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ing innovations, have hitherto retained the freehold qualification in Virginia; though its rigor has been modified by recent amendments. The success of the experiment, wherever it has been tried, has abundantly tested the soundness of the principle. 2. Inequality of representation. This deformity pervaded the first republican charter of Virginia, to an astonishing degree. Mr. Jefferson detects and exposes the evil in a strong light, by a tabular statement of the relative number of electors and representatives in each county; and calls the attention of his countrymen to the subject, in an impressive manner. According to his statement, the county of Warwick, with only one hundred electors, had an equal representation with the county of Loudon, having 1700 electors: and taking the State at large, 19,000 men in one part, were enabled to give law to upwards of 30,000 in the remaining part. This defect was remedied by the late Constitution. 3. The Senate is necessarily too homogeneous with the House of Delegates. Being chosen by the same electors, at the same time. and out of the same subjects, the choice falls of course on the same description of men; defeating thereby the great purpose of establishing different Houses of legislation, which is to introduce the influence of different interests or different principles. 4. The want of a sufficient barrier between the legislative, judiciary, and executive powers of the government. The concentration of these in the same bands, constituted, in his opinion, the precise definition of despotism. By the Constitution of Wirginia, they all resulted to the same body, the Legislature, though they were exercised by different bodies. He proclaims a solemn warning against this heresy, and invokes an immediate application of the remedy: urging, that the time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is be: fore they shall have seized the heads of the government, and been spread by them through the body of the people. “It is better,” says he, “to keep the wolf out of the field, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered.” 5 and 6. Finally, as objections of the greatest magnitude, Mr. Jefferson argued, that the Constitution itself was a mere legislative ordinance, enacted at a critical time, for a temporary purpose, not superior to the ordinary Legislature, but alterable by it; and that the Assembly, possessing the right, as they did, of determining a quorum of their own body, might convert the government into allabsolute despotism, at any moment, by consolidating all its powers, and placing them in the hands of a single individual. To the joint operation of these two defects, aided by the inauspicious temper of the times, he ascribed the infatuated attempt of the Legislature, in 1776, repeated in '81, to surrender the liberties of the people into the hands of a Dictator. He concludes his remarks upon the Constitution by a solemn appeal to the people, for their speedy interposition. “Our situation is indeed perilous, and I hope my countrymen wil! be sensible of it, and will apply, at a proper season, the proper remedy; which is a Convention to fix the Constitution, to amend its defects, to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws. which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words, a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those
rights.” Under the enquiry concerning the administration of justice, &c. the Author presents a view of the judiciary system of Virginia, framed, indeed, by himself, in '76—with a general description of the laws. With a modesty peculiar to himself, he alludes to the Revised Code, as a work which had been “executed by three gentlemen”—glances at the most important reformations which it introduced, but carefully conceals every circumstance which might in. dicate his participation in that splendid structure of republican jurisprudence. In commenting upon the benevolent provisions recommended in this Code, for the future disposition of the blacks, the genius of the Author appears again in its favorite element. He insists upon colonization to a distant country, as the only safe and practicable mode of ultimate redemption; and urges strong reasons of policy as well as necessity against their being retained in the State, and incorporated among the race of whites. “Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never end, but in the extermination of the one or the other race.” To these distinctions, which are political, he adds many others, which are physical and moral; but space is not allowed us to pursue the subject, nor to follow the Author * through his elaborate and interesting investigation of the question, whether the blacks and the Indians are inferior races of beings to the whites. Making all due allowances for the difference of condition, education, &c. between the blacks and whites, still the evidences were too strong, not to admit doubts of the intellectual equality of the two species. Of the former, many have been so situated, that they might have availed themselves of the conversation of their masters; many have been brought up to the handicraft arts, and from that circumstance, have always been associated with the whites. Some have been liberally educated, have lived in countries where the arts and sciences are cultivated to a high degree. and have had before their eyes, samples of the best workmanship. and of the noblest intelligence. “But never yet,” he adds, “could I find a black that had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never seen even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture.” Still, it was not against experience to suppose, that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, might possess different qualifications. The Indians, on the other hand, with none of the atlvantages above named, will often carve figures on their pipes, not destitute of design and merit. They will crayon out an animal, a plant, or a country, so as to prove the existence of a germ in their minds, which only wants cultivation. They will astonish you with strokes of the most sublime oratory, such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, their imagination glowing and elevated. On the whole, therefore, he advanced it as his opinion, that the Indians are equal to the whites, in body and mind; and as a problem only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made so by time and circumstances, are inferior to them. To justify a conclusion, in the latter case, required observations which eluded the research of all the senses; it should, therefore, be hazarded with extreme caution, especially when such conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings. which their Creator may, perhaps, have assigned them. The difference of color, feature, inclination, &c., is sufficient to warrant the presumption, that they were designed for a separate existence; but it furnishes no evidence of the right to enslave and torment them as mere brutes. “Will not a lover of natural history then,” he concludes, “one who views the gradations in all the races of animals. with the eye of philosophy, excuse an effort to keep these in the de
partment of man as distinct as nature has formed them 7” The unhappy influence of slavery upon the manners and mor
als of the people, is forcibly portrayed in a succeeding chapter.
