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  • Letter to Henri Gregoire

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Letter to Henri Gregoire Letter to Henri Gregoire 1 Thomas Jefferson The Constitution specified that Congress could not prohibit the importation of slaves until 1808. President Jefferson signed the bill to bring about this prohibition in March 1807 and it went into effect on January 1, 1808. Writing here a year later, he maintains hopes for an end to slavery itself. February 25, 1809 Sir: I have received the favor of your letter of August 17th, and with it the volume you were so kind as to send me on the "Literature of Negroes." Be assured that no person living wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a complete refutation of the doubts I have myself entertained and expressed on the grade of understanding allotted to them by nature, and ...
  • Letter to John Holmes

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Letter to John Holmes Letter to John Holmes 1 Thomas Jefferson Awakened to the looming crisis over slavery by the Missouri Compromise, Jefferson foresees in this letter that the Compromise was far from the final word on the matter. April 22, 1820 I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the ...
  • Letter to Roger Weightman

     |  Natural Rights/American Revolution

    Letter to Roger Weightman Letter to Roger Weightman 1 Thomas Jefferson Written just days before his death on July 4, 1826, this letter to the mayor of Washington, D.C., encapsulates the great cause of Jefferson's life. June 24, 1826 Respected Sir: The kind invitation I receive from you, on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration on the fiftieth anniversary of American Independence, as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation ...
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