Jay Treaty — November 19, 1794:
Also: Jay's Treaty,
John Jay's Treaty, or Treaty of London
Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation
from Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State) to
George Hammond (Minister of Great Britain to the United
Annexed to the Jay Treaty and Mentioned in Its Article VII
Philadelphia, September 5th, 1793
I am honored with yours of
August 30th. Mine of the 7th of that month assured you that
measures were taken for excluding from all further asylum in
our ports vessels armed in them to cruise on nations with
which we are at peace, and for the restoration of the
prizes, the Lovely Lass, Prince William Henry,
and the Jane of Dublin, and that should the measures
for restitution fail in their effect, the President
considered it as incumbent on the United States to make
compensation for the vessels.
We are bound by our treaties
with three of the belligerent nations, by all the means in
our power to protect and defend their vessels and effects in
our ports or waters, or on the seas near our shores, and to
recover and restore the same to the right owners when taken
from them. If all the means in our power are used, and fail
in their effect, we are not bound by our treaties with those
nations to make compensation.
Though we have no similar treaty
with Great Britain, it was the opinion of the President that
we should use towards that nation the same rule, which,
under this article, was to govern us with the other nations;
and even to extend it to captures made on the high seas and
brought into our ports; if done by vessels which had been
armed within them.
Having for particular reasons,
forbore to use all the means in our power for the
restitution of the three vessels mentioned in my letter of
August 7th, the President thought it incumbent on the United
States to make compensation for them. And though nothing was
said in that letter of other vessels taken under like
circumstances and brought in after the 5th of June and
before the date of that letter, yet, when the same
forbearance had taken place, it was and is his opinion that
compensation would be equally due.
As to prizes made under the same circumstances and brought
in after the date of that letter, the President determined
that all the means in our power should be used for their
restitution. If these fail as we should not be bound by our
treaties to make compensation to other powers in the
analogous case, he did not mean to give an opinion that it
ought to be done to Great Britain. But still, if any case
shall arise subsequent to that date, the circumstances of
which shall place them on similar ground with those before
it, the President would think compensation equally incumbent
on the United States.
Instructions are given to the
governors of the different States, to use all the means in
their power for restoring prizes of this last description
found within their ports. Though they will of course take
measures to be informed of them, and the general government
has given them the aid of the Custom-House Officers for this
purpose, yet you will be sensible of the importance of
multiplying the channels of their information, as far as
shall depend on yourself or any person under your direction,
in order that the governors may use the means in their power
for making restitution.
Without knowledge of the capture
they cannot restore it. It will always be best to give the
notice to them directly. But any information which you shall
be pleased to send to me at any time, shall be forwarded to
them as quickly as distance will permit.
Hence you will perceive, sir,
that the President contemplates restitution or compensation
in the cases before the 7th of August; and after that date,
restitution if it can be effected by any means in our power.
And that it will be important that you should substantiate
the fact that such prizes are in our ports or waters.
Your list of the privateers
illicitly armed in our ports is, I believe, correct.
With respect to losses by detention, waste, or spoliation
sustained by vessels taken, as before mentioned, between the
dates of June 5th and August 7th, it is proposed as a
provisional measure that the Collector of the Customs of the
district and the British Consul, or any other person you
please, shall appoint persons to establish the value of the
vessel and cargo at the time of her capture, and of her
arrival in the port into which she is brought, according to
their value in that port. If this shall be agreeable to you,
and you will be pleased to signify it to me with the names
of the prizes understood to be of this description,
instructions will be given accordingly to the Collector of
the Customs where the respective vessels are.
I have the honor to be etc.
principaux Traites d'Alliance, de Paix, de Treve,
de Commerce, de Limites d'Echange etc. Conclus
par les Puissances de l'Europe,
Vol. V (1791-1795), Gottingen, J.C. Dietrich,