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the principal part of its profits be intercepted by the Dutch, as a compensation for their agency and risk? Would not the mere circumstance of freight occasion a considerable deduction ? Would not so circuitous an intercourse facilitate the competitions of other nations, by enhancing the price of British commoditios in our markets, and by transferring to other hands the managemont of this intorosting branch of the British commerce?
A mature consideration of the objects, suggested by these questions, will justify a belief, that the real disadvantages to Great Britain, from such a state of things, conspiring with the prepossessions of a great part of the nation in favour of the American trade, and with the importunities of the West-India islands, would produce a relaxation in her present system, and would let us into the enjoyment of privileges in the markets of those islands and elsewhere, from which our trade would derive the most substantial benefits. Such a point gained from the British government, and which could not be expected without an equivalent in exemptions and immunities in our markets, would be likely to have a correspondent effect on the conduct of other nations, who would not be inclined to see themselves altogether supplanted in our trade.
A further resource for influencing the conduct of European nations towards us, in this respect, would arise from the establishment of a federal navy. There can be no doubt, that the continuance of the union, under an efficient government, would' put it in our power, at a period not very distant, to create a navy, which, if it could not vie with those of the great maritime powers, would at least be of respectable weight, if thrown into the scale of either of two contending parties. This would be more particularly the case, in relation to operations in the WestIndies. A few ships of the line, sent opportunely to the reinforcement of either side, would often be sufficient to decide the fate of a campaign, on the event of which, interests of the greatest magnitude were suspended. Our position is, in this respect, & very commanding one. And if to this consideration we add that of the usefulness of supplies from this country, in the prose
cution of military operations in the West-Indies, it will readily be perceived, that a situation so favourablo, would enable us to bargain with great advantage for commercial privileges. price would be set not only upon our friendship, but upon our neutrality. By a steady adherence to the union, we may hope, ere long, to become the arbiter of Europe in America; and to be able to incline the balance of European competitions in this part of the world, as our interest may dictate.
But in the reverse of this eligible situation, we shall discover, that the rivalships of the parts would make them checks upon pach other, and would frustrate all the tempting advantages, which nature has kindly placed within our reach. In a state so insignificant, our commerce would be a prey to the wanton intermeddlings of all nations at war with each other; who, having nothing to fear from us, would, with little scruplo or remorse, supply their wants by depredations on our proporty, as often as it fell in their way. The rights of neutrality will only be respected, when they are defended by an adequate power. A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral.
Under a vigorous national government, the natural strength and resources of the country, directed to a common intorost, would bafile all the combinations of European jealousy to restrain our growth. This situation would even take away the motive to such combinations, by inducing an impracticability of success. An active commerce, an extensive navigation, a flourishing marine, would then be the inevitable offspring of moral and physical necessity. We might defy the little arts of little politicians to control, or vary, the irresistible and unchangeable course of nature.
But in a state of disunion, these combinations might exist, and might operate with success. It would be in tho power of the maritime nations, availing themselves of our universal impotence, to prescribe the conditions of our political existence; and as they have a common interest in being our carriers, and still more in preventing us from becoming theirs, they would, in
all probability, combine to embarrass our navigation in such a manner, as would in effect destroy it, and confine us to a PASSIVE COMMERCE. We should thus be compelled to content ourselves with the first price of our commodities, and to see the profits of our trade snatched from us, to enrich our enemies and persecutors. That unequalled spirit of enterprise, which signalizes the genius of the American merchants and navigators, and which is in itself an inexhaustible mine of national wealth, would be stified and lost; and poverty and disgrace would overspread a country, which, with wisdom, might make herself the admiration and envy of the world.
There are rights of great moment to the trade of America, which are rights of the union: I allude to the fisheries, to the navigation of the Lakes, and to that of the Mississippi. The dissolution of the confederacy would give room for delicate questions, concerning the future existence of these rights; which the interest of more powerful partnors would hardly fail to solve to our disadvantage. The disposition of Spain, with regard to the Mississippi, needs no comment. France and Britain are con. cerned with us in the fisheries; and view them as of the utmost moment to their navigation. They, of course, would hardly remain long indifferent to that decided mastery, of which experience has shown us to be possessed, in this valuable branch of traffic; and by which we are able to undersell those nations in their own markets. What more natural, than that they should be disposed to exclude from the lists such dangerous competitors ?
