Fragment of an original letter on the slavery of the Negroes, written in the year 1776. By Thomas Day, Esq.; [Four lines in French]
Day, Thomas, 1748-1789.
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THE following letter was written in the year 1776, at the request of an American gentleman, who desired to know my sentiments upon the sla|very of the Negroes, and professed an intention of restoring all his own to liberty, could he be convinced that duty required the sacrifice. I therefore sent him the following essay, the imperfections of which may perhaps be something extenuated by the precipitation with which it was written. It has lain by me many years in obscurity; nor did I choose to produce it during the progress of the American contest. Since the happy termination of that disastrous war, I have shewn it to some of my particular friends, who have honored me so far as to desire copies, and to suggest that its publi|cation might not be unattended with utility. After reflecting upon the sub|ject, I have chosen to comply with their wishes, and present this fragment to the public; because, whatever discredit it brings upon my head, it may contribute to establish the sincerity of my heart: And if a single human being should by my means be restored to happiness, it is an ample recompence for all the dangers I may incur as an author. Should this essay ever reach America, it may perhaps displease those who have not learned to discern friends from flatterers, and to distinguish between the language of truth and calumny. Those, on the contrary, who are enlightened by a more extensive knowledge of human nature, may perhaps respect an Englishman, who, after daring to assert their cause through all the varied events of the late revolution, dares now with equal intrepidity assert the cause of truth and justice, and of that part of the human species whose wrongs are yet unre|dressed, and almost unpitied. Should it be asked why I rather publish a fragment than a complete essay, I can only answer, that I respect truth so much, that I am not inclined to violate it even as an author; and that this letter having been really written in the year 1776, and being still in the possession of the gentleman to whom it was sent, I do not choose to piece it with additions in the year 1784