On Jefferson and Slavery

Here are portions of a letter by Thomas Jefferson, which was read in the Virginia Legislature by T. J. Randolph, grandson of Jefferson, who claimed that the letter “furnished new evidence that its distinquished author contemplated and advocated the ultimate overthrow of the (slavery) system”.    The letter is here copied from the Portland Advertiser, never before published.  The editor of the Advertiser states that there are three “capital errors” in the letter and in Jefferson’s thought.  1. Jefferson wants emancipation for those born after a certain date, but “gives over the parents of these children to remedieless bondage”,  2. His plan is to expatriate as fast as we emancipate the slaves, which would tend to “impoverish the south by withdrawing an able-bodied and really valuable population, and cannot be consumated without great injustice and expense”.  3. He objects to immediate emancipation, “thereby disregarding the immutable principles of justice which admit of no compromise with fraud and cruelty…. if Jefferson had manumitted his own slves for conscience sake, what an all-conquering influence must have ever attended his illustrious example.”

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