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Special Message

December 03, 1806

To the Senate and House Representatives of the United States:

I have the satisfaction to inform you that the negotiation depending between the United States and the Government of Great Britain is proceeding in a spirit of friendship and accommodation which promises a result of mutual advantage. Delays, indeed, have taken place, occasioned by the long illness and subsequent death of the British minister charged with that duty. But the commissioners appointed by that Government to resume the negotiation have shewn every disposition to hasten its progress. It is, however, a work of time, as many arrangements are necessary to place our future harmony on stable grounds. In the meantime we find by the communications of our plenipotentiaries that a temporary suspension of the act of the last session prohibiting certain importations would, as a mark of candid disposition on our part and of confidence in the temper and views with which they have been met, have a happy effect on its course. A step so friendly will afford further evidence that all our proceedings have flowed from views of justice and conciliation, and that we give them willingly that form which may best meet corresponding dispositions.

Add to this that the same motives which produced the postponement of the act till the 15th of November last are in favor of its further suspension, and as we have reason to hope that it may soon yield to arrangements of mutual consent and convenience, justice seems to require that the same measure may be dealt out to the few cases which may fall within its short course as to all others preceding and following it. I can not, therefore, but recommend the suspension of this act for a reasonable time, on considerations of justice, amity, and the public interests.


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

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