Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIRST ROUGH DRAUGHT - The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)
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FIRST ROUGH DRAUGHT - 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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FIRST ROUGH DRAUGHT
England. Circumstances, f. c. which seriously threaten the peace & prosperity of our country have made it a duty to convene you at an earlier period than usual. That love of peace so much cherished in the bosoms of our citizens which has so long guided the proceedings of their public functionaries councils, and induced forbearance under so many wrongs, has not been sufficient to secure us in the paths of peace; quiet pursuits of industry; and the moment is possibly near at hand seems to be approaching when we shall may owe it to mankind as well as to ourselves to restrain wrong by resistance, and to assist in maintaining among nations the authority of most right by defeating all interests calculated on a violation of them it. defeat those calculations of which interest is the sole principle. You well know that the long train of injuries & depredns under which our commerce & navigation have been afflicted on the high seas for years past; the successive innovations on those rules of public law established by the reason & usage of nations to regulate their intercourse, & constituting the sole supplying the office of to be the umpire & guardian of their rights & peace & safety among them. These violations we met with friendly remonstrances only, always indulging the hope that reason would at length prevail over the dictates of mistaken calculations of a mistaken interest, and that voluntary justice redress would spare save us the mutual calamities of war. In this train were our affairs with England when the patience of our citizens was brought to severe proof trial, by the wanton murder of a fellow citizen in the waters of N.Y. following his ordinary occupations in the waters of N. Y. by a shot from a British armed vessel. It became now This added to other occurrences rendering it apparent that unless the points of difference between that nation & ours could be immediately settled by mutual agreement, brought to early settlement, a recurrence to force would be the only alternative certain unavoidable, an extraordinary mission for the purpose therefore took place. After long and earnest efforts by our ministers to obtain conditions of some equality & within the limits of their instructions, pressed reduced on every article to the to the minimum on nearly every article, framed in the truest spirit of amity & moderation, they our ministers at length signed an instrument with a frank avowal however to the British other negociators that they did it against their instructions, and could not authorize an expectation that it would be ratified. pledge their government for it’s ratification. It was entirely in truth inadmissible. Still anxious however to relating with that nation placed on a certain & peaceable footing even to provide for peace, even by greater sacrifices of right than could before have been thought necessary new instructions were sent to our ministers to try whether, even on these conditions, an establishment of certain other rights could be obtained which were indispensable, our ministers were authorized to make further efforts for accommodation. On this new reference of our rights to to amicable discussion was made here on the and was presumed existing in full force we were reposing in confidence when on the 22d day of June last by a solemn formal order from a British admiral the frigate Chesapeake, leaving her port for a distant service, was attacked by one of those vessels which had been lying in our harbours enjoying under the indulgences of hospitality, was disabled from further proceeding, had several of her crew killed, two taken out who have been unquestionably proved to have been native citizens of the US. One other born in S. America but domieiled here from his in faney, and a fourth of whom satisfactory information has not yet been received, but who may be admitted to have been a British subject without at all impairing the unqualified character of this atrocious outrage. and four taken away. On this outrage no temperate commentaries can be made. Nor or can any be necessary. It’s character has been pronounced by general acclamation, in which in no instant of our history has the nation declared such unanimity. the indignant voice of our citizens, who with an unanimity and emphasis never exceeded in any period of our history. I immediately by proclamation interdicted our harbors & waters to all British armed vessels, forbade intercourse with them, and uncertain to what lengths how far hostilities were intended to be carried, and the town of Norfolk indeed being threatened with an immediate attacked a sufficient force was ordered for the protection of that place, and such other preparations immediately commenced and pursued as the prospect rendered proper. An armed vessel of the US. was dispatched with instructions to our ministers at London to call on that govmt for proper satisfaction for the outrage which had been committed and effectual security assurance against the practice which led to it. A very short interval ought now to bring us the answer, which shall be communicated to you as soon as it is received. As well as shall also be Then also or as soon after the public interests shall be found to admit, the unratified treaty with the reasons for rejecting it, and proceedings relative to it, shall be made known to you, under the fullest assurance that there will not be two opinions on the subject.
