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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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7882. SHIPS, Sea-letters.—
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7882. SHIPS, Sea-letters.—

Sea-letters are the creatures of treaties. No act of the
ordinary Legislature requires them. The only
treaties now existing with us, and calling for
them, are those with Holland, Spain, Prussia,
and France. In the two former, we have stipulated
that when the other party shall be at war,
the vessels belonging to our people shall be
furnished with sea-letters; in the two latter,
that the vessels of the neutral party shall be so
furnished. France being now at war, the sea-letter
is made necessary for our vessels; and
consequently it is our duty to furnish them.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 566.