The Same Subject Continued
(Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence)
For the Independent Journal.
Saturday, November 10, 1787


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

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. 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.