Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Tench Coxe’s Notes on Jefferson’s Draft Report on Commerce, [5 February 1793]

Tench Coxe’s Notes on Jefferson’s
Draft Report on Commerce

[5 Feb. 1793]

Notes on the Report of the Secretary of State, made in consequence of the reference of the House of Representatives of the day of 1791

[pa]ge 1 1 Nations1—substitute Countries—or change the words “Spain&ca.”2
2 Quere the difference between Breadstuff and meals
page 2 1 its Dominions3—to prevent mistakes might be inserted as above
so of the rest.
3 1 The Tonnage of last year from the French Islands must be much reduced—but the exchange of supplies of American produce & foreign Merchandise with them for returns of Sugar, Coffee &ca., have been very great, and highly beneficial to the United States. We have even shipt large quantities of them to foreign Countries. It is best however and fair to bottom the report upon the preceding state of things—that is upon the french laws in times of order.4
2 Spain receives also grain, I believe.5
page 4 1 They do not obtain from us any of the advantages of a circuitous foreign Trade—and this applies to France and Portugal.
2 —”—6
3 Does France receive our Bread Stuff. How is it in the new Tariff?
page 5 1 It7 would be more generally understood, if the words (nearly equal to the same Number of Cents) were added.
2 Did not Tobacco pay duty at places other than the free Ports?
3 What is supposed to be the reason of this.8
page 6. 1. Incidental to the9 legal mode of securing the collection of the Duty—and not to the Commerce of the Article.
6 2 Pickled meats’10—or wet provisions—for Bacon is salted provisions: the Merchants term is wet provisions.11
3 are 50/. Sterling the limited price
4 Will it not be well to strike out the word “even” and
5 to insert after “purchased” the words—and Navigated12
page 6 6 an equal participation of the privilege—for there are foreign Goods which no ship can carry to Britain.
page 6& 7 1 Quere—The Aspect in which this is presented—Does the mode of proceeding arise from favor or the reverse, or from caution in a new and particular Case—Quere—Does the report of the privy Council explain the principle.
A Question may be raised whether this may not be deemed too
page 7 3 strong? I think not, for if a serious possibility of changes were not contemplated, why should the power to make them be purposely created in a manner very Questionable in a Government possessing even the portion of freedom that is to be found in the British.
page 8 1 What are the duties in Holland on grain Spirits, and on what Authority are they ascertained. I understand they are not mentioned in their Tariffs.13
2 What14 details are known of the exports of our produce from the Dutch Netherlands to foreign Markets. Germany takes some, but the Amsterdam and Rotterdam are among the natural portals of Germany, and we take many goods through those two Cities from Germany. They are so far, as it were, mere market Houses and among the most natural ones.
page 9 1 Is it known why the Danes prohibit our Indigo producing none, and not having any Indian ports from whence they can obtain it—This appears to be a great misconception of their own Interests. I suspect it must be the fruit of some Monopoly, or the consequence of some law passed before our Independency. I believe from some such laws our Ships or produce, or manufactures, or all are on a worse footing than those of some other Nations in their European Ports.
2 If15 the divisions of a dollar intended by the figures .6 and .25 are Cents the passage may be more generally understood by expressing them so.
3 To avoid mistakes this perhaps had best be changed for “meats.”16
4 more unfavorable to us and to them.17
page 10 1 Do not the laws and practice of the European Kingdoms run in the same line. Will it not be argued that Individuals and Nations in their political relations are often considered differently from what would prevail in a state of Nature—and that the laws of nature cannot apply absolutely either to associated Man—or to associated Bodies (or Nations) of Men—Yet a modification of this clause may be preferable to striking it out.
2 May not the words “from time to time” be properly exchanged for—occasionally.
Page. 10. 3. Live18 stock and live provisions.19
page. 11. 1. Livres of the Colonies.20
2. As21 free as theirs.
3. Live22 stock and live provisions.23
4. Quere, as to this limitation.
5. grain vizt. indian Corn, oats &ca.24
6. as is all intercourse in our vessels.25
7. It is required I believe by the British Kings proclamation that all importations and exportations shall be made by British subjects, which prevents our being factors in their West India Islands, but I do not know of anything which prevents our being Merchants there, tho’ the factorage line is all that we desire or should pursue.26 In Britain and Ireland we may be Merchants as well as factors.
8. should27 not this be unmanufactured.28
9. Qu:29 freely.
page. 12. 1. Our grain requires to be specially mentioned in this summary.30
2. The footing of our intercourse with Ireland is more favorable than that with Britain and appears to require notice (W. Knox.)
3. Ships built in the United States may be used in the Trade between the British European Dominions and the United States, I think.531
4. Are32 prohibited by France and received under temporary colonial laws relaxing those of the dominant Country.
5. but long after the peace our Vessels and the French participated equally in the carrying trade between the United States, and their Dominions in Europe and the West Indies. We laid a duty of per10 Cent advance on our impost, and upon their Vessels an extra tonnage of 44 Cents. They followed with the extra duty on Tobacco since reduced to    livres.33
Page. 14. 2. Will it not be well to omit “and vexations”—and to say—numerous restrictions rigidly executed.
15. 1. general “peace.”34
16. 1. May.35
17. 1. Note the State Governments 1 and 1.
2. See former note.
18. 1 or impose a duty on their Negociations.36
2. See draught of the bill reported in 1791 by the Committee.
3. Article 4 how would it operate among the Nations in general. It would make a common cause among the British, Spaniards, Portuguese, who together take of our produce, and the two latter of whom make our Vessels free—one without a fine or duty.37
19. 1. See State of the Trade from United States to the British American Islands and Colonies.
2. Are they necessary to an efficient Navigation system.
3. Is discrimination a general practice.
4. Nations who favor our productions and Navigation.38
20. 1. better in fact—query—in what respect.
2. This gives a clear Direction to the report.

