?

N: What? Thomas Jefferson? No, that's not right.

Julius: Yeah, it's true. Thomas here is from the past. He was taken out of the timeline in his elderly years, and de-aged as a result of the process. If anyone goes back in time, the same aging disorder affecting the body's telomere strands would behave in reverse, instead of building new strands, it would result in destroying the strands to the point of cellular unraveling. So even if the time machine did work traveling to the past it would result in an advanced aging syndrome that would kill you at best in a couple of months. On the other hand, a trip to the future would be like a reverse aging syndrome, although I'm not convinced that the process is healthy. Thomas might be fine now but he wouldn't live to 80 like he had before. Until we find a treatment for the aging disease related to time travel, and a way to control the cascade reaction to reproduce it predictably, time travel for people is impossible. The calibrations from the original machine were lost on the computers in the lab destroyed by the initial electromagnetic pulse created by the time travel cascade reaction... computations too complex to potentially master again in a lifetime.

N: Yes! Finally! Someone finally gave me the tools I need to fix the world! This is a momentous occasion. An aging disorder? Unimportant! It is the cause, not the death, which makes the martyr. I will go back in time, to restore the glory of St. George Tucker, secret headmaster of the pre-Jew Illuminati. Then that delirious old man John Adam's campaign against the Illuminati, exposing it to the public eye will come unraveled. A long history of communism and homosexuality put at an end!

Me: John Adams? How does he play into this?

N: It was because of that doddering old fool that the secret order's secrets were exposed. Men like St. George Tucker went into hiding, never to be heard of again. But public leaders of the Bavarian Illuminati stood exposed to the public, allowing usurpers to take it over. They've controlled every major event in world history since... JFK's assassination, the rise of the Communists, the Soviet Union, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, 9/11, George Bush AND Bill Clinton. Don't you fools see? The old order must be restored or else our society will continue down this path of degradation. Let's start with the first thing that needs to be fixed. If you're really Thomas Jefferson, you can't be allowed to return to your time. You'd be too great a liability to my plans. That whole era of the early 1800's is where I need to make most of my changes. Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at her conquest to allow anyone to take her away from me. So, Mr. Jefferson, I do believe we come to a close here. Get on your knees so I can get a good shot, or I'll kill you right there as you stand.

Me: Well.... hmm, I SEE... well! I am subdued. Perhaps I shall get down on my knees.

N: That's better! Victory belongs to the most persevering, and I think we know who that is. Any final words for the history books? I'll be sure to write them down for you.

Me: Yes, actually I do have a few. If adversity should have taught you wisdom, of which I have little expectation, you may yet render some service to mankind, by teaching the rest of us that they can be changed for misrule, and by wearing down the power of the tyrannical to limitable and safe dimensions. You must see nothing in this world but yourself, and looked on the people under you as your cattle, beasts for burthen and slaughter. I might supplement that with a quote from a great fool who once said something wise, that being, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

Natalie: HEE-YA!

N: Ooof!

Me: Julius, grab the gun!

Julius: Got it!

N: No!

Natalie: That chair to the back of the head will show you for having the balls to abduct me and tie loose knots, jackass!

It was at this point that suddenly, without warning, a small group of several men in FBI coats with several men in white labcoats surrounded all of us and demanded we dropped our weapons. Julius of course immediately complied, we awaited their aid. Then, behind the group, I saw Daniel. He must have brought the men as backup.

N: No, I'm not going back! You can't make me go back! I'm not crazy!

FBI Agent: Just stay on the ground, everything is going to be okay folks. You're under our custody, Norman. Just keep your hands on the ground.

Psychiatrist: Mr. Goodshare, it's time to go back and seek some more treatment. We'll get some nice pills and talk about this.

N: I'm not crazy, and stop calling me Norman! My name is Nabolione, and it is Corsican! I won't go back... let me go!

Psychiatrist: Hold him still.

FBI Agent: Will do.

