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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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3097. FORTIFICATIONS, Sites for.—[continued].
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3097. FORTIFICATIONS, Sites for.—[continued].

In proceeding to carry
into execution the act [providing for the public
defence], it is found that the sites most
advantageous for the defence of our harbors
and rivers, and sometimes the only sites competent
to that defence, are in some cases the
property of minors, incapable of giving a
valid assent to their alienation; in others belong
to persons who on no terms will alienate;
and in others the proprietors demand such exaggerated
compensation as, however liberally
the public ought to compensate in such cases,
would exceed all bounds of justice or liberality.
From this cause the defence of our seaboard,
so necessary to be pressed during the
present session will in various parts be defeated,
unless the national Legislature can apply
a constitutional remedy. The power of repelling
invasions, and making laws necessary
for carrying that power into execution, seem
to include that of occupying those sites
which are necessary to repel an enemy; observing
only the amendment to the Constitution
which provides that private property
shall not be taken for public use without just
compensation. I submit, therefore, to the
consideration of Congress, where the necessary
sites cannot be obtained by the joint and
valid consent of parties, whether provision
should be made by a process of ad quod damnum,
or any other eligible means for authorizing
the sites which are necessary for the
public defence to be appropriated to that purpose.
I am aware that as the consent of the
Legislature of the State to the purchase of the
site moy not, in some instances have been
previously obtained, exclusive legislation cannot
be exercised therein by Congress until
that consent is given. But, in the meantime, it
will be held under the same laws which protect
the property of individuals in that State,
and other property of the United States, and
the Legislatures at their next meetings will
have opportunities of doing what will be so
evidently called for by the interest of their
own State.—
Message on Public Defence. Ford ed., ix, 187.
(March. 1808)