While Brodie reads “passion” into Sally’s decision to comernback to Virginia with Jefferson, since she would have been freernhad she stayed in Paris, the fact is that all of Jefferson’s slavesrnmade the same decision to return.rnI will not waste much more space on Brodie’s silliness. VirginiusrnDabney has meticulously rebutted every one of her contentions.rnI especially enjoyed Dabney’s response to Brodie’srnclaim that Jefferson’s book on French Agriculture clearly revealsrnthat his mind was on his “mulatto” Sally Hemings, not asparagusrncrops. Her proof? Jefferson refers to a “plough,”rnwhich, Brodie assures us, is the “ancient symbolism” for sex,rnand also discusses the color of French soil. Equally absurd isrnBrodie’s assertion that Jefferson’s remodeling of his porticornfrom square to semi-circular proves his obsession with Sally’srnbreasts. Suffice it to say that Brodie’s book, despite its popularity,rnhas never been cited by a reputable historian, for any purpose,rnsince Dabney’s book came out. It was Brodie’s discreditedrnwork, however, that Joe Ellis gave to his geneticistrncollaborators. They innocently cited it as a main source forrntheir genetic study of the Jefferson family. The only otherrnsource they cite that supports their thesis is Ellis’s own book.rnThe greatest difficulty for any historian is to put himself inrnthe frame of mind common to the period which he is examining.rnThis difficulty is nothing new, but it is harder than ever inrnthe current age of political correctness, psychobabble, andrnracial controversy. Modern writers are perennially shocked thatrnblack slavery, common throughout most of the civilized (andrnuncivilized) world in the 18th and early 19th centuries, was notrnviewed in the same light as it is today. Throughout his life, Jeffersonrnbelieved that slavery was a social evil, but he, like mostrnintelligent men of his day, could think of no immediate soluhonrnthat would not cause the total destruction of the Virginianrncivilization which he revered. He freed some of his slaves afterrnherculean efforts to teach them crafts which would allow themrnto prosper in free society. Still, toward the end of his long life,rnJefferson defended the South against demands for instant abolitionrnby Northerners who had passed laws which prohibited freernblacks from entering, much less being employed in, some ofrntheir states. Throughout his adult life, Jefferson denounced anyrnform of miscegenation. In other words, Thomas Jefferson was,rnin many ways, a product of his time. Just as Joe Ellis is a productrnoihis time, more’s the pity.rnNow we must examine the supposedly impartial science ofrnEllis’s geneticists. A general rule of law, as well as of historicalrnresearch, is that it is impossible, or nearly so, to prove arnnegative, so the burden of proof has always been on the accuser.rnThe contrary would be a great boon to writers like Brodiernand Ellis, but it would ultimately destroy the concept of history.rnWith a public still dazzled by the trappings of science, supportingrnan historical editorial with “scientific discoveries” involvingrnterms and concepts unintelligible to even the best educatedrnof non-specialist readers is a formula for success. My ownrnyears of trial work have shown me the value of “expert, scientificrnwitnesses.”rnWhen the science consists of DNA analysis, and the publicrnis subjected to babble about genetic codes as the basis for everythingrnfrom forensic evidence at famous criminal trials, to thernpseudoscience behind the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park, tornMonica’s dress, few can be expected to read beyond the title,rn”Jefferson Fathered Slave’s Last Child.” However, readers whorntake the trouble (and enough No-Doz) will find that the geneticistrnauthors did not make such a categorical conclusion.rnThe only circumstance that honest historians find suspiciousrnis the fact, noted by some visitors to Monticello, that the Hemingsesrnand the Jeffersons resembled each other. What was notrngenerally known at the time, though known to Jefferson himself,rnwas that Sally was the daughter of the Englishman JohnrnWayles and the “bright mulatto” Elizabeth Hemings (daughterrnof an English sea-captain Hemings), whom Wayles took as hisrnpermanent concubine in 1761, after the death of his third wife.rnThis same John Wayles was Thomas Jefferson’s father-inlaw.rnWayles, through his first wife, Martha Eppes, had a daughter,rnMartha, later Mrs. Thomas Jefferson. She and Sally Hemingsrnwere half-sisters. In fact, all five of Sally’s siblings (thern”Hemings family”) bore the same kinship to Martha. Throughrnhis wife, Thomas Jefferson inherited the light-skinned Hemingsesrnas slaves. That is why the Hemings children bore resemblancernto his children, and why he gave the Hemings familyrnpreferential treatment.rnTo the layman, these facts would appear to absolve Jeffersonrnof any blame for a genetic similarity between the two familiesrntwo centuries later. This may explain why Ellis and his geneticistrncollaborators make no mention of the Wayles connectionrnin their article. The geneticists were careful to limit their inquiryrnto the part of the genetic code concerning the Y chromosome,rnwhich can be transmitted only through the male line,rnthus making the Wayles connection at least theoretically moot.rnBecause Thomas Jefferson had no sons who survived tornadulthood, the geneticists gathered their information on thernPresident’s Y chromosome by testing the presumed descendantsrnof his paternal uncle. Field Jefferson (excluding any illegitimacyrnbefore or after Field’s birth).rnSince Brodie’s book identified Thomas Woodson as thern(non-existent) “Yellow Tom,” and five of his male-line descendantsrncould be traced, the geneticists wasted a third of theirrnstudy on the Woodson line, only to find no similarity to Jefferson’srnpresumed uncle’s presumed descendants’ Y chromosomernamong the five. Ellis desperately speculates that maybe TomrnWoodson’s children, or theirs, were illegitimate, but he neverrnhints at the possibility of illegitimacy in Field Jefferson’s or, later,rnin Eston Hemings’ line, and with good reason: His house ofrncards would fall.rnSo Thomas Woodson was a washout genetically. Whatrnabout Sally’s son Madison, born in 1805 and of extensive historicalrnrecord? Did he have a traceable male line of descent?rnEllis’s geneticists do not mention him, so one must concludernthat either his name was withheld from the scientists, or he, too,rnwas a washout in the genefic search for Thomas Jefferson, andrntherefore an unperson in the article.rnThat leaves us with Sally’s youngest son, Eston. The scientistsrnwere informed that Ellis had found one of Eston’s descendantsrn—at least, he says he is descended from tiiat particular linernof the prolific Hemings. Relying on an “oral tradition of the descendantsrnof Martha Jefferson Randolph” who believed that Estonrnwas the son of either Samuel or Peter Carr (the sons of Jefferson’srnsister), the geneticists then wasted another fourth ofrntheir study on the Carr family. Another washout.rnFinally, the geneticists found something of a match: Four ofrnthe five presumed descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s UnclernField had a Y chromosome similar to that of the one putativerndescendant of Eston Hemings. The geneticists conclude thatrn”Tlie simplest and most probable explanation” is that ThomasrnJefferson was at least “100 times more likely” to be Eston’s pu-rnMARCH 1999/15rnrnrn