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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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744. BANNEKER (Benjamin), Talents of.—
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744. BANNEKER (Benjamin), Talents of.—

We have now in the United States a
negro, the son of a black man born in Africa,
and a black woman born in the United States,
who is a very respectable mathematician. I
procured him to be employed under one of our
chief directors in laying out the new Federal
city on the Potomac, and in the intervals of
his leisure, while on that work, he made an
almanac for the next year, which he sent me
in his own handwriting, and which I enclose to
you. I have seen very elegant solutions of
geometrical problems by him. Add to this that
he is a very worthy and respectable member of
society. He is a free man. I shall be delighted
to see these instances of moral eminence so
multiplied as to prove that the want of talents,
observed in them, is merely the effect of their
degraded condition, and not proceeding from
any difference in the structure of the parts on
which intellect depends.—
To Marquis de Condorcet. Ford ed., v, 379.
(Pa., 1791)