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Relative to a War with Spain.

AS there seems to be probability of a
national difference with Spain, every good
citizen must deem it incumbent on him to
consider the matter maturely, and to weigh
all consequences well before he gives his
voice on one side or the other. As the
time is hastening when the national legis-
lature will open its sittings, and some mea-
sures will be proposed by our govern-
ment for the sanction of the representative
body: this is the moment of deliberation
and enquiry. It is impossible that a war
with Spain, whose possessions lie so closely
round about us: whose interests are so in-
timately blended with those of a still more
formidable nation, France, should be pro-
ductive of slight or inconsiderable conse-
quences. War with any state, however
insignificant, should make the governors
of every nation pause, but, in the present
state of European policy, there is no fore-
telling where the tide of hostility, when
once set in motion, will end. Our com-
merce, our genius and our institutions con-
stitute us, in the strictest sense, a member
of that body whose main trunk is spread
over Europe, but whose principal branches
are extended over all the borders of this
Western World. War is a whirlpool,
which gathers all those nations round its
centre. Hitherto we have with great diffi-
culty, and with marvelous good fortune,
kept ourselves from being involved in its
current. Surely there should be most
cogent reasons to induce us wantonly to
trust ourselves within its reach, and to
part with the sweet tranquility, those ines-
timable benefits which we have hitherto,
for so long a period enjoyed.

With deep impressions of the infinite
moment of the question should every man
sit down to examine it. Before he enquires
into the decisions of abstract justice, before
he considers whether we have been treated
by the Spanish government in a manner
consonant to rigid equity or not, he will
weigh well the consequences which war
will bring along with it. He will ask with
anxiety and earnestness, what is to be gain-
ed, and what is to be lost by such a war?

Spain itself, is to us, a transmarine nati-
on, but is colonies and detached territories
are contiguous to our own. He will first
confine his view to Transatlantic Spain—
With that our only intercourse, at present,
is of a commercial nature. We should,
therefore, consider how our trade will be
affected by a war. What do we now re-
ceive from the European dominions of
Spain. What effect have these receipts in
furnishing employment to all those artizans
who are connected with the building and
fitting of shipping? What effect have they
on the fortunes of our merchants, and thro’
them, upon the general wealth of the com-
munity? What effect upon the public re-

What is the nature and value of the com-
modities, of either foreign or domestic
product, which we export to Spain,
and what is the various and complex effect on
the condition of individuals, which this
trade already produces? Is there not a pre-
sent scarcity of corn in Spain? Shall we
not, in case of the continuance of peace,
have, in our own hands, the supplying of
their wants, and will not this be a source of
immense advantage to us, in every form
in which trade can benefit a nation? Is not
flour our staple article of commerce? That
article which we have the means of manu-
facturing to an almost unlimited extent,
and the production of which has a more
powerful effect than any other on our real
wealth, happiness, and population. Could
there be any period at which a war with
Spain would prove more deeply injurious
to our true interests as a nation of farmers
and millers than the present?

We should then consider, whether Spain
be not capable of inflicting direct and po-
sitive injuries, by annoying our trade with
their ships of war and their privateers.—
Contemptuously as we regard them, as a
naval and military nation, let us not forget,
that stations and opportunities may com-
pensate, in a large degree, the want of
fleets and armies. Let us consider that we
are a nation of husbandmen and traders;
our traders setting the plow to work, and
are enabled in their turn to sell and barter
by the plow— that the West Indies are the
grand emporium where a vast portion of
our commodities are exchanged. There
is our market, whither the products of our
lands and husbandry are carried, and from
whence all that can make our home com-
fortable, is brought back. In the great
highway to this market are the Spaniards
posted, in the impregnable fortress of Ha-
vanna. Within sight of the very towers
of this fortress are our ships in their voy-
age out and home obliged to pass. From
thence may the watchful enemy descry
them, and rushing out, in pinnaces and
barges, make them an easy prey.

Even in our immediate neighbourhood
the Spaniards occupy stations from which
they may effectually annoy us. Their posts
in east and west Florida, are situated as if
on purpose to molest and intercept our in-
tercourse with the Tropical Islands, and
with our new Empire on the Mississipi.

What a poor and deceitful consolation is
it that these ravages may be, in some de-
gree, prevented or diminished by arming
our merchant ships and beating off the
petty enemy, whom only to be armsless,
makes formidable. This may be lessening
indeed, but it is not annihilating the evil:
for to what amount will the additional ex-
penses of naval equipments arise? What
will be the cost of the needful arms, am-
munition and men? On whose expences
will this cost ultimately fall? Will it not
fall, in the enhanced price of all West-In-
dian commodities, on the farmer and me-
chanic, and in the consequent rise of all
provisions, on the whole community.

A still poorer consolation is it that we
may retaliate on Spanish subjects, for ad-
mitting that we can molest and pillage their
trade and their people, this considered as
mere retaliation, will afford us but the
wretched and infernal satisfaction of re-
venge, but it does not fill the empty purse;
or build up the ruined fortune, or abate the
exorbitant price of the necessaries of life.

Some may indeed question this conclu-
sion, and observe that our privateers may
pillage the Spaniards in the West-Indian
and European seas, and thus we may re-
imburse ourselves for all our losses, incur-
red by the suspension, or pillage of our own

Let it be enquired what the nature of
the Spanish trade is, whether that between
the parent country and the colonies may
not be concentered or suspended, or pro-
tected in such a manner as, for the most
part, to baffle all our force and all our stra-

But what genuine citizen would not ab-
hor, what enlightened statesman would not
deprecate, the riches that are gotten by the
plundering called privateering. The wealth
of a nation is lessened by the influx of mo-
ney, if prodigality and vice keep pace with
it, and how notorious is it, that wealth
gotten by privateers-men begets profligacy,
presumption, and waste, and leaves all
those concerned in it sunk deeper than ever
in wretchedness and poverty.

But perhaps it may be said that the Spa-
nish posts may be seized. — This cannot be
done without soldiers and ships of war, and
can it be done, even by their assistance. —
Let us sit down and count the cost. I do
not mean the mere money, which it is the
fashion with exasperated patriots to despise
when it comes in competition with what
they call national honor, but the cost in
lives. Let us also consider the incidents of
a campaign in the woods and bogs of Flo-
rida, and especially the probability of suc-
cess against maritime fortresses, well de-
fended by ramparts and men, and still bet-
ter by the horrors of the climate, and a
trackless wilderness. As to the grand post
from which the enemy can harm us most,
it is absolutely inaccessible to our attempts.
The most formidable naval and military
power in the world, Great Britain, expend-
ed thousands of lives and millions of mo-
ney, half a century ago, in gaining momen-
tary possession of Havanna.

But supposing the conquest of the Flo-
ridas effected, it must either be restored at
the conclusion of hostilities, in which case
all the lives and all the money previously
expended in obtaining and preserving it, will
be thrown away, or it will become a per-
manent possession, that is, we shall en-
large an empire already of unwieldly mag-
nitude; we shall multiply the seeds of fo-
reign war, and intestine animosity; we shall
put to new hazard the integrity, unity, and
peace of the American empire.

These are the considerations to which
every good citizen will give close attention.
To give a satisfactory reply to these que-
ries would be a public benefit. If no bo-
dy better qualified shall give us that satis-
faction, an attempt will be made more am-
ply to elucidate this interesting subject by


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