Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Craven Peyton, 8 October 1819

Monteagle Octr 8th 1819

Dear Sir,

aftar making several remarks the othar day at your house on the subject of Cruelty towards slaves by there Masstars, You then dropped the subject. & remarked, You had a few days past inadvertently named a subject in the presence of Mr Taylar that, some way concerned him, it immediately struck me, You had heard of my using Cruelty towards my slaves & gave this, as a friendly hint for the truth is a Negro fellow of Mine now in the woods & has been run of, since [. . .], has said I tried to knock him in the head, true he rebelled & struck at me several times whilst; on my horse, with a rail I dismounted & knocked him down aftar a little, he got up & ran although he is a bad fellow yet I cant help thinking he was bribed to this Act by a White Man, in this surmise I hope in God I am mistaken, I assure You & can bring abundant proof to testify that no Man is More particular with his slaves then I am. there appearance prove it more then all the proof, true these that are very bad, I are harsh mean with but it hurts me, to the very soal to do so; for I do not approve of slavery but we have them & are bound to do, the best we Can & as to cruelty towards them, no Man can hold anothar in greater abhorrence then I do a Man [. . .] Cruel Masstar. the rules that I have adopted for the government of my Negroes are such as is calculated to reclaim the most vicious without much trouble but more expensive, I hope You will beleave this statement as there is no Consideration On this earth that woud induce me Knowingly to vary from the truth, & as to the Opinions of those I do not respect I care nothing for. If You think you can take fifteen barrells Corn for the horse named I will see him & determine about $1000– is the Sum I shall be compilled, to ask for.

with the greatest Esteem

C. Peyton

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

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