Letter from John Adams to Jeremy Belknap, 21 March 1795
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John Adams responds to St. George Tucker's queries, circulated by Jeremy Belknap, about slavery and abolition in Massachusetts. Adams claims to have very little knowledge or recollection of the specific events that led to abolition in Massachusetts, but does suggest that it was the "scoffs and insults" of "common" (i.e. labouring) white people that "filled the Negroes with discontent, made them lazy, idle, proud, vicious, and wholly useless," thus rendering abolition a "Measure of Economy" rather than a moral statement. John Adams (1735-1826) was serving as Vice President of the United States in 1795, when he sent this letter to Belknap.