The Same Subject Continued
(Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence)
For the Independent Journal.
Saturday, November 3, 1787


To the People of the State of New York:

IT IS not a new observation that the people of any country (if, like the
Americans, intelligent and wellinformed) seldom adopt and steadily
persevere for many years in an erroneous opinion respecting their
interests. That consideration naturally tends to create great respect
for the high opinion which the people of America have so long and
uniformly entertained of the importance of their continuing firmly
united under one federal government, vested with sufficient powers for
all general and national purposes.

The more attentively I consider and investigate the reasons which appear
to have given birth to this opinion, the more I become convinced that
they are cogent and conclusive.

Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary
to direct their attention, that of providing for their SAFETY seems to
be the first. The SAFETY of the people doubtless has relation to a great
variety of circumstances and considerations, and consequently affords
great latitude to those who wish to define it precisely and

At present I mean only to consider it as it respects security for the
preservation of peace and tranquillity, as well as against dangers from
FOREIGN ARMS AND INFLUENCE, as from dangers of the LIKE KIND arising
from domestic causes. As the former of these comes first in order, it is
proper it should be the first discussed. Let us therefore proceed to
examine whether the people are not right in their opinion that a cordial
Union, under an efficient national government, affords them the best
security that can be devised against HOSTILITIES from abroad.

The number of wars which have happened or will happen in the world will
always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the
causes, whether REAL or PRETENDED, which PROVOKE or INVITE them. If this
remark be just, it becomes useful to inquire whether so many JUST causes
of war are likely to be given by UNITED AMERICA as by DISUNITED America;
for if it should turn out that United America will probably give the
fewest, then it will follow that in this respect the Union tends most to
preserve the people in a state of peace with other nations.

The JUST causes of war, for the most part, arise either from violation
of treaties or from direct violence. America has already formed treaties
with no less than six foreign nations, and all of them, except Prussia,
are maritime, and therefore able to annoy and injure us. She has also
extensive commerce with Portugal, Spain, and Britain, and, with respect
to the two latter, has, in addition, the circumstance of neighborhood to
attend to.

It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the
laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident
that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national
government than it could be either by thirteen separate States or by
three or four distinct confederacies.

Because when once an efficient national government is established, the
best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will
generally be appointed to manage it; for, although town or country, or
other contracted influence, may place men in State assemblies, or
senates, or courts of justice, or executive departments, yet more
general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications
will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national
government, -- especially as it will have the widest field for choice,
and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon
in some of the States. Hence, it will result that the administration,
the political counsels, and the judicial decisions of the national
government will be more wise, systematical, and judicious than those of
individual States, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to
other nations, as well as more SAFE with respect to us.

Because, under the national government, treaties and articles of
treaties, as well as the laws of nations, will always be expounded in
one sense and executed in the same manner, -- whereas, adjudications on
the same points and questions, in thirteen States, or in three or four
confederacies, will not always accord or be consistent; and that, as
well from the variety of independent courts and judges appointed by
different and independent governments, as from the different local laws
and interests which may affect and influence them. The wisdom of the
convention, in committing such questions to the jurisdiction and
judgment of courts appointed by and responsible only to one national
government, cannot be too much commended.

Because the prospect of present loss or advantage may often tempt the
governing party in one or two States to swerve from good faith and
justice; but those temptations, not reaching the other States, and
consequently having little or no influence on the national government,
the temptation will be fruitless, and good faith and justice be
preserved. The case of the treaty of peace with Britain adds great
weight to this reasoning.

Because, even if the governing party in a State should be disposed to
resist such temptations, yet as such temptations may, and commonly do,
result from circumstances peculiar to the State, and may affect a great
number of the inhabitants, the governing party may not always be able,
if willing, to prevent the injustice meditated, or to punish the
aggressors. But the national government, not being affected by those
local circumstances, will neither be induced to commit the wrong
themselves, nor want power or inclination to prevent or punish its
commission by others.

So far, therefore, as either designed or accidental violations of
treaties and the laws of nations afford JUST causes of war, they are
less to be apprehended under one general government than under several
lesser ones, and in that respect the former most favors the SAFETY of
the people.

As to those just causes of war which proceed from direct and unlawful
violence, it appears equally clear to me that one good national
government affords vastly more security against dangers of that sort
than can be derived from any other quarter.

Because such violences are more frequently caused by the passions and
interests of a part than of the whole; of one or two States than of the
Union. Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of
the present federal government, feeble as it is; but there are several
instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper
conduct of individual States, who, either unable or unwilling to
restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of
many innocent inhabitants.

The neighborhood of Spanish and British territories, bordering on some
States and not on others, naturally confines the causes of quarrel more
immediately to the borderers. The bordering States, if any, will be
those who, under the impulse of sudden irritation, and a quick sense of
apparent interest or injury, will be most likely, by direct violence, to
excite war with these nations; and nothing can so effectually obviate
that danger as a national government, whose wisdom and prudence will not
be diminished by the passions which actuate the parties immediately

But not only fewer just causes of war will be given by the national
government, but it will also be more in their power to accommodate and
settle them amicably. They will be more temperate and cool, and in that
respect, as well as in others, will be more in capacity to act advisedly
than the offending State. The pride of states, as well as of men,
naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their
acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses. The
national government, in such cases, will not be affected by this pride,
but will proceed with moderation and candor to consider and decide on
the means most proper to extricate them from the difficulties which
threaten them.

Besides, it is well known that acknowledgments, explanations, and
compensations are often accepted as satisfactory from a strong united
nation, which would be rejected as unsatisfactory if offered by a State
or confederacy of little consideration or power.

In the year 1685, the state of Genoa having offended Louis XIV.,
endeavored to appease him. He demanded that they should send their Doge,
or chief magistrate, accompanied by four of their senators, to FRANCE,
to ask his pardon and receive his terms. They were obliged to submit to
it for the sake of peace. Would he on any occasion either have demanded
or have received the like humiliation from Spain, or Britain, or any
other POWERFUL nation?