Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Thomas Jefferson (17431826)
The character of our coasts, remarkable in considerable parts of it for admitting no vessels of size to pass near the shores, would entitle us, in reason, to as broad a margin of protected navigation, as any nation whatever. Not proposing, however, at this time, and without a respectful and friendly communication with the Powers interested in this navigation, to fix on a distance to which we may ultimately insist on the right of protection, the President gives instructions to the officers, acting under this authority, to consider those heretofore given them as restrained for the present to the distance of one sea-league, or three geographical miles from the sea-shore. This distance can admit of no opposition as it is recognized by treaties between some of the Powers with whom we are connected in commerce and navigation, and is as little or less than is claimed by any of them on their own coasts.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, secretary of state, letter to the French Minister, Edmond Charles Genêt, November 8, 1793.The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 6, pp. 44041 (1895).