Reflections

Editorial in the Columbian Centinel

January 04, 1794

It is unworthy of the dignity, as well as equity, of Americans, to become partizans of either of the belligerent nations. We are bound to wish liberty and good government to every people under heaven—Having professed an impartial neutrality, public exultation shewn on one side, and goading the other with scorn, reproach and obloquy, gives the lie to our profession of hostility. We solemnly announce to the world that we shall not inter-meddle. Where then is the propriety of our newspapers, clubs, and some of our public bodies, shewing dispositions the very reverse of our professions?

It is not the merchant and the sailor only who are interested in the war with the pirates of Algiers; the certain effect of it is to sink the value of our grain and provisions of all kinds, which we have carried to Spain, Portugal and the Straits in large quantities. The farmers will feel the effects of this war as sensibly as the merchants. They are therefore deeply interested in defending our navigation from captures and insults. This defence can only be procured by a small navy; and a navy cannot be built without money. But our trade is already overburdened with duties; and unless our landholders will consent to a small land tax of a penny or two on each acre of cultivated land, their produce must lie on hand, or be sold at 25, perhaps 50 per cent below its present value.

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