Extract from Thomas Jefferson to William A. Burwell

I have long since given up the expectation of any early provision for getting in the extinguishment of slavery among us. there are many virtuous men who would make any sacrifices to effect it. many equally virtuous who persuade themselves either that the thing is not wrong, or that it cannot be remedied. and very many, with whom interest is morality. the older we grow, the larger we are disposed to believe the last party to be. but interest is really going over to the side of morality. the value of the slave is every day lessening; his burthen on his master dayly increasing. interest is therefore preparing the disposition to be just; and this will be goaded from time to time by the insurrectionary spirit of the slaves. this is easily quelled in it’s first efforts; but the from being local it will become general, and whenever it does it will rise more formidable after every defeat, until we shall be forced, after dreadful scenes & sufferings to release them in their own way which, without such sufferings we might now model after our own convenience.

RC (CSmH). PoC (DLC).
Author
Thomas Jefferson
Recipient
William A. Burwell
Date Range
Date
January 28, 1805
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Quote Category