Printed by BENJ. FRANKLIN BACHE, No. 112. Market-street. M,DCCXCVIII.



THESE States are at present exposed to very threatening dangers. Whether France has been justly provoked by the con­duct of the late President and his successor, or by the temper that placed the last in his station, will not now be enquired. The fact is, that France is provoked. What the consequences of her re­sentment may be, demands our most serious consideration.

She still believes, that a great body of American citizens, re­gards her and the cause in which she is engaged, with the warm­est affection. She believes rightly: But it is possible, and pro­bable too—that a single manoeuvre of our constituted authorities may convince her, that the nation is hostile to her and her cause; and this conviction may instantly snap the thread, by which a naked sword is suspended over our head.

SOME MANOEUVRE OF THIS KIND IS MEDITATED: But, a hope is entertained, that even the obstinacy attendant upon littleness of genius, so dull in distinguishing between wisdom and passions, the rashness of short-sighted policy, the mouth-filling selfishness of office-seeking orators, and the blinding vanity of youthful fri­volists, that fiddles in declamations amidst the flames of their country, will at length give way to dictates of PRUDENCE, if not of patriotism.

"The film removed"—"the seat of mental sight" may then perhaps distinctly discern the important objects that claim in­stant attention—


France and Freedom, attacked by combined Europe, are trium­phant. Other controversies are settled; and the war that lately spread so wide, is contracted, with dispositions apparently ir­ [...]concileable, to a dreadful struggle between the Republic and [...]re [...] Bri [...].

[Page 4] The Executive Directory have proclaimed their resolution to "CONQUER" Britain, and are preparing the means for carrying that resolution into effect.

To the accomplishment of this design, the Republic is stimu­lated by three of the most exciting motives, that ever agitated the mind of a people. First—to humble a rival, that for many centuries has been formidable and hurtful; and in the revolu­tion, has been the principal instigator and supporter of the co­alition, that aimed destruction at her territorial integrity and national liberty; and therefore, in her account is justly charge­able with all the French blood that has been shed, and all the French treasure that has been expended.

Secondly—to obtain compensation for the injuries that have been sustained. The vast debts incurred by the Republic, and due to their meritorious armies and other deserving creditiors, must be paid, and EITHER BY FRANC OR BRITAIN.

Thirdly—to extinguisn the British domination over the oceans; thus to become the deliverers of mankind from an oppressive despotism on that element, and then by an enlightened and hu­mane policy, to promote permanent peace, and a friendly in­tercourse amongst nations, and build their fame and happiness, on the solid foundations of benefactions to the human race.—There is reason to believe, that their philanthropy means to ex­tend effectual relief, to those outcasts of modern mercies, the weeping—bleeding children of India and Africa.

When I lay the Definitive Treaty between the Republic and the Emperor on a map, and trace out the ceded countries, the acquisition of the Venitian Islands below the Gulf of Lodr [...]; seems to announce a great plan.

It is said that straw [...] shew how the wind sets; and so, small things sometimes indicate grand designs.

Corf [...], the ancient Corcyra, and itself in former ages a great naval power, li [...] near to E [...]irus, and a little to the northward of the Bay of Ambra [...], where, thirty-one years before the com­mencement of our Era, the contest between [...] and [...] for the Roman Empire, was decided by the battle of A [...]i [...]a [...].

San M [...]ura, formerly L [...]calia, then a p [...]insula, tho' new an Island, almost a [...]joins the Continent, not far from the m [...]uth of the same Bay.

In like manner, Cephal [...]ni [...] and Za [...]th [...] lye, one to the north­ward, and the other to the southward of the famous Sircas C [...]ir­thianus, since called the Gulf of L [...]fan [...] wher [...] the Christians in the year 1571, give the irrecoverable blow to the T [...] navy.

[Page 5] Between Cephalenis and the main is Ithaca, the beloved seat of the renowned Ulysses, and the delightful theme of the admi­rable Homer.

Cerigo, antiently Cythera, is situated to the southward of Pel [...] ­ponnesus, opposite to the Bay of Laconia, into which the River Eurotas, after passing the celebrated Lacademon, empties its once-inviolable waters.

