Letter to John F. Mercer

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Title: Letter to John F. Mercer
Author: Washington, George, 1732-1799
Description: Letter to John F. Mercer, dated September 9, 1786. Written at a time when he owned some 277 slaves, Washington expresses his hopes for the gradual abolition of slavery. In the letter, Washington writes that "it is among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by the Legislature by which slavery in this Country may be abolished by slow, sure & imperceptible degrees." Washington did not want to accept slaves as payment for Mercer's debt. This letter not only reveals Washington's principles and distaste for slavery, but also an outlook shared by many of the founders, including many from the upper South. Many of the new nation's leaders desperately wanted to find gradualistic solutions to America's deepest-rooted problem. In his will, Washington provided for the emancipation of his slaves following his wife's death.
Permanent Link: http://hdl.handle.net/2374.OX/62433
Date: September 9, 1786

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