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Special Message

April 27, 1802

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The commissioners who were appointed to carry into execution the sixth article of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation between the United States and Great Britain having differed in their construction of that article, and separated in consequence of that difference, the President of the United States took immediate measures for obtaining conventional explanations of that article for the government of the commissioners. Finding, however, great difficulties opposed to a settlement in that way, he authorized our minister at the Court of London to meet a proposition that the United States by the payment of a fixed sum should discharge themselves from their responsibility for such debts as can not be recovered from the individual debtors. A convention has accordingly been signed, fixing the sum to be paid at 600,000 pounds in three equal and annual installments, which has been ratified by me with the advice and consent of the Senate.

I now transmit copies thereof to both Houses of Congress, trusting that in the free exercise of the authority which the Constitution has given them on the subject of public expenditures they will deem it for the public interest to appropriate the sums necessary for carrying this convention into execution.


Thomas Jefferson, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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