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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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1236. CHESAPEAKE, Status of British captives.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1236. CHESAPEAKE, Status of British captives.—

The relation in which we stand
with the British naval force within our waters
is so new, that differences of opinion are not
to be wondered at respecting the captives,
who are the subject of your letter. Are they
insurgents against the authority of the laws?
Are they public enemies, acting under the
orders of their sovereign? Or will it be more
correct to take their character from the act
of Congress for the preservation of peace in
our harbors, which authorizes a qualified war
against persons of their demeanor, defining its
objects, and limiting its extent? Considering
this act as constituting the state of things
between us and them, the captives may certainly
be held as prisoners of war. If we
restore them it will be an act of favor, and
not of any right they can urge. Whether
Great Britain will give us that reparation
for the past and security for the future, which
we have categorically demanded, cannot as
yet be foreseen; but we have believed we
should afford an opportunity of doing it,
as well from justice and the usage of nations,
as a respect to the opinion of an impartial
world, whose approbation and esteem are
always of value. This measure was requisite,
also, to produce unanimity among ourselves.
* * * It was necessary, too, for our own interests,
afloat on the ocean. * * * These considerations
render it still useful that we should
avoid every act which may precipitate immediate
and general war, or in any way shorten
the interval so necessary for our own purposes;
and they render it advisable that the
captives, in the present instance, should be
permitted to return, with their boat, arms,
&c., to their ships. * * * And we wish the
military to understand that while, for special
reasons, we restore the captives in this first
instance, we applaud the vigilance and activity
which, by taking them, have frustrated
the object of their enterprise, and urge a continuance
of them, to intercept all intercourse
with the vessels, their officers and crews, and
to prevent them from taking or receiving supplies
of any kind; and for this purpose, should
the use of force be necessary, they are unequivocally
to understand that force is to be
employed without reserve or hesitation.—
To W. H. Cabell. Washington ed. v, 141. Ford ed., ix, 89.
(W. July. 1807)