Destruction is part of human nature. I get it. So, it should not be surprising the amount of iconoclasts in the “social justice” mobs of today; the iconoclasts destroying statues, and destroying history.
Iconoclasm is nothing new, it’s been around since shortly after creation. The destruction and discrediting of essential figures of civic and spiritual liberty has long been a tool of the devil. This tool will continue to be used with evil purpose until Christ Himself puts an end to it.
Lies about our country’s framers have been perpetuated by iconoclasts for decades, and it is high time we quarantine these lies and discredit their perpetrators.
There is absolutely no evidence which proves Thomas Jefferson fathered ANY children with the slave Sally Hemings.
An unproven claim has been told for centuries. Up until the late 1990’s, all which iconoclasts have had to present as evidence of Jefferson’s sexual immorality had been spotty newspaper articles from the early 1800’s, and conflicting oral histories.
But in the late 1990’s, DNA “evidence” of Jefferson’s congress with Sally Hemings surfaced, and the media was all too happy to spread the glorious news.
DNA Test Finds Evidence Of Jefferson Child by Slave
Genetic testing shows that Thomas Jefferson almost certainly fathered a child with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings…
The “news” rapidly spread to state and local news agencies.
But how did it all start? With a DNA study which was accompanied by this article from the periodical Nature, written by Joseph Ellis.
The article which was written by “Historian” Joseph Ellis, is the article the media latched upon. In it, Ellis wrote:
Almost two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson was alleged to have fathered a children by his slave Sally Hemings. The charges have remained controversial. Now, DNA analysis confirms that Jefferson was indeed the father of at least one of Hemings’ children.
And with that, a founding father became discredited. Jefferson became a deadbeat dad. And the news quickly spread. And Democrats and their cohorts in the media were all too happy to disseminate the wonderful news. Why? Because of whom was president at the time.
Bill Clinton was undergoing public scrutiny and was to be undergoing an impeachment trial as the result of his sexual deviance. Surely, if someone as great as Thomas Jefferson had a wandering eye and wandering morals, then we must dismiss the sexual escapades of every president, including Bill Clinton.
Joseph Ellis, fully admitted the Jefferson DNA evidence could be used in Clinton’s defense:
Politically, the Thomas Jefferson verdict is likely to figure in upcoming impeachment hearings on William Jefferson Clinton’s sexual indiscretions, in which DNA testing has also played a role.
And it was used frequently and repeatedly by the media for Clinton’s defense. The country was bombarded with the news that Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings’ children.
But… oops. There actually was no DNA evidence which proved Thomas Jefferson fathered any of Sally Hemings’ children.
The report to which Joseph Ellis alluded only proved that a Jefferson fathered one of Sally Hemings’ male descendants. In order to test ancestry for a case like this, male DNA needs to be compared, because only the Y chromosome (male) survives and is carried through generations.
So, for the DNA analysis, a male descendant (living in 1998) of one of Sally Hemings’ sons, was available, and it needed to be compared to a male descendant of Thomas Jefferson which had the Jefferson Y chromosome. But there were none living in 1998. Thomas Jefferson had no son who grew to adulthood. The mainstream media failed to mentioned this fact in all their reporting. No DNA from Tomas Jefferson or his direct descendants were used in the DNA analysis. The “historian” hack Joseph Ellis failed to mention this tidbit in his Nature article which started all the hoopla.
What was used in the DNA analysis? The DNA of a male descendant of Thomas Jefferson’s uncle, Field Jefferson. This DNA showed a match. This doesn’t prove Thomas Jefferson’s uncle fathered Sally Hemings’ children, it only shows that a Jefferson, Jefferson’s uncle, or his male descendants and relatives, fathered one of Hemings’ descendants. 26 male Jeffersons were living at the time. 10 were in the same area as Sally Hemings at the possible time of conception.
So who was the father of Sally Hemings’ son, Eston? We don’t know. The DNA analysis does NOT provide any dates or names. All that the DNA analysis proves is that at some point, some DNA found in Field Jefferson commingled with some DNA of Sally Hemings. That’s it.
Those concerned with truth more than politics, unlike Joseph Ellis, pushed back against the periodical Nature for their misrepresentation of the DNA analysis. The publication acquiesced by printing this very minuscule retraction, which really was just a half apology:
The title assigned to our study was misleading…
The title? Really? The whole report was misleading. And the Ellis article was misleading and nakedly politically driven.
