Jefferson’s Draft of Items for the President’s Message to Congress, [3 December 1790]

Jefferson's Draft of Items for the President's Message to Congress [redated from 29 November 1790]

The laws you have already passed for the establishment of a judiciary system have opened the doors of justice to all descriptions of persons. You will consider in your wisdom1 whether improvements in that system may yet be made; and particularly whether an uniform process of execution, on sentences issuing from the federal courts, be not desireable thro' all the states.

The patronage2 of our commerce, of our merchants and seamen, has called for the appointment of Consuls in foreign countries. It seems expedient to regulate by law the exercise of that jurisdiction, and of those functions which are permitted them3 either by express convention, or by a friendly indulgence in the places of their residence.4 The Consular convention too, with his most Christian Majesty has stipulated, in certain cases, the aid of the national authority5 to his Consuls established here. Some legislative provision is requisite to carry these stipulations into full effect.

MS (DLC); entirely in TJ's hand; undated, but entry in SJPL under 29 Nov. 1790 can only refer to this document: “Subjects of speech to Congress.” but see entry listed separately in SJPL under 3 Dec. 1790 as “paragraphs proposed for speech.”

  1. TJ first wrote: “Your wisdom will decide” and then altered the passage to read as above.
  2. This word interlined in substitution for “interests,” deleted.
  3. At this point TJ deleted the following: “in the places of their residence.”
  4. TJ first wrote: “or by the sufferance of friendly powers,” and then altered the passage to read as above.
  5. Preceding two words interlined in substitution for “civil power,” deleted.