The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson
DEFENSE / PREPAREDNESS
Mr. Fulton's ingenuity is inexhaustible and his disinterested
devotion of it to his country very laudable. If his present device
depended on me, I should try it on the judgment of an officer so well
skilled as Decatur. It is one of those experiments which neither the
personal interest nor the faculties of a private individual can ever
bring into use, while it is highly interesting to the nation.
Intersected as we are by many and deep waters, and unable to meet the
enemy on them with an equal force, our only hope is in the discovery
of the means which ingenuity may devise whereby the weak may defend
themselves against the strong. This is done at land by fortifications,
and not being against any law of nature, we may hope that something
equivalent may be discovered for the water.
to James Madison, 13 July 1813