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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Letter From the Dead

Today's secularists like to describe this letter-writer as a deist: one who believes that God created the earth and then departed.

"This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer
will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your
affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would
address to you something which might possibly have a favorable
influence on the course of life you have to run; and I too,
as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will
be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God.
Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself,
and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not
at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have
entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if
to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world,
every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, 21
February 1825)

"God"? "Providence"? He doesn't sound like much of a deist, does he? Of course, both Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826-- the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of Jefferson's handiwork, the Declaration of Independence, which also mentions God a time or two.


Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

For such a heathen as the left claims Jefferson to be, he seems strangely God-fearing!

Tue Apr 10, 04:46:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Buck Allred said...

I'm sure this blog entry is not intended as anything approaching a complete analysis of Jefferson's spirituality. Also, I believe the term he used in the Declaration of Independence was not "God" but rather "Creator." Significance? Depends on who you ask. What does our Creator think about sex with black slavegirls, by the way?

Wed Apr 11, 01:16:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Steve Rankin said...

This comment is from KGillespie: "Someone should ask, "What does God think about the FBI statistic that says if you line up 1000 women raped, 999 were raped by black men."---I note a tint of racism in the question of the slave girl. It is now well known and accepted that Jefferson's brother was the man who liked to hang out with the Negroes and dance and party. No doubt the slave girl seduced him. The thousands of white women raped and mauled since then did NOT consent. I'm really sick of racism, especially the continued accusations against white men. Go cry about something else."

Wed Apr 11, 02:44:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Buck Allred said...

I'm not clear on which part of the above comment is by "KGillespie" and which is not, but I would encourage the commentor to do some reading on Jefferson generally and specifically his relationship with Sally Hemings (the "black slavegirl" in question), as the historical record does not reflect what the above post suggests that it does.
Predictably, the above post cites no authority in support of its statements.

This is a good book on Jefferson: link

Wed Apr 11, 03:47:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Here you go, Mr. Allred; this report casts serious doubts about the validity of the charge against Thomas Jefferson.

Here is another link to a shorter, popularly written piece arguing against the accusations against Jefferson.

It should be pointed out that Sally herself always denied this accusation, one made by Jefferson`s Federalist Party opponenets. A couple of her children DID claim to be his children, but that would be understandable that they would want the prestige of being children to the Great Thomas Jefferson.

DNA samples show that the Jefferson family is linked to Hemmings, but says nothing as to which Jefferson it could be, and Mr.Rankin is entirely correct when he points out that Jefferson`s brother Randolf is the likely candidate in this instance.

Thu Apr 12, 07:59:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Buck Allred said...

"Serious doubts," eh? My research indicates otherwise. The organization you cite (the "Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society") is a johnny-come-lately organization created for the express purpose of minimizing (since it's impossible for them to deny it, of course) the Sally Hemings issue. Sally denied this accusation? How about a cite? Too bad the DNA evidence destroys her alleged denial.

The truth is that many eminently qualified scholars have published many reports and studies on this matter, and they all agree on one thing: some Jefferson sired at least one child with Ms. Hemings. Whichever of the Jefferson men is the "likely" candidate for being the family slave's paramour (such as it was) is a matter of conjecture at best for proper scholars of the matter and, for all others, mere political spin.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Hemings

In January 2000, a group of specialists from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, produced a study on the controversy initiated soon after the Nature paper. Their near-unanimous [4] report [5] stated that "although paternity cannot be established with absolute certainty, our evaluation of the best evidence available suggests the strong likelihood that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings had a relationship over time that led to the birth of one, and perhaps all, of the known children of Sally Hemings." [6] One member of the committee, White Wallenborn, dissented, noting that "the historical evidence is not substantial enough to confirm nor for that matter to refute his paternity of any of the children of Sally Hemings."

Thu Apr 12, 10:45:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

First Mr. Allred, I suggest you cite your own ``extensive research`` since it seems composed of wickipedia links and one book available on Amazon. You confidently proclaim unanimity of opinion on the subject, and dismiss out of hand scholarship detrimental to your point.

Your reverence for the Monticello group is touching, but it should be pointed out that the Chair for this group was a Doctor-without-Dissertation (Diane Swan-Wright)and no published work on Jefferson, and the group included such luminaries as the head guide at Monticello, an architect, an archaeologist, etc. They would have irrefutable proof had they included the gardening staff and the main janitors. There was only one historian in the group.

This group was about to launch a major financial campaign, and the buzz generated by this pronouncement would be, shall we say, usefull.

You complain of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society as ``johnny come latelies``; isn`t that what historians ARE? By your reasoning you have completely demolished your own argument, since the Monticello group came to the party well after historians of Jefferson`s own generation. Furthermore, you seem to fault this group of exceptional scholars for disagreeing with a report which made dubious conclusions from the information at hand. That is how history is argued, after all.

The DNA evidence does not destroy anything; it merely proves that a member of the Jefferson clan fathered Easton Hemmings, Sally`s youngest son. Both Mr. Rankin and myself have pointed out that Randolf was the more likely of the two, given his proclivities. DNA cannot prove this one way or another, yet you seem quite confident in blaming Thomas. I most earnestly hope you would expect greater dilligence if you were to be named in a paternity suite than you are demanding in this instance.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation report, according to your Wiki quote, had a near unanimous finding, which is a far cry from claiming that scholars OUTSIDE of the Monticello group are unanimous in their belief that Thomas Jefferson did the deed. If you have some solid proof of that I would suggest you bring it forth. I have given you some, and a simple Google search will bring many others.