Psychiatrist: Norman, this shot here will help you take a moment and relax. Then we can head back to the home, to all your friends.

N: No damn you, I'm not crazy! The fags, jews and communists have put you up to this! I'm feeling... very... sl... eepy.

Me: What is going on?

Dr. Louis Stanislas: First of all, I want to apologize all the trouble you've been put through. My name is Dr. Louis Stanislas, I am the chief medical supervisor of high risk inmates at Elba New York mental health facility located on Roosevelt Island. Your friend Danny has been in contact with us the last couple of days, he was saying something about Thomas Jefferson and time travel. Normally a call as crazy as his would be ignored at the FBI, but this man, Mr. Norman Goodshare, has been causing enough problems to make it high up on the FBI's most wanted lists, so they referred it to me and we agreed that it fit his profile. We've had several false leads but this time we actually located Norman, although I admit flying to Texas was not in my business plans. Norman is a paranoid schizophrenic who happens to be a master at stalking and identity theft, he also has a fixation on history and conspiracy. He went missing a few years ago after having earned our trust and being moved into the less secure wing of the facility. Don't worry, he'll spend the next few years in maximum security. His little sprees cost victims thousands of dollars in credit card theft, to pay for luxurious spy trips to harass major world businessmen he thinks are attached to a new world order.

Julius: Well, he's been stalking me so far as to chase me out of the country. He thinks we built a time machine!

Ludwig: A time machine, how ridiculous!

Daniel: But, doctor. That IS Thomas Jefferson. I'm tired of all this hiding about it. I don't want to be put in more danger here. What I did was wrong, and now I'm going to make it right by reporting it.

Dr. Louis Stanislas: Thank you for reporting this situation Danny, however I fear Norman's mind games have paid off on you. If you need someone to talk to, here is my card. Due to the nature of the circumstances we can fly you over to Elba and we can discuss this with some of our professional counselors. Perhaps you are under stress from this whole ordeal?

Daniel: No, I'm not crazy, it's just... I can't do this anymore. I'll meet everyone at the hotel.

Me: Daniel, wait!

Dr. Louis Stanislas: I want to extend the same invitation to you all. The federal government is extremely saddened that Norman has had such an impact during his release. However you are saving many people a lot of time and energy by having brought us here. If you choose to press charges, the FBI agent here will take your statements, however I want you to rest assured that Norman will be returning to federal incarceration, and then to a maximum security white padded cell, where he will stay indefinitely until he shows signs of being cured.

Natalie: So basically there is no point in filing charges?

Dr. Louis Stanislas: Well, there is of course if you so choose, but Norman was first confined after his stalking culminated in murder. So he was never eligible for any term of release. His mental condition required we treat him at Elba.

Me: Well then, I think it's time to head home.

Natalie: Thank god! I was beginning to believe that Thomas Jefferson, time travel stuff for a minute there. That was so crazy.

Me: Well, about that...

As we slowly made our way back to the hotel room, we all had a very long discussion. Daniel did not involve himself. He was mad at me, perhaps, for turning his life upside down as I had. Natalie at first didn't believe us, but once we explained that "N's" fixation was based on a bit of coincidental fact, she started to see the connections. I think she knew there was something about me she didn't know, but I can't say she took it very well. She certainly doesn't want me to leave. We started to discuss travel arrangements to return first to Chicago, and Ludwig had something to tell us all. He said that one of the last things he had done before being abducted was solve the final calculations, so the time machine does in fact work. However, Julius assures me, the aging syndrome issue still remains. So if I travel back in history, I could travel back to the point at which I left, where I was elderly anyways, and live out the last few months or years of my life as I probably would've normally. I just wanted to know if it would change anything.

