I posted the following on Jay Bookman’s blog on July 3, 2017:
Here was my full response regarding the relationship of Thomas Jefferson to Sally Hemings. I was glad to have learned of the information today. This newly discovered information is what I had speculated would have been where Sally Hemings would have slept, based on their relationship as I have ascertained it to be thus far, from my readings:
“Those facts regarding Sally Hemings’ bedroom being next to Jefferson’s make perfect sense to me. It is how one interpret facts that shows the caliber of one’s mind. I had known that her duties were to care for his chambers and his personal affects, including his clothing. I often wondered where she spent her nights. I also knew that Jefferson built the design of Monticello so that no one could see from the outside into his chamber.
Of course, Sally Hemings was Jefferson’s mistress slave. How much fuller one understands that relationship speaks to the decadence or the reasonableness in one’s own mind.
Documented by author, historian and professor Annette Gordon-Reed: Sally Hemings saved for their children Jefferson’s pen and inkwell, his glasses, and his shoe buckle. Jefferson directed his remaining legitimate child, Martha Jefferson Randolph, to ‘take care of Sally.’ Martha released Sally to her freed sons’ care within weeks of Jefferson’s death.”
“I always thought Sally’s ultimatum as they were leaving Paris was telling of the relationship.”
Mary Elizabeth’s Response:
“Exactly. Remember that they came back to Virginia from Paris only weeks before the French Revolution began in all of its bloody details. I know that Jefferson, being 30 years older than Sally, knew that if she had left him in Paris with her slave brother who was being educated to be Jefferson’s chef at Monticello, that those two vulnerable young people, without money, would be dead within months. Jefferson, Sally, her brother, his two children by his wife left France just before that Revolution. Madison Hemings, Sally Hemings son by Jefferson wrote in his old age in a newspaper article that Sally gave Jefferson the ultimatum that she would go back with him to Monticello (she was a legally free woman while she was in France), if he would free all of their children by the age of 21, which he honored completely. Theirs is still a mysterious relationship. Jefferson was a private and unorthodox thinker and man, but Madison Hemings wrote that he was kind to all.”
“I hadn’t actually read anything about the French Revolution being a factor but that’s interesting.
I was, of course, referring to the fact that she was legally a free woman in France and that she demanded that her children would be freed.”
“That is all true. And, you correctly sized up that Sally was a woman who was in many ways equal to Jefferson. I believe she understood him and the historical forces that worked on him.”
Read: Dr. AnnetteGordon-Reed’s telling biography of their relationship in ‘The Hemingses of Monticello.’ ”
My comments on Jay Bookman’s blog on July 15, 2017 regarding Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings:
“Information and truth are always being updated, also. Please read the biography of Thomas Jefferson, recently published by Professor John B. Boles of Rice University, entitled “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty.”
Some will be very surprised to read the actual words which Thomas Jefferson used in court to attempt to free a mulatto man from the 3rd generation of servitude when Jefferson, in his 20s, was the man’s attorney in Virginia. Jefferson’s views were in opposition to the miscegenation laws of that time as he expressed in court and so he lost the case. However, for anyone who has doubted that Jefferson believed that black people are equal, in the eyes of God and by Nature itself, to white men, you must read this book. The servant’s first name was Howard. I do not recall his last name now. Boles’ biography will also lead you to understand, as I already do, the quality of Jefferson’s 37 year relationship with Sally Hemings.”