Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 27, 1976 · Page 46
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version
June 27, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 46

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 27, 1976
Page 46
Start Free Trial

Page 46 article text (OCR)

Siifirfflv'GaztMt«''-.Mail c urreiit ffairs Charleston, West \'irginia IE --June 27. 1976 Jefferson's Declaration Lives for the Ages /(was as author of his country's fundamental charter of freedom that Thomas Jefferson earned his place among the first founders. The Declaration of Independence was presented to the Continental Congress 200 years ago this iveek. By Don McLeod The Associated Press Freedom begins in the mind. The freedom to think, to learn, to express is the highest freedom. From it all others spring. Unless a man thinks free, he isn't free. This is what made a revolutionary of Thomas Jefferson, an unlikely rebel and yet one of the most thorough. It was Jefferson's mind and a passion to use it which made him want to be free. He had an obsession for mental growth and exercise. A threat to that was a danger to his soul. "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." was his creed. And it was with his free and vigorous mind that Jefferson made his contribution to freedom. He won no great victories on the battlefield and few in the legislative halls. But of all the men and women who made the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson may have been the greatest. Because he didn't just make a country free, he showed the world how to be free. He did it by composing the fundamental document of American freedom in words so compelling and timeless they stand today as a beacon to the world. And he fought a lifetime for its principles. HIS DECLARATION of Independence was reported to the Continental Congress on June 28,1776, two centuries ago tomorrow. It was destined to revolutionize the order of government among men. "The care of human life and happiness." Jefferson would say later. ".. .is the first and only legitimate object of good government." By the standards of his native Virginia Jefferson was among those born to govern. But he took it as a duty, not a right, and shunned the prerogatives of birth and wealth for the "natural aristocracy" of "virtue and talents." Jefferson was born April 3. 1743. His father was a famed surveyor and produced the first accurate map of Virginia. Peter Jefferson was the third in a line of successial plainters, a member of the colonial legislature and a lieutenant of the militis. Tom's mother. Jane Randolph Jefferson, was from one of America's first families. The boy was close to his father, who was renowned as a man of strength, and inherited from him a love of surveying, science and books along with a modest library. But Peter Jefferson died when his son was only 14. Tom was in a sense old enough to head the household, but not really. He felt enormous responsibility, very little authority and overwhelmed. Contrary to frontier tradition, his mother did not remarry. That left the teenaged boy in the care of a strict mother and a brood o' sisters. The only other boy was an infant. From his experience Jefferson emerged a defensive and sensitive young man. He was extremely jealous of his own identity and for all his life shy and notoriously thin- skinned. HE INHERITED a sizable estate, however, which supported him well enough. And in line with his father's death-bed instructions, he was given a good education. When he was very young. Jefferson studied with the rest of the children in ihe family, under a tulor. Then he allended Lalin schools until he was ready for the College of William and Mary in 1760. The colonial capital of Williamsburg also was an excellent school of praclical politics. Here Jefferson observed sessions of the General Court of Virginia and heard debates in the House of Burgesses. Il was as a young studenl lhat he stood in a doorway of the capitol as Palrick Henry delivered his firsl great oration for American rights, warning George II of the fate of Caesar. In Williamsburg. too. Jefferson fell under the influence of William Small, professor of science and mathematics, who recognized the potential genius of Ihe youth and ignited in him a love of learning. Small introduced Jefferson to the society of Francis Fauquier, royal governor of Virginia and amateur scientist, and ^George WyJJie, leading lawyer of the co- l lony. T t f '\ Thomas Jefferson Architect of America These men of learning became proxy f a t h e r s for the young Jefferson. He showed them the deference and respect due a parent, and they reciprocated. The maturity he gained from association with these men was one reason he assumed a major role in Congress while one of the youngest members. Finishing college in two years. Jefferson began to study law under Wythe. who also would teach John Marshall and Henry Clay and become the country's first professor of law. For seven years Jefferson would practice law. During these years he also married Martha Wayles Skelton. a young widow, and began r a i s i n g a f a m i l y at his beloved Montecello. These were his happy days. Public service for Jefferson began in the typical manner of the Virginia gentry. He served as parish vestryman and justice of the peace, and became a colonel of militia at 2* »· JEFFERSON