So I took Daniel's laptop and got online to go read more about John Adams, since his name was brought up. It turns out that my old friend did in fact, during his final months of his life, become unstable, and that it was somewhat my fault. He must have lost his mind with grief after my disappearance, because he thought I had been abducted by secret captors. He died soon afterwards, but this, conspiracy theorists say, was related to the early 1830's anti-Masonic movement. It had appeared to be a popular theory that I had in fact been abducted by the Illuminati, whereas most historians assumed I had got lost during a business trip and somehow met a silent fate with an accident or a bandit.

This left me much to think about, with regards to returning back to my time. We all had time, since the Elba institution is seeking to help offset our expenditures with a small grant. They want this high profile case to go unnoticed by the national media. Natalie wants to go with me to Chicago first, and I think Daniel doesn't have an objection. We all however need rest before we go anywhere. We're going to take this opportunity to get all the sleep we need before getting ready for the next day's flight to Chicago. Then from there Daniel and Natalie will fly back to Portland. However, if the time machine works, I might decide to leave. I have much to consider in a few day's time, however there is no hurry. The grant we were all given was rather large, and we all have few obligations at home. Natalie has already contacted her employer and informed them of the abduction and asked for paid time off, they were understanding of her situation. We all have plenty of time to consider the next course of action.

In the meantime, I remain your friend and servt:

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

In case you were curious, I actually patterned Norman "Nabolione" Goodshare after someone who resembles his namesake, and that is French general Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon was in many ways, a dynamic against Jefferson's very own nature, and Jefferson never had many kind words for him. In fact, much of the dialogue and exchange was Napoleon's original words and Jefferson's thoughts about Napoleon. Particular Bonaparte quotes that were included or adapted in some fashion over the last pair of updates were:

"From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us."

"Forethought we may have, undoubtedly, but not foresight."

"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."

"If you want a thing done well, do it yourself."

"If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots."

"I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other."

"Bonaparte's domineering temper deafens him to the dictates of interest, of honor, and of morality."

"It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr."

"Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at her conquest to allow anyone to take her away from me."

"Victory belongs to the most persevering."

Lastly, the person Jefferson quoted above was Napoleon himself, when he said...

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

Jefferson's retorts to "N" too, reflected his real feelings for Napoleon, as some of the following Jeffersonian quotes show.

"Bonaparte was a lion in the field only. In civil life, a cold-blooded, calculating, unprincipled usurper, without a virtue; no statesman, knowing nothing of commerce, political economy, or civil government, and supplying ignorance by bold presumption. I had supposed him a great man until his entrance into the Assembly des cinq cens, eighteen Brumaire (an VIII). From that date, however, I set him down as a great scoundrel only."

"O'Meara's book proves that nature had denied Bonaparte the moral sense, the first excellence of well organized man. If he could seriously and repeatedly affirm that he had raised himself to power without ever having committed a crime, it proves that he wanted totally the sense of right and wrong. If he could consider the millions of human lives which he had destroyed, or caused to be destroyed, the desolations of countries by plunderings, burnings and famine, the destitutions of lawful rulers of the world without the consent of their constituents, to place his brothers and sisters on their thrones, the cutting up of established societies of men and jumbling them discordantly together again at his caprice, the demolition of the fairest hopes of mankind for the recovery of their rights and amelioration of their condition, and all the numberless train of his other enormities; the man I say, who could consider all these as no crimes, must have been a moral monster, against whom every hand should have been lifted to slay him."

"If adversity should have taught him wisdom, of which I have little expectation, he may yet render some service to mankind, by teaching the ancient dynasties that they can be changed for misrule, and by wearing down the maritime power of England to limitable and safe dimensions."

"Bonaparte saw nothing in this world but himself, and looked on the people under him as his cattle, beasts for burthen and slaughter."

Napoleon, after being deposed as dictator of France, was exiled to an Island called Elba, by the new monarch King Louis-Stanislas-Xavier (Louis XVIII). That of course is the basis of the Doctor and the fictional mental institution based on a island.

So, TeeJ has a big decision ahead of him. Try to change history, or try to change the future?