These Islands therefore, not to mention others, have a com­manding position with respect to GREECE.

The scenes illustrated by the brightest splendors of human genius, and signalized by memorable changes in human affairs, seem to be peculiarly suited to the temper and destination of the Republic.

When we consider the impressions that must be made on FRENCH MINDS by seeing the birth place of heroes and sages, the unequalled cultivatrix of Science and Arts, the undaunted asserter, tho' encom­passed by hostile despots, of the Rights of Man, and the cradle of Republicanism, groaning under barbaric ignorance and inso­lence, can we suppose, that France will be satisfied, unless she communicates the blessings she enjoys, to that country, from which through the long la [...]se [...]f ages and the ceaseless contention of eve [...]s, she has received THE SACRED TRAIN OF THOUGHT, that h [...]s wrought out her own amazing deliverance.

No If the Porte shall give any cause of just offence, or, surrounded by enemies that have more than once shaken its Em­pire to the foundations▪ shall make some convenient, perhap- [...]alt [...]y compact with the Republic, she will bid Athens, Sparta, Tretis and C [...]th, [...]th all their lovely sisterhood, rise from the [...]shes in which t [...]y [...] now lying, invite the Muses to revisit H [...], and p [...]rh [...] form other S [...]ratises and other Plates to [...] the sub [...] [...]trines of "THE BEAUTIFUL AND GOOD, on the [...] of the [...].

Nor whith [...] be the [...]mits of her generous labors. The in­ [...] of the [...] that gem the bosom of the Aeg [...] [...] [...]ed by their beneficent liberators, will experience a [...]ity of civil cov [...] [...] congenial to their soil and climate.

The trade of the [...] will exclusively belong to [...]rance and the [...].

By c [...]ting in the c [...]s [...] of a war, that the Emperor may take [...] of [...] and B [...]ma with the neighbouring coasts of [...] the cou [...] heretofore G [...],, might be soon emancipated from the y [...]ke of slavery. S [...]s and Mountains would [...], [...] were, their boundaries. The Fren [...] [...] would [...] in [...]ing th [...] country [...] a gr [...]r [Page 6]height of true glory, than any people upon earth ever attained.

Instead of imitating the Roman policy, of settling colonies among conquered nations, to enforce their subjection, France more generously and more wisely, waves her enfranchising hand over their heads, and with the voice of power and humanity bids them rise up FREE STATES. THE FRIEND OF MANKIND, she be­stows Liberty upon them; and in return asks only their amity. She is their political parent; and if ever they fail in rendering to her the filial duty they owe her, well will they deserve to sink again into their former abject condition.

How much farther the triumphs of benevolence may extend, it is not difficult to foresee. A short well-improved passage from the head of the Mediterranean to the head of the Red Sea, may open a facility of communication with the East Indies, by a rout about one third as long as that by the Cape of Good Hope.

Let any one recollect the wonderful grandeur and wealth to which, the Arabians, the first traders by sea to the East, the Phoenicians, the Jews, and the Egyptians, and in more modern times, the Gen [...]se and the Venitians, rose, by the profits of their traffic, carried on by every one of these nations, in the very course here alluded to, and it will be evident, that the Republic, [...]specially having a good understanding with the neighbouring Arabians, easily attainable by communicating to them a portion of former benefits, may amply partake of the incomputable ad­vantages ever flowing from that inexhaustible source.

Russia, hereditarily hostile to France, and lately JEALOUS OF HER BENIGNANT POLICY, has openly aimed at the navigation of the Mediterranean through the Bespherus, and at more than that navigation. She is to be anticipated.

The Commerce of France may be more extensive, more benefi­cial, and more firmly fixed, than that of any state that ever ex­isted. If she shall fully imbibe the spirit of her fortunes, more like the sun than her emblemati [...]ts ever thought, she will rise to onlighten, warm, and bless the [...]rth.

What power upon the Globe can prevent this exaltation? None, but the British maritime dominion. France then, to the utmost exertion of all her hitherto-irresistable energies, will strike at that dominion.

