Rushton’s Letter to Washington

Rushton’s Letter to Washington read by John Graham Davies.

Rushton was an admirer of Washington, but criticised the political settlement in America for its failure to extend freedom to the enslaved. When he heard later that the first president had continued to be an owner of slaves, Rushton turned on him. In a passionate letter he lambasted Washington, personally as the owner of slaves, and in his public role for failing to grant them their liberty. It is the only piece of Rushton’s writing to have had a more or less continuous life. It was used as a polemic during the civil war, and re-surfaced again during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. It is one of the great pieces of political polemic.

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