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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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8581. TREATY (British peace), Violations of.—[continued].
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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8581. TREATY (British peace), Violations of.—[continued].

By the 7th article [of
the treaty of peace], his Britannic majesty
stipulates that he will, with all convenient
withdraw his garrisons from every post within the United States. “When no precise
term”, says a writer on the Law of Nations
(Vattel, L. 4. c. 26), “has been marked for
the accomplishment of a treaty, and for the
execution of each of its articles, good sense
determines that every point should be executed
as soon as possible. This is, without doubt,
what was understood. The term in the treaty,
with all convenient speed, amounts to the same
thing, and clearly excludes all unnecessary delay.
The general pacification being signed on
the 20th of January, some time would be requisite
for the orders for evacuation to come over
to America, for the removal of stores, property
and persons, and finally for the act of evacuation.
The larger the post, the longer the time
necessary to remove all its contents; the
smaller, the sooner done. Hence, though General
Carleton received his orders to evacuate
New York in the month of April, the evacuation
was not completed till late in November. It
had been the principal place of arms and stores;
the seat, as it were, of their general government,
and the asylum of those who had fled
to them. A great quantity of shipping was
necessary, therefore, for the removal, and the
General was obliged to call for a part from
foreign countries. These causes of delay were
duly respected on our part. But the posts of
Michillimackinac, Detroit, Niagara, Oswego,
Oswegatchie, Point-au-Fer, Dutchman's Point,
were not of this magnitude. The orders for
evacuation, which reached General Carleton, in
New York, early in April, might have gone, in
one month more, to the most remote of these
posts. Some of them might have been evacuated
in a few days after, and the largest in a
few weeks. Certainly they might all have been
delivered, without any inconvenient speed in
the operations, by the end of May, from the
known facility furnished by the lakes, and the
water connecting them; or by crossing immediately
over into their own territory, and avail


Page 886
ing themselves of the season for making new
establishments there, if that was intended. Or
whatever time might, in event, have been necessary
for their evacuation, certainly the order for
it should have been given from England, and
might have been given as early as that from
New York. Was any order ever given? Would
not an unnecessary delay of the order, producing
an equal delay in the evacuation, be an infraction
of the treaty? Let us investigate this
matter [490] . * * * Now is it not fair to conclude,
if the order was not arrived on the 13th of
August, 1783, if it was not arrived on the 10th
of May, 1784, nor yet on the 13th of July, in the
same year, that, in truth, the order had never
been given? and if it had never been given, May
we not conclude that it never had been intended
to be given? From what moment is it
we are to date this infraction? From that, at
which, with convenient speed, the order to
evacuate the upper posts might have been given.
No legitimate reason can be assigned, why that
order might not have been given as early, and
at the same time, as the order to evacuate New
York; and all delay, after this, was in contravention
of the treaty.

To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 388. Ford ed., vi, 31.
(Pa., 1792)


Jefferson here quotes the official replies of the
British officers commanding different posts to the
request for their surrender that they had not received
the evacuation order.—Editor.