The Return Home Pt. 3: To the Shores of Tripoli

4/2/2006

I only have moments to recount the events of the last few days; unfortunately the situation has taken a turn for the worse. Let me begin to recount the events as they unfolded, a few days ago, upon our arrival into New York in accordance with the Agent N's dangerous demand.

Daniel: Dude, what the hell are we going to do? You haven't heard word back from Julius yet? 48 hours is just not enough damn time. We should screw this and hide, I mean, Natalie will be okay, right? For all we know Julius doesn't even check his email and may not show.

Me: Listen, you should sit here at the hotel. I sent Julius our full flight and hotel bookings, as well as every degree of information and several contingencies. I can only hope he acquires the information in time to arrive at the meeting point.

Daniel: Well, fuck. I don't want to stay here, I'd feel like an asshole. Can't we just call the cops or something?

Me: I don't know. It's hard to say without knowing who this "N" really is. The authorities could be in his pocket, for all we know we could be the ones getting arrested.

Daniel: This is some crazy Illuminati shit going on here, man. Seriously. I'll go with though, but I can't sit here cooped up, it'd drive me nuts. I can see why this Julius dude ran away from this guy for so long, I would too, fuck that.

Me: Daniel, your friendship has meant a lot to me for the last two years. Thank you for sticking with me. Not one thing that has come between us has ever gave me a personal moment's displeasure. I hope that with you, this is to someday be a good world... I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern.

Daniel: Well, take these keys and go warm up the rental car. I've just got to do a couple of things and I'll be down to drive us over to Ground Zero. I got the map off Google Earth so I think we should get there in plenty of time.

As it drew closer to midnight, my tensions and nervousness got the better of me. It was closing in on the minutes of midnight, a cross of steel overlooked the terrace where the remains of two buildings once stood. The words "NEVER FORGET", posted at both sides, it was 11:55 PM.

Me: I need you to stay here, Daniel. If something were to happen, you need to be ready here. I was told to meet him alone.

Daniel: Just be careful out there, man.

As the night's darkness pierced every corner, even with the lights to illuminate my way, it was a private night for a private meeting. From the figures and shadows of the rear of the cross, the abductor met me. This man at a distance had before bore the appearance of being short but in fact was rather of an average height and somewhat balding, the menace on his face no longer threatening to me.

N: Well, thank you for coming. As you well know, from the former heights of these buildings, forty centuries look down upon us. That is why I am here, you know, and why I chose this site. The woman is unimportant to me, it is the scientist I need to complete my plans. Forethought we may have, undoubtedly, but not foresight... it was my mistake to not capture the scientist when I had the opportunity, upon realizing his importance in the scheme of things. But even you do not seem to know that, so let me explain myself some so that I might make this situation perfectly clear.

Remember this: glory is fleeting but obscurity is forever. I have lived my life in this Jew-ridden, Communist cesspool... knowing that there are certain forces in play in the world. Certain things that governments hide from us all. It is these things that could grant me more than the moment's glory, but you people have stood in my way for too long. You ignorant masses cannot stand to correct the world from the homosexuality and denigrations. Alas, if you want a thing done well, do it yourself. That is why I am here tonight.


Me: You are little less than another great scoundrel who thinks he can get his way through means of force. It appears nature has denied you moral sense, the first excellence of well organized man. Julius will surely arrive soon, at which time you had best ask what you please of him, and release Natalie, and then leave us alone.

N: You make demands of me? Silly fool, if you want peace, you need to avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots. I have the woman and will not release her until I am satisfied, until I have my means to long-lasting glory. Where is the scientist now?

Me: Surely, he is on his way, although he may not arrive tonight. The time span you allowed us was not sufficient to summon him. I have his address that I had previously acquired, here.

N: What? You cowardly fool. This is all you have brought to me, an address? What are you thinking? Do you not value the girl's life?

Me: If you truly want the scientist, you will leave her be, and allow us the opportunity to meet under better circumstances. Is that a deal?

