Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY'S REPORT TO CONGRESS ON A JOINT LETTER FROM ADAMS AND JEFFERSON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793)
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JAY’S REPORT TO CONGRESS ON A JOINT LETTER FROM ADAMS AND JEFFERSON. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 3 (1782-1793) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 3 (1782-1793).
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JAY’S REPORT TO CONGRESS ON A JOINT LETTER FROM ADAMS AND JEFFERSON.
Office for Foreign Affairs,
The Secretary of the United States for the Department of Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred a joint letter from Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, of 28th March last,1 together with a motion of the Honorable Mr. Pinckney on the subject of it, reports:
That those gentlemen in this letter mention that in a conference with the Ambassador of Tripoli he informed them that 12,500 guineas to his constituents, with ten per cent. on that sum for himself, must be paid, if the treaty was made for only a period of one year.
That 30,000 guineas for his employers and 3,000 for himself were the lowest terms on which a perpetual peace could be made.
That Tunis would treat on the same terms, but that he could not answer for Algiers or Morocco.
They further observe that if Congress should order them to make the best terms they can with Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, and Morocco, and to procure the money wherever they can find it, upon terms like those of the last loan in Holland, their best endeavours should be used, etc.
The motion in question proposes an instruction conformable to the above suggestion.
Two questions seem to arise on this letter:
1st. Whether these Ministers shall be authorized and instructed to make the best terms with those powers.
2d. Whether they shall be authorized and instructed to endeavour to borrow money in Europe for the purpose.
Your Secretary thinks full confidence may be reposed in the integrity and discretion of those Ministers, and therefore is of opinion that it would be expedient to leave the terms of the proposed treaties to their prudence.
As to authorizing and instructing them to endeavour to borrow money for the purpose in Europe, your Secretary much doubts the policy of it.
The probability of their borrowing so much money appears questionable.
Because those nations to whom our war with the Barbary States is not disagreeable will be little inclined to lend us money to put an end to it.
Because no funds are yet provided for paying even the interest of our former loans, either foreign or domestic.
Because the payments due France, though pressed, have not been completed.
Because the reluctance of the States to pay taxes, or to comply with the economical requisitions of Congress, or to give efficacy to their Federal Government, are topics of common conversation in Europe.
If a loan should be attempted and not succeed, the credit and respectability of the United States would be diminished by the attempt.
Your Secretary thinks that neither individuals nor States should borrow money without the highest probability at least of being able punctually to repay it; and that States should never attempt a loan without having previously formed and arranged adequate funds for its discharge.
It appears to your Secretary improper to open such a loan, even if the success of it were certain.
Because, as the Federal Government, in its present state, is rather paternal and persuasive than coercive and efficient, Congress can make no certain dependence on the States for any specific sums to be required and paid at any given periods, and consequently are not in a capacity safely to pledge their honour and their faith for the repayment of any specific sums they may borrow at any given period, which must be the case if they should make this or any other loan.
Because, as the people or generality will never provide for the public expenses, unless when moved thereto by constitutional coercion, or by the dictates of reason, or by their feelings; and as the first of these motives is here out of the question, your Secretary thinks it probable that the States, on being applied to, will be more disposed to supply money to purchase these treaties of peace while they feel the evils resulting from the war, than they will to supply money to repay borrowed sums when all their fears and dangers from Sallee rovers, Algerine corsairs, and the pirates of Tunis and Tripoli are vanished and gone.
For these reasons your Secretary is much inclined to think that a fair and accurate state of the matter should be transmitted to the States, that they should be informed that the sum of ——— will be necessary to purchase treaties from the Barbary States, and that until such time as they furnish Congress with their respective portions of that sum, the depredations of those barbarians will, in all probability, continue and increase.
All which is submitted to the wisdom of Congress.
[1 ]“Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States from 1783 to 1789,” vol. ii.