Thomas Jefferson Papers

I. To the House of Representatives, 30 December 1802

I. To the House of Representatives

Gentlemen of the
House of Representatives

In addition to the information accompanying my message of the 22d. instant, I now transmit the copy of a letter on the same subject recently recieved.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC). Tr (DNA: RG 233, journals, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); in the “supplemental journal” appended at the end of the session (see Editorial Note). Enclosures: (1) William C. C. Claiborne to Madison, Natchez, 25 Nov. 1802; he sends a copy, with translation, of a communication received this morning “from the Governor General of the Province of Louisiana” in reply to Claiborne’s letter to him of 28 Oct. (Tr in DNA: RG 233, PM; PrC in DLC). (2) Manuel de Salcedo to Claiborne, New Orleans, 15 Nov., a translation in English; the king, Salcedo writes, has not designated a new place of deposit; in response to royal instructions and to the peace in Europe, the intendant suspended neutral trading and also suspended the deposit to put an end to abuses and fraud; while it is true that adherence to the terms of treaties promotes good relations, if a treaty has a “defect” that brings unintended negative consequences, “it will be necessary to undo it”; the intendant did not feel, as he ended the trade of neutrals, that he could continue the right of deposit beyond the original term specified by the treaty without instructions from the royal government; “it is to be hoped” that the crown will restore the deposit either at New Orleans or at another location, and “it ought to be confided, that the Justice and generosity of the King will not refuse to afford to the American Citizens all the advantages they can desire”; “I ought at the same time,” Salcedo writes, “to inform you that I myself opposed on my part, as far as I reasonably could, the measure of suspending the deposit,” until the intendant persuaded him that, as not all events can be foreseen, “a just and rational interpretation is always necessary”; Salcedo sent an inquiry to the captain general, whose reply, when it arrives, will remove any doubt on the question; Salcedo will strive to preserve “the most perfect and constant good harmony” that has existed between the two countries, also “keeping it in view that the felicity and glory of Nations are deeply concerned in the advantages of a wise and prudently conducted Commerce” (Tr in DNA: RG 233, PM, endorsed by a clerk; PrC in DLC).

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