The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson
By the Confederation, Congress have no power given them, in the first
instance, over the commerce of the States. But they have a power given
them of entering into treaties of commerce, and these treaties may
cover the whole field of commerce, with two restrictions only. 1. That
the States may impose equal duties on foreigners as natives: and 2.
That they may prohibit the exportation or importation of any species
of goods whatsoever. . . . I own to you that my wish to enter into
treaties with the other powers of Europe arises more from a desire of
bringing all our commerce under the jurisdiction of Congress, than for
any other views.
John Adams, 7 July 1785