“The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual
exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting des
potism on the one part, and degrading submission on the other.
Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imita
tative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him.
From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present.
But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in
the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. . And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies; destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him.”
The freedom of Mr. Jefferson's strictures on Slavery and the Constitution of Virginia, were the reasons, it appears, which influenced him to limit the circulation of the work, originally, to his confidential friends. In his letters to them, accompanying the gift of a copy, he uniformly explains the motives by which he was actuated, in enjoining suppression. Those who, on marking the singular anxiety of the Author throughout that affair, thought personal delicacy the principal restraining cause, had not yet arrived at the proper standard of estimating his principles of action. In presenting a copy of the work to General Chastellux, he thus writes:
“I have been honored with the receipt of your letter of the 2d instant, and am to thank you, as I do sincerely, for the partiality
with which you receive the copy of the Notes on my country. As I can answer for the facts therein reported on my own observation, and have admitted none on the report of others, which were not supported by evidence sufficient to command my own assent, I ans not afraid that you should make any extracts you please for the Journal de Physique, which come within their plan of publication. The strictures on Slavery and on the Constitution of Virginia, are not of that kind, and they are the parts which I do not wish to have made public, at least, till I know whether their publication would do most harm or good. It is possible, that in my own country, these strictures might produce an irritation, which would indispose the people towards the two great objects I have in view : that is, the emancipation of their slaves, and the settlement of their constitution on a firmer and more permanent basis. If I learn from thence, that they will not produce that effect, I have printed and reserved just copies enough to be able to give one to every young man at the College. It is to them I look, to the rising generation, and not to the one now in power, for these great reformations.” In transmitting copies to his friends in America, he expresses the same lofty reasons; of which the following, in a letter to Mr. Monroe, is a sample. “I send you by Mr. Otto, a copy of my book. Be so good as to apologize to Mr. Thompson for my not sending him one by this conveyance. I could not burden Mr. Otto with more, on so long a road as that from here to L'Orient. I will send him one by a Mr. Williams, who will go ere long. I have taken measures to prevent its publication. My reason is, that I fear the terms in which I speak of slavery, and of our constitution, may produce an irritation, which will revolt the minds of our countrymen against reformation in these two articles, and thus do more harm than good. I have asked of Mr. Madison to sound this matter as far as he can, and if be thinks it will not produce that effect, I have then copies enough printed to give one to each of the young men at the College, and to my friends in the country.” The remainder of this justly renowned Treatise, is occupied with useful details and learned dissertations, under the following heads of enquiry: The Colleges, Public Establishments, and mode of Architecture in Virginia—The measures taken with regard to the Estates and Possessions of tories during the war—The different Religions received into the State—The particular Manners and Customs of the people—The present state of Manufactures, Commerce, and Agriculture—The usual commodities of Export and Import— The Weights, Measures, and Currency in hard money, with the rates of Exchange with Europe—The public Income and Expenses—The Histories of the State, the Memorials published under its