"True!" it will be said: "But, what will her utmost exer­tion signify, against the vast superiority of British Fleets? It is granted, that her land force is greater than that of Britain; but, it is impossible, that she can transport an army sufficient to make much impression on that kingdom."

If we count upon this supp [...]ed impossibility as a cert [...]nty, [...] [Page 7]direct our conduct by such a persuasion, we may fall into a fa­tal deception. We cannot be too CAUTIOUS in our calculations upon that subject.

Some persons indeed among us, speak of the naval power of Britain as invincible, and in a manner as everlasting. But these ebulitions seem to be suggested by passion, peculiar interests, and particular predilections, that have latterly introduced a great deal of fanciful speculations in polities, and concerning measures that involve our best welfare.

These speculations, like some of other kinds, after amusing the adventurers with golden prospects for months or years, bring upon them heavy responsibilities, before the maturation of their alchymistical materials can be completed. We see enough al­ready, to be convinced, that the whole projection is vanishing into air—"into thin air".

In contemplating HOW France can invade Britain, it is appre­hended, that the true question is not—Whether the former, with the assistance of Spain and Holland, will be able send out such Fleets, as by successive engagements will acquire the dominion of the ocean—but, whether in existing circumstances, France will be able to send into Britain, across the narrow sea that se­parates them, such an army as will absolutely prescribe the terms of peace.

However, let us make some reflections on the first question.

When Rome and Carthage were contending for Empire, if not for safety, Rome had no ships of war, and did not know how to build them. Carthage had been for ages mistress of the seas.* In the conclusion, after many battles by sea, and a war of more than twenty years continuance, the Romans were conquerors at sea, as well as at land. The resources of the two parties were much nearer to an equality, than those of France and Britain now are.

The predecessor of Alfred the great, "lest his subjects and successors in the most dangerous and distressful circumstances". The afflicted nation seemed likely to perish: and that truly great Prince was obliged for some time to conceal himself from his enemies in deep retirement. At length he left his retreat, and [Page 8]had many conflicts with the Danes, who covered as it were the neighbouring seas with their fleets, and were continually and cruelly harrassing England with invasions. The King was very sensible of the disadvantages his subjects laboured under, for want of a sufficient fleet to meet their enemies at sea, and pre­vent their landing, and was very desirous of supplying that de­fect.

"But (says a judicious historian) there is nothing in the world more difficult, than to restore a naval power when it is fallen into decay, in a country where there is little trade, to furnish ships, and to be a nursery for seamen; and in the face of ene­mies who are masters of the sea. To an ordinary genius, this must appear impracticable. What admiration then is justly due to that extraordinary Prince, who not only attempted, but ac­complished that difficult undertaking; who raised a mighty naval power almost out of nothing, revived foreign trade, and wrested the dominion of the seas out of the hands of the insulting Danes? This was the great Alfred, who presents himself in so many ami­able points of view, to one who studies the Anglo-Saxon history, that it is impossible not to contract the fondest and most enthu­siastic admiration of his character."*

In another place the historian takes notice, that "Alfred, to oppose the Danish Fleets, commanded ships to be built of a new construction. They were of about twice the length of the former, and much more lofty; which made them much swifter sailers, more steady in the water, and not so apt to roll. Some of these new vessels had sixty oars, and some even more."

If we compare the French with either of the before mentioned powers, it will be found, that they will have much less difficul­ty to contend with, for obtaining the dominion of the seas, than the Romans or Anglo-Saxons had.

Let us now turn our attention to the second question.

The first reflection that offers itself to consideration on this head, is the prodigious disproportion of population and native strength between France and Britain, not to insist on the momen­tous addition to that disproportion by the allies of France, two of the greatest maritime powers in Europe, excited as they must be to the most ardent co-operation with her, by the vast pledges they have dependant on the issue, and by the proofs she has given in her late negociations, that she contends for their inter­acts as pertinaciously as for her own—while Britain is left alone.

The next reflection that presents itself, is the relative situation of the two countries.

