we may hope, erelong, 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 each 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 scruple or remorse, supply their wants by depredations on our property, 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 interest, would baffle 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, and a flourishing marine, would then be the inevitable offspring of moral and physical necessity. We might defy the little arts of the 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 the 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 our becoming theirs, they would, in all probability, combine to embarrass our navigation in such a manner