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pretences and claims, what should we be able to say, with only four or five thousand men to carry on the dispute? It may be supposed, that France would not choose to renounce our friendship, by a step of this kind, as the consequence would be reunion with England, on some terms or other, and the loss of what she had acquired in so violent and unjustifiable a manner, with all the advantages of an alliance with us. This, in my opinion, is too slender a security against the measure, to be relied on.
DANGER FROM FRANCE'S NAVAL ASCENDENCY.
If France and Spain should unite, and obtain a decided superiority by sea, a reunion with England would avail us very little, and might be set at defiance.
France, with a numerous army at command, might throw in what number of land forces she thought proper, to support her pretensions. And England, without men, without money, and inferior on her favorite element, could give no effectual aid to oppose them.
Resentment, Reproaches, and Submission, seem to be all that would be left to us.
EXCESSIVE CONFIDENCE IN AN ALLY.
Men are very apt to run-into extremes. Hatred to England may carry some into an excess of confidence in France, especially when motives of gratitude are thrown into the scale.
Men of this description, would be unwilling to suppose France capable of acting an ungenerous part.
I am heartily disposed to entertain the most favorable sentiments of our new ally, and to cherish them in others, to a reasonable degree. But it is a maxim, founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation is to be trusted, further than it is bound by its interest; and no prudent statesman or politician will venture to depart from it.
In our circumstances, we ought to be particularly cautious; for we have not yet attained sufficient vigor and maturity, to recover from the shock of any false step into which we may unwarily fall.
INVASION OF CANADA.
I have uniformly made the departure of the enemy from these States, an essential condition to the invasion of Canada.
VII. THE NAVY.
In a short time, we shall have at least thirty ships of war, from thirty-eight guns downwards, besides (if the ministry carry on their piratical war) a great number of privateors. THE REMEMBRANCER, Pt. III. p. 31. 1776.
Navigation will carry the American flag around the globe itself; and display the thirteen stripes and new constellation, at Bengal and Canton, on the Indus and Ganges, on the Whang-ho and the Yang-tse-kiang; and with commerce will import the wisdom and literature of the East. EZRA STILES, Pres. of Yale College, 1783.
COMMERCE AND THE NAVY.
To an active external Commerce, the protection of a naval force is indispensable.
SHIPS OF WAR.
Will it not be advisable to begin, without delay, to provide and lay up the materials, for the building and the equipping of Ships of War, and to proceed in the work by degrees, in proportion as our resources may render it practicable, without inconvenience; so that a future war of Europe may not find our commerce in the same unprotected state in which it was found by the present?
NATIONAL IMPORTANCE OF A NAVAL FORCE.
It is in our experience, that the most sincere neutrality is not a sufficient guard against the depredations of nations at war.
To secure respect to a neutral flag, requires a Naval Force, organized, and ready to vindicate it from insult or aggression.
This may prevent even the necessity of going to war, by discouraging belligerent powers from committing such violations of the rights of the neutral party, as may, first or last, leave no other option.
A NAVAL FORCE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN.
From the best information I have been able to obtain, it would seem as if our trade in the Mediterranean, without a protecting force, will always be insecure, and our citizens exposed to the calamities from which numbers of them have just been relieved.
THE GRADUAL CREATION OF A NAVY.
Various considerations invite the United States to look to the means, and to set about the gradual creation of a Navy. `
The increasing progress of their navigation, promises them, at no distant period, the requisite supply of seamen; and their means, in other respects, favor the undertaking. It is an encouragement, likewise, that their particular situation will give weight and influence to a moderate naval force in their hands. -87