N: Deal? The best way to keep one's word is not to give it, and I always keep my word. She will be... wait, what is that? Police officers! You contacted the authorities?

Me: I did no such thing!...

N: They are coming this way! You fool! You are way over your head. What will happen when there are no police officers to summon upon? When I have won? This meeting has reached its conclusion, adieu!

Me: Wait!

It was at this moment that Agent N leaped into the shadows and began to flee the scene. I did not stammer or wait a moment more, I pursued, hopefully being able to catch him down before the police could intervene. They, noticing our flight, ran, shouting at us both to stop. Agent N apparently had a plan of action, as he ducked down into an alley into an opened subterranean passageway. He tried to shut it before I could leap in, but I was far too close. The door clashed shut and locked, as police struggled with the latch yelling at us that the public were not allowed into the sewers. After my leap into the tunnel, I had sprained my ankle, and saw N running through the passageways ready to escape. Drawing on my trusty training, and my intuition, I pulled the gun Julius had given me from its holster and took aim. With several cracking shots echoing down the halls, one bullet pierced N through his shoulder blade, temporarily pausing his escape. He screamed in pain and fell to the ground, and turned his attentions back to me.

N: You listen here! I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion, and the whole secret behind the world today is knowing one from the other. I could kill you for what you've done, but because of the circumstances I see it is wiser to retreat to my foxhole. You will find in the morning a message left for you at your hotel indicating our next meeting point will be delivered. This time it will be a site secured by me, personally. Do not defy me again!

It was at this point he wandered into the dark tunnels. While the police beat the hatch above me, I knew it was not long before I too needed to escape, but with my ankle sprained, I could not pursue nearly as fast. So I traced his path, via blood from his open wound, as far as I could, to another unlocked doorway leading back up to the street above. A few blocks of walking I found Daniel in our parked car. Daniel was frantic from the scene, wondering what had happened to both of us, and I explained the situation on the way. Then, we arrived back at the hotel, and walked in the door to our room...

Julius: Hey, I got the message. What's going on? Did he really kidnap someone to get to me? My flight was late, by the time I got to the meeting point, there were cops everywhere. I decided to come back to the hotel. Are you okay, why are you limping?

Me: I'll be fine, the situation is dire. He does have Natalie, and he wants you. I don't know what he has in mind, but we must find him, end this madness and get everyone to safety. There will be a message in the morning.

Julius: This is all my fault. If I hadn't run from him for so long and been playing this sick game between us, if I had just fought him to the end or agreed to his demands, we wouldn't be in this situation. Now other people are going to get hurt. I'm sorry.

Me: N's domineering temper deafens him to the dictates of interest, of honor, and of morality. We will have to hope that we can find him at an off moment, and put his soul to rest.

Daniel: What? You seriously mean, kill the guy? What the hell?

Me: He's not foolish. The next location he meets us at, he will bring Natalie. It is the entire bargaining chip that he has. He probably is fleeing with her now from here. When we arrive there at the next spot, we kill him, take her back and flee.

Daniel: Man, that's breaking the law.

Me: Whoever he is, he has no regard for the law or justice, and whether he is in leagues with higher officials or merely capable of deceiving them, he acts as though he is above the law. You'll see, young man, what life is like dealing with tyrants, trying to domineer their will upon you. I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility over every form of tyranny over the mind of man, I have seen too many men like this and it must stop somewhere. Normally I stand to quiet reservation but this is a call to arms.

Julius: Listen, we should wait till morning before getting riled up. He said he'd leave a message telling us our next course of action, right? I've been traveling through hours of airport delays, you both have been under a lot of stress, and we need to rest now. Alright?

Daniel: No, fuck that, I'm going to a bar and getting plastered. I'll be back at 4 AM.

Me: I regret that I cannot join you Daniel, but my sprained ankle causes me too much discomfort. I must lay to rest, myself. We will gather ourselves for the events of the coming morning.

