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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.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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8575. TREATIES OF COMMERCE, Favored nation principle. ‐ [further continued] .
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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8575. TREATIES OF COMMERCE, Favored nation principle. ‐ [further continued] .

It will probably be urged,
because it was urged on a former occasion, that,
if Spain grants [487] to us the right of navigating the
Mississippi, other nations will become entitled
to it by virtue of treaties giving them the rights
to the most favored nation. * * * When those
treaties were made, no nations could be under
contemplation but those then existing, or those,
at most, who might exist under similar circumstances.
America did not then exist as a
nation; and the circumstances of her position
and commerce, are so totally dissimilar to everything
then known, that the treaties of that day
were not adapted to any such being. They
would better fit even China than America; because,
as a manufacturing nation, China resembles
Europe more. When we solicited France
to admit our whale oils into her ports, though
she had excluded all foreign whale oils, her
Minister made the objection now under consideration,
and the foregoing answer was given.
It was found to be solid; and whale oils of
the United States are in consequence admitted,
though those of Portugal and the Hanse towns,
and of all other nations, are excluded. Again,
when France and England were negotiating
their late treaty of commerce, the great dissimilitude
of our commerce (which furnishes
raw materials to employ the industry of others,
in exchange for articles whereon industry has
been exhausted) from the commerce of the
European nations (which furnishes things ready
wrought only) was suggested to the attention
of both negotiators, and that they should keep
their nations free to make particular arrangements
with ours, by communicating to each
other only the rights of the most favored European
nation. Each was separately sensible of
the importance of the distinction; and as soon
as it was proposed by the one, it was acceded to
by the other, and the word European was inserted
in their treaty. It may fairly be considered,
then, as the rational and received interpretation
of the diplomatic term, “gentis
that it has not in view a nation,
unknown in many cases at the time of using
the term, and so dissimilar in all cases, as to
furnish no ground of just reclamation to any
other nation.—
Mississippi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 583. Ford ed., v, 473.


This extract is from Jefferson's Instructions to
the Commissioners with respect to the navigation of
the Mississippi river. It should not be inferred from
the use of the word “grants” that Jefferson admitted
the Spanish pretension to the control of the lower
part of the river. He maintained, on the contrary,
that we had an inherent right and also treaty rights
to the navigation.—Editor.