Thomas Jefferson Archive
Though Jefferson says his catalogue is “far from being complete or correct,” this part of Notes presents an impressive compendium of historical, legal, and political language that details the character of the Commonwealth.
Here’s a confession. When I talk about NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, I sometimes refer to Jefferson’s “queries” as “cantos.” Like a poetic canto, which stands or falls on the music of its syllables, Jefferson’s queries must have enough tensile strength to contain his ideas, and space to
This is the eighth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.
Query XV: The colleges and public establishments, the roads, buildings, &c.
Query XVI: The measures taken with regard to the estates and possessions of the rebels, commonly called Tories
We’ve reached the section of Notes I dread the most. It’s also the query I’ve spent more time contemplating than any other. Here, at the center of the book, he makes his infamous case for slavery in his time.
In these queries, Jefferson continues enumerating the features of Virginian civilization: its marine vessels (X), the activities of Native American tribes (XI), the locations of urban centers (XII), and the nature of civic power in the Commonwealth (XIII).
This is the fourth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here, here and here. ** Query VI: “Productions mineral, vegetable and animal” A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.
This is the second installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Here’s the first installment. ** Query II: A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable Query III: A notice of the best Seaports of the State,
This is the start of a monthly journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. I’ve loved this book for many years. It’s scholarly and luminous, unfolding a rich lexicon. Open its pages and whole rivers, chunks of amethyst, living birds, and secret mammoth skeletons tumble forth.