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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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937. BOUNDARIES, Northwest.—
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937. BOUNDARIES, Northwest.—

[In a conversation with George Hammond, the


Page 107
British minister], he observed that the treaty
[of peace] was of itself so vague and inconsistent
in many of its parts as to require an explanatory
convention. He instanced the two
articles, one of which gave them the navigation
of the Mississippi, and the other bounded them
by a due west line from the Lake of the Woods,
which being now understood to pass beyond
the most northern sources of the Mississippi,
intercepted all access to that river; that to
reconcile these articles, that line should be so
run as to give them access to the navigable
waters of the Mississippi, and that it would
even be for our interest to introduce a third
power between us and the Spaniards. He
asked my idea of the line from the Lake of
the Woods, and of now settling it. I told
him I knew of no objection to the settlement
of it; that my idea of it was, that if it was an
impassable line, as proposed in the treaty, it
should be rendered passable by as small and
unimportant an alteration as might be, which
I thought would be to throw in a line running
due north from the northernmost source of the
Mississippi till it should strike the western
line from the Lake of the Woods; that the article
giving them a navigation in the Mississippi
did not relate at all to this northern boundary,
but to the southern one, and to the secret article
respecting that; that he knew that our
Provisional Treaty was made seven weeks before
that with Spain; that at the date of ours,
their ministers had still a hope of retaining
Florida, in which case they were to come up
to the 32d degree, and in which case also the
navigation of the Mississippi would have been
important; but that they had not been able, in
event, to retain the country to which the navigation
was to be an appendage. (It was evident
to me that they had it in view to claim a
slice on our northwestern quarter that they
may get into the Mississippi; indeed, I thought
it presented as a sort of make-weight with the
Posts to compensate the great losses their citizens
had sustained by the infractions charged
on us).—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 428. Ford ed., i, 195.
(June. 1792)