QUERIES RESPECTING THE SLAVERY AND EMANCIPATION
OF NEGROES IN MASSACHUSETTS, PROPOSED BY THE
HON. JUDGE TUCKER OF VIRGINIA, AND ANSWERED BY
THE REV. DR. BELKNAP.

Williamsburg, Virginia, Jan. 24, 1795.

SIR,

HAVING never visited the eastern states, it has been
my misfortune never to have had the pleasure of a personal
acquaintance with any of those eminent literary characters
which that part of the United States has produced, and
if I may credit fame, abounds with, more than any other
part of our common country : A circumstance, probably
not more mortifying to myself, than of real disdvantage to
this part of the United States, since a more frequent inter-
course, and intimate acquaintance, between the several parts
of the Union, would probably contribute more to remove
local prejudices, and cement the bond of union, than any
other project, unsupported by such a foundation. To sup-
ply, as far as respects myself, this inconvenience, in some
measure, I have prevailed on my friend, the Rev. Mr. Hust,
to favour me with a letter of introduction, which I take the
liberty to enclose, and to request your pardon for thus in-
truding my correspondence upon you ; a liberty which pri-
vate considerations, alone, could scarcely justify on any ac-
count, and which, I fear, you will think fully commensurate
to the occasion which prompts it.

The introduction of slavery into this country is at this
day considered among its greatest misfortunes, by a very
great majority of those who are reproached for an evil, which
the present generation could no more have avoided, than an
hereditary gout or leprosy. The malady has proceeded so
far, as to render it doubtful whether any specific can be
found to eradicate, or even to palliate the disease. Having,
in my official character as professor of law in the college at this
place, had occasion to notice the several acts of the legisla-
ture on the subject, I find that even before the commence-
ment of the present century an attempt was made to check
the importation of slaves, by imposing a duty on them :
The act was indeed only temporary, but was renewed as
often as the Influence of the African company in England
would permit. At length the duty was made payable by

"Queries Respecting the Slavery and Emancipation of Negroes in Massachusetts, Proposed by the Hon. Judge Tucker of Virginia, and Answered by the Rev. Dr. Belknap"

From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, series 1, volume 4, page 191-211. Boston: 1835 reprint of 1795 publication.