Indeed, when the morning came, we were delivered our notice. "N" informed me that he intended to check out the address I gave him, which should be vacant because Julius is now with us, and then if it bears no fruits he will leave further instructions for us in Dallas, Texas. It seems he intends on being even more elusive. He states that a note will be posted in a clearly visible location in two day's time, at a spot called the "Grassy Knoll", providing us further instructions. We headed to the airport immediately but as we drove, a bit faster than usual perhaps from the tension, we were slowed down and stopped by traffic police.

NYC Officer: Hey guys, what's the rush?

Me: May I ask what is the issue, good sir? We are rather in a hurry.

NYC Officer: Well it seems that you were speeding, but if you're in that big a hurry, perhaps I could ask all of you to step out of the car for a moment.

Daniel: Great going, Tom, fuckin' great.

NYC Officer: I'm just going to check you guys for any contraband. You don't smoke any dope, do you? You, tall guy, you got anything on you? Hey, what's that in your jacket pocket? Spread your hands on the car and stand still. Give me that.

Me: That's just my firearm. I am a licensed owner, you know. Here is my certificate.

NYC Officer: This permit looks like it's an Oregon permit. You got a New York permit?

Me: No, should I?

NYC Officer: Well Oregon permits aren't valid here so I'm going to have to confiscate this.

Me: What? No, I...

Daniel: Shhh! Don't argue with the cop, dude.

NYC Officer: Well, I think you guys are clean, so I'm gonna let you off with a warning. Next time, drive slower.

Daniel: We will, thank you man.

Me: Why I never! Since when were men treated like dogs? He took my property! This is an intolerable injustice!

Daniel: He was probably just trying to meet arrest quotas, or looking for weed.

Julius: Well, he's gone now and it's not the time for idle argument over principle. We have to get to the airport.

We caught a quick flight out to Texas, on a credit card of Daniel's which is now maxed out, to continue our pursuit. We actually waited one day before we received the next message, stapled to a board at the end of a fence overlooking some site of historical importance. Daniel started telling me about a President who was assassinated here, but for whatever reason, it didn't sound very important. I sat in the car, not wanting to further complicate my foot problems,

Daniel: Here is the note, I found it on the back of that fence over there.

Me: Get back into the car, and we'll read it.

Daniel: Here you go.

Me: Agent N writes, "I have left this message to you in the event that our meeting in New York did not go as planned. This place is a place of great historical significance, it is where a President was killed. If you know any of the history here you'll know the board this message was stapled to was the location of a secret assassin, a second shooter who never was found or arrested. In fact, his existence was plainly denied by our government, who actually hired him. From this spot, at the right time, history could've been changed... the communists could've been driven back. Indeed, perhaps you can help me find the right solution, by cooperation and compliance to my order. Our next meeting will be in an old building called the Alamo, in San Antonio. I shall meet you there on the night of the 6th, in the basement of the Alamo, just before midnight. I shall leave the service entrance in the rear unlocked. - N"

Daniel: That's weird. There is no basement in the Alamo.

Me: Are you sure?

Daniel: Yeah, saw it in a movie once. So, we have Julius with us now, so you didn't need to give this "N" guy that address. He's probably in Chicago now, thinking we gave him false information. Do you think he'll come back still like he says in this note and meet us on the 6th... and then what do we do?

Julius: Wait, you mentioned an address. What address?

Me: I gave him the address you were staying at in Chicago, I thought perhaps after he gave us Natalie back I could contact you again and tell you to flee before he got to Chicago. The home should be vacant though, since Julius is here with us, making it of little consequence

Julius: But... I wasn't there alone... I was staying with Ludwig. Oh no! We have to reach a phone, now!

We've spent all evening attempting to reach my good friend Ludwig. Calls have gone unanswered as the phone is off the hook. It appears now, due to our own unfortunate actions, our abductor has two hostages. Perhaps "N" was right, that we are in this too deep.

