Monday, November 02, 2015

Charles Thomson to Jefferson: Slavery "is a cancer that we must get rid of."

Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, to Thomas Jefferson, Nov. 2, 1785: “I have received your several favours of Feb y 8 June 21 and July 14 and also a copy of your Notes by M r Houdon, for which I am much obliged. It grieves me to the soul that there should be such just grounds for your apprehensions respecting the irritation that will be produced in the southern states by what you have said of slavery. However I would not have you discouraged. This is a cancer that we must get rid of. It is a blot in our character that must be wiped out. If it cannot be done by religion reason & philosophy, confident I am that it will one day be by blood. I confess I am more afraid of this than of the Algerine piracies or the jealousy entertained of us by European powers of which we hear so much of late. However I have the satisfaction to find that philosophy is gaining ground of selfishness in this respect: If this can be rooted out, & our land filled with freemen, union preserved & the spirit of liberty maintained and cherished I think in 25 or 30 years we shall have nothing to fear from the rest of the world . . .” [Papers of Thomas Jefferson 9:9]

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