Thomas Jefferson's Letter to James Heaton
Letter written by Thomas Jefferson to James Heaton, May 20, 1826. In a letter to James Heaton, Whig state representative from Ohio, Thomas Jefferson explained his public stance on slavery. Near the end of his life, Jefferson justified his inaction for trying to end slavery during his presidency with the following explanation in a letter to James Heaton:DEAR SIR, Monticello, May 20.26The subject of your letter of April 20, is one on which I do notpermit myself to express an opinion, but when time, place, and occasion may give it some favorable effect. A good cause is often injured more by ill-timed efforts of its friends than by the arguments of its enemies. Persuasion, perseverance, and patience are the best advocates on questions depending on the will of others. The revolution in public opinion which this cause requires, is not to be expected in a day, or perhaps in an age; but time, which outlives all things, will outlive this evil also. My sentiments have been forty years before the public. Had I repeated them forty times, they would only have become the more stale and threadbare. Although I shall not live to see them consummated, they will not die with me; but living or dying, they will ever be in my most fervent prayer. This iswritten for yourself and not for the public, in compliance with yourrequest of two lines of sentiment on the subject. Accept the assurance ofMy good will and respect— Thomas Jefferson
[s.l.] : [s.n.], 1826.
1 online resource (letter)