Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Paine, 4 October 1800

From Thomas Paine

Paris Octr. 4 1800

Dear Sir

I understand there is an Article in the Treaty to the following purport, that the duties payable upon Articles brought from America into france shall not go to the revenue, but shall be appropriated as a fund to pay such of the condemned Cargoes as shall be proved to be American property. If you should be in the Chair, but not otherwise, I offer myself as one upon this business, if there should be occasion to appoint any. It will serve to defray my expences untill I can return. but I wish it may be with the condition of returning. I am not tired of working for Nothing but I cannot afford it. This appointment will aid me in promoting the Object I am now upon that of a law of Nations for the protection of Neutral Commerce

Salut et respect

Thomas Paine

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 6 Jan. 1801 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in Stephen Thorn to TJ, 27 Dec. 1800.

The Convention of 1800 contained no article such as that described by Paine, and in fact according to Articles 2 and 5 the issue of indemnification for captured property would have to be worked out in a separate negotiation (DeConde, QuasiWar, 352–3, 355).

Paine’s work in progress on a law of nations was probably his “Dissertation” on that subject (see Paine to TJ, 6 Oct. 1800).

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