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It is among nations, as with individuals; the par ty taking advantage of the distresses of another, will lose infinitely more, in the opinion of mankind, and in consequent events, than it will gain by the stroke of the moment.


Treaties which are not built upon reciprocal benefits, are not likely to be of long duration.

Unless Treaties are mutually beneficial to the parties, it is in vain to hope for a continuance of them, beyond the moment when the one which conceives itself overreached, is in a situation to break off the connection.


Our own experience, if it has not already had this effect, will soon convince us, that the idea of disinterested favors or friendship from any nation whatever, is too novel to be calculated on; and there will always be found a wide difference between the words and actions of any of them. 1797.

Nations are not influenced, as individuals may be,

by disinterested friendships; but, when it is their interest to live in amity, we have little reason to apprehend any rupture.



I do not like to add to the number of our national obligations. I would wish, as much as possible, to avoid giving a foreign power new claims of merit for services performed to the United States, and would ask no assistance that is not indispensable.


No policy, in my opinion, can be more clearly demonstrated, than that we should do justice to all, and have no political connection with any of the European powers, beyond those which result from, and serve to regulate, our commerce with them.


The politics of Princes are fluctuating; often, more guided by a particular prejudice, whim, or interest, than by extensive views of policy.

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The change or caprice of a single Minister, is capable of altering the whole system of Europe.

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Candor is not a more conspicuous trait, in the character of Governments, than it is of individuals.


I have always believed, that some apparent cause, powerful in its nature, and progressive in its operation, must be employed, to produce a change in national sentiments.


Honesty in States, as well as in individuals, will ever be found the soundest policy.



In modern wars, the longest purse must chiefly determine the event. I fear, that of the enemy will be found to be so.

Though the Government is deeply in debt, the Nation is rich; and their riches afford a fund which will not be easily exhausted. Besides, their system of public credit is such, that it is capable of greater exertions than any other nation.

Speculatists have been, a long time, foretelling Great Britain's downfall; but we see no symptoms of the catastrophe being very near. I am persuaded, it will at least last out the war; and then, in the opinion of many of the best politicians, it will be a national advantage. If the war should terminate successfully, the Crown will have acquired such influence and power, that it may attempt any thing; and a bankruptcy will probably be made the ladder to climb to absolute authority.

The Administration may, perhaps, wish to drive matters to this issue. At any rate, they will not be restrained, by an apprehension of it, from forcing the resources of the State. It will promote their present purposes, on which their all is at stake; and it may pave the way to triumph more effectually over the Constitution. With this disposition, I have no doubt that ample means will be found, to prosecute the war with the greatest vigor.


The Maritime Resources of Great Britain are more substantial and real, than those of France and Spain united. Her commerce is more extensive than that of both her rivals; and it is an axiom, that the nation which has the most extensive commerce, will always have the most powerful marine.


If the Spaniards, under this favorable beginning, would unite their fleet to that of France, together they would soon humble the pride of haughty Britain, and no longer suffer her to reign sovereign of the seas, and claim the privilege of giving laws to the main.


The opening is now fair; and God grant, that they may embrace the opportunity of bidding an eternal adieu to our (once quit of them) happy land.

If the Spaniards would but join their fleets to those of France, and commence hostilities, my doubts would subside; without it, I fear the British navy has it too much in its power to counteract the schemes of France.



In this age of free inquiry and enlightened reason, it is to be hoped, that the condition of the people in every country will be bettered, and the happiness of mankind promoted. Spain appears to be so much behind the other nations of Europe in liberal policy, that a long time will undoubtedly elapse, before the people of that kingdom can taste the sweets

* The defeat of the British squadron, by the French Admiral d'Orvilliers.

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