Opinions of Constitutional Fathers

May 6, 1853

From the Essex County Freeman comes a copy of a letter written by Patrick Henry, January 18, 1773:

“Would anyone believe that I am master of slaves of my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living here without them. I will not, I cannot justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to virtue as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will come to abolish this lamentable evil. ***** It is a debt we owe the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants slavery.”

“The more the writings and opinions of the Constitutional Fathers are examined, the clearer does it become, that they never justified the system of slavery. They lamented and deplored it, and believed that it would gradually be abolished. ….”