This branch of trade ought not to be considered as a partial benefit. All the navigating states may in different degrees advantageously participate in it; and under circumstances of a greater extension of mercantile capacity, would not be unlikely to do it. As a nursery of seamen, it now is, or when time shall have more nearly assimilated the principles of navigation in the several states, will become an universal resource. To the establishment of a nary, it must be indispensable.
To this great national object, a navy, union will contribute in
various ways. Every institution will
and flourish in proportion to the quantity and extent of the means concenter towards its formation and support. A navy of the United States, as it would embrace the resources of all, is an object far less remote than a navy of any single state, or partial confederacy, which would only embrace the resources of a part. It happens, indeed, that different portions of confederated America, possess each some peculiar advantage for this essential establishment. The more southern states furnish in greator abundance certain kinds of naval storestar, pitch, and turpentine. Their wood, for the construction of ships, is also of a more solid and lasting texture. The difference in the duration of the ships of which the navy might be composed, if chiefly constructed of southern wood, would be of signal importance, either in the view of naval strength, or of national economy. Some of the southern and of the middle states, yield a greater plenty of iron and of better quality. Seamen must chiefly be drawn from the northern hive. The necessity of naval protection to external or maritimo commerce, and the conduciveness of that species of commerce, to the prosperity of a navy, are points too manifest to require a particular elucidation. They, by a kind of reaction, mutually beneficial, promote each other.
An unrestrained intercourse between the states themselves, will advance the trade of each, by an interchange of their respective productions, not only for the supply of reciprocal wants, þut for exportation to foreign markets. The veins of commerce in every part will be replenished, and will acquire additional motion and vigour from a free circulation of the commodities of every part. Commercial enterprise will have much greater scope, from the diversity in the productions of different states. When the staple of one fails, from a bad harvest or unproductive crop, it can call to its aid the staple of another. The variety, not less than the value, of products for exportation, contributes to the activity of foreign commerce. It can be conducted upon much better terms, with a large number of materials of a given value, than with a small number of materials of the same
value; arising from the competitions of trade, and from the fluo tuations of markets. Particular articles may be in grect demand at certain periods, and unsaleable at others; but if there be a variety of articles, it can scarcely happen that they should all be at one time in the latter predicament; and on this account, the operations of the merchant would be less liablo to any considerable obstruction or stagnation. The speculative trader will at once perceive the force of these observations; and will acknowledge, that the aggregate balance of the commerce of the United States, would bid fair to be much more favourable than that of the Thirteen States, without union, or with partial unions.
It may perhaps be replied to this, that whether the states are united, or disunited, there would still be an intimate intercourse
1 between them, which would answer the same onds: But this intercourse would be fettered, interrupted, and narrowed, by a multiplicity of causes; which in the course of these papers have been amply detailed. An unity of commercial, as well as political interests, can only result from an unity of government.
There are other points of view, in which this subject might be placed, of a striking and animating kind. But they would lead us too far into the regions of futurity, and would involvo topics not proper for newspaper discussion. I shall briefly observe, that our situation invites, and our interests prompt us, to uim at an ascondant in tho systom of Amorican affairs. Tho world may politically, as well as geographically, be divided into four parts, each having a distinct set of interests. Unhappily for the other three, Europe, by her arms and by her negociations; by force and by fraud, has, in different degrees, extended her dominion over them all. Africa, Asia, and America, have successively felt her domination. The superiority she has long maintained, bas tempted her to plume herself as the mistress of the world, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit. Men, admired as profound philosophers, have, in direct terms, attributed to her inhabitants a physical superiority; and have gravely asserted that all animals, and with them the human species, degenerate in America—that even dogs