Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
[dateline] Phyladelphia [ante 11]
[salute] Dr Sir
Mr. Gadsden of South Carolina whose Fame you must have heard, was in his younger Years,
an officer, on board the Navy, and is well acquainted with the Fleet.2
He has Several Times taken Pains to convince me that this Fleet is not so formidable
to America, as we fear. He Says, We can easily take their sloops, Schooners, and Cutters,
on board of whom are all their best Seamen, and with these We can easily take their
large ships, on board of whom are all their impress'd and discontented Men. He thinks,
the Men would not fight on board the large ships with their fellow subjects, but would
certainly kill their own officers. He says it is a different Thing, to fight the French
or Spaniards from what it is to fight british Americans—in one case, if taken Prisoners
they must lie in Prison for Years, in the other obtain their Liberty and Happiness.
He thinks it of great Importance that Some Experiments should be made on the Cutters.
He is confident that We may get a Fleet of our own, at a cheap Rate, and this Would
give great Spirits to this Continent, as well as little Spirits to the Ministry.