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The best understanding of America or so it seems to be still unfinished is that even America is man's greatest and. The University of North Carolina grant in aid from the National Association of educational broadcasters presents American Adventure a study in the new A series made possible by the education and independent agency established by the Ford Foundation. Written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton today's recorded program presents Charles Hadley in Grandfather Jefferson a documented study of Thomas Jefferson as he was known to his grandchildren. Their coverage bumps over the hard Virginia ground the steep climb for the horses
up the hill to Monticello and its night horses move nervously but hurry them. You heard Tom Jefferson lives he'll repeat tonight he will die. Checkers. Could I help you down your coverage has stopped at the West portico of the great beautiful house. Round about people are standing waiting. You go into the entrance hole than turn left and go down the passage to the library. There you're not to the doctor and to Mrs. Randolph Jefferson's daughter. Then you go into the bedroom Jefferson he is there you are there. And by Tom Jefferson's grandson. No yes grandfather wrote perhaps you had left. No sir. What woke you the clock chime. I don't think so. What
Time Is It Anyway. A minute or so past ten. Before the fourth. Yes if both of you and I. If you move closer to the bed you can see my grandfather. His hair looks even more red than usual on the whiteness of the pillows. This is the man who has walked the high road of his generation. This week man here live back from father live back. Shall I call the doctor he's outside. No no no it's good to feel your strong hand on my shoulder. Yes sir. Oh I've thanked them you know and feel you. You've become as close to me as any son could ever have been to me. Staff at my old age like quietness are known to happen it is here that you and your mother and the other real happening. Yes in Philadelphia Ben Franklin wanted me to change happen
it's an inalienable right. You remember. On this very night years ago do you live. I was explaining the Declaration of Independence to some friend and and Oban was there and I got to the part where among the years are life liberty and happiness and whole been leaning forward said Tom. One of any about it ever really possessed happened. Maybe the word pursuit would fit in there better. So the enabler rights of man became life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Van was wrong but I see. When your grandmother was alive I possessed happiness. Want to see who.
Shall I call the doctor and grandfather you look at talking to the newspapers and preaches some of them and some of them say that Tom Jefferson doesn't believe in God or an afterlife. Why do they say that I don't know sir. But it's the general conceptions are how do they know what I believe. I tell you I know when I die I'll be taken to another place go from that family had mounted Chalo to the members of my family who were gone and go to where they are with God. I believe that those go in a minute except for one thing those little ones little great grandchildren are going to man leave them when they don't know anything about anything and when you've neglected them look to themselves. He is in a real way and and you too you know from Philadelphia Washington oh my life away from home never where I wanted to be always gone. But there's a little wind.
They're very important they're learns or they'll have fine teachers perhaps not as good as you but as good as yours were oh I don't mean alone in fact Randolph it's it's not something to be sad but to be demonstrated about life. I tried to say it to them yesterday but I will not forget what you said. Then on the whole I don't know and will remind him so now don't worry about that grandfather. I would like to see the fourth and you come again. Yes you will sir. I think I'll go to sleep now. So past those leaving hours of your life. I watched my grandfather as the doctor would come and count his breathing as my mother would anxiously step in for a few minutes then leave again.
