Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Same Subject Continued
(Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence)
For the Independent Journal. - JAY

To the People of the State of New York:

Queen Anne, in her letter of the 1st July, 1706, to the Scotch
Parliament, makes some observations on the importance of
the union then forming between England and Scotland, which
merit our attention. I shall present the public with one or
two extracts from it: “An entire and perfect union will be the
solid foundation of lasting peace: It will secure your religion,
liberty, and property; remove the animosities amongst yourselves,
and the jealousies and differences betwixt our two kingdoms.
It must increase your strength, riches, and trade; and
by this union the whole island, being joined in affection and
free from all apprehensions of different interest, will be enabled
to resist all its enemies.’’ “We most earnestly recommend
to you calmness and unanimity in this great and weighty affair,
that the union may be brought to a happy conclusion,
being the only effectual way to secure our present and future
happiness, and disappoint the designs of our and your enemies,
who will doubtless, on this occasion, use their utmost
endeavors to prevent or delay this union.’’
It was remarked in the preceding paper, that weakness and
divisions at home would invite dangers from abroad; and that
nothing would tend more to secure us from them than union,
strength, and good government within ourselves. This subject
is copious and cannot easily be exhausted.
The history of Great Britain is the one with which we are
in general the best acquainted, and it gives us many useful
lessons. We may profit by their experience without paying
the price which it cost them. Although it seems obvious to
common sense that the people of such an island should be
but one nation, yet we find that they were for ages divided
into three, and that those three were almost constantly embroiled
in quarrels and wars with one another. Notwithstanding
their true interest with respect to the continental nations
was really the same, yet by the arts and policy and practices of
those nations, their mutual jealousies were perpetually kept
inflamed, and for a long series of years they were far more
inconvenient and troublesome than they were useful and assisting
to each other.
Should the people of America divide themselves into three
or four nations, would not the same thing happen? Would
not similar jealousies arise, and be in like manner cherished?
Instead of their being “joined in affection” and free from all
apprehension of different “interests,” envy and jealousy would
soon extinguish confidence and affection, and the partial interests
of each confederacy, instead of the general interests of
all America, would be the only objects of their policy and
pursuits. Hence, like most other bordering nations, they would
always be either involved in disputes and war, or live in the
constant apprehension of them.
The most sanguine advocates for three or four confederacies
cannot reasonably suppose that they would long remain
exactly on an equal footing in point of strength, even if it was
possible to form them so at first; but, admitting that to be
practicable, yet what human contrivance can secure the continuance
of such equality? Independent of those local circumstances
which tend to beget and increase power in one part
and to impede its progress in another, we must advert to the
effects of that superior policy and good management which
would probably distinguish the government of one above the
rest, and by which their relative equality in strength and
consideration would be destroyed. For it cannot be presumed
that the same degree of sound policy, prudence, and foresight
would uniformly be observed by each of these confederacies
for a long succession of years.
Whenever, and from whatever causes, it might happen, and
happen it would, that any one of these nations or confederacies
should rise on the scale of political importance much
above the degree of her neighbors, that moment would those
neighbors behold her with envy and with fear. Both those
passions would lead them to countenance, if not to promote,
whatever might promise to diminish her importance; and
would also restrain them from measures calculated to advance
or even to secure her prosperity. Much time would not be
necessary to enable her to discern these unfriendly dispositions.
She would soon begin, not only to lose confidence in
her neighbors, but also to feel a disposition equally unfavorable
to them. Distrust naturally creates distrust, and by nothing
is good-will and kind conduct more speedily changed than
by invidious jealousies and uncandid imputations, whether
expressed or implied.
The North is generally the region of strength, and many
local circumstances render it probable that the most Northern
of the proposed confederacies would, at a period not very
distant, be unquestionably more formidable than any of the
others. No sooner would this become evident than the northern
hive would excite the same ideas and sensations in the
more southern parts of America which it formerly did in the
southern parts of Europe. Nor does it appear to be a rash
conjecture that its young swarms might often be tempted to
gather honey in the more blooming fields and milder air of
their luxurious and more delicate neighbors.
They who well consider the history of similar divisions and
confederacies will find abundant reason to apprehend that
those in contemplation would in no other sense be neighbors
than as they would be borderers; that they would neither love
nor trust one another, but on the contrary would be a prey to
discord, jealousy, and mutual injuries; in short, that they would
place us exactly in the situations in which some nations doubtless
wish to see us, viz., formidable only to each other.
From these considerations it appears that those gentlemen
are greatly mistaken who suppose that alliances offensive and
defensive might be formed between these confederacies, and
would produce that combination and union of wills of arms
and of resources, which would be necessary to put and keep
them in a formidable state of defense against foreign enemies.
When did the independent states, into which Britain and
Spain were formerly divided, combine in such alliance, or
unite their forces against a foreign enemy? The proposed confederacies
will be distinct nations. Each of them would have
its commerce with foreigners to regulate by distinct treaties;
and as their productions and commodities are different and
proper for different markets, so would those treaties be essentially
Different commercial concerns must create different interests,
and of course different degrees of political attachment to
and connection with different foreign nations. Hence it might
and probably would happen that the foreign nation with
whom the southern confederacy might be at war would be
the one with whom the northern confederacy would be the
most desirous of preserving peace and friendship. An alliance
so contrary to their immediate interest would not therefore
be easy to form, nor, if formed, would it be observed and
fulfilled with perfect good faith.
Nay, it is far more probable that in America, as in Europe,
neighboring nations, acting under the impulse of opposite
interests and unfriendly passions, would frequently be found
taking different sides. Considering our distance from Europe,
it would be more natural for these confederacies to apprehend
danger from one another than from distant nations, and
therefore that each of them should be more desirous to guard
against the others by the aid of foreign alliances, than to guard
against foreign dangers by alliances between themselves. And
here let us not forget how much more easy it is to receive
foreign fleets into our ports, and foreign armies into our country,
than it is to persuade or compel them to depart. How
many conquests did the Romans and others make in the characters
of allies, and what innovations did they under the same
character introduce into the governments of those whom they
pretended to protect.
Let candid men judge, then, whether the division of America
into any given number of independent sovereignties would
tend to secure us against the hostilities and improper interference
of foreign nations.