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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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9073. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [further continued] .
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9073. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [further continued] .

To nations with which
we have not yet treated, and who have possessions
in America, we may offer a free vent of
their manufactures in the United States, for a
full or modified admittance into those possessions.
But to France, we are obliged to give
that freedom for a different compensation: to
wit, for her aid in effecting our independence.
It is difficult, therefore, to say what we have
now to offer her, for an admission into her West
Indies. Doubtless, it has its price; but the
question is what this would be, and whether
worth our while to give it. Were we to propose
to give to each other's citizens all the rights
of natives, they would of course count what
they should gain by this enlargement of right,
and examine whether it would be worth to them
as much as their monopoly of their West India
commerce. If not, that commercial freedom
which we wish to preserve, and which
indeed is so valuable, leaves us little to offer.
An expression in my letter to the Count de
Vergennes * * * wherein I hinted that both
nations might, perhaps, come into the opinion
that the condition of natives might be a better
ground of intercourse for their citizens, than
that of the most favored nation, was intended
to furnish an opportunity to the minister of
parleying on that subject, if he was so disposed,
and to myself, of seeing whereabouts they
would begin, that I might communicate it to
Congress, and leave them to judge of the expediency
of pursuing the subject. But no overtures
have followed. [516]
Report to Congress. Washington ed. ix, 243. Ford ed., iv, 129.
(P. 1785)


Report of a Conference with Count de Vergennes,
Foreign Minister of France, on the question of Commerce.—Editor.