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He—he blasted ’em with his natural speech. He asked them half-a-dozen times over whether the United States had enough armed ships for any shape or sort of war with any one. He asked ’em, if they thought she had those ships, to give him those ships, and they looked on the ground, as if they expected to find ’em there. He put it to ’em whether, setting ships aside, their country—I reckon he gave ’em good reasons—whether the United States was ready or able to face a new big war; she having but so few years back wound up one against England, and being all holds full of her own troubles. As I said, the strong way he laid it all before ’em blasted ’em, and when he’d done it was like a still in the woods after a storm.


This is from “Brother Square-Toes” in Rewards and Fairies.

President Washington is being urged by the French Ambassador, and by anti-British hotheads in the United States, to make war on England. He knows they will gain nothing from a war, and unflinchingly rejects their arguments.