Your friend and serv't,

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

What will happen to Jefferson & friends when they meet up with the enigmatic "N" in the Alamo? How is it all going to end? While you're staying tuned for the next update, here is an excellent letter of Jefferson's past: a letter to Governor John Langdon on the subject of political parties written March 5th, 1810.

Your letter, my dear friend, of the 18th ultimo, comes like the refreshing dews of the evening on a thirsty soil. It recalls antient as well as recent recollections, very dear to my heart. For five and thirty years we have walked together through a land of tribulations. Yet these have passed away, and so, I trust, will those of the present day. The toryism with which we struggled in '77, differed but in name from the federalism of '99, with which we struggled also; and the Anglicism of 1808, against which we are now struggling, is but the same thing still, in another form. It is a longing for a King, and an English King rather than any other. This is the true source of their sorrows and wailings.

The fear that Buonaparte will come over to us and conquer us also, is too chimerical to be genuine. Supposing him to have finished Spain and Portugal, he has yet England and Russia to subdue. The maxim of war was never sounder than in this case, not to leave an enemy in the rear; and especially where an insurrectionary flame is known to be under the embers, merely smothered, and ready to burst at every point. These two subdued, (and surely the Anglomen will not think the conquest of England alone a short work) antient Greece and Macedonia, the cradle of Alexander, his prototype, and Constantinople, the seat of empire for the world, would glitter more in his eye than our bleak mountains and rugged forests. Egypt, too, and the golden apples of Mauritania, have for more than half a century fixed the longing eyes of France; and with Syria, you know, he has an old affront to wipe out. Then come 'Pontus and Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,' the fine countries on the Euphrates and Tigris, the Oxus and Indus, and all beyond the Hyphasis, which bounded the glories of his Macedonian rival; with the invitations of his new British subjects on the banks of the Ganges, whom, after receiving under his protection the mother country, he cannot refuse to visit. When all this is done and settled, and nothing of the old world remains unsubdued, he may turn to the new one. But will he attack us first, from whom he will get but hard knocks and no money? Or will he first lay hold of the gold and silver of Mexico and Peru, and the diamonds of Brazil? A republican Emperor, from his affection to republics, independent of motives of expediency, must grant to ours the Cyclop's boon of being the last devoured. While all this is doing, we are to suppose the chapter of accidents read out, and that nothing can happen to cut short or to disturb his enterprises.

But the Anglomen, it seems, have found out a much safer dependance, than all these chances of death or disappointment. That is, that we should first let England plunder us, as she has been doing for years, for fear Buonaparte should do it; and then ally ourselves with her, and enter into the war. A conqueror, whose career England could not arrest when aided by Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Spain and Portugal, she is now to destroy, with all these on his side, by the aid of the United States alone. This, indeed, is making us a mighty people. And what is to be our security, that when embarked for her in the war, she will not make a separate peace, and leave us in the lurch? Her good faith! The faith of a nation of merchants! The Punica fides of modern Carthage! Of the friend and protectress of Copenhagen! Of the nation who never admitted a chapter of morality into her political code! And is now boldly avowing, that whatever power can make hers, is hers of right. Money, and not morality, is the principle of commerce and commercial nations. But, in addition to this, the nature of the English government forbids, of itself, reliance on her engagements; and it is well known she has been the least faithful to her alliances of any nation of Europe, since the period of her history wherein she has been distinguished for her commerce and corruption, that is to say, under the houses of Stuart and Brunswick. To Portugal alone she has steadily adhered, because, by her Methuin treaty she had made it a colony, and one of the most valuable to her. It may be asked, what, in the nature of her government, unfits England for the observation of moral duties? In the first place, her King is a cypher; his only function being to name the oligarchy which is to govern her. The parliament is, by corruption, the mere instrument of the will of the administration. The real power and property in the government is in the great aristocratical families of the nation. The nest of office being too small for all of them to cuddle into at once, the contest is eternal, which shall crowd the other out. For this purpose, they are divided into two parties, the Ins and the Outs, so equal in weight that a small matter turns the balance. To keep themselves in, when they are in, every stratagem must be practised, every artifice used which may flatter thepride, the passions or power of the nation. Justice, honor, faith, must yield to the necessity of keeping themselves in place. The question whether a measure is moral, is never asked; but whether it will nourish the avarice of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of their navy, or produce any other effect which may strengthen them in their places. As to engagements, however positive, entered into by the predecessors of the Ins, why, they were their enemies; they did every thing which was wrong; and to reverse every thing they did, must, therefore, be right. This is the true character of the English government in practice, however different its theory; and it presents the singular phenomenon of a nation, the individuals of which are as faithful to their private engagements and duties, as honorable, as worthy, as those of any nation on earth, and whose government is yet the most unprincipled at this day known. In an absolute government there can be no such equiponderant parties. The despot is the government. His power suppressing all opposition, maintains his ministers firm in their places. What he has contracted, therefore, through them, he has the power to observe with good faith; and he identifies his own honor and faith with that of his nation.

