Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price

Southward of the Chesapeak it will find but few readers concurring with it in sentiment on the subject of slavery. from the mouth to the head of the Chesapeak, the bulk of the people will approve it in theory, and it will find a respectable minority ready to adopt it in practice, a minority which for weight & worth of character preponderates against the [. . .] greater number, who have not the courage to divest their families of a property which however keeps their consciences inquiet. Northward of the Chesapeak you may find here & there an opponent to your doctrine as you may find here & there a robber & a murderer, but in no greater number. in that part of America, there being but few slaves, they can easily disencumber themselves of them, and [. . .] emancipation is put into such a train that in a few years there will be no slaves Northward of Maryland. in Maryland I do not find such a disposition to begin the redress of this enormity as in Virginia. this is the next state to which we may but for turn our eyes to for the interesting spectacle of justice in conflict with avarice & oppression: a conflict wherein the sacred side is gaining daily recruits from the influx into office of young men grown & growing up. these have sucked in the principles of liberty as it were with their mother’s milk, and it is to them I look with anxiety to turn the fate of this question.

PrC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 8:356–7.

it was Richard Price’s pamphlet entitled Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, and the Means of Making it a Benefit to the World (London, 1784), in which, among other things, Price condemned slavery and advocated its gradual abolition.

Date Range
August 7, 1785
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