The aggression thus begun has been continued on the part of the British armed vessels commanders by remaining within our waters in defiance of the authority of the country & by daily habitual violations of it’s jurisdiction, and at length by putting to death one of the persons whom they had forcibly taken from on board the Chesapeake. These aggravations having taken place since the communications forwarded to our ministers, must of course be a subject of after reckoning with furnished serious demands of additional reparation on that government: and necessarily lead to the policy of either never admitting an armed vessel into our harbors, or of maintaining in every harbor such an armed force as may constrain armed vessels their obedience to the laws & protect the lives and property of our citizens against their armed guests. The expense of such a standing force and it’s inconsistence with our principles dispense with all obligations of hospitality which would necessarily induce that call for it, & leave us equally free to exclude the navy as we are the army of a foreign power from commorance within our limits.
Until a redress of With these aggressions in view we can scarcely bring our minds to notice any addition to the catalogue new violation of maritime rights, violated to wards us by that nation their government however which has been added to the catalogue of former unlawful practices. One however is of such extent as cannot be overlooked. The government of that nation has issued an order interdicting all trade by neutrals, not only from one port to another of the same nation at war with her, but of different nations also at war with her: between ports not in amity with them. And being now at war with every nation on the Atlantic & Mediterranean seas, our vessels are now forbidden to pass from any one port to any other of those seas without first returning home, so that unless their whole cargo must be sold in the first port they touch at or brought back. The object of these successive protensions cannot be cloacked. It is that there shall be no vessel on the ocean which does not belong to Great Britain, and required to sacrifice their cargo at the first port they touch, or to bring it home return home without the benefit of trying going to any other market. Under this new law of the ocean our trade on the Mediterranean has been swept away by seizures & condemnations, and that in other seas places has been more recently attacked also not a little vexed assailed is likely to share threatened with the same fate.
Spain. Our differences with Spain remain still unsettled, no measure having been taken on her part, since my last communications to Congress, to bring them to a close. But the present under a state of things in Europe admitting their being resumed under better expectations, which may favor reconsideration they have been recently pressed, and may be expected without further delay to be brought to an issue of some sort. To our former grounds of complaint has been added a very serious one, as you will see by the decree, a copy of which is now communicated. Proper representations have been made on the occasion, and I have reason to expect they have not been without effect. No new collisions have taken place with their subjects on our borders, have taken place, or seem to be apprehended during the short period now to intervene before an answer which shall decide our course.
Other nations. With the other nations of Europe our harmony has been uninterrupted, & commerce & friendly intercourse have been maintained on their usual footing.
Barbary. Our peace with the several states on the coast of Barbary appears as firm as, at any former period, and as likely to continue as that of any other nation.
Indians. Among our Indian neighbors in the North Western quarter, some fermentation was observed soon after the late occurrences threatening the continuance of our peace. Messages were said to be interchanged, and tokens to be passing which usually denote a state of restlessness among them, and the character of the agitators pointed to the source of excitement. Measures were immediately taken for providing against that danger; instructions were given to require explanations, and, with assurances of our continued friendship, to admonish the tribes to remain quiet at home, taking no part in quarrels not belonging to them. As far as we are yet informed, the tribes in our vicinity, who are most advanced in the pursuits of industry, are sincerely disposed to adhere to their friendship with us & to their peace with all others; while those more remote & more frequented by foreign agents do not shew that present appearances sufficiently quiet aspect which would permit an to justify the intermission of military preparation precaution on our part.
The great tribes on our South Western quarter, much advanced beyond the others in agriculture & household arts, appear tranquil & identifying with us in their views with ours in proportion to their advancements. With the whole of these people in every quarter I shall continue to inculcate peace & friendship with all their neighbors, & perseverance in those occupations & pursuits which will best promote their own well-being.
Fortifications. The appropriations of the last session for defence of our Sea port towns & harbors, were made under the expectation that a continuance of our peace would permit us to proceed in that work according to our convenience. It has been thought better to employ apply the sums then given chiefly to the defence of New York, Charleston, & New Orleans, as most open & most likely first to need protection; and to leave places less immediately in danger to the provisions of the present session.
Gunboats. The gunboats too already provided, have on the same a like principle been chiefly assigned to New York, New Orleans & the mouth of the Chesapeake. Whether our moveable force on the water, so material in aid of the defensive works on land, should be augmented in this, or what any other form, is left to your the wisdom of the legislature. For the purpose of manning these vessels in sudden attack of on our harbors, it becomes difficulties too are likely to occur in manning these vessels even for harbor defence it is is a matter therefore for consideration therefore whether the seamen of the US. may not justly be formed into a special militia to be called on for tours of duty in defence of the harbors where they shall happen to be.