But I sat silently. And considered what he might have meant something deeper than the fact that he wanted to show the children something about life. I found it in Congress that he believed you neglected his faith. About 10:45 I went to the window and looked over the wall hardly seeing the people who waited there. Instead I saw the afternoons when the grass was warm with the southern sun and grandfather retired from the presidency surrounded by his small group of great grandchildren. But why do you put the flowers in the ground grandfather. I'm not putting flowers in the ground Johnny. I thought you said you were going to plant flowers flowers I thought you said they were poems. Yes that's correct. You see they get flowers you plant Bo. If you plant flowers do you get both. No you get flowers and when you
plant it it would all come down to this. We plant Bobo's now and in the spring we have flowers. No no no sir you don't believe we can plant and get flowers. How can I become a flower color. How many you children agree with Jonah that these bulbs will not produce flowers. I don't know how many you think they will produce flowers. Well let's prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the majority may be free to decide. But they certainly are always right. It took but one spring convince the majority and after that whenever grandfather's bulbs arrived from Philadelphia it was a wonderful experience for them to watch. She opened the package and displayed the brown packets of bulbs
and seeds for the excited children. Now this particular package of markers all really is. Yes. Now that packet is labeled the killing of a what. Oh I don't know honey probably silver. Now this package is called the Queen of them isn't a man had a right to pronounce names of flowers he won't do honey. Right all wrong. Different day right little Jord mind. They would play. On the first stop the ground they would run to their grandfather and tell him excited. His books of history and science and languages he would leave his thoughts about government and the ways of trade and the value of
money and the extent of taxes and the recruiting of armies and the making of wars and he would hurry after them to the garden plot and down with them and say. I had just seen the light of day and look over there and see how the king of the gold mine is doing. My sister Ellen was very fond of writing and small she told me once she had never cared in her childhood simplicity what equipment or saddle or bridles she used. But as she grew older she became as women will more fastidious. One day as she stood in the portico at Monticello a man rode up to the door with the beautiful ladies saddled and bridled before him. Her heart bounded. These coveted articles were deposited at her feet as Grandfather
came out of his room to tell her that they were her. It's. Been 15 years old she began to think of a watch but knowing the grandfather was having difficult financial problems at the time she didn't expect one. And many. One afternoon the letter bag was brought in. Among the letters was a small packet addressed to my grandfather. She looked at it indifferently. Three hours later an elegant ladies watch with chain and seals was in her hand which trembled for very joy. So it was with her writing this her first letter and had her first silk dress her first Bible her first Shakespeare All in all. All her treasures and all of mine and my brothers and sisters. What indeed that was beautiful that we treasured has not come from here. Without asking without even mentioning the news. As I sat there in his bedroom looking at his face. That. Thoughtful. And things. Altered now with a puzzled expression caused by some pain.
I heard in my mind's ear the song he had taught the children to sing this reader of Eskimo Sophocles your repartee is this lover of Homer and Virgil student of Shakespeare and Milton and master of languages. I heard the song talk with children. Very good very good indeed. And now I have a new book for Grandfather well-mounted poled we draw straws and see. Here today I have forced draw all of them way I want to do with those for straws. Here they are melodic rock and they just draw the Genya Dont you want about it. All right Johnny. And you honey and you. Who has this yacht when I think. Of you the doña. Yeah that is if you want one. You
may read the book first. Thank you. I get to read you first. Maybe I'm back and then we see you know you know that third and Johnny's second and you my dear are doubtless full so I tell you what. When the book gets to you and you read it you may have it. And what's left out. Thank you. Now then what shall we play cross-questioned it is I'm not sure you know what. I would stand sometimes in the doorway and watched. They would play these games from twilight into the candles were brought to light then immediately the games would be stopped. Then father would take up whatever book he was studying and retire to his favorite chair. And the children one by one would take their house which they'd won through the months by drawing the longest straw and they would sit down around his candelabrum on the floor. Thomas Jefferson and his children and they wouldn't say a word lest they disturb you.
Let me put this moist cloth on his floor and. Really be all right Doctor. No no I'm just a doctor. He looks much worse. Yes it does come in mother. How is Father not very aware of Mrs. Randall. Yes restlessly look at his hand. It's moving very slowly over the quilt. He's dreaming. Mrs. Rand know what his temperature is very high it's natural. What do you suppose he's doing who knows what your father might have in his mind. Maybe he's writing something from the Declaration of Independence or a paper in answer to Mr. Hamilton. Reason no bigger address it could be the first papers that founded the university here in Charlottesville.
Who knows what Tom Jefferson might be right. Come over to the window doctor. People are gathering on the lawn. Even more than earlier. How do people know. How do they find out I suppose if they just woke up at night and it has been said in the way Tom Jefferson is sick up there in Monticello. I feel it. That's the only way they could know. It's the same lawn that was used when the Marquis de Lafayette came to visit grandfather. The same crowd I suppose. Probably the same people. Were you here when Lafayette arrived. No I heard about it but I was in Williamsburg at the time. Lafayette and grandfather. In this country and in France. To the best of friends they hadn't seen each other for years and so a crowd of about 200 people gathered on the lawn right there wouldn't it's the reunion of the two revolutionary figures people formed a semi-circle on
that side of the lawn about mid-morning and we heard the horses of the Marquis on the road on the mountain. One hundred and twenty mounted men escorted his carriage into the yard and they they formed in a semicircle facing the people. Then a drum began to roll. And eerie sound the roll of the drum sound with greatness and of. War and determination sound with the sort of sound of a nation's. Carriage door was opened to the lobby at steps. It's permanently lame and broken by this recent find. My grandfather then appeared from the house and they began to walk across the top the barrier and inch by the greatness of the other. Motions of all the decades later the front lines of the struggle of man and their freedom. All the years they've been part of. Each other their pieces with them became a shuffling run and explaining not Jefferson or Lafayette. They fell into each other's
arms. Arm in arm. Back slowly into the house. What time is it Doctor. Shortly after eleven and father wanted to live until midnight. Really. Yes probably. And yes grandfather. You will remember. Remember plots are about little Durrant. Yes or I would know it and God bless you. I looked down into his face and thought frantically for a moment for I was not sure exactly what I'd promised. And he went back to sleep I reconstructed the scene of the day before when he addressed the children for the last time. They'd filed in and lined up against the wall according to age and he lay high on his pillows as was his habit and spoke to them as he
would have addressed a group of visiting dignitaries of an old. Express an opinion which is not yours. Say to yourself he has a right to his opinion as he does me no injury in shall I become a Don Quixote to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion. If in fact the mistake made it probable he had gratified by belief in it and you have no right to deprive him of the gratification you want information you ask for it and then give it to him in measured terms. But if you still believe his own story and shows a desire to dispute the fact with you here and and say nothing. It's his affair not you would if he preferred. Are you listening your wager. Now look here. I've spent a good deal of effort working together a speech for you children and I'm delivering it. Something I didn't even do for Congress would deliver my inaugural so consider yourself on
it and listen to me. Yes. Now the gist of what I said to you in that previous bit was don't expect everybody to agree with the way out the man who demands they do. Now the second point is beware of the citizen who is rude and has for some reason taken up a passion for politics. Be absolutely silent when around such people no good can ever result from any attempt to set one of those zealots to the right either in fact or principle. They're determined to the facts available even the opinions on which they lacked. Get by them therefore as you would by an angry bull. Not from man assents to dispute the road with such an animal. Then we order this because you know that I don't think George understand much of this Randall I don't think so we've George come in many. Now what can I say to you that you will remember.
Yes remember then. Can I discuss with you the concept of freedom for the man rather than freedom for the majority. You understand that yet. So I say to you George look here. Be careful of your own freedom when you see another man denied it. Do you want to stand there. Yes. Well you're a good deal you are smarter than Alexander Hamilton then what did you say. I said Well I would never never speak evil about a man when used when you can speak good didn't I don't. Yes. Would you believe your little daughter turned it on. George Stand back I say a poem for me. See that poem I told you the one I learned when I was your age. Go on. I've seen the sea. I think you know. I
saw this one. Now I'd tell you that what I call an artistic meaningful reading of a poem. Back up a dog in her side that verse again. Go on. Well I think I think that's why I think about this one. And come in a minute. I mean you must mind my laughing to recitation your dad used to laugh at me I remember when I say that same poem my father would throw back you hated her or Oh you're going to conquer burn you have to get their own did it. You painted a cock a burst scene it is Moore right there that is it. Yes. George when I think of how much knowledge men have
gathered down through the ages and how much you have I just shake my head and wonder. Look here you. You know four lines of poetry you know very well no doubt about it. But but there are millions and millions of lines of facts and theories and beautiful thought which men have gathered through the ages and here you are. Joad Randolph M. four of them. Jefferson was master of the same four lines when I was your age. Now I can look back and see all that I did mistakes and successes but I can help you only in part because because I can't look forward anymore than you. Nobody knows what you'll be like and what you'll become. But out of my life and experiences open way back.
What's the matter. Oh I had I guess I just taught myself and looking back round off it is a long road you know. Where in the distance. I can see my father with his head thrown back laughing. And I can see my father Barry. I see William and Mary College in the dawn light when I'm rising begin to study. I see the trembling man I was when I first stepped before the Virginia legislature and. I remember how my throat would clog up when I try to speak. I can hear the words of Patrick in the words of Thomas Payne. Not in the trite stance of hearing them of thousand times about. But in the real use to hearing them when they were treated. And I taking my stand with them when a man's life can be lost by saying too much.
I can tell you that I have George Washington and they were beauties my. Friends and the alternatives in them. So low that you decide. I can see. From back. When my wife was sick. And my children one by one. Sick. Dying. My wife did it. All except Mark. I can see the court of the kings of Europe and the chamber of the senator that took up the gavel and banged for all of that first time. And the feeling inside of. Pri. You. Can look back at the loneliness of the White House when the newspapers blackened my reputation and smeared my name so that there were no defending it. Then they. And the books. With.
Thousands upon thousand of books how many languages how many births and lives that passed me and I. I have touched them and. Now I remember their. Lips and. I can hear. He's with us and to me that I can. I can look back over them and a morning awakenings and places visited and he will sit for 50000 meals and. In Beauty in the sun. And Moon the Moon. And your moon. The very curtains you know in my bed and these curtains I purchased from the first Crago to be received in this country after the revolution. You know and you know you're on another course. I can't tell you how to run any that except to tell you to run it well as you understand the
meaning of the word. And don't let anybody tell you it isn't worth the effort. Did you hear. Yes. If you can't remember all that just remember. I love you and remember to love your family. Now as you watch. And later as you become a husband and a father who teaches his children the lines I thought you know. You know in the one word all this and this business about life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Oh men during the day and why Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Oh I'm tied up with with you know I. Sold this thing with my grandfather and when I hear men debate the pros and
cons of his work. The value of his life the principle of his ideology the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. I listen. But I think that pursuit is well worthwhile. But for myself I cannot say it very clearly but I feel it's overwhelming. He's great philosophy can be fully understood only when you have seen him as I. Not in the councils of state but teaching children. I see him with the little ones gathered around him and I say this man he is Thomas Jefferson. Always the new always the beginning always the bold that must sprout into the flower of full life. This was my grandfather as he appeared to us his grandchildren. The.
American Adventure is written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton produced by the communication center at the University of North Carolina. American Adventure is a study of man in the New World is values and his characteristics who he is what he believes. The series is made possible by the National Association of educational broadcasters and the fun Fred don't education an independent agency established by the Ford Foundation. Our story grandfather Jefferson is primarily based on research done in the book but a mastic life of Thomas Jefferson written by his great granddaughter Sarah and Randolph and our production Charles Hadley was Jefferson and Charles Kuralt was his grandson Carl Kasell speaking American Inventor is produced and recorded by the University of North Carolina on the campus at Chapel Hill. This is the n AB network.
American adventure
Grandfather Jefferson
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A study of a grandfather's love for his grandchildren. The story of the latter days of Jefferson.
Series Description
This series studies the values and characteristics of notable figures from America's early years. It is written by John M. Ehle and directed by John S. Clayton.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Randolph, Thomas Jefferson, 1792-1875
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Actor: Kuralt, Charles, 1934-1997
Actor: Hadley, Charles
Director: Clayton, John S.
Host: Kasell, Carl
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Writer: Ehle, John, 1925-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-12-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:32
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Chicago: “American adventure; Grandfather Jefferson,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “American adventure; Grandfather Jefferson.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: American adventure; Grandfather Jefferson. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from