Front Page Titles (by Subject) NOTES ON ARMED VESSELS 1 - The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)
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NOTES ON ARMED VESSELS 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 10.
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NOTES ON ARMED VESSELS1
Washington July 4, 05.
Notes for consideration & for instructions to any armed vessels which may be sent out to protect our commerce on our coasts.
Preliminary questions. Do the laws authorize the putting vessels in commission for the protection of our commerce other than against Tripoli?
If they do not, should we not do it at our risk & ask an act of indemnity from Congress?
What vessels? The Adams & Baltimore brig for the coast. 2. The for the Mississippi. 3. the for Cuba & the Islands.
The frigate & brig from St. Mary’s to St. George’s bank, crossing each other always.
The 3d (if to be had) from Florida point to Rio grande.
The 4th (if to be had) round Cuba & among the islands.
To respect public ships of war, except when violating the 3. miles jurisdiction.
To confine themselves to privateers.
If they find privateers without commissions, or with irregular or doubtful commissions, bring them in for examination.
If their commissions be regular, and they are found cruising within sight of land warn them to keep without that limit, & if found within it after warning bring them as offenders against the law for preserving peace in our harbours & waters.
If they have regularly seized an American bottom, inquire if their conduct has been regular, viz.,
Have they plundered the vessel?
maltreated the crew?
separated the master &c. from his vessel?
forced the American to send his boat abroad?
Do they refuse to exhibit their commissions, to declare their name, vessel flag or port? In all these cases bring them in for examination.
If they have acted correctly, carry or send the prize & the privateer, if a Spaniard to Havana; if French to Sto. Domingo; if English to and deliver them up to the proper tribunal.
If any American citizens are found engaged in the privateers, take them out, & keep them in safe custody to be brought home & delivered up to justice.
You are not to extend your protection 1. to foreign vessels. 2. to American vessels engaged in the slave trade. 3. to American vessels engaged in any contraband commerce.
The gunboats & revenue cutters to be subsidiary.
[1 ]The following paper appears to have been drafted by Jefferson at this time: