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Special Message

March 22, 1808

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

In a separate message of this date I have communicated to Congress so much as may be made public of papers which give a full view of the present state of our relations with the two contending powers, France and England. Everyone must be sensible that in the details of instructions for negotiating a treaty and in the correspondence and conferences respecting it matters will occur which interest sometimes and sometimes respect or other proper motives forbid to be made public. To reconcile my duty in this particular with my desire of letting Congress know everything which can give them a full understanding of the subjects on which they are to act, I have suppressed in the documents of the other message the parts which ought not to be made public and have given them in the supplementary and confidential papers herewith inclosed, with such references as that they may be read in their original places as if still standing in them; and when these confidential papers shall have been read to the satisfaction of the House, I request their return, and that their contents may not be made public.


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

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