Ohio History Journal

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To one who has read the works of Thomas Jefferson

it would seem that there should be no question in regard

to his views of slavery.    Because such question has

been raised, reiterated and made a matter of public

record and because his attitude has been thus questioned

by many prominent in the early history of Ohio it may

not be out of place to review here the testimony offered

in regard to the real views that he entertained on this

important subject. A very definite statement on this

subject is found in the Life, Journals and Correspond-

ence of Manasseh Cutler, edited by William       Parker

Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler and published in 1888.

It read as follows:

Even with the prohibition in the Ordinance of July 13, 1787,

the attempt was made, under the auspices of Jefferson, at the

time of the adoption of the first constitution for the State of

Ohio, to introduce slavery into the state.  This effort was sup-

ported by Jefferson's favorite theory of state's rights.  The ad-

vocates of the measure claimed that, as soon as the state as-

sumed its own autonomy and became a sovereign among others,

it had the right to decide upon the provisions of an ordinance

which was the act of only one party, the general government.

The central and southern portions of the state then had a majority

of the population, and the labor of slaves would have suited the in-

terests of their fertile valleys, while the political prospects of the

new and rising "states' rights democracy" would have been ad-

vanced by holding out such a premium for emigration from Vir-

ginia and Kentucky.

The rejection of Jefferson's efforts, both in Congress and in

Ohio, was a deliverance from impending danger.