Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Clarke, 8 April 1813

To John Clarke

Monticello Apr. 8. 13.

[Dea]r Sir

[I du]ly recieved your favor of the 9th ult. on the interesting subject of ou[r] [. . .] trade, and the importance of defending it; a trade certainly of th[. . .]t value to us. a country of such extent as ours, of all the varying [. . .] [pro]ductions of the earth, capable of yielding in some of it’s parts what[ever] [. . .] may want, will, at no distant period, under our rapid popula[tion] [. . .] internal commerce sufficient for the interchange of all [. . .] [pro]ductions, and needing no intercourse with any other part [. . .] [su]ch a commerce therefore cannot be too sedulously cultivated [. . .] do presume that the measures taken by Congress & the Execu[tive] [. . .]asing their navy, are such as they, on consultation, have [. . .] practicable under our circumstances; altho’ I am not fully [. . .] [t]he extent to which they have proposed to push their naval pre[. . .] I think with you that whatever be our naval force it would [. . .]ployed on our own coast than in rambling after adventures [. . .] [w]hole expanse of the ocean. and I have no doubt they will be [. . .]oyed now that it is become unnecessary for them to go further [. . .] of an enemy. I believe that at present only two of our frigates [. . .]sent in distant seas. if Napoleon had had the attention to send [. . .]g squadron here before the arrival of Beauclerc’s reinforcement, [. . .] [mi]ght, in conjunction with ours, have annihilated their force then here, [. . .] [b]een ready to annihilate separately the portion newly arrived. [. . .] passions are stronger than his head. he is great in military tac[tics] [. . .] but in nothing else. the British, having now full possession of the [. . .] [w]ill be able to keep it without danger from him. my hope however [. . .] [the]y will be obliged to employ so great a proportion of their navy on [. . .] of the atlantic, as to give him an opportunity of getting his 80. sail [. . .] [l]ine together and of contesting the uncontrouled dominion of the waters which they have usurped. this is the most likely motiv[. . .] [in]duce them to wish for a peace with us. the anxiety you exp[ress][. . .] these subjects is that which we all ought to feel. for altho’ ag[. . .] circumstances keep us remote from the active scenes, yet the [. . .] we feel for our younger friends who are in them, that which [. . .] our country at large, & that which comes home to our pur[. . .] do not permit us to look on what is passing as mere indiffer[ent specta]tors. I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jeff[erson]

PoC (DLC); edge torn away; at foot of first page: “[Mr John] Clarke.”

On 19 Apr. 1813 the Portland Gazette, and Maine Advertiser reported from British newspapers through 10 Jan. 1813 that a squadron commanded by Lord Amelius Beauclerk would immediately “proceed to the coast of America, to bombard some of the principal ports.”

Index Entries

  • Beauclerk, Amelius; British admiral search
  • Clarke, John (1766–1844); and carrying trade search
  • Clarke, John (1766–1844); letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; French naval policy search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; internal commerce search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; U.S. Navy search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search