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I of FER no apology for directing your attention to a passage, in your Essay on the Constitution, which possibly

may convey, to those imperfectly acquainted with colonial

history, a false impression of the sentiments which were entertained by the Puritanical Fathers of Massachusetts on the subject of slavery. As you have with great propriety alluded to their views respecting it, I feel assured that you will pardon me for suggesting any oversight, that, in the hurry of composition, may have escaped your notice; knowing full well,

that your familiarity with our annals, and your supreme

regard for truth, will effectually secure you against mistakes

arising from any other source. Nor do I admit the necessity

of excusing myself to the descendants of those venerable
men, should the costume in which they are here presented
be different in some respects from what imagination has
sometimes cast about them.
They require no adventitious aid. Never a set of men
more ready than they to stand the gaze of truth, and with
good reason; none had less to fear from her scrutiny.

The passage in my mind occurs on page 109:

“I first address the northerners, and specially my fellow-citizens of Massachusetts. In looking back on the history of slavery in our country, where do we find it to have originated 2 From Great Britain; and from her alone. All the colonies fought pitched battles against it; and the king and parliament of Great Britain defeated them. North and South were united on this question; united before the Declaration of Independence, and united for a long time after it. I can have room to produce but one specimen of protest; and this is from the pen of Mr. Jefferson, who originally inserted it in our Declaration of Independence which he drew up. It was omitted afterwards merely from delicacy of feeling toward some gentlemen of the South, (South Carolina and Georgia,) and also, as Mr. Jefferson intimates, (3 Madison Papers,) from the same feeling toward some of the delegates from the North, who were engaged in the Guinea trade. Here it is as it came from the hand of Mr. Jefferson. He is speaking of the king of England: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him ; capturing and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur a miserable death in the transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of a Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep an open market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or control this execrable

commerce.’” t *

It will readily be seen that this bolt of Mr. Jefferson was launched exclusively against the slave trade, and not against domestic slavery as it then existed, or ever had existed in the colonies. But, on a hasty perusal of your remarks, there is danger lest an impression be made, that the pitched battles to which you refer were fought by the colonies against the admission of slavery among themselves; that it was at length forcibly thrust upon them “from Great Britain and from her alone;” that these efforts for its exclusion would have been crowned with success but for the overwhelming power of the

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