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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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7948. SLAVERY, Poem against.—
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7948. SLAVERY, Poem against.—

I have
received a letter from Mr. Thomas Brannagan,
* * * Philadelphia, asking my subscription
to the work announced in the enclosed paper. [456] The cause in which he embarks is so holy, the
sentiments he expresses in his letter so friendly,
that it is highly painful to me to hesitate on a
compliance which appears so small. But that
is not its true character, and it would be injurious
even to his views, for me to commit myself
on paper by answering his letter. I have
most carefully avoided every public act or
manifestation on that subject. Should an occasion
ever occur in which I can interpose with
decisive effect, I shall certainly know and do
my duty with promptitude and zeal. But, in
the meantime, it would only be disarming myself
of influence to be taking small means.
The subscription to a book on this subject is
one of those little irritating measures, which,
without advancing its end at all, would, by
lessening the confidence and good will of a
description of friends composing a large body,
only lessen my powers of doing them good in
the other great relations in which I stand to
the public. Yet, I cannot be easy in not answering
Mr. Brannagan's letter, unless he can
be made sensible that it is better I should not
answer it; and I do not know how to effect
this, unless you would have the goodness
* * * to enter into an explanation with him.—
To Dr. George Logan. Ford ed., viii, 351.
(W. May. 1805)


This refers to “Avenia; or, A Tragical Poem on
the Oppression of the Human Species”, an anti-slavery
work printed in Philadelphia in 1805.—Note
in the Ford edition.