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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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5877. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued].
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5877. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued].

With respect to the
rights of neutrality, we have certainly a great
interest in their settlement. But this depends
exclusively on the will of two characters, Bonaparte
and Alexander. The dispositions of the
former to have them placed on liberal grounds
are known. The interest of the latter should
insure the same disposition. The only thing
to be done is to bring the two characters together
to treat on the subject. All the minor
maritime powers of Europe will of course concur
with them. We have not failed to use such
means as we possess to induce these two
sovereigns to avail the world of its present situation
to declare and enforce the laws of nature
and convenience on the seas. But the organization
of the treaty-making power by our Constitution
is too particular for us to commit the
nation in so great an operation with all the
European powers. With such a federal phalanx
in the Senate, compact and vigilant for
opportunities to do mischief, the addition of a
very few other votes, misled by accidental or
imperfect views of the subject, would suffice to
commit us most dangerously. All we can do,
therefore, is to encourage others to declare and
guarantee neutral rights, by excluding all intercourse
with any nation which infringes them,
and so leave a niche in their compact for us, if


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our treaty-making power shall choose to occupy
To Thomas Paine. Ford ed., viii, 437.
(W. March. 1806)