This retraction, more of a bombshell than the factually impotent first article, did not receive the hoopla and fanfare from the media. No bombardment from news reports. Because it didn’t serve the mainstream media’s agenda.
Retraction printed, the DNA analysis clarified, but the damage to Jefferson’s reputation had already been done, thanks to Ellis, and the lazy or politically driven media.
Joseph Ellis, in his original Nature article, either purposely misled his readers and the media by re-molding the DNA analysis, or he ignorantly misunderstood the lack of evidence. Either way, his status as “historian” should always be brought into question and his writings, especially when nakedly politically driven, should be read with a grain of salt.
As to whom is Eston’s father, we can only look to circumstantial evidence beyond the DNA analysis. And this circumstantial evidence points more to Randolph Jefferson, the presidents younger brother, than it points to the president himself. Randolph Frequently socialized with the slaves at Monticello. The president was not known to have done this. Randolph was in the area at the possible time of the conception of Eston Hemings. Hemings’ child baring years corresponded to the years in which Randolph was a widower. The family of Eston Hemings contain names of Randolph’s family. There’s more, but this point is not the goal of this writing. Besides, it is all circumstantial.
There is no DNA evidence which proves Thomas Jefferson fathered Eston Hemings, or any of Sally Hemings’ other children.
If someone, or some group, uses this DNA analysis to discredit Jefferson, and also dismisses the actual facts behind the analysis, they are not truth seekers, but iconoclasts. They want to destroy just to destroy.
“But Jefferson was a racists!”
Well, that isn’t the point of this writing, but since I will likely get comments on this issue from the social justice mob, I will briefly address this claim.
What evidence do you have? He owned slaves, true. But all this proves is that he owned slaves. Mainly through inheritance.
“Then why didn’t he just free them? ”
Because he couldn’t. Prior to independence, King George wouldn’t allow it. This is one of the things that prompted Jefferson to tell King George to go pound sand in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence. In the first draft, Jefferson blasted slavery and the king for inflicting the immoral practice on the colonies.
“Then why did Jefferson take that part out of the final draft?”
He didn’t, others on the draft committee did, in order to persuade the southern colonies to join independence. And Jefferson was not happy about it. According to Jefferson, every word was precisely chosen in the first draft. As a writer, I can fully empathize with Jefferson on this point.
“Then why didn’t he free his slaves after independence like Washington did?”
The state of Virginia wouldn’t allow it. Well, they wouldn’t allow it unless Jefferson paid some steep and heavy fines, and provide for the freed slaves.
“Then why didn’t Jefferson use his money to do that?”
What money? Jefferson, throughout his life, had severe financial troubles and could not pay the hefty fines and the cost of living for freed slaves.
“But what about this, and that, and the other blah blah bloopitty bloop?”
Yeah, I know, there are lots of questions pointed to Jefferson regarding slavery. Some of them legitimate. However, we cannot apply modernism to this situation. Using the present day as a moral filter of the past is intellectually and historically dishonest. In the late 18th century, slavery had been around for several centuries. It was part of the culture. A culture that we cannot fully understand today. By the way, once our country was founded, we very quickly eradicated the immoral act of slavery, much quicker than other countries had and did.
There is more evidence that Jefferson was anti-slavery than there is evidence that he was a racist.
Jefferson is a complex individual. To exercise historical minimalism and modernism with Jefferson is plain lazy.
Oh, and he was NOT anti-religion.
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
16 thoughts on “There Is No Evidence Which Proves Thomas Jefferson Fathered Any Of Sally Hemings’ Children”
Wonderfully concise and to the point. When I saw the link, I was worried it was going to be a 20,000 word thesis filled with a bunch of scientific gobblely-gook.
Joseph Ellis is a jackass. He gets so many things wrong and takes so many things out of context. I don’t read anything he writes anymore. He’s proved who he is.
I’ve found that Ellis frequently trims quotes to change their meaning. Right out of the playbook of Howard Zinn.
I don’t think Ellis was being ignorant in his Nature article. He knew precisely what he was doing. He was a long time Clinton supporter, and he was all too happy to bring down Jefferson, regardless of truth.
