Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Condorcet

I am happy to be able to inform you that we have now in the United States a negro, the son of a black man born in Africa, and of a black woman born in the United States, who is a very respectab[le] Mathematician. I procured him to be employed under one of our chief directors in laying out the new federal city on the Patowmac, & in the intervals of his leisure, while on that work, he made an Almanac for the next year, which he sent me in his own handwriting, & which I inclose to you. I have seen very elegant solutions of Geometrical problems by him. add to this that he is a very worthy & respectable member of society. he is a free man. I shall be delighted to see these instances of moral eminence so multiplied as to prove that the want of talents observed in them is merely the effect of their degraded condition, and not proceeding from any difference in the structure of the parts on which intellect depends.

PrC (DLC); edge chipped. Published in PTJ, 22:98–9.
Author
Thomas Jefferson
Recipient
Condorcet
Date Range
Date
August 30, 1791
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Quote Category