Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MONROE - The Works, vol. 4 (Notes on Virginia II, Correspondence 1782-1786)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO JAMES MONROE - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 4 (Notes on Virginia II, Correspondence 1782-1786) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 4.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO JAMES MONROE
Paris, Dec. 10, 1784.
—I wrote you the 11th of Nov. by the last packet. Since that I have received by Mr. Short your’s of July 20 inclosing the Cypher. I hope that the establishment of a port on each river will end in the final success of one or of two only. Actual circumstances will prevent York & Tappahanoc from being any thing in spite of any encouragement. The accumulation of Commodities at Norfolk & Alexander will be so great as to carry all purchasers there, & York & Tappahanoc will find it their interest to send their Commodities to the same places in order to have the benefit of a competition among a great mass of purchasers. It is not amiss to encourage Alexandria because it is a rival in the very bosom of Baltimore.
I know of no investigation, at the instance or any nation, of the extent of the clause giving the rights of the most favoured nation but from the import of the words themselves, & from the clause that a privilege granted to any other nation shall immediately become common, freely where freely granted, or yielding the compensation1 where a compensation is given, I have no doubt that if any one nation will admit our goods duty free in consideration of our doing the same by them, no other nation can claim an exception from duties in our ports without yielding us the same in theirs. The abolition of the monopoly of our tobacco in the hands of the Farmers General will be pushed by us with all our force. But it is so interwoven with the very foundations of their system of finance that it is of doubtful event. I could not get my answer to the queries on Virginia printed in Philadelphia; but I am printing it here, & will certainly ask your acceptance of a copy. Can you employ the succeeding summer better than by coming here? Suppose Congress rises in time for you to sail by the first of April, you may pass May, June, July, August, & September here, & still be at the meeting of the ensuing Congress. You shall find with me a room, bed, & plate with a hearty welcome: & I do not think the other expences of your passage coming & going, out-fit of clothes, attending the theatres & other public places, will exceed 200 guineas. I have recommended the same measure to Mr. Madison. Perhaps you can make the voyage together.
I wrote you in my last that there would probably be war. The common belief is now that the matters will be accomodated. These who are not in the secrets of the Cabinet can only judge from external circumstances. Every movement of the two parties indicate war. I found much too on the character of the Emperor, whose public acts speak him much above the common level. Those who expect peace say also that they have in view the Emperor’s character which they represent as whimsical and eccentric & that he is especially affected in the Dog days. We shall not know what will be done till the spring admits the movement of troops into the field. I see no probable event which may divert the Emperor from his object but the health of the empress of Russia, which at present is very precarious. Any accident to her might possibly cripple the projects of Vienna. By this packet congress will receive the British ambassador’s letter to us. It appears extraordinary, when in our letter to him we had informed him that we (three in number) had full powers to treat, that his court should propose in answer as a previous stipulation that congress should send a person with full powers to London. I cannot suppose they have any personal objections: and therefore believe they only want to gain time in order to see how their schemes will work without a treaty. We shall bring them to an issue. I suppose it will probably end in our going to London. I think that after this we shall be obliged to go to Madrid & probably to some of the other more important courts. As it is impossible for us whenever we leave Paris to give up out homes (in which are our furniture & whatever we do not carry with us) and to find others in the instant of our return, & to remove into them, it is visible that during these journeys we are subject to double expences for a confidential servant must be left to take care of the house. And as during our travels the daily expences will be much greater than at Paris where we are settled, it will shew the reasonableness of Congress allowing house rent in the cases formally mentioned to you of Mr. Adams and Doctor Franklin & of course to me. I write on this subject to you alone & would not to you were it not 701 from circumstances explained in a former letter. I am like to be distressed in the article of house rent. My case will of course rest on a common bottom with the other gentlemen, indeed theirs being to be previously settled, mine will follow of course and I would not have the article of the outfit mentioned if it should be like to excite with an 340. 766. present with thought as to me. It appears to me not subject to the 359. 650. 75. 27. of an attack [?] to desire to have my expences paid or I would have surpressed the first thought of it.
There are great complaints of the stoppage of letters in New York, as well those which are coming from America to France, as those from France to America. If a letter is sent from hence for S. Carolina, for instance it is deposited at N. York till the French postage is paid. If one is sent from S. Carolina to France, it is deposited at N. Y. till the American postage is paid. Every person then in France or America, who ever expects to receive a letter by post, must keep an agent & a little bank in New York. In Europe this matter is so arranged that letters pass from one country to another without the least difficulty. France has a convention for this purpose with almost every country in Europe. She had such a one with England till the late war, & they are now proposing to renew it. Would it not be well for Congress to send us an instruction & power to form conventions to facilitate the passage of letters with those powers with whom we form treaties, or at least with some of them. It is certainly material with France, Holland, Gr. Br. Spain & Portugal & perhaps the Italian states.
Be so good as to present my compliments to your collegues. I think Mr. Hardy promised to write to me sometimes. I shall take great pleasure in an exchange of information with him.
P. S. I hope you will not desist from your plan of settlement in Albem. Short will join us, & I hope Mr. Madison. Can you inform me if letters to & from us are free of postage in America?
[1 ]This italic is Jefferson’s. The rest are cipher translations.