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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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6946. PRIMOGENITURE, Feudal and unnatural.—
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6946. PRIMOGENITURE, Feudal and unnatural.—

The abolition of primogeniture, and equal partition of inheritances, removed
the feudal and unnatural distinctions which
made one member of every family rich, and all
the rest poor, substituting equal partition, the
best of all Agrarian laws. [400]
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 49. Ford ed., i, 69.
(M. 1821)

See Entails.


Page 720

It was an audacious move. From generation to
generation lands and slaves—almost the only valuable
kind of property in Virginia—had been handed
down protected against creditors, even against the
very extravagance of spendthrift owners; and it was
largely by this means that the quasi-nobility of the
colony had succeeded in establishing and maintaining
itself. A great groan seemed to go up from all
respectable society at the terrible suggestion of Jefferson,
a suggestion daringly cast before an Assembly
thickly sprinkled with influential delegates
strongly bound by family ties and self-interest to
defend the present system. * * * Thus was a
great social revolution wrought in a few months by
one man. * * * But his brilliant triumph cost him
a price. That distinguished class, whose existence as
a social caste had been forever destroyed, reviled the
destroyer from this time forth with relentless animosity;
and, even to the second and third generations,
the descendants of many of these patrician
families vindictively cursed the statesman who had
placed them on a level with the rest of their countrymen.—Morse's Life of Jefferson.