[Page 9] From Brest directly opposite to Cornwall and Ireland, to the Texel opposite to Norfolk and Suffolk, France has these interme­diate ports, well adapted for fitting out large armaments—Cher­burgh, Havre, Saint Vallori, with the river Boulogne, and Ostend. Which of these places, and how many of them, or what others, will afford the best points for making their "dreadful notes of preparation", the skill and ingenuity of the French will deter­mine upon principles as indisputable as geometrical axioms or mathematical demonstrations. Certain it is, that as to all of them, the winds that may be favourable to the enterprizes of France, will be adverse to her enemy. The British history abounds with instances of this kind; and not winds only may conspire to render plans of invasion successful.

When Allectus, the successor of the famous Carauscius reigned in Britain, he was master of the seas. The Roman Emperor Constantius, resolved to recover Britain, and accordingly col­lected a very large fleet at Boulogne. Now in passing, to avoid an enemy too strong for them, was the only difficulty. A mo­dern English historian says—"The ROMANS, under the cover of a thick fog, escaped the fleet of Allectus; and convinced the BRITONS, that a superiority of naval strength will not always pro­tect their country from a foreign invasion."*

On the first of November 1688, William Prince of Orange and soon afterwards King of England, sailed from Holland with a fleet of fifty men of war, twenty five frigates, and as many fire-ships, and near four hundred other vessels. In less than two days he was between Dover and Calais.

The fleet of James the second, consisting of sixty one men of war, of which thirty eight were of the line of battle, lay at the Gunfleet near the Thames, to intercept the Dutch: but, the Dutch passed the Gunfleet in a very hazy day, while the winds were extremely unfavourable to the English fleet. The Dutch very deliberately coasted along all the southern parts of England, from its eastern point the North Foreland at the mouth of the Channel, to within a few miles of its westernmost County. Yet, after all the protraction of this voyage, the whole army of horse and foot was on shore, at Torbay in Devonshire, before the end of the fourth day from its beginning. "The wind prevented Lord Dartmouth," entirely devoted to James's cause, "who was come in sight of the Dutch fleet, from attacking it, and obliged him to go into Portsmouth."

[Page 10] In a few days afterwards, the BRITISH REVOLUTION was completed.

When William surnamed the Conqueror, then only Duke of Normandy, designed the invasion of England and the dethrone­ment of King Ha [...]d, "he sailed from the harbour of Saint Val­lori at the mouth of the river S [...]mme, with a great fleet and gal­lant army, on the 28th o [...] September 1066, and the day after ar­rived at Pevens [...]y in Sussex,"—"on the 14th day of October fol­lowing, the decisive battle of Hastings was fought,"—"and on the next Christmas day, he was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey, with all the usual ceremonies, by Aldred Archbishop of York."*

"William the second, to suppress an insurrection in one of his continental provinces, embarked, tho' it blew a furious storm, and landed next m [...]ning at Barfleur," about forty miles from the Isle of Wight.

"Henry the second embarked at Barfleur, on the 8th of July, and landed that evening at Southampton, bringing with him the two queens."

Afterwards, "Henry hearing of the danger of his Norman Capital, and having settled his affairs in England, embarked at Pertsmouth, August 7th, with his Brabasons, and a thousand Welch, whom he had taken into his pay,"—"and landed next day at Barfleur".§

Several other instances of such expeditions made with equal quickness, might be enumerated. In reality the Channel is only a large ferry.

The motives, by which France is impelled to an invasion of Britain, are of the most imperious nature. They will bring into requisition not only all her ability and all her diligence, but—all her genius and all her knowledge.

The British confess, that the French are perfect masters of na­val architecture. If they shall not be able to collect, as soon as they wish, a sufficient number of men of war, to protect an army in its passage, probably they will supply that deficiency, by building such [...]lo [...]ting fortresses as the world has never yet seen: for, their actions in other resp [...]cks, have transcended all former examples of human archievement.

The prize at which they now aim, is in their eyes too inesti­mable to be abandoned. The greatness of obstacles and suffer­ings [Page 11]will enhance its value. It is in their opinion, consecrated by the blood of their fellow-citizens that has been poured out in the cause. They will not think any thing that has been gained, is commensurate to their rights or interests. To leave Britain reigning on any element, will in their estimation be ingratitude to their brethren who are no more, and treason against their posterity. The old Roman denunciation, "DELINDA EST CAR­THAGO," rings from the Rhine to the Pyrennees, and from the Mediterranean to the Ocean.

