Clause for Bill on Offenses against the Law of Nations
[3 Dec. 1792]
Be it enacted &c.
that wherever any offence against the law of Nations, for which no act of Congress hath yet presented specific punishment, shall be committed by a citizen of the U.S. the same shall be cognisable before the Circuit courts on presentment or information and indictment, shall be tried by a jury of the district where he is apprehended or to which he shall be first brought, and shall be punished at the discretion of the court, by imprisonment not exceeding months, or by fine not exceeding the double of the damages done, or by both: but if the offence be murder then he shall be punished by death.
PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 79: 13745); undated, but obviously the document recorded in SJPL under 3 Dec. 1792, beneath the entry for TJ’s Opinion on Offenders against the Law of Nations, as “clause for act on that subject.”
TJ evidently drafted this clause for consideration by Congress, but he probably decided to take no further action on it after receiving an opinion from the Attorney General (Edmund Randolph’s Opinion on Offenses against the Law of Nations, 5 Dec. 1792). See also Opinion on Offenses against the Law of Nations, 3 Dec. 1792.