Philadelphia Sept. 15. 1807
I have the honor to submit to your consideration some reflexions, which have been some time on my mind, the publication of which appears inconvenient. It is not for me to say, whether the principle they exemplify is worthy of adoption, nor what season for such adoption may be fit and proper. The bearing of such regulations on our foreign relations, our finances &c will naturally be considered by the proper heads of departments. The English Navigation laws had a serious effect upon the Dutch Navy, thro the sides of their Merchantmen. The English principles adopted by all the maritime states, in order to produce like effects upon their naval ascendency, and indeed to prevent the growth of such a superiority in other hands, is the object in my view. If every nation held a share of navigation, proportioned to the bulk of its own productions & manufactures exported, no such thing as the present naval despotism could exist, and we should, from that circumstance and from the great volume of our exports, be able to bring into the seas occasional movements, the fear of which would go far to preserve our peace.
I have the honor to be, with perfect respect, Sir yr. most obed h Servt
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.