MS (DLC); undated; consists of five pages in a clerk’s hand, with emendations by Coxe and check marks and notations by TJ described below; first page slightly torn; printed literally. Dft (PHi: Coxe Papers); undated; consists of four tattered pages entirely in Coxe’s hand with numerous emendations not noted here.

The text of TJ’s draft Report on Commerce to which these notes relate is in DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11981–91. The several drafts and final state of the Report will be printed at 16 Dec. 1793, where the relationship between Coxe’s notes and TJ’s emendations to the text cited above will be fully described.

1TJ inserted a check before this word.

2Closing quotation mark supplied. Beneath this line in Dft Coxe canceled “[page] 2—interline respective before American.” In the margin next to it he also canceled “(Chinese trade).”

3TJ inserted a check before these two words.

4In the margin next to this paragraph in Dft Coxe wrote two notes separated by a line before canceling both of them: “What is the cause or true meaning of the apparent increase of the British Tonne.—Enquire of all our foreign Minrs. especially Pinckney. Qu. forn. Ships—should they do this” and “The [first?] […] increase of french W. I. Demand.”

5In the margin next to the succeeding eight lines in Dft Coxe canceled “G. R. Each foreign Nation appears closely to move in that line in which, according to their best Judgment, the combined force of their <best> own several interests impel them. We should not blame them for so doing neither should they presume to censure us for a Similar conduct, produced entirely by their regulations; for we should be ready to annul all commercial restrictions & [will with those who will impose?] none upon us.”

6Here in Dft Coxe canceled “qu. Beeswax also.” He subsequently wrote the same words again without italics and then canceled them.

7TJ inserted a check before this word.

8“1.” interlined here in a clerk’s hand.

9Preceding three words canceled on previous line and interlined here by Coxe with page and number.

10Above these two words TJ wrote “qu? dried beef.”

11Here TJ wrote “is dried beef either pickled or wet? are salted fish wet provisions?”

12TJ inserted a check before these two words.

13Preceding sentence, not in Dft, inserted in Coxe’s hand.

14TJ inserted a check before this word.

15TJ inserted a check before this word.

16Beneath this sentence TJ wrote “this would not include fish.”

17Here TJ wrote “qu. to omit whole passage.”

18TJ inserted a check before this word.

19Here TJ wrote “ = fresh provisions.”

20Here TJ wrote “qu. the par with the livre of France? The dollar is 8.livre tournois 5s colonial.”

21TJ inserted a check before this word.

22TJ inserted a check before this word.

23Here TJ wrote “= fresh provisions.”

24Here TJ wrote “+ wheat, flour, biscuit.”

25Here TJ wrote “could we not import thence in our vessels?”

26Here TJ interlined “it is the Navigation act.”

27TJ inserted a check before this word.

28Here TJ wrote “may not even manufactures be carried to St. Eustatius?”

29TJ inserted a check before this abbreviation.

30Here TJ wrote “breadstuff comprehends grain.”

31Here TJ wrote “no.”

32TJ inserted a check before this word.

33Beneath this section TJ wrote “in Sweden, as it is also in France since our act &c.”

34TJ inserted a check before these two words.

35TJ inserted a check before this word.

36Here TJ wrote “= or modify their transactions.”

37In the margin next to this paragraph in Dft Coxe canceled “Measures not proper now <should> may be adopted gradatim.”

38Underneath this line in Dft Coxe wrote “Abolish the drawback on [Beer?]—it is dangerous.” Opposite this additional line in the margin he canceled “Qu. Modifications of Drawbacks.”

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