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JEFFERSON CRITICIZED FOR HIS AMBIVALENCE (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Article on Thomas Jefferson's harsh criticism of Phillis Wheatley and other blacks in the Gazette of the United States. Four pages, small folio; very nice copy with good margins; paper lightly and evenly toned. Philadelphia, October 24, 1792
"Religion indeed has produced a Phillis Wheatly (sic), but it could not produce a poet: the compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism. Ignatio Sancho has approached nearer to merit with his composition." Jefferson''s rather ambivalent remarks on Phillis Wheatley and other blacks were being criticized by a writer calling himself "Consistency" in a review of Jefferson''s "Notes on Virginia." The writer says that Jefferson had made an "elaborate attempt to prove that the negroes (sic) are an ''inferior race of animals.'' I was not a little surprised at a letter to a certain Benjamin Banneker, a black man, lately published in which he (Jefferson) says ''that nature has given to its black brethren talents equal to other those of other colours, and that an appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa and America.''" Thomas Jefferson, a man who took his black mistress along with him to France, where he was Secretary of State, could not seem to make up his mind about the intellectual capacity of the race.
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