Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Tench Coxe, 7 June 1797

From Tench Coxe

June 7. 1797.

Mr. T. Coxe returns, with his best respects, the pamphlet Mr. Jefferson was so good as to lend him. It certainly has merit both for information, and reasoning. But Mr: Coxe would wish to see An Enquiry into the means of Prosperity to the United States well handled, before he would think it safe to settle finally the commercial course they ought to steer. Commerce would in his opinion be found to be

1st. a business in the hands of a part of our people, and of foreign friends, rivals and indifferent persons.

2dly. tho a valueable auxiliary, yet no more.

3dly. a means of prosperity1 susceptable of serious perversions and abuses producing war—expence—loss of honest national2 reputation—and sacrifices of principles not only of more importance but indispensible.

A work written with wisdom, knowledge and candor upon trade as it should be pursued by the United States would be invaluable. Perhaps nothing is so desireable to this Country except a work upon the nature and orthodoxy of representative Government.

RC (DLC); with two emendations as noted below; endorsed by TJ as received 7 June 1797 and so recorded in SJL.

The pamphlet which Coxe returned to TJ has not been identified.

1Preceding four words interlined.

2Preceding two words interlined.

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