The Declaration of Independence – Jefferson’s Original Draft…

July 14, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Question of the day… Who recognizes the following quote?

“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. The opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain, determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this excusable commerce and that this assemblage of might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also intrude them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

If you had asked me a week ago (on July 4th), I would have had no idea. However, as of noon the following day I’ll never forget it. The above quote is from the original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson had penned these passionate words denouncing slavery in the original draft. Sadly, delegates from 2 of the 13 colonies would not sign the “declaration” if they were included. Playing the long-game, Jefferson removed them from the first draft with the hope of fighting another day. As I searched the internet for the exact wording, I became distressed when I could not easily find the text from this brilliantly written outcry against evil. What if these exact words were lost to we the people… the common folk? Then, as if by a miracle (albeit with a small “m”), as I was looking through a Harper’s Weekly dated July 8, 1876, I discovered: “FAC-SIMILE OF THE ORIGINAL DRAUGHT BY JEFFERSON OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE” within the rarely-included Supplement. I immediately scanned for what I knew to be the opening line of this “missing” portion… “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself…”, and voilà, there it was! History preserved in a Harper’s Weekly for all to see. I breathed a sigh, slid it into a protective folder, and laid it gently on my desk. Yet another reason why I love this job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS  Based upon what is known about Jefferson’s personal “ownership” of slaves, some may argue his thoughts were hypocritical (or at least blatantly insincere). Perhaps they are right… or, perhaps such an assessment is a bit more complicated. Regardless, it is nice to know many of our Founders wanted to end this inhumane institution.