Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/43

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1807
33
DEMANDS AND DISAVOWALS

it correct, was of little consequence, for in any case the result would be the same; he was confident that England would give neither satisfaction nor security.[1]

"I will, however, acknowledge that on that particular point I have not bestowed much thought; for having considered from the first moment war was a necessary result, and the preliminaries appearing to me but matters of form, my faculties have been exclusively applied to the preparations necessary to meet the times. And although I am not very sanguine as to the brilliancy of our exploits, the field where we can act without a navy being very limited, and perfectly aware that a war, in a great degree passive, and consisting of privations, will become very irksome to the people, I feel no apprehension of the immediate result. We will be poorer both as a nation and as a government, our debt and taxes will increase, and our progress in every respect be interrupted; but all those evils are not only not to be put in competition with the independence and honor of the nation, they are moreover temporary, and a very few years of peace will obliterate their effects. Nor do I know whether the awakening of nobler feelings and habits than avarice and luxury might not be necessary to prevent our degenerating, like the Hollanders, into a nation of mere calculators."

Jefferson followed without protest the impulse toward war; but his leading thought was to avoid it. Peace was still his passion, and his scheme of peace-

  1. Gallatin to Nicholson, July 17, 1807; Adams's Gallatin, p. 361.