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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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801. BELLIGERENTS, Sale of Arms to.—
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801. BELLIGERENTS, Sale of Arms to.—

Our citizens have been always free to make, vend and export arms. It is the constant
occupation and livelihood of some of
them. To suppress their callings, the only
means perhaps of their subsistence, because
a war exists in foreign and distant countries,
in which we have no concern, would scarcely
be expected. It would be hard in principle,
and impossible in practice. The law of nations,
therefore, respecting the rights of
those at peace, does not require from them
such an internal derangement in their occupations.
It is satisfied with the external penalty
pronounced in the President's proclamation,
that of confiscation of such portion of
these arms as shall fall into the hands of any
of the belligerent powers on their way to the
ports of their enemies. To this penalty our
citizens are warned that they will be abandoned;
and that even private contraventions
may work no inequality between the
parties at war, the benefits of them will be
left equally free and open to all.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 558. Ford ed., vi, 253.
(May. 1793)