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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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850. BLOCKADES, Seizure of Ships.—
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850. BLOCKADES, Seizure of Ships.—

The instruction [to commanders of British
war ships] which allows the armed vessels
of Great Britain to seize, for condemnation,
all vessels, on their first attempt to enter a
blockaded port, except those of Denmark and
Sweden, which are to be prevented only, but
not seized, on their first attempt. Of the
nations inhabiting the shores of the Atlantic
ocean, and practising its navigation, Denmark,
Sweden and the United States, alone
are neutral. To declare, then, all neutral vessels (for as to the vessels of the belligerent
powers no order was necessary) to be
legal prize, which shall attempt to enter a
blockaded port, except those of Denmark
and Sweden,
is exactly to declare that the
vessels of the United States
shall be lawful
prize, and those of Drnmark and Sweden
shall not. It is of little consequence that the
article has avoided naming the United
States, since it has used a description applicable
to them, and to them alone, while it
exempts the others from its operation, by
name. You will be pleased to ask an explanation
of this distinction; and you will
be able to say in discussing its justice, that
in every circumstance, we treat Great Britain
on the footing of the most favored nation,
where our treaties do not preclude us,
and that even these are just as favorable to
her as hers are to us. Possibly she may be
bound by treaty to admit this exception in
favor of Denmark and Sweden, but she cannot
be bound by treaty to withhold it from us;
and if it be withheld merely because not
established with us by treaty, what might
not we, on the same ground, have withheld
from Great Britain, during the short
course of the present war, as well as the
peace which has preceded it?—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 62. Ford ed., vi, 416.
(Pa., Sep. 1793)