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continuing your armies in the field till victory and peace shall lead them home; and avoid the reproach of permitting the currency to depreciate in your hands when, by yielding a part to taxes and loans, the whole might have been appreciated and preserved. Humanity as well as justice makes this demand upon you. The complaints of ruined widows, and the cries of fatherless children, whose whole support has been placed in your hands and melted away, have doubtless reached you; take care that they ascend no higher. Rouse, therefore; strive who shall do most for his country; rekindle that flame of patriotism which, at the mention of disgrace and slavery, blazed throughout America and animated all her citi zens. Determine to finish the contest as you began it, honestly and gloriously. Let it never be said that America had no sooner become independent than she became insolvent, or that her infant glories and growing fame were obscured and tarnished by broken contracts and violated faith, in the very hour when all the nations of the earth were admiring and almost adoring the splendor of her rising.
A LETTER TO A LADY.
[From the Same.]
TO THE MARCHIONESS DE LA FAYETTE.
ADAM: I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write on the 15th April last. Few circumstances could have given me more pleasure than such evidence of my having a place in the remembrance and good opinion of a lady, whose esteem derives no less value from her discernment, than from the delicacy of her sentiments.
Accept therefore, madam, of my sincere and cordial acknowledgments for honoring me with a place among your correspondents; which was the more obliging, as you was to afford more pleasure by, than you could expect to receive from it. You know it is an old observation, that ladies write better letters than gentlemen, and therefore, independent of other considerations, a correspondence between them is always so far on unequal terms.
I can easily conceive that you, whose predilection for your husband was always conspicuous, should experience so much satisfaction on seeing him return from this, his field of glory, with additional honors; and I can, with equal ease, form an idea of his emotions, when on that, as on former occasions, those honors promoted him to higher rank in your estimation.
Your remarks on the marquis's affection for his children, and the value you set on domestic enjoyments, must be pleasing to those who are capable of feeling their force.
I assure you I rejoice in the prospect you have of extending, through your branch, the reputation of both your families; and you have my best wishes that the latest historian may say of your descendants, that all the men were as valiant and worthy as their ancestor, who will probably be distinguished by the appellation of "Americanus," and all the women as virtuous and amiable as his lady.
If you was not what you are, I would not encourage the desire you express of accompanying the marquis on his next visit to this country, for I am sure you would be disappointed.
We have few amusements to relieve travellers of that weight of time and leisure which oppresses many of them. Our men, for the most part, mind their business, and our women their families; and if our wives succeed (as most of them do) in "making home man's best delight," gallantry seldom draws their husbands from them.
Our customs, in many respects, differ from yours, and you know that, whether with or without reason, we usually prefer those which education and habit recommend. The pleasures of Paris and the pomp of Versailles are unknown in this country, and their votaries must unavoidably experience a certain vacuity or blank here, which nothing but good sense, moderate desires, and a relish for less splendid, less various, but not less innocent or satisfactory enjoyments can supply. Though not a Frenchman, I should, nevertheless, be too polite to tell these things to those whom they might restrain from visiting us. On you they will have a contrary effect. It would gratify the friends of the marquis, viz., the citizens of the United States, to have the honor of a visit from you. I flatter myself that consideration will afford a strong additional induce
My little family is well. Mrs. Jay desires me to assure you of her remembrance and regard; and permit me to add, that I am, with sincere esteem and respectful attachment,
Madam, your most obedient, and very humble servant,
NEW YORK, 13 August, 1785.
HOW SLAVERY WAS FASTENED ON THE UNITED STATES.
[A Letter to an Abolition Society in England. 1788. From the Same.]
HAT they who know the value of liberty, and are blessed with the enjoyment of it, ought not to subject others to slavery, is, like most other moral precepts, more generally admitted in theory than observed in practice. This will continue to be too much the case while men are impelled to action by their passions rather than their reason, and while they are more solicitous to acquire wealth than to do as they would be done by. Hence it is that India and Africa experience unmerited oppression from nations who have been long distinguished by their attachment to their civil and religious liberties; but who have expended not much less blood and treasure in violating the rights of others, than in defending their own. The United States are far from being irreproachable in this respect. It undoubtedly is very inconsistent with their declarations on the subject of human rights to permit a single slave to be found within their jurisdiction, and we confess the justice of your strictures on that head.
Permit us, however, to observe, that although consequences ought not to deter us from doing what is right, yet that it is not easy to persuade men in general to act on that magnanimous and disinterested principle. It is well known that errors, either in opinion or practice, long entertained or indulged are difficult to eradicate, and particularly so when they have become, as it were, incorporated in the civil institutions and domestic economy of a whole people.
Prior to the late revolution, the great majority, or rather the great body, of our people had been so long accustomed to the practice and convenience of having slaves, that very few among them even doubted the propriety and rectitude of it. Some liberal and conscientious men had, indeed, by their conduct and writings, drawn the lawfulness of slavery into question, and they made converts to that opinion; but the number of those converts compared with the people at large, was then very in considerable. Their doctrines prevailed by almost insensible degrees, and was like the little lump of leaven which was put into three measures of meal: even at this day, the whole mass is far from being leavened, though we have good reason to hope and to believe that if the natural operations of truth are constantly watched and assisted, but not forced. and precipitated, that end we all aim at will finally be attained in this country.
The Convention who formed and recommended the new constitution had an arduous task to perform, especially as local interests, and in some measure local prejudices, were to be accommodated. Several of the States