I agree. He knew exactly what he was doing. I can’t abide his writing. So dishonest. I really think he hates American liberty and American exceptionalism.
beans dont burn on the grill? What the hell is that?
I think it is from the theme song of The Jeffersons TV show
Yep, I had the theme song stuck in my head as I was writing.
Of course he was Sally’s lover and her childrens father. Her own kids said this was.
Slaveowner = racist. Enough said.
Trying to defend a known pedophile and racist. You make me sick to my stomach. This country was founded on racism.
Thomas Jefferson was a pedifile.
All the founding fathers were racists. That you don’t know this is laughable.
How was John Adams a racist? Ben Franklin? Samuel Adams?
Jefferson was against religion. He didn’t beleive in God. He said to always question the exsistance of God.
That is one of my favorite quotes from Jefferson. And, yes, it would be rather damning, if that quote was all there was to it. Using only that seven word phrase is a form of minimalism, and blasphemes the other words of Jefferson. That seven word phrase is divorced not only from the entire sentence from which it is derived, but also from a rather large section of a letter from which it originates.
Jefferson, as made clear in many of his complex writings, believed in God. He thought the existence of God was so self evident, it can be realized by an examination of God’s creations:
“…when we take a view of the universe; in it’s parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to percieve and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their courses by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters, and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, each perfectly organized whether as insect, man or mammoth; it is impossible not to believe, that there is in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a Fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator…”
As far as the quote you abused, it comes from a letter Jeferson wrote to his nephew Peter Carr. Peter was like a son to Jefferson, as Peter’s father (Jefferson’s brother-in-law and friend) died when Peter was young. As Peter began a life-changing and prestigious education, he and Jefferson began writing back and forth. In the letter in which I have referred, Jefferson counsels his nephew on four subjects: Italian, Spanish, moral philosophy, and religion.
In the section of the letter regarding his religious counsel, Jefferson is clearly instructing Peter Carr in apologetics. Apologetics means to speak in defense of something. To effectively advocate for something. Thomas Jefferson, in instructing his nephew in apologetics, felt his nephew was ready to not just know what he (Peter) believed, but also why he believed it, and to be ready to defend his beliefs. Peter believed in God and subscribed to Christianity, and Jefferson, in this letter, instructed Peter to break down all of his beliefs, study opposing opinions, and mount a solid defense of his beliefs. Other Christians of the time advocated for apologetics as well. Other founding fathers encouraged their children in apologetics. It was a common instructional technique. And one that came from the New Testament (1 Peter 3:15).
Before I get to the entire portion of the letter which deals with Jefferson’s counsel of religious matters and instructs Peter in the common Christian practice of apologetics, I want to quote a portion from the section of the letter which dealt with moral philosophy. In this quote, Jefferson makes it evident that he believes in God, and that He created us, and that He gave us a conscience.
“He Who made us would have been a pitiful bungler if He had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science…. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man, as his leg or arm.”
Jefferson believed in God.
Here is the religious portion, in full, of the Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr in 1787:
Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty and singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand, shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because if there be One, He must more approve the homage of reason than that of blind- folded fear. You will naturally examine first the religion of your own country. Read the Bible then, as you would Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature must be examined with more care and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions [claims] of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded and whether that evidence is so strong as that its false- hood would be more improbable than a change of the laws of nature in the case he relates. For example, in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. ‘Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus, we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, etc. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension [claim] is entitled to your inquiry because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis, as the earth does, should have stopped, should not, by that sudden stoppage, have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, and that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth’s motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretentious. 1. Of those who say He was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended and reversed the laws of nature at will, and ascended bodily into Heaven; and 2. Of those who say he was a man, of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to Divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition by being gibbeted according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offense by whipping, and the second by exile or death. These questions are examined in the books I have mentioned under the head of religion and several others. They will assist you in your inquiries, but keep your reason firmly on the watch in reading them all. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of these which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under His eye and that He approves of you will be a vast additional incitement. If that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief of His aid and love. In fine, I repeat you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything because any other person or description of persons have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by Heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness but uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe when speaking of the New Testament that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us to be pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists, because these pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost. There are some, however, still extant, collected by Fabricius, which I will endeavor to get and send you.
Jefferson was a racist. He called things melotto.
Yep. He did, talking about land and agriculture. How is that racist?