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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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2512. EMBARGO, Action advised.—[continued].
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2512. EMBARGO, Action advised.—[continued].

Although the decree of
the French government of November 21
[1807] comprehended, in its literal terms, the
commerce of the United States, yet the prompt
explanation by one of the ministers of that
government that it was not so understood, and
that our treaty would be respected, the practice
which took place in the French ports conformably
with that explanation, and the recent
interference of that government to procure in
Spain a similar construction of a similar decree
there, had given well-founded expectation that
it would not be extended to us; and this was
much strengthened by the consideration of their
obvious interests. But the information from
our minister at Paris * * * is, that it is
determined to extend the effect of that decree
to us; and it is probable that Spain and the
other Atlantic and Mediterranean States of
Europe will cooperate in the same measure.
The British regulations had before reduced us
to a direct voyage to a single port of their enemies,
and it is now believed they will interdict
all commerce whatever with them. A proclamation,
too, of that government (not officially,
indeed, communicated to us, yet so given out
to the public as to become a rule of action with
them) seems to have shut the door on all negotiation
with us, except as to the single aggression
on the Chesapeake. The sum of these
mutual enterprises on our national rights is
that France, and her allies, reserving for
further consideration the prohibiting our carrying
anything to the British territories, have
virtually done it, by restraining our bringing
a return cargo from them; and Great Britain,
after prohibiting a great proportion of our commerce
with France and her allies, is now believed
to have prohibited the whole. The
whole world is thus laid under interdict by
these two nations, and our vessels, their cargoes
and crews, are to be taken by the one or
the other, for whatever place they may be destined,
out of our own limits. If, therefore, on
leaving our harbors we are certainly to lose
them, is it not better, as to vessels, cargoes,
and seamen, to keep them at home? This is
submitted to the wisdom of Congress, who
alone are competent to provide a remedy.—
To John Mason. Washington ed. v, 217.
(Dec. 1807)