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November, 1785


The first Question is settled by Vattel in the following Paragraph,
viz!"Among the modern Institutions for the utility of Commerce, one of
the most useful is that of Consuls, or Persons residing in the large trad­
ingCities, and especially in foreign Sea Ports; with a Commission em­
powering them to attend to the Rights and Priveleges of their Nation,
and to terminate Misunderstandings, and Contests, among its Mer­
chants. vVhen aNation trades largelywith aCountry,it is requisite to
have there a Person charged with such a Commission, and as the State
which allows of thisCommerce, must naturally favor it; so for the same
Reason, it is likewise to admit aConsul. But there being no absolute
and perfect Obligation to this, the Nation disposed to have a Consul,
must procure itself this Right by the very Treaty of Commerce."
The second Question appears to me to be an important one, for
that however Determined, interesting Consequences will result from
its Decision. In considering it, a secondary Question presents itself,
wish. viz� Whether the Rejection or Reception of this Consul will most
dispose his Nation to the Terms of Commercial Intercourse which we
To this Point the Fable of the North Wind and Sun seems applicable.
It appears to me that the Admission of a Consul here, is not a
matter of so much Importance to Britain, as to induce that Nation
to purchase or obtain it, by any Compliances which they would not
otherwise make. Severity or Summum Jus on small Points may
irritate, but they very seldom coerce. Retaliatory Restrictions on
Trade and Navigation, are great Objects, and very consistant with
the Pride and Dignity as well as Interest of a Nation-but under
such Ideas, to refuse to receive a Consul, would (whatever might be
the true Motives), be generally ascribed to a Degree of Pique and
Irittation, which though Nations may feel they ought not expressly
or impliedly to declare.
In my Opinion therefore this Consul should be received, but in
such a Manner as to be, and to appear, a Matter of Favor, and not
as a Matter of Course.
I have the Honor to be etc.
His Excellency

1 This letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 80, II, folio 61.
According to indorsement it was read this day o.nd referred back, with Temple's
commission, to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to report, which he did,
November 30.,