Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker

no body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colours of men, & that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa & America. I can add with truth that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising t[he] condition both of their body & mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbesillity of their present existence, and other circumstances which cannot be neglected, will admit.I hav[e] taken the liberty of sending your almanac to Monsieur de Co[n]dorcet, Secretary of the Academy of sciences at Paris, and m[em]ber of the Philanthropic society because I considered it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for thei[r] justification against the doubts which have been entertain[ed] of them.

PrC (DLC); edge chipped. Published in PTJ, 22:97–8.
Date Range
August 30, 1791
Quote Category