WAS only 25 when he entered the House of Burgesses in 1769. Despite his youth and poor speaking ability, he was a good lawyer and a superior writer. So he was put to work on several committees. The House had been in session only 10 days, however, when Jefferson got his first taste of revolutionary politics. The Assembly was dissolved for endorsing the Massachusetts Circular Letter against the Townshend Duties. The "treason" at which this was aimed was the crime of disagreeing. Jefferson began to think more deeply about political philosophy. Before the next crisis he had joined a clique of budding firebrands who met informally at Raleigh Tavern'in the evenings. This group drafted and. introduced the resolution creating the Virginia Committee of Correspondence. When Parliament closed the port of Boston in retaliation for the Tea Party. Jefferson came up with the idea of proclaiming a day of fasting and prayer. the resolution suggested a call for "divine interposition for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights. But the part which led to another dissolution of the Assembly was the reference to "American Rights 1 ' and "our sister colony of Massachusets Bay." This was united resistance. The ousted Burgesses trooped once again to the tavern and signed another boycott agreement in support of Boston. »- IN JULY OF 1774 Jefferson was elected to the Virginia Convention which replaced the Assembly, and he drew up Albermarle County's instructions to its delegation. It was Jefferson's first effort at political writing. The instructions said Americans were "subject to the laws which they adopted" and "no other legislature whatever can rightly exercise authority over them." What's more, he dared, "these privi- leges'they hold as the common rights of m a n k i n d " . . . their natural and legal rights." Jefferson expanded this document into his first political treatise and set out for Williamsburg with it. But the heat, or his nerves, gave him such a case of dysentery he harto turn back. Jefferson was among the Burgesses who adjourned to the Raleigh Tavern and continued their work in rump session. He also signed the nonimportation agreement in opposition to the new British tax. But England had done something further which struck the most sensitive nerve of Jefferson's being. It had suggested revival of an old law allowing persons accused of treason to be transported to England for trail. So, he sent copies of his revolutionary rhetoric to Williamsburg. where the delegates discreetly let it lie. But the paper f o u n d its way into p r i n t and soon was reproduced in other colonies and in England under the title "A Summary View of the Rights of British America." Jefferson was an overnight celebrity. The pamphlet anticipated the self-governing d o m i n i o n s of the f u t u r e B r i t i s h Commonwealth. The American colonies, he said, were the same as England and Scotland once had been, with one king but separate legislatures. "Our emigration to this country." Jefferson argued, "gave England no more rights over us than the emigration of the Danes and Saxons gave to the present authorities of their mother country over England." Americans, he said, at their own risk had carved a new country out of a wilderness. "For themselves they fought, for themselves they conquerred. and for themselves alone they have right to hold." Whatever help the mother country gave, he added, was for commercial gain and could be repaid by trade, not p o l i t i c a l subservience. "The God who gave us l i f e gave us liberty at the same time." he declared. "The hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them." When the ministry offered a compromise scheme of taxation. Jefferson was selected to write for Virginia that "it only changes the form of oppression without lightening its burden." Jefferson was sent to the Continental Congress in 1775 and immediately assigned to a committee drawing up a declaration to explain to the world why Americans had resorted to arms. Although some of his stronger words were veined by his more conservative coauthor. John Dickinson, it was a forceful statement of American rights. *· IT WAS JEFFERSON who contributed the insistence that "attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty." And it was J e f f e r s o n who wrote to a dear f r i e n d who had sided w i t h K i n g George: "Believe me. there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But by the God that made me. I will cease to exist before 1 yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament proposes." It was not long before it became clear that separation was the only answer. And while Congress debated toward final decision in the early summer of 1776. Jefferson was appointed to the committee which would prepare a formal declaration. At 33 Jefferson was one of the youngest members of Congress, but he had brought with him "a reputation for literature, science and a happy talent of composition." according to John Adams, who suggested he be the draftsman. ' The job he did lives for the ages and speaks for the man and his country. But for Jefferson it was more than just a document or a piece of literary art. Jefferson spent the rest of his life seeking to implement in legislation and action the principles he had written. He continued to serve in Congress and then the new Virginia House of