1873 Thomas Jefferson Randolph Replies To Israel Jefferson


I have received from an unknown hand a copy of the Pike County Republican, Waverly, O. dated Dec. 25, 1873, On its fourth page is an article designed I presumed by the person who sent it for my inspection; headed "life amoung the lowly No. III Israel Jefferson."

I remember distinctly the person as a slave of Mr. Jefferson....

Israel is made to revive and confirm of his own knowledge a calumny generated in the hot bed of party malice. Mr. Jefferson and his daughter with her large family occupied the same wing of the building: the private access to their apartments ever contiguous; every member of this family repelled with indignation this calumny. Mr. J did not liberate this woman and her family as Israel is made to state. To my knowledge and the statements other gentlemen made to me 60 years ago the paternity of these persons was admitted by two other persons. He liberated his servant Burwell and four of his mechanics. Two of them were of the family. Mr. J's mechanics kept under his own eye and his entire household servants were the descendants of Betty Hemings, born 1735 died 1805 or their wives, except as under cooks and his drivers. Israel was not one of this family. It was a source of bitter bitter jealousy to the other slaves who were always anxious to assign for it any reason but the true one, very superior intelligence capacity and fidelity to trusts. To John Hemings, Joe Fossett and Burwell Colbert, he gave small annual salaries. Not one of this family ever mentioned (words crossed out) were ever punished in their lives. If this charge was true why revive it, for what purpose. Similar charges have been recently published against Mr. Jefferson's younger grandson upon somewhat similar evidence. Men who lived and died without reproach. What is the motive of such calammies? It cannot be personal hostility, because these writers never know these persons. Can it be that they felt the necessity of pondering to a ferocious hate of the southern white man-- which devours with depraved appetite every invention of calumny, and every circulation of malignity that can blacken or degrade his character.