Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Convention of 1800, [before 3 February 1801]

Notes on Convention of 1800

[before 3 Feb. 1801]

G. Morris’s construction of the 6th. & 24th. articles.

By the old treaty with France they had a right to bring in their prizes call that right A.

By the treaty with England we grant them a right with the exeption of that granted to France, to wit A.

our dissolution of the treaty with France does not convey A. to

it does not give her a right to bring in French prizes

then when we put the French on the footing1 of the most favored nation it follows that they cannot bring in British prizes, any more than the British can French. but both may those of other nations

this is probably the view the French negotiators had of it & perhaps our own. when the former insisted, that on the dissoln of a treaty between A. & B. no right could be transferred to a 3d person

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 102:17543); undated fragment; entirely in TJ’s hand.

Morris’s construction: New York Senator Gouverneur Morris, former minister to France, took an active part in the Senate’s consideration of the Convention of 1800, first heading the committee formed to obtain translations of the documents in French and then, on 15 Jan., chairing the committee ordered “to reduce the several votes on this treaty into the form of a ratification.” The Senate records do not indicate, however, when debate on Articles 6 and 24 took place. Article 6 provided that commerce between the parties should be free, their privateers and their prizes being treated in their respective ports as of the most favored nation, and that in general the two parties should enjoy most favored nation status “in regard to commerce, and navigation.” Article 24 provided for ships of war entering port with prizes and stipulated that the article did not extend beyond the privileges of the most favored nation. In the end Morris voted against ratification of the convention (Biog. Dir. Cong.; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:360–77; Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1931–48, 8 vols. description ends , 2:462, 477).

1TJ first wrote “then when we gave the French the rights” before altering the passage to read as above.

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