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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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5818. NEGROES, Literary.—[continued].
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5818. NEGROES, Literary.—[continued].

Ignatius Sancho has approached
nearer to merit in composition [than
Phyllis Wheatley]: yet his letters do more honor
to the heart than the head. They breathe the


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purest effusions of friendship and general philanthropy,
and show how great a degree of the
latter may be compounded with strong religious
zeal. He is often happy in the turn of his compliments,
and his style is easy and familiar, except
when he affects a Shandean fabrication of
words. But his imagination is wild and extravagant,
escapes incessantly from every restraint
of reason and taste, and, in the course
of its vagaries, leaves a tract of thought as incoherent
and eccentric, as is the course of a
meteor through the sky. His subjects should
often have led him to a process of sober reasoning;
yet we find him always substituting
sentiment for demonstration. Upon the whole,
though we admit him to the first place among
those of his own color who have presented themselves
to the public judgment, yet when we
compare him with the writers of the race among
whom he lived and particularly with the epistolary
class in which he has taken his own stand,
we are compelled to enroll him at the bottom of
the column. This criticism supposes the letters
published under his name to be genuine, and
to have received amendment from no other
hand; points which would not be of easy investigation.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 383. Ford ed., iii, 247.