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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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7978. SLAVES (Emancipation), Defeated.—
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7978. SLAVES (Emancipation), Defeated.—

In 1769, I became a member of the legislature by the choice of the county in which
I live [Albemarle], and so continued until it
was closed by the Revolution. I made one ef


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fort in that body for the permission of the
emancipation of slaves, which was rejected:
and indeed, during the regal government, nothing
liberal could expect success. Our minds
were circumscribed within narrow limits, by an
habitual belief that it was our duty to be subordinate
to the mother country in all matters
of government, to direct all our labors in subservience
to her interests, and even to observe
a bigoted intolerance for all religions but hers.
The difficulties with our representatives were
of habit and despair, not of reflection and conviction.
Experience soon proved that they
could bring their minds to rights on the first
summons of their attention. But the King's
Council, which acted as another house of legislature,
held their places at will, and were in
most humble obedience to that will; the Governor,
too, who had a negative on our laws, held
by the same tenure, and with still greater devotedness
to it; and, last of all, the royal negative
closed the last door to every hope of
amelioration. [459]
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 3. Ford ed., i, 5.


This was Jefferson's first public measure.—Editor.