Surely, it is within the bounds of probability, that wooden fortresses may be constructed, mounting such artillery as no first-rate can oppose with success. Unincumbered with masts sails and other rigging, and therefore drawing less water, and capable of carrying more artillery, a sufficient celerity may be given to their motion, if towed by gallies driven forward with the united force of sails and oars, especially if it be considered, that for se­veral months in every year, the Channel is very smooth. It is likely, that Alfred's ships of "a new construction" before men­tioned, were as extraordinary in his age, as such fortresses would be now.

A knowledge of all nautical circumstances, will enable the planners of invasion, to calculate exactly the time that will be re­quired for the arrival of the armament on the opposite shore. Proper persons raised up in baloons, and furnished with the best glasses, may discern every vessel within sight to a vast distance. The possibility and quantity of any resistance by them, can then be precisely ascertained. If intelligence from places more re­mote is wanted, telegraphs can dart it, with any requisite ve­locity.

Plutarch, in his life of Demetrius Poliorcetes, says—"His great divertisement was in building gallies, and inventing engines of war; and having naturally a genius addicted to mechanics, he did not apply it to making useless toys, after the humour of some other princes, who spent their vacant hours in painting, music, or turning, &c."—"But, the mechanic inventions of Demetrius, tho' designed for use and service, had something noble and mag­nificent withall; and the wonderful contrivance of them was so uncommon, that one might easily read the character of a great mind and extraordinary genius in the artifice. They were such, as by their structure bespoke themselves the product of a sove­reign engineer, insomuch that they did not less surprize his friends with their stupendous magnificence, than they astonished his enemies by their [...]. It is no less remarkable than true, what is [...] of [...], that the very enemies against [Page 12]whom they were to be employed for their destruction, could not forbear running to gaze with admiration upon his gallies of five and six ranges of oars, as they passed near their coasts; and the inhabitants of those cities that were to be besieged and stormed by those terrible engines, thronged to the walls which they were about to batter, to behold those [...] machines"—"Even Ly­simachus, of all the kings of his time the greatest enemy of De­metrius, coming to raise the siege of S [...]os in Cilicia, sent to desire to see his gallies and engines, which Demetrius readily granted. Lysimachus having gratified his curiosity by a full view of them, struck at once with fear and admiration, quitted the place, and his design of relieving the besieged city."

The contemplation of such facts as have been mentioned, should teach, it is presumed, not to be over-confident, in de­ciding upon the enterprizes of great minds, animated by the strongest excitements, and supported by a prodigious accumu­lation of power, in a rapid progression of aggrandizement.

Our disquisitions concerning the final event of the contest be­tween France and Great-Britain, can have no influence upon that contest; but, a just regard for our own peace and welfare, calls upon us to reflect, that the event MAY BE disastrous to the last.



BY circling Time in order roll'd
The Years begin—long since foretold,
Look at the signs—and dread their fate.
Oppression's guilty chiefs alarmed
Their hordes in impious union arm'd,
Freedom's brave sons in chains to bind,
And blast the hopes of human kind.
Their country's banners then unfurl'd,
To combat for a suff'ring world
Those sons the hostile legions sought—
Let Alps and Plains tell how they fought▪
Not Salamis, and Marathon,
Mycalè,† and Platèa† won,
For the resplendent Grecian name
A title to a fairer fame.*
[Page 14]
Go on! Go on! heroic bands,
And publish to the list'ning lands
The worth of equal rights and laws—
The cause of FRANCE is FREEDOM'S cause.
Soon shall the branchy olive join
The laurels that your swords entwine,
And well shall teach the blended meeds—
The prize of valour greatly won,
And half the work of glory done;
Thy milder virtues, FRANCE, employ,
The sources of the purest joy.
Let the delighted earth behold,
These virtues all their charms unfold;
And T [...]OU, the first of nations, be
HUMANE, and JUST, and [...], and GREAT

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