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Jason Chamberlain to Thomas Jefferson, 30 November 1814

From Jason Chamberlain

Burlington, Vermont, Nov. 30, 1814,

Hond Sir,

I feel myself highly flattered by the notice you were pleased to take of my Oration, in your letter of July last. Your speculations, on the study of the Classicks, meet my own views on that subject; and the method, you recommend, is exactly the one I adopted. I have seen many an ingenious young man, after a course of Classical reading in the manner you propose, become well versed in most of the studies, taught by the other Professors.

Inter arma, Musæ silent. Our College Edifice is leased to the Government, for the accomodation of the Army; and our Collegiate exercises are suspended. Meanwhile, I have resorted to the practice of the Law, in order to obtain a reputable support. There are other situations, here, which would be more congenial to my feelings, but would not afford a good living. I receive a handsome income from my practice, and cheerfully submit to my destiny. Though anxious to obtain general information, and to visit other countries, I shall probably spend my days in this place.

We all of us turned out in Sept. last, to expel the Invader from our shores, and the result must be grateful to the feelings of every friend of his country. The aged forgot their decripitude, and vied with the young, in repairing to the scene of action, and in the active contest. All ranks and all ages took their rifles, and with no other uniform, than a sprig of Ever green from their native mountains, sought the enemy, and fought with enthusiasm. The days of the wildest chivalry, furnish not a scene, in which so much ardour and spirit pervaded every class of people. The Lake was alive with our hardy Mountaineers, whom the oars and winds could not propel with the speed of their wishes.

With sentiments of great respect, I am your most obedient,

Jason Chamberlain.

RC (MHi); addressed: “The Hon. Thomas Jefferson, Late President of the United States. Monticello, Virginia”; franked; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Dec. 1814 from Jason “Chamberlayne” and so recorded in SJL.

inter arma, musæ silent (“During wartime, the muses are silent”) is a variant of Cicero’s famous phrase “silent enim leges inter arma” (“When arms speak, the laws are silent”) (Cicero, Pro T. Annio Milone, 4.11, in Cicero: Pro Milone … Pro Rege Deiotaro, trans. Nevile H. Watts, Loeb Classical Library [1931; rev. ed. 1953], 16–7). our college: the University of Vermont. Late in the summer of 1814 roughly 2,500 Vermont militia crossed to the western shore of lake Champlain and joined in the successful defense of Plattsburgh, New York, against a British force under the command of Sir George Prevost (Malcomson, Historical Dictionary description begins Robert Malcomson, Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812, 2006 description ends , 442–5).

Index Entries

  • An Inaugural Oration delivered at Burlington, August 1, 1811 (J. Chamberlain) search
  • Chamberlain, Jason; and study of the classics search
  • Chamberlain, Jason; An Inaugural Oration delivered at Burlington, August 1, 1811 search
  • Chamberlain, Jason; legal career of search
  • Chamberlain, Jason; letters from search
  • Chamberlain, Jason; on War of1812 search
  • Cicero; quoted search
  • classics; collegiate education in search
  • education; classical search
  • education; effect of War of1812on search
  • Lake Champlain; Vt. militia crosses search
  • militia; and War of1812 search
  • Plattsburgh, N.Y.; successful U.S. defense of search
  • Prevost, George; governor-in-chief of British North America search
  • schools and colleges; University of Vermont search
  • Vermont, University of; and War of1812 search
  • Vermont; militia from search
  • War of1812; defense of Plattsburgh, N.Y. search
  • War of1812; militia activity search