The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


I am sensible that your situation must have been difficult during the transition from the late form of government to the re-establishment of some other legitimate authority, and that you may have been at a loss to determine with whom business might be done. Nevertheless, when principles are well understood, their application is less embarrassing. We surely cannot deny to any nation that right whereon our own government is founded, that every one may govern itself according to whatever form it pleases, and change these forms at its own will; and that it may transact its business with foreign nations through whatever organ it thinks proper, whether King, Convention, Assembly, Committee, President, or anything else it may choose. The will of the nation is the only thing essential to he regarded.

Mutual good offices, mutual affection, and similar principles of government, seem to destine the two nations for the most intimate communion; and I cannot too much press it on you, to improve every opportunity which may occur in the changeable scenes which are passing, and to seize them as they occur, for placing our commerce with that nation and its dependencies, on the freest and most encouraging footing possible.

to Gouverneur Morris, 12 March 1793