Extract from Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes
|Monticello July 29. 20.|
One of the propositions in your letter of the 8th inst. is so exactly suited to my situation and feelings on the subject of the negroes for Francis, that I cannot hesitate a moment to accede to it. it is that which proposes to loan me the stock you mean to lay out in this way, to be paid for two years hence in negroes, without having moved them at all from their present settlements. in this way they will continue undisturbed where they always have been, without separation from their families, and pass with the ground they stand on, without being sensible of the transition from one master to another ... I accept it therefore willingly, and undertake that any sum ... with it’s interest, shall be paid for two years hence in negroes from my Bedford estate, to be fairly chosen and valued by disinterested persons, of men women & children in the usual proportions, excluding superannuation. I think this much better too for Francis. for were they all to be present laborers, without young ones to come on in succession, he would be apt, as most of us would to look on that as his regular sum of labor and income, and fix his habitual expences by that standard, without considering that his standard would be lessening by the progressing ages and deaths of his laborers, leaving no successors to supply their places. and I have observed that young negroes from 12. or 13. years of age, and women also, are of real value in the farm, where there is abundance to be done of what they can do, and which otherwise would employ men.