Imágenes de páginas

It is not uncommon, in prosperous gales, to forget, that adverse winds may blow. Such was the case with France. Such may be the case with the coalesced powers against her.

A bystander sees more of the game, generally, than those who are playing it. So neutral nations may be better able to draw a line between the contending parties, than those who are actors in the war. My own wish is, to see every thing settled upon the best and .surest foundation, for the peace and happiness of mankind, without regard to this, that, or the other nation.

A more destructive sword never was drawn, at least in modern times, than this war has produced. It is time to sheathe it, and give peace to mankind.


I pray devoutly, that we may both witness, and that shortly, the return of peace; for a more bloody, expensive, and eventful war is not recorded in modern, if to be found in ancient, history.



The satisfaction I have, in any successes that attend us, even in the alleviation of misfortunes, is always allayed by a fear that it will lull us into security.

Supineness, and a disposition to flatter ourselves,

* He is addressing the Earl of Radnor.

seem to make parts of our national character.


we receive a check, and are not quite undone, we are apt to fancy we have gained a victory; and, when we do gain any little advantage, we imagine it decisive, and expect the war immediately at an end.

The history of the war is a history of false hopes, and temporary expedients. Would to God, they were to end here.



Particular successes, obtained against all the chances of war, have had too much influence, to the prejudice of general and substantial principles.



Although we cannot, by the best concerted plans, absolutely command success, although the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, yet, without presumptuously waiting for miracles to be wrought, in our favor, it is our indispensable duty, with the deepest gratitude to Heaven for the past, and humble confidence in its smiles on our future operations, to make use of all means in our power for our defence and security.


There is nothing which will so soon produce a speedy and honorable peace, as a state of preparation for war; and we must either do this, or lay our account to patch up an inglorious peace, after all the toil, blood, and treasure we have spent. This has been my uniform opinion; a doctrine I have endeavored, amidst the universal expectation of an approaching peace, to inculcate, and which I am sure the event will justify.


There is nothing so likely to produce peace, as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.


To discerning men, nothing can be more evident, than that a peace, on the principles of dependence, however limited, after what has happened, would be, to the last degree, dishonorable and ruinous.


It really seems to me, from a comprehensive view of things, that a period is fast approaching, big with events of the most interesting importance; when the counsels we pursue, and the part we act, may lead decisively to liberty or to slavery. Under this idea, I cannot but regret that inactivity, that inattention, that

want of something, which unhappily I have but too often experienced in our public affairs. I wish, that our representation in Congress was full from every State, and that it was formed on the first abilities among us.

Whether we continue to prosecute the war, or proceed to negotiate, the wisdom of America in council cannot be too great. Our situation will be truly delicate. To enter into a negotiation too hastily, or to reject it altogether, may be attended with consequences equally fatal.

The wishes of the people, seldom founded on deep disquisitions, or resulting from other reasonings than their present feelings, may not entirely accord with our true policy and interest. If they do not, to observe a proper line of conduct for promoting the one, and avoiding offence to the other, will be a work of great difficulty.


Nothing short of independence, it appears to me, can possibly do. A peace on other terms would, if I may be allowed the expression, be a peace of war.

The injuries we have received from the British nation were so unprovoked, and have been so great and so many, that they can never be forgotten. Besides the feuds, the jealousies, the animosities, that would ever attend a union with them; besides the importance, the advantages, which we should derive from an unrestricted commerce; our fidelity as a people, our

gratitude, our character as men, are opposed to a coali tion with them as subjects, but in case of the last extremity.

Were we easily to accede to terms of dependence, no nation, upon future occasions, let the oppressions of Britain be ever so flagrant and unjust, would interpose for our relief; or, at most, they would do it with a cautious reluctance, and upon conditions, most probably, that would be hard, if not dishonorable to us. France, by her supplies, has saved us from the yoke, thus far; and a wise and virtuous perseverance would, and I trust will, free us entirely.



According to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

With me, a predominant motive has been, to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions; and to progress, without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency,

« AnteriorContinuar »