Wanted by Thomas Jefferson

In the above advertisement which appeared in the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg, Virginia on September 14, 1769, Jefferson describes Sandy (a shoemaker and a jockey) as vulgar, insolent, a drunkard, a knave, and a thief (he stole himself and a horse). Those flaws notwithstanding, Jefferson deemed him worth a minimum reward of forty shillings and upwards to ten pounds if captured and returned from outside Virginia. After Jefferson got Sandy back he sold him to Col. Charles Lewis for 100 pounds on January 29, 1773. While it is not clear how long Sandy remained “free,” we can only hope he raised holy hell every moment he managed to be his own man.


4 thoughts on “Wanted by Thomas Jefferson

  1. Kia ora,
    Quite I often I find myself in “disagreements” with people even within my own family back home in regards to racism, tea partiers, white privilege, ect. Without fail they will bring up documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or names such as Jefferson’s as the cornerstones of US democracy. It never seems to go down too well when it is pointed out that Jefferson was a slave owner, that the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, the Magna Carta were written by rich privileged, land owning, and slave owning, white men, for the benefit of other rich privileged land and slave owning white men. Certainly not the slaves, certainly not women, and certainly not the American Indians. And these documents that are the foundations of western thought and freedom and held up as sacrosanct while the treaties wrote with indigenous peoples, including the Treaty of Waitangi here in Aotearoa, are held up as rotting pieces of old parchment suitable only for burning. Seemingly almost as quickly as they were written and the locusts could continue to swarm. Cheers for a glimpse that it wasn’t one way, it was the other way.

  2. Kia ora,

    The problem of historical amnesia in the United States is epidemic. Combine that with the rampant anti-intellectualism of American culture and you have a recipe for pandering to the people the great myth of American exceptionalism. That myth includes the lie that this nation was founded according to a credo of equality. As you stated, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written by “white” land owning males for other “white” land owning males. The vast majority of the population (poor “whites” free and enslaved Africans, and Amerindians residing within the newly formed states) were left out of the franchise. The other dirty little secret about the British colonies in North America is that anywhere from 60% – 75% of the settlers who came from Europe arrived as indentured servants. The U.S. was built by an underclass of “white” servants and enslaved Africans. Their contributions conveniently have been ignored, obscured, and dismissed.

    Thomas Jefferson was one of the architects of the revolution and the new nation that was formed in the aftermath. He also was one of this country’s biggest hypocrites. I plan to write more about him soon. Stay tuned.


  3. Pingback: “Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do” « occasional links & commentary

  4. Pingback: HISTORY: Wanted by Thomas Jefferson | Neo-Griot

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