Magazines. The moment our peace was threatened, I deemed it indispensable to secure ample provision of every article of military stores, of with which our magazines were not sufficiently provided furnished. To have awaited a previous & special sanction by law, would have lost occasions which might never be retrieved. I did not hesitate therefore to authorize engagements for such supplements to our existing stock, as would render it adequate to the emergencies threatening us. These contracts are considerable, and depend for their execution, on provisions to be made by yourselves the legislature, who feeling the same anxiety for the safety of our country, so materially ensured by this precaution, will, I trust, approve, when done, what, if then assembled, you they would have seen so important to be done, if then assembled. Accounts of these contracts shall be laid before you.
Army. Whether a regular army is to be raised, & to what extent, must depend on the information so shortly expected. In the meantime I have called on the states for quotas of militia to be in readiness for present defence; & have moreover encouraged the acceptance of Volunteers, & am happy to inform you that these have offered themselves with great alacrity in every part of the Union. and in greater numbers than they were required. They are ordered to be organized, and ready at a moment’s warning to proceed on any service to which they may be called; and every preparation within the Executive powers has been made to ensure us the benefit of early exertions.
I informed Congress, at their last session, of the enterprises against the public peace which were believed to be in preparation by Aaron Burr & his associates, of the measures taken to defeat them, & to bring the offenders to justice. Their enterprises were happily defeated, by the patriotic exertions of the militia, wherever called into action, & by the fidelity of the army, and energy of the Commander in chief of the army of the US. in promptly arranging the difficulties presenting themselves on the Sabine, repairing to meet those arising on the Mississippi, & dissipating before their explosion, plots engendering there. And truth & duty alone extort the observation that wherever the laws were appealed to in aid of the public safety, their operations were was on behalf of those only against whom they were invoked. As a part of the public you have learned the arraignment of the principal offenders in the District court of Virginia. I have thought it my duty to lay before you the proceedings & the evidence publicly exhibited there together with some which was not publicly heard. This You will be enabled you to judge whether the defect was in the testimony, or in the laws, or whether there is not a radical defect in the administration of the law? And wherever it shall be found the legislature alone can apply or originate the remedy. The framers of our constitution certainly supposed they had guarded, as well their government against destruction by treason, as their citizens against oppression under pretence of it: and if the pliability of the law as construed in the case of Fries, and it’s wonderful refractoriness as construed in that of Burr, shew that neither end has been attained, and induce an awful doubt whether we all live under the same law. The right of the jury too to decide law as well as fact seems nugatory without the evidence portinent to their sense of the law. If these ends are not attained it becomes worthy of enquiry by what means more effectual they may be secured?
Finance. The receipts of the Treasury, during the year ending the day of have exceeded the sum of millions of Dollars: which with millions in the treasury at the beginning of the year, have enabled us after meeting the current demands to pay millions of the principal of our public debt & millions of interest. These paiments with those of the preceding 5½ years have extinguished of the funded debt millions of D. being the whole which can could be paid or purchased within the limits of the law & of our contracts, and have left us in the treasury millions of Dollars. This sum may be considered as a commencement of accumulatn of the surpluses of revenue, which after paying the instalments of debt as they shall become payable will remain without any specific object. A part indeed may be advantageously applied towards providing defence for the exposed points of our country, on such a scale as shall be adapted to our principles & circumstances. This object is doubtless among the first which claims entitled to attention in such a state of our finances, & it is one which whether we have peace or war, will give a state of security always desirable where it is due. Whether what will remain of this with the future surplusses, may be usefully applied to purposes already authorized, or more usefully to others requiring new authorities, or how otherwise they shall be disposed of, are questions calling for early the notice from Congress, unless indeed they shall be superceded by a change in the our state of things public relations, now depending on awaiting the decision determination of others. Whatever be that determination it is a great consoln that it will be read become known at a moment when the supreme council of the nation is assembled at it’s post, and ready to give the aids of it’s wisdom & authority to whatever course the good of our country shall then call us to pursue.
Some matters of minor importance will be the subjects of future communications, & nothing shall be wanting on my part which may give informn or dispatch to the proceedings of the legislature, in the exercise of their high duties and at a moment so interesting to the public welfare.