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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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2558. EMBARGO, France, England and.—
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2558. EMBARGO, France, England and.—

Our ministers at London and Paris were
instructed to explain to the respective governments
there, our disposition to exercise the authority
in such manner as would withdraw the
pretext on which the aggressions were originally
founded, and open a way for a renewal
of that commercial intercourse which it was
alleged on all sides had been reluctantly obstructed.
As each of those governments had
pledged its readiness to concur in renouncing a
measure which reached its adversary through
the incontestable rights of neutrals only, and
as the measure had been assumed by each as a
retaliation for an asserted acquiescence in the
aggressions of the other, it was reasonably expected
that an occasion would have been seized
by both for evincing the sincerity of their
profession, and for restoring to the commerce
of the United States its legitimate, freedom.
The instructions to our ministers with respect
to the different belligerents were necessarily
modified with reference to their different circumstances,
and to the condition annexed by
law to the Executive power of suspension,
requiring a degree of security to our commerce
which would not result from a repeal of the
decrees of France. Instead of a pledge, therefore,
of a suspension of the Embargo as to
her in case of such a repeal, it was presumed
that a sufficient inducement might be found in
other considerations, and particularly in the
change produced by a compliance with our


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just demands by one belligerent, and a refusal
by the other, in the relations between the other
and the United States. To Great Britain, whose
power on the ocean is so ascendant, it was
deemed not inconsistent with that condition to
state explicitly, that on her rescinding her orders
in relation to the United States their trade
would be opened with her, and remain shut to
her enemy, in case of his failure to rescind his
decrees also. From France no answer has been
received, nor any indication that the requested
change in her decrees is contemplated. The favorable
reception of the proposition to Great
Britain was the less to be doubted, as her orders
of council had not only been referred for
their vindication to an acquiescence on the part
of the United States no longer to be pretended,
but as the arrangement proposed, while it resisted
the illegal decrees of France, involved,
moreover, substantially, the precise advantages
professedly aimed at by the British orders. The
arrangement has, nevertheless, been rejected.
This candid and liberal experiment having thus
failed, and no other event having occurred on
which a suspension of the Embargo by the Executive
was authorized, it necessarily remains
in the extent originally given to it.—
Eighth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 103. Ford ed., ix, 214.
(Nov. 1808)