Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas FitzSimons, 23 August 1791

From Thomas FitzSimons

Augt. 23, 1791


Your Report Appears so Correct that Nothing Important Occurred to me to Add to it. The few Observations I have made are of very Little Consequence. One of the Great Evils experienced by the Americans in their intercourse with Great Britain is on Account of the Seamen. The line of Naturalization drawn by the British exclude a Great No. of the persons employd in our Navigation and indeed Little Regard is paid at times when they are Impressing even to those Who are Actually Citizens according to their own Construction. If any Commercial Negotiation should take place with that Nation, this Subject would merit particular attention, because the delay to Ships by Haveing their men Impressed would be Grievious, and Seamen Knowing they would be Subject to that hardship would demand Very high Wages.

I have not been able to find any person Sufficiently Acquainted with the Commerce of Denmark to give me any information on that head but I will Continue my Inquiry, and Communicate any I may Receive.—I am Respectfy Sir Yr. Mo Hble Servt,

Thos. Fitzsimons

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 24 Aug. 1791 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Notes on commercial regulations of Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, and the Netherlands affecting American trade (undated MS in FitzSimons’ hand, except for additions by TJ, in DLC: TJ Papers, 65: 11313).

FitzSimons, a member of Congress from Pennsylvania who was also a trustee of the Bank of North America, compiled his observations on European commercial regulations after reading TJ’s comprehensive report on American trade, which TJ was planning to submit to Congress during its forthcoming session but which he delayed presenting until shortly before his retirement as Secretary of State (see Report on Commerce, 16 Dec. 1793). There is no evidence to indicate when TJ submitted a text of this report to FitzSimons.

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