Oh, and only Easton Hemmings was shown to have Jefferson blood based on that DNA test; if Jefferson had this long-standing relationship with Sally, wouldn`t it rather bother him that she kept getting pregnant from other men?

Fri Apr 13, 12:03:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Buck Allred said...

Mr. Birdnow:

Now, math is not my strong point, but it seems to me that one wikipedia cite, which itself contains many citations to outside sources, trumps the citation authority of your last post, which is of course zero.

You may, if you like, try to post credible authority which disputes the fact that some member of the Jefferson family sired at least one child, if not several, with Ms. Hemings. FYI, the book I linked on amazon.com is a very credible and interesting source on this and other aspects of Jefferson's life.

The DNA evidence, as I mentioned, destroys your uncited assertion that "[Sally Hemings] herself always denied this accusation[.]" Such a denial was, of course, much easier to make before DNA technology existed. Even so, it must have made dinner conversation at the Jefferson household a bit awkward when a slave gave birth to a red-headed baby.

My position is, like virtually all credible historians, only that some Jefferson sired a child with Ms. Hemings. Thomas Jefferson is potentially the father; what likelihood that he is or is not is debatable. Beyond that, it is the subject of scholarly conjecture and, as you have so graphically demonstrated, shrill and groundless denials by people with obvious political agendas.

It's too bad that Jefferson was not the subject of a paternity "suite" [sic] in his day. Or not, as slaves could not bring lawsuits of any variety, generally, and DNA technology obviously did not exist. So it wouldn't have accomplished much, see.

And as to Randolf Jefferson's "proclivities:" forgive me if I don't take your word for this. To what "proclivities" are you referring? Sex with slaves? Thomas may have had that proclivity as well, so you might mean some other tawdry affairs. Unfortunately, however, this assertion is, like nearly all of your assertions, uncited.

Fri Apr 13, 12:47:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Mr. Allred, I now see your modus operendi; you cite a book for sale on Amazon and link to where we can buy it (but not read it) and a Wikipedia article and you fancy this scholarship. For your information, Wikipedia is written by READERS and is notorious for inaccuracies and biased interpretations. I have given you the entire report by the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society which is written BY JEFFERSON SCHOLARS and you conveniently ignore this. Did you bother to read it? Somehow I doubt that. Instead you want to accuse me of that which you are guilty, sir.

Thomas Lipscome, writing in Oregon Magazine had this to say;

Five years ago a rather limited DNA test was hailed as ``proving`` Thomas Jefferson’s paternal relationship with members of the Hemings family. Alas the test only established all that was really possible to establish scientifically-- that some interdeterminate Jefferson male was involved. Two years ago, a Jefferson-Hemings Scholars’ Commission, including a distiguished group of scholars such as Forrest McDonald and Robert F. Turner also concluded that the roistering Randolph Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s brother, was the most likely of 25 Jeffersons with the same Y chromosome to have fathered Sally Hemming’s child. At 65 at the time and one of the two oldest of the 25 Jefferson candidates, Jefferson himself was not exactly a prime candidate and randy Randolph had already had several children by slave mothers.

I know; Lipscomb isn`t an historian, but a general writer. You may want to look at this piece which likewise makes the case against the rush to judgement against Jefferson. This excoriates the Monticello group you so admire.

Here is a legal analysis of the ``paternity suit`` as it would play out under Virginia law.

this piece by the Jefferson FAmily Historian Herbert Barger analyzes the DNA evidence. (It should be noted that Nature published that report during the heighth of Bill Clinton`s sex scandal. It should further be noted that, given Nature`s biased reporting on global warming-ask Benny Peiser-one finds every reason to suspect the editorial motives of this once fine journal.)

As to your point that you are merely saying Jefferson MAY HAVE been the father, you certainly seemed quite confident that he was at the beginning of this discussion; you stated;

``Also, I believe the term he used in the Declaration of Independence was not "God" but rather "Creator." Significance? Depends on who you ask. What does our Creator think about sex with black slavegirls, by the way?``

Which suggests quite frankly that Jefferson was fooling around with his slaves, not that there was a chance he was; you included no qualifiers.
You also stated;

``but I would encourage the commentor to do some reading on Jefferson generally and specifically his relationship with Sally Hemings (the "black slavegirl" in question), as the historical record does not reflect what the above post suggests that it does.``


``"Serious doubts," eh? My research indicates otherwise. ``

which again suggests you believe him to be guilty. What am I to think? My whole point is that there are solid arguments against Mr. Jefferson`s paternity. It is irresponsible to tear down his legacy based on such a thin piece of evidence as this DNA; all it illustrates is that a Jefferson male at some point likely fathered a child with Miss Hemmings.

I cannot find the goalposts, as you seem to keep moving them.

Oh, and I`m still waiting for YOU to cite your ``extensive research``.

Sat Apr 14, 09:06:00 AM CDT  
Blogger GRANBARBUDO said...

Under the laws of that time, a slave has no legal consent, and no other legal rights. They were legally equal to children or beasts. Therefore any sex with any slave is rape (or at best congress with a beast or bestiality) That lack of consent is the basis of statutory rape even in our time. Since white men at that time were considered superior to slaves in every way, it was Thomas Jefferson's responsibility to prevent this immoral act from taking place under his roof. Whether the perpetrator of the act was his brother or himself, there is no evading responsibility for this crime. BOTH men are stained by it because BOTH are responsible. You are your brother's keeper, it is God's Law!
And in case you were wondering, I am white, and my family once owned African Slaves, and yes I think this was a grave failing on the part of my ancestors.

Tue Feb 17, 02:48:00 AM CST  

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