Monroe-Pinkney Treaty

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MONROE-PINKNEY TREATY. On 31 December 1806, James Monroe (the American minister at London) and William Pinkney (a special envoy from President Thomas Jefferson) signed the Monroe-Pinkney Treaty in London. Jefferson had instructed Monroe and Pinkney to seek a British pledge not to interfere with American neutral shipping. This had been a long-standing source of Anglo-American dispute. Jefferson sought to redress John Jay's failure in 1794 to attain this outcome through the controversial Jay's Treaty. In return for British concessions on American neutral shipping, Jefferson promised to repeal the Non-Importation Act (1806) and other legislation that prohibited U.S. imports from England.

Monroe and Pinkney could not convince British leaders to accept this bargain. Instead, Lord Holland and Lord Auckland offered the Americans extended trading rights within the British Empire, including renewal of those granted by Jay's Treaty. Holland and Auckland also promised that the British would exercise "the greatest caution" when considering interference with American ships headed to France and other British enemies. Monroe and Pinkney accepted this arrangement as the best compromise they could attain from a position of weakness.

Unsatisfied with the treaty, Jefferson refused to send it to the Senate for ratification in 1807. He pursued a policy of commercial warfare against Great Britain. This policy contributed to the War of 1812.


Kaplan, Lawrence S. Thomas Jefferson: Westward the Course of Empire. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1999.

Perkins, Bradford. The Creation of a Republican Empire, 1776– 1865. Vol. 1: Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, edited by Warren I. Cohen. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.


See alsoNonimportation Agreements .