When I observed, however, that the King of England was a cypher, I did not mean to confine the observation to the mere individual now on that throne. The practice of Kings marrying only into the families of Kings, has been that of Europe for some centuries. Now, take any race of animals, confine them in idleness and inaction, whether in a stye, a stable, or a state room, pamper them with high diet, gratify all their sexual appetites, immerse them in sensualities, nourish their passions, let every thing bend before them, and banish whatever might lead them to think, and in a few generations they become all body and no mind: and this, too, by a law of nature, by that very law by which we are in the constant practice of changing the characters and propensities of the animals we raise for our own purposes. Such is the regimen in raising Kings, and in this way they have gone on for centuries. While in Europe, I often amused myself with contemplating the characters of the then reigning sovereigns of Europe. Louis the XVI. was a fool, of my own knowledge, and in despite of the answers made for him at his trial. The King of Spain was a fool, and of Naples the same. They passed their lives in hunting, and despatched two couriers a week, one thousand miles, to let each other know what game they had killed the preceding days. The King of Sardinia was a fool. All these were Bourbons. The Queen of Portugal, a Braganza, was an idiot by nature. And so was the King of Denmark. Their sons, as regents, exercised the powers of government. The King of Prussia, successor to the great Frederick, was a mere hog in body as well as in mind. Gustavus of Sweden, and Joseph of Austria, were really crazy, and George of England you know was in a straight waistcoat. There remained, then, none but old Catherine, who had been too lately picked up to have lost her common sense. In this state Buonaparte found Europe; and it was this state of its rulers which lost it with scarce a struggle. These animals had become without mind and powerless; and so will every hereditary monarch be after a few generations. Alexander, the grandson of Catherine, is as yet an exception. He is able to hold his own. But he is only of the third generation. His race is not yet worn out. And so endeth the book of Kings, from all of whom the Lord deliver us, and have you, my friend, and all such good men and true, in his holy keeping.

- TH. Jefferson

The Ins and Outs is a good description of our parties today. A small tide turns the balance, they are not weighted so much on issues as they are politics. "The question whether a measure is moral, is never asked; but whether it will nourish the avarice of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of their navy, or produce any other effect which may strengthen them in their places." We need to beware these types of politics. It seems like one side is the better and the other side the devil, but to be honest, a system like this is really a matter of picking lesser evils. Picking the lesser evil is not the intention of a sound political system. While our Presidents are perhaps more active than the old kings of Europe, I believe a long list of them in recent history have been fools, idiots, pigs, crazy... and I just can't shake the feeling that most of them deserve their own entries into the Book of Kings.

Also wish your author a happy 26th birthday. Today's date is Jefferson's birthday in the old calender that was in use when he was born, in fact April 2nd is on his tombstone per his instruction. Well, it also so happens to be my birthday. So I hope you enjoyed the update!


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