Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate, 8 April 1802

To the Senate

Gentlemen of the Senate.

In order to satisfy as far as is in my power the desire expressed in your resolution of the 6th. inst. I now transmit you a letter from John Read, agent for the US. before the board of Commissioners under the VIth. article of the treaty with Great Britain, to the Attorney General, bearing date the 25th. of April 1801. in which he gives a summary view of the proceedings of those Commissioners, and of the principles established or insisted on by a majority of them.

Supposing it might be practicable for us to settle by negociation with Great Britain the principles which ought to govern the decisions under the treaty, I caused instructions to be given to mr Read to analyse the claims before the board of Commissioners, to class them under the principles on which they respectively depended, and to state the sum depending on each principle, or the amount of each description of debt. the object of this was that we might know what principles were most important for us to contend for, and what others might be conceded without much injury. he performed this duty, and gave in such a statement during the last summer. but the chief clerk of the Secretary of state’s office being absent on account of sickness, and the only person acquainted with the arrangement of the papers of the office, this particular document cannot at this time be found. having however been myself in possession of it a few days after it’s reciept, I then transcribed from it, for my own use, the recapitulation of the amount of each description of debt. a copy of this transcript I shall subjoin hereto, with assurances that it is substantially correct, and with the hope that it will give a view of the subject sufficiently precise to fulfill the wishes of the Senate. to save them the delay of waiting till a copy of the Agent’s letter could be made, I send the original, with the request that it may be returned at the convenience of the Senate.

Th: Jefferson

British claims under the VIth. article, distinguished into Classes, including interest to different dates within the year 1798.

£ s d sterling
for interest during the war alone 120.645— 11—
for paiments into the treasuries, loan offices &c. 171.795— 0—
on account of impediments under the instalment laws of S. Carolina 337.868— 2— 0
for alledged unlawful decisions of courts 24.658— 4—
by firms in part citizens of the US. 162.483— 12—
debts due from states, late provinces 4.839— 14— 0
all description of refugees except N. Carolina 753.182— 4—
on account of debts discharged in depreciated paper money 205.795— 15—
Proprietary debts 296.778— 13— 8
Legal impediments generally 3,560.585— 10—
24.809.969.37 D.= 5,638.629— 8— 1

RC (DNA: RG 46, EPFR, 7th Cong., 1st sess.); endorsed by Senate clerks. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as a communication to the Senate with notation “amt of claims under VIth art. Brit. treaty.” Enclosure not found. Printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 2:427.

In executive session on 6 Apr. concerning the convention with Great Britain and TJ’s message of 29 Mch., the Senate passed a RESOLUTION stating “That the President of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before the Senate, the amount and description of claims, preferred under the sixth article of the British Treaty, and which would have been chargeable to the United States, if the principles contended for, by the British commissioners, had been established as the rules of decision by which those claims should be determined” (RC in DLC, in Samuel A. Otis’s hand and attested by him, endorsed by TJ: “British debts”; 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 , 1:418).

Griffith Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from … 1639 … to … 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends the secretary of the bilateral commission established to handle claims under Article 6 of the Jay Treaty, submitted the statement of claims by category (John Bassett Moore, ed., International Adjudications, Modern Series, Volume III: Arbitration of Claims for Compensation for Losses and Damages Resulting from Lawful Impediments to the Recovery of Pre-War Debts [New York, 1931], 22, 354–5). For TJ’s RECAPITULATION of the statement, which he copied in the postscript above, see Vol. 34:696.

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