February 14 1815: Rhetoric of Slavery

“No matter. we can beat her on our own soil, leaving the laws of the ocean to be settled by the maritime powers of Europe, who are equally oppressed & insulted by the usurpations of England on that element. our particular and separate grievance is only the impressment of our citizens. we must sacrifice the last dollar and drop of blood to rid us of that badge of slavery; and it must rest with England alone to say whether it is worth eternal war, for eternal it must be if she holds to the wrong. she will probably find that the 6000. citizens she took from us by impressment have already cost her ten thousand guineas a man, and will cost her in addition the half of that annually, during the continuance of the war, besides the captures on the ocean, & the loss of our commerce. she might certainly find cheaper means of manning her fleet, or, if to be manned at this expence, her fleet will break her down.”

— Thomas Jefferson writes to William H. Crawford, February 14 1815.

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