As the Fourth of July, 1826, approached, Thomas Jefferson lay wasting away in his bed at Monticello. His physical being was not cooperating with his brilliant mind, and he knew his time was short. Our beloved Founding Father had tried with all his might, and to the last ounce of his being, to remain alive until this sacred day.
His last earthly triumph was to survive until the 50th anniversary of the day he and his fellow revolutionaries announced our independence from the economic tyranny and the oppressive government of England. He was a patriot to the bone, and he loved this country to the death. All those around him feared he would not make it to that blessed day and that he would not fulfill his wish, for his body was failing and he was very weak.
It was nearly 1 o’clock on that summer afternoon, July 4, 1826, one of the greatest men ever to walk the Earth, had expired. Surrounded by many friends and family, Jefferson clutched a Bible, several books of Greek tragedy, manuscripts of Socrates, remnants of other great thinkers of history, and accounts of other successful civilizations that had risen to greatness, then collapsed in failure. He had learned much from their history. Jefferson vowed not to make the same mistakes of Rome or Greece, his brilliant, written architecture and verbal designs would see to that indeed. Jefferson was not an extremely pious man, but he knew the importance of God and felt the role He played in the forging of any successful republic. He relied on Him at this hour, as he did during other tribulations before this day.
About 600 miles north at Quincy, Mass., John Adams lay in his deathbed as well, awaiting his faithful departure from Earth. Two days prior, Mr. Adams showed no signs of the fate to befall him. Surrounded by family and friends, and other notables, John Adams died only a few hours the latter of Mr. Jefferson, and also on the Fourth of July, 1826.
The last words uttered out of his struggling lips were: “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” and then Mr. Adams fell silent forever.
Jefferson and his fellow founders forged a new document, a blueprint to design a better, stronger, more perfect union that would stand the temptations of men and their relentless quests for power. However, even the founders may not have foreseen what was to come, or could have conceived such maniacal stresses to our country’s foundations. These present tests to the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution have not yet succumbed her to the ravages of man’s greed, thus far. Jefferson and Adams, perhaps from beyond the grave, hold out hope that their magnificent design will not fail its intended purpose and our framers’ foundations will remain intact.
These great men helped found this nation and suffered greatly for it. But they knew the cause was just and the mission noble, for they understood that without freedom of the individual, tyranny and misery would forever rule men’s souls. Even the most ardent atheist could not ignore this magnificent, triple coincidence, and what I believe to be one of Divine providence. Two men, entwined in history and destiny, to both pass on that fateful day, within hours of one another, and for Adams to know Jefferson’s fate so immediately, was incredible indeed.
Long live the United States of America, not as our contemporaries may try and transform her into, but long live the America our Founding Fathers entrusted all of us to protect and preserve at all costs. This country was not created for man’s pleasure to bastardize or change into his own vision, or to have the audacity to believe it needs to be corrected in any manner whatever. This country is the greatest gift to mankind and the best hope for the world to prosper in peace and the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Jon B. Cain