Extract from Thomas Jefferson’s Observations on Jean Nicolas Démeunier’s Article on the United States prepared for the Encyclopédie Méthodique

say ‘there were 10. states present. 6. voted unanimously for it, 3. against it, and one was divided: and seven votes being requisite to decide the proposition affirmatively, it was lost. the voice of a single individual of the state which was divided, or of one of those which were of the negative, would have produced prevented this abominable crime from spreading itself over the new country. thus we see the fate of millions unborn hanging on the tongue of one man, & heaven was silent in that awful moment! but it is to be hoped it will not always be silent & that the friends to the rights of human nature will in the end prevail.

PrC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 10:58.

it was the clause originally included in TJ’s draft of the Ordinance of 1784 that would have prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude after 1800 in those lands newly acquired.

Date Range
June 22, 1786
Quote Category