« PreviousContinue »
thing better and more trustworthy. It is proposed to replace the former doubtful or erroneous conclusions by the results of exact experiments made with the guns and projectiles actually in the service, and so to connect them by comparison and interpolation, that all doubt or uncertainty of the smallest degree shall be utterly excluded. When these facts have been arrived at, all that is necessary for practical purposes will have been obtained, and a theory must be based on these facts. Afterwards the application of the results to supply the wants of the army and navy must pass into the hands of military and naval officers, assisted by chemists and mechanical engineers. And I shall feel that my time has been well employed if my results can be turned to account in providing for the defence of our rights and our home. Although I am convinced that a sincere desire for peace pervades all classes of this nation, yet that is no security for the continued enjoyment of the blessings of peace. It is possible that, like Denmark, we may have war forced upon us.
The most likely way to keep the peace is to let it be clearly understood, by all whom it may concern, that we know perfectly well how to use the immense power which we, as a nation, possess. And if as a last resource, and the one which, on the whole, offers the least of evils, we are obliged to send forth brave men to fight in a just cause, we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that we have supplied them with every help which the nation can provide for them in the discharge of their trying duty.
JULY 3, 1866.