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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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7927. SLAVE TRADE, Abolition of.—[continued].
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7927. SLAVE TRADE, Abolition of.—[continued].

I am very sensible of the
honor you propose to me of becoming a member
of the society for the abolition of the slave
trade. You know that nobody wishes more ardently
to see an abolition, not only of the trade,
but of the condition of slavery; and certainly
nobody will be more willing to encounter every
sacrifice for that object. But the influence
and information of the friends to this proposition
in France will be far above the need of
my association. I am here as a public servant,
and those whom I serve, having never yet been
able to give their voice against this practice,
it is decent for me to avoid too public a demonstration
of my wishes to see it abolished.
Without serving the cause here, it might render
me less able to serve it beyond the water.
I trust you will be sensible of the prudence
of those motives, therefore, which govern my
conduct on this occasion.—
To J. P. Brissot de Warville. Washington ed. ii, 357. Ford ed., v, 6.
(P. Feb. 1788)