Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 6 September 1807

Monticello Sep. 6. 07.

Dear Sir

I recieved last night your favor of Aug. 29. and with it a model of a contrivance for making one gunboat do nearly double execution. it has all the ingenuity and simplicity which generally mark your inventions. I am not Nautical enough to judge whether two guns may be too heavy for the bow of a gunboat, or whether any other objection will countervail the advantage it offers and which I see visibly enough. I send it this day to the Secretary of the Navy within whose department it lies to try & to judge it. believing myself that gunboats are the only water defence which can be useful to us, & protect us from the ruinous folly of a navy, I am pleased with every thing which promises to improve them.

The battle of Friedland, armistice with Russia, conquest of Prussia will be working on the British stomach when they will recieve information of the outrage they have committed on us. yet having entered on the policy proposed by their champion ‘War in disguise’ of making the property of all nations lawful plunder to support a navy which their own resources cannot support, I doubt if they will readily relinquish it. that war with us had been predetermined may be fairly inferred from the diction of Berkly’s order the jesuitism of which proves it ministerial from it’s being so timed as to find us in the midst of Burr’s rebellion as they expected, from the cotemporaneousness of the Indian excitements, & of the wide & sudden spread of their maritime spoliations.   I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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