John Adams wasn't the only Founder against slavery

Your June 14 article, "Second president gets his due - 200 years later," claimed that John Adams was "the only Founding Father not to own slaves." This is simply not true. It is clear from various historical listings that slave ownership was concentrated in the South, and even there, not every Founding Father owned slaves.

More importantly, John Adams was not alone in his opposition to slavery. Societies for the abolition of slavery sprang up during the 1780s in nearly every state, including the South. Ben Franklin, for example, chaired one such society in Philadelphia.

It should also be remembered that the original draft of the Declaration of Independence listed the institution of slavery as one of its grievances, but it had to be withdrawn because of the rift it caused between the Northern and Southern delegates.

Erik D. Randolph Penbrook, Pa.

Seattle mayor defends his city

Mark Sidran is the Seattle city attorney, not the prosecutor as you state in your story ("In the city of the nice, critics warn: Don't push it!" June 28).

As mayor of Seattle in 1978, I interviewed deputy chief of police Patrick Fitzsimmons from New York City for the job of chief in Seattle.The hearings on his confirmation went on forever.One morning he woke up and looked out his hotel room window onto the deserted streets below.It was cold and dark, the wind was blowing the heavy rain sideways. A lone figure stood on the corner, not a car or another person in sight, waiting for the light to change to "walk."That morning Pat told the council, "Whatever it takes, I really, really want to be chief of police in this town."Seattle has some rougher edges on it today, but it's still the best big city in the country in which to live.

Charles Royer Seattle

Suburbs that separate kids

Your June 27 article about overscheduled kids, "Kickball game? I can pencil one in next month," didn't emphasize another important reason that kids don't engage in unstructured play: a lack of other kids in the neighborhood. My husband fondly remembers an urban childhood characterized by enough kids per block to get up a satisfying kickball game in the street or even a full baseball game in the local park on any hot summer afternoon.

Our son grew up with only two other kids on the block. Getting a group together meant my calling other mothers, arranging for rides, and deciding how long the visit would last. It's no wonder he played in groups only in organized activities with specified practice and game times. His experience colored his view of play; after listening to my husband's glowing descriptions of 20 kids meeting at the park every afternoon for long hours of baseball, he was prompted to wonder who had hired and paid the umpires.

Ginger G. Rodriguez Whiting, Ind.

Flight instructor misses boat

I think the person who wrote in comparing navigating an airplane and driving a car ("Minivan 1 to home base, do you copy?" Readers Write, July 2) missed the boat.

First of all, an airplane pilot is generally more competent than some of the people who drive cars. (Yes, I know there are exceptions.)

Second, the pilot is on the radio and getting information that will help him to his destination, weather patterns, wind conditions, etc. The driver of a car is usually involved in a conversation that has nothing to do with his driving. The result? Losing concentration and the increase of accidents on our roads.

Ira Gibel Pine, Ariz.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles.Due to the volume of mail, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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