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Thomas Jefferson to Mrs. Sprowle


Paris, July 5,1785.


Your letter of the 21st of June, has come safely to hand. That which you had done me the honor of writing before, has not yet been received. It having gone by Dr. Witherspoon to America, which I had left before his return to it, the delay is easily accounted for.

I wish you may be rightly informed that the property of Mr. Sprowle is yet unsold. It was advertised so long ago, as to found a presumption that the sale has taken place. In any event, you may safely go to Virginia. It is in the London newspapers only, that exist those mobs and riots, which are fabricated to deter strangers from going to America. Your person will be sacredly safe, and free from insult. You can best judge from the character and qualities of your son, whether he may be an useful co-adjutor to you there. I suppose him to have taken side with the British, before our Declaration of Independence; and, if this was the case, I respect the candor of the measure, though I do not its wisdom. A right to take the side which every man’s conscience approves in a civil contest, is too precious a right, and too favorable to the preservation of liberty, not to be protected by all its well informed friends. The Assembly of Virginia have given sanction to this right in several of their laws, discriminating honorably those who took side against us before the Declaration of Independence, from those who remained among us, and strove to injure us by their treacheries. I sincerely wish that you, and every other to whom this distinction applies favorably, may find, in the Assembly of Virginia, the good effects of that justice and generosity, which have dictated to them this discrimination. It is a sentiment which will gain strength in their breasts, in proportion as they can forget the savage cruelties committed on them, and will, I hope, in the end, reduce them to restore the property itself, wherever it is unsold, and the price received for it, where it has been actually sold.

I am, Madam,

your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.