Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker

Aug. 30. 1791

Philadelphia, Aug. 30. 1791

Sir,

I thank you sincerely for your letter of the 19th instant and for the Almanac it contained. No body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa & America. I can add with truth, that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commended for raising the condition both of their body & mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances which cannot be neglected, will admit.

I have taken the liberty of sending your Almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet, Secretary of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, and member of the Philanthropic society, because I considered it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for their justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them.

I am with great esteem, Sir your most obedt humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson.

Mr. Benjamin Banneker,

Near Ellicott’s Lower Mills, Baltimore Co.

Source: The Benjamin Banneker Association, Inc. - Jefferson's Response Letter to Banneker