Skip to comments.What did Thomas Jefferson write to William Wilberforce about?
Posted on 10/03/2009 9:47:01 PM PDT by ExGeeEye
This is a Vanity. If it shows up in the wrong place, would some kindly soul remove it to a better place.
I have recently seen the movie "Amazing Grace", with Ioan Gruffudd, about William Wilberforce and his efforts to end British participation in the slave trade.
At one point, his friend, PM Pitt, tells him that one of the reasons he's having trouble is that it is rumored that WW was corresponding with Thomas Jefferson.
Is it true? Does anyone know what they were writing about? Jefferson had slaves, and WW was against it.
Your attention is invited to the second sentence in the post. Thank you.
Most early Americans were against the slave trade. The Carolinas and Georgia required that, as a condition of joining the Union, no prohibition of the slave trade could be made for at least 20 years. 20 years later the slave trade was banned in America (1808). The USS Constitution prowled the west coast of Africa freeing slaves. Americans created Liberia for freed slaves.
Jefferson signed the law ending the slave trade. It was known in England that America intended to end the Atlantic trade, and it was a source of both irritation to British abolitionists that the Americans might end it first, and a source of arguing against ending it on the British side by anti-American forces in Parliament. I don't think there is any evidence that either man knew or wrote to the other; in any case, their formative opinions on slavery could not have had any reciprocal influence.
Was the ban on slave trading actually enforced?
Also I assume that slavery was still legal, just not importation? We had our own “home grown” slaves by that point, right?
Yes and no. Punishable by death technically, but because the South was allowed to count slaves as 3/5 of a man, the South was able to have a disproportionate representation in Congress. Ironically, it would have ended slavery sooner if slaves were considered 0%. The USS Constitution saved thousands.
Technically it was classified as a form of piracy, which is exactly right.
Under Lincoln the first slaver/pirate was hanged.
"Where Martin Luther King Jr. had spoken in his timeless I have a dream speech of a beautiful symphony of brotherhood Wilberforce had, 155 years before, written of a concert of benevolence in an abolition letter to President Thomas Jefferson.
"In words that Dr. King would have understood well Wilberforce had also written: In the Scriptures no national crime is condemned so frequently, and few so strongly, as oppression and cruelty, and the not using our best endeavours to deliver our fellow-creatures from them.... "
No clear indication of how many letters were exchanged, or of how much influence, if any really, Wilberforce had on Jefferson.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.