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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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3258. FREE TRADE, Great Britain and.—[continued].
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3258. FREE TRADE, Great Britain and.—[continued].

I had persuaded myself
[in 1804] that a nation, distant as we are
from the contentions of Europe, avoiding all
offences to other powers, and not over-hasty
in resenting offence from them, doing justice
to all, faithfully fulfilling the duties of
neutrality, performing all offices of amity, and
administering to their interests by the benefits
of our commerce, that such a nation, I
say, might expect to live in peace, and consider
itself merely as a member of the great
family of mankind; that in such case it
might devote itself to whatever it could best
produce, secure of a peaceable exchange of
surplus for what could be more advantageously
furnished by others, as takes place
between one country and another of France.
But experience has shown that continued
peace depends not merely on our own justice
and prudence, but on that of others also;
that when forced into war, the interception of
exchanges which must be made across a wide
ocean, becomes a powerful weapon in the
hands of an enemy domineering over that element,
and to the other distresses of war adds
the want of all those necessaries for which
we have permitted ourselves to be dependent
on others, even arms and clothing. This
fact, therefore, solves the question by reducing
it to its ultimate form, whether profit or
preservation is the first interest of a State?
We are consequently become manufacturers
to a degree incredible to those who do not
see it, and who only consider the short period
of time during which we have been driven to
them by the suicidal policy of England.—
To J. B. Say. Washington ed. vi, 430.
(M. March. 1815)