Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 704 pages of information about Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1.

Considering the treaty with Portugal among the most interesting to the United States, I some time ago, took occasion at Versailles, to ask of the Portuguese ambassador, if he had yet received from his court an answer to our letter.  He told me he had not, but that he would make it the subject of another letter.  Two days ago, his secretaire d’ambassade called on me, with a letter from his minister to the ambassador, in which was the following paragraph, as he translated it to me; and I committed it to writing from his mouth.  ’Your Excellency has communicated to us the substance of your conversation with the American minister.  That power ought to have been already persuaded, by the manner in which its vessels have been received here; and consequently that his Majesty would have much satisfaction in maintaining perfect harmony and good understanding with the same United States.  But it would be proper to begin with the reciprocal nomination, on both sides, of persons, who, at least with the character of agents, might reciprocally inform their constituents, of what might conduce to a knowledge of the interests of the two nations, without prejudice to either.  This first step appears necessary to lead to the proposed object.’

By this, it would seem, that this power is more disposed to pursue a track of negotiation, similar to that which Spain has done.  I consider this answer as definitive of all further measures, under our commission to Portugal.  That to Spain was superseded by proceedings in another line.  That to Prussia is concluded by actual treaty; to Tuscany will probably be so; and perhaps to Denmark:  and these, I believe, will be the sum of the effects of our commissions for making treaties of alliance.  England shows no disposition to treat.  France, should her ministers be able to keep the ground of the Arret of August, 1784, against the clamors of her merchants, and should they be disposed, hereafter, to give us more, very probably will not bind herself to it by treaty, but keep her regulations dependent on her own will.  Sweden will establish a free port at St. Bartholomew’s, which, perhaps, will render any new engagement, on our part, unnecessary.  Holland is so immovable in her system of colony administration, that, as propositions to her, on that subject, would be desperate, they had better not be made.  You will perceive by the letter No. 11, from the Marquis de la Fayette, that there is a possibility of an overture from the Emperor.  A hint from the charge des affaires of Naples, lately, has induced me to suppose something of the same kind from thence.  But the advanced period of our commissions now offers good cause for avoiding to begin, what probably cannot be terminated during their continuance; and with respect to these two, and all other powers not before mentioned, I doubt whether the advantages to be derived from treaties with them, will countervail the additional embarrassments they may impose on the States, when they shall proceed

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