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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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7972. SLAVES, Thievery and.—
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7972. SLAVES, Thievery and.—

disposition to theft with which they have been
branded, must be ascribed to their situation,
and not to any depravity of the moral sense.
The man in whose favor no laws of property
exist, probably feels himself less bound to respect
those made in favor of others. When
arguing for ourselves, we lay it down as a
fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a
reciprocation of right; that, without this, they
are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded
in force, and not in conscience; and it is a
problem which I give to the master to solve,
whether the religious precepts against the violation
of property were not framed for him as
well as his slave? And whether the slave May
not as justifiably take a little from one who has
taken all from him, as he may slay one who
would slay him? That a change in the relations
in which a man is placed should change
his ideas of moral right or wrong, is neither
new, nor peculiar to the color of the blacks.
Homer tells us it was so two thousand six
hundred years ago.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 385. Ford ed., iii, 249.