The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


The bill for continuing the suspension of intercourse with France and her dependencies, is still before the Senate, but will pass by a very great vote. An attack is made on what is called the Toussaint's clause, the object of which, as is charged by the one party and admitted by the other, is to facilitate the separation of the island from France. The clause will pass, however, by about nineteen to eight, or perhaps eighteen to nine. Rigaud, at the head of the people of color, maintains his allegiance. But they are only twenty-five thousand souls, against five hundred thousand, the number of the blacks. The treaty made with them by Maitland is (if they are to be separated from France) the best thing for us. They must get their provisions from us. It will indeed be in English bottoms, so that we shall lose the carriage. But the English will probably forbid them the ocean, confine them to their island, and thus prevent their becoming an American Algiers. It must be admitted too, that they may play them off on us when they please. Against this there is no remedy but timely measures on our part, to clear ourselves, by degrees, of the matter on which that lever can work.

to James Madison, 5 February 1799