Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 9 October 1807

Washington Oct. 9. 07.

Dear Sir

Your 2d. letter on the subject of gunboats came to hand just before my departure from Monticello. in the mean time the enquiry into the proposition had been referred, agreeably to our usage, & to reason, to the practical persons of the department to which it belonged, deemed most skilful. on my arrival here I found the answers of the persons to whom it was referred, the substance of which I now inclose you. I am not a judge of their solidity, but I presume they are founded and the rather as they are from officers entirely favorable to the use of gun boats.

We have as yet no knolege of the arrival of the Revenge in England but we may daily expect to hear of it; and as we expected she would be detained there & in France about a month, it will be a month hence before we can expect her back here. in the mean time all the little circumstances coming to our knolege are unfavorable to our wishes for peace. if they would but settle the question of impressment from our bottoms, I should be well contented to drop all attempts at a treaty. the other rights of neutral powers will be taken care of by Bonaparte & Alexander, and for commercial arrangements we can sufficiently provide by legislative regulations. but as the practice of impressment has taken place only against us we shall be left to settle that for ourselves: and to do this we shall never again have so favorable a conjuncture of circumstances. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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