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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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7433. RETALIATION, Legislative.—
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7433. RETALIATION, Legislative.—

Legislative warfare was begun by the British
parliament. * * * The stat. 12 G. 3, c. 24
for carrying our citizens charged with the offences
it describes, to be tried in a foreign
country; by foreign judges instead of a jury of
their vicinage, by laws not their own, without
witnesses, without friends, or the means of making
them; that of the 14 G. 3, c. 39, for protecting
from punishment those who should
murder an American in the execution of a
British law, were previous to our acts of exile,
and even to the commencement of the war.
Their act of 14 G. 3, c. 19, for shutting up the
harbor of Boston, and thereby annihilating,
with the commerce of that city, the value of its
property; that of 15 G. 3, c. 10, forbidding us
to export to foreign markets the produce we
have hitherto raised and sold at those markets,
and thereby leaving that produce useless on our
hands; that of 10 G. 3, c. 5, prohibiting all
exports even to British markets, and making
them legal prize when taken on the high seas,
was dealing out confiscation, by wholesale, on
the property of entire nations, which our acts,
cited by you, retaliated but on the small scale
of individual confiscation. But we never retaliated
the 4th section of the last mentioned act,
under which multitudes of our citizens taken on
board our vessels were forced by starving, by
periodical whippings, and by constant chains to
become the murderers of their countrymen,
perhaps of their fathers and brothers. If from
this legislative warfare we turn to those scenes
of active hostility which wrapped our houses in
flame, our families in slaughter, our property
in universal devastation, is the wonder that our
Legislature did so much, or so little? Compare
their situation with that of the British Parliament
enjoying in ease and safety all the comforts
and blessings of the earth, and hearing
of these distant events as of the wars of
Benaris, or the extermination of the Rohillas,
and say with candor whether the difference of
scene and situation would not have justified
a contrary difference of conduct towards each
other? [425]
To George Hammond. Ford ed., vi, 12.
(Pa., 1792)


From Jefferson's letter to George Hammond,
British Minister, on the infractions of the peace
treaty. The extract was in reply to a charge made
by Hammond. Alexander Hamilton thought “it
may involve irritating discussion”, and Jefferson
struck it out.—Editor.