Would to heaven we had a navy . . . Washington
The bicentennial year of George Washington’s birth, when his beloved United States is once more beset with difficult problems as to naval preparation during peace, is an appropriate occasion to review his profound wisdom on this subject. It might seem that the strongly held opinions and earnestly given advice of this truly great and wise American concerning naval preparation while the nation is at peace should be well worthy of serious consideration by his countrymen in the present generation.
On resigning his commission as commander in chief of the Army in 1783, Washington sincerely hoped to spend the remainder of his days “in the practice of the domestic virtues.” This continued to be his main interest for several years, but gradually the happenings in the great outside world, and more especially the difficulties of the American states under their loose-jointed confederation, increasingly absorbed his detached attention.