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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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7288. REPRESENTATION, For slaves.—
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7288. REPRESENTATION, For slaves.—

I have been told, that on the question of
equal representation, our fellow-citizens in
some sections of the State [Virginia] claim
peremptorily a right of representation for
their slaves. Principle will, in this, as in
most other cases, open the way for us to correct
conclusion. * * * It is true, that in
the general Constitution, our State is allowed
a larger representation on account of its
slaves. But every one knows, that that Consitution


Page 749
was a matter of compromise; a capitulation
between conflicting interests and
opinion. In truth, the condition of different
descriptions of inhabitants in any country is a
matter of municipal arrangement, of which no
foreign country has a right to take notice.
All its inhabitants are men as to them. Thus,
in the New England States, none have the
powers of citizens but those whom they call
freemen; and none are freemen until admitted
by a vote of the freemen of the town. Yet, in
the General Government, these non-freemen
are counted in their quantum of representation
and of taxation. So, slaves with us have no
powers as citizens; yet, in representation in
the General Government, they count in the
proportion of three to five; and so also in taxation.
Whether this is equal, is not here the
question. It is a capitulation of discordant
sentiments and circumstances, and is obligatory
on that ground. But this view shows
there is no inconsistency in claiming representation
for them for the other States, and
refusing it within our own.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 36. Ford ed., x, 45.
(M. 1816)