The four days passed with Mr. Madison were agreeably employed in promenades over his beautiful estate, and still more agreeably by our evening conversations, particularly concerning all the great American interests, which are so dear to general Lafayette. The society which at this time habitually assembled at Montpelier, was almost entirely composed of the neighbouring planters, who for the most part appeared as well versed in all great political questions as in agriculture. Lafayette, who though perfectly understanding the disagreeable situation of American slaveholders, and respecting generally the motives which prevent them from more rapidly advancing in the definitive emancipation of the blacks, never missed an opportunity to defend the right which all men without exception have to liberty, broached among the friends of Mr. Madison the question of slavery. It was approached and discussed by them frankly, and in a manner to confirm me in the opinion I had previously formed concerning the noble sentiments of the majority of Virginians upon this deplorable circumstance. It appears to me, that slavery cannot exist a long time in Virginia, because all enlightened men condemn the principle of it, and when public opinion condemns a principle, its consequences cannot long continue to subsist.
A. Levasseur, Secretary to Lafayette
during the Farewell Tour
Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825 (New York, 1829)
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