Adams Papers

From John Adams to Granville Sharp, 8 March 1786

To Granville Sharp

Grosvenor Square March 8th 1786—


I took the first opportunity to send your Present of Books to my friend the Marquis de la Fayette and have this Morning received the inclosed Letter for you from that Nobleman.1

Let me avail myself of this opportunity of presenting my thanks, for your obliging present of Books to me. you have merited the respect and Esteem of all Men amongst whom Liberty and Humanity are not disregarded by your writings, the Idea that Captives in War are slaves, is the foundation of the Misfortunes of the Negroes: this Principle is Honourd and admitted by all the Powers of Europe who pay Tribute to the states of Barbary— I expect that One Part of Africa will avenge upon my Fellow Citizens the Injury they do to another by purchaseing their Captives. Yet I presume We shall be compelled to follow the Base example of Submission and pay tributes or make Presents like the rest of Christians to the Mussulmen—

I wish you would take up the Whole of this African system and expose it all together, Never Never will the Slave Trade be abolished While Christians Princes abaise themselvs before the piratical Ensigns of Mahomet.

With great Esteem your Humble servt—

LbC in AA2’s hand (Adams Papers description begins Manuscripts and other materials, 1639–1889, in the Adams Manuscript Trust collection given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956 and enlarged by a few additions of family papers since then. Citations in the present edition are simply by date of the original document if the original is in the main chronological series of the Papers and therefore readily found in the microfilm edition of the Adams Papers (APM). description ends ); internal address: “Mr Granvill Sharp / Old Jewry”; APM Reel 113.

1With his 22 Feb. letter to JA, above, the Marquis de Lafayette enclosed one of the same date to Sharp, which JA forwarded to him. Lafayette thanked Sharp for the antislavery works sent by JA and expressed his hope that “while Circumstances Have Made us in Many Respects Superior to our Black Brethren, That We May Cease to Place ourselves Beneath Them in The Pursuit of This Disgraceful Trade” (Melvin D. Kennedy, Lafayette and Slavery: From His Letters to Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp, Easton, Penn., 1950, p. 29).

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