Delegates until he was elected the state's second governor in 1779. He wrote the bill guaranteeing religious liberty in Virginia, and brought an end to the feudal land inheritance practices. One of his proudest achievements was the University of Virginia, whose buildings he designed and curriculum he planned to bring up the new aristocracy of ability. Jefferson served as diplomat for the nation he helped create. He fought for the Bill of Rights when a new constitution was drawn. He was secretary of state, vice president and president. "He possessed a genius of the first order," said Benjamin Rush, his friend and colleague in Congress. "It was universal in its objects. "The objects of his benevolence were as extensive as those of his knowledge. He was not only the friends of his country, hut of al'jlations and religions." 5 Unmanned Viking Spacecraft Orbits Mars Life-Search Lander Digs Into Surface of Planet Mars: Cosmic Jackpot? B\ Richard Sallus PASADENA Calif. I AP)-The most elaborate skyrocket of them all a shot at Mars, is scheduled for a Fourth of July landing on that intriguing planel to tell us whether anybody lives there. Actually, two such rockets are on their way. each an ingenious, expensive, remote-controlled laboratory in miniature. The labs, built at a cost of ?50 million, have been programmed to carry out a series of tests on handfuls of soil that will be scooped from Mars' surface by a 10-foot-Iong robot arm. This is providing, of course, the Viking landers that contain the labs are able lo come down on the rugged Martian surface--one July 4. Ihe other about Sept. 4--without being smashed to bits. »· PREVIOUS SOVIET soft-landing attempts failed; this is the first U.S. try. The Vikings, launched last fall, are controlled by (he Jet Propulsion Laboratory here. They will conduct three major experiments. Packed into the breadbox-sized labs are instruments designed to delect life--even if it exists on the red planet in tiny quantities and in the most primitive forms, a few miscoscopic plants or animals mingled with dusl. for example, perhaps lying dormant in the currently harsh Martian environment. "If life exists at all," said Dr. Fred Brown of TRW Systems, manufacturers of the automated labs, "the likelihood is that it is very, very primitive, perhaps single-celled organisms, like fungi. Even plankton might be slrelching it a little. »· THE POSSIBILITY of advanced and intelligent life forms has not been completely ruled out, though considered almost nil. A pair of cameras will photograph the soil around the three-footed landing gear of the Vikings, and will also pan across Hie horizon hoping to calch sight of organisms large enough to be seen. At the other end of the spectrum, the Vikings arc equipped to seek traces of organic compounds indicating that the chemical building blocks of life may be present but because of environmental conditions never assembled into growing, self-duplicating cells. This experiment, however, performed with what is called a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, will not give a clear answer. Brown said. "We may find amino acids but we won't be able to tell if they are biologically produced. That is something it would take another mission to find out." Amino acids are fundamental constituents of life, but have been synthesized in the laboratory apart from any living process. *· SPECULATION during the last hundred years thai Mars might be inhabited by a civilization lhat constructed artificial waterways collapsed under the weight of modern spacecraft observations. Unmanned probes flying past the planet over the past 12 years showed clearly that Mars has no cities, no canals, no vegetalion. probably no liquid water, not much of an atmosphere and lemperalures dropping to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Expectations of any life whatsoever were almost no- nexistant in view of those findings. But the Mariner !j mission in 1972 revealed previously unseen mountains, volcanoes, winding channels and a huge gorge that would dwarf the Grand Canyon. Only running water could have carved these features, scientists believe. Though there is litlle if any liquid waler left on Mars now. il might have been abundant enough at one time to have nurtured life. For lhat reason, mission planners selected an area called Cnryse, near the joining of four sinuous channels, to land the first Viking. Even if no living organisms are found, Ihere might still be traces (if dried "premordial soup," a prebiolic mixture of chemicals believed to have been the forerunner of life on Earth. Anxious its scientists and other Mars-watchers are to sec the results ol the biological tests, they will have to wail weeks or even months. The first sconpful of soil is scheduled to be dug up eighl days after the landing and dropped into the experiment hopper. I t lakes 12 days to analyze the experiments. Then, even if positive results are obtained, the lab will be required to further analyze a control batch of soil, lhat is. one that lui.s been sterilized to obliterate any life. Only if thai control batch tesis negative, while the lirst sample was positive, can results of ihe first experiment he considered valid. IN FACT, the earliest a conclusive showing of life could be announced would be Aup. II. That may even be too early, since Martian organisms might lake a lot longer than 12 days to yield sifins of metabolism or growth. "We possibly will mil have a conclusive answer about life until extended mission data is returned," said Brown, referring to Viking experiments beginning in early HI77. NASA officials have indicated Iliev will be open about the results of the lests, but will be cautious about announcing conclusions. "We will loll you what we lind. hut we miphl not tell you what we're thinking, until il can be firmly established," said project scientist (lynild Suffer. He insisted that any conclusive evidence of Martian life could not be concealed, even il there were a motive to do so. because "some data runner or secretary" would lei Hie word out. HERE IS A BKIEF explanation of Ihe Vikings Hirer major biological experiments: f-Pyrolytic release: Life as known on Karili depends on Ihe conversion of carbon from the atmosphere into organic matter, using sunlight as Ihe source ol energy. A portion of Ihe Marlian soil sample isdeposiled into a sealed chamber together with radioactive rarhun. A f t - er an incubation period, during which organisms in Ihe soil would presum;il)]y have assimilalnl Hie carbon · into organic mailer, the sample is heated The resulting gas should conlain radiiiurlivo carbon il i! has been ingested by the organisms. "·Labeled release. A lest seeking any signs of metabolism by Martian organisms. Another portion of the soil is dumped into a chamber containing a fluid nutrient designed to be consumed by living things present in I he soil. This nut ri lent a Iso contains radioactive, carbon --('arboii-14 -which could be delected if given off by the organisms during metabolism. 01 course, Martian metabolism might be different Irorn that process on e a r t h , but since we have only one example-earth's--the experiments are based on lhat assumption. »-GHS exchange: A test to detect either planl or animal forms. A soil sample is dunked i n l o a liquid nutrient and exposed In a m i x t u r e of gases simulating n Martian atmosphere. If there are anv living, growing, breathing organisms in the soil, they should MJVR off gases as byproducts that could he delected by sensitive instruments. A positive result from the experiments would be a good indicator of Marlian lite. A negative answer would not necessarily mean lh;il there is no l i f e on Mars, only thai the Vikings did nol find it. Dr. Carl Kagan. director ol the Laboratory lor Pla- nelary Studies at Cornell University, says. "The range of Viking investigations directed towards the search ol life on Mars is. of course, not perfect. "But it seems to be an excellent mix for the first preliminary biological reconnaissance of another planet. If all works well. Viking is almost sure to find a great deal that is of melprological and geological interest "And il we are lucky, we may hit the cosmic jackpot." L.T. Anderson 10 Minutes for a Taxpayer Several years ago, a West Virginia National Guard officer wilh a good bil of seniority was felled by sickness or accident and lefl in a stale in which he was physically unable to perform all the duties that might be required of him. His superiors and other officers considered his p l i g h l and m a d e Ihe h u m a n e recommendation thai he he permitted to stay on active duty for the few remaining years of service he needed to become eligible for a pension. There was general agreement in the right places. The disabled o f f i c e r was allowed to remain on active duty status. I approved of the decision. It would have been heartless to abandon the Guard officer so close to retiremenl because of circumstances not of his own making. What I didn't approve of was the picture in the papers of the Guard officers who had made the recommendation and the accompanying text which made it appear that these generous fellows, r,o( the taxpayers, would piy the bill. THE CREATION of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame presents a similar case. When my colleagues in the sports department accuse me of un-West Virginian hostility toward whal they perceive as the greatesl Ihing since Elmer's Glue, I reply that I don't object to the hall of fame so much as I object to the circumstances of its conception. All the early stories regarding the efforts of Don Cohen lo eslablish a track and field shrine in this area somehow managed to omit mention that he intended the taxpajjeji to pay for it. It might not have been Cohen's f a u l t , but the news announcements, which came thick and fast, and which portrayed Cohen as a determined hero, left the distinct impression that the shrine would be built, if not with Cohen's own money, by gifts from track ;tnd field aficianados. *· IN FACT Cohen was merely a n o t h e r lobbyist with a pet project which involved the spending of other people's money. He was even given money by the State Department of Commerce to conduct his lobbying activities. Granted, his work was wearisome and maybe even selfless, but in the end his contribution is the same as the contribulion of the Nalional Guardsmen who agreed to let the taxpayers take care of a fellow officer who had fallen upon evil days. It doesn't take much imaginalion, or much generosity, either, in produce, an attractive project lor which the people will he asked to pay. Giv! me 10 minutes and I ca/yL'omi; up wilh a dozeny i.) · 1*1

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page