Boston July 30th 1795

Revd Sir

I have read with great pleasure
The letter which you were so obliging as to put into
my hands from your very valuable correspon
=dent Mr. Tucker. I admire the goodness of his
heart, and the elegance and patriotism of his
sentiments: but he, like other good men, has to
enjoy by anticipation, that which can never
be accomplished in his day. The subject which
is so near his heart, and appears to employ so great
a part of his public contemplations, is not new
to me. I have had Governor Jeffersons ideas
upon it some years ago, and gave him my
opinion, which I will presently give to you in
one word. The objections stated by Mr Tucker
to three measures proposed for emancipating
the black people of United America are all
well maintained by his unanswerable
Arguments: while the pain he evidently
feels to find a fourth, to which no insurmountable
objection could be made, does great honor to
his character as a man, and in some mea
degree attones for the violation of human
rights, which his fellow Citizens have been
guilty of. The freedom of the blacks without
allowing them to participate of civil priviledges,
appears to me the most eligible of the three
measures which he has contemplated: but I
am clearly of opinion, that this would be
nothing more, than to throw 300.000 of the
human Race, idle, profligate, and miserable,

on the bosom of the Earth. These, urged by extreme
hunger, and encouraged by combinations of
agravated complaints; supported by an idea
of Justice from their former sufferings, would
take by force what the white people should
procure by agriculture, and thus, unless
overpowered, and destroyed by military
coerce, would spread famine, and
pestilence through the Country. An idea,
that they cou would, on such an emancipa=
=tion, or on one of any other kind, become
industrious, and regular, will in my opinion
clearly prove fallacious. Besides this, if they
should be inclined to labor, where would
they be supplied with Lands? or who
would furnish them with the means for
beginning their new mode of life? To
let them have the full liberty of free Citizens
would never be worse still; for the
necessity of civil government proves that
Mankind are corrupt and wicked;
and we should find these People holding
their suffrages at Auction, without holding
property worthy of their Attention, or
a sense of civil Liberty worthy of one
Moments anxiety. This measure would
involve the Southern States in calamity
and distress, if not in ruin. The
Scheme of Colonizing them has all
the objections that your learned and
ingenious correspondent has stated.
The expense of carrying them to their new plantation, and furnishing them there,
with as much support, as is generally claimed
by the most industrious white People, who go into
a new Country, is more than the treasury of
the United States could support possibly bear, even
if there were no other expences of Government.
Should the three hundred thousand blacks from
Virginia migr emigrate under an idea of
Colonizing, those of the three Southern States would
of course be united with them. This would
exhibit a multitude, of half a million of
People at the least. The ex On their way to
their new world, and while they were
beginning their settlements, their some
kind of civil Government would be
necessary. We have in history, but one
Picture of such an enterprize, and
there we see it was necessary, not only to
open the sea by a miracle for them to pass,
but more necessary to close it again, in
order to prevent their return. Promises
of the most luxuriant kind, assured by a
constant, and obvious chain of Miracles
could hardly restrain them from rebellions
and insurrections. Even there, though a
spontaneous supply of bread from heaven
supplied supported the camp, and every measure
was adopted, which could affect the human
heart with a proper sense of a necessity for
a good, and regular Government, yet
so incapable were the men who had
been bred in a state of slavery, either, to
submit to, or maintain a system of
State policy, that it was necessary to waste them all in the wildeness. Should half a
Million of People, who had been bred in
a state of slavery, find themself themselves in
a country by them where they were free from
a legal restraint, excepting what they should
provide for themselves, they w could never
reduce their individual members to a state
of civil society. The emigrants from Europe
to America, had been always under a
government, where civil liberty was much
contemplated, and as fully enjoyed as it
could be in a monarchy: but there
never was, or ever q can be a migration
of a multitude of Slaves to a country of
freedom. The Negroes, if they were to
colonize, would at once, in separate, and
independent bodies, commit depredations
on their neighbours, and bring the other States
into a necessity of reducing them by the sword.
From the difficulties suggested by Mr Tucker
it would seem as if the case was without
remedy; and an that a state of slavery is intailed
for ever on some part of the Inhabitants of
free America. But there is, in my mind,
this rescourse, and I am obliged to think
that it is the only one is the case; and
that a very slow one. As there is no way
to eradicate the prejudice which education
has fixed in the minds of the White, against
the black People, otherwise than by raising
the blacks, by means of mental improve
=ments, nearly to the same grade with
the whites, the emancipation of the Slaves in United America must be slow in its
progress, and ages must be employed in
the business. The time necessary for to effect
this purpose, must be as extensive at least,
as that in which slavery has been endured
here. The children of the slaves, must at
the public expense, be educated in the
same manner as the children of their
Masters; being at the same schools &c. with
the rising generation, that prejudice which
has been so long and invetrate against
them, on account of their situation, and
colour, will be lessened within thirty or
forty years. There is an objection to this,
which embraces all my feelings: that is, that
it will tend to a mixture of blood, which I now
abhor; but yet, as I feel, I fear that I am not
a pure Republican delighting in the equal
rights of all the human Race. This mode
of education will fit the rising progeny of
the black People, either, to participate with the
whites, in a free government, or to colonize
and have one of their own. The Negroes
born after a certain future day may be considerd
as free at forty years, those after another at
thirty years, and those after another,
at twenty one years of age. This will in a
course of time emancipate all the Slaves.
To induce them to be industrious members
of community, a certain portion of proper
=ty ought to be considered as necessary to
their holding civil offices, or enjoying civil priviledges in common with other Citizens. This
process, I know is too slow for the warm and
philanthropic feelings of your Elegant Correspon=
=dent; And carries with it the idea, of a
curse being intailed in the Southern States,
from the Fathers to the Children, to the third
and fourth generation. Be that as it
may, I think the best way is to make
haste slowly: and to bear for a time, an
evil with patience, rather than to agra
=vate its miseries, and render future
attempts discouraging. There have been
few instances indeed, in history, where a man
educated as a Slave has been capable of
injoying freedom. In the most Despotic
Governments there have appeared Champi
=ons for Liberty; but the event has generally
Show evinced to the world, that the greater
part of these had Acted only from a spirit
of ambitious heroism; because they have
generally been Tyrants as soon as they had
established their own power to Rule.
There is no doubt a great disparity in
the natural abilities of mankind: and
we have great reason to believe, that
the organization of the Affricans is such,
as prevents their receiving the more fine
and sublime impressions equally with
the White People: and yet we do not
know, but that giving them the same
prospects, placing them under the force
of the same motives, and confering
upon them the same advantages for the space of time in which three or four
Generations shall rise and fall, will so mend
the Race, and so increase their powers of
perception, and so strengthen their faculty
for comparing ideas, and understand=
=ing the nature, and connexion of the
external things, with which man is surround
=ed on this Globe, as that they may exceed
the White People.

