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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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9092. WESTERN POSTS, British retention of.—
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9092. WESTERN POSTS, British retention of.—

I had a good deal of conversation
with the Count de Vergennes on the situation
of affairs between England and the United
States, and particularly on their refusal to deliver
up our posts. I observed to him that the
obstructions thrown in the way of the recovery
of their debts were the effect and not the cause,
as they pretended, of their refusal to deliver
up the posts; that the merchants interested
in these debts showed a great disposition to
make arrangements with us; that the article
of time we could certainly have settled, and
probably that of the interest during the war,
but that the minister, showing no disposition
to have these matters arranged, I thought it a
sufficient proof that this was not the true cause
of their retaining the posts. He concurred as
to the justice of our requiring time for the
payment of our debts; said nothing which
showed a difference of opinion as to the article
of interest, and seemed to believe fully that
their object was to divert the channel of the
fur trade before they delivered up the posts,
and expressed a strong sense of the importance
of that commerce to us. I told him I really
could not foresee what would be the event of
this detention; that the situation of the British
funds, and desire of their minister to begin to
reduce the national debt, seemed to indicate
that they could not wish a war. He thought
so, but that neither were we in a condition to
go to war. I told him I was yet uninformed
what Congress proposed to do on this subject,
but that we should certainly always count on
the good offices of France, and I was sure that
the offer of them would suffice to induce Great
Britain to do us justice. He said that surely
we might always count on the friendship of
France. I added that, by the treaty of alliance,
she was bound to guarantee our limits to us
as they should be established at the moment of
peace. He said they were so, “mais qu'il nous
etoit necessaire de les constater”.
I told him
there was no question what our boundaries
were; that the English themselves admitted
they were clear beyond all question. I feared,
however, to press this any further, lest a reciprocal
question should be put to me.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 575. Ford ed., iv, 228.
(P. 1786)