University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
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.;

expand sectionA. 
collapse sectionB. 
861. BONAPARTE (N.), Embargo and.—
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

861. BONAPARTE (N.), Embargo and.—

The explanation of his principles given you
by the French Emperor, in conversation, is
correct as far as it goes. He does not wish
us to go to war with England, knowing we
have no ships to carry on that war. To submit
to pay to England the tribute on our commerce
which she demands by her orders of
council, would be to aid her in the war
against him, and would give him just ground
to declare war with us. He, concludes, therefore,

No Page Number

No Page Number

No Page Number

Thomas Jefferson
Age about 35 years

From the painting by Charles Wilson Peale hanging in Independence Hall, Philadelphia.

No Page Number


Page 97
as every rational man must, that the
Embargo, the only remaining alternative, was
a wise measure. These are acknowledged
principles, and should circumstances arise
which may offer advantage to our country in
making them public, we shall avail ourselves
of them. But as it is not usual nor agreeable
to governments to bring their conversations
before the public, I think it would be well to
consider this on your part as confidential,
leaving to the government to retain or make
it public, as the general good may require.
Had the Emperor gone further, and said that
he condemned our vessels going voluntarily
into his ports in breach of his municipal laws,
we might have admitted it rigorously legal,
though not friendly. But his condemnation
of vessels taken on high seas, by his privateers
and carried involuntarily into his
ports, is justifiable by no law; is piracy, and
this is the wrong we complain of against
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. v, 370. Ford ed., ix, 209.
(W. Oct. 1808)