Quincy March 21, 1795
I received, last night, your favour of the
20th and a day or
two before had recd that of the 2d, returned to me from
Philadelphia. Thanks for Mr Winthrop's Prophecies.
I wrote to Charles Thompson on the subject of
Cook s Voyage, long enough before I left Philadelphia
to have had an answer but none has yet arrived.
Mr Thompson is as deeply engaged in Preparing an English
Translation of the Septuagint as Mr Winthrop is in
unriddling Prophecies, and possibly cannot find time to write
upon such Trifles as Dr. Kippis's Sacrifice of the Honour of our
Country to his Stupid adulation of Franklin. If I were to study
Prophecies, I doubt not I should find the Worship of Latria
paid by the Presbyterian Parsons in England to Franklin
among some of the Traits or Features of Antichrist the Whore
of Babylon. In their Imaginations, he always appeared to me,
to have exalted himself above all that was worshipped. And this
Circumstance among others contributed Somewhat to diminish my
Reverence for Presbyterian Parsons.
I have read the Queries concerning the Rise & Progress of slavery
but as it is a subject to which I have never given any very particular
attention I may not be able to give you so much Information as
I was concerned in several Causes, in which Negroes sued for their Freedom
before the Revolution. The arguments in favour of their Liberty were much
the same as have been urged Since in Pamphlets and Newspapers, in
Debates in Parliament &c. arising from the Rights of Mankind, which was
the fashionable Word at that time. Since when that time they have dropped
3 Argument might have some Weight, in the Abolition of
Slavery in the Massachusetts, but the real Cause was the multiplication of
labouring White People, who, would no longer suffer the Rich to employ
these Sable Rivals, so much to their Injury. This Principle has kept Negro
Slavery out of France England and other Parts of Europe. The common
People would not suffer, the Labour by which alone they could obtain
a subsistence to be done by Slaves. If the Gentlemen had been permitted
by Law to hold Slaves, the common white People would have put the Negroes
to Death and their Masters too perhaps.
5 I never knew a Jury, by a Verdict
to determine a Negro to
be a slave -- They always found them free. As I was not in the
General Court in 1773 I have no particular Remembrance of the Petition
for the Liberation of all the Blacks, and know not how it was supported
The common white People, or rather the labouring People, were
cause of rendering Negroes unprofitable servants. Their Scoffs and Insults, their
continual Insinuations, filled the Negroes with Discontent, made them lazy
idle, proud, vicious, and at length wholly Useless to their Masters: to such
a Degree that the Abolition of slavery became a Measure of Oeconomy.
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