All men are created equal…

Today is my last in Virginia. Julian kindly took me to see his son Harrison in Charlottesville for breakfast. Like his brother and father he is a Liveryman of the Poulterers and the Pipemakers. He runs a small restaurant and grocery store, so we had a lovely breakfast.

We then went on to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Here I am next to Jefferson, who looks a bit browned off.

We explored the house and the grounds and were most impressed with the tour guide.

The house took years to build on top of a hill and Jefferson, who wrote the above line in the title of today’s blog, had up to 400 slaves. Mmmm, I thought. How does that work? All men are created equal, but some live more equally than others?

It turned out that our guide dealt with that very question as she showed us around the house. Jefferson was of his own time, and had slaves, but was intellectually against the principle. However, he was clear that his generation has secured Independence, and it would be for another generation to get rid of slavery. He felt he had laid the ground for this in the declaration of independence (1776) and in the constitution. (1789) , which he also had a hand in drafting. He later became the 3rd President, from 1801 to 1809, and retired to this house, where he died in 1826 aged 83, a very great age for the era.

He is buried in the grounds.

We also explored the gardens and particularly the vegetable patch (if that is the correct term!) My picture does not doit justice as it is half a mile long. Julian loves gardening so he was most impressed, and then had to explore the plants for sale. I resisted!

So… Farewell Virginia. I leave at 7.00pm EST, by train. First I head north for 6 hours to New York, where I have a 5 hour lay-over at 1.00am. I will try to find Times Square to take a picture, thereby proving ‘I have done NY’. Then on tomorrow morning west for 5 hours to Niagara. I am looking forward to that.

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