When you handed me MrMr.
Tucker s letter last evening expressing your
wish to hear my sentiments upon the subject
matter of it, I had no idea of writing you a
line: and when I began I did not intend
to write a Page. I have been all the
morning surrounded with People on
business; and, while I have been conversing
with them I have kept the pen in Motion,
it is now one oclock, and I have
neither time to correct or even read
what I have written. If you will, without
reading it, concive from the length of
it, that I wish to comply with all
your requests as soon as they are made,
& then commit this to a warm hearth
it will perhaps be a great act of
friendship to him who is always ready
to risque himself in the Arms of your
candour and who is most perfectly

Your friend & humble sert
Ja Sullivan.

To DR Belknap.

[This is a letter from St. George Tucker to Jeremy Belknap, 10 February 1796, written on a different leaf (piece of paper):]

Dear Sir,


Since closing the packet which will accompany
this, I have recollected Judge Sullivans Letter, which I now
return with many thanks to you. I have taken the Liberty
to retain a Copy of it. respectfully I remain
Your most obliged

S G Tucker.

Febry 10. 1796

[Address]

The Reverend Doctor Belknap
Boston.

[Endorsement]

Judge Sullivan's
Letter abt emancipa-
tion of Negroes

30.3 cm x 18.4 cm

From the Jeremy Belknap papers
Pages 1-7 of the sequence consist of the letter from Sullivan to Belknap; pages 8-9 of the sequence consist of the letter from Tucker to Belknap.