The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


Your favor of October 31st has been duly received, and I thank you for the communication of the report of the Committee of Friends. It gives me great satisfaction to see that we are likely to render our Indian neighbors happier in themselves and well affected to us; that the measures we are pursuing are prescribed equally by our duty to them, and by the good of our own country. It is a proof the more of the indissoluble alliance between our duties and interest, which if ever they appear to lead in opposite directions, we may be assured it is from our own defective views. It is evident that your society has begun at the right end for civilizing these people. Habits of industry, easy subsistence, attachment to property, are necessary to prepare their minds for the first elements of science, and afterwards for moral and religious instruction. To begin with the last has ever ended either in effecting nothing, or ingrafting bigotry on ignorance, and setting them to tomahawking and burning old women and others as witches, of which we have seen a commencement among them.

to James Pemberton, 16 November 1807