Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from St. George Tucker, 2 August 1797

From St. George Tucker

Williamsburg. August 2d. 1797.

Dear Sir

My worthy and intimate friend Dr. Barraud proposing to take an Excursion into the upper parts of the Country, the recollection of the pleasure I enjoyed at Monticello, two years ago, prompted me to recommend it to him to take it in his rout. Permit me to introduce him to your Acquaintance as one who possesses the most amiable qualities both to excite and secure Esteem and Friendship.

Doctor Barraud is kind enough to charge himself with the delivery of a pamphlet which I published last year, but which came to my hands but a few days ago. If the reception which it met with from some Individuals in the House of Delegates may be considered as determining its Merits, I ought to blush to acknowledge myself the Author. Two other Copies for our mutual friend Monroe, and Mr. Madison of Orange, I have taken the Liberty to enclose, as presuming that your intercourse with those Gentlemen would procure them a Conveyance. With unfeigned Esteem, I remain, Dear Sir, Your most obedt. Servt.

S. G. Tucker

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Aug. 1797 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: see below.

In his pamphlet, A Dissertation on Slavery: With a Proposal for the Gradual Abolition of It, in the State of Virginia (Philadelphia, 1796), Tucker suggested a protracted schedule of abolition that would have required many people born into slavery to complete a period of servitude to the age of twenty-eight. His plan also proposed, as an undisguised inducement to voluntary emigration, severely restricted civil rights for free blacks. Tucker inscribed the pamphlet to the General Assembly, but even a cautious plan of abolition was so unpopular that when George Keith Taylor attempted to introduce the proposal, some individuals in the house of delegates voted against even admitting it to lie on the table (see Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 2818; McColley, Slavery, description begins Robert McColley, Slavery and Jeffersonian Virginia, Urbana, Ill., 1964 description ends 135).

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