Updates for Thursday, April 13th [2006]

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 My values and beliefs, are antient & outdated, people too